WordPress Security and Antivirus Plugins

The word "security" on a computer screen

Regardless of your site’s niche, security is crucial. It protects your website against malicious hacking attempts, and ensures that your user data is safe. However, all of the advice available on site security can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, WordPress provides a simple way to protect your website against security breaches, through its wide selection of security and antivirus plugins. These add-ons provide you with extensive security features – including firewalls and activity monitoring – and ensure that your site and its visitors remain safe.

In this post, we’ll cover the benefits of WordPress security and antivirus plugins. We’ll also discuss what to look for in a plugin. Then you’ll get a look at how our own built-in features stack up to other top options. Let’s get started!

What are the Benefits of a WordPress Security or Antivirus Plugin?

Security is an important factor for any website owner to consider, and one way to achieve this is with the use of a WordPress security or antivirus plugin. This enables you to expand your website’s security quickly.

Even better, WordPress plugins are easy to install. With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to protect your site. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, since there are options for every comfort level. 

How to Choose a WordPress Security or Antivirus Plugin

Narrowing down your choice of security plugin might seem daunting. You’ll want to keep in mind the goal or purpose of your website, and what kind of data might be shared by visitors.

When choosing a WordPress security or antivirus plugin, there are a few other factors you’ll want to consider, including: 

  • Reliability. You’ll want to make sure the plugin can do what it says it will. It’s best to download plugins from trusted directories or marketplaces. You can also read some of the user reviews, as well and look to see how often the plugin gets updated. 
  • Defense tactics. It is important to review your chosen plugins to see if they offer the security tools you need most. Some of the options you might check for include authentication methods, file access control, and the ability to disable error reporting. 
  • Site performance. Reviewing any new plugin for compatibility is a recommended practice. You don’t want your security plugin to disrupt your site’s performance. 

If you’re a WP Engine customer, it’s also important to be sure that any plugins you choose are not on our disallowed plugins list. These tools can interfere with your site’s smooth performance. However, there are plenty of other compatible options available.

Top 7 Security and Antivirus WordPress Plugins 

With so many security plugins available, it’s important to have all of the information you need to choose the right one. This includes the features, benefits, and pricing models offered by each. You’ll also want to consider whether a particular plugin works for your website. After all, the security needs of an eCommerce site will be different than those of a blog.

To give you a hand, we’ve highlighted the top choices and compared their various elements. Let’s take a look!

1. BulletProof Security

Bulletproff security wordpress plugin banner

A freemium security plugin, BulletProof Security offers basic and advanced website protection to its users. Its most notable features include one-click setup, malware scanning, Idle Session Logout (ISL), and login monitoring.

While this tool is great for personal websites, including blogs and galleries, you may want to look for something more robust for sites dealing with sensitive personal data, such as eCommerce sites.

Pros:

  • A one-click setup wizard
  • Several automated features for whitelisting and cleanup
  • Database backups and restoration

Cons: 

  • PHP and HTTP error logging are available with the paid, pro version
  • The user interface can have a steep learning curve

Cost:

2. Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security plugin banner

Used by hundreds of thousands of websites, Sucuri Security is another very popular security option for WordPress. This powerful plugin cleans and scans your website of any malware threats. With Sucuri you can choose to clean a hacked site of viruses or protect your site from future attacks. The toolset for security integrity monitoring will harden your site and make you feel more at ease with activity monitoring, integrity monitoring, malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, and more.

The main limitation to Sucuri is its free version. There is very little in the way of true website protection, and it’s more of an after-the-fact alert system. However, the premium version is robust, and includes 24/7 malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, and Denial of Service (DoS) mitigation.

Pros:

  • Provides a DNS-level firewall
  • Provides a post-hack checklist of actions
  • Keeps track of any file changes

Cons:

  • Free features are limited
  • Is mostly a robust monitoring system

Cost:

  • Freemium
  • Plans are based on how frequently a security scan is completed, and start at $199.99 per year for scans every 12 hours. All plans also come with varying levels of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. 

3. iThemes Security

iThemes Security plugin banner

Another giant in the security world, iThemes Security offers over 30 ways to keep you safe. You have the option to enable or disable any of the features you want. The plugin offers brute force protection, database backups, banned users, and more. 

One of the plugin’s advantages is its wide range of featured offerings, even for the free version. These include password enforcement, file change detection, and comment spam blocking.

While this plugin is quite popular, the company has been subject to security breaches in the past. This (of course) raises questions about its reliability, especially for sites handling personal data.

Pros:

  • Extensive list of features in the free version
  • Brute force attack protection
  • Very easy to set up

Cons:

  • Comprehensive user support is only available with the pro version
  • The plugin can break your site due to simple things like not having an SSL certificate

Cost:

  • Freemium
  • The Pro version is sold by individual site license. One site license is $80 per year, 10 licenses are $127 per year, and there’s an unlimited option for $199 per year. 

4. All In One WP Security & Firewall

All in One WP Security & Firewall

The All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin is a popular and highly-rated tool. It has a user-friendly interface, and covers most of the security areas you’ll need to protect your WordPress website. 

True to its name, this plugin is really useful right out of the box. You won’t need to spend much time configuring settings or setting up options. 

Pros:

  • A security points grading system
  • Three levels of security rules for gradual, progressive installation
  • Choose between Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced settings

Cons: 

  • Enhanced customer support is a paid premium feature
  • Support is limited to a forum

Cost: 

  • Free

5. Wordfence Security

WordFence Security plugin banner

With over 3 million active downloads, Wordfence Security is one of the most popular security plugins for WordPress. This plugin’s primary defense systems include an endpoint firewall and a malware scanner. 

When it comes to ‘hardening’ features, Wordfence has them all. You can choose to fix issues yourself after the plugin scans your website. You’ll also receive information on what level of concern a problem is, so you can decide how to handle it. 

Pros: 

  • Regularly updated to fight known vulnerabilities
  • Malware scanner will block malicious requests
  • An extensive dashboard of security information and reports

Cons: 

  • Learning curve can be steep
  • Advanced features cost extra 
  • High-sensitivity screening can return lots of false positives

Cost:

6. MalCare Security

Malcare Security plugin banner

MalCare offers a security solution for every level of WordPress user. This plugin brings a lot of security features to your website, without a confusing interface or hundreds of complicated settings. 

This plugin differs a little from the others, in that it claims to offer a full service. You’ll be able to manage security for multiple sites from one dashboard, where you can also restore site backups at any time. 

Pros:

  • MalCare’s ‘cloud scan’ won’t slow your site down
  • Boasts a 50 second setup process, with no technical knowledge required
  • Offers repair of a hacked site in 60 seconds

Cons: 

  • Free features do not include clean-up options after a hack
  • Does not currently offer two-factor authentication

Cost:

  • Freemium
  • Malcare has three levels of pricing, plus a custom plan option. You can secure one site starting at $99 per year. 

7. Shield Security

Shield Security plugin banner

Shield Security has over 800 five-star reviews in the WordPress Plugin Directory. One of the nice features of this plugin is the User Session Management tool. This monitors all user logins and offers important restrictions. 

One of the most interesting things about ShieldSecurity is the pricing plans. While there is a free version, you’ll need to upgrade if you want premium support and extra features. Fortunately, you can secure one site for a very low cost.

Pros:

  • An active support team
  • Easy-to-use guided wizards for navigating feature settings
  • Offers protection from automated spam comments

Cons:

  • No malware scanner

Costs: 

What’s the Best WordPress Security Plan for You?

Now that you’re armed with information about the many top-notch security plugins available, you might need to revisit the key criteria for choosing one for your website. If you recall, plugin reliability, site performance, and defense tactics are some of the most important features to keep in mind. 

Additionally, you’ll want to consider your plugin budget. While there are some excellent free options, it’s best to do a close review of the features list to see if your chosen plugin offers premium upgrades. You won’t want to go through installation and setup just to find out that the feature you wanted most requires a costly upgrade. 

There’s one other security element to consider when developing your website strategy. You’ll want to investigate the security features your web host offers. Plugins are definitely a recommended way to add features and security to your website, but if your hosting platform doesn’t take security seriously, you might find yourself swimming upstream. 

Securing Your Site on WP Engine 

Here at WP Engine, we take security very seriously. While we don’t offer a standalone plugin, our security environment is feature-rich and fully managed: 

When you host your website with us, you’ll be able to take advantage of the following features: 

  • Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates: Ensure that your data transfers are encrypted and secure with the one-click addition of a free SSL certificate. 
  • Managed WordPress core updates: You can avoid many vulnerabilities by never missing minor core updates, and receive update recommendations on major overhauls. 
  • Threat detection and blocking: Our security system is always looking for malicious activity, and we block any traffic that looks suspicious. 
  • Malware scanning and cleaning: You can rest easy knowing that if your site is hit with malware, we’ll detect it, clean it, and report back to you on the results. 
  • Disaster recovery: If the worst happens, we offer expert-level recovery assistance to get you back online as quickly as possible. 
  • Daily encrypted Backups: Think of this as a priceless insurance policy, in case the unthinkable happens and you need to restore your site from a secure backup. 

If you require something beyond our standard security offerings, we offer several security add-on options as well. Our Global Edge Security solution comes to you through our partnership with Cloudflare

Starting at $30 per month, you can get enhanced security features that include protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. This is an essential safeguard for business websites. 

Additionally, Global Edge Security offers protection through a web application firewall. This means your database will be protected from SQL injection threats. This feature will update in real time, in order to respond to emergent hacker techniques. 

Another option we offer is our Smart Plugin Manager. Plugin vulnerabilities are the number-one source of security risks on your website. We’ve created a solution to time-consuming plugin management tasks, so you can get back to business. You can add the Smart Plugin Manager to any of our plans for $100 per year. 

Increase Your Website Security With WP Engine

While not a WordPress plugin, WP Engine does offer built-in security features with all of our hosting plans. These include real-time threat detection, enterprise-grade firewalls, and best of all, free hacking remediation by security experts.

When you choose WP Engine to manage your website, not only do you gain excellent developer resources, but you also get an entire security team with the know-how to keep your website up and running. Even more, WP Engine will do all of the hard work for you – there’s no security configuration required!

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