7 Best Free WordPress Security Plugins To Keep Away The Hackers

In this post, I’m going to present some of the best WordPress security plugins that are worth your attention. WordPress is the most popular blogging CMS in the world. The WordPress is used by more than 27% of the websites around the web, and this share is increasing daily. Due to this fact, hackers tend to target WordPress sites. In WordPress, outdated version, plugin vulnerabilities, permission issues, are all the factors that contribute to the likelihood of your WordPress site being hacked. Although you tend to keep all the stuff up to date, with automatic updation of the plugins, themes, and WordPress files, still there is some risk of hackers hacking into your site.

In WordPress, outdated version, plugin vulnerabilities, permission issues, are all the factors that contribute to the likelihood of your WordPress site being hacked. Although you tend to keep all the stuff up to date, with automatic updation of the plugins, themes, and WordPress files, still there is some risk of hackers hacking into your site.

Some of the best WordPress security plugins

After installing WordPress on any new server, it’s crucial to install at least one of the WordPress security plugins, that I’m gonna mention in this post. These security plugins scan your site regularly for malware, keep the hackers out by masking unwanted info about your server, blocks malicious IP addresses from accessing your server, and keeps the bad boys out.

The fact is that there are a plethora of WordPress security plugins in the WordPress repo. It’s just not so easy to install a security plugin that perfectly safeguards your WordPress site without causing overhead on the server.

#1. iThemes Security

iThemes Security

This is the best WordPress security plugin. I was previously using WordFence for my security needs. But the downside of WordFence is that is that the plugin is using way too resources on my server. It was causing CPU spikes on both my shared and VPS hosting servers, shutting down the database access.

Later when I was searching a good alternative to WordFence I came across iThemes Security plugin. It’s both resource friendly and offers some great features to protect you from the hackers.

After installing iThemes Security, you just need to enable all the recommended features it suggests. The plugin protects your site in 30+ different ways like fixing common WordPress vulnerabilities, stop automated attacks, strengthening credentials, Brute force protection, and others. All you need is to just activate the plugin, and you are good to go. It also offers you a free API key for you to activate the network brute-force attack prevention. It prevents your server from being hacked by the IP addresses that are known to be malicious and flagged by iThemes Security plugin on other WordPress installations.

This is the WordPress plugin I recommend you to use if you are running on shared server or if you are running on limited resources which are in most of the cases.

#2. WordFence Security

WordFence

It is the most popular WordPress security plugin with over 1 million installations.

The system is constantly updated with Threat Defense Feed and web application firewall ensures that your site won’t get hacked. The major feature of this plugin is the live traffic monitoring, in which you can monitor the activities of the users visiting your site and can detect any malicious activities. This feature is resource-hungry, and you may need to deactivate this feature if you are using a shared server.

The plugin is efficient at blocking out fake Googlebots and spambots that are scanning your site for vulnerabilities and automate the attack. Your server will be blocked from the list of malicious IP networks that are identified with the help of other sites running with WordFence. This by installing WordFence, you not only protect your site but also help other sites from being attacked.

It is the most updated WordPress plugin, and this plugin was the reason why WordPress was resistant to the Heartbleed attack that affected some servers years ago.

It also ensures that the integrity of the core WordPress files and plugin files are maintained. If any unauthorized changes are made to the files that may harm the integrity of the system, the plugin notifies you instantly. It also scans for any malware in your file system and removes them by notifying you.

#3. Security Ninja

Security Ninja

This is one of the new WordPress security plugins, that’s great at securing your WordPress site.

This plugin performs 40+ security checks on your WordPress site with just one-click.

These security checks include plugin or theme vulnerabilities, brute-force attack prevention and testing password strength, version hiding. The database, PHP, and apache configuration tests are made regularly to ensure that no un-authenticated changes are made to the configuration files.

This plugin is also available as a pro version. This pro version includes modules such as core scanner, malware scanner, scheduled scanner and event logger module.

This is one of the lightweight security plugins I’ve used. I tried it on shared hosting environment also, and the plugin performs tests and scans without any lagging. It’s not that resource intensive like that of WordFence and others with real-time monitoring.

The plugin is actively being developed and the new features are being implemented after each update.

I found the interface of the plugin very easy to use than other plugins. The plugin UX is very refined and clean.

Another thing to note that is the plugin won’t make any changes to your site. It just warns you or suggests you of any security vulnerabilities and you need to fix it.

#4. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security

This is one of the best feature-rich WordPress security plugins I’ve come across. As like that of others, this is available in both free and pro versions. The protection includes firewall security, login security, database security and backup. It implements the website firewall in the .htaccess file and imposes strict monitoring mechanisms for preventing brute-force attacks. The idle session logout and auth cookie expiration are very effective to logout a user automatically who gained access to your WordPress account without using a password by using vulnerabilities or somehow.

It also checks for any hidden plugin files, or code that does not meet the WordPress coding standards. This helps very well in detecting any nulled scripts are detrimental for your site’s security.

The pro version of the plugin includes advanced features like intrusion detection, real-time file change detection, plugin firewall, HTTP error log, database error log, etc. There are dozens of other advanced features in the pro version of the plugin.

Some of the features like real-time monitoring will cause an overload of limited CPU. These features are only suitable if you are running on dedicated servers. However, if you plan to use the plugin on a shared hosting environment, you can selectively disable the real-time monitoring features.

#5. All In One WP Security & Firewall

All In One WP Security & Firewall

This is one of the good WordPress plugins for ensuring the security of your WordPress site. The plugin essentially includes some of the major security features packed inside a single plugin.

Some of the times the misconfiguration of the firewall plugins can lead to crashing or letting the entire site down. With this plugin, the security features are grouped under basic, intermediate, and advanced. By this, you would be aware of what you are doing while playing with the plugin.

The basic security features are like changing the login username, creating strong passwords and come basic user accounts security. There is also a login security that locks down specific IP addresses from attempting to login to your system after some failed attempts. It completely gets rid of brute force attack that is most common in the case of WordPress sites. If you seeing any abnormal with your site, you can logout all the logged in hosts in a single click. Along with this, the plugin also enables you to add a captcha to your login form to prevent malicious users trying to attempt logging into your site.

File system security enables you to detect the files in your server that have improper permissions set to them, that would be useful to you if you are in an unmanaged server like DigitalOcean and messed up with permissions of the files.

The firewall also offers various functionalities to prevent backdoor attacks to your site by logging 404 occurrences, pingback vulnerability protection, preventing fake bots from crawling your site and also blocking bots that repeatedly access the XML-RPC file and send malicious packets to hack into your site.

This plugin also comes with file change monitor feature that alerts you whenever any change is made to the file system that seems suspicious. It will also scan for database tables and searches for any strings that match the malicious patterns.

It offers an exhaustive list of security features to keep your WordPress site from being attacked.

#6. Shield WordPress Security

Shield WordPress Security

This is one of the highest rated WordPress security plugin. The plugin is made with keeping compatibility and ease of use in mind. Except for the version which provides premium support, there are no so-called pro features you need to unlock. All the features are available in the free version also.

There are several features in this plugin like blocking malicious URLs, spambots, preventing brute force attacks, audit log, and others. It blocks all the traffic that comes to your site that does not obey the firewall configuration rules. The plugin automatically handles the blocking of IP addresses that are known to be dangerous and it has a list of IP addresses and constantly being updated.

It also does a great job of filtering out spam comments and human generated spam comments without the need of any paid subscriptions or activating Akismet. It easily integrates with other spam detection plugins like GASP Spambot Protection and adds much more spam detection methods like comment tokens.

The plugin works well even in the case of shared hosting environment as it utilized minimal resources for it to run. The plugin writes itself into the cache settings and minimizes the firewall database access every time a page is loaded.

#7. Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security

Sucuri is the first place that most of them suggest when your website gets hacked. Hopefully. they also have a WordPress plugin that scans your site for malware and potentially hardens the security of your WordPress site.

This plugin has seven key features like.

  1. Security Activity Audit Logging
  2. File Integrity Monitoring
  3. Remote Malware Scanning
  4. Blacklist Monitoring
  5. Effective Security Hardening
  6. Post-Hack Security Actions
  7. Security Notifications

Another great feature is that it makes use of the blacklist database of leading antiviruses like Sucuri Labs, Google Safe Browsing, Norton, AVG, ESET, McAfee, BitDefender, and is efficient at finding the malware on your site using the blacklists.

This is also available as a pro version which includes Sucuri CloudProxy Website Firewall. It is an add-on security service that protects your site from DDOS attacks, exploitation, zero-day patches, and also brute-force attacks.

This is one of the most matured malware scanning plugin yet available for WordPress.

Akshay Hallur
 

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