WordPress is a popular CMS because it is easy to use. That is why a lot of beginners are turning to it for building dynamic websites. The challenges that a WordPress beginner faces while choosing a WordPress security solution are quite significant. Because the WordPress community is overwhelmed with so many security solutions to choose from.
While getting to know modern and up to date security techniques can help people save their websites from being hacked, this is not the case with beginners. Not everyone wants to get down and dirty with the codebase and implement security hacks. Yes, I am talking about business professionals and even the beginners who want to secure their websites without having to code anything. This series about WordPress security is focused on helping you secure your websites, irrespective of the level of knowledge you have with WordPress code.
So, if you're a beginner, I recommend starting with the introductory article about why WordPress security is important? However, if you are an experienced user, you may read about the WordPress admin security. I have something for everyone. Let’s talk about WP security for beginners.
WordPress Security for Beginners
If you want to beef up the security of your WordPress installation without having to code or if you want someone else to take care of WP security for you, then this is the post where you will find both free and paid tools to do just about that. As it turns out, there are a lot of WordPress security solutions out there. Once can find more than 1000 WordPress plugins against the keywords search for the word “Security.” The problem, however, is, which plugin you should rely on? Well, I have had been using several security plugins for more than 5 years now. That’s why I am going to recommend a few of them.
The plugins and solutions that you read about in this post are most definitely not the only solutions out there. On the other hand, this is a list of popular WordPress security plugins a few of which I recommend. One should use at least one plugin and solution to secure their websites from the list below.
iThemes Security is my go to WP plugin for securing a WordPress website. That’s both because 700,000+ sites are using this plugin and that it does help a lot.
Chris Wiegman is one of my developer friends in the WordPress community built this plugin which was later acquired by iThemes. I mentioned this only to highlight two major facts about this plugin. First, Chris is an incredible developer, and I trust his work. Second, iThemes is one of the strongest WordPress companies which means this plugin is very well supported and updated quite often. Currently, this is the best available free security plugin since it tops the list with 700,000 active installs. It is a complete security solution offering more than 30 ways to safeguard a WordPress website.
Once installed you can sit back and let the plugin do its wonders. The plugin performs the functions of malware detection, removal, and future protection. Regarding flexibility, the plugin is structured equally well for both the beginners and experienced users. You can customize and set it up the way you want it to work.
iThemes Security plugin protects against most of the security threats with features like locking down WordPress accounts, two-factor identification, inspecting any changes in the core files, maintaining strong passwords, hiding login and admin pages and much more.
It also offers a PRO version with several advanced options which starts at $80 per year for securing two sites.
Sucuri leads the premium WordPress security market with the most prestigious repute in the community. Tony & Daniel have done an incredible job keeping up with the latest security trends and securing several thousand WordPress websites. For WordPress, Sucuri has a free plugin, for Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening of your website. But the paid services by Sucuri are worth every penny. Their monthly pricing packages are available at cost effective rates starting from $16.66 per month. If you are a professional who wants one of the best security solutions for website security, then you should think about choosing Sucuri to handle WP security for you.
Sucuri provides a complete model for monitoring and preventing your websites from being attacked and hacked. It offers WAF firewall, antivirus, and malware removal services to their customers. Their security team is available in case you want to discuss a security threat. Apart from malware detection and protection, they are quite up to date with the latest hacks. Let’s say you have been hacked; Sucuri team can remove the malware within 12 hours. They also inform you readily in case of any malicious activity.
Sucuri also offers features like regular backups, real-time alerts & scan, SSL certificates, protection against DDoS attacks, identification of DNS and WHOIS changes, etc.
Maintaining regular backups is an important aspect of website security, and VaultPress offers excellent premium services in this respect. With reasonable per month rates, VaultPress provides backups and security services to its clients. Essential services like automated backups, regular security scans and efficient support from the team are all part of their package. I have been using VaultPress since it came into being. The team has helped me track and resolve several security threats in third party plugins for several years. I definitely recommend this solution for off-site backups and the security scanner.
If a website gets hacked, they ensure rapid and easy restores bringing back your online presence. I'll be covering more on this in an upcoming article.
Wordfence Security is another security plugin which is available in both free and premium versions. More than a million websites are using this free plugin. Its powerful Web Application Firewall along with an auto-updated Threat Defense Feed safeguards your website from being hacked. Both these features contribute in blocking threats like fake Google Bots, Botnets, etc.
The plugin incorporates an efficient scanning mechanism which notifies you about any suspicious activity. It monitors the website not only for malware but also for any file changes, code injections, login attempts, etc.
Wordfence Security plugin offers a unique feature of Live Traffic View which displays every single stat in real-time. This means you can take timely action in case of a hacking attempt. It includes a Falcon Engine which provides turbo fast caching process. There also exist two separate compatibility caching modes along with cache management features like the ability to clear the cache and monitor cache usage.
For more advanced features and options, you can subscribe to its premium version. One problem I had with Wordfence was when they over-publicized a minor vulnerability by calling it a major issue. Apart from that, I have heard good things about them.
The All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin is unique to its counterparts regarding user experience which is kept simple especially for beginners. Without getting into complex settings, users can easily configure the plugin and enjoy a secure online experience. Currently, it has an active user base of more than 400,000+ site installs which places this plugin in direct competition with the iThemes Security and several other security plugins.
With its intuitive set of features, you can enhance the security of your website many folds. An interesting feature is the grading system which ranks the safety level with a rating between 0 and 470. This way you can find out which web component needs more security. All of this appears on the main dashboard.
To avoid your site from going down, the All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin implements its functionality in three broad categories i.e. basic, intermediate and advanced. For a safe start, you can kick off with the basic features and then jump to other levels as per your expertise.
A more extensive list of security features includes preventing hotlinking of images, protection against brute force attacks, database prefix management, firewall protection, ability to disable meta information, blocking IP addresses, etc.
Staying cautious about your website security has no downside to it. Instead, it leaves you in a much safe zone and puts you in a better position than someone who opts to do nothing. Apart from the plugins which I have listed above, there are several other options available and are capable enough of safeguarding your website. But if you are looking for the best of the lot then I'll recommend iThemes Security plugin as a free solution and Sucuri as well as VaultPress as paid solutions.
So, which security plugin do you use as on your WordPress websites? Share your experience in the comments below.
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