Best WordPress Security Plugins to Protect Your Website

Are you using WordPress to run your business or eCommerce website? 43% chances are that you are – as WordPress now powers over 43% of the web. WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular blogging, eCommerce and web-development platform in the world right now. But is it the most secure?

WordPress' code is Open Source. So means even you can view the source code and create applications (called Plugins & Themes) to modify how it functions. This helps in creative freedom. But since the code is open source and there are chances you can leave some parts of your website open to hackers, there are higher chances your website can get hacked.

This is where WordPress security plugins come into play.

WordPress security plugins can create a firewall, tighten your website's security and block DDoS attacks so that you focus on your business and don't lose your sleep on hacks.

Best WordPress Security Plugins

If you are looking for a WordPress security plugin, you can pick one from the list below. Be sure to also apply other security measures like strong passwords, CDNs and server-based firewalls to ensure 100% website security. In addition to these, if you run an online business, be sure to apply IAM security (know what IAM is here).

Without further ado, here are the best security plugins for WordPress:

Defender and Defender Pro

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Defender by WPMUDEV is a shining star in WordPress security, offering a robust suite of features to protect your website from a wide array of threats. Used by thousands of websites worldwide, Defender provides free and premium options (called Defender Pro) to suit the needs of various users.

Here are the free features that Defender offers:

  • Security Hardening: Defender provides a comprehensive security hardening suite that includes important measures such as disabling PHP execution in unknown directories, preventing information disclosure, and securing the wp-config.php and .htaccess files.
  • Login Protection: The plugin offers protection against brute force attacks by limiting login attempts, enforcing strong passwords, and implementing IP lockouts for suspicious activities.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Defender enhances login security by allowing you to enable 2FA for your WordPress site, ensuring that only authorized users can access the admin area.
  • Security Headers: Defender Pro helps you implement essential security headers, such as Content Security Policy and X-Content-Type-Options, to reduce the risk of cross-site scripting and other web-based attacks.
  • Audit Logging: The plugin enables you to track user activity and monitor changes made to your website, helping you identify potential security threats and maintain a secure environment.
  • Regular Security Scans: Defender conducts automatic security scans to check for malware, vulnerabilities, and other potential threats, keeping you informed about the overall security of your website.

If you're looking for more advanced protection, you can upgrade to Defender's premium version, Defender Pro, starting at $60 per year. The premium version offers additional features such as:

  • Cloud Backups: Automatically back up your website to secure cloud storage, ensuring that your data is safe and easily recoverable in case of any security breach or data loss.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Receive instant notifications for any suspicious activities or security threats, allowing you to take immediate action to safeguard your website.
  • Advanced Firewall: Defender Pro's premium version includes an advanced Web Application Firewall (WAF) that filters and blocks malicious traffic, protecting your website from a wide range of threats.
  • IP Blacklist: Automatically block IPs known for malicious activities, ensuring that your website remains secure from known threats.
  • Geo-Blocking: Restrict access to your website based on geographical location, preventing unauthorized users and potential attackers from specific regions.

Defender is a reliable and feature-rich security plugin for WordPress users who are looking for comprehensive protection for their websites. With its extensive suite of security features and affordable premium upgrade, it is a strong contender in WordPress security plugins.

Wordfence Security

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I call Wordfence the King of Free WordPress Security. Used by 4 million websites all around the world, Wordfence offers so many things for free and is one of the top security plugins for WordPress that you can rely on.

Here are the free features that Wordfence offers:

  • Web Application Firewall: This identifies and blocks malicious traffic.
  • Wordfence protects your website by securing the endpoint and allowing an extensive Integration with WordPress.
  • Integrated malware scanner blocks bad requests that try to inject malicious code or content.
  • Protects from brute force attacks by limiting login attempts.
  • Malware scanner checks core files, themes and plugins for malware etc. and compares your core files, themes and plugins with what is in the WordPress.org repository. It also tries to restore the files that might have been changed by hackers with original files.
  • Wordfence also checks your site for known security vulnerabilities, content insertions and more, and alerts you to any issues. 
  • Improves login security by enabling various security measures like:
    • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
    • Login Page CAPTCHA
    • Disabling XML-RPC
    • Blocks logins for administrators using known compromised passwords.

You can upgrade to premium at just $99 per year if you need extreme protection. Premium version offers real-time firewall, real-time IP Blocklist, real-time malware signature updates, IP blocklist checker and country blocking.

Learn more about Wordfence Security

Jetpack Security

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Jetpack security is a freemium upgrade in the popular Jetpack plugin. It offers backups, malware scanning, and realtime spam protection to WordPress websites. If you have a blog or a general website with basic protection in need, Jetpack offers a free protect module. This, when activated, this can protect your website from brute force attacks for free.

Premium versions come with a lot more.

  • Back up and restore your website automatically in real time.
  • See every site change and who made it with the activity log
  • Automatically perform malware scans and security scans
  • Block spam comments and form responses (with Akismet)
  • Secured WordPress.com login with 2FA

Learn more about Jetpack Security here

All-in-One WP Security and Firewall

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All-in-One WP Security and Firewall comes with comparably similar features as the above two. But there's one thing that stands out. This plugin is totally free. No upgrades whatsoever are required.

All-in-One WP Security and Firewall comes with the following free features:

  • User accounts security like username & password strength check.
  • User login security with brute force login attack protection with Login Lockdown.
  • IP Blocking
  • Force logout after a configured time
  • Monitoring of failed login attempts
  • Captcha and honeypot integration to forms
  • Manual approval of WordPress user accounts
  • Database security
  • File system security and permission strengthening
  • .htaccess and wp-config.php file backup and restore.
  • Banning of users by IP address, user agents.
  • Firewall
  • Security scanner
  • Comment spam security
  • Disabling right-click
  • And more.

Learn more about All-in-One WP Security and Firewall here

Sucuri Security

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A free WordPress plugin at its core, Sucuri is developed and maintained by GoDaddy's WordPress team. Sucuri offers a set of security features that includes:

  • Security Activity Auditing
  • File Integrity Monitoring
  • Remote Malware Scanning
  • Blocklist Monitoring
  • Effective Security Hardening
  • Post-Hack Security Actions
  • Security Notifications

All these features are free to use with the Sucuri account. Sucuri premium account offers a near-perfection website firewall and customer support.

Learn more about Sucuri Security here

WP fail2ban

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WP fail2ban is a simple and effective security plugin that is focused mainly on preventing brute-force attacks. Whilst this plugin is totally free, it comes with some paid add-ons that you can buy and install. It comes with loads of features, all centered on preventing brute-force attacks.

Learn more about WP fail2ban here

Conclusion

I could list over 100 plugins alongside these top WordPress security plugins, including but not limited to - iThemes Security, WPScan (now a part of Jetpack Security), SecurityNinja, Astra Security and more. But these 5 are near-perfect for any type of WordPress site and thus, these made their cut to top WordPress security plugins.

As I wrote earlier, be sure to use any of these plugins with a server-side firewall (or just use Cloudflare) so that you can stay assured of the full security of your websites.

About Gaurav Tiwari

Gaurav Tiwari is a blogger, influencer and designer with expertise in brand regeneration and growth hacking. He is the co-founder of Gatilab, a successful digital agency focused on content and design.