Cyber-security is sadly something which has only come into the popular subconscious in the last decade or so. Yes, cyber-security has been around a lot longer than that, and there are plenty of instances where cyber-security will have helped average people secure themselves in previous years but the absolutely vital position it holds nowadays is only recently developed. It’s not hard to see why that is: for hackers and cyber-criminals of all shapes and sizes there are now so many more opportunities for them to take advantage of an innocent user. Technology is ubiquitous: everyone of a certain generation and below has a social media, possibly several, online instant messaging, does online shopping, receives targeted emails, does online banking and just, generally, lives their lives in the online sphere. With each new advancement in technology cyber-crime is given a fresh avenue through which it can exploit users.
An area that is certainly not immune is web hosting and website management. It’s likely that if you have a website then you might pride yourself on already understanding some of the threats which are out there for you and your website. But the truth is you likely don’t know the full extent to the vulnerability and, even if you do, you almost certainly don’t know how to deal with it yourself anyway. WordPress is a great resource for those of us who want simple solutions to website ownership and content management. It’s incredibly usable and it makes for an easy, stress-free way for an average user to get themselves a website or blog that can compete with more complexly coded sites. That being said, it still presents a security risk and it still demands the kind of protection that all sites need nowadays. So, to guide you through what is available, here are 20 security plug-ins for you to sure up your WordPress site.
Jetpack is made by people from WordPress itself so it’s one of the more popular options for security for your WordPress. Jetpack has a variety of uses, pertaining to social media, website speed and spam protection. There’s a fair amount of security which is included in the Jetpack free option but if you want the real heavy deal security then you ought to try the paid version, which, crucially, includes the benefit of security scans to check everything is in order at any time.
2. Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator offers a two-factor authentication option for your site. It’s a one-off feature: Google Authenticator only offers this security, in a very simplistic way. And yet, it is actually a fabulously good option for a lot of people. “Whilst some people will shoot for plug-ins which seem to offer it all, Google’s authentication plug-in is the sort of thing which they won’t find in the average package, and it’s very helpful”, writes Jason Alex. GA will offer you a second layer of security at any login portal.
3. Security Ninja
Security Ninja has a great selection of features attached to its free package, which makes it a valuable resource for those wanting to do security on a budget. The main plug-in, and the only one you can get in the free deal, performs over 50 checks to various points of the login process, as well as monitoring user passwords to get read of weak login information and educate users on security.
4. Shield Security
Shield Security is a complete plug-in that offers a really wide-spanning site security spectrum. It is a very good resource for anyone who worries that they are not on top of their site security but doesn’t understand where to go from acknowledging that fact. Like many of the others, Shield have a free option, but their ‘Pro’ service is really outstanding, with an incredible 24hr security hotline for your benefit.
5. Sucuri Security
Far and away one of the most famous options for securing your site. It’s an intuitive and rigorously designed application which will ensure that your site stays well protected even on the free plan. The free plan, impressively, gives you an auditing option which you can use to check how well the software is defending your site for you and allows you to make changes based on that information.
6. iThemes Security
iThemes Security is an absolute heavy hitter in the world of plug-in security options. Shaking off it’s previous identity as Better WP Security, iThemes gives you 30 or so tools for preventing hacks and cyber-criminals, excelling particularly in recognizing vulnerabilities and old, weak software.
7. WP fail2ban
Much like Google Authenticator, WP fail2bn only offers the user a single feature: protection against a brute force attack. “Brute force attacks are unsubtle and simplistic but can be deadly for certain sites. An algorithm runs every combination of password and username until it finds one that lets it in, which might take days, or minutes, but will hurt your site when it inevitably works”, write Ahmed Amin. Protecting against this is vital and done well by this software.
New to the market, SecuPress, which used to be known as freemium, SecuPress is deeply user friendly, with an excellently optimized interface for use by anyone of any level of knowledge and understanding. It’s inexpensive in its full form and it is good at identifying attacking bots.
VaultPress is one of the few security add-ons which doesn’t have a free version, so it’s going to be much more useful to you if you have a pre-existing understanding of security. VaultPress excels at its backup scheduling with clear and easy to use out backup monitors.
Defender is as basic as it gets. Not necessarily in terms of its content being simplistic, but the layout and user-friendly interface makes cyber-security seem like a doddle. It’s specifically good for WordPress and quickly identifies changes made at the directory level and allows you to restore in a matter of seconds.
Bulletproof is a retro-esque security software which comes in a free package and a paid package as well. The paid package, conveniently, is a one-off payment not a repeated fee and only costs $69.95. You can try out the free plug-in first off and then see if the added features that come with the paid version are worth the time and money.
12. Astra Web Security
Astro Web Security is a really complete and complex security add-on. In fact, it’s more like a security suite of sorts with such a broad-spanning range of services available to users. It’s an incredibly valuable service which gets billed annually depending on how much you make use of it. It’s an incredibly reliable brand, used by some of the biggest companies in the world, so, if you want guaranteed quality and an extremely broad range of tools then Astra is your best bet.
13. All In One WP Security & Firewall
This is an incredibly comprehensive look at WordPress security, with an easy interface and some valuable premium plans available to anyone looking for a wide variety of tools and good usability. With Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels there is literally something for anyone, no matter how much or how little you know about cyber-security.
14. WordFence Security
WordFence Security is one of the most popular plug-ins for security out of all of the ones on the list. Its biggest appeal is that its free version is as good as some companies’ premium content. It has an active traffic tracker which allows you to monitor activity on your site, both potentially criminal and not. The more you know about cyber-crime, the cheaper it gets, since developers can get a package that is premium but with a huge discount.
15. WordPress Antivirus Site Protection
Another wordy one, this plugin is really helpful for some of the more insidious virus attacks. It’s specifically targeted towards WordPress and allows you to root out worms, spyware, adware and redirection viruses with a few clicks. It’s an active defender as well, so as soon as the plug-in recognizes some sort of breach on the site it will notify you to confirm if it is benevolent or malevolent.
16. VIP Scanner
This is one of those plug-ins which does exactly what it says on the tin: it scans. In this instance, VIP Scanner will scan files on your website to help you to find any vulnerabilities, in a pre-emptive attempt to stop any potential breaches before they have even begun. It’s extremely simplistic which makes it easy to use. However, just because it is user-friendly, doesn’t stop it from being valuable for your site security.
Loginizer is another fairly self-explanatory one for you. It is again a single-minded add-on which deals with security surrounding your log-in portal. In this instance it behaves a bit like WP fail2ban, since its main focus is to identify and defend against brute attacks: bots which behave like they’re in a war of attrition by wearing through all of the log-in options for a website until they find one which works. It only takes one for the breach to be made and, once this has been established, any sort of chaos can be reeked on your website. Loginizer also allows you to customize a threat list, so you can black-ball IP addresses that you consider threatening to stop them before they’ve even begun any sort of attack. A simple but highly utility-oriented resource for site security for your WordPress.
18. Cerber Security And Antispam
Cerber Security and Antispam is a very clear software, much like Loginizer, in terms of its focus. It quickly nips brute force attacks in the bud by using authentication cookies t see if a certain IP access point is trying over and over again to access the log-in portal. Once it knows it black-lists the address until you stop it. As such, the program has a blacklist and whitelist mechanism, whereby you are able to control your site’s relationship with certain users. The antispam mechanism is extremely useful, particularly for bloggers to help them identify repetitive, annoying remark in the comment sections of the sites. It may be simple, but it packs a punch and is great at getting certain jobs done, with a great deal of efficiency and effectiveness.
19. BBQ (Block Bad Queries)
Despite its humorous name and a lot of its marketing material looking like a college student’s computer science project, BBQ is a really useful, if somewhat simplistic, firewall plugin. It’s super, super easy to use and can be accessed and utilized in a few clicks. It’s a brilliant tool for beginners who don’t know how to jump into the world of cyber-security and want something they can understand as a building block to more complex destinations.
It doesn’t really get too much simpler than this, in name or in practical use. Antivirus does exactly what it seems that it might do: it scans your WordPress site and searches for viruses in the form of malware, adware and spam. If anything is discovered on your WordPress you will quickly be notified as it does require a human gaze to establish the exact nature of the threat and, consequently what it is that should be done about the threat itself. Very simple, yet extremely useful.
It is a sad truth of the world that we live in that so many people are ignorant about the rough realities of the cyberworld. Part of this has to do with the fact that technology develops quicker than the solutions for securing it, leaving cyber-security as an industry somewhat lost at sea. But, on the other hand, people are ill-informed. Hopefully with this exhaustive list of options you will find the protection add-on that will keep your WordPress site safe forever. Securing your site will save you a world of pain and struggle in the long run, believe me.
Working as a content marketer and editor at Academicbrits, Michael Dehoyos helps companies create effective marketing strategies. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise and does so through blogs and other online publication.