Make no mistake about it, installing one of the best WordPress security plugins may well be the most important steps you take for your new website.
Think about it:
You could have the best blog theme in the world, the most original, compelling blog post ideas, and a killer blog promotion strategy that’s guaranteed to get results, but if visitors land on your website to find it hacked, riddled with malware, or otherwise compromised, all that effort is going to be for naught.
Visitors will simply leave, many never to return.
That’s to say nothing of the damage to both your reputation and revenue that can result from your subscribers’ or customers’ personal information being stolen from your website.
So yes, installing a WordPress security plugin is vitally important, but with so much on the line, it’s even more important that you select the right plugin for you, the one that’s going to provide maximum protection for you, your site, and your audience, all while remaining easy to use and, of course, affordable.
It’s these criteria that I used when testing out a host of different security tools to protect my growing, multi-million dollar content website portfolio. The plugins that I’m about to share with you today each scored the highest marks in all three categories, making them my picks for the very best of the best in WordPress security.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Security Plugin?
Did you know that there are almost 1.8 billion websites on the Internet? Of those, some 43% are powered by WordPress, meaning it’s by far and away the most popular website building tool in the world today.
Yet it’s exactly this popularity that makes WordPress such a haven for hackers and cybercriminals.
According to the latest available data I could find from WordFence, 2020 alone saw some 90 million malicious login attempts to WordPress, making for an astonishing rate of 2,800 attacks every second of every day.
Meanwhile, cyber security specialists Risk-Based Security note that WordPress vulnerabilities doubled in 2021, with 77% of those vulnerabilities providing the potential to be exploited by cybercriminals.
In other words, as good as WordPress is, it’s also under threat on an almost consistent basis.
But wait, knowing this, doesn’t the team behind WordPress do anything about it?
Sure, to an extent.
There are some basic security features, but they provide nowhere near the level of protection that you’d get from a quality plugin built by top security experts.
It’s for this reason that anyone who takes their website or blog seriously should look at installing one of the following top WordPress security plugins.
Top 5 Best WordPress Security Plugin for Your Site in 2022
Sucuri are a company who truly stand by their product. So confident are they that their robust security platform will keep your site well-protected at all times, that if it doesn't they'll clean up and fix your site as many times as possible.
There are a few good reasons why Sucuri featured prominently in my guide to the most essential must-have WordPress plugins, not least of which being that most of its core features are free to use.
Indeed, if you’re looking to improve your site security without reaching into your wallet, you’ll find a lot to like here.
At its core, the plugin’s main feature is the Sucuri SiteCheck Scanner, a powerful tool that scans your pages and posts for malicious code and other vulnerabilities.
Elsewhere, the plugin’s Security File Integrity Monitoring feature takes note of a known good version of your website and frequently compares it to the current state of your website.
If it finds a difference between the two, the Integrity monitor will alert you to what the problem is so that you can take action.
Even with all that on offer, the one thing I really like about Sucuri is its excellent WordPress hardening feature which identifies aspects of your website that could be leaving you vulnerable to attack and provides preventative options to address them.
While there are certainly more features in the premium version of Sucuri (more of which in a moment), these core security functions should provide all the protection you may need for a small-medium website without you having to spend a penny.
- Remote malware scanning
- Blocklist monitoring
- File integrity monitoring
- Security activity auditing
- Security hardening
- Post-hack security actions
- Security notifications
- Firewall protection (paid version only)
- CDN speed enhancement (paid-version only)
- Advanced DDoS Mitigation (paid-version only).
If I haven’t already made it clear, I’m a big fan of the free version of Sucuri as it provides ample protection for small and growing websites in a way that’s easy for even complete WordPress novices to get to grips with.
However, even I have to admit that there are some key advantages to be gained from upgrading to one of the premium plans.
Here, you have two options:
Sucuri offers two firewall plans, a basic-level plan at $9.99 per month or a pro version at $19.98 per month.
If I was going to upgrade my Sucuri plan, it’s the $9.99 version that I’d opt for as the only real difference between the two is that the pro version provides SSL support and monitoring.
Meanwhile, both offer the same core features including:
- Complete firewall protection
- Virtual patching and hardening
- Advanced DDoS Mitigation
- CDN (Content Delivery Network) enhancement
- High availability/load balancing.
Website Security Platforms
At $9.99 per month, this is a solid investment, though if you really need hands-on support with malware removal, you could also opt for one of the company’s four Website Security Platform plans.
These include everything you get with both the free plan and the firewall plan, along with additional features as follows:
|PLAN NAME||PLAN DESCRIPTION||PLAN PRICE|
|Basic Platform||Malware scanning every 12 hours|
Malware removal every 30 hours.
|Pro Platform||Malware scanning every 6 hours|
Malware removal every 12 hours.
|Business Platform||Malware scanning every 30 minutes|
Malware removal every 6 hours.
All platform plans come with unlimited malware and hack removals by Sucuri’s experts.
Pros and Cons of Sucuri
How to Get Started With Sucuri
1. Install the Plugin
The easiest way to do this is to head to your WordPress dashboard and go to plugins – add new.
Search for ‘Sucuri,’ then click ‘install’ followed by ‘Activate.’
Alternatively, download the free version of Sucuri from the WordPress plugins directory and go to Plugins – Add New – Upload plugin, then install and activate.
2. Open the Sucuri Security Dashboard
To do this, simply find and select the Sucuri Security tab on your WordPress dashboard menu.
3. Generate an API Key
Once installed, you’ll see that Sucuri immediately gets to work on scanning your website, but to really take advantage of its potential, you’ll need to generate an API key.
Fortunately, this is very easy to do.
First, select the ‘Generate API Key’ tab from the top of your Sucuri dashboard.
Then, on the pop-up screen that appears, check that your website and email details are correct and choose whether to enable DNS lookups on startup.
4. Configure Settings
Next, you can head to the settings tab to configure various options such as the directory where Sucuri will store your security logs, the ability to export audit logs to third-party security software, and more.
5. Upgrade to the Firewall
Last but not least, if you do decide to upgrade to one of the firewall plans, you can this by heading to https://sucuri.net/website-security-platform/signup/#firewall and signing up for a plan.
This will generate another API key which you can then enter by clicking the ‘Firewall’ button on the dashboard menu.
2. WordFence Security
4+ million WordPress users can't be wrong. In terms of effectiveness, ease-of-use, and excellent features, WordFence isn't just exceptionally tough in terms of value, it's just as tough when it comes to eliminating threats to your site's safety.
The claim by WordFence to be the ‘global leaders in WordPress Security’ isn’t simply a boastful brag designed to increase sales.
Rather, it’s a statement on the enviable reputation they’ve earned by providing robust, reliable security tools that combine professional-grade protection with beginner-friendly simplicity.
It’s this winning combination that makes them the go-to security plugin for over 4 million WordPress websites, a level of popularity that few other tools can match.
What makes it so great?
First of all, there’s the powerful free scanning tool that goes above and beyond what’s offered by Sucuri’s scanner to also include scanning of themes, plugins, and core files.
With the free version, this scanning takes place every three days, though WordFence Premium users can schedule an unlimited number of scans as frequently as they like.
If a threat is identified, WordFence sends you an immediate notification along with easy-to-follow recommendations on what to do about it.
Beyond that, the real highlight is the inclusion of a free firewall which, though basic in some regards, is still as effective as many of the firewalls that other plugins charge you for.
Add in the ability to monitor log-in attempts to prevent brute force attacks and a thriving user community who are always willing to lend a hand, and it’s no wonder WordFence is the most widely-used WordPress security plugin on the market today.
- Malware scanning
- Two-factor authentication
- Brute force protection
- Vulnerability alerts
- Endpoint web application firewall
- Easy-to-use WordFence Central dashboard
- IP Blocklist (paid-version only)
- Malware clean-up (paid-version only)
- Post-hack blocklist removal (paid-version only).
The free version of WordFence really does offer a tremendous amount of tools and features for small and growing WordPress sites, with the firewall, malware scanning, brute force protection and other key security measures all included as standard.
However, there is a 30-day delay in getting access to data reports generated from each scan.
To remove those delays and gain access to everything you need in real-time, you’ll need to upgrade to one of three premium plans:
|PLAN NAME||PLAN DESCRIPTION||PLAN PRICE|
Real-time rules, signatures, and IP-Blocklist
|WordPress Care||Includes everything in the premium plan plus:|
WordFence is installed, configured, and optimized for you by the company
Access to hands-on support from a dedicated member of the WordFence team
Priority ticket-based support
Yearly security audits and recommendations
Malware removal and cleanups
Round-the-clock security monitoring.
|WordFence Response||Includes everything in WordFence Care plus:|
Rapid, one-hour response guarantee from the support team available 24/7/365
Optional second annual audit.
All premium plans come with unlimited scheduled scans.
Pros and Cons of WordFence Security
How to Get Started With WordFence Security
- Head to WordFence.com and select either the free or paid-for version of the plugin
- Hit download/buy now to get a copy of the free plugin. The premium versions will also give you a license key to activate once installed.
- Go to WordPress Dashboard – Plugins – Add New – Upload
- Upload, install and activate the plugin
- Enter your license key for the premium version
- Configure the settings to your liking to guarantee optimum protection.
3. iThemes Security Pro
Packing in so many features can sometimes cause plugins to feel overwhelming, confusing, and complicated. With iThemes Security, there's no such problem. Although there's a lot you can do with this one, doing it is as simple and straightforward as you could hope for.
Formerly known as Better WP Security, iThemes Security offers an extensive array of features designed to provide maximum protection across all aspects of your WordPress website.
At least the premium version does.
While you can get your hands on a free version of iThemes Security, it really does little more than utilize the Sucuri Site Scanner to monitor your site and make recommendations on how to address any known vulnerabilities.
However, what earns this one a spot in this guide is that its premium version, iThemes Security Pro, proves itself to be one of the best WordPress security plugins around in terms of pure value-for-money.
All told, there’s no less than 30 excellent security features on offer here, with daily malware scanning, file change detection, customizable lockout messages, two-factor authentication, WordPress user security checks, and the ability to monitor your security in real-time via an intuitive dashboard serving as just some of the many highlights.
There’s even a backup and restore function, saving you the time, money, and trouble of setting up a separate WordPress backup plugin.
Finally, what I really like about iThemes Security Pro is that it comes with an impressive feature that allows you to link trusted devices to your site so that only users operating one of those devices will be able to get access to your WordPress dashboard.
To sum up, if you’re looking for the most comprehensive WordPress security suite at the best possible price, iThemes Security Pro is well worth a look.
- Site scanner with automatic vulnerability patching
- Trusted devices
- Session hijacking protection
- Two-factor authentication
- Passwordless logins
- Breached password protection
- Bot traffic protection
- Brute force protection
- User security checks
- Security logs
- WordPress hardening
- Premium support.
The free version of iThemes Security is a good option if you only need limited features or want to test out the plugin before opting for the premium version, but even if you do decide to upgrade, you’ll find yourself paying some of the most affordable prices offered by any premium WordPress security plugin out there.
The three main plan options each offer unrestricted access to all 30 of iThemes Security Pro’s key features, private ticketed email support, and plugin updates.
The only difference is that you pay depending on the number of sites you’re going to protect with the plugin. Those plans are:
- 1 site – $80 p/y
- 10 sites – $127 p/y
- Unlimited sites – $199 p/y.
You could also purchase iThemes Security Pro as part of the iThemes bundle, which, along with use of the security plugin on unlimited sites, also gets you access to iTheme’s BackupBuddy Gold plugin and Restrict Content Pro Professional with 34 add-ons, the latter of which I highly praised in my guide to the best WordPress membership plugins.
Pros and Cons of iThemes Security Pro
How to Get Started With iThemes Security
- Head to https://ithemes.com/security
- Click ‘Buy iThemes Security Pro’
- Choose your pricing plan and click ‘Buy Now’
- Go to checkout, and enter your payment information
- Download the Plugin
- On your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins – Add New – Upload.
- Upload the plugin
- Enter your activation key and customize the settings to begin protecting your site.
4. All In One WP Security and Firewall
Though none of the plugins in this guide are especially difficult to use, All in One WP Security and Firewall does simple security better than most. By focusing on user-friendly essentials, the plugin ensures that even the least tech-savvy WP users can keep their site free from malware.
I’ve said multiple times that ease of use is one of the key things I look for when choosing a good WordPress plugin, which is precisely why All in One WP Security and Firewall makes the grade here.
This may not be the most advanced or feature-rich security plugin out there, but that’s all of its appeals.
By focussing on the key essentials and presenting them in an easy-to-understand visual style, All in One WP Security and Firewall makes its mark as one of the best WordPress security plugins for beginners.
That’s not to say there aren’t some quality features to be found here.
Malware scanning, vulnerability detection, login protection, a firewall, database backups, and WordPress hardening all come as standard.
That’s pretty impressive when you consider this is a free plugin, but what’s more impressive is that each of these tools is unbeatably simple to set up, while the user interface presents its scan results as a grade. This means that even if you have no technical know-how whatsoever, you’ll still be able to fully understand what’s going on with your website security.
Perhaps best of all, this is a wonderfully lightweight tool, which may make it a better option if you’re fed up with your site performance being negatively affected by bloated plugins.
- Malware scanning
- Vulnerability detection
- User account security
- Password strength tools
- Brute force protection
- Blacklist tools
- Failed login reports
- Add Google ReCaptcha to your site
- File change detection
- Backup and restore .htaccess and .wp-config files.
One of the things I love best about this plugin is that it’s completely free with no upselling involved.
In other words, you’re not going to start using this only to find that you need to upgrade to a paid plan to access certain features. There aren’t any paid plans at all, just unrestricted access to a wealth of free security tools.
Pros and Cons of All In One WP Security and Firewall
How to Get Started With All In One WP Security and Firewall
- Login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins – Add New
- Search for All in One WP Security and Firewall
- Install and activate the plugin
- Configure the settings to start protecting your site.
Nobody knows WordPress like the developers of Jetpack, which ensures your site is protected by a service built by experts who are always one step ahead of the game when it comes to keeping your site safe when major WP updates occur.
Last but not least, we come to a plugin most WordPress users will have heard of, even if they aren’t too familiar with what it does.
Jetpack is a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help you run the most effective website possible.
It comes from Automattic, the original team behind the development of the very WordPress CMS you’re using to run your site, so you could say that they know a thing or two about what it takes to run a successful WordPress site, including how to keep it safe from security threats.
To that end, Jetpack offers a number of tools designed to keep you, your site, and customer/subscriber data safe.
At its core, there’s real-time malware scanning with instant notifications if a vulnerability is detected, spam protection, brute force protection, and a security log so that you can see exactly what’s going on with your site at any time.
One highlight of this one is that it comes with Jetpack’s excellent WordPress backup tool included as standard. This backs up your site in real-time to Jetpack’s own servers so that you don’t have to install an additional plugin and can guarantee that you’ll always have a good working version of your site on hand whenever you make changes.
If something does go wrong, that last-known-good working version of your site can be immediately restored at the single click of a button.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how convenient it is to have a one-click fix option that gets to work on solving security problems with your website with almost no effort or technical knowledge on your part.
- Daily malware scanning
- Malware removal
- Brute force protection
- Security logs
- Website backups onto Jetpack’s servers
- One-click restores
- Comment and form spam protection.
A free version of Jetpack does offer some entry-level protection such as basic malware scanning and blocking, spam protection, and brute-force login, but it’s the premium plans that really deliver the best value.
It’s these plans that offer real-time backups, one-click fixes, instant email notifications if a problem is found, and secure authentications.
Plans are available at two price points:
|PLAN DESCRIPTION||PLAN PRICE|
10GB of storage for backups
One-click restore from the past 30 days of backups
All key Jetpack security features.
1TB of storage for backups
One-click restore from the past year of backups
All key Jetpack security features.
Pros and Cons of JetPack
How to Get Started With Jetpack
- 1. Ensure the basic Jetpack plugin is installed and activated on your website
- 2. Visit https://jetpack.com/features/security/
- 3. Choose either the 10GB or 1TB storage option and click ‘Get Security’
- 4. Enter your payment information
- 5. Connect Jetpack Security to your installed Jetpack dashboard to start protecting your site.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Security Plugin for Your Website
At the start of this guide, I mentioned that site protection, ease of use, and affordability were the three main factors I considered when determining which security plugins were truly the best of the best.
Below, I’ll break down exactly why these factors are so important, and what difference they may make to you when it comes to determining which security plugin to install on your website.
In order to ensure you have maximum protection for your WordPress website, you need to have the right security features in place.
At a very basic level, no security tool is worth much if it doesn’t at least provide regular malware and vulnerability scanning. While some will only do this once every few days, the better ones allow you to schedule regular scans on a more frequent basis to ensure optimum protection.
Elsewhere, look for plugins that offer at least a basic firewall, WordPress hardening, and brute-force protection (to prevent cybercriminals from trying to login to your website by guessing your username and password), and spam protection.
Unlike other plugins where excessive features may be unnecessary when it comes to security, more features generally are better as it ensures that you’ve got the absolute best protection for most -if not every- a type of WordPress vulnerability.
Ease of Use
Even if you’re an advanced WordPress user, nobody likes to spend more time than is necessary when it comes to configuring a new plugin and putting its features to work.
At best, this takes time away from other tasks like writing those quality blog posts. At worst, things could be so complicated and confusing that you make a wrong move and end up with a plugin that just doesn’t function the way you want it to.
As such, it’s always a good idea to look for plugins that combine advanced-level functionality with beginner-friendly usability.
A WordPress security plugin may well prove to be the best investment you ever make for your WordPress website, especially when you consider the kind of damage that a security breach could cause.
Still, that doesn’t mean you want to be paying over the odds.
In the guide above, I’ve included the best free and value-for-money premium security plugins available right now, though it’s always worth taking some time to consider your budget and explore the various features of each tool. That way, you can be sure you’re picking a plugin that provides exactly what you need at a price you can afford.
Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress Security Plugins
Is WordPress secure?
WordPress is generally a secure platform, but due to user errors such as forgetting to update themes, plugins, and the core files, it can be susceptible to security attacks.
Are WordPress security plugins worth it?
Absolutely. Since WordPress powers so many of the world’s websites, it’s a popular target for cybercriminals, which means it’s essential that your site has the kind of adequate protection provided by a security plugin.
What is the best free WordPress security plugin?
Both Sucuri and All in One WP Security and Firewall are my top picks for the best free WordPress security plugin around right now.
What is the Best WordPress Security Plugin to Use in 2022?
In the guide above, I’ve given you five great options for using a plugin to protect your website but, of course, you only need one of them, so which one is it going to be?
If I could give you a few final recommendations, I’d say that it all depends on what you prioritize the most.
If you’re absolutely brand new to WordPress and need the best WordPress security plugin for beginners, look no further than All in One WP Security and Firewall which earns that title thanks to its simple-to-use features and a visual interface which displays your site’s current security statistics in clear, easy-to-follow graphs and charts.
If you want a comprehensive arsenal of security tools from a brand with an excellent reputation when it comes to providing maximum protection for WordPress websites, well, that’s pretty much WordFence Security in a nutshell.
However, if your top priority is finding a plugin which combines great features and ease of use with attractive pricing, look no further than Sucuri, which earns my vote as the best all-around WordPress security tool on the market today.