5 Vital WordPress Security Plugins To Improve Your Website Security

WordPress is the most widely used CMS on the internet, but is WordPress safe? Indeed, that tremendous popularity makes WordPress websites a perfect target for hackers.

Every year, a ton of WordPress websites are hacked and shut down. Adding WordPress security plugins to your website is thus highly critical.

Here’s a table of contents to help you navigate this post:

  • Why do you need to install at least one WordPress security plugin?
  • What are the best security plugins for WordPress?
  • How to strengthen the security of your WordPress websites with a few actionable and easy to implement actions.

Bottom line: you need a security tool on your WordPress site to have a successful business online.

Julio Potier (WordPress security expert and founder of SecuPress) and Ryan Dewhurst (Codebreaker and founder of WPScan) helped me to write this article. 

Do I Need a WordPress Security Plugin?

Websites are like stores. You have to protect them or they get robbed and damaged.

Figures about WordPress Security

Two years ago, a report from Sitelock revealed that the typical small business website is attacked 44 times a day.

According to a study made by Sucuri in 2017, out of 8000 infected websites, 74% were built on WordPress.

An amazing infographic made by WPClicboard perfectly sums up WordPress security statistics for 2020.

WordPress security statistics for 2020

So yes, you need a WordPress Security Plugin on your website.

Is WordPress a Security Risk?

WordPress is probably the most secure CMS to build your website. But please, keep in mind nothing on the internet is 100% secure.

In 2017 1.5 million WordPress websites were hacked because of a core vulnerability. The issue was quickly dealt with: WordPress has been safe and secure ever since.

Here is the reason why: the WordPress community is so huge and so talented that security breaches are identified and fixed almost instantly. But still, so many WordPress websites are hacked every day.

You have to understand that WordPress has some good security measures in place, but it’s nothing compared to what the best security plugins can provide you with like:

  • Permanent Security & Intrusion Monitoring;
  • File Scanning;
  • Malware Detection;
  • Blacklist Monitoring
  • Firewalls
  • Brute Force Attack Protection
  • etc, etc.

Only 3% of the incident affecting websites are discovered.

These are frightening figures that should encourage you to install a security plugin.

“WordPress today is a mature and secure software project, trusted by millions of users, which even includes the White House’s official website. In terms of security, the main problem that we are seeing is with third-party WordPress plugins, with 87% of vulnerabilities within the WPScan WordPress Vulnerability Database being attributed to plugins. That being said, we are seeing a gradual increase in the quality of plugins on the official WordPress plugin repository. To keep your WordPress website secure I recommend that you keep your everything up to date, choose a strong admin password and install a security plugin.” @Ryan Dewhurst – Founder & CEO at WPScan

How Can I Strengthen The Security of My WordPress Website Without Plugin?

Vulnerabilities and security breaches are almost always related to human misbehaves.

So the best way to improve your website security is to be watchful about a few things!

Plugins and themes vulnerabilities

nerabilities by component


According to the WPScan database, 95% of WordPress vulnerabilities are actually coming from themes and plugins

WPScan Database

And 95% of this 95% are actually coming from free themes and plugins. 

The best way to protect your website from hackers is to keep your plugins and theme up to date. You should also remove all the unnecessary plugins installed on your website.

Remove PHP Errors

This tip might be more tricky to implement if you are not comfortable with the PHP language.

Plugins and themes can generate a lot of PHP Errors.

Most of them are harmless, but some might jeopardize your website and lead to downtime.

To know which plugins generate PHP Errors, you need to access the WordPress Error Log.

The easiest way to do this is to install WP Umbrella.

php issues

Go to the PHP Monitoring tab et enable the advanced view.

PHP error logs

From here you can access all the errors and related information necessary to troubleshoot them and make your WordPress website more secure.

Some people think that a not updated plugin will generate security flaws, like it’s growing in it. Of course that’s not how it works. Every plugin, theme or even CMS core has some sort of security holes, but until it’s discovered it’s not a problem. The problem exists when they are discovered and not fixed, luckily (or not) the WordPress community is full of white hat people who will responsively disclose the issues, so when you hear “this plugin/core flaw has been discovered”, it’s already patched. ” Julio Potier CEO @Secupress

Carefully Select Your Hosting Provider

Needless to say that selecting a secure hosting should also be one of your top priorities.

Before looking into security plugins, you should make sure that your WordPress host has significant security measures.

Here are some of the security measures a good WordPress hosting provider should provide you with:

  • Two-factor authentication;
  • GeoIP blocking;
  • Hardware firewalls;
  • Encrypted SFTP and SSH connections;
  • Automatic backups;

Kinsta, our hosting provider, offers all these services.

Each website its own password

Using the same password for every website is bad.

Using the same password on several is the best way to get hacked.

Not all sites are secure. If you use the same password from everywhere and a hacker manages to get it, he will have access to all your accounts.

You must choose a different password for each site you use.

Best WordPress Security Plugins in 2021

If you’re in a hurry, check this summary table. If you’d like to see our in-depth analysis of every security plugin, keep reading!

Plugin FeaturesPerformanceSupportPricingOverall
SecuPressRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty 69$Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty 
WPScanRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full

Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full
5-25$/monthRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty 
iTheme SecurityRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty80$Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty
WordFenceRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty100$Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty
Sucuri SecurityRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty 200$Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty

5. WordPress Security Plugin – WordFence

WordFence is the most popular security plugin. The license for 1 website costs 99,99$. WordFence includes:

  • Web Application Firewall (WAF) that identifies and blocks malicious traffic. Unlike similar cloud alternatives, WordFence does not break encryption, cannot be bypassed, and cannot leak data.
  • WordPress Security Scanner checking core files, themes, and plugins for malware, backdoors, and code injections.
  • Leaked Password Protection blocking logins for administrators using known compromised passwords.
  • Two-factor authentification: This is one of the most effective ways to stop brute force attacks permanently.

WordFence Security plugin is not the best WordPress security plugin because it requires a lot of resources from your server. 

This can slow down your website load times, which is terrible for SEO and UX. 

Besides, in a shared hosting environment, the plugin triggers might issue and mess up with the data stored in your database.

WordFence Reviews

The last reviews on WordPress Plugin Directory are not great since 3 out of 8 reviewers complain about having their website hacked.


The most popular plugins never are almost the best ones. This is the price of fame!

Final Thoughts About WordFence Security Plugin

Overall Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty   
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Score: 19/35

4. iThemes Security – Built By The WordPress Security Experts

iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) offers you over 30 ways to secure and protect your WordPress site.

With +1 million active installs, it is the second most popular security plugin on the market. iTheme Security features include:

  • WordPress Brute Force Protection: people trying to guess your password will be locked out after a few attempts.
  • File Change Detection: The plugin will alert you if any file changes, so you know if you have been hacked.
  • 404 Detection: If a bot is scanning your site for vulnerabilities, it will generate a lot of 404 errors. The plugin will lock out suspicious IP generating 404 errors in mass. 
  • Database Backups: the plugin will regularly send you backups of your website, so you don’t lose any content if you are hacked.

iTheme Security has a nice and easy-to-use dashboard. The plugin costs 80$ per website.

iTheme Security Reviews & Final Thoughts

iTheme Security has nice support, a user-friendly dashboard, and will consume fewer server resources than WordFence. That’s why I’d advise you to chose iTheme security over WordFence. 

But there are many other amazing security plugins, and you should keep reading this article!

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Score: 21/35

3. Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening

Sucuri is a globally recognized authority in all matters related to WordPress website security.

Sucuri WordPress

It offers its users a nice set of security features:

  • Remove Website Malware: Sucuri Security helps you to remove any malicious code in your website file system or database.
  • Remove Blacklist Status: it submits blacklist removal requests on your behalf.
  • Repair SEO Spam: the plugin helps you to track keyword stuffing and link injections.
  • Website firewall: Securi has developed a firewall (WAF) for WordPress that blocks attacks by filtering malicious traffic.

The plugin is one of the most expensive security plugins for WordPress: 200$.

Sucuri Security reviews and final thoughts

Securi Security is a good WordPress plugin and probably has one of the best firewalls.

The plugin also provides server-level scanning and monitor new and potential security threats. However, it increases load-times and people are really infuriating about this.

My advice: it’s not worth to pay 200 bucks for something that slows down your website. Keep reading!

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Score: 19/35

2. WPScan – WordPress Vulnerability Database

The WPScan WordPress Security Scanner plugin scans your website daily to find security vulnerabilities listed in the WPScan Vulnerability Database.

Unlike other plugins, WPScan does not slow down your WordPress websites. The database is maintained by 3 people, 100% dedicated to WordPress security.

WPScan main features also include:

  • Check for debug.log files
  • Check if XML-RPC is enabled
  • Check for wp-config.php backup files
  • Check for code repository files
  • Check for exported database files
  • Check if default secret keys are used
WPScan Pricing

The plugin has monthly pricing: from free to 25$ per month.

WPScan reviews and final thoughts

WPScan has fantastic reviews and WPScan users look happy about the quality of the support provided.

WPScan doesn’t offer some security features such as WordPress Brute Force Protection or WordPress Firewall, but it’s an amazing scanning plugin.

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PricingRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full Rating Star Full
Score: 25/35

1. SecuPress – Premium WordPress Security Plugin

SecuPress Premium Security plugin for WordPress

SecuPress is another great security plugin for WordPress. This plugin will protect your WordPress website with malware scans and block bots & suspicious IPs.

SecuPress gives its users a useful set of security features:

  • Brute force protection;
  • Blocked IPs and Firewall;
  • Security alerts ;
  • Malware scan;
  • Protection of security keys;
  • Vulnerable Plugins & Themes detection;
  • Etc,

With 69$ (= 60€), SecuPress is the most affordable security plugin for WordPress.

SecuPress Reviews and final thoughts

SecuPress has some great reviews from the French WordPress community, where Julio Pottier (SecuPress CEO) contributes to assisting WordPress developers in securing their code.

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Ease of UseRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty   
SupportRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty 
PricingRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full Rating Star Empty
Score: 28/35

And you? What’s your favorite security plugin for WordPress?