Regardless of your site’s niche, security is crucial. It protects against malicious hacking attempts and ensures your user data is safe. However, you can often become overwhelmed with all of the advice given on site security.
WordPress provides a simple way to position your website against security breaches, through its selection of security and antivirus plugins. They provide you with extensive security features – including firewall and hack 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 discuss what to look for in a plugin, then compare some of the top options (including WP Engine’s own built-in features in it’s managed hosting platform). 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 it is with the use of a WordPress security or antivirus plugin. This enables you to expand your website’s security easily.
WordPress plugins are easy to install, and many security solutions protect your site with a minimum of clicks, meaning they’re a great choice for beginners.
How to Choose a WordPress Security or Antivirus Plugin
When choosing a WordPress security or antivirus plugin for your website, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider. These factors – including reliability, defense tactics, and how it affects site performance – will ultimately help you narrow down your options.
If you’re a WP Engine customer, it’s also important to be sure that any plugins you choose aren’t part of WP Engine’s disallowed plugins list. These interfere with the platform’s smooth running, but there are plenty more options available.
WordPress Security and Antivirus Plugin Comparison
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 also need to consider whether a particular plugin works for your website. After all, the security needs of an eCommerce site will be different to 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!
Askimet is a spam filtering plugin created by Automattic, the developers of WordPress. Its main function is to scan comments and form submissions for spam content. Perhaps the best thing about this plugin is that it’s free for personal bloggers. Though, businesses and commercial websites will need to pay (starting at just $5 per month, per site).
Askimet is a great tool for smaller sites. However, even paid websites will receive only 100,000 checks per month. As such, it’s not the best choice for websites with a lot of traffic.
A freemium security plugin, BulletProof Security offers basic and advanced website protection to its users. Its most noted features include one-click setup, malware scanning, Idle Session Logout (ISL), and login monitoring.
While great for personal websites, including blogs and galleries, you may want to look for something more robust for sites dealing sensitive personal data, such as eCommerce sites.
Sucuri Security is another very popular security option for WordPress, and is used by hundreds of thousands of websites.
The main limitation to Sucuri is in its free offerings. 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, including 24/7 malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, and Denial of Service (DoS) mitigation.
iThemes is a brand with multiple WordPress plugins, including iThemes Security. 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.
However, although the plugin is used by many, the company have been subject to security breaches in the past. This (of course) raises question about its reliability, especially for sites handling personal data.
WP Engine’s Built-In Security Features
While not a WordPress plugin, WP Engine does offer built-in security features to its users. 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, you gain 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.
What’s the Best WordPress Security Plan for You?
Choosing the best security plan for your WordPress site can be difficult. Let’s take a brief look back at each of the outlined options, including how we’d grade them and their overall strengths and weaknesses.
As a standard spam security plugin, Askimet is a solid choice for low-traffic websites. However, even the paid option limits the number of spam checks per month, which requires us to give Askimet a ‘C’.
BulletProof Security is next on our list, with its main strength being features such as login monitoring and HTTP error logging. The drawback is most of these features are part of the premium version (which is a bit pricey), but we believe the plugin overall deserves a ‘B’.
As our lowest-rated security WordPress plugin, Sucuri Security offers a poor array of features in the free version. It functions more as an alert system than it does a preventative security plugin. As such, we’re giving it a ‘D’.
iThemes Security is a tough one, as its range of features makes it a desirable choice. However, previous security breaches makes us wonder about its reliability, so it gets a ‘C’ from us.
By and far, we believe WP Engine to be the clear winner in terms of features and reliability. These are extended to all websites hosted by WP Engine, and the 24/7 monitoring and support is just one feature that puts it above the other options.
Streamline Your Security
WordPress security plugins can provide your site with protection, but even they can introduce vulnerabilities. Essentially, you’re only one hack away from a compromised website.
Another option is to streamline your site’s security and have it handled by your hosting provider. This is exactly what WP Engine offers with its built-in security measures. While not an exhaustive list, some of the most important features include:
- Internal code reviews.
- Managed security patching.
- Automatic WordPress core updates.
- 24/7 security threat detection (including XML-RPC attacks).
- Emergency remediation services.
Are you ready to put your website in the hands of a capable and reliable host? Take a look at our managed hosting plans to start!