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WordPress is one of the world’s most well-known and popular content management systems. So many people build websites on WordPress because it’s a versatile platform. And it’s also quite secure, as a team of developers is dedicated to making the platform more secure.

That said, the platform is still vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Throughout 2020, WordPress sites ranging from small blogs to large corporate websites were struck by more than 2,800 hacking attacks every second. This is why security issues are on the list of concerns for new and experienced site owners.

Website hosting providers can provide you with essential server security. But it’s recommended to invest some effort in keeping your site safe. 

A great way to protect your WordPress site from security vulnerabilities is by installing plugins that improve your site’s security measures. Plugins make WordPress so versatile in the first place, so definitely take advantage of them.

But choosing plugins to install is a challenging task. There are loads and loads of options to choose from, so how do you decide? 

That’s precisely why we’ve created this article to help you out. Look at nine of the best WordPress security plugins to protect your website from malware, hackers, force attacks, and other malicious security threats.

Related content: The 13 Best WordPress plugins not related to security.

Keeping your WordPress site secure with security plugins

WordPress developers constantly work to protect the WordPress source code with ongoing security updates and patches. However, no WordPress site is the same. Every website is unique, with its concerns and issues related to security.

An online store processing transactions with customers’ credit card information might need different protection than a photographer’s portfolio. In any case, a quality plugin for protecting your site against security threats should include some of the following essential features:

  1. Ongoing site monitoring, including regular file and malware scanning.
  2. Firewall protection.
  3. Blacklist monitoring for protection against dangerous sites.
  4. Authentication protocols for users in different roles.
  5. Password protocols that reject weak passwords.
  6. Immediate email notifications of suspicious activity.
  7. Site and file backups for protection against attacks, outages, and other events.

If you’re using a shared hosting provider, putting strong security in place protects your site and others on the server. Malware introduced through one site can infect others in the shared space. It can even cause a server to crash, taking down all the sites hosted there.

The best WordPress security plugins

The best WordPress security plugins are easy to install and customize. Most security plugins are free to use, with premium options that offer more features than some sites may need. In addition, many options are available in the official WordPress plugin directory, which you can easily access from your site’s admin dashboard. 

A single plugin might not offer all the features you want. But it’s always possible to install multiple compatible ones to get the exact set of protections your site needs to fend off malware, force attacks, and hackers.

In this post, we introduce you to nine WordPress security plugins that our experts at Bluehost recommend. All of them are highly rated and frequently installed.

  1. Sucuri Security

Sucuri is a full-featured security plugin for WordPress sites from the website auditing company Sucuri. The basic version of Sucuri is free, and users can also purchase a premium version with additional features. 

Both versions of Sucuri include security activity auditing, file monitoring, and malware scanning. Sucuri’s premium version also includes third-party features, such as Google Site Browsing and McAfee Site Advisor. In addition, Sucuri provides immediate email notification of suspicious activity and blacklist monitoring.

  1. WordFence

This free WordPress plugin offers continuous malware checking, spam, bot-blocking, and two-factor authentication for all users. In addition, WordFence can scan a site’s host for potential ”backdoors” that could put websites at risk. 

It also allows users to block traffic from specific sources and countries if desired. The malware scanner plugin also sends instant email notifications of possible security breaches. 

  1. All-in-One WordPress Security and Firewall

This free plugin is easy to install and use without coding or development experience. The All in One WP Security Firewall scans sites for security weaknesses, recommends preventive measures, and monitors account activity. 

This robust plugin also automates backups and performs some automatic fixes when it detects the presence of malware. This specific WP security plugin works with most other plugins and sends immediate email updates when needed.

  1. Block Bad Queries (BBQ) 

Plug-n-play functionality in a simple, no-configuration-required package is something every website manager can appreciate. Protect your site against dangerous URL requests with BBQ, which monitors for malicious code and blocks terrible requests. 

This plugin also works with a standalone script (PHP-powered sites). BBQ is based on the 5G/6G blacklist. Speaking of blacklisting, the 6G Firewall Update from Perishable is available. 

  1. Defender

Defender is a free plugin from WPMU Developer with an array of user-friendly security features. Defender provides two-factor authentication for all users, sites, file scanning, and IP denylisting and monitoring. 

Defender’s premium version offers additional features to meet specific needs. For example, the free and premium versions include instant email notifications of security issues on the WordPress website.

  1. WordPress File Monitor Plus

When you want to monitor everything that happens in your files, WordPress File Monitor Plus will alert you every time anything changes. While most users appreciate the granularity, some caution that the updates can be overwhelming since files may have hundreds of changes daily. 

To get the most benefit from this plugin, you’ll have to take the time to monitor file changes religiously to differentiate the “normal” changes from the “dangerous” ones.

  1. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is one of the market’s top-ranking and most popular scheduled backup and restoration plugins. This free plugin with premium options features real-time and scheduled backup of all posts, media files, comments, and other site content. 

It can protect you against losses caused by viruses, hacking, or “real-world” events like accidents or power outages. And you can quickly restore your backups with just a single click. The premium option provides even more features, like restoring backups from other plugins.

  1. Google Authenticator

Many quality WordPress security plugins include two-factor authentication, but users can install this feature separately with the Google Authenticator plugin. 

It adds two-factor authentication for all users and works with all devices. This is also the only free plugin on this list, and it’s a good one.

  1. iThemes Security

iThemes Security malware scanner is available from iThemes in free and premium forms. This plugin can scan your website and provide automatic fixes for security issues. It also bans bots, spam, and users who have attacked other websites. 

The premium version includes additional security features, including a strong password generator, scheduled malware scans, and a dashboard widget for managing all functions.

Final thoughts

WordPress powers millions of websites and blogs around the world. Unfortunately, these sites can become targets of malicious activity. It’s impossible to guarantee that your site is safe from cyber-attacks and other security issues. But there’s still a lot you can do. 

You’ll know when security issues arise by installing plugins on your site. 

You can then fix these issues and prevent them from happening again. The best security plugins provide comprehensive, customizable solutions to protect your website from cyber threats of all kinds.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your website’s security. Our expert team of professionals is always ready to help!

What are WordPress security plugins, and why do I need them for my website?

WordPress security plugins are software extensions that enhance the security of your WordPress website. They provide additional layers of protection against common threats like malware, brute force attacks, and suspicious login attempts. Using security plugins is crucial to safeguard your website, customer data, and maintain a trustworthy online presence.

How do WordPress security plugins work?

WordPress security plugins work by implementing various security measures to protect your website. They may perform tasks such as:
Scanning for malware or malicious code in files and databases.
Implementing firewall rules to block suspicious IP addresses.
Enforcing strong password policies and limiting login attempts.
Monitoring for unauthorized changes or suspicious activities.
Sending security alerts and notifications to website administrators.

Are WordPress security plugins enough to protect my website, or should I take additional security measures?

While security plugins significantly enhance your website’s protection, they should be part of a comprehensive security strategy. It’s essential to take additional measures like:
Regularly updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins.
Using strong and unique passwords for all user accounts.
Regularly backing up your website’s files and databases.
Enabling two-factor authentication for extra login security.
Choosing a reliable and secure web hosting provider.

Do I need to pay for a premium version of a security plugin, or is the free version sufficient?

The free versions of many security plugins offer basic security features that can be helpful for smaller websites. However, premium versions often provide advanced functionalities, priority support, and additional security options. If your business website handles sensitive data or experiences higher traffic, investing in a premium version might be worthwhile for the extra protection and support.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator


  1. Reply

    My website was hacked several months before. I will try these plugins now.

  2. Hi! Thanks a bunch for these helpful tips. It really is hard to stay safe now!

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