11 Best WordPress Plugins to Secure Your Website

Updated: February 4, 2021

WordPress is the most popular CMS that powers around 35 percent of the existing websites on the web. That being said, no wonder if WordPress-powered websites become hackers’ targets. Installing a security plugin is one of the ways you can do to reduce the risk of a cyber attack. A security plugin is particularly crucial if you have no adequate knowledge of web security. Most security plugins come with a firewall feature to prevent unauthorized users to log in to your website. They also block the IP addresses of the attackers to prevent them from making other attacking attempts.

In addition to blocking illegal login attempts and cyber attacks in any form, some security plugins also audit the security aspect of your website. For instance, they will let you know if there are plugins or themes that need to be updated to improve security.

Here are 11 of the best WordPress plugins you can install to help to secure your website.

1. Wordfence

Wordfence is the most popular security plugin for WordPress with over 4 million active users. It is one of the security plugins that have the most comprehensive features. First, Wordfence comes with a firewall feature to provide the main security layer to your website. The feature will block all of the attack attempts made by attackers — illegal logins in particular. Second, Wordfence comes with a malware scanner that will scan the core WordPress files, theme files, and plugin files to look for malware potentials, bad URLs, SEO spam, and other threat issues. The Live Traffic feature of Wordfence allows you to monitor the suspicious traffic on your website and instantly run WHOIS to learn the detailed info about the traffic you suspect. You can then instantly block the IP address of the suspected traffic.

To keep you updated about the security issues on your website, Wordfence also offers email notifications. You will be emailed every time Wordfence has just locked out new illegal login attempts, as well as other activities about security issues on your website. Here are the key features offered by Wordfence.

  • Firewall
  • Malware scanner
  • Email notifications
  • Password security
  • Login protection (you can enable two-factor authentication)

Wordfence itself is released as a freemium plugin. You can upgrade to the pro version in case you need to unlock more advanced features.

2. Sucuri Security

Same as Wordfence, Sucuri Security is also released as a freemium plugin so that you can use it for free to secure your WordPress-powered website. However, the features offered by the free version Sucuri plugin are very limited. For instance, the free version doesn’t offer a firewall. To be able to use the firewall feature, you need to provide the API key, which you can get by subscribing to one of the Sucuri Security plans. If you don’t need a firewall — assuming you will use the free version — then Sucuri is worth enough to try.

Sucuri Security will audit the security aspect of your website right after you install and activate the plugin. You will get notifications if it found malicious JavaScript, malicious iFrame, blackhat SEO spam, and so on. Sucuri also offers email notifications to keep you updated over the security issues on your website. Here are the features offered by the free version of Sucuri Security:

  • Malware scanner
  • File integrity monitoring
  • Security hardening
  • Post-hack security actions
  • Email notifications

3. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded

Brute-force is one of the most common cyber attack forms. It is an attack form where someone is attempting to login into a website by submitting a combination of username and password randomly. Using a strong password is the key step to prevent a brute-force attack. In addition, you can also set the maximum login attempts to your website. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded is one of the plugins that you can use to set the maximum login attempts to your website. It’s quite easy to use. If you already have a list of IP addresses you want to block, the plugin also comes with IP address block manager whereby you can add the blocklist and safelist.

4. iThemes Security

iThemes Security is owned by the same company that owns BackupBuddy, a popular WordPress backup plugin. iThemes Security previously was known as Better WP Security. It is another popular WordPress security plugin with over 1 million active users. iThemes Security also has a built-in firewall functionality in which it blocks attackers from logging in to your website. Any host and user with too many invalid login attempts will automatically be blocked by iThemes Security. There are some features you can enable to monitor the activities on your website regarding the security issue.

  • File Change Detection: Allow you to monitor unexpected file changes
  • Away Mode: Disallow access to the WordPress dashboard on a schedule
  • 404 Detection: Block users to snoop around for pages to be exploited

If you need to use features like the ability to enable two-factor authentication, site scan scheduling, passwordless login, and so on, you can upgrade to the pro version of iThemes Security.

5. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security is not as popular as other plugins above, but it is actually a feature-rich security plugin. The built-in firewall feature of BulletProof Security will block illegal login attempts to your website. Also, the plugin allows you to set maximum login attempts to minimize the risk of brute-force attacks. Users that failed to login exceeding the maximum attempts will be automatically locked out for a certain duration — which you can set as well. If your website is under attack, BulletProof Security also has a feature called MScan which you can use to scan your website to find the attacker’s files or code. Email notifications feature is also available to keep you updated on the security issues on your website.

6. MalCare

MalCare is a cloud-based security plugin for WordPress. This means that the activities related to securing your website are done via the MalCare website instead of your server. For instance, if you run a scanning, the scanning process is run on the MalCare website. The MalCare plugin plays a role to connect your website and the MalCare service. This concept is great in terms of performance as there will be no extra load on your server. The drawback, you have to log in to another dashboard to view the scanning results. Some scanning reports offered by MalCare are:

  • Login logs (failed logins, succeeded logins, blocked logins)
  • Traffic (allowed traffic, blocked traffic)

7. Defender Security

Defender Security is a security plugin owned by WPMUDEV, a well-known enough company in the WordPress community. It is a feature-rich security plugin, released as a freemium plugin. Key security features like firewall, malware scanner, and two-factor authentication (2FA) are available. The firewall feature of Defender Security is divided into two types: A basic firewall which protects the login area of your website and a web application firewall (WAF) which filters the incoming requests against managed ruleset to block hackers. The web application firewall is only available on the pro version of Defender Security.

The malware scanner is useful if your website is under attack as it helps you to find the suspicious files causing the attacks. However, the free version only allows you to scan the WordPress core files. You need to upgrade to the pro version to scan theme and plugin files. Here are the features offered by Defender Security:

  • Firewall
  • Malware scanner
  • Login security
  • Email notifications
  • Blocklist manager
  • 404 detection
  • Log manager

8. WP Security Ninja

WP Security Ninja is a feature-rich security plugin. However, you need to use the pro version to unlock those features. The free version of WP Security Ninja can only be used to run basic testing. Some elements tested by WP Security Ninja are WordPress version, theme version, deactivated plugins, and so on. While the features offered by the pro version of WP Security Ninja are:

  • Firewall
  • Spam protection
  • Malware scanner
  • Events logger

9. All In One WP Security & Firewall

Wordfence, Defender Security, WP Ninja Security. They offer advanced security features to add extra protection to your website. However, you need to use the pro version to unlock those advanced security features. If you are looking for a free solution then All In One WP Security & Firewall is a perfect option. All In One WP Security & Firewall is released as a free plugin. The key security features offered by the plugin are:

  • Firewall
  • Malware scanner
  • Spam protection
  • Blocklist manager

10. Shield Security

Shield Security is a great option if you have a WordPress blog. In addition to securing your website from attackers thanks to its firewall functionality, you can also use the plugin to stop spam comments on your blog. Also, it helps you to secure other existing form types on your website such as a contact form and registration if you have one. Shield Security offers integration with reCAPTCHA to help you stop spam comments on your blog. The malware scanner offered by Shield Security can help you to find malicious files on your website. Be it the core WordPress files or theme files and plugin files. Shield Security also comes with a blocklist feature to allow you to manually block IP addresses.

11. Cerber Security

Cerber Security is another plugin that you can use to secure your WordPress site. This plugin is especially great if you want to prevent brute-force attacks to your WordPress as it offers an option to limit the number of login attempts to your website. Also, it allows you to disable direct login URL (yoursite.com/wp-login.php). You can tell the plugin to immediately blog the IP address that attempted to access the login URL. Cerber Security also supports integration with reCAPTCHA to provide spam protection to your website. Block manager feature is also available to allow you block IP addresses manually.

The bottom line

Installing a security plugin is crucial if you have a WordPress-powered website. While there is no system that 100 percent secure, installing a plugin will reduce the risk of being hacked. It’s way better to make prevention rather than recovery. When looking for a security plugin, we recommend choosing one that offers a firewall feature to block attack attempts to your website.

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