The 6 best WordPress security plugins to use on your website

Today, I have assembled six of the best WordPress security plugins to help you safeguard your site from pesky malware and those bad guys who love to hack websites.

While WordPress is user-friendly and highly effective, it’s not especially tough to compromise a site built on this platform. Any entry-level hacker/script kiddie will run wild when presented with an unprotected WordPress site.

The good news? 

Securing your WordPress website isn’t rocket science and you can find some surprisingly effective plugins completely free of charge. You can, of course, also upgrade the free version to a paid premium plugin for more features.

The even better news?

I’ve done all the hard work for you, so dive right in and tighten up security without needing to do more than install a simple plugin.

how to fix a hacked wordpress website
WordPress gets a lot of 'love' from bad guys

Table of Contents

Wordfence

One of the most popular and arguably the best WordPress security plugin, the classic Wordfence is simple yet pleasingly robust. 

I have used this juggernaut of a security plugin on several websites and I am very pleased with it.

Free security solutions are typically lacking in all the functionality you need but with Wordfence, you’ll get endpoint malware and a firewall scanner without being forced to pay.

If you need some extra firepower, there’s a premium version starting at $99 annually for a single site. For 15 licenses or more, expect a steep discount.

From country blocking and manual blocking to protecting against brute force attacks, you can rest more easily with Wordfence installed.

The scanning element of this plugin will analyze all your files for malware, not just your WordPress files. Fight back against malware, real-time threats, and remove the spam that blights your site without lifting a finger.

If you want to learn how to configure this plugin be sure to check out my in depth YouTube tutorial below.

Akismet

Akismet is a WordPress security plugin used on millions of sites to help webmasters fight back against the curse of spam.

Once activated, this plugin will prompt you to acquire an API key from the Akismet site.

This superb automated tool will check your comments against a sprawling global database. Any comments with a whiff of spam are filtered out automatically. You can see at a glance which comments were automatically screened and which were picked up manually.

Initiate the Discard feature, and Askimet takes the most offensive spam out of commission, freeing up disc space and speeding up your site. 

I love this plugin and use it on all of my websites.

Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security is a free WordPress plugin that is a very good alternative to the WordFence security plugin.

Sucuri offers some very cool security features including:

  • Blacklist monitoring
  • Effective security hardening
  • File integrity monitoring
  • Post-hack security actions
  • Remote malware scanning
  • Security activity auditing
  • Security notifications

Opt for the premium plugin, and you can also ramp up your website firewall.

The plugin works by scouring for any modifications to core files in your WordPress installation. You can then determine whether these changes are the result of a broken file or a hack.

I feel the core strength of this plugin is the agile way it handles activity monitoring.

Sucuri stripped this plugin of any bloat the average website end-user won’t need, creating a swift but stable solution for anyone looking to ratchet up the security of their WordPress site.

If  I had to choose between WordFence and Sucuri, I would go with the former but the latter is a very good alternative in case you don’t like WordFence.

WP Security Audit Log

best wordpress security plugins - wp security audit log

Marketed as the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin and with over 100,000 installations to date, does the WP Security Audit Log live up to the hype?

In a word, yes. Whether you have a single blog or a group of sites, you’ll stay fully abreast of user activity. Being aware of what’s happening on your site allows you to intervene before suspicious behavior turns into a security breach. 

Think of this plugin as a security camera recording all activity on your WordPress backend.

You’ll benefit from all logging functionality with the free version. If you want reports, email notifications, and search, this calls for a premium plugin.

The free version offers support via WordPress forums, while a paid package entitles you to email and phone support.

WP White Security, specializing in WordPress security, admin, and password-management plugins, supports the plugin. 

WPS Hide Login

This extremely lightweight plugin allows you to change the default login URL of your WordPress website to something more custom.

This helps to add a layer of security by making it a bit more difficult for hackers to find a way to attempt to login to your website.

wps hide plugin

One important note: you’ll find both the wp-login.php page and the wp-admin directory become inaccessible once you activate this plugin. Bookmark these pages before installing the plugin. Once you deactivate WPS Hide Login, your site is restored to its previous state.

WPServeur, a web host specializing in WordPress installs, also offers plugins to secure, clean, and optimize your WP site. That said, the company only maintains this plugin so you won’t benefit from any support. Don’t let that put you off, though. 

Really Simple SSL

Would you like your site running on HTTPS, so your property is completely secured? How would you like to do that without needing to tinker around?

Hold on a sec … what exactly is HTTPS?

HTTPS is simply an internet protocol running behind the scenes that ensures all data transferred to and from your website is encrypted. This is extremely important on websites where sensitive data such as emails, passwords and credit cards are involved.

The idea here is that even if a hacker was able to intercept such data, they would not be able to do anything with it due to the encryption. 

What’s more Google has started to penalize websites that don’t have HTTPS so its best you ensure yours is.

You can easily tell when a website has HTTPS running by the padlock sign that will appear next to the URL in your browser.

https confirmation

Before anything else, you need to get an SSL certificate which you can get from your web host. Then, activate Really Simple SSL and enjoy a secured environment with a single click.

Really Simple SSL automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over HTTPS. 

If you choose the premium Pro plugin, a mixed content scan shows you what to do to acquire that padlock. Dynamic changes ensure you don’t need to alter the database to fix insecure content. You’ll also be free to enable HTTP Strict Transport Security and benefit from premium support if you decide upon the paid Really Simple SSL. You’ll also get improved feedback.

Enjoy redirects of all incoming requests to your site to HTTPS without needing to do any heavy lifting yourself. What’s not to love?

Conclusion

Security is one thing you cannot afford to take lightly with attacks against WordPress websites at an all time high.

If you would like to learn other effective methods of securing your WordPress website then why not check out my extensive tutorial on WordPress security.

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