Securing your website against known and unknown cyber threats is an essential requirement of protecting your business’s digital division. Every year, over 60% of SMEs become victims of cyber-attack and incur tangible and intangible losses due to poor web security.
Like any other CMS, WordPress offers some built-in security features. However, they may not prove to be sufficient enough against the shenanigans of cunning cybercriminals who use the latest tricks to exploit business websites powered by WP. To deter and stop such never-ending malicious attempts, business owners can fortify their WP websites by using a list of security plugins that take care of various aspects of web security.
From malware scanning to brute-force protection and threat notification, you can get different WP security plugins to cover different bases for protecting your business’s digital front. If you are using a WP-powered website without any security plugin, we will strongly recommend using a couple of them.
Since the WP repository is brimming with lots of options, we have researched and shortlisted some of the best WP security plugins that will help you secure your business’s digital front. It is important to mention here that the numbering used for plugins is just for reading convenience and doesn’t reflect any preferential order.
14 Best WP Security Plugins
1. iThemes Security
Previously known as Better WP Security, iThemes Security is one of the most effective and all-around WP security plugins on the block. It is offered in both free and premium versions. The latter comes with more features. iThemes Security has the edge over various other WP security plugins with its features of weak password and plugin vulnerabilities detection.
Highlights of iThemes Security
- Runs your WordPress core file comparison with the current version to let you identify anomalies
- Detects file changes to let webmasters know a file has been infiltrated/corrupted
- Adds a layer of complexity to your WP authentication keys
- Detects 404 errors and enforces strong password regimen
- Boosts login security through Google reCAPTCHA integration
2. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security boasts simple functionality with effective protection features. Its security incident recovery and login security are the best among the available WP plugins. We also like this plugin because it offers you a birds-eye-view of hacking attempts and overall website traffic. Another impressive bit about Wordfence security is that its free version is powerful enough for small business websites.
Highlights of Wordfence Security
- Includes a comment spam filter
- Boasts a comprehensive firewall suite featuring real-time threat defense, manual and country blocking, and brute-force protection
- Lets you update the status of the plugins you use in the WP repository
- Monitors live traffic by keeping tabs on logins and logouts, Google crawl activity, bots, and human visitors
Sucuri Security Wp plugin stands out for its host of diverse monitoring features. On the one hand, it runs file integrity monitoring cycles. On the other hand, it offers blacklist monitoring. Real-time security notifications and security hardening features are also part of this plugin’s arsenal. The plugin is available in both free and premium versions. You will need to go with a paid version if you want to run security scans with short intervals.
Highlights of Sucuri Security
- Offers instant customer support through live chat and email
- Offers advanced DDoS protection
- Offers multiple versions of SSL certificates
- Issues an instant notification upon detecting anything wrong with your WP website
4.All in One WP Security & Firewall
Easy-to-use interface and good customer support are often associated with premium plugins. However, that’s not the case with All in One WP Security & Firewall. It is free but still offers robust support and remains easy to use. We also like this WP security plugin for its visual descriptions that come in handy for those small business owners who are managing their web security without any expert help.
Highlights of All in One WP Security & Firewall
- Offers security features in basic, intermediate, and advanced categories
- Offers backing up of wp-config files
- Uses graphs to show website map and its security index
- Absolutely free with no terms and conditions
5. WP fail2ban
Unlike most WP security plugins, fail2ban is not a jack of all trades. It doesn’t offer a list of cyber protection features and only focuses on one thing, i.e., brute-force attacks. It is a free WP security plugin that uses Syslog to document all login attempts irrespective of their nature and where they are coming from. It also provides you an option to hard or soft block those unauthorized attempts.
Highlights of WP fail2ban
- Provides CloudFlare and proxy servers integration
- Prevents spamming and malicious comments through comment logging
- Offers shortcode to immediately block users trying to reach the login process
SecuPress is another freemium WP security plugin that can come in useful for small business websites. The plugin has a sporting UI so that non-WP experts can easily integrate it into their websites. Its free version offers considerable security features that include protection from blocked IPs, brute-force login attempts, and a firewall. You can get more security features (GeoIP blocking, two-factor authentication, PHP malware scans, etc.) in the premium version.
Highlights of SecuPress
- Enables changing WordPress login URL to remain stealth to bots
- Detects plugins and themes that are prone to infiltration or have already been exploited
- Boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces
7. BulletProof Security
This WP security plugin also stands out due to the various features it offers with its free version. You can take care of login security and monitoring, scan malware, make and restore data backups and run it in maintenance mode while using its free version. Such a value proposition without any fee is hard to find in most WP security plugins.
Highlights of BulletProof Security
- Offers free maintenance mode
- Offers some of the most advanced security features (cURL scans, ARQ IDPS, folder locking, etc.)
- Lets you hide individual plugin folders
VaultPress only comes in a premium, paid version. However, its annual fee is pretty reasonable for small businesses and individuals looking to boost their WP websites’ security. The plugin features 24/7 security monitoring that also creates logs for the recent past. VaultPress is also pretty good with its backup regimen.
Highlights of VaultPress
- Boasts easy to understand user dashboard
- Pretty affordable WP security plugin choice compared to other premium options
- Also offers robust customer support for site backups and restoration
9. Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication
If you don’t want to get confused with too many security options, you can shortlist the most important ones. Two-factor authentication makes it to even the shortest of web security checklists, and this WP plugin exactly delivers you that. It is a free plugin that lets you easily implement two-factor authentication for your WP site even if you have become a webmaster for the first time.
Highlights of Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication
- Neutralizes brute-force login attempts
- Lets you choose between multiple authentication methods
- Allows you to use a shortcode with custom-built login pages
- Enables user classification for the authentication process
Defender is one of the comprehensive yet simple WP security plugins. It lets you run free scans to check your WP website for the suspicious codes lurking. Its free scanning suite also runs a comparison of your WP installation with the directory, detects changes, and allows you to restore the original file with a single click. The pro version of Defender offers automated security scans, blacklist monitoring, and log auditing.
Highlights of Defender
- Offers IP blacklist management and logging
- Furnishes IP lockout notifications and reports
- Offers login screen masking
- Offers expert support to clean up a hacked WP site
11 . Jetpack
Jetpack is one of the stock WP plugins and comes with a lot of diverse features. We would strongly recommend new webmasters to consider this plugin for its security features as well. Jetpack can help them establish a security layer for their websites without spending any money with its whitelisting feature and brute-force attack protection. You can go with premium plans to get more Jetpack security features.
Highlights of Jetpack Security Features
- A reliable (WP-developed) free-of-cost security plugin for small businesses
- Premium plans offer many security features, for example, security scanning, backups, spam protection, etc.
- Also offers valuable non-security features, e.g., social media management, email marketing, site optimization, and customization
12. Astra Web Security
Astra Web Security also provides an all-in-one security solution for your WP website. The developers claim that their plugin offers security for more than 100 cyber threats. Even if this claim involves a bit of hyperbole, there is no doubt that Astra Web Security boasts a robust WP security arrangement. It works effectively on various fronts, from SQLi/XSS issues to brute-force and malware infiltration to comment spamming. If your WP website is continuously growing and you set aside a budget for its security, then investing in Astra Web Security is an option worth considering.
Highlights of Astra Web Security
- Runs a well-thought-out security audit that includes business error logic
- Offers a free bug bounty platform
- Boasts an intuitive dashboard from where you can run most of its security features
13. Shield Security
Shield Security is one of those WP security plugins that let you protect your website on autopilot. In other words, it works like a robust antivirus program that starts scanning and protecting your website as soon as you integrate and activate it. The core Shield Security plugin is free. However, you will get to buy a premium plan for deeper and multifaceted protection and 24/7 support.
Highlights of Shield Security
- Offers three types of two-factor authentication without charging a single buck
- Doesn’t bother webmasters with continuous notifications and alerts
- Boasts deep security scanning among WP security plugins
14. Security Ninja
Security Ninja is a WP security veteran. It started as CodeCanyon and later became Security Ninja with a freemium model. This WP security plugin runs a very in-depth security scan with over 50 different checks. The great bit about Security Ninja is it also explains every security check it performs. Using this security plugin over a considerable period can turn any regular webmaster into a WP security expert.
Highlights of Security Ninja
- Offer auto-fixer module for all the non-tech-savvy webmasters
- The security tester module offers more than 50 security tests
- Offers themes and plugins scanning for malware and suspicious codes
Experienced WordPress Hosting Is the Key
While there is no denying the importance of WP security plugins, you must also be very diligent in choosing a hosting plan for your WordPress website. The plugins discussed above have the chances of failing to protect your website if its backend and foundation are weak. Therefore, before exploring and shortlisting WP security plans, it is better to settle on a good WordPress host such as Kinsta.
When you opt for a robust WP hosting plan, you automatically get an intrinsic security blanket for your website. Seasoned WP hosting platforms offer protection against DDoS attacks, guarantees optimal uptime and minimal downtime. Many reputable WP hosting entities also offer free cleanup and fix in the aftermath of any successful cyber attack. In short, a good WP hosting regimen can resolve half of your WP security woes.
Therefore, a good approach is to first choose a good WP hosting program and then use a set of WP security plugins to make your website almost 100% failsafe against cyber attacks.