When it comes to website maintenance, the importance of security can’t be understated. With so many risks threatening sites today, making sure yours is protected is critical. Unfortunately, figuring out the best WordPress security plugin to use can be challenging.
In this post, we’ll explain why you might want a dedicated tool to strengthen your site. Then we’ll introduce you to six of the best WordPress security plugins, discussing their key features and pricing.
Let’s get started!
Why You Might Want to Use a WordPress Security Plugin
Unfortunately, many people don’t spend much time or effort on website security until it’s too late. As a site owner, one of the worst things you can do is put safety on the back-burner.
Between malware, data breaches, and the dozens of other threats plaguing the internet today, taking website security seriously should be a priority for all business owners. If you fall victim to an attack, it can compromise your customers’ data and both the integrity and reputation of your brand.
Of course, being proactive about protecting your website is often easier said than done. This is why we recommend using a WordPress security plugin. Doing so can place an added layer of protection to your site and reduce your chances of being hacked.
There are a wide range of functions that a WordPress security plugin can help with. This includes:
- Strengthening passwords and enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Updating and backing up WordPress and database files
- Adding file permissions and user role configurations
However, it’s important to note that your entire site’s security shouldn’t be dependent on one plugin (nor could it be). Instead, you can think of a WordPress security plugin as a key way to accomplish specific tasks, rather than as a complete solution.
This is something you may want to keep in mind when considering the following list of security plugins. It’s important to consider what security features you already have access to and what you’re lacking. For example, if backups aren’t something your hosting provider handles, then backup functionality may be a priority.
6 Best WordPress Security Plugins
Now that we’ve discussed why site security is so important, it’s time to look at some of the tools that can help. For the following list, we’ve compiled six WordPress security plugins that cover a wide range of features and functionality. To ensure that we’re presenting you with the best options possible, we’ve also factored in ratings and reviews, customer support and updates, and pricing.
1. Wordfence Security
With over 4 million active installations and a 4.5 out of 5-star average rating, Wordfence Security is one of the best WordPress security plugins out there. This freemium tool lets you scan your site for malware or any other suspicious activity, such as code injections. Everything is easily managed from the custom Wordfence dashboard:
With the paid version you can access even more features, including advanced, coordinated scanning. Also, because this plugin is so widely used, you can expect to find a great deal of online support if you need it.
- Endpoint firewall
- Scans for file changes
- IP address blocking
- Threat assessment features
- Monitoring for visits and hack attempts
- Breached password alerts and custom email notifications
- Login attempt limits to prevent brute-force attacks
- Country blocking and redirects (premium only)
Wordfence is for you if…
… you’re looking for a premium tool with flexible pricing. The cost varies depending on how many licenses you’ll need. As such, it’s a solid option if you plan to use it on multiple websites or for your clients’ sites.
The more sites you plan to use this plugin for, the less expensive the premium version becomes. Of course, the free version also comes with a lot of helpful features, and can be a great solution on its own.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $99 | More Information
2. iThemes Security
iThemes Security, formerly known as Better WP Security, is another robust tool that deserves a spot as one of the best WordPress security plugins. It comes in both free and premium versions, with multiple tiers available depending on your specific needs.
This solution helps to secure your site in over 30 different ways, including through password protection, user activity monitoring, and more:
If you upgrade to the paid version, you will get regular backups of your site. You’ll also be able to remotely manage multiple WordPress sites with the iThemes Security Pro features.
- Brute-force attack prevention
- File monitoring
- Hidden login and admin pages
- Limited login attempts
- Control over user roles and file permissions
- Scheduled backups
- Email alerts
- 404 error detection
- Google reCAPTCHAs
iThemes Security if for you if…
… you want a beginner- and user-friendly plugin with standard yet powerful security features. It’s also helpful if one of the main tools you’re looking for is backup functionality.
It’s worth noting that the developers behind the iThemes Security plugin are also the ones who created the popular BackupBuddy plugin. Also, although this plugin doesn’t include a firewall or malware scanner, it does use Sucuri’s malware scanner, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $80 | More Information
3. Sucuri Security
One thing we want to note about this plugin is that, because it runs a Domain Name Server (DNS)-level firewall, it’s a bit more effective than plugins such as Wordfence that use a built-in WordPress firewall. Therefore, if site performance is of particular concern, Sucuri is an option worth exploring.
- Malware scanning and removal
- Website hardening
- Application Program Interface (API) key connection
- Web Application Firewall (WAF) with a premium license
- Login security, password protection, and user tracking
- Site tracking (file changes, failed login attempts, etc.)
- Malicious traffic blocking
- File integrity and blacklist monitoring
- Quick and easy setup
Sucuri is for you if…
… you’re interested in a WordPress security plugin that operates almost completely offsite. The free version offers a powerful scanner that you can use directly from your WordPress dashboard. However, if you don’t mind paying for the paid version (which we highly recommend), you can get a comprehensive security solution with even more features, including a WAF, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate support, and much more.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $199.99 | More Information
4. All In One WP Security & Firewall
All In One WP Security & Firewall is not as popular as the first three WordPress security plugins on this list. However, it’s still a high-quality option that is worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a free tool. It’s incredibly user-friendly, and presents information in visual graphics broken down into three main categories (Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced):
This plugin also provides a handful of incredibly useful and robust features, especially considering that you don’t have to pay anything for it. This includes brute-force attack prevention, firewall protection, comment spam filtering, and more.
- Login Lockdown feature for protecting against brute-force attacks
- Firewall protection
- File change detection
- File backups and restoration
- Comment spam prevention
- User account monitoring
- IP filtering
All In One WP Security is for you if…
… you want a free, easy-to-use WordPress plugin to help secure your site. It’s an excellent choice if you only have one (relatively simple) website to manage, and don’t need any overly advanced bells and whistles. It’s also a strong contender if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to understand where your site can be improved, thanks to its grading system.
Price: Free | More Information
Next up, Jetpack is one of the most popular and commonly used WordPress plugins out there, so chances are that you’ve probably already heard of it. It can be used for a wide range of features, from performance to marketing purposes. However, there are a few features you may not know about that make it one of the best WordPress security plugins.
This freemium tool offers intuitive, beginner-friendly security solutions that include real-time backups, malware scanning, and spam protection:
It also helps with brute-force protection and uptime monitoring. Best of all, these features are included in the free plan. It’s also worth noting that this plugin is made by the team behind WordPress.com (Automattic), so you can feel confident knowing that it’s safe, secure, and reliable.
- Automatic, real-time backups and restores
- Malware scanning
- Spam protection and blocking
- Brute-force protection
- Uptime and downtime monitoring
- Plugin updates
Jetpack is for you if…
… you’re looking for a cost-effective plugin that can be used for a wide range of purposes. If you plan to use it for its security features specifically, however, we suggest upgrading to the premium version. It’s also a solid option if you’re looking to enhance your site’s performance.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $4.77 | More Information
6. WP Activity Log
Last but not least, WP Activity Log is a plugin that is slightly different than the others on this list. Rather than offering an all-in-one solution that includes a variety of different features, this tool aims to serve a specific purpose: to help you keep track of every change and activity occurring on your site.
With this freemium plugin, you can leverage comprehensive activity monitoring to heighten your site’s security:
This kind of tool can be particularly helpful if you manage a network of sites. For example, if you manage a team of users, having an easy way to monitor their activity can help keep your site protected from malicious behavior.
- Real-time user activity logs
- Event enabling and disabling
- Notifications and reports
- User activity and site change monitoring
- WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, and WPForms extensions
- Multisite support
- HTML and CSV reports (premium only)
- Free and premium support
WP Activity Log is for you if…
… you’re looking for an activity logging and monitoring solution. It’s an awesome choice if you want to gain more insight into your site activity, which can be especially useful if you have a multisite network or need to manage multiple users. However, it’s probably not the best tool if you’re currently lacking a firewall, malware scanner, or other key security features.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $99 | More Information
As a website owner, it’s of the utmost importance that you take security seriously. There are a lot of risks threatening to compromise your data and reputation with your audience. A WordPress security plugin can help you handle the many tasks and processes involved in proper site maintenance.
The best WordPress security plugin will depend on the specific security-related features you need the most help with, along with your level of experience and budget. If you’re looking for a freemium, all-in-one solution, we recommend checking out either Wordfence or Sucuri. Both give you standard security features, such as firewalls and malware scanning, as well as more advanced functionality if you wish to upgrade to a premium license.
Do you have any questions about using WordPress security plugins? Let us know in the comments section below!
Featured image via marketinggraphics/shutterstock