There really isn’t a more important aspect of managing a WordPress website than security. All of the time, effort, finances, and imagination you pour into your online creation is a thing of value. You need to protect your online real estate just like you would your physical real estate. Fortunately, there are a number of top security plugins for WordPress that do just that for you.
Do I Really Need Website Security?
It’s often said: “Why would anyone hack my website? I just run a little x/y/z type site and there’s nothing to gain” or “I don’t sell anything so there’s nothing of value for a hacker to want”. There are a variety of different motivations for someone to exploit your website:
- Financial gain is the big, obvious one. It’s only a piece of the puzzle, though.
- Resources are something every website has, and plenty of hackers want. Accessing your website and by virtue your server’s resources are a very common threat and great motivator.
- A platform to send spam.
- Just because. Think there aren’t plenty of people just sitting around with the skills and nothing better to do? Boredom has been used as an excuse for far worse.
So yes, your website is a potential target. Whether you’re a global corporation or a mom-and-pop diner with an online menu, your website has something that someone wants. You need to protect it!
Security Plugins for WordPress
Sucuri is a global security company that specializes not just in WordPress security, but website security in general. Their free plugin integrates that protection very nicely into WordPress. It’s a great comprehensive security solution.
- Security Activity Auditing
- File Integrity Monitoring
- Remote Malware Scanning
- Blacklist Monitoring
- Effective Security Hardening
- Post-Hack Security Actions
- Security Notifications
- Website Firewall (as an add on)
iThemes Security is a part of the iThemes suite of WordPress plugins that includes other popular plugins like Backup Buddy and Exchange. They’re a stable and professional offering that will serve your website well.
- iThemes Brute Force Attack Protection Network
- General protective measures such as scanning, banning, and forced SSL
- Threat Detection
- Data Obfuscation
- Database Recovery
- Multisite Comaptability
- Security Tutorials
Wordfence is easily among the most popular security plugins for WordPress with over 1 million active installs. It is powered through a proprietary Threat Defense Feed and includes a web application firewall. Wordfence security specializes in WordPress security.
- WordPress Firewall
- Blocking Features
- Login Security
- Security Scanning
- Website Monitoring
- Multisite Security
- Caching features
Bulletproof Security may be among the plugins on this list with the fewest active installs (over 100,000), but that does not make them any less of an option for top notch WordPress security. The plugin receives regular updates and their service is viewed very positively by their users.
- One-Click Setup Wizard
- jQuery UI Dialog Form Uninstall Options: BPS Pro upgrade uninstallation or complete BPS plugin uninstallation
- .htaccess Website Security Protection (Firewalls)
- Login Security & Monitoring
- Idle Session Logout (ISL)
- Auth Cookie Expiration (ACE)
- DB Backup: Full|Partial DB Backups | Manual|Scheduled DB Backups | Email Zip Backups | Cron Delete Old Backups
- DB Backup Logging
- DB Table Prefix Changer
- Security Logging
- HTTP Error Logging
- FrontEnd|BackEnd Maintenance Mode
- UI Theme Skin Changer (3 Theme Skins)
Like BulletProof, Acunetix doesn’t have a huge active install base, but it is responsible for the security of over 100,000 WordPress sites. It’s also recognized as one of the best security plugins for WordPress available, so don’t let the install number be a deterrent when choosing what’s right for you.
- MultiSite ready
- Easy backup of WordPress database for disaster recovery
- Removal of error-information on login-page
- Addition of index.php to the wp-content, wp-content/plugins, wp-content/themes and wp-content/uploads directories to prevent directory listings
- Removal of wp-version, except in admin-area
- Removal of key information for non-admins
- Reporting of file permissions following security checks
- Live traffic tool to monitor your website activity in real time
- Integrated tool to change the database prefix
- Disabling of PHP and database error reporting (if enabled)
All in One WP Security and Firewall is a comprehensive and easy to use security solution that touches all the bases of website security. They use a unique and easy to understand point based system for grading your current security configuration and walk you through security features subdivided into basic, intermediate, and advanced categories.
- User Account Security
- User Login Security
- User Registration Security
- Database and File System Security
- Htaccess and wp-config.php backup and restore
- Blacklist Functionality
- Firewall Functionality
- Brute Force Prevention
- Security Scanner
- Comment Spam Security
- Front End Text Copy Protection
They’re not affiliated with us in any way, but they win the prize for best name, obviously. Security Ninja is the only premium-only plugin on the list, available through CodeCanyon. They are CodeCanyon’s most popular security plugin.
- perform 35+ security tests including brute-force attacks
- check your site for security vulnerabilities and holes
- checks for Timthumb vulnerability
- take preventive measures against attacks
- prevent 0-day exploit attacks
- checks for Shellshock server bug
- use included code snippets for quick fixes
- extensive help and descriptions of tests included
These seven plugins represent some of the best security plugins for WordPress, but they aren’t all that’s out there. If you have a favorite security plugin, let us know about it in the comments! These offerings don’t run the full gamut of what’s available in terms of security either. For example, there are great plugins out there that offer services like full database backups and two-factor authentication that many security plugins don’t offer for free. We’ll get reviews of those services up soon. If you have any questions or favorites to add, let us know below!