WordPress sites account for over 35% of the total resources on the web, so it’s no surprise that this is a tidbit for hackers. And although WP CMS itself does not have critical vulnerabilities that ignore the security rules of WordPress, users are at risk. For example, many of them use outdated themes, dubious hosting sites, and modules with exploits, or choose weak passwords. Special security plugins are designed to protect you from such errors, which we will talk about today.
I have previously written about several useful modules, such as Theme Authenticity Checker for checking external links in themes or WordPress File Monitor for monitoring system files. However, nowadays, complex solutions that include all these functions are more popular. Plus, the developers haven’t updated their projects for a long time.
In general, according to Creative Minds, WordPress contains over 40,000 plugins. The almost unlimited assortment seriously complicates the choice. Many users install insecure plugins, and this is the reason why 22% of accounts fall victim to hackers.
The WordPress platform is so vulnerable also because the lack of complexity in the construction of a website attracts many people with no technical background. And not all newbies understand the need for (at least basic) cyber protection from online criminals.
And it’s not just about proven modules. For example, you go to a place with public Wi-Fi, open your laptop, connect to an unsecured connection, and start building a website. At this time, hackers break into the network and take over, among other things, your data. In the worst-case scenario, even bank card details can be stolen and money withdrawn from the account. To prevent this from happening, you need to install security plugins, as well as VPN. A virtual private network can encrypt your connection and make you invisible to fraudsters.
Let’s take a look at what the top 5 best plugins can do to keep your WordPress web project secure.
Sucuri: instant incident response
The Sucuri Security plugin requires at least WordPress 3.6, its settings can be easily edited to suit your needs. You can set up notifications about messages and mail, define the scan mode for problem areas, blacklist virus sites, and potential pests. Sucuri checks to engine key files with extensions CSS, Java, PHP, plus contains a firewall for advanced protection.
Machine learning technologies protect against hacker attacks, it is also possible to block bots and filter user comments based on location (geo-blocking). On the site, you can add protection using CAPTCHA, two-factor authentication, or by IP addresses – that is, you can configure the plug-in so that only your team, logging in from certain devices, gets administrative rights. Finally, it has a system recovery strategy after a hacker attack.
iThemes Security Pro
The developers of iThemes estimate that 30 thousand sites are hacked daily. Every 39 seconds, a cyberattack occurs somewhere in the world, and someone’s system gets out of control. Considering that this year the number of online attacks has increased by 300%, and half of all cybercrimes involve data leakage, it is worth taking care of security. So the plan for protecting WordPress – iThemes Security Pro, was created, which includes measures to prevent an attack, prepare to repel an attack, and be ready to fight.
Main features of iThemes Security Pro:
- stopping automatic attacks, preventing attacks using password guessing (brute force);
- scanning plugins and themes for vulnerabilities – and if problems are found, looking for updates to fix them;
- monitoring suspicious activity in order to fix the moment of data leakage, blocking hackers;
- restricting access to the site for bots, reducing the amount of incoming spam;
- requirements to set a complex random password and multifactor authentication;
- automatic measures that plugin developers take if they see a threat to the site.
Jetpack: technical solutions for everyone
Jetpack is considered one of the most affordable and easy-to-use WordPress security modules. Basic functions provide backup, unlimited storage, and are suitable for online e-commerce stores. Thanks to its tools, you can easily copy a resource or transfer it to a new hosting, as well as track changes in activity logs. In addition, there is an option to automatically scan for viruses and other threats, blocking spam. Finally, sites are protected by anti-brute force programs, which help protect the login page from attacks.
By installing the premium version of the plugin, users are able to optimize the web project for mobile phones and ensure high page loading speed. This plugin feature is made possible by the Jetpack and Google AMP partnership.
WordFence: hacking protection plugin
WordFence contains an end-to-end firewall and an option to scan for viruses. The module is capable of detecting malicious IP addresses, thereby improving the security of your site. The protection system includes a web application firewall that detects and blocks malicious traffic.
Plugin developers point out that WordFence performs better than cloud alternatives, regardless of whether you prefer SaaS, IaaS, PaaS. It is difficult for hackers to bypass the restrictions of these firewalls and steal your information from sites. In addition, the system protects against brute-force attacks and blacklists all IPs from which dangerous signals are received in real-time.
The built-in scanner checks key files, themes, and plugins, tracks possible viruses, incorrectly spelled URLs, spam, redirect viruses, and code injections. Also, the scanner compares your information with the main repository. If changes are made to the documents, the plugin immediately informs about suspicious activity.
BulletProof Security Options for Every Occasion
The BulletProof Security Module contains many useful features that protect your site from hacks, brute force attacks and other hacker attacks and information breaches. It boasts the following features:
automatic error correction and system cleaning;
scanning for viruses;
firewalls and built-in hidden plugins folder;
anti-hacker and spam system;
logging out of the system when the session ends automatically;
data and email backup;
modes of support for the public part of web applications and the software and hardware part of the service;
theme change and automatic updates.
Conclusion. How to choose a WordPress security plugin?
Of course, these are far from all the relevant solutions on the topic that now exist for the WordPress system. This list could easily be increased up to 10-15 points. Select only those security plugins that meet the following criteria:
- updated regularly;
- contain a backup function;
- include file monitoring;
- track attempts to log in and brute-force passwords;
- scan the site for viruses.
In general, when you are going to install this or that module on your site (not necessarily related to security, but any other), you should answer a few questions for yourself.
How many users have already installed this plugin? The more people prefer a particular solution, the more likely it is to be safe.
How many reviews were left, what is the rating of this module? By reading the reviews, you can also form an opinion about the app.
Do the developers provide active support? Making changes, proposing updates, implementing security patches? If there is regular support, even in the event of an online attack, you will be able to contact the developers and ask for help.
Is it possible to contact the developer of the application? Is this information publicly available? Having a contact indicates that you will be supported in any case.