Although WordPress security goes far beyond just plugins, they’re still a vital tool for keeping your site locked up tight. However, choosing the best WordPress security plugins can be difficult, particularly because there are so many to pick from.
With that said, the wide range of available options means you can customize your site’s security features to meet your specific needs. Once you get to know some of the most popular and effective plugins on the market, you can make an informed decision regarding which ones to use.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to 11 top WordPress security plugins you may want to consider. Then we’ll provide some tips on how to choose the best options for your site. Let’s dive on in!
11 best WordPress security plugins in 2019
In our opinion, these are the 11 best security plugins available for WordPress.
Current Version: 1.8.21
Last Updated: May 9, 2019
Let’s kick things off with a few well-known names in WordPress security. Sucuri Security has a reputation for being one of the best and most comprehensive plugins on the market when it comes to protecting your site. It offers:
- Activity auditing
- File monitoring
- Malware scanning (front-end scans for free or server-level scanning in the premium version)
- Security notifications
- A web application firewall (WAF) (premium version only)
Most of these services are free. However, to access features such as the website firewall, SSL support, and more, you’ll need a paid Sucuri account. You can get limited access to the firewall for $9.99 per month or access to the full Sucuri platform for $199.99 per year.
Another favorite when it comes to all-inclusive security plugins is Wordfence Security. It offers similar features to Sucuri, including:
- A WAF that blocks malicious traffic before it attacks your site
- Malware scanning to check files, plugins, and themes before they’re uploaded
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) and login limits to prevent brute force attacks
- Real-time live traffic and analytics monitoring
Additionally, Wordfence is easy to use and relatively affordable. All of the features listed above – including the WAF – are free. The premium version of this plugin offers more frequent scans, spam protection, and other advanced features for $99 per year.
Next up, we have a top-notch malware scanner and remover. MalCare Security is the only tool we’ve featured that can help you clean up after an attack with a single click, though you’ll need the premium version to do so. Its features include:
- Firewall protection
- Remote malware scanning that won’t overload your server
- One-click malware removal
- Tools for developers, including white labeling and client reports
Basic scanning is available for free, but you’ll need the premium version for advanced features like white-labeling and one-click malware removal. Licenses start at $99 per year.
Another big name in WordPress security plugins is iThemes Security. Alongside the previous three plugins, this tool is one of the most trusted and popular among WordPress users. With it, you’ll get access to:
- Brute force attack prevention
- Malware scanning
- 404 error detection
- Strong password enforcement for all users
iThemes Security Pro incorporates additional security features including two-factor authentication, increased malware scans, Google reCAPTCHAs, and more. It’s also the most affordable premium plugin we’ve mentioned so far, at $80 per year.
Moving on to some slightly lesser-known plugins, we have All in One WP Security & Firewall. Its name makes a bold claim, but it has the feature list to back that up. Some highlights include:
- A ‘Login Lockdown’ feature to prevent brute force attacks
- File protection, editing, backups, and restoration
- Firewall protection
- A file change detection scanner
- Comment spam prevention
- Front-end copy protection
What’s more, this plugin is completely free. There’s no premium version, which means you get some of the more popular features without the high price tag.
Current Version: 2.1.5
Last Updated: October 16, 2019
While the free version is a bit limited, Defender provides many of the key security features you might want to implement. For example, this plugin provides:
- WordPress core file scanning
- Timed logouts for brute force attack prevention
- IP address blacklisting
The Pro version is more complete, with additional scans, vulnerability reports, and audit logs. You need a WPMU DEV membership to access it. This subscription service provides over 100 plugins for unlimited sites, at just $49 per month.
Created and maintained by Automattic, VaultPress offers a decent selection of security features backed by some key maintenance elements. On the security front, it offers:
- Brute force attack protection
- Spam prevention
- Activity monitoring
This plugin will also handle regular site backups with one-click restoration, uptime monitoring, and site migration. If you upgrade to a Premium or Professional plan, you can also gain access to automated malware scanning and threat resolution. Licenses start at $39 per year.
One of the nice things about paying for VaultPress is that you also get access to premium features in Jetpack, another popular plugin from Automattic.
Stepping away from WordPress security plugins that claim to do it all, let’s take a look at a few that specialize in certain features. WP Security Audit Log, for example, focuses on providing high-quality activity monitoring. This can help you:
- Notice suspicious activity and stop attacks before they happen
- Log changes to your site, in order to speed and ease the recovery process if an attack does occur
This tool can also simplify general troubleshooting and productivity monitoring. If you choose to invest in WP Security Audit Log Premium, you’ll also be able to see who’s logged in, and log users out with one click. Licenses start at $89 per year.
Current Version: 5.2.5
Last Updated: September 19, 2019
Next up, Google Authenticator specializes in 2FA, integrating with a variety of form builder plugins to secure your login and registration processes. Additionally, it provides:
- IP address blocking
- User login monitoring
Google Authenticator’s premium versions offer additional features, including more authentication choices, multiple login options (including ‘passwordless’ login), and different authentication methods for specific user roles. Licenses start at as low as $5 per year.
This straightforward plugin works unobtrusively to prevent malicious attacks on your site. You won’t have to worry about Block Bad Queries interrupting your workflow, as it operates silently in the background. It’s also easy to use, and can prevent:
- Directory traversal requests
- SQL injection
- Executable file uploads
Block Bad Queries Pro includes more advanced scanning and user-ID phishing prevention. This plugin is highly affordable, with lifetime licenses starting at just $20.
11. Security Ninja
If you’ve ever felt like your site was secure, but weren’t 100% sure, Security Ninja can help to keep you in the loop. This handy little plugin includes over 50 security-related tests you can perform to determine how secure your site is. It can:
- Check to see if WordPress core, plugins, and themes are up-to-date
- Test file accessibility
- Determine users’ password strength by simulating a brute force attack
The free version of this plugin doesn’t do anything to solve the problems its tests may reveal. However, learning of vulnerabilities on your site enables you to take action using another plugin or Security Ninja Pro. The latter includes malware scanning, a cloud firewall, and more starting at $29 per year.
How to choose the right WordPress security plugins for your site
Before you go running to the WordPress Plugin Directory to download every security plugin on this list, you’d be wise to consider which ones you truly need. Security plugins are often pretty hefty, which means they can decrease your site’s speed. It’s better to be discerning than to trade one problem for another.
First, you’ll want to check out your hosting service. Some providers incorporate security features such as backups, updates, firewalls, and malware scans. If your host is already handling these tasks for you, there’s no need to have a plugin manage them too.
Then you’ll need to determine if you’re better off with an all-in-one security plugin, or if you just require specific features. If your host or another service provider is covering some tasks, you may simply need a few one-feature plugins to fill in the gaps. In addition, if you have a really tight budget, cobbling together your security coverage from several free or low-cost plugins may be more feasible than shelling out for a premium all-in-one option.
Otherwise, it’s often best to invest in a single comprehensive plugin. Consider each one’s features and cost carefully when deciding between them, to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. If you’re still not sure where to begin, most users can benefit from starting with either Wordfence or Sucuri.
There’s no denying the wide variety of WordPress security plugins that are available. With so many options and features included in each one, selecting the perfect tool(s) for your site may feel intimidating.
Whether you decide to go with an all-in-one security plugin like Sucuri Security, or mix-and-match with tools such as Google Authenticator and WP Security Audit Log, it’s easy to find the features you need. Just remember that pairing your plugins with other security best practices is the smartest way to protect your site.
Do you have any questions about choosing between these WordPress security plugins? Let us know in the comments section below!