WordPress is undisputed as the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. As a matter of fact, a staggering 40% of the web uses WordPress!
But with such a large portion of the web on the platform, hackers search high and low for any vulnerabilities to exploit. As such, if you’re running any type of WordPress website, you’re going to need a security plugin, which is a piece of software that you install onto your WordPress site to add extra security functions.
However, there are more than 600 security plugins on WordPress.org! Who has the time to test each and every one of them? So, to save you from that headache, we’ve compiled the best WordPress security plugins in this handy little article.
Why You Might Need a WordPress Security Plugin
Given its massive user base, WordPress is no stranger to hackers: A Colorlib report from February 2023 estimates that at least 13,000 WordPress websites are hacked per day. This means that each year, more than 4.7 million sites get hacked.
It doesn’t matter how large or tiny your site is or how secure you think it is. If it’s on the internet, it can be hacked.
As a website owner, you have a responsibility to your visitors, customers, and clients to keep your site secure. A WordPress security plugin helps you do just that by protecting your site from hackers and other threats, monitoring it for malware and other issues, and backing up your site’s data, among other features.
Top Rated WordPress Security Plugins
WordPress has hundreds of security plugins available, and each one has its own set of features. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best ones:
With more than 5 million active installations, Jetpack is one of WordPress.org’s most downloaded plugins, and for good reason: It offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to enhance your site’s security, performance, and content management.
Jetpack’s free version protects against spam and malware and brute-force logins, provides a simple activity log as well as site stat reporting, and allows for plugin auto-updates.
Jetpack also offers a security bundle at $20 per month as well as a modular suite of different plugins at various prices that offer additional benefits, such as:
- Real-time cloud backups that allow you to restore your site to any point with just one click ($1 for the first month, then $10 per month, billed yearly)
- Automatic malware scanning ($10 per month, billed yearly)
- An anti-spam plugin that automatically removes spam from your comments and forms ($10 per month, billed yearly)
2. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security sits at more than 4 million active installations and touts itself as “the most popular WordPress firewall and security scanner.”
Wordfence Security offers a WAF (web application firewall) that blocks malicious traffic, malware scanning, 2FA (two-factor authentication), and live traffic and analytics monitoring. All of these come bundled together in an easy-to-use dashboard—for free.
The premium versions of Wordfence start at $119 per year and come with the benefits of premium customer support, real-time firewall rules, malware signatures, country blocking, and a dynamically updated block list of malicious IPs.
3. All-In-One Security (AIOS)
All-In-One Security (AIOS) only has a modest 1+ million active installations, but it’s built up quite a reputation with its free version, which offers a robust feature list, including:
- A smart algorithm that promotes best practices: AIOS automatically detects if an account has the default “admin” username or if a user has identical login and display names, prompting them to change this in support of better security practices
- A login lockout functionality that locks out users that make multiple login attempts
- A password strength tool that tells you how long it would take to crack your password during a brute-force attack
- Simple 2FA functionality
- CAPTCHA (and a CAPTCHA alternative) to keep those pesky spambots away
- A firewall that provides automatic protection from the latest threats
These benefits come bundled with the free version. The premium version, on the other hand, starts at $70 a year and comes with malware scanning, flexible 2FA, smart 404 blocking, country blocking, and premium support.
All in all, AIOS is one of the best WordPress security plugins, especially given its expansive catalog of free features, allowing you to save money while still not skimping out on security.
4. iThemes Security
At more than a million active installations, iThemes Security is a user-friendly plugin that lets you create and enforce password policies as well as offers you 2FA, malware scanning, and protection against brute-force attacks.
iThemes Security Pro, on the other hand, starts at $99 per year and offers user activity logging, settings import and export, magic links and passwordless logins, and private, ticketed support as part of its many additional features.
Tailored toward web developers and online businesses, Sucuri Security requires more technical know-how compared to the other plugins we’ve listed above. For those with such knowledge, however, Sucuri checks your website daily for any changes and provides recommendations to improve its security.
Sucuri’s free version offers remote malware scanning, security activity auditing, and file integrity monitoring, among other features. Its paid version starts at $199.99 per year and offers a lot of additional protection, such as an intrusion detection system (IDS), DDoS mitigation, and hack cleanup and malware removal.
6. MalCare WordPress Security
The MalCare WordPress Security plugin is yet another strong contender to protect your site. As part of its free version, it offers a real-time firewall, a daily malware scan, and vulnerability monitoring, in addition to other features.
Its paid versions, which start at $99 per year, boast a more wide-ranging suite of security measures, such as instant malware removal, bot protection, automated updates, and personalized support.
7. Security Ninja
Security Ninja has a relatively small audience of 10,000 active installations, but this plucky plugin has helped thousands of site owners for over 10 years. It runs 50+ security tests on your WordPress site in an instant, helping you fix any vulnerabilities that would-be attackers may exploit.
It offers a free, 30-day trial and costs $39.99 annually. The premium version is quite user-friendly and scans for malware, blocks more than 600 million problematic IPs from accessing your site, automatically fixes any problems that are found, and offers premium, USA-based support to boot, all in a relatively inexpensive package.
8. BulletProof Security
BulletProof Security (BPS) is more advanced than the other plugins that we’ve listed, and like Sucuri, requires you to have some technical knowledge to use it optimally. Its touted features include the following:
- A one-click setup wizard
- The MScan malware scanner
- .htaccess website security protection
- Login security and monitoring
- Manual and scheduled database backups (including logging)
The Pro version of BPS, on the other hand, is priced at $69.95. This is a one-time fee that grants you access to additional features, such as the AutoRestore: Quarantine Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (ARQ IDPS), which automatically quarantines malicious hacker files and restores legitimate website files if they have been tampered with in any way.
Pro-Tip: Check Your Web Host’s Security Features First
Let’s say that you’ve found the right one from all of the plugins that we’ve listed above. It’s a bit pricey, but you’re sold on its list of security features. Before you pull the trigger on that purchase, here’s one more thing to keep in mind:
You could be better off just using the free version of the plugin.
Why? Because your chosen WordPress hosting service may already offer most of the benefits and features of the plugin that you’re about to purchase!
So, remember to check the security features offered by your web host: For example, if your hosting plan already includes DDoS protection, automated backups, and an automated malware detection and removal suite, you’d be better off just downloading a free plugin that protects against any vulnerabilities that aren’t covered by your web host.
Doubling up on these security features is like wearing two helmets: it doesn’t offer any additional protection, costs extra, and makes you look more than a little silly.
Research your web host’s security features first, then decide if you still need an all-in-one plugin like Wordfence or if you can just pick and choose individual plugins, like those offered by Jetpack.
If you’re just starting out and still haven’t found the right web host for you, worry not! We’ve gathered a list of the best web hosting services.
What to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Security Plugin
Before picking out a WordPress security plugin, however, there are several things to consider, such as:
1. What features does it offer?
First, what are the features of the plugin? Does it block attacks before they get through? Can it remove malware from your site? Is there an option to set up automatic backups in case something happens to your website?
2. Its support team
Second: support! What kind of support does each plugin offer its customers after installation, if at all? How long does it take them to respond? Remember: a solid support system will serve as your safety net if (or when) something gets messed up on your website.
3. Its cost
Finally: cost! Some security plugin solutions are available for free, but others may cost you more than $400 per year.
Weigh your options wisely! Going for the cheapest option may not be the best choice: Saving a few dollars means nothing if doing so costs you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, later down the line.
Plug Those Holes With Plugins
Plugins are a quick and easy way to help secure your website from any looming cyber threats. And with the tips and recommendations that we’ve listed above, you’ll not only be able to shield your site from attackers, but also save some time, money, and effort along the way!