Running a business online is a lot like owning a house. One of the first things we do when we buy a house is to lay security measures. You wouldn’t want anyone trespassing, damaging or stealing your property now, would you?
Then why would you leave your site open to trespass, damage or theft?
Yes, we are talking about securing your website from those pesky and unsolicited hackers and bots. If you’re thinking that your site is too small to be a target, you’re thinking wrong. 99% of hacked websites are nonprofits, blogs, and small business, proving that big business websites aren’t the only ones being targeted (Source: TechRepublic).
There’s clearly more to it than meets the eye. Why do hackers like small websites?
A hacker targets a site for its server resources. They hack small sites to find vulnerabilities in the core of the software and then use that information to hack bigger sites that run on the same software. Once hacked, they can use the site to redirect traffic to other sites that promote gambling, pharmacy solutions etc. They could also use the links on the site in link schemes, which could lead to the security issues mentioned below.
What happens when a site gets hacked?
Your web host might suspend your site and take it down.
Google may blacklist your site and show a big red warning to visitors.
You stand to lose revenues as your website is inaccessible to your visitors.
You can lose confidential user data, email and much more.
Your SEO rankings take a big hit that can take months to recover.
A hacked site could permanently damage your carefully-built reputation.
Lastly, you don’t just lose money. Seeing all your hard work vanish in minutes takes one hell of an emotional toll on you.
With new malware being found everyday, it is more important than ever to employ security measures to secure your site. This can be done effectively by using a WordPress Security Plugin.
What do you look for in a Security Plugin?
- Impact on Performance: Scanning a site for malware is a heavy process that can take up server resources. This in turn could slow down your site. A plugin with off-site scanning would have zero impact on site performance.
- Scanner quality and effectiveness: Most plugins use signature matching to identify malware. Because of this, complex malware could go undetected and continue to wreak havoc. It’s always better to use a scanner that uses additional algorithms and signals in order to detect complex malware.
- Malware Removal Speed: Once a malware is detected, it can take quite some time to be removed – a process that could slow down your site. Look for a plugin that removes malware instantly and also offers manual cleanups.
- Real-time protection: A plugin with a strong firewall would protect against Brute Force Attacks, block bad IPs and provide Geo blocking.
- Verified Email Alerts: The plugin should immediately notify you in case of threat so you are 100% aware of your site activity. In many cases, plugins alert you without verifying malware, causing unnecessary panic. Look for a plugin that verifies malware before notifying you.
- Frequency of Updates: A plugin that is being updated regularly is a reflection of a dedicated team behind it who are working on making it better. Ensure the plugin you choose has been updated at least once in the last year.
Which Security Plugin is the one for you?
If you are serious about your WordPress business, you should definitely use security plugin to keep your site secure. But with so many options available, which one is for you?
After thorough research and careful consideration, we have compiled a list of the top 5 security plugins. Let’s take a look at them to find the perfect one for you!
MalCare’s Deep Scan Technology has been developed after analyzing over 240,000 sites. It has identified 100+ Intelligent Signals to accurately detect even the most complex malware on your site. MalCare cleans out malware on your site with surgical precision, using a one-of-a-kind one-click malware removal service.
From the House of BlogVault Backup and Security plugin, MalCare is already making waves as the most efficient plugin to secure WordPress sites.
Automatic and On-Demand Malware Deep Scanning
Complete site scanning
Offsite malware scans
Instant Malware Removal
Verified Email Notifications
Monitors Core Files changes
Zero effect on your site performance as it does the site scanning on its own servers
They can detect both known and unknown malware as they do not rely just on signature matching and look at 100+ signals
You can clean your website instantly without having to wait for hours or days
They claim to have zero false positives when detecting malware
They offer multiple additional features in-built which can save you nearly 12 hours a week
Needs FTP credentials to clean your site (storing FTP details on any third party systems is not recommended and can have serious security implementations)
Pricing: starts from $99.00 /year
WordFence is a freemium WordPress Security solution with an endpoint firewall and malware scanner for additional security. It is an open source security software which is very popular amongst WordPress users. The free version of WordFence includes exploit detection and threat assessment features.
Brute Force Protection
Security Scan Alerts
Real-Time Monitoring using Threat Defense Feed
Incident recovery tools
High sensitivity scan: Scans site files and provides a detailed list of compromised files
Integrated Wordfence Falcon Engine: Server-side caching tool which loads your site faster, giving a better score on Google’s Page Speed Insights test
Live traffic View: Monitors live traffic and hack attempts by viewing Google crawl activity, logins, bots etc
Priority Support to Paid Users; they could even take a week to get back to a free user
Extensive email alerts during heavy attacks can cause panic
Scans are not done off site- this could be an issue especially if you are on shared hosting
User Interface is not beginner-friendly
Valuable features like real-time monitoring, country blocking etc are only available to premium subscribers
Pricing: starts from $99.00 /year
Sucuri Inc. is a reputed security service company that offers website security software and services to businesses of all sizes, all around the world. Sucuri’s products and services are not just for WordPress, but even for Joomla, Drupal, PHP, .NET and HTML too. Sucuri offers a free version but the real deal is in its paid plans.
File Integrity Monitoring
Remote Malware Scanning
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
Content Distribution Network (CDN)
Cloud-based Backup Service
Real-time DDoS mitigation
Extensive Firewall: Sucuri’s firewall blocks all the attacks before it even touches your server
Vulnerability Protection : With Sucuri’s WAF, IPS, Monitoring and Alerting System, your website will be less vulnerable to attacks
CDN Service: Sucuri’s CDN service gives you increased customer satisfaction rates, more page views, increase conversion rate and decreased bounce rate
Firewall and scheduled scans are available only in the premium version
On average security experts charge $250 / hour for consulting which can get quite expensive
Pricing: starts from $199.99 /year
iThemes Security (formerly known as Better WP Security) claims to provide 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. It can lock down WordPress, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials. iThemes Security uses Sucuri’s Sitecheck malware scanner to detect malware.
iThemes Brute Force Attack Protection Network
Monitors core file changes
Detects hidden 404 errors on the site
Backs up database on a schedule
iThemes Security forces you to use the latest versions of the themes and plugins as it mandates updates
You can turn off login for a particular period using vacation mode.
Google ReCaptcha 2factor authentication prevents unauthorized changes in the file system
Support is available only for Premium users
Basic features like Scheduled malware scan, two-factor authentication, password expiration, user logging and Google reCAPTCHA are available for premium subscribers only
Pricing: starts from $80.00 /year
Founded in 2008, the SiteLock cloud-based product offers automated vulnerability detection and malware removal, DDoS protection, website acceleration, website risk assessments, and PCI compliance.
Daily malware scans
Automatic malware removal
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
DDoS attack protection
Draft Mode Scans: Ensure the security of your site by scanning pages in draft mode
SiteLock’s TrueCode Static Application Security Testing (SAST): this finds common vulnerabilities by analyzing your site with “white-box” testing.
Costs can vary wildly between each customer.
Pricing: starts from $360.00 /year
Having a security plugin protecting your site definitely lowers the risk crashing. It is important to consider the effect of these plugins on your site and their efficiency in detecting malware and removing them.
This is why our top pick would be MalCare. With its powerful scanner that goes beyond normal signature matching and instant malware removal, it definitely takes an extra step towards securing your site. The offsite storage and easy-to-use dashboard makes it all the more reason to use MalCare. The idea is to save yourself time and keep your site protected 24/7 without too much hassle.