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Top 10 WordPress plugins for website security in 2020

September 28, 2018
Author: Hamster, www.hostens.com

Why Secure WordPress Website With a Plugin?

WordPress is an OpenSource content management system, and it is entirely for free for all users. Unfortunately, every website is a target, no matter how big or small it is, and, being the most popular content management system, WordPress is also constantly targeted by hackers. Hackers can create bots that automatically and systematically scan for security holes and attack thousands of sites simultaneously.

Google says that every day Safe Browsing discovers thousands of new unsafe sites. Many of them are legitimate websites that have been compromised by hackers. Google blacklists around 20,000 websites for malware and approximately 50,000 for phishing every week.

W3Techs states that WordPress is used by 30.5% of all the sites and that it is a content management system with the market share of 60.1% (https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all).

WordPress as a CMS architecture is secure, but this does not change the fact that virtually all websites are targets. Even a newly installed WordPress website with nothing on it can be hacked.

Of course, you can implement security features manually (by coding). Alternatively, if you are not a techie, you can simply install a plugin as no coding need for it. Plus, adding a single plugin with multiple functions ais often more straightforward and less risky than installing three or four of them to target specific vulnerabilities.

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How Can a Website Be Hacked?

40% of hacking is hosting hacking. The owner of the site cannot affect the security of the hosting platform, so, first of all, you need to choose a quality hosting provider with positive reviews and a reliable reputation.

30% of websites are hacked through unsafe (untrusted) WordPress themes in which vulnerabilities are intentionally or accidentally present. Using paid themes from reliable sources is necessary. The most trusted plugin source is WordPress.org.

20% WordPress hacks happen due to vulnerable plugins. Even the best defense of WordPress is compromised by installing plugins with an intentionally placed vulnerability. This is especially true for installing a clean code on the site from unverified sources by users who have little understanding of programming.

10% WordPress hacking happens because of a weak password. Hackers simply perform a brute-force attack trying many passwords or passphrases with the hope of eventually guessing correctly.

Choose a Right Plugin

In general, WordPress is a great option. To prevent WordPress sites from being hacked or misused with other methods of malware, webmasters just need to consider the possibility of additional protection for their projects. As practice has shown, there are many plugins for ensuring WordPress security, the only thing you have to do is make a choice. By choosing your plugin, remember to pay attention to the functionality of the plugin. Take a look at a few of the must-have plugins of WordPress in 2019.

1. WordFence

(Active installations: 2+ million Rating 5)

As we can see from installation statistics, Wordfence is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress security. This plugin is free. However, additional features are available with the paid Premium version. After installation, Wordfence Security will launch an automatic scan to check if your site is already infected. Also, an advantage of this plugin is its support for WordPress-multisite, which is sometimes necessary. Despite all the great features, this plugin is heavy, which means you will need to count resources for your hosting service.

Here is our list of the main functions of the Wordfence plugin:

1. Extended security check;

2. Blocking users by IP;

3. Secure login to the system;

4. Compatibility with IPv6;

5. Full support for WooCommerce sites;

6. Malicious code scan;

7. Vulnerability assessment;

8. A single administrator control panel for multiple blogs;

9. Alerts for compromised site

2. BulletProof Security

(Active installations: 80,000+ Rating 4.5)

The main functionality of this plugin is done by creating specific rules in the .htaccess file. Not only BulletProof Security creates rules in the .htaccess file for the protection of the root directory, but it also protects the wp-admin directory, as well as many other essential log files. As well as WordFence, a paid version of BulletProof Security is available with additional features.

Here is our list of the main functions of the BulletProof Security plugin:

1. Protects resources from the most common types of attacks.

2. Quick installation of the site in the maintenance mode.

3. Advanced security monitoring, including checking for vulnerabilities.

4. Overview of the detailed system information.

5. Built-in interface for editing.

6. Spammer protection

3. Sucuri Security

(Active installations: 400,000+ Rating 4.5)

Another plugin with a good reputation in securing WordPress sites. Sucuri plugin features are quite impressive. Just like the previous plugins, the paid version of this one is also available with additional features. Take a look:

1. Security audit.

2. Monitoring the integrity of files.

3. Remote scanning of malicious programs.

4. Monitoring the blacklist. SPAM protection

5. Effective security enhancement.

6. Security actions after hacking.

7. Firewall (additional function for a fee).

4. iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)

(Active installations: 900,000+ Rating 4.5)

This security plugin is very popular. iThemes Security provides access to a wide variety of ways to secure your site. This plugin is capable of performing many functions. For example, it can implement a “shadow” tactic, which consists of such actions as, for instance, changing the URLs of the admin panel and the authorization page, removing the meta tag “generator,” renaming the “admin” account and much more. This plugin is specially designed to protect WooCommerce sites. It is also available in a paid version. Its major features are:

1. Malware scanning and email notifications

2. Two-factor authentication

3. Password security

4. Dashboard widget

5. Prevents brute force attacks

6. Site monitoring and reporting

5. Acunetix WP SecurityScan

(Active installations: 700,000+ Rating 5)

The Acunetix WP Security plugin is a security enhancement tool that helps to protect WordPress sites and offers remedial measures for providing file permissions, database security, WordPress administrator protection and much more.

Acunetix WP Security checks the WordPress site for vulnerabilities and offers the following features:

1. Password protection

2. Set file permissions

3. Ensures database security

4. Hides the WordPress version in the backend dashboard for non-admin WordPress users

5. Ensures protection of WordPress admin login

6. Removes the WG Generator META tag from the main code


6. All In One WP Security & Firewall

(Active installations: 700,000+ Rating 5)

All in One Security and Firewall includes additional firewalls to protect your blog. This plugin protects a website in many ways. It provides various safety measures and gives an account of the security measures of your blog. Surprisingly, it does not affect your blog’s speed, and it is entirely free of charge. See the features of this plugin:

1. Secures the “admin” username and allows changing it

2. User login security

3. Protects against “Brute Force Login Attack”

4. Database security

5. File system security

6. Firewall functionality

7. Security scanner

7. Jetpack

(Active installations: 5+ million Rating 4)

This plugin is designed to help you protect a website, track its performance and much, much more. Moreover, it contains many modules that can be activated at the discretion of the user. The primary functions of Jetpack are entirely free. However, the premium version of this plugin provides the possibility of backup and additional safety layers. Here is a list of the main features:

1. Design module

2. Marketing features

3. Brute force attack protection

4. Spam filtering

5. Downtime monitoring

6. Malware scanning

7. Secure logins with two-factor authentication

8. Support feature

8. VaultPress

(Active installations: 70,000+ Rating 4.5)

This plugin is designed primarily for WordPress website backup. Unfortunately, there is no trial or free version, so be prepared to choose a payment plan. After payment, you will be given access to the administrative part where you can find a complete list of backups made for your site according to the chosen VaultPress plan. This service allows you not only to download a copy of the site but also to restore it in a few clicks. To do this, you will need to configure the FTP or SSH connection of the service to the site. Besides this handy tool, VaultPress provides the following features:

1. Brute force attack protection

2. Spam protection for comments

3. Support from WordPress experts

4. 30-day backup archive

5. Uptime monitoring

6. Activity log

9. Shield Security

(Active installations: 80,000+ Rating 5)

Well, this is a handy plugin for monitoring the security of your website. It allows not only protection against intrusive spammers but also provides a lot of other functions. One of the most important functions is monitoring changes in the WordPress kernel files as a way to protect against hacking. If it finds differences, this plugin (depending on the settings) either notifies the administrator or automatically restores the original data. Shield Security also provides the following features:

1. Firewall

2. Limitation of login attempts

3. Malicious file scanning

4. Automatic IP blacklist

5. 2-factor authentication

6. Securing admin users

7. Blocking spam comments

10. Cerber Security, Antispam & Malware Scan

(Active installations: 90,000+ Rating 5)

This nice lightweight plugin has many installations and positive ratings from users. The Cerber Security plugin offers tools for handling login security. This helps to protect a website against brute force attacks on the system by limiting the total number of login requests for a set period of time. This plugin stops spam by Google ReCaptcha and Cerber’s antispam engine. Cerber Security’s functionality:

1. Restricting attempts to log on to an IP address or subnet;

2. Setting up a white or blacklist;

3. Activity monitoring and customizable notifications;

4. Moving the URLs of the login addresses (wp-login.php, wp-register.php, wp-admin /) and returning 404 errors in case of incorrect indication;

5. Disabling the RSS / Atom feed, REST-API services, XML-RPC;

6. Protection against forms from spam by using reCAPTCHA;

In this article, we have covered ten must-have security plugins for WordPress. You do not need to download all these plugins. Just try any one of them and see if it suits you. If you are not happy with its performance, you can download any other plugin to check it out and use as every plugin offers a different kind of security features.

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