WordPress might be the popular CMS around, but it’s not perfect. A website built on WordPress can be targeted and compromised. This is why WordPress security plugins are needed. But whether you are looking for a new plugin or planning an upgrade, you need to know what to look for in a security plugin. With the overwhelming number of choices available, it’s not surprising that many people end up without a security plugin in times of crisis or worse, they end up with a wrong one causing their WordPress sites to crash.

In this article, we’ll explore the principles you need to follow to choose a good security plugin, followed by the best security plugins in the market right now.


If you are in a hurry and would want to pick up the best WordPress plugin, then go for the best in the bunch – MalCare, It will run deep scans of your website regularly and can identify and remove any type of malware!


How Does a Security Plugin Help Secure WordPress Site?

A WordPress security plugin comes with 3 core focus points – scanning, cleaning, and protection.

Scanning is a process of detecting malware on your website. After finding malware, the process of cleaning begins. It involves, as you can guess, the removal of all instances of malware from your website. And protection involves taking security measures to ensure that no one is breaking into your website.

Every security plugin will have a different approach to scanning, cleaning, and protection. For instance, some scanners are designed to only look for known malware while others can find new ones. Moreover, with most plugins, you have to get in touch with the maker of the plugin if you want to get your site cleaned. But with a plugin like MalCare, you can clean your site on your own.

This poses a challenge. How do you determine which plugin is good? How do you filter between the effective security plugins and the ones that make a lot of noise? The answer to these questions is in the next section.

How to Choose a Good WordPress Security Plugin?

Finding the right security plugin need not be hard. Here we’ll show you 10 features that a good security plugin should possess.

1. Complete Malware Detection

A WordPress website is made of many files and folders. Malware can be present on any of the files and folders which makes it difficult to locate it. The least you’d expect a security plugin to do is look for malware in all the files and folders, right? However, many security plugins are not capable of scanning through all the files and folders. They look for malware in a handful of places where malware is generally stored by hackers.

Moreover, very few web security plugins are designed to look beyond familiar malware and find new and complex ones.

To ensure your WordPress website is safe, choose a security plugin that can detect new and complex malware. Above all, to make sure it does not overlook any hidden malware, it should run scans on every part of your website.

2. Scan Your Site Without Slowing it Down

Scanning for malware can be a resource-intensive process. This means your website will slow down when the security scan is going on. It happens because the security plugin running the process on your website server. This is certainly not ideal since your server is taking on the burden of scanning your site, on top of performing its regular processes.

However, combating this issue is possible if the plugin runs the scanning process on its own server. That way, it won’t affect your site’s performance.

3. Fix Your Hacked Site Before Getting Blacklisted or Suspended

When a scanner detects a website as hacked, the site in question has to be cleaned immediately. Yet, most security plugins take between an hour to even a few days to remove malware from hacked websites. Delay in cleanups, even by a few hours could lead to more problems. Google could blacklist your site or your WordPress hosting provider could suspend it. Therefore, a good security plugin would be designed to fix your website quickly, preferably at the click on a button.

4. Unlimited Malware Removal

Although many security plugins perform cleanups most of them offer a one-time cleaning service. This means if your website gets re-hacked (Recommended read – Learn how websites get re-hacked with via backdoors), you’ll have to pay again for their site cleaning service. In the long run, cleaning up re-hacks can cost you a lot of money. The ideal solution is a security plugin that offers unlimited malware removal.

5. Firewall Blocking Malicious Traffic

The whole point of having a website on the internet is to draw the attention of internet users. But the traffic that comes to your website is not always seeking information or goods. Some come with the intention of breaking into your website and utilizing the resources of your website to execute malicious activities. A firewall helps filter the good traffic from malicious ones and block them before they could access the site and cause harm.

While you can take manual measures, WordPress experts recommend using security plugins to protect WordPress websites.🛡️ Click To Tweet

6. Protecting the Login Page

The login page of a WordPress website is the most vulnerable page of your site. Hackers target the page because it could give them direct access to the website. They try out combinations of usernames and passwords until they obtain entry to the site. Many security plugins offer various courses of action like changing the login page URL or hiding your username. Such recommended practices do not protect your WordPress login page as they claimed to. One of the main reasons behind this is that the recommended changes can be surpassed.

However, limiting login attempts can be a very effective way to protect your login page. Hackers keep trying combinations of usernames and passwords until they find the right one. Hence limiting the number of failed login attempts would block the hacker from advancing further.

7. Security Hardening Measures

WordPress recommends certain site hardening measures like disabling file editor, blocking PHP execution, among other things. But implementing these measures on your own is not beyond the scope of most people. You’d have to have a certain amount to technical knowledge to implement these measures. Hence a security plugin should enable users to carry out site hardening measures easily to make their website more secure against hackers.

8. Single Dashboard For Multiple Tasks

Managing multiple WordPress websites can be exhausting. You end up spending valuable time away from your business and a lot of time managing your websites.

And to help manage your websites, many of you could be using multiple plugins. And then spent more time managing the plugins themselves. The bottom line is managing multiple websites is time-consuming work. A perfect solution to this problem is a single dashboard that allows you to manage multiple websites.

Moreover, when functions like implementing security measures, managing theme and plugins, monitoring site availability, etc are performed from a single dashboard, you don’t have to juggle between different plugins.

9. Responsive Customer Support

Although you can rely on reputed WordPress security plugins to work most of the time, there are times when you need help immediately. It is vital that you choose a plugin that comes with an agile support channel. Delay in response is frustrating because you’d have to drop everything to fix a certain security threat.

You won’t find responsive customer support with free services. For security plugins that offer both free and paid services, this is one of the main benefits of upgrading to paid versions.

With that said, here’s a list of the 10 best security plugins compared –

Top WordPress Security Plugins to Choose From:

1. MalCare

MalCare is the fastest malware detection and removal plugin in the market. It was developed from the ground up after analyzing more than 240,000 websites over a period of 2.5+ years. The plugin is in a class of its own and what sets it ahead of the pack is the intelligent technology that powers it to help protect WordPress websites.

What Do You Get?

    • Complete Malware Scanning
    • Automated Instant Malware Removal
    • Real-time WordPress Firewall Protection
    • CAPTCHA-Based Login Protection
    • Inbuilt WordPress Website Hardening
    • Multiple Website Management
    • Team Management & Collaboration
    • Custom & Scheduled Reporting
    • White-labeling Solution
    • Performance & Uptime Monitoring
    • Country Blocking
    • Integrated Backups & Restore Facilities


MalCare WordPress Security Plugin Dashboard

MalCare dashboard


What Stands Out?

  1. Identifies New & Complex Malware: MalCare comes with an intelligent scanning methodology with which it accurately identifies new and complex malware that typically go undetected in other popular security plugins. Moreover, the scanning process does not slow down your website.
  2. Automatic Instant Malware Removal: Another worthy highlight of the plugin is its industry-first automatic one-click malware removal that cleans a website before Google can blacklist it or your web host can take it down. Moreover, it offers unlimited cleanup.
  3. One-Click Site Hardening: WordPress recommended site hardening measures that can be performed with the click of a button and without breaking any sweat.
  4. Complete Website Management: MalCare comes integrated with a complete website management module. Further, it comes with a single dashboard from where you can manage all your websites and plugins.


    • MalCare only works on websites that are hosted online. The plugin won’t work on local websites (i.e. websites built on your local computer).
    • No two factor authentication available but we spoke to the support team and found that they are working on enabling it soon.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $99 per year for 1 site

2. Sucuri

Sucuri is probably the most popular WordPress security plugins in the list. It protects not just WordPress websites but also sites built on other platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc.

What Do You Get?

    • Website Malware Scanning
    • SSL Certificate Monitoring
    • Complete Malware Removal (Files & Database)
    • Google Blacklist Removal
    • Firewall Protection
    • DNS Monitoring
    • Website Uptime Monitoring


sucuri security dashboard

Sucuri dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Blacklist Removal Request: Sucuri shoulders the responsibility of submitting blacklist removal requests on behalf of the hacked website.
    • Website Firewall: Sucuri is notable for the firewall service that can prevent hack attempts like sql injections and DDoS attacks and it even includes performance optimization.
    • Monitors DNS: The security plugin monitors changes occurring in your Domain Name Servers (DNS). For the uninitiated, think of DNS as a location of a store. The name of the store could be easy for people to remember but for computers, the street location (i.e. the DNS) works better.


    • Sucuri scans with a remote scanner which means it only sees what’s visible on the browser, therefore, it might miss a large number of hidden malware.
    • Support is slow to respond to issues that can be frustrating and harmful for a hacked website.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $199.99 per year for 1 site

3. Wordfence Security

Wordfence is another reputed WordPress security plugin that comes with an interesting security feature called the Real-Time Live Traffic. It gives you real-time updates on your site traffic and even hacks attempts made on your site.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Security Scanner
    • Complete Site Cleaning
    • View and Repair Corrupted Files
    • WordPress Endpoint Firewall
    • Wordfence Central Dashboard
    • Live Traffic Monitoring
    • Country Blocking
    • Two-Factor Authentication
    • Complete Site Security Audit


wordfence security

Wordfence dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Live Traffic Monitor: Wordfence’s Live Traffic is a powerful tool that enables users to view traffic and activities of your website in real-time.
    • View Hacked Files: With Wordfence, you can view hacked files and see what changes did the hacker make to your original file before the plugin repairs it.


    • Wodrfences’ scanning process slows the website down. While scanning it overloads the site server causing the website to run slowly.
    • The plugin doesn’t guarantee any turn-around time which means you could be waiting for a long time and during this period, your site could be blacklisted or suspended.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $99 per year for 1 site

4. iThemes

iThemes Security was once known as Better WP Security. Maintenance services like WP Buffs offer free access iThemes Security Plugin. The plugin offers over 30 different ways to ensure that it’s protecting your website from hackers and bots.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Malware Scanning
    • WordPress Login Page Protection
    • Security Grade Report
    • WordPress Version Management
    • WordPress Website Hardening
    • Single Dashboard Multiple Site Management


iThemes Security

iThemes dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Enforce Strong Passwords: iThemes lets you enforce the use of strong passwords.
    • Away Mode: The security plugin’s Away Mode enables you to put the dashboard under lock and key.
    • Network Brute Force Protection: iThemes protects the WordPress login page by enabling a Network Brute Force Protection. It takes steps to ban users who could be trying to break into your website.


    • iThemes has no scanner or cleaner of its own. It uses Sucuri’s SiteCheck Malware Scanner to detect malicious code and if your site is hacked, you’ll need to contact Sucuri for malware removal.
    • Advanced features use up a lot of your website resources. If your site is hosted on shared hosting, draining of resources could cause the site to become inaccessible. But if you site is hosted on managed WordPress hosting, it’s possible that you’ll need to upgrade.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The iThemes Security Pro version starts from $80 per year for 1 site

5. SiteLock

Founded in 2008, Sitelock Security Plugin aims to provide a completely automated website protection service. SiteLock security plugin has been around for quite some time. And besides WordPress, it offers security solutions to websites built on Joomla.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Website Scanning
    • Automated Hack Removal
    • Automated Vulnerability Patching
    • Web Application Firewall
    • DDoS Firewall


sitelock wordpress security

SiteLock dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Automatic Malware Removal: SiteLock runs scans on your website and upon finding malware, it automatically cleans the malicious content from your website without you having to raise a finger.
    • Automated Vulnerability Patching: Another feature that stands out is the automated vulnerability patching. With this enabled, the plugin automatically patches security vulnerabilities or weaknesses on the core WordPress files. But full version updates can be made when convenient.


    • Many website owners have had deception billing experiences with SiteLock like for instance here.
    • SiteLock is unable to detect malware early and even fails to completely remove malware infection.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $99.99 per year for 1 site

6. SecuPress

SecuPress is made by the same developers who’ve built WP Rocket and Imagify. One thing that will strike you when you install the plugin is the beautifully designed dashboard of the plugin (check the image below).

What Do You Get?

    • Security Points Scanning
    • PHP Malware Scan
    • Website Malware Removal
    • WordPress Login Page Protection
    • Firewall & IP Blacklisting Facilities
    • WordPress Hardening
    • Geo-Blocking
    • White Label Solution
    • WordPress Backups (Files & Database)


secupress security plugin

SecuPress dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • WordPress Login Page Protection: SecuPress offers extensive brute force login protection where you can take several measures like disabling WordPress user registration, limiting the number of failed logins, etc.
    • Disable XML-RPC: The plugin enables you to disable XML-RPC with the click of a button (Recommended read – How to disable XML-RPC for better security).


    • Each malware removal request costs an extra $160 and professional configuration for the plugin costs an extra $100.
    • Support is very slow to respond which can cause issues to escalate further.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The premium version starts from $65 per year for 1 site

7. All-In-One WP Security & Firewall

All-In-One WP Security & Firewall is designed to fix common security holes found in most WordPress websites. With this plugin, you can take some basic security measures.

What Do You Get?

    • Automatic Malware Scanning
    • User Account Management
    • Brute Force Attack Prevention
    • Database Security
    • Firewall Protection
    • IP Address Blocking
    • Uptime Monitoring
    • Website Maintenance Mode


all in one wp security plugin

All-In-One WP Security & Firewall dashboard


What Do You Get?

    • Security Strength Meter: All-In-One WP Security & Firewall comes with an interesting measurement tool called the Security Strength Meter. It checks a website for common security issues generally found on the website. Based on the number of security holes found, it allows you a score and shows you how to secure a website.
    • Security Points Breakdown: Another helpful tool is the Security Points Breakdown which shows you all the security holes that you need to patch. For instance, it can tell you to change the “Admin” username or enable the basic firewall to ensure that your site stays protected.


    • In several instances, the plugin has locked admins out of its own websites. Many of the lockouts were caused by enabling the advanced firewall.
    • Some advanced features are known to break websites especially if the WordPress themes or plugins in your website is conflicting with the security plugin.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $9.95 per month for 1 site.

8. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security has been around for over 8 years and they’ve had a good track record so far. The plugin requires you to set it up properly and once it’s up and running, you can enable basic security measures on your WordPress website.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Malware Scanning
    • Login Security & Monitoring
    • Website Firewall Protection
    • File Integrity Monitoring & Files Upload Prevention
    • Htaccess Security
    • Maintenance Mode, etc


bulletproof security plugin

BulletProof Security dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Database Diff Tool: BulletProof Security offers a Database Diff Tool which compares the current database with the old database.
    • Protects Upload Folder: The plugin protects your site Upload folder and prevents anyone from accessing, viewing, or executing anything on the Upload folder.
    • Idle Session Logout: One of the handiest features that Bulletproof Security offers is the Idle Session Logout. When the user becomes inactive, it’s best to login to him or her out. This will ensure that your website is not being exploited while the users are away.


    • The dashboard is was too complex and not at all user-friendly. It makes configurations of the plugin difficult to learn and very cumbersome.
    • The plugin leaves a large number of data tables and folders behind after it’s uninstalled. These extra tables and folders will bog down your website.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $69.95 per year for 1 site

9. Shield Security

Shield Security plugin offers basic scanning, cleaning and protection measures. It offers an interesting dashboard where it shows you the number of possible intrusions that have been blocked. The dashboard also shows you potential security issues present on your website prompting you to take instant action.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Core File Scanner
    • WordPress Login Page Protection
    • Website Firewall Protection
    • User Activity Monitoring
    • Plugins & Themes Vulnerability Scanning
    • Import & Export Shield Security Settings


shield security

Shield Security dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Security Through Obscurity: Shield Security Plugin offers you the WordPress Obscurity Options. Using this you can remove certain WordPress settings from public view like the WordPress version, etc.
    • Import & Export Options: Import & Export option enables you to import the settings from any website where Shield Security is present to a new website.


    • To use Shield Security, you have to configure it properly. You can’t just install it and forget about it. This makes it time-consuming.
    • Shield Security does provide one of the core functionalities of a security plugin – malware removal. If your website gets hacked you’ll have to look for a different security plugin to clean your site.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $12 per year for 1 site

10. WP Security Ninja

WP Security Ninja has been helping websites become secure for over 8 years. The plugin comes with an impressive 50+ security checklist. It examines your website against this checklist looking for security holes. In the end, your website receives a security report along with suggestions on how to enhance your security.

What Do You Get?

    • WordPress Malware Scan
    • Website Firewall Protection
    • Login Form Protection
    • Block Suspicious Requests
    • Auto Fixer Module
    • Country Blocking
    • Import & Export Plugin Settings


wp security ninja

WP Security Ninja dashboard


What Stands Out?

    • Auto-Fix Measures: We mentioned earlier that the plugin runs a security test. Enabling the Auto-Fix module would automatically fix issues that the security test identifies.
    • Redirect Malicious Visitors: Another unique and additional feature we found in the plugin is to redirect malicious visitors away from your website.


    • WP Ninja Security does provide one of the core functionalities of a security plugin – malware removal. If your website gets hacked you’ll have to look for a different security plugin to clean your site.
    • To use WP Ninja Security, you have to configure it properly. You can’t just install it and forget about it. This makes it time-consuming.


There is a free version and a pro version.

The pro version starts from $39 per year for 1 site

That’s all folks. With that, we have come to the end of our list on WordPress security tools. It’s worth mentioning here that if you are looking for WordPress backups plugins, we have a list on that too.

In Conclusion

Still not sure what is the best WordPress security plugin? Of the top 10 WordPress security plugins that we’ve listed out, each one offers a free and a pro version. With the free versions, you may take a few security measures but to scan and clean your website, you’d have to become a paid subscriber.

Every plugin has a different approach to tackling website security. We have selected MalCare, Sucuri, and Wordfence as our top 3 security plugins and for good reason. They have consistent good reviews, prompt support system and a holistic approach to WordPress security. All three plugins have been consistently pushing out new features strengthening the security websites they are installed on.

But of all the security plugins, MalCare comes out as a winner. MalCare outshines others through its outstanding malware scanner. And its powerful automated instant malware cleaner. It’s worth noting that MalCare is the only plugin to offer an instant malware cleaner. It is extremely user-friendly and provides proactive protection measures that are unparalleled.

Try Out MalCare Security Services Right Now!

best wordpress security plugins compared
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