9+ Security plugins for WordPress to protect your site against hackers, malware and other threats

Protect your website by hardening WordPress with security plugins

WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) by far, powering round about 29% of the internet. This makes WordPress a highly lucrative target for hackers, developers of malware and other security threats. Overall WordPress is secure, offers regular security updates and you can secure websites by following a few best practices. Though, WordPress security vulnerabilities are potentially affecting millions of WordPress bloggers and webmasters.

Hacked
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In the past there have been various WordPress security issues which affected millions of users. For the regular user it’s quite impossible to determine if WordPress core, a theme or a plugin has security vulnerabilities. This often results in large hacks or security issues like for example MailPoet exploit, Mossack Fonseca Breach, plugins injecting malicious code to publish spam or other security threats. This shows that WordPress security is not something that should be taken lightly. But what can you do to avoid WordPress security issues and protect your site by hardening WordPress?

Best free and premium WordPress security plugins

WordPress security plugins
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Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a security pro in order to secure your website from hackers. In addition to secure WordPress hosting and common security best practices (e.g. strong passwords), there are various WordPress security plugins to secure your website available. These security plugins are ideal to easily improve WordPress security without technical know-how. In the following we’ve listed the best security plugins for WordPress:

Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

Sucuri is a global security company which offers some of the best and most affordable cloud-based
security technologies. The company is very active in the WordPress community and works closely with businesses and developers to protect plugins, WordPress themes and the WordPress core against common attacks. You can expect the best protection from one of the best cyber security teams out there.

They have a free website malware and security scanner which you can use to scan your website for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, and out-of-date software. The basic version of the Sucuri Security WordPress plugin is free of charge and offers a complete security suite to protect your WordPress website. The plugin includes features such as security activity auditing, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, post-hack security actions, effective security hardening, website firewall and much more.

SecuPress

SecuPress Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

SecuPress (free & premium) is a complete WordPress security toolkit to protect your website against WordPress security issues. This WordPress security plugin includes features such as anti brute force login, blocked IPs, website firewall, malware scans and more. You can even block visits from unwanted bots and scan your WordPress theme and plugins for security vulnerabilities. SecuPress also offers nice security reports in PDF format.

MalCare Security and Firewall

MalCare Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

MalCare is a fast malware detection and removal plugin loved by thousands of developers and agencies. With an industry first automatic one-click malware removal, you can clean up your website before Google blacklists it or takes it down. MalCare has been developed from grounds up after analyzing over 240,000 websites over the last 2.5+ years.

Its intelligent scanning methodology will never slow down your website. It accurately identifies the most complex malware that typically goes undetected in other popular security plugins. The one-click malware cleaner offers unlimited automated cleanups while the inbuilt powerful cloud-based firewall ensures round-the-clock website protection.

MalCare comes integrated with a complete website management module that ensures better security to your website from a single dashboard. The plugin offers a premium white-label solution that lets agencies provide better security to their clients without risking their business. MalCare is a complete WordPress security solution to protect your online identity.

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

Wordfence starts by checking if your site is already infected. After this, the plugin will be comparing your source code across to the official WordPress repository for core, themes and plugins. When this is all done and completed, the Wordfence plugin protects your WordPress blog, and also optimizes it for optimal speed where possible. Wordfence also offers robust login security features and the firewall blocks complex brute force attacks.

BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

The BulletProof Security plugin has an extensive directory of malicious attacks and in turn protects your blog against more than 100,000 exploits and hacks recorded in the public databases. You can never underestimate the power and insight of hackers, so this plugin proves to be very useful in a sense where it takes everything into consideration. BulletProof Security uses a one-click setup method vs breaking up options and settings into multiple separate different options and settings. Overall, BulletProof is a feature-rich WordPress security protection plugin.

iThemes Security

iThemes Security Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

The market for cyber security is booming which attracts more and more companies that want to get a piece of the pie. iThemes offers a WordPress security plugin as well, which was formerly known as Better WP Security plugin, and taken over by the plugin developers. iThemes Security gives you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. On average, 30,000 new websites are hacked each day. WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks because of plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords and obsolete software.

All In One WP Security & Firewall

All In One WP Security & Firewall Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

Overall, WordPress itself is a very secure platform. However, it definitely helps to add some extra security and firewall to your site. You can do so by using a WordPress security plugin that enforces a lot of good security practices. All In One WP Security & Firewall has some really great features when it comes to locking down files, and also protecting pages where users would need to authenticate. This is a reliable and well supported WordPress security plugin.

Rublon Two-Factor Authentication

Rublon Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

In some cases, you might feel that all you need is a good authentication protection plugin. For that particular case Rublon could be a reliable plugin for two-factor authentication. Rublon is the internet security layer that protects your site against intruders who’ve cracked passwords. Its two-factor authentication keeps you safe against account takeover, data theft and bruteforce attacks. Therefore, Rublon can instantly increase security for you and your users.

Google Apps Login

Google Apps Login Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

You could just go ahead and trust Google with your secure authentication, we think the Google Apps Login plugin is a must-have for anyone who’s Google partner, or a Google Apps user. It integrates with the Google servers seamlessly, and adds serious layers of security; hackers surely won’t get past this two-step authentication.

Secure XML-RPC

Secure XML-RPC Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

XML-RPC is used for 3rd party authentication, for example when you’re authenticating an RSS feed to be auto-posted to your blog, or an API request towards a social sharing plugin. Instead of letting everything pass through in plain-text, the Secure XML-RPC plugin will encrypt both POST and GET data to give you a peace of mind.

6Scan Security

6Scan Security Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

6Scan Security is one of the rare plugins that takes SQL, XSS and CRSF vulnerabilities into serious consideration. They’re the sneaky types of web vulnerabilities, and it’s important we don’t underestimate them. 6Scan Security is the most comprehensive auto-fix protection your WordPress site can get against hackers.

Acunetix WP Security

Acunetix WP Security Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress.org

Acunetix WP Security plugin is a free and comprehensive security tool that helps you secure your WordPress installation and suggests corrective measures for: securing file permissions, security of the database, version hiding, WordPress admin protection and lots more. As a company, Acunetix has decades of experience in cyber security, so their plugin is guaranteed to be functioning based on the latest standards.

Conclusion: Securing WordPress with reliable WordPress security plugins

In this post you’ve learned how to make WordPress more secure with suitable security plugins. If you perform a WordPress security scan with plugins, protect the WordPress login, follow basic security best practices and also ensure that you keep your website up-to-date, you usually will be well protected against WordPress security issues. Though, there is no 100% guarantee when it comes to IT security. There always are risks of potential security vulnerabilities, bugs or human error, but at least you can try to keep those risks at a minimum.

In addition to protecting your site against WordPress security issues and choosing secure WordPress hosting, it’s crucial as well to perform regular backups. That way you can restore your WordPress site in the event that it got hacked, infected or compromised. Either way, with WordPress security plugins you’ve hardened WordPress and you don’t need to feel at risk. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments.

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9 Comments

    • Hi Robert, if you’re looking for a WordPress security scan plugin to detect malware and malicious code on your website, you could have a look at Sucuri. They offer a free website malware and security scanner.

  1. Hi, I’m not a security pro and in general not very tech-savvy. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but I want to protect my fashion blog. Which WordPress security plugin would you recommend for beginners?

    • Hi Alice, you could use any of the popular WordPress security plugins like Sucuri, Wordfence or All In One WP Security & Firewall. However, especially SecuPress claims to be very beginner friendly and they have a beautiful dashboard with tips to improve WordPress security.

  2. To me, NinjaFirewall (WP Edition) is the best security plugin for WordPress. The plugin integrates into the site as deep as php.ini, monitors changes in file system, closes known backdoors and has many many other handy tools which make any WP site rock-solid in terms of security. At least in my case it helped to get rid of attacks entirely on several websites. A must have.

  3. Having only one website as a hobby, I have kept matters of website security very simple by only installing one security plugin: Shield. You should review this genius plugin with simple and practical features from hiding your login page to locking down the dashboard until you enter your password; it is also very light not slowing your site down.

    Their feedback / help is second to none and coming from a person who is IT illiterate, I can only say this free security plugin has never let me down in over two years.

  4. Hey, great collection. I will definitely suggest these essential security plugins to my friends. I’m also using one great WordPress plugin for my site named User Activity Log WordPress plugin.

    This security plugin can track and monitor all the activities of my users and team members very easily. It has core features like display activity, custom event log, display user details, filtering option, sorting option, password security, user role selection and much more. It’s really fabulous. Hope that it will help you too.

  5. Hi. Great article. I have a question. Can I use two security plugins like iThemes and Wordfence or Wordfence and All In One WP Security at the same time in the same WordPress site? If I use multiple security plugins, what problems will I face?

    • Hi Ruperth, in theory you can install as many security plugins on your WordPress site as you want. However, we really wouldn’t recommend this. If you install several security plugins, it’s very likely that these plugins basically are doing the same thing.

      This may not only slow-down your website, but you may also run into compatibility issues or other problems. Therefore, it would be recommended that you choose your favorite security plugin that does what you need and then stick with it.

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