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Have you ever considered leaving the house unlocked and going to the office? I assume you will even add an extra alarm system to be on the safe side. Now, why do you take such measures? You probably want to prevent break-ins and robbery. So why not do the same for your Internet business? Your website is everything regarding online reputation and conversions, so you want to make it as secure as possible to prevent putting user-sensitive information at risk.
The web is crawling with millions of cybercriminals, and they are armed to the teeth to take over your website and steal priceless data. You cannot let this happen, and you should never have the "it cannot happen to me" mentality because once your website gets hacked, your entire online business is likely to collapse and ruin your reputation. Now, we don't want that to happen, do we? So, you must install certain security features to your WordPress website and never let anything get in the way of your reader/customer satisfaction.
Even though there is a lot more to website security than basic features, they are still effective in meeting user-specific needs. WordPress has more than 54000 plugins available, and out of them, there are more than 2500 security-related plugins accessible in the WordPress repository. Do you need all of them? No, you need a handful to solve your security issues. Every website is unique, so they need different levels of security to authenticate and authorize user access.
The big question that may burst out of your head is selecting the best WordPress security plugins for my website? It definitely cannot be done by trial and error, as it would take you a couple of years to test every option available. The best method to go about would be to spend quality time researching and selecting the most suitable options. You might think that is also time-consuming, so we have done detailed analysis and research on several plugins and provided the information that can help you narrow down the most suitable WordPress security plugins.
How Do Security Plugins Operate On WordPress?
Most WordPress security plugins tend to have similar functionalities to prevent cybercriminals from attacking and stealing information. Some of the main operations done by security plugins are Malware Scanning, Brute-Force Login Protection, Web Application Firewall, and Rate-Based Throttling and Blocking.
Some plugins clean up the aftermath of infiltration, and they check for malware injection. Scans are conducted to identify any website changes, and the source code is verified with its original. These scans are constantly updated in the background, and if they find anything suspicious, they leave a comment or advice to take necessary action to repair or fix the problem.
Brute-Force Login Protection
This method is used to block out hackers that are trying to infiltrate the WordPress website. If a user fails to log in after entering multiple wrong passwords, the system recognizes this as a forced entry and immediately blocks that user. Such cybercriminals deploy an automated script to try thousands of passwords. A feature like brute-force login protection allows website owners to lock out anyone entering an invalid username.
We know that firewalls are the last line of defence, and when it comes to website security, you have to be careful about the vulnerabilities you are exposing to the outside world. These loopholes may not be publicly known, but they sure make it to some other security communities. Having a robust web application firewall deployed by some WordPress security plugins can recognize any user exploiting the loopholes and stop them instantaneously.
Rate-Based Throttling and Blocking
This is another important operation deployed by WordPress plugins. It is crucial to have one of these features because hackers overload your website with traffic from one IP. And it can lead to users not being able to access your content through the search engine. WordPress security provides plugins with rate-based throttling and blocking features to limit user requests from one geographical location to resolve this issue.
Though there are many more functionalities associated with WordPress security plugins, these are essential to keep in mind. Now that you know how plugins operate, the next thing to deal with is plugin categories.
4 Major Security Plugin Categories
In the security domain of WordPress, there is a distinct classification of how each category operates. Some can work extremely well in one use case, while others may perform poorly. To make sure you are in the right category, we have highlighted how each one can elevate your website's safety and prevent hackers from stealing your data and identity.
1. Prevention Category
If you want your first line of defense to be the strongest, you must consider the prevention category. These plugins will not let hackers enter the main website framework. One can even call these plugins the website firewalls because they filter out incoming traffic efficiently. However, prevention plugins get activated only when a change or attack is happening to the server. If the server is unchanged, not one single plugin will respond to the attack. Prevention plugins may not respond in that situation. Still, they outperform others when it comes to remote command execution, cross-site scripting, and software exploitation.
2. Detection Category
Many people often overlook detection plugins and the functionality they bring to the table. This happens because people think firewalls will get the job done, but in reality, prevention is never a 100% solution for WordPress security. If that is the case, then why do you use anti-virus software even when you have WFA? So, detection plugins are also important to tackle unknown security problems. Some WordPress plugins do a combination of malware scans and integrity checks to detect infections and malicious site links. If your website shows unrelated ads and users are being redirected to third-party websites, you should deploy detection plugins to understand the vulnerabilities and eliminate them immediately.
3. Auditing Category
Website auditing is the last thing people consider to increase security and safety for users. Most website owners leave it all to the plugins and never actually sit in front of the screen and monitor online activity. It doesn't help to enhance website security, so auditing is a must to change website features. Having some plugins that can administer logging and user reports can be beneficial in the long run.
4. Utility Category
The most diverse category of all is utility. This category has all the tools to maintain and address some specific security functions. Utility plugins are a must for website owners that prefer to operate all functions remotely. These can also create backup or disaster recovery solutions to bring back the website online. Even the settings are flexible, and you can configure them any way you want. In other words, this category consists of Do It Yourself (DIY) plugins that can adapt to any website environment.
10 Best WordPress Security Plugins In 2021
Now that you know what type of category your website fits in, it is time to select the most suitable plugins to work your WordPress website security. It is also important to consider factors like two-factor authentication, password auditing, and hacker reckon protection. Many more features like these can elevate your websites' performance in blocking spammers and hackers. We have provided some all-around options that are reliable in any environment, so make sure to check them all and select the most suitable ones for your online business. Note: it is okay if you add multiple plugins.
One of the most trusted security plugins in the WordPress community is MalCare. It can do everything you need, and it can even safeguard your web servers. The best traits associated with MalCare are fully automated malware removal, powerful web firewall, and management plugins. Along with these features, it also allows you to create backup plans and disaster recovery solutions. The security plugins are top-notch, but it also specializes in team collaborations. Team members can use this plugin to access multiple websites and assign tasks to increase workflow and productivity. The pricing plans are also not expensive, and they start at $100 for one year, which is affordable for an online business.
WordPress community members love using the iThemes Security plugin to safeguard their websites from cybercriminals. The pro version of this plugin is an absolute beast when it comes to website security. The performance and feature reliability are incredible for such a low price. The pro version starts at $52 per year, and it is worth it. You get two-factor authentication to verify user credentials, and you even have the flexibility to schedule malware scans. Data transfer also becomes easy with iThemes security, as it has a robust system in plate to import and export information. Another benefit that is often overlooked is dashboard integration. This plugin will blend perfectly, and it doesn't use any third-party platforms to boost your website's security.
Jetpack is another powerhouse and community-friendly plugin that can do it all in terms of performance and site protection. Along with great marketing tools, Jetpack also provides some amazing features such as automatic backups, speed enhancements, and real-time malware scans. Even the analytics and data reports generated by Jetpack are easy to break down and understand. The daily scans run by the plugin not only identify malware they also clear out all the vulnerabilities. Few notable features that can come in handy are downtime monitoring and activity log. Now, the pricing for Jetpack plugins is different from others because it also has a daily security cost with all features. It starts at $56 per month, and if you want the entire system with marketing and design, you can go for the $80 per month plan.
This particular plugin from WordPress has over 2 Million active downloads, and it is the most popular security plugin in the community. Users seem to like the dashboard that is easy to navigate and select different functions. Website owners can effortlessly manage the site without having much technical expertise. The security plugin is great at identifying online trends, so you can pick up any data report and incorporate some strategies into your website. The plugin comes with a country blocking option and a real-time IP blacklist feature to improve the website's security side. These are good enough to block users and requests coming from regions that have high cybercrime rates.
If your website needs auditing and advanced malware scanners, you need to look at the Sucuri security plugin. It can strengthen every part of your site protection system. Security hardening is one of the main features of Sucuri, and it also does a great job at firewall monitoring. It is a cost-effective security solution for your website, and it is also honest about the things it is not good at. These plugins may not prove 100% effective, but they always show actionable steps to resolve problems.
This plugin features a free version as well as a premium version for professionals and business owners. Defender security is famously known for its ability to block hackers from entering the website. IP address blacklisting is another feature that keeps intruders at bay. If you want a complete version of a security plugin, it is recommended to go with the paid plan. It includes audit logs and schedules reports for identifying website vulnerabilities. By scanning your WordPress website's core file, it can increase security and know where the system is lacking in security performance.
Do you like having some extra features to support the security system? Then, all-in-one WP security should make your list. We included this plugin for the free features, but it also has some amazing visual elements that make the dashboard more user-friendly. The plugins also have an internal classification. They are divided into three main groups: basic, intermediate, and advanced. You can apply them in any way you want, and they will limit your website's functionality. After plugin integration, the speed will also not drop significantly. The best part about this plugin is that it is 100% free of cost. You don't even have to buy premium features.
You may not have heard about BulletProof security in the WordPress community. However, it is still a top-rated security plugin that gives users access to features like database backups and anti-spam tools. The plugin also claims to protect more than 45000 websites that installed and implemented the features. One interesting attribute of this plugin is its maintenance mode. You can do all the necessary updates for maintenance purposes, and still, the website doesn't hold down its guard and expose all vulnerabilities. The installation may be simple to understand and execute, but it is safe to say that this plugin is mainly designed for advanced WordPress developers.
If you face IP blocking and user login monitoring issues, you should consider the Google Authenticator plugin for your WordPress website. This is a type of plugin specializing in 2FA and builds safety firewalls for your login and registration process. The free version doesn't offer much to build site protection, so better go with the paid plan. It comes with multiple login options( some even consider passwordless login) and authentication methods.
10. Security Ninja
Are you worried about the safety of your website? To be 100% sure and accurate, you need to conduct more tests, and Security Ninja runs almost 50 security tests to improve site protection. This is an excellent plugin to ensure all core components of the website are up to date and readily accessible. The premium version of this plugin can help you learn about your website's vulnerabilities and areas of improvement. A cloud firewall is a bonus, and it enables users to access the website remotely as well.
Well, that brings us to the end of the article. We hope that you have selected the most suitable WordPress security plugin for your website. Though there are thousands out there, you have to carefully analyze top-rated plugins' characteristics and choose the one that aligns with your requirement. In some cases, you may not even need to go for a pro version, so do feel intimidated by seeing so many options; instead, make sure to fulfil basic functions and features. If you ever feel lost, you can always go back to the list and main security categories to understand what is needed to improve your website's safety.