WordPress has continued to maintain its status as one of the leading content management platforms in the world. This success has not come without its burdens, in the recent couple of years we have seen a huge increase in WordPress related attacks. As a result, the demand for reliable security plugins continues growing exponentially. Therefore, some companies, such as Sucuri, developed plugins that millions of customers rely on every day.
What makes a great WordPress security plugin?
A great WordPress security plugin comes down to its ability to keep up with the latest threats. Fortunately, it seems that most of the successful security plugins for WordPress use some form of real-time threat monitoring. Additionally, other methods of protection include query filters, login page protection, and universal databases of known attackers. If you are seeking for the best plugin to secure your site with, then it won’t get any better than the resources we have listed in this roundup.
Sucuri is a top class security plugin that provides universal safety measures for WordPress-based websites, apps, and blogs. With multiple awards and recognitions from leading industry brands, the Sucuri plugin guarantees a peace of mind when it comes to website protection.
- Constructive server audio engine to monitor potential threats.
- File comparison algorithm to check threatening files changes.
- Integrated SiteCheck scanner for remote vulnerabilities.
- Checks users/addresses against common blacklist databases.
Wordfence is built by a team of experts who specialize in WordPress security in particular. Securing your WordPress blog with the Wordfence plugin is a painless and easy process to accomplish. With integrated algorithms that check against new threats, you can rest assured that new WordPress exploits cannot get through your system.
- Large community with tens of millions of active users. (Credibility!)
- Custom Firewall App which catches spammers/hackers before they get to your site.
- Wordfence gathers data from all its users to build a database of known intruders.
- Comprehensive protection for sensitive WordPress areas like the log-in page.
iThemes specializes in WordPress theme development but managed to acquire a popular WordPress security plugin and brand it as their primary security platform. As a result, the new plugin offers the benefits of expert developers maintaining the software. Furthermore, iThemes Security is currently active on 1M+ WordPress websites already, ensuring high-quality security standards.
- Quality maintained by highly experienced WP experts.
- Two-Step authentication for login pages.
- Automated malware checks based on custom settings.
- Password expiration after a certain time. Let’s your users have a fresh password every few months.
This brilliant security plugin not only takes care of security and anti-virus related issues but also provides a separate firewall protection engine. With Firewall you can quickly control how individual users/robots can interact with your site. For example, you may want to block out obvious spammers or disable individual website queries. And as you do, it nullifies the chance for intruders to succeed with their attacks.
- Flexible user account security tools to prevent attacks from already-hacked databases.
- Brute force protection which blocks IP’s after a certain limit.
- Disables automated user approval and requires manual review for a user to be approved.
- XXS prevention through firewall settings.
The actual company behind WordPress — Automattic — is also heavily involved with plugin development. Additionally, some of the premium plugins from Automattic are explicitly about security. In the case of VaultPress, this security/backup plugin is convenient for media publishers and personal bloggers alike to keep hackers at bay. The real-time security features alert you the moment something looks “fishy” to the plugin.
- VaultPress scans your site for potentially dangerous files, as well as any suspicious changes to your WordPress install.
- Watch in realtime as VaultPress syncs your latest changes or scans your site for security threats.
- VaultPress makes it easy to review suspicious code and fix the most common threats with a simple button click.
- Dedicated staff team which can provide help with fixing bugs and errors.
Jetpack is also part of the Automattic product lineup. The fame of Jetpack plugin comes from its extensive palette of standard WordPress features for modern websites, but it does provide separate security and backup tools. Another vital element is content optimization through external CDN’s which minimize the risk of your content getting hijacked. Also, at this time more than 3M+ WordPress blogs use Jetpack.
- Stops brute force attacks before they get out of hand.
- Monitors the server uptime and downtime. (Great to keep up with threats while you’re not online!)
- Login protection and 2-Step authentication.
- Automated scanning of malware, code, and threats.
SQL and XSS attacks are probably the most common methods of hacking when it comes to web applications. WordPress by itself tends to be relatively secure but is not immune to 0Day exploits whenever they arise. Furthermore, because WordPress relies heavily on external themes and plugins, it’s prone to third-party attacks that stem from those external tools. The best way to protect your site against malicious queries is to use a plugin such as BBQ and filter out malicious requests altogether.
- Effortless setup with zero configuration options. Activate and it works!
- Blocks all major malicious and threatening requests.
- Doesn’t get into the way of your existing plugins, works behind the scenes.
- Fully compatible with any of the security plugins in this roundup.
If you look at common attacks on WordPress, the most frequently used methods of attacking are brute force. But also phishing scams which are typically carried out by examining already hacked websites. Also, it’s fairly common for people to use the same password on multiple sites at the same time. So, when big websites like Yahoo! or Tumblr get hacked, hackers can compare login details from that site with your WordPress blog. As a result, it’s recommended to activate a plugin such as Login LockDown as it prevents such types of attacks.
- Logs all logins and limits the number of login attempts.
- Custom IP range blocking for known attackers.
- Admin dashboard for blockage management.
The second best option besides locking down the login page is to use a Two-Step authentication plugin. Additionally, two-step authentication is a technique which requires for users to verify their identity through a second channel. Typically, you will get a message on your mobile phone, or a phone call. Other methods of verification include QR code scanning, email verification code, and others. The Google Authenticator, in particular, uses the Google services which are known for their durability, and of course, security. The plugin also has a feature called Fraud Prevention (RBA). Device ID, Location, Time Of Access and IP are included in RBA. Finally, the plugin supports a combination of the Device ID, Location, Time Of Access and IP as multi-factor authentication that can detect and block fraud in real time, without any interaction with the user.
- Can be enabled for individual users only.
- Security questions and email verification available as an alternative to mobile devices.
- You can disable password requests and use Two-Factor auth only.
- In-built data encryption for all logins or code requests.