WordPress remains the world’s most popular publishing platform, accounting for over 33% of websites published. The platform is also open source, meaning the code that runs it is available and visible to anyone and everyone. This is one of the reasons that these sites are also a target for hackers who want to control or infect your websites.
While there are many benefits to using WordPress to deliver content or manage your e-commerce business, there are risks involved. According to the latest statistics, this CMS is the most hacked system in the world. In fact, 90% of the hacked sites in 2018 were run by WordPress.
How and why hackers are taking these actions varies. In 68% of reported cases, backdoors are deployed, and over half (56%) of hackers are using hacked sites to host malware. Other reasons for hacking include using your site to send spam, host malicious content, attack other websites, and steal your website data.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to fight back and keep your WordPress site safe. Besides looking for a secure web host, here are 6 free and premium options for WordPress security plugins that can protect your site.
1. Sucuri Security
Sucuri Security is a plugin that comes in both a free and premium (paid) version. Fortunately, most sites will do fine with the free version of the plugin. While the paid version offers firewall protection, a good web hosting plan will give this to you as part of its service, so you’d be duplicating efforts.
Some of the features of the free plugin include:
- Active security auditing
- File integrity monitoring
- Blacklist monitoring
- Security notifications
If you want to upgrade to a premium version of the plugin, there are some advanced features that include:
- Continuous malware & hack scanning
- Malware removal & hack repair
- Brand reputation & blacklist monitoring
- Instant notification of security issues
- Advanced DDoS protection
- Zero Day immediate response
Few people who use WordPress are unfamiliar with the Jetpack plugin, mainly because it is made by WordPress.com. This is a free plugin (there is a premium version) that is packed with features that are designed to enhance your site speed, social media presence, and security.
While it’s worth exploring everything that Jetpack has to offer, the security tools that it provides make this plugin an excellent choice. In the free version, you get features such as blocking suspicious activity, whitelisting, and brute force attack protection.
There is also a premium version that costs $99 per year. This will give you features that include scheduled website backups, malware scanning, and site restoration should a hacker succeed in changing or stealing your files. You can also get downtime monitoring from Jetpack, which can be your first indication that something has gone wrong.
3. Wordfence Security
One of the most popular free WordPress security plugins is Wordfence Security. One of the reasons for this is that it combines powerful tools for protection with some recovery services should something go wrong. If you’re interested in tracking the attempts to infiltrate your site, this plugin can give you some of these insights.
The free version provides strong login security features and protection from brute force attacks. There is also a premium version that costs about $99 per year for one site. However, if you have multiple sites, you can cut the cost of the plugin down considerably. For example, a volume discount for 25 sites would bring the cost down to around $29 per site each year.
Some of the features of WordFence Security include:
- Scanning to combat spam and malware
- Monitoring live traffic
- Comment spam filter
- Firewall suite
4. iThemes Security
Formerly known as Better WP Security, the iThemes Security plugin offers more than 30 ways to prevent hackers from accessing and taking control of your WordPress site. There is a free version that has a strong focus on resolving weak passwords, obsolete software, and vulnerabilities with plugins.
There is also a premium version (iThemes Security Pro), that costs about $80 per year. With this, you get support for two websites, updates to the plugin for one year, and ticketed support.
Some of the primary features of the premium version of this plugin include:
- File change detection
- Google reCAPTCHA integration to login screen
- Ability to “lock” your WordPress site by putting it in “away” mode
- Two-factor authentication
- Strong password enforcement
- Database backups
- Locking out bad users
While a newer WordPress security plugin, SecuPress is one that is gaining rapid popularity. It comes in both a free and premium version and was developed by one of the co-founders of WP Media and the same developer as Imagify and WP Rocket.
This is an excellent WordPress security plugin because it is simple to use through its intuitive user interface. The free version offers features such as a firewall, blocked IPs, and anti-brute force login. There is also protection from logins by bad bots, which is a paid feature by some other plugins.
The premium version starts at just $59 per year for one site. Premium features include two-factor authentication, PHP malware scans, notifications and alerts, GeoIP blocking, and PDF reports.
6. All In One WP Security & Firewall
The All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin is one of the most feature-rich WordPress security plugins. This is a completely free plugin that delivers support to its users as well as a simple interface.
The plugin features meters and graphs that show the strength of your site’s security as well as any issues you should address. The features are categorized into basic, intermediate, and advanced.
This plugin works primarily by blocking brute force attempts to penetrate your login screen, protecting your user accounts, and providing enhanced user registration. It also hardens the file and database security of your site.
Whether you are a beginning user or are a veteran with WordPress, the security of your site is more important than ever. The more focus you put on this now, the tougher it will be for a hacker to break in, ruin your hard work, and steal your data before you need to reset your WordPress site.
While your first priority should be a secure WordPress hosting platform, you should also choose a host that delivers strong security measures in place. Not only will you receive protection at the server level, but you’ll continue to get optimum site performance.