But, the downside to using any popular software solution is that it makes for a bigger target for hackers and malicious code.
And so, with that in mind, we will have a look at the top 20 best free security plugins for WordPress.
Note: we have also included freemium plugins that we deem offer on-par features that are enough without having to pay for the full package.
The 20 Best free security plugins for WordPress
Ok; let’s jump right in – the plugins are:
1. Wordfence Security
This is a plugin that identifies and blocks malicious traffic. Its integrated malware scanner stops requests that hide malicious code or content.
Wordfence Security offers protection from brute force attacks by limiting login attempts while its malware scanner checks core files, themes, and other plugins for anomalies like bad URLs, backdoors, spam, redirects, and code injections.
2. Sucuri Security
Some of these features include security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, security hardening, post-hack security actions, and security notifications.
It offers easy-to-use, comprehensive WordPress site security including auto real-time backups and easy restores, malware scans, and spam protection; it also has essential features like optional 2FA (two-factor authentication) for extra protection as well as brute force protection and up/downtime monitoring for free.
4. iThemes Security
Administrators can create and enforce password policies in less than a minute, use reCAPTCHA (in the Pro version) to stop bad bots with malicious intent, as well as identify trusted devices (also Pro version) to prevent unauthorized users, block hijack sessions, and even limit Admin account privileges to trusted devices – a feature that would be practical when they install WordPress to server environments, for example.
5. BulletProof Security
It can be used to automate whitelisting, idle session logouts (ISL), status displays, error logging, and alerting.
6. MalCare Security
It removes malware that other tools can’t even detect, and continues to offer real-time protection against the latest threats via its firewall; more features include CAPTCHA login to stop malicious traffic.
This plugin scans the WordPress installation to spot issues and deliver a report on the overall health of the site. It can be configured to send alerts via email, SMS, Slack, and even social media platforms like Twitter.
8. Defender Security
Other security features include preventing brute force attacks, SQL injections, and cross-site scripting. It also offers features IP blocking, audit trail, and two-factor authentication. Furthermore, it comes with Google 2-Step Verification and other third-party integrations like Microsoft Authenticator and Authy.
9. NinjaFirewall (WP Edition)
It can tackle brute force and distributed attacks – even if they are large attacks originating from a wide range of IP addresses. It also offers File Guard – a unique feature that detects the access, modification, or even creation of PHP files in real-time, and sends out alerts depending on configurations.
It also hooks HTTP requests from malicious shell scripts and sends out detailed alerts to help stop attacks.
10. WP Hide & Security Enhancer
Anyone sniffing around for information on the WordPress site will have nothing to go on. All references to themes, WP versions, authors – anything to do with this CMS will be hidden. Admins can even change plugin default paths and clean common HTML comments that refer to templates, body, posts, images, and classes. In short, it’s like WordPress didn’t exist.
11. WP Force SSL & HTTPS Redirect
Admins can use WP Force to automatically divert traffic from using the HTTP protocol towards HTTPS. In case HTTPS isn’t configured into the WordPress installation the tool can be used to secure the site using its SSL certificate.
12. BBQ Firewall
It checks all incoming traffic and quietly blocks bad requests containing malicious content, scripts or codes. It is a small tool that works as well as the best firewall solutions on the market. It integrates into any WordPress theme to protect against SQL injection attacks, unauthorized file uploading, and many other attacks.
13. Login LockDown
Login LockDown is the security plugin for recording the IP address and timestamp of failed login attempts. It can be used to block any login attempts after a certain number of failed attempts. This helps prevent brute force attacks.
Administrators can set the “lockout” times of an IP address following a certain number of failed login attempts within a set amount of time. The plugin has a comprehensive panel from which it is easy to modify policies as well as do administration work – like manually releasing a locked IP address.
14. Advanced noCaptcha & invisible Captcha (v2 & v3)
It can be used to create CAPTCHA for any type of page – comments, contact us, log in, register or anywhere it may be required. There are three versions to choose from that are highly customizable and all of which can be configured to allow conditional logins following failed attempts. Error messages, themes, sizes, and locations are all customizable to blend into any site design.
15. Salt Shaker
By using salt keys, it becomes harder to guess passwords and makes it next to impossible for hackers to gain unauthorized access to the site. This plugin is easy to use, and once set, needs no more configuration as it keeps changing the salts automatically.
16. Blackhole for Bad Bots
It is a rather clever plugin that adds a hidden trigger link in the footer of each WordPress page. A single line is then added to the robots.txt file which instructs bots to not follow the hidden link. Any bots that ignore this rule – and continue to crawl the link regardless – are trapped and denied further access to the site. It is a silent and lithe tool that uses whitelists to allow major search engines to crawl the site.
17. SiteGround Security
It stops access by unauthorized users, bots, and scripts with the help of two-factor authentication, disallows common usernames, and prevents users from creating weak usernames. It monitors login attempts – and blocks them after a set number of tries.
18. All In One WP Security & Firewall
It is an easy-to-use vulnerabilities checker that is used to implement and enforce all the current best practices. It performs audits to let site owners know how secure their WordPress installation is. It protects sites with features like user lock-outs, IP address banning, and user activity monitoring.
19. Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall
This is a plugin for removing known security threats, backdoor scripts, and database injections. It takes its definition files from its home site – GOTMLS.net – to stay ahead of hackers and malicious code.
The Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall, for example, blocks the SoakSoak virus as well as other malware. Once it has been set up, there is no need for manual intervention as the plugin polls the home database for updates.
20. Really Simple SSL
It is a lightweight, but nifty, tool that needs only a single click to make the move to SSL (or generate a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt). Once set up, it dynamically directs all traffic towards the HTTPS protocol.
Security plugins secure WordPress
Anyone with a WordPress website would be wise to make use of these security plugins. Better yet, it would be a smarter choice to make sure professionals install, setup, and administer the website as a whole.