WordPress has become the blogging platform of choice for millions of websites. Apart from blogging, WordPress is also widely used as a content management system (CMS) and is estimated to hold 59.4 percent share of the market. Such statistics, while quite impressive, have a downside: it makes WordPress one of the most targeted platforms by hackers and viruses by far.
Nowadays, business websites are expected to have a blog; many businesses create them, update them occasionally, use them as an SEO/SEM tool, and once they’re up and running, forget about them.
But that shouldn’t be! WordPress can be a very powerful tool, just as it can be a very weak link in a website’s cyber security. One way to ensure it stays secure? Use the right plugins! But not just any plugins – out of date and unauthorized plugins are themselves the causes of 55.9 percent of vulnerabilities in WordPress. So, if you want to do it the right way, always use WordPress-approved plugins and update them on a regular basis.
With that out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the must-have security plugins for your WordPress site.
1. Akismet – This plugin comes from the makers of WordPress themselves and is used to fight spam. Once you have your website up, you’ll need an API key from WordPress.com (if you don’t know how to get that, there are lots of online videos and tutorials to learn from) and then you’re all set. It’s a pretty-straightforward and powerful tool.
2. JetPack – This is a popular plugin that serves many purposes, like providing on site engagement statistics, social media sharing, and contact forms. But the security feature is especially powerful, protecting your site from malicious and brute force attacks. It can also be used to whitelist your IP address, in case you get locked out of your site after being hacked or worse.
3. Wordfence Security – This security plugin serves to protect your website from malware attacks and is used by millions across the world, a testimony to its effectiveness. Once installed, Wordfence makes sure any other plugins installed after it are scanned before they get to work. Incredibly, it even scans its own files to make sure they haven’t been compromised. It’s so effective, there are a few complaints about how they’re creating a larger resource demand from hosting providers, but so far, none of them have taken action to have it banned.
4. Swift Security – The best way to protect your blog or website is to make it invisible. If hackers and malicious software don’t know what they’re facing, they can’t attack it. Swift Security hides your modules so that, from the outside, no one will even know you are using WordPress. Even you, the site’s owner, will not affect the file structure when you install other plugins or themes – the basic structure will remain intact and protected.
5. BulletProof Security – This is a security plugin that works with your site’s .htaccess file to ensure no one who is unauthorized gets access to your files. It serves as a firewall, monitors your login details, monitors your logs errors, and even does your backup for you.
6. Security Ninja – This truly is an expert’s tool – the plugin does over 30 security checks on your installation to make sure there aren’t any vulnerabilities (including those that would allow TimThumb and 0-day attacks, for example).
7. Better WP Security (a.k.a. iThemes Security) – This plugin is used to help you defend yourself and survive a cyber attack. It can be used to change your URL for the dashboard (so no one knows where to attack), change your WordPress database table prefix and your content paths (again, allowing you to avoid directed attacks) by camouflaging your names, locking down logins for a while, preventing spam-like bots and spiders from accessing your site, as well as stopping brute force attacks.
8. Safe Login for WordPress – One of the most targeted parts of any website is the login system. With this plugin in place, you will make sure your administrator login system is well under lock and key. For example, once enabled, this plugin will authenticate everyone that logs in using an access code, which changes every 45 seconds.
9. Sucuri Security – A plugin-of-choice among developers and designers, Sucuri mainly works with monitoring, auditing and scanning of files and logins. It checks your files for integrity, scans for malware (can be done remotely), and makes sure you haven’t been blacklisted by anyone. In case you have already been attacked, this plugin also works to resolve your issues.
10. 6Scan Security – What makes this plugin a bit different is that you are able to patch things up even after you have been hit hard. It offers auto-fix protection to get your site back up after an attack by mending files that have been compromised by using a sophisticated algorithm.
So, if you own a WordPress blog or CMS, you now know what plugins you must have installed – or else!