WordPress security plugins shield your website from brute force attacksSQL injections, and other common types of cyber-attacks. While they are not the foundation of your website's security, good plugins support your defenses.

Choosing the right plugins can be daunting, especially when faced with the possibility of compromising your site's performance. Just as excessive antivirus software can hinder your PC's speed, plugin overload negatively impacts user experience and search engine optimization. You must carefully select only the plugins that align with your needs, as having unnecessary plugins is worse than having none.

This article covers the best WordPress security plugins that bolster your website's protection, and proposes a viable alternative to plugins.

10 Best Security Plugins for WordPress

Before you install any plugins, make sure you read these three vital tips:

  • Check for compatibility before installing or updating any plugins, as incompatibility causes website crashes and security vulnerabilities.
  • Visit the official WordPress plugin directory, locate your plugin of choice, and check the "Compatibility" or "WordPress Version" sections for WordPress version requirements and known conflicts with other plugins. You can also use a plugin compatibility checker to check all your installed plugins automatically.
  • Before implementing any WordPress plugin, ensure you have a website backup for disaster recovery. This precaution could save you in the event of plugin-related complications.

Without further ado, let's get on with the list.

Wordfence logo.

1. WordFence

Wordfence Security is a prominent plugin with a strong reputation and over 4 million downloads.

Known for its user-friendly design, it offers many features to protect your website from threats.


  • Includes a firewall, malware scanner, login security features, and real-time live traffic monitoring.
  • Easy setup.
  • The basic version is free to use for an unlimited number of sites.


  • Wordfence's firewall operates at the server level, potentially making it less robust than a DNS-level firewall.
  • Some features require technical knowledge to configure.


  • Free. Basic protection to keep your site safe.
  • Premium, $119 per year. Real-time protection, country blocking, and premium support.
  • Care, $490 per year. Wordfence installs, configures, optimizes, and monitors Wordfence for you, with unlimited incident response and hands-on support.
  • Enterprise, $950 per year. 24/7/365 incident response with a 1-hour response time and 24-hour time to resolution.
AIOS logo.

2. All-In-One Security (AIOS)

All-in-One WordPress Security & Firewall is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins, with over 1 million active installs.


  • Includes login lockdown, IP filtering, file integrity monitoring, and a website-level firewall.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Regular updates and active support.


  • The free version doesn’t have a built-in malware scanner.
  • Intermediate and advanced firewall rules require manual configuration.


  • Free. Limited features.
  • Premium. Expanded features and better customer support.
    Plans start at $70 per year for up to 2 sites, $95 for up to 10 sites, $145 for up to 35 sites, and $195 for an unlimited number of sites.
Jetpack logo.

3. Jetpack

Jetpack is one of the most popular WordPress plugins, with over 5 million active installs. Its standout feature is the ability to back up your site in real time and restore it with a single click, eliminating the need for a separate backup solution.


  • The free version offers spam and malware blocking, brute-force login protection, an activity log, site stat reporting, and plugin auto-updates.
  • This plugin is versatile, combining social media, optimization, and email marketing functionalities.


  • Advanced features like daily malware scans, priority support, and backups are only available with the Premium plan.
  • The pricing system is complex and unclear, but it is flexible and customizable.


  • Free. Limited features.
  • Security bundle, $119 per year for the first year.
  • Complete bundle, $299 per year for the first year.

phoenixNAP offers cutting-edge yet cost-effective backup and disaster recovery solutions to safeguard data against unforeseen disruptions.

Solid Security logo.

4. Solid Security (Formerly iThemes Security)

Solid Security is a plugin developed by the creators of the popular BackupBuddy plugin. With over 900,000 active installs, Solid Security is known for its ease-of-use and wide range of features.


  • Solid security offers over 30 features, including two-factor authentication, file change detection, password expiration, brute force attack prevention, malware scanning, 404-error detection, strong password enforcement, and scheduled backups.
  • User-friendly dashboard with security recommendations.
  • Regular updates and excellent support.
  • Easy to install and set up.


  • Some advanced features require technical knowledge to configure.
  • There is no built-in malware scanner in the free version.


  • Free. Limited features.
  • Solid Security Pro. Plans start at $99 per year for one site, $199 for up to 5 sites, $299 for up to 10 sites, $399 for 25 sites, and $499 for 50 sites.
Sucuri logo.

5. Sucuri

Sucuri is a highly reputable plugin trusted by over 800,000 users. Their free plugin is good, but the real value lies in their paid plans, which come with a top-notch DNS firewall and a range of features.


  • Sucuri's paid plans include a powerful firewall that effectively blocks brute force and malicious attacks from accessing your website.
  • Their content delivery network (CDN) improves website performance. Sucuri's geographically distributed network of proxy servers and data centers serves static content, reducing server response time.


  • Advanced features are not necessary for smaller and less intensive websites.
  • The premium version is required for the website firewall.
  • The premium plans only cover one site.


  • Free. Limited features.
  • Basic, $199 per year
  • Pro, $299 per year.
  • Business, $499.99 per year.

A firewall is a barrier that allows non-threatening traffic in and keeps dangerous traffic out. Read our article to understand the different types of firewalls and find the right one for you.

SiteGround Security logo.

6. Security Optimizer

SiteGround’s Security Optimizer is a free and open source plugin trusted by over a million web admins.


  • It includes features like two-factor authentication, custom login URLs, login access restrictions, login attempt limits, activity monitoring, weekly security reports, post-hack actions, and more.
  • Easy to use.


  • Possible compatibility issues with other plugins.
  • Comparatively weak customer support. 


  • Free.
Really Simple SSL logo.

7. Really Simple SSL

Trusted by over 5 million users, Really Simple SSL is an open source plugin that automatically configures your website to use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL encrypts all traffic between your website and visitors, safeguarding your data and protecting you from hackers and other threats.


  • Really Simple SSL is straightforward to use. The plugin can automatically configure your website to use SSL with just a few clicks.
  • Also includes a variety of features such as vulnerability detection, mixed content fixing, and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).


  • The plugin's most advanced features are only available with the premium version of the plugin.


  • Free. Basic functionality.
  • Premium. Plans start at $49 per year for one site, $99 for five sites, and $199 for up to 25 sites.
BulletProof Security logo.

8. BulletProof Security

Boasting roughly 40,000 active installations, BulletProof Security is a robust plugin that provides advanced features. It is a suitable choice for those seeking a hands-on security plugin.


  • Includes features such as malware scanning, firewall protection, database backups, login protection, and more.
  • Offers advanced security features like auto-restoring or quarantining files that change, monitoring for new file uploads, and many other proactive security measures.
  • Provides a maintenance mode option to make changes to your site without exposing visitors to potential performance issues.


  • The plugin may take more time for beginners to learn. However, it offers a user-friendly setup wizard to simplify the installation process, as well as extensive documentation and video tutorials.
  • The UI is a bit dated.


  • Free. Basic functionality.
  • Premium, $69 one-time purchase. Offers unlimited installations, free upgrades, and technical support for life.
Defender Security logo.

9. Defender Security

Defender is a relatively new plugin quickly gaining popularity with over 90,000 active users.


  • Provides an array of features, including a firewall with IP blocking, malware scans, brute-force login protection, notifications for threats, and two-factor authentication through Google.
  • Upgrading to Defender Pro grants access to other premium plugins created by WPMU Dev.


  • The free version is somewhat limited.


  • Free. Basic functionality.
  • Premium. Plans start at $90 per year for one site, $150 for three sites, and $390 for up to 10 sites.
MalCare Security logo.

10. MalCare Security

With more than 400,000 users, MalCare Security is a plugin that specializes in post-attack malware cleanup, allowing users to remove malware with a single click.


  • Thefree version has tools for malware scanning, login protection, vulnerability monitoring, and a web application firewall.
  • Accurate scanning capabilities with reduced false positives.
  • It features off-site scanning which reduces your server load.


  • Bot protection is only available with the premium version.
  • The premium plans only cover one site.


  • Free. Limited features.
  • Basic, $99 per year.
  • Plus, $149 per year.
  • Pro, $299 per year.
Alternative to WordPress plugins.

Is There an Alternative to Using WordPress Security Plugins?

While WordPress plugins offer convenience and functionality, they can also introduce security vulnerabilities.

WordPress plugins are developed by third-party teams, not by WordPress itself and, therefore, may not adhere to the same rigorous security standards as the WordPress application. Additionally, plugins can introduce conflicts with other plugins or core WordPress code, leading to security vulnerabilities.

Headless WordPress Architecture

A headless WordPress architecture means decoupling your website’s front-end presentation layer from the backend content management system (CMS). This separation reduces the attack surface and allows for more granular controls – ultimately providing more security.

For example, the front end, typically built with JavaScript frameworks like React or Vue.js, interacts with the WordPress backend via APIs. The limited exposure of the backend CMS decreases the potential targets for attackers and enables stringent security measures, such as input sanitization, data encryption, and authentication tokens.

Read our article on database security best practices to ensure your files remain safe, confidential, and available.

Cloudflare: Additional Security Layer

Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) that further enhances website security. Their Turnstile service protects against bots and unauthorized access, reducing the risk of cyberattacks. Cloudflare also offers a dedicated service specifically designed to protect WordPress websites.

A Double-Edged Sword for Website Security

WordPress plugins are a convenient way to enhance website functionality and security. However, they can introduce vulnerabilities and give you a false sense of security. While reputable plugins undergo rigorous testing, compatibility issues and plugin abandonment create security gaps.

A comprehensive IT security strategy must include more than just plugins. You should prepare for potential attacks with a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan to minimize downtime and recover quickly if your website goes down.