Securing your WordPress website is very crucial. There are various options when it comes to picking the perfect WordPress security plugin for your website. So which one should you use? What factors do you need to take into account?
This article will answer all of these questions.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Security Plugin?
Now before going any further, let us first understand as to why a WordPress security plugin is needed? Does this mean WP in itself is insecure or unsafe to use? Definitely not.
WordPress is a robust and secure piece of software. It is tested regularly, updated and patched from time to time and is under active development. However, the fact that it is the world’s most popular Content Management System means WordPress carries a bull’s eye on its back. It is targeted often by malicious hackers who look to exploit any loose ends that your WP website might have — such as a weak password, out of date plugins or themes, or other similar problems.
Therefore, you need a comprehensive WordPress security plugin that ensures your website is safe from malicious users. Naturally, such plugin needs to be reliable and of great quality in terms of performance.
Picking the Ideal WordPress Security Plugin
Finding the perfect WordPress security plugin that suits your needs can be a challenging task. There are various options out there and it can be daunting for anyone to shortlist a given set of plugins. However, you can focus on your requirements and usage in order to locate the WP plugins that best meet your needs.
Complete WordPress Security Solutions
More often than not, you would need a good WordPress security plugin that takes care of everything related to security of your WP site. Such plugins tend to be slightly heavy on resources but they do come with added benefits of their own.
Generally speaking, you should look for the following features from any complete WordPress security plugin.
- Regular scans of your website’s core files
- Ability to detect changes to theme and plugin files
- Email alerts for website events, such as login or logout, changes to files, etc.
- Ability to notify you of obsolete or out of date versions of plugins, themes or WP itself
- Single-click hardening of WP core folders (to prevent code execution)
- Ability to detect malicious brute force attacks and lock down the offending IP addresses
The above list is surely not exhaustive. Certain plugins might come with added features. However, if your WP plugin does not offer the above-mentioned features in its free version, it is not worth the trouble.
Some relevant and reliable WP security plugins in this category are:
- Wordfence Security
- Sucuri Security
- Bulletproof WP Security
- iThemes Security
- All in One WP Security and Firewall
Login and anti-Brute Force Security Plugins
There is no shortcut to keeping a strong password for your WP admin account. With that said, most WP sites tend to get hacked as a result of a brute force attack.
What is a brute force attack? Well, in this type of attack, the malicious user simply tries to guess your password by repeatedly trying a combination of passwords. Naturally, you are at bigger risk if your password is a dictionary word that is easy to guess, or if you are using the default admin username. However, you can still be compromised even if your password is strong.
To avoid that, you can employ a login security plugin. Such plugins can detect brute force attacks and block the malicious user’s IP address instantly. At the same time, you will be alerted about the attack and then you can take necessary steps to mitigate it, such as changing your password, etc.
Some of the most popular names when it comes to login security WP plugins would include:
Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins
While spam does not always pose a direct security threat to your website, it can still hamper your site’s reputation manifolds. Furthermore, spam comments negatively affect UX for your website’s users.
One of the most popular names when it comes to fighting spam in WP is Akismet. It works seamlessly for most users and can block spam with precision. However, if you are in need of alternatives, you can consider looking at the following options:
Strictly speaking, a good anti-spam plugin should just do its job and let you focus on your website. If your anti-spam WP plugin gives you messages, warnings and nags you thrice a day with adware, it needs to go.
Good WordPress security strategy does not stop at just plugins. You need to take many other steps to further harden your website and protect it from malicious attacks and hackers.
To learn more about how you can secure and harden your WP website, check out this tutorial on WordPress security. Furthermore, just in case something does go wrong and you end up with a hacked website, have no fear. Simply follow this guide to recover your website right where you left it.
And lastly, it goes without saying that no matter which WordPress security plugin you install, always make sure it is updated and of the latest version. An out of date WordPress security plugin cannot protect your website.