Having a secure website must be your number one priority. Nothing will cripple your reputation more than an unsafe site, and this is a risk not worth taking, definitely. Fortunately, if you know what you are doing, it is not that hard to enhance website security, especially on WordPress. In this article, we will present you our picks for top paid and free WordPress security plugins.
How to improve the security of your WordPress website?
Look, security plugins are wonderful, but they will only get you so far. If your website security only comes to a few plugins, then your website is insecure. Here are a few WordPress security tips that will help you bolster your site and solve WordPress security issues. You can also check our WordPress security guide to further upgrade your site and keep it safe.
- The security starts from the grounds up, and like with the speed and uptime, the hosting provider you choose will be detrimental to the security of your website. You should only go for well-trusted companies, and if possible, companies that are dedicated to WordPress hosting. That way you know you get the best possible service for the money you pay. You can check our best WordPress hosting providers in 2018 to make sure you pick the right one.
- Second, make sure everything stays updated, all the time. You want to have the latest WordPress version installed, that is the most important thing. WordPress team is constantly fixing security holes by patching the system up, that is why you always want to have the latest update. The same goes for any plugins you have installed, keep them up to date.
- Speaking of plugins – be careful what you install! Only accept installing plugins from trusted sources, that are well-known in the WordPress community. Moreover, only install plugins that you absolutely need, and know why you need them for, don’t install stuff just because you heard someone else has it. Installing a suspicious security plugin can make your website more vulnerable, sounds stupid but it is true. If you are not sure what are you installing, or if you need it do not install it at all.
- Getting an SSL is a smart thing to do, for many reasons. First, and the most obvious one, the encryption adds another layer of security. Second, the visitors of your website will know you mean business the second they see that “Secure” sign and a padlock in their address bar, which will boost your reputation among customers. This is extremely important for eCommerce websites. People want to buy from you but will pull out their credit cards and enter information only if they feel entirely safe. The third reason is the least obvious one, but equally important – SSL improves SEO. This is a known fact, Google likes secure websites, and puts them higher in the search results.
It is important to note that many of these problems will be solved just by paying a little extra and choosing a quality, managed hosting. They will do all the security updates for you and will even do site backups and regular vulnerability checkups. They also scan every plugin before allowing you to install anything. Also, better plans have SSL certificates, and even if they do not, get one from your hosting company, that is always a better choice than getting it from a third party.
Now let’s move to the WordPress security.
List of Our Top WordPress Security Plugins
iThemes security plugin
iThemes Security is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins and one of the best for a good reason. It will protect your website from different types of attacks. It has brute force prevention that will protect your website from too many login attempts, by limiting their number, and also making you create strong, hard to break passwords and to use two-force authentication on your mobile phone.
You can also set sleep time, blocking any login attempts when you know you are not going to use your website. Also, even if someone else gets a hold of your login credentials, you will be notified immediately if any file changes take place. This plugin has both free and paid options. We recommend you to go and get the premium account; it is well worth the money. However, if your budget is tight right now, install the Light version, it is one of the better free WordPress security plugins on the market.
WordFence is one of the most popular security solutions. This WordPress security plugin is a firewall, malware scanner, brute force attack and spam stopper, all in one. WordFence is continually updating its malware database with the latest rules, protecting you even from the latest threats. It works by protecting your website at the endpoint, without breaking any encryptions. There is no way to bypass it, and your valuable data will never leak.
When you install it, WordFence will scan your website for vulnerabilities, suggesting you fixes if it finds any. Also, it will make a log of your files, and if something gets changed by suspicious activity, you will get a warning, and you can restore everything, preventing further damage. As with most other plugins, WordFence has both free and premium options, with the paid plans for unlocking more advanced features. However, the free version is also quite good, and well worth trying out.
We have talked about installing only trusted WordPress security plugins, well Jetpack is exactly that, it is made by the WordPress team. You know it’s good when it is coming straight from the source. We have also talked about how important it is to update all your plugins, and Jetpack solves that problem too because this plugin takes care of all other updates. It will also completely replace some other plugins, as it has social media, site customization and speed optimization, email marketing, and other interesting features.
It is a good idea to have one plugin that performs many features, especially if it is from a trusted source like this one. That way, you share information and give access to your website to fewer companies, which reduces the risks. Jetpack has terrific security features too, including malware scanning, brute force attack prevention, spam protection, real-time protection, backups, and restoration. Not all of these features are available in the free plan, but it is still a good option to have.
iQ Block Country
Sometimes, censorship is not a bad idea, that’s why recommend using WordPress IP blocker. iQ Block Country will allow you to create blacklists of countries you want to block. Any user that has IP from one of those countries on the list will not have access to your website. While this might sound extreme, some countries are notorious in the IT world for hacking, spamming, and other malicious activities. More often than not, you will not have many visitors from these countries anyway. It would be a wise decision to block off access to people from those locations completely. Yes, it will probably be some collateral there, but it is still a good move, since leaving those countries unblocked is the risk not worth taking.
The most useful option is to block access to the backend of your website – you can limit this only to your own IP address. However, blocking is not all iQ Block Country does. With this plugin you can also create whitelists, allowing access to your website only to users from the countries listed. A cool thing about this plugin is that even if you block countries, you can give access to individual IP addresses from those locations. As you can see, this plugin is simple but very useful, and you should definitely consider adding it your website.
WPS Hide Login
WPS Hide Login is a very helpful plugin that will let you change the URL of your login page. When on, the login page becomes inaccessible, and the only way to access it is if you bookmark or remember it. This simple solution protects you from hackers and brute force attacks. You can also hide your wp-admin directory, which will further augment the protection of your website. That is pretty much all WPS Hide Login does, nice and simple plugin, and remarkably lightweight.
Sucuri WordPress Plugin
If you have a tight budget, Sucuri is your best bet. This is a feature rich plugin that is completely free. Sucuri will automatically scan your website for any malware or suspicious files. The first time you install it, Sucuri makes a log of all existing files. If anything changes later without your knowledge, it will be treated as a security alert, and you will know right away. Then, you can either authorize the change or if it a security breach. You can restore your website to a previous state in the Post-Hack menu of the Sucuri plugin. You can set up automatic scans and intervals, set up a firewall, and harden your site protections by turning on various settings in the “Hardening” settings. Sucuri is an excellent plugin, and it is shocking that is this good and still free. A must-have.
As the name suggests, WPBruiser is there to stop brute-force attacks. These happen when someone wants to hack your website by simply trying out different variations of passwords until they guess the right combination. It automatically blocks dangerous IP addresses that are known for brute force attack attempts, including anonymous proxy IP addresses. If a brute force attack is detected, you will automatically be notified by email. Furthermore, WPBruiser improves the security of your site in other ways too, as it is also an anti-spam plugin.
It will eliminate all spam comments and spam-bot signups even before they are made. This means you do not have to do anything manually, WPBruiser does everything for you. All this without Captcha (this plugin used to be called GoodBye Captcha, that is where the name came from). WpBruiser is a great combination of brute force attack detection and anti-spam protection. If you happen to use Jetpack, you will be glad to hear that WPBruiser is fully compatible. It can work with that great plugin we already reviewed.
Those were the best WordPress security plugins in our opinion. Check them out and see how they work for your website. They are quite easy to use, and you should not have much trouble installing and using them. But, if you don’t have time, or you just don’t want to bother with all this, contact FixRunner WordPress Support. We can help you up with the installations, or do the whole maintenance for you by providing security for WordPress sites. If your website got hacked or spammed by bad guys, let us help you with that with our WordPress malware removal service.