One of the best things about WordPress is that virtually anyone can use it. The software itself is free, it’s easy to use, and it’s highly flexible. All this makes it accessible to almost anyone who wants to start their own website and suitable for hosting practically any kind of content. So it should come as no surprise that WordPress is now one of the most significant content management systems (CMS) out there. But that comes with downsides, too – it makes WordPress a particularly popular target among hackers and other malicious actors. So, if you have a WP website, you’ll want to protect yourself from attacks, malware, and spam. One way to do this is by using WordPress security plugins. In this article, we look at the six of the best ones to help you decide which to use.
Why use WordPress Security Plugins?
Whether you are running a personal blog or an entire business online, you should take cybersecurity seriously. Cyber threats are no joke, and a security breach can be devastating for you, your business, and your users in several ways:
- your data (including your password, e-mail, location, and more) can be compromised in a hacking attack
- if you collect any data from your customers, their information can be compromised as well
- you could be blackmailed for access to your own website and data. Or, you could lose access to your website and data altogether
- your website could be used to distribute malware to others
- your reputation (both that of your website and your brand) could be ruined
- users and customers may lose confidence in you and more.
When consequences are this severe, it’s easy to see why security should be a priority. Luckily, there’s an easy way to beef up your defenses in WordPress: plugins! Plugins are a great way to modify your WP website and improve its functionality. You can use them for just about anything, from boosting digital marketing to improving customer support. So, why not use them for security as well?
What Are Some of the Best WordPress Security Plugins?
There are thousands of WP plugins, both free and premium, that you can download. Some of them help with security issues. For example, Jetpack is a good full-package plugin that many users recommend, and Akismet is a popular solution for spam comments. But web security for businesses is often more complicated than that, requiring a more focused and thorough approach. Therefore, we are looking at plugins that specifically deal with security issues rather than just including some security features.
6 Best WordPress Security Plugins to Protect Your Website from Attacks in 2021:
1. WordFence Security
One of the most popular WordPress security plugins, WordFence Security, offers excellent protection even if you choose not to pay for it. The free version provides malware scanning, exploit detection, threat assessment, country or region blocking, a built-in WordPress firewall, and more. As such, it is one of the best ways to protect your WP website for free. If you are willing to pay, however, pricing starts at $99 per year. Additional features in the premium version include two-factor authentication, real-time IP blacklisting, and direct customer support assistance, among other things.
The plugin scans your website for threats automatically and alerts you of potential issues. You can also start a full scan manually whenever you want. The dashboard is very user-friendly, so if you’re a novice to WordPress, WordFence is a great choice. As a bonus, it’ll also give you handy reports about your overall traffic trends. The only downside is that the firewall runs on your server, making it less effective than a DNS level firewall.
2. All in One WP Security & Firewall
Like WordFence in many aspects, All in One WP Security & Firewall is a useful plugin for auditing, monitoring, and protecting your website. It includes features like automatic scanning, login lockdown, file integrity monitoring, user account monitoring, and scanning for suspicious patterns. Even spam can be avoided with this plugin – it’ll block IP addresses with a history of producing spam so they can’t comment on your website. Much like WordFence, All in One WP Security & Firewall comes with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. But it has a significant advantage too: it’s entirely free, so you get all the features on three levels (basic, intermediate, and advanced) at no cost whatsoever. The only downside is that the firewall is pretty basic.
3. Sucuri Security
There’s a reason Sucuri Security is one of the most downloaded and most recommended security plugins for WP: it’s simply one of the best. Like WordFence, it comes in a free and premium version. With both, you’ll have protection in the form of malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, security audits, security hardening, and more. The big benefit of the premium version is the full access to an impressive firewall. It protects from malicious and brute force attacks, as well as filtering out bad traffic. But unlike most other firewalls, it’s on the DNS level. So not only does it protect your data – it speeds up your website too. On the off chance that someone does manage to get past these defenses, Sucuri will help you get rid of malware at no additional cost.
4. iThemes Security
Unlike the other options on this list, iThemes Security doesn’t offer much in its free version. So if you’re using WordPress as a Shopify alternative for hosting your eCommerce business and you want to protect yourself using iThemes Security, you’ll want to invest in the premium version. A premium version gives you:
- security hardening
- two-factor authentication
- Google reCAPTCHA
- password security and expiration
- integrity checks and scheduled scans
- user action logs
- various dashboard widgets
However, what iThemes is lacking are a firewall and its own malware scanner (it uses Sucuri’s instead). If these are important to you, you’ll probably want to choose a different plugin.
5. MalCare Security
If you don’t want to have to do much about your cybersecurity yourself, then MalCare is perfect for you. Fully automated, MalCare Security detects and removes malware entirely on its own; you don’t have to lift a finger. It does come with a firewall that will block IP addresses that have been previous flagged for maliciousness. Finally, although it is primarily a security plugin, MalCare comes with additional features. For example, you’ll be able to create backups for up to 90 days, manage multiple WP websites, and easily control permissions for a whole team of users. All this comes at a relatively low cost of $99 per year.
6. Bulletproof Security
Let’s start with the obvious! Bulletproof Security is not the prettiest plugin on this list. If you’re looking for something that fits into WP seamlessly, this isn’t it. But if you can get past the aesthetics, it offers some great (and often unique) features. These include security logs, login protection, database backup and restore, maintenance mode, malware scanning, and anti-hacking tools. The download and setup of the plugin are pretty easy. Although it is geared towards more advanced developers, anyone can install Bulletproof Security. The extensive documentation it comes with may help you understand anti-malware better.
WordPress security plugins are a great way to protect your website, but they’re not the end-all, be-all of cybersecurity on WP. To better protect yourself, you’ll also want to update WordPress and all plugins regularly, only use reputable plugins and widgets, use hard-to-guess credentials, and limit access to your website to the people you trust. You should also constantly monitor your WP website and keep an eye on it all the time; only then can you be confident in your website’s security. And remember, no plugin protects you 100%. That’s why it’s important to remain vigilant and have a plan for what to do in case of a security breach.