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5 top WordPress security plugins to install on your website

5 top WordPress security plugins to install on your website

Posted 09th October, 2018 by Aidan

WordPress is an inherently secure platform, but you’ll still need to take a few extra steps to tighten its defenses.

Fortunately, there are a lot of WordPress security plugins – even free ones – that can give you a helping hand. Of course, various solutions provide different functionality. For example, some scan for malware, while others help protect your log-in page, and so forth.

In this post, we’ll introduce five of the best WordPress security plugins, and discuss how they can be used to protect your site. However, first of all we’re going to explore why security should be a high-priority for you...

Why security should be a primary concern for you and your site

Before we proceed, we should talk about the importance of site security itself. Even cursory research into the topic reveals that an alarmingly high number of sites are either at risk of (or have already succumbed to) attack. As such, you should make security a priority now to avoid issues down the line.

Ultimately, you should fight the battle on a number of different fronts:

At a server level. On your actual site itself - otherwise known as the ‘application level’. *On a user-by-user basis.

Of course, this is a simplistic overview, but it helps to consider all ‘entry points’ of your site. These three represent the largest and most important, although they’re by no means the only ones.

5 top WordPress security plugins to install on your website

To start, having a watertight hosting provider and a clean, full backup will go some way to help protect your site. With these fundamentals in place, the plugins here will help complement your security efforts.

So here are five WordPress security plugins that will help strengthen your site. They’re all free at a base level, but most provide premium upgrades, which we’ll mention throughout.

1. Jetpack
Jetpack

First off, we have Jetpack. This is probably not a new plugin to you, but you may not be aware of its suite of security tools that can help to protect your site. These features sit alongside all of the plugin’s other functionality, such as contact forms, a selection of themes, search engine optimisation (SEO) tools, and more.

With regard to security, there’s a simple one-click option to protect your site from ‘brute force’ attacks. This – along with plugin update management and site downtime monitoring – is completely free out of the box. In our opinion, it’s a no-brainer – especially if you’re already using the plugin for its other features.

Jetpack also offers premium plans, which include malware scanning, automated daily backups courtesy of [VaultPress}(http://vaultpress.com), and spam protection courtesy of Akismet. By coupling this with a strong server-based Web Application Firewall (WAF) from the likes of Sucuri, you’ll have a complete security solution for the minimum of cost.

2. Sucuri security
Securi

Speaking of Sucuri, the company also offers its own free WordPress plugin that provides a slightly different toolset to the competition. For example, in addition to monitoring for malware, the plugin also performs file integrity scans, and logs activity on your website.

Coupled with its WAF (or another server-side solution), it provides a solid and dependable full-featured security suite that gives you the best chance of keeping your site safe. It’s worth bearing in mind that Sucuri’s WAF is one of the only server-side tools available – meaning their bundle can practically fully protect you, unlike many competing solutions.

If you’re not already aware, GoDaddy’s quality security tools are powered by Sucuri’s technology, meaning we’re fully confident of keeping your site, visitors, and data safe and sound. In fact, we also provide a number of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, which help you encrypt sensitive data, and keep it out of the hands of malicious users.

3. Wordfence
Word Fence

Next up, Wordfence is a popular alternative to solutions such as Sucuri, and offers its own take on what you need to protect your site. We’d argue that the features are more ‘standard’ than Sucuri’s, although there’s the additional inclusion of an application-level WAF. As we outlined, you should normally look to server-side WAFs as a matter of course, although this still does a great job.

In our opinion, Wordfence is one of the great WordPress security plugins available, and the premium upgrade path provides two-factor authentication (2FA), more frequent malware scans, country blocking options, and much more.

4. Two factor authentication
Two Factor Auth

Our next plugin leverages a hot topic in months gone past. 2FA is essentially a move to a password-free security setup, which has a number of benefits. It works by authenticating your log-in using a known device, such as a smartphone. This means that unless a malicious user has that device in your location (and your unique passcode), the login must have come from you.

As you can imagine, it’s a near-perfect way to ascertain whether a log-in is valid or not. Two factor authentication (from the UpdraftPlus team) lets you easily implement this on your website.

From reading the opening section, you’ll realize that this covers ‘user error’ type of security concerns. For example, a user setting an easily-cracked password will still have to authenticate the log-in via their device. This can cut down on the simple password attacks that plague multi-user sites.

5. WPS Hide Login
Wps Hide Login

Finally, we’re including a plugin that focuses on a slightly controversial topic. ‘Security through obscurity’ has proponents and detractors in equal measure, and being diplomatic, it’s our opinion that obscuring your log-in screen should only be considered a supplement to other security measures.

With that out of the way, WPS Hide Login simply lets you change the URL of your wp-login.php page to something not ‘scrapable’ by hackers and their bots. Of course, if they can’t locate your log-in page, they can’t attempt a brute force attack.

However, if you’re employing a server-side WAF (or even ‘single sign-on’ functionality as found in a plugin such as Jetpack) you ultimately may not need this type of plugin. It’s still very useful though, mainly because it can help quickly divert attention away from your login page in the event of an attack. Conclusion Given the huge amount of discussion associated with website security, you could be forgiven for getting overwhelmed and glossing over the subject entirely. However, doing so may be disastrous as it could lead to serious harm to you, your site, and your users. In short, it should be a primary concern, but securing your site doesn’t have to be very time-consuming.

In this post, we’ve looked at five WordPress security plugins you can confidently install to help protect your website. Let’s recap them quickly...

  1. Jetpack.
  2. Sucuri Security.
  3. Wordfence.
  4. Two factor authentication.
  5. WPS Hide Login.

Article written by Tom Rankin, staff writer at WordCandy

Categories: Security, Tips, Blogging, Marketing, Small Businesses

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