If you’re looking for the best WordPress security plugin to protect your site and make regular backups, you’re in the right place. We’ve carefully tested the most popular candidates and narrowed them down to our #1 pick.
Security is an important consideration for any WordPress site owner. While WordPress itself is generally secure, your themes, plugins, and users can introduce all kinds of vulnerabilities.
After putting so much work into your website, the last thing you want is to lose everything because of a security breach, hardware failure, or other unforeseen disaster.
That’s why every WordPress site should have a proactive security solution to scan for threats, lock out hackers, and keep automated backups to ensure you never lose your work.
What exactly are we looking for in a WordPress security plugin?
- Features — Ideally, we want an all-in-one solution for security scanning, brute force protection, downtime monitoring, and backups. Why install 4+ plugins when one will do the job?
- Ease of Setup — Good security shouldn’t require advanced technical knowledge. We’re looking for a plugin that’s straightforward and easy for the average WordPress user to set up and use.
- Pricing — We’re happy to support developers and pay for a great security solution. With that said, we are looking for fair and competitive pricing. We tested both free and paid plugins and carefully weighed the value against the price.
The Best WordPress Security Plugin: Jetpack
There are many capable security plugins out there, but we couldn’t find one that met the above criteria better than Jetpack.
Jetpack is an incredibly versatile plugin from Automattic that brings some of WordPress.com’s best features to self-hosted users.
From its integrated stat tracking interface to its performance features and mobile publishing support, Jetpack is adds a ton of great functionality.
Perhaps most importantly, Jetpack provides state-of-the-art security features to protect your site from hackers and back up your content.
Let’s take a close look at some of Jetpack’s security features…
When your website is a core part of your business, downtime is your worst enemy.
Every minute of downtime is a minute of lost traffic, conversions, and revenue.
That’s why Jetpack includes a downtime monitoring feature. Once activated, Jetpack will check your site every five minutes and alert you by email if it appears to be inaccessible.
One of the best things you can do to secure your site is keep your software up to date.
By default, WordPress will automatically apply core security updates, but your plugins have to be updated manually.
With Jetpack, you can choose to autoupdate individual plugins:
This is a great way to keep things updated while excluding any plugins that may cause problems with an untested update.
Brute Force Protection
One of the most common tactics used to infiltrate WordPress sites is a brute force attack.
This is a trial-and-error method where a bot tries a large number of username and password combinations until one finally works.
By default, Jetpack will protect your site against these attacks by limiting login attempts and blocking the IP addresses of known attackers.
Jetpack’s paid plans include daily security scans.
Each day, Jetpack will scan your site for known threats and patterns, and in many cases will even take proactive measures to repair threats upon discovery.
For example, if Jetpack discovers a compromised plugin or a modified core file, it can instantly replace it with a clean copy from a recent backup.
In the event of a disaster like a security breach or hardware failure at your web host, you’re going to want to have a full backup of your site.
Trust me on this one—I once lost an entire website because I didn’t have a proper backup solution in place.
While it’s possible to back up your site manually, regular automated backups will ensure you’re always prepared for the worst.
Jetpack backs up all of your content in real time as your site is updated. It also performs an additional daily backup to account for changes that happen outside the WordPress dashboard, such as files uploaded via FTP.
Jetpack backups include your WordPress database, plugins, themes, settings, media library uploads, and other important files.
Should you ever need to restore a backup, you can do it with a single click.
Jetpack can also protect your site from spam, a serious problem for WordPress sites that allow comments.
This feature automatically filters your comments, pingbacks, and contact form submissions for known spam. You can then review flagged spam comments yourself, or simply let them expire.
While the basic version of Jetpack is completely free, the only security features it offers are brute force protection and downtime monitoring.
The Personal plan adds backup features for just $3.50 per month.
However, to unlock the full power of Jetpack Security, you’ll want to go with the Premium plan ($9/month) or the Professional plan ($29/month), both of which include automated malware scanning and automatic security fixes.
We use the Premium plan here on GigaPress. At $9 per month, we feel it’s a great value for a comprehensive security suite—not to mention all the other benefits of Jetpack Premium.
We have yet to find another security plugin that offers this level of value for the money.
Wordfence is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins. It’s priced on a freemium model, offering basic firewall and malware scanning features for free, with an annual subscription available for more advanced functionality.
As a free solution, Wordfence is quite an impressive, capable product. However, keep in mind that it’s only a security suite—you’ll need another solution to handle your backups.
The premium version costs $99 per year for a single-site license, with volume discounts available for developers who need to secure multiple sites.
Wordfence is worth looking into, especially for developers and owners of smaller sites. However, at $99 a year, the functionality definitely falls short of Jetpack.
Sucuri is a big name in the world of WordPress security. Like Wordfence, Sucuri offers a free plugin that you can extend with a premium subscription.
Sucuri’s free features go a long way toward securing your WordPress site. The paid version adds advanced features like a website firewall, malware removal, hack repairs, and Google security warning removals—for a cool $299.99 per site per year.
Sucuri does not offer a backup solution, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for that.
Again, for the price, we feel Jetpack offers a much greater value.