Every minute, over 90,000 cyber-attacks happen to WordPress sites. While WordPress itself is quite safe, hackers find vulnerabilities often in plugin and themes along with account security issues to wreak all kinds of havoc.
Whether you are a blogger, eCommerce platform, brochureware, or anything else, your site is your investment. Here are the essential WP security plugins you need to get installed on your site ASAP.
Why Do Hackers Target WP Sites?
To begin, it’s not just WP sites that hacker attacks. We know this. Email, social media, IoT devices, and websites are all frequent targets. But WordPress sites have key data that fraudsters want to get access to. And they also leverage users’ lack of expertise to get it. Since WP is so easy to use, it’s not difficult for them to find victims—it’s a numbers game.
Think about all the valuable information your site contains. You might have customer records, employee information, personal details, and much more. They might then sell this information on the dark web. Or they may just lurk in the background waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Either way, it’s a serious risk!
At the same time, hackers know that downtime is immensely damaging for businesses. Even taking a site down for a few hours can do irreparable damage that many firms, especially in today’s economy, could never recover from. So, fraudsters may resort to ransomware or other types of attacks.
It doesn’t matter who you are. Whether you have a brand new blog with an audience of five or a budding eCommerce empire that will soon rival Amazon, cybercriminals are interested in your WP site. You need to start defending yourself now.
What Do Hackers Target on WP Sites?
Again, it’s hard to know exactly. They’ll find whatever weaknesses are out there. The most frequent targets are plugins and themes.
Plugins and themes are what make WP so feature-rich to create a unique web experience. Unfortunately, not all plugins have the same stringent security. If developers accidentally or intentionally left weaknesses in the code, hackers could gain entry into your site.
Of course, mistakes can happen with even the biggest and best. Even Facebook and Microsoft make mistakes. Pay attention to all themes and plugins in your download.
At the same time, you need to track all updates and changes to plugins and themes before allowing updates to happen on your sites.
In addition, hackers attack weak security credentials. WP has default admin tools. If you don’t disable these or change them to unique usernames, hackers already have the login ID. Then they can brute-force attack passwords to break their way into your site.
Be sure to change these defaults. Also, you don’t need to post with the same name as your login ID. Use nicknames for all accounts instead.
Likewise, you need to ensure all your passwords, especially for anything WordPress related, are robust, lengthy, and unique. IT should be nothing anybody can guess. That’s why you need a password generator.
With a password generator, you can create amazingly tough passwords like “vD%rFDGm m2M” that even supercomputers couldn’t break. To store these awesomely difficult credentials, use a password manager. Password managers are secure digital vaults that make it easy for you to create and manage passwords while facilitating more comfortable access. It’s the perfect win-win.
Essential WP Security Plugins
The best defense is a good offense. While these awesome plugins don’t exactly go out and actively attack hackers, they create a much higher security level for your WordPress site. Combined with the essential tools and strategies described above, it will radically enhance the safety of your site.
While there is no such thing as 100% security in the online world. It’s important to remember that, like most criminals, fraudsters target easy victims. And with these tools, you’ll be getting up there with NSA in terms of security.
1. iThemes Security
iThemes Security does a little bit of everything. And yes, it does focus on those important themes! iThemes makes it difficult for hackers to crack passwords and includes a huge range of different protections.
They have site intrusion detection, site monitoring, one-click restore, and many other useful security tools. Another advantage it has is tracking 404 error results, which are often a sign of attack.
iThemes is perfectly in the middle between being easy enough for beginners to use but having a pretty excellent depth of features making it a good fit for most WP users. Pricing starts from just $80/year
2. Sucuri Security
Sucuri Security is another of the highest-rated security plugins. It also has a ton of excellent features, including post-hack security actions, activity auditing, and file integration monitoring.
It’s well-suited for the techies out there who are looking for granular control. It’s also very affordable, with basic plans starting from just $9.99/month.
If you eat, breathe, and sleep WP, then this is definitely that plugin for you.
3. WordFence Security
WordFence Security is among the highest-regarded security vendors for WP. They are so well-respected, in fact, that many consider them to be thought leaders in the cybersecurity arena.
It has a ton of features, but one of the best is the plugin scanning tool. This allows them to check your site for malware and other threats. You’ll also have access to firewalls and other tools.
You can get started using WordFence for free and have access to anti-malware scanning and live traffic. But the upgrade is definitely worth it. You’ll get spam filters and remote scanning to get you closer to that dream of 100% online safety.
4. BulletProof Security
Don’t you want your site to be bulletproof? BulletProof Security Is also a touch more on the affected side with key security features that revolve around your core .htaccess file. The main thing it does is create better login security, including 2FA along with site monitoring and firewalls.
But it also has nifty back-end maintenance tools to ensure everything is running safely and smoothly behind the scene.
There is both a free and premium version ($69.95 one-time fee). Like every other option on this list, it’s definitely worth the Pro upgrade for Intrusion Detection and other great tools.
5. Security Ninja
With a name like that, how can you not be convinced? Security Ninja is a good option for those who want to be hands-off in terms of site security. It performs 35+ security checks, including scans for brute force attacks, malware detection, and IP blogging.
What’s great about Security Ninja, however, is how focused it is on prevention. It also scans for other threats while taking preventative measures to resolve issues before they knock your site offline.
You can get Security Ninja for $7.99/month or $39.99/annually. They also offer deals on multi-sites and white label reporting making it a great asset for professional WP site managers.
Protecting Your Valuable WordPress Site
We’ve only just scratched the surface of excellent WordPress security plugins. But you don’t need to go overboard. Many of these tools have overlapping features.
Though it might not sound like the most fun way to spend a couple of hours, take advantage of free plans, free trials, and discounts to find the best fit for your site.
Regardless of what you choose, the most important thing you do is embrace a security-first mindset. You’re only as secure as your weakest team member.
So, it’s your own way to create a culture of security. Start by encouraging password security through password generators and password managers. Next, find other ways to beef up your security like using VPNs, firewalls, and other network security tools.
While doing this, take time to educate your employees about the importance of cybersecurity. Finally, have a plan for what happens should an attack occur. In the digital world, there’s always a risk of attack even if you do everything right.
Knowing how to respond, having backups in place, and being ready to deploy is how you can minimize damage and stay ahead of attackers. Do your homework and start practicing security now to stay safe in the future.