Last Updated March 6, 2023
Do you want to keep your website safe for your visitors? Yes? Then you'll need the best WordPress security plugins to protect your site.
Can you guess the number of times an average website incurs a hack attempt? Well, according to an article by SmallBizTrends in 2021, the number was 44. Keep in mind that this number is per day!
According to Forbes, the number of websites that are hacked every day stands at a shocking 30,000. Unfortunately, most of these websites are built using WordPress, which has given WordPress a bad reputation.
To prevent hack attempts from being successful, you need to understand WordPress security and WordPress vulnerabilities. Then you need to determine which plugin or plugins would be the best fit for your WordPress site.
Sourcing the best WordPress security plugin for your website can seem daunting. We have made the job easier for you by compiling a list of the 5 best WordPress plugins for security, their features, pros and cons, and pricing information.
If you are serious about the security of your website, this article will show you how to get started in ensuring your site security is top-notch and your business won't suffer from a hack.
WordPress Security Plugins & Why You Need Them
In simple words, security plugins are built to protect your website against brute force attacks, password hacks, cross-site scripting, and other hacks. Hackers are praying on websites that are not kept up-to-date and secure so that they can steal sensitive information and personal data from website visitors.
If you own a WordPress site, incorporating the best security protocols to protect and optimize it is a must to ensure your website visitors' protection.
First, to understand why WordPress security plugins are essential, let's review what types of information hackers often go after. The most sensitive information that hackers want is a user's credit card information. Next would be to gain access to the complete database of your users containing all types of personally identifiable information (PII).
Personal information like names, addresses, and phone numbers of your users are sold in bulk on the dark web. If you need to know more, read this article about what a hacker does with your user’s information.
A hacker can also lock you out of your website or make you lose the search engine rankings you worked so hard to get. At the very least, you are left with users who no longer trust your website or brand; it could be a PR nightmare as it has for many big companies, think Experian.
You can save yourself and visitors from this trouble by installing the best security plugins to protect your WordPress site.
The 5 Best WordPress Security Plugins
Going through and perhaps testing lots of plugins to find the best one for your needs can be overwhelming. We have shortlisted the 5 best WordPress plugins for securing your website to get you up and running and quickly past any potential vulnerabilities.
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The Sucuri Security plugin is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins online. Many consider it the best when picking the best WordPress security plugins, and we agree. Sucuri offers a free version for its users, although we think the paid version is worth the investment.
With the free version, you can do a basic scan to find standard website treats. This one plugin can be used to protect multiple websites. Using the free version, you can integrate a firewall, perform malware scanning, get email alerts, and harden your WordPress security parameters.
Sucuri comes with easy-to-apply firewall rules that help prevent brute force attacks. It is very easy to install and set up inside your WordPress site. This WordPress security plugin can prevent DDOS attacks, SQL injection, and other malicious attacks.
Last login, file changes, and failed login attempts are stored inside the database. They have their own CDN servers to help boost the performance and speed of your WordPress site.
Sucuri has 3 pricing plans which cost $199.99/year, $299.99/year, and up to $499.99/year. The basic plan is designed for bloggers and small business owners. The other 2 plans are built for medium to large enterprises that want to carry out their site operation with minimum downtime. The most advanced plan runs a security scan every 30 minutes.
Sucuri offers the best support out of all the plugins in this article. Sucuri provides a support center and offers live chat support, ticket support, and immediate help to fix any hacked site, even if you don't have an active plan. They offer a 24/7 technical team on standby in case of an issue. Sucuri is hard to beat.
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The Wordfence WordPress security plugin comes with a free version that protects you against brute force attacks and other hacks. Over 4 million people have installed the Wordfence plugin. You can use the free version on multiple WordPress websites.
Security features include common threat detection and scanning your site for suspicious activities like code injections. If you purchase one of their paid plans, you can scan IPs based on countries, update firewall rules in real time, receive premium support, and access many other advanced features.
This WordPress security plugin automatically detects any threat and alerts you. But you can also proactively run a thorough scan of your entire website at any time. You get custom emails from Wordfence to alert you of hacking attempts or security breaches.
If you purchase one of the higher plans for Wordfence, their tech experts will install, configure, and optimize the plugin for you. If you buy a paid version, you can monitor your WordPress sites from one WordPress dashboard.
Wordfence offers three paid pricing plans to its users. The lowest-paid plan starts at $99/year, while the highest is currently at $950/year. Wordfence care, directed toward busy business owners, costs $490/year.
Wordfence offers support through its support section on the website. Support for the free version of the plugin is handled in the support forums. Premium support is available via logging into your account.
iThemes Security Pro
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iThemes security pro helps to protect your site in more than 30 different ways. Popular security features of the iThemes security plugin include password protection, user activity monitoring, detecting security threats, login protection, security hardening, and more.
iThemes security plugin is developed by the same masterminds responsible for the popular WordPress plugin BackupBuddy. One of the significant advantages of iThemes security is its simple and easy-to-use interface.
iThemes Security Pro Features
Like all the other plugins on this list, iThemes has a free plugin. Security features like two-factor authentication reduce the chances of unwanted bots crawling your website. Security vulnerabilities are automatically detected, and actions are taken to resolve them without you having to take any steps.
iThemes doesn't have its own malware scanner, but they use that of Sucuri to prevent brute force attacks on your website. iThemes has file integrity monitoring capabilities allowing it to detect bots faster and take action.
iThemes Security Pro Pricing
There are 4 pricing plans for the paid version of the iThemes security plugin. The cheapest starts at $80/year for coverage on one website, while the $127/year covers up to 10 websites. Two additional plans that cost $199/year and $499/year are more geared towards medium and enterprise businesses.
iThemes Security Pro Support
Support for the iThemes security plugin is handled through the main iThemes website and extensive Help center. Support is handled via logging into your account for most support concerns and questions, although they do have other means of contacting them for non-support requests.
All In One WP Security & Firewall
The All In One WP Security plugin is incredibly user-friendly. The security details are presented to users using visual graphics, making it easier to understand issues and take action against any security threats.
The All In One WP Security plugin is best for small business owners but lacks the sophistication and advanced security features that other plugins offer.
All-In-One WP Security Features
All In One WP Security & Firewall protection prevents brute force attacks. It also has comment spam filtering and a strong password enforcement feature that keeps your site secure. You can block users based on geographical location and suspicious user activities.
All In One WP Security is a good security tool to detect and prevent hack attempts. The firewall detects malicious code, and the malware removal happens automatically after.
You can choose to shut down login attempts after a fixed number of times to increase your site security against bots. This plugin has all the basic security features you need to protect your site against malicious intent.
All-in-One WP Security Pricing
The All In One WP plugin is an entirely free WordPress security plugin. No premium version of this WordPress security plugin is available. You can donate to support its development on the WordPress plugin repository.
Although not the best WordPress security plugin on the list, it will work for many site owners who want the necessities.
All-In-One WP Security Support
All In One WP Security & Firewall offers support through the WordPress.org support forums as it is a free plugin. That is one of the limitations of using a free version should your site experience any issues with the plugin.
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Jetpack is mainly known for its performance optimizing and marketing features. However, it also has a comprehensive malware scanning system and notable spam protection features. Jetpack has a free version, and compared to other plugins, the premium version of Jetpack is more economical.
The Jetpack plugin is used by over 5 million people worldwide. Many web hosts will spin up a WordPress website for you that will automatically have Jetpack installed. It is easy to scan a website for threats using Jetpack.
One of the most valuable features of Jetpack is its real-time backup system that registers every change you make to your WordPress website. It has an activity log that looks out for suspicious user behavior and provides spam protection by blocking malicious comments on posts.
The decentralized malware scanner provides brute force protection, scans malicious code, and removes it from the system. Hack attempts can be prevented by limiting login attempts using Jetpack. The plugin automatically detects a security breach and alerts you immediately via email.
You will also receive alerts to update Jetpack's latest version if you are not already using it. The premium version also offers marketing tools and SEO spam protection.
Jetpack has been reported to be somewhat of a resource drain on websites, and with site speed being a critical element to search engine rankings, it is vital to ensure your website doesn't suffer from plugin bloat. We encourage site owners to run speed tests if using Jetpack or any of the recommended plugins.
Although you can optimize the free version for basic security, to unlock the full potential of Jetpack, you can upgrade to the Security plan, which costs $143/yearly. There are 3 total pricing plans for the Jetpack plugin, but only the Security and Complete plans will suit your WordPress security needs.
Jetpack offers up to 60% off on your first year with any plan and a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Jetpack offers support through its website support section and via email. They only support paid upgrades, host a knowledge base and community forum, and have extensive help documentation.
How to Install and Configure a WordPress Security Plugin
While many WordPress security plugins come with a one-click installation feature, others provide dedicated WordPress security specialists to install and optimize the plugin for an added cost. If you want to optimize WordPress security plugins by yourself, read the following steps to get a comprehensive overview of what to do.
Step 1: Install the WordPress security plugin
You can find the free WordPress security plugin for your website from the add new section of the plugins menu. You need to type the name in the plugin search bar, and you'll likely see your desired plugin.
The next step is to install and activate the plugin. There are various free WordPress security plugins that you can choose from. You can choose from the list provided here, or you can select other security plugins to protect your website.
To enable the core functions and optimize the plugin for your WordPress website, it is essential to activate it using the button presented on the Add Plugins screen and then configure the plugin.
Step 2: Configure the Plugin
When you install the plugin, a new menu will appear. For example, if you install Wordfence Security, a menu named Wordfence will appear in the WordPress dashboard. Depending on your chosen plugin, a different set of sub-menus will appear. The location could be different.
Wordfence Security shows in the main navigation of the left menu. Some will tuck themselves under menu items such as Tools or Settings, so keep looking if you don't see it.
The first thing to do is to run the malware scanner to detect if there are any existing threats presently impacting your website. You can find other helpful setting options in the submenu, or a settings menu item lets you configure the plugin from one place.
You can migrate to premium plans by clicking on the upgrade button. Depending on your choice of plugin, you can configure it in multiple ways. This article outlines the basic configuration that you should be able to accomplish in any popular security plugin.
To prevent brute force attacks, it is essential to configure the firewall settings first. This will also prevent bots and other malware from crawling your website. Enable traffic monitoring and optimize malware scanning frequency to keep your site protected.
To ensure login protection, determine a fixed number of login attempts to keep bots away from your site. Plugins like Sucuri provides security hardening to give your website brute force protection. Enable those features if you have them.
Enable two-factor authentication, and protect the WordPress core files by setting up file permissions within the file security system.
It is a good idea to keep the number of WordPress plugins at a minimum. The lower the number of installed plugins, the better the website will likely perform.
Tips for Keeping your WordPress Site Secure
To ensure bulletproof security for your WordPress website, uses the following list of the most effective tips for maximizing security.
Choose a Secure WordPress Hosting Provider
Make sure the hosting provider you choose has a website firewall, secure FTP protocols, and a dedicated hosting plan. They should take rapid action against security breaches.
Related Article: Managed WordPress Hosting Providers
Add Two Factor Authentication
Bypassing the login page is one of the most common ways hackers get access to a website. Enabling two-factor authentication and ensuring secure login is a great way to protect your site.
Add the Best WordPress Security and Firewall Plugin
Your website firewall is what prevents your site from brute-force attacks. You should use the best plugin to protect your site. Most security plugins come with a web application firewall (WAF) that protects your site against security breaches.
Optimize File Permissions
Your total website security depends on how protected your WordPress core files are. Enable proper access permissions to all files and disable access and editing abilities to the WordPress core files.
Keep your WordPress Version Up-to-date
Older versions of WordPress don't provide the same level of security and/or plugin effectiveness. To ensure the security of your website, always ensure you are using the latest version of WordPress.
How to Recover Your Website if it's Been Hacked
It is a nightmare, but if your website gets hacked, don't panic. You should be able to get it back. You might lose some essential data, content, or existing SEO rankings if you don't take action quickly, but the entire situation is rarely irreversible.
The first thing that you need to do is to inform your hosting provider so they can quarantine your website. Especially if you are on a shared hosting plan, as what impacts your site might impact others that share the same server. After you provide the credentials they ask for, they will likely take the website offline for you.
Once the site is offline, the next step is verifying with your hosting provider that you are the valid owner. Any reputable host typically has backed-up copies of your website that they can revert to if needed. This might be anywhere from 7 to 30 days. Acting quickly will ensure you have a clean backed-up copy.
When you have your website back, you will need to assess how bad the attack was. Try to find out the core reason why your website was hacked so you can fix any weak points and ensure bulletproof security for your site.
If the hack penetrated user-sensitive data or private information, you'll need to do some damage control and inform any user who the breach might have impacted.
Make sure that all core files on your website are secure. Hackers sometimes modify files and can leave malware by which they keep obtaining information from your website. Fix the core files if you find any anomalies.
Check your WordPress version, plugins, file permissions, and overall website security to pinpoint how your website got hacked in the first place. Use your web host support to assist in this process. Run scans to detect if any malicious threats are still left and remove them if you find any.
Use security testing tools and scanners to learn your website's vulnerabilities and weak points. After securing the website, ask the hosting provider to review the site to be sure you have bulletproof security for your website.
If a hosting provider cannot or unwillingly assist in this process, it's time to find another web hosting company. We've compiled a list of the best hosting companies to help.
WordPress Security Plugin FAQs
Which security plugin is the best to secure my website?
There are many security plugins to choose from when protecting a website. But, in our opinion, Sucuri is not just the most popular security plugin but also the most effective.
Sucuri comes with its own CDN that boosts your website's performance and provides the highest level of website security and threat prevention. The web application firewall can be modified to protect against malicious and brute force attacks, and its support is top-notch, much better than the alternatives.
Should I use the free version or switch to a paid plan?
All the options presented here come with a free plugin, which should be enough for you if you are a small business owner with minimum monthly traffic to your website. But, as your business grows, a paid plan provides more benefits to you for a fraction of what it would cost if you were hacked.
We have discussed how important it is to keep your website safe and secure. When traffic to your website grows, the free plans are just not enough to provide maximum security for your users or your business.
Additional Resources on WordPress Security
WordPress security is a subject we suggest keeping yourself updated on. The security and protection of your website and user data are ultimately your responsibility.
Hackers are constantly finding new ways to hack websites for multiple nefarious reasons. Security is big business because hacking is big business. To prevent this from happening to you, it is best to stay aware of the latest updates that are happening in the world of cybersecurity.
Here is a list of resources to stay informed on WordPress security to efficiently protect your website from hackers.
Best WordPress Security Plugins Wrap-up
Your WordPress site's security is something you can't ignore in 2023. Your website is a valuable asset; you need the most effective tools to protect it. The information provided here is a great starting point to ensuring your website is secure, and your customer data is safe.
It is vital to keep updating your security measures, tools, and your knowledge with time. As we progress, new security threats to your website will undoubtedly arise. Ensuring you have strong security now will allow you to navigate safely in the future.