Starting a blog, a WooCommerce website or small business site requires an upfront investment for items for services and products like hosting, themes, plugins, and website development. That doesn’t include any help you must hire, such as customer service reps or salespeople.
This initial investment alone is enough to secure your website from the start. But more importantly, you’re making sure that you don’t forget to protect the potential money you’re going to make in the future.
By default, WordPress core has some security measures in place, but it’s nothing compared to what a reputable security plugin does for you. For example, the top WordPress security plugins deliver the following:
- Active security monitoring
- File scanning
- Malware scanning
- Blacklist monitoring
- Security Hardening
- Post-hack actions
- Brute force attack protection
- Notifications for when a security threat is detected
Your First Priority Should Be Secure Hosting
Strong security measures enable website protection while running your website at peak performance. Understanding security measures will give you the freedom to develop and operate your website within the scope of our secured environment. This document is designed to give you an overview of these security measures and how they may affect your website.
DISK WRITE PROTECTION:
Malicious code can embed itself into a website by writing to the file-system. This occurs when a vulnerability is present in a theme or plugin that leaves the door open for malicious injection. The WP Engine environment limits the processes that can write to disk. So even if you’re using a theme or a plugin with a vulnerability, it is harder for them to be exploited.
DISK WRITE LIMITATIONS:
All attempts to write to the disk are logged so that we can identify both malicious and non-malicious code. For a list of disk write privileges that are allowed vs. blocked, please contact support directly.
Some plugins may expose a website to vulnerabilities. Most of the time, this is unintentional, but we still have to draw a line in the sand. Our system scanner searches for these plugins and automatically disables them. Besides disabling plugins for security reasons, plugins can also be disallowed for performance reasons. Our comprehensive list of disallowed plugins (along with explanations as to why they are disallowed) can be found here.
Best WordPress Security Plugins
If you’re in a hurry, feel free to click on the following links to test out the security plugins and make your own decisions. If you’d like to see our in-depth analysis, keep reading!
- Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening
- iThemes Security
- Wordfence Security
- WP fail2ban
- All In One WP Security & Firewall
Most worthwhile security plugins have a price tag, but there are a few that come with limited functionality for free.
We’ll talk about the pricing, but it’s more important to understand what each plugin is going to do for you. Ultimately, it’s all about figuring out the best way to keep the bad guys away from your investment–and sometimes that means spending a little money.
1. Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening
The Sucuri Security plugin offers both free and paid versions, yet the majority of websites should be fine with the free plugin. For instance, the website firewall requires you to pay for a Sucuri plan, but not every webmaster feels like they need that type of security.
As for the free features, the plugin comes with security activity auditing for seeing how well the plugin is protecting your website. It has file integrated monitoring, blacklist monitoring, security notifications, and security hardening. The premium plans open up customer service channels and more frequent scans.
2. iThemes Security
The iThemes Security plugin (previously known as Better WP Security) is one of the more impressive ways to protect your website, with over 30 offerings to prevent things like hacks and unwanted intruders. It has a strong focus on recognizing plugin vulnerabilities, obsolete software, and weak passwords.
Although some basic security features are included with the free version, we highly recommend upgrading to iThemes Security Pro for the low price of $80 per year. This provides ticketed support, one year of plugin updates, and support for two websites. If you’d like to protect more sites, you have the option to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
As for the primary features in the pro version, iThemes Security Pro provides strong password enforcement, the locking out of bad users, database backups, and two-factor authentication. These are only a few of the ways to protect your site with this WordPress security plugin. You can activate 30 total security measures, making iThemes Security Pro a great value.
3. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins, and for good reason. This gem pairs simplicity with powerful protection tools, such as the robust login security features and the security incident recovery tools. One of the main advantages of Wordfence is the fact that you can gain insight into overall traffic trends and hack attempts.
Wordfence has one of the more impressive free solutions, with everything from firewall blocks to protection from brute force attacks. However, a premium version is sold starting at around $99 per year for one site. The plugin creators also make it cheaper for developers, providing steep discounts when you signup for multiple site keys. For instance, opting for 25 keys cuts the price to about $29 per year for each site. Overall, it pays to consider Wordfence if you’re developing multiple websites and want to protect them all.
4. WP fail2ban
WP fail2ban delivers one feature, but it’s a rather important one: protection from brute force attacks. The plugin takes a different approach which many see as more effective than what you get from some of the security suite plugins listed above. WP fail2ban documents all login attempts, regardless of their nature or successfulness, to the syslog using LOG_AUTH. You have the option to implement a soft or hard ban, which is different from the more traditional approach of only choosing one.
There’s not much to know in terms of configuration for the WP fail2ban plugin. In fact, all you have to do is install it and let it do its magic. In addition, the brute force security plugin is completely free so you don’t have to worry about spending any money. This plugin is truly a standout, since the users consistently report that it works flawlessly.
5. All In One WP Security & Firewall
As one of the most feature-packed free security plugins, All In One WP Security & Firewall provides an easy interface and decent customer support without any premium plans. This is a highly visual security plugin with graphs and meters to explain to the beginners metrics like security strength and what needs to be done to make your site stronger.
The features are broken down into three categories: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Therefore, you can still take advantage of the plugin if you’re a more advanced developer. The main ways this plugin works is by protecting your user accounts, blocking forceful attempts on your login, and enhancing the user registration security. Database and file security is also packaged into the plugin.