13 Best WordPress Security Plugins of 2022 (Compared – Pros and Cons)

Mar 30, 2022

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13 Best WordPress Security Plugins of 2022 (Compared – Pros and Cons)

Mar 30, 2022

by

If you’re looking to secure your WordPress site, a security plugin is the best way to go.

WordPress security plugins aren’t just convenient, but they are also the most efficient way to protect your site from threats and vulnerabilities.

But how do you pick the best WordPress security plugin?

WordPress security can be complex and tedious if you’re not familiar with the technicalities of your site. Fortunately, WP security plugins make it extremely easy to secure your site. 

There are so many WordPress security plugins out there that it becomes a whole new chore to even pick one. With something as critical as WordPress security, you shouldn’t just pick a plugin that seems okay. You need to ensure that it is effective, reliable, and a good fit for your site. 

In order to make this easy for you, we have tested and researched several security plugins for WordPress and listed them in this article so that you can pick the plugin that protects your site the best.

TLDR: MalCare beat every single WordPress security plugin on the list with its top-of-the-line scanner, intelligent firewall, and flawless one-click cleanups. MalCare’s accuracy and reliability make it the best available WordPress security plugin for your site.

13 Best WordPress Security Plugins to Protect From Hackers

In order to list the best WordPress security plugins, we ensured that our process was objective. We decided on three primary parameters for judging these plugins—scanner, cleanups, and firewall. Other features are a great bonus, but if a plugin doesn’t offer these critical features, there is no point in offering other features. 

Based on these, we assessed the following security plugins for WordPress.

1. MalCare

MalCare WordPress security plugin

MalCare definitely ranks the top among this list of best WordPress security plugins because of its best-in-class scanner, one-click malware removal, and strong firewall. MalCare’s security features make it an ideal choice for anyone who wants complete security for their website. We tested MalCare against various malware signatures and vulnerabilities across different sites, and every time we got an accurate scan report and instantly cleaned sites. 

malcare security

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Scheduled scans
  • One-click auto cleanups
  • Firewall protection
  • Login security
  • Quick and reliable support
  • Emergency cleanup services
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Bot protection
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Easy reports
  • Activity log
  • WordPress backups
  • Staging and migration
  • Geo-blocking IPs
  • IP whitelisting

Pros:

  • On-demand malware detection
  • Accurate malware scanning
  • Quick cleanups
  • Does not slow down site
  • Real-time alerts
  • No false positives

Cons:

  • The free scanner does not show the location of malware
  • Cleanups are not included in the free version

Price: Free/ Starting at $99 a year

MalCare’s strength lies in the way it functions. Usually, malware scans are an intensive process that spike the CPU usage on your website server, slowing your site down. But MalCare’s scanner does not take up any server space or use processing power, and therefore does not affect your site’s performance at all. 

You can schedule scans, harden WordPress, detect vulnerabilities, look for suspicious activity and malicious traffic with MalCare. MalCare’s list of features makes it very easy for you to protect your site without spending time doing so. 

2. Wordfence

Wordfence

If you have decided to invest in a WordPress security plugin, you have definitely considered Wordfence. But how does Wordfence fare against malware? Wordfence’s malware scanner uses signature matching to detect malware on your site. Which means that they have a library of malware signatures, which they use to see if your site has malware. Now to be fair, Wordfence has a pretty comprehensive signature database. But this also means that if there is a new form of malware out there, Wordfence won’t detect it until one of their team sees the malware. Wordfence also could not detect any database malware on our sites and its scanning methodology leads to false positives in the scan report. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanning
  • Firewall protection
  • Login security
  • Country blocking
  • Reputation checks
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Brute force protection

Pros:

  • Strong malware signature database
  • Priority support for paid members
  • Easy installation
  • Repair option in the free version

Cons:

  • Signature matching for malware detection
  • Slows down your website
  • False positives in scans
  • Too many alerts
  • No activity log
  • No bot protection

Price: Starts at $99/year, Premium cleanups at $490 per site

Wordfence is known to take up a lot of your server resources and slow down your site. Even so, Wordfence is the best available free security plugin for WordPress sites. It is in no way a complete solution, as Wordfence itself claims that the scanner and firewall do not operate at 100% on the free version. However, the premium version is not significantly better than the free one. Wordfence also charges an additional $490 per cleanup, which may not be affordable for everyone. Overall, we think that Wordfence is a great choice, but only if you want a WordPress security plugin and have no budget.

3. Sucuri

Sucuri Security
Sucuri Security

Sucuri’s security plugin offers all the right features for WordPress sites that want to secure their site. With a server-side scanner, a web application firewall, and a premium malware removal service, Sucuri ticks all the essential boxes. But how effective are these features?

We tested Sucuri on the same parameters as other WordPress security plugins, and we were largely unimpressed with the results. The malware scanner did not detect any malware on our site at all. This was surprising, given that we had ourselves put in the malware. Next, the firewall was a task and a half just to configure. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Web application firewall
  • IP whitelisting
  • Bot protection
  • Geo-blocking
  • Activity log
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Malware cleanups
  • Reliable support

Pros:

  • Quick installation
  • Quick and flawless manual cleanup 

Cons:

  • Ineffective malware scanning
  • Complex configurations
  • Too many alerts
  • Confusing firewall settings
  • No auto-cleanup
  • Inadequate brute force protection

Price: Starting at $199/year

Finally, we tested Sucuri for its cleanups. And we were pleasantly surprised this time. Our site came back completely free of malware and within four hours no less. Although, it is important to note that if we weren’t testing the site and had not known that the site contains malware for sure, we would have never made a cleanup request. So even though their cleanup service is great, it won’t be useful unless their scanner catches up. 

4. Jetpack

Jetpack

Jetpack is an all-in-one plugin created by Automattic which allows users to take care of their site security, backups, and performance from a single dashboard. Jetpack integrates with the WordPress.com dashboard, which acts as an external dashboard for your site. Their security package offers malware scanning, brute force protection, an activity log, and two-factor authentication.

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Brute force protection
  • Downtime monitoring
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Activity log
  • Two-factor authentication

Pros:

  • Strong support
  • External dashboard

Cons:

  • Only brute force protection included in the free plan
  • Scanner not effective for malware
  • Vulnerability detection is weak
  • No cleanups
  • No firewall protection

Price: Starting at $150/year

As far as website security goes, Jetpack is in no way comprehensive. They do not offer firewall protection or cleanups, both of which are essential when it comes to your site security. And when we tested the scanner, it only detected a part of the malware and vulnerabilities on the site. At $150 a year, Jetpack only offers a mediocre scanner with a few frills attached. You could scan your site for free on MalCare instead, which has a far superior scanner. Clearly, we would not recommend Jetpack for WordPress security. 

5. All-in-One WP Security and Firewall

All-in-One is a popular free WordPress security plugin that comes with a security scanner, firewall, and a few other features. A security scanner is distinct from a malware scanner, because it does not scan for malware at all. All-in-One’s scanner only looks for modified files on your site, which is not very helpful in terms of detecting malware. 

What to expect:

  • Security scanner
  • Spam protection
  • Firewall security
  • User account security

Pros:

  • Easy interface
  • Visual representation of data
  • Partial backups

Cons:

  • No malware scanner
  • No cleanups
  • Bot protection interferes with indexing

Price: Free

All-in-One claims to offer strong bot protection, but most of the user reviews for the plugin indicate that the bot protection feature stops ALL bots from crawling your site. There are certain good bots like googlebot that need to crawl your site for indexing, and All-in-One blocks them too. If you are looking for a free security plugin, Wordfence would be a much better choice.

6. Astra security

Astra

Astra security suite is a WordPress security solution with a plugin that offers malware scanning, firewall protection, malware removal, and several other features. Astra is known for its well-built and intuitive dashboard and convenient interface. Astra is also easy to install and set up. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Brute force protection
  • Firewall security
  • Manual malware cleanups
  • Login protection
  • Spam security
  • Blacklist monitoring

Pros:

  • Quick installation
  • Security audits
  • Convenient dashboard

Cons:

  • No auto-cleanups
  • Too many notifications
  • Expensive subscription

Price: Starting from $249 a year

Astra’s malware scanner allows you to schedule scans daily, weekly, or monthly. And Astra claims to have no effect on your server performance. Astra security usually offers manual malware removal but, at the time of writing this article, they were in the process of an upgrade and did not offer malware removals at all. Overall, Astra is not a bad option but at $249 a year, it is not feasible either.

7. SecuPress

SecuPress is a WordPress security plugin that is similar to Jetpack, but is nowhere as clear about its functions as Jetpack is. SecuPress offers a malware scanner and a firewall, but the language on SecuPress’ page and website does not clarify the way their scanner functions. They mention that the scanner looks for bad files in FTP, but the statement makes no sense given that FTP is not a location. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Firewall security
  • Security audits
  • Geoblocking
  • Automated scans
  • WordPress Backups
  • Security logs

Pros:

  • Easy interface
  • Security reports

Cons:

  • Inefficient malware scanning
  • No cleanups
  • Unreliable support
  • Complex configurations
  • Infrequent updates

Price: Free/ Starting at $59 a year

SecuPress does not offer cleanups and their users often complain of their support. However, SecuPress has a great interface which is usually what users are attracted to. Given that SecuPress has questionable security at best, we would not recommend it to anyone.

8. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security is a great security plugin for WordPress enthusiasts. It offers several features that are available in its free version as well. But the interface can be tricky, as the configurations get technical and complex. The plugin comes with a malware scanner, firewall, and a repair option to delete infected files. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Firewall security
  • Security logs
  • Partial backups – database

Pros:

  • Quick setup
  • Maintenance mode
  • Customizable

Cons:

  • No auto-cleanups
  • Limited firewall protection
  • Repair function is dangerous
  • Complex UI

Price: $69.95

BulletProof Security, unlike other security plugins, comes with a lifetime license fee, instead of a subscription, and the nuances of that can be complicated as well. For example, if you change your domain or web host, BulletProof’s documentation is unclear on whether they would extend support or you will have to buy another license. Overall, it is a good security plugin if you are aware of the technicalities of WordPress, but we would not recommend it for non-technical users.

9. CleanTalk Security and Malware Scan

CleanTalk Security offers a malware scanner, firewall, and a repair option that passes for malware removal. CleanTalk Security is one of the WordPress security plugins which is very reasonably priced and therefore, is accessible for most WordPress users. The malware scanner allows you to schedule scans as per your preferred frequency, and the scanner uses a similar methodology as Wordfence to detect malware. However, the accuracy of CleanTalk’s signature database is unclear.

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Bot protection
  • IP blocking
  • Firewall protection
  • Audit logs
  • Login protection
  • Two-factor authentication

Pros:

  • Scheduled scans
  • Easy spam security

Cons:

  • Confusing configuration 
  • Automatically deletes infected files
  • Basic UI
  • Unreliable support

Price: Starting at $9 a year

The repair option on CleanTalk, known as the malware auto cure, is a feature that basically automatically deletes any files it deems infected. This methodology is very dangerous. In case the scan comes up with false positives, and the plugin deletes important files on your site, your site will break. CleanTalk users also complain of unreliable support. 

10. Cerber Security

Cerber Security is one of the few plugins on WordPress that offer auto-cleanups. The security plugin boasts of a malware scanner, auto cleanups, login security, and two-factor authentication.  Cerber also has a web application firewall which they call the ‘Traffic Inspector.’ 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Auto-cleanups
  • Firewall protection
  • Login protection
  • Two-factor authentication
  • IP blocking

Pros:

  • Automated scans
  • Does not affect server performance

Cons:

  • Automatic deletion of files

Price: Starting at $99 a year

Cerber also claims to have no effect on the server performance, which is always a great feature in any plugin. Their auto-cleanup can delete infected files automatically if configured that way, which is a terrible way to go about cleaning up your site. Overall, Cerber is a good security plugin with a few hiccups. 

11. Security Ninja

Another WordPress security plugin on the block is Security Ninja, which offers malware scanning, firewall protection, and auto fixes instead of cleanups. Security Ninja’s malware scanner also uses file matching to detect malware, which can leave out a lot of malware depending on how strong their malware signature database is. 

What to expect:

  • Malware scanner
  • Firewall security
  • Auto-fix issues
  • Events log
  • WordPress backups
  • Vulnerability scanner

Pros:

  • Effective malware detection
  • Reliable customer service
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Slows down websites
  • Weak vulnerability detection
  • Malware removal not strong
  • No scheduled scans

Price: Starting at $49.99 a year

Their auto-fix issues feature fixed ‘issues’ on your site. This is not a cleanup by any measure; Security Ninja identifies certain vulnerabilities on your site like weak passwords and fixes these vulnerabilities. If your site is hacked, these measures will not remove the malware, as they are preventive. Overall, Security Ninja offers basic preventive security, but cannot deal with a hacked site.

12. Defender security

WP Defender is a WordPress security plugin developed by WPMUDEV, which offers malware scanning and firewall protection, but no cleanups. The plugin has both free and premium versions, and the scanning capabilities vary in both versions. However, even their premium scanner only looks for vulnerabilities, file modifications, and unexpected changes on the site. This does not mean malware detection, and is definitely not a replacement. 

What to expect:

  • Security scanner
  • Firewall protection
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Login protection
  • IP blocking
  • Bot security

Pros:

  • Easy configuration
  • Strong support
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • No malware detection
  • Constant alerts
  • No cleanups

Price: Starting at $60 a year

The Defender Pro offers reliable support and is very responsive on most channels. Another plus for Defender is that WPMUDEV has several WordPress plugins for services like backup, SEO, performance, forms etc. which you can bulk together with their plans to get all of these services together. 

13. iThemes Security

To start with this section, we’d like to clarify that we do not think iThemes is the ‘best’ or one of the ‘top’ WordPress security plugins in any way. We have included the plugin in this list because many people use iThemes security and should be aware of the exact ramifications of that on their website security. iThemes claims to detect malware on your site, but all its scanner does is check if your site is on Google Blacklist. 

What to expect:

  • Blocklist scanner
  • Login security
  • IP blocking
  • Brute force protection
  • File change detection
  • Partial backups – database

Pros:

  • Good two-factor authentication
  • Convenient user management

Cons:

  • No malware scanning
  • No cleanups
  • No firewall
  • Brute force protection inadequate
  • Overall bad security

Price: Starting at $58 a year

iThemes does not offer firewall protection or cleanups. The only good thing about iThemes security is that it offers strong two-factor authentication and login security. Given that they make lofty claims on their website, it is especially disheartening to see that iThemes offers such poor security. If you have iThemes on your site, we strongly recommend scanning your site right away.

Factors to consider in choosing the Best WordPress Security Plugin

When you are choosing the Best WordPress security plugin, there are several factors that are important to consider. Your site’s security is of paramount importance, and you need a plugin that takes security just as seriously. We have already discussed some of the basic features that you need to look out for, but let’s discuss all of them in detail. 

When you are assessing a security plugin, the following factors are non-negotiable:

  • Malware scanner: A security plugin needs to actively detect threats, vulnerabilities, and scan for malware on your site. This protects your site from any large-scale damage and helps you contain the effects of malware in case of infection.
  • Firewall protection: In the case of website security too, the best protection is prevention. A strong firewall will filter out any malicious traffic to your site and ward off attacks to reduce the chances of malware infections overall. 
  • Malware cleanup: Hackers keep coming up with new ways to break into websites, so there is always a chance that you will get hacked. In that case, your security plugin needs to be equipped with quick and efficient malware removal tools.

These features are absolutely essential. But there are also some features that are good to have. If your security plugin offers any of the following features, they are absolutely a great addition to your security carousel:

  • Vulnerability detection
  • Brute force login protection
  • Activity log
  • Two-factor authentication

In addition to these, you should also know what shouldn’t be a part of the security plugins. If a security plugin affects your server performance in any way, or the scans slow down your website, it is a bad sign. You should not have to trade off performance for security. There are plugins like MalCare that do not affect your website performance when securing your site, and you should always pick a plugin like that.

Do I need a security plugin for WordPress?

There is a common misconception that WordPress is not secure. And this misconception is bolstered by the fact that WordPress sites are attacked way more than any other website. But that is because there are a lot more WordPress sites than any other. 

But the fact remains that, because over 45% of the internet is powered by WordPress, it attracts a lot more attention than any other CMS. Some of this attention is malicious and WordPress sites are often targeted. In order to make sure that your site is safe from these attacks, you need to secure it, and security plugins are the best way to secure a WordPress site. 

A malware infection can be devastating for your site and result in your website getting defaced, your user data being leaked, your visitors being redirected to unseemly webpages, and your SEO rankings plummeting so fast that you can barely cry uncle!

Unless you are a security expert, the technicalities of WordPress can be overwhelming and manual security is prone to human error. Thankfully, security plugins have made it very easy for even non-technical people to secure their sites, giving them complete control over their site’s security.

So, if you don’t want your site to be hacked, you need a security plugin for your WordPress site. 

Final Thoughts

WordPress security plugins function like your home’s gated security. Sure, you can secure your home yourself, but won’t you be at a lot more peace if you knew that a professional was handling it? We have tried to make this choice easier for you by listing out all the best WordPress security plugins available with their core features.

If you would like to know more about WP security plugins, feel free to reach out to us. 

FAQs

What is the best WordPress security plugin in 2022?

There are several factors that determine whether a security plugin is a good fit for you or not, but if we are to look at them strictly from an efficiency perspective, MalCare is hands down the best WordPress security plugin that you can find. With its flawless malware scanning, intelligent firewall, and one-click cleanups, MalCare is the best WordPress security that you can find.

Is Wordfence security good?

Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin, especially its free version. The free version of Wordfence offers scans, repairs, and firewall protection, even if the features are restricted. The premium version, however, is not all that much better than the free one. If you need a free security plugin, Wordfence is definitely a great option. 

Is Sucuri better than Wordfence?

If you were to compare Sucuri and Wordfence features, Wordfence definitely trumps Sucuri. Wordfence’s free plugin is easily more usable and efficient than Sucuri premium. However, Sucuri offers excellent cleanup services to its premium members at no extra cost, whereas Wordfence charges $490 per cleanup.

What plugin can be used to add more security to your website?

A WordPress security plugin such as MalCare can help you enhance your website security by adding firewall protection, frequent scans and real-time alerts, and easy cleanups. MalCare also offers login protection, IP blocking, activity logs, and more.