We use the internet and access websites and platforms daily. The internet is present in most aspects of our lives from communication to learning to entertainment.
This often makes it very easy to forget just how dangerous the internet can be. This applies both to internet users as well as webmasters that are running blogs, websites, and e-commerce stores.
WordPress, a popular web development platform, accounts for a significant number of websites we see every day. As a result, many cyberattacks are designed to specifically target WordPress sites and their vulnerabilities.
But before we start discussing what security plugins would work best with your WordPress-powered e-commerce site, you should understand the seriousness of why you need them.
Why WordPress Webmasters Need Security Plugins?
Let’s take a simplified example. You’ve probably wanted to buy your own real estate at some point. Owning real estate isn’t just about crossing some invisible milestone to success.
It is an investment in a long-term asset that has the potential to increase in value. But do you just stop at buying your new property?
If any of you have had experience with home-buying, you’ll understand how much the down-payments and inspection fees can cost.
That’s not to mention the property insurance that you’ll take out to protect your property against damage or vandalism.
Many people I know immediately invest in a security alarm, and maybe a few strategically placed cameras.
Why do you take these measures? In simple terms, it is to protect your high-value investment as much as possible.
With all the hard work and money you put into the place, you’d be careless not to put more effort into protecting it.
Your WordPress e-commerce site may not have cost as much as your home, but the same principle applies.
When starting an e-commerce WordPress site, you must have spent some money up-front on purchasing a domain, hosting services, and web development.
These are the standard expenses most e-commerce sites will incur. Depending on the size or nature of your e-commerce business, you may have to spend even more on sales teams and customer service reps.
Why are you putting in all this effort? The answer is that like most e-commerce entrepreneurs, your site has the potential to grow into a major source of income.
Since the value it offers may increase, an e-commerce website is a digital investment. Therefore, it stands to reason that you need to protect it.
Secure Hosting Comes Before Security Plugins
Like many web development platforms, WordPress has its own set of security tools. These are usually basic security measures, but they can’t really compare to some of the advanced plugins we will examine later in this blog.
However, there is one important base that you need to cover before progressing to choosing a security plugin(s). The first priority on your e-commerce security to-do list should be to acquire secure hosting.
Your website security depends heavily on the security that the backend and foundation have. Sure, you could self-host a website over a Charter Spectrum connection by dialing Spectrum customer service phone number if you really wanted to.
But that’s another aspect of security that you’ll need to manage. Most businesses, especially those without deep technical expertise, tend to opt for a reputable hosting service.
Many hosting services specialize in hosting WordPress e-commerce sites. The host server essentially the foundation that your WordPress e-commerce store is built on.
These hosting services usually have extensive security measures in place at the server level. A good hosting service should offer assurance that your server will be reasonably safe from known forms of cyberattacks.
It also removes the need for any self-hosting and server security costs you have to incur. Your choice of hosting service will also likely impact the selection of WordPress plugins that can work for you.
15 Versatile WordPress Security Plugins For E-Commerce Stores
Most good hosting services have strong security controls in place. Many of these are at the server-level, for a very important reason.
Security protocols in your hosting server have minimal interference with the performance of your website.
Certain security plugins, however, have to always be running to offer constant protection. Besides, server-level security often will not support all plugins, which can limit your choice.
However, the following 15 WordPress plugins are some of the most versatile ones available. They work well with almost every kind of WordPress site, including e-commerce stores. These plugins include:
- Google Authenticator
- BulletProof Security
- All-in-One WP Security + Firewall
- WP fail2ban
- Wordfence Security
- iThemes Security
- Sucuri Security
- Hide My WP
- Shield Security
- Astra Web Security
- Security Ninja
Read on for a closer look at what makes these plugins so great, so you have a better idea of what to choose.
Most security plugins offer several security layers to make it harder for cyberattacks to be successful. Even if a cyberattack compromises one layer, it still has to go through others.
Google Authenticator improves the strength of your login security by adding another layer. It does this via two-factor authentication.
You might think this is a fairly basic plugin to have. But it is a lot more useful when you consider that a large chunk of hacking attacks focus on website logins. The two-factor authentication works simply and efficiently.
Every time you (or someone else) tries to access the website with your credentials, the plugin will ask for secondary authentication.
It may send you a push notification, a QR code, or a security question to authenticate if it really is you trying to login.
Most people use their smartphones for two-factor authentication. Since your phone is usually with you all day, there are fewer chances of someone getting their hands on both authentication factors.
Google Authenticator is free and easy to use. A useful added feature is that it allows you to set authentication based on roles.
For instance, website admins should be able to log in easier than say, your SEO executive, or your content editor.
Of course, two-factor authentication can cause a slight delay when trying to login to the website backend on a mobile device.
VaultPress is a pay-to-use plugin, but it offers a range of premium security features in return for a fairly affordable price tag.
The basic plan is usually for small business websites or blogs, but higher tiers have more powerful uses. The plugin offers a unique feature in allowing you to run daily backups as well as real-time backups.
This is accompanied by a single-click site restore feature. The plugins dashboard includes site restore data, including the option to choose between different restore file versions. Thanks to incremental backups, you don’t have to keep storing redundant site restore data.
The real-time security tools constantly watch out for signs of suspicious activity on your site. It has a separate interface for viewing threat history and details.
You can view which threats the plugin ignored and which ones it has already dealt with. The best part is you have easy access to all this information from one convenient dashboard.
In terms of WordPress security, this plugin is as bulletproof as it gets. BulletProof offers a free version as well as a premium paid one.
The paid version only requires a small one-time payment for access to active development, updates, and additional features.
The plugin comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which shows how much the developers stand behind their service. With a range of features such as email alerts, quarantine, auto-restore, and anti-spam measures.
Even if you aren’t sure about buying the full version, check out the free plugin. It still comes with very useful features such as login security and database backup and restores functions.
That’s not to mention anti-hacking and anti-spam tools, malware scanning, security logs, and maintenance functions. BulletProof may not be the most advanced security plugin for WordPress.
But it offers a large degree of customizability and adaptability. This makes it suitable for a range of websites, from blogs to e-commerce stores.
SecuPress originally debuted in 2016 as a “freemium” plugin. It does not have the pedigree of many other plugins on this list.
But it is still rapidly gaining popularity. The current plugin has both a free and a paid version with several exciting security features.
The main reason for SecuPress being so popular is that it has a very user-friendly interface. The basic version comes with protection against brute-force attacks as well as a comprehensive firewall.
You can also block and manage individual IPs. The basic version also has the capacity to block suspicious or bad bots. This is usually a premium feature found in paid plugins.
If you want more features, you should check out the premium SecuPress plugin. This version has a very convenient alert and notification feature, allowing you to remain aware of any security events. In addition, it offers two-factor authentication, PHP malware scans, and even geo-specific IP blocking policies.
Jetpack is not just another plugin with a lot of security features. It’s made by the same people behind WordPress. That means you can expect it to be as versatile and useful as the platform itself.
Jetpack has different modules to deal with things like spam, site speed, and even social media. The Jetpack plugin has a range of useful features that make it an appealing WordPress security solution. Jetpack has a mix of free and paid modules.
Certain modules, such as the Protect module, offer free protection against suspicious website activity. The Protect module also features a whitelisting feature as well as brute-force protection.
All-in-One WP Security + Firewall
All-in-One WP Security and Firewall offers a single feature-packed plan for WordPress security. The plugin comes with an intuitive interface, as well as excellent customer support.
Unlike many other technical security plugins, All-in-One relies on visuals such as graphs and meters for a better understanding of security strengths and gaps.
The plugin comes with three feature categories: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Depending on your security needs and understanding, you can choose what features to apply.
The plugin’s core security focus is on protecting logins, user accounts, and user registration. Website database and file protection is also a key feature you can rely on.
WP fail2ban is essentially a single-feature plugin. But that single feature is key to maintaining e-commerce security. Fail2ban is designed specifically to protect WordPress sites from brute-force attacks.
Instead of offering a range of features, the plugin focuses on offering some of the best brute-force protection available in 2020.
This has proven to be an effective approach in the plugin’s case. Fail2ban monitors and records all login attempts.
That means it records every attempt regardless of whether it was successful or not. The system log will have information on each login attempt since you started using the plugin. Using this, you can choose between a soft or hard ban for any suspicious and repetitive login attempts.
There are several good reasons Wordfence has made a name for itself among a whos-who of security plugins.
The plugin makes use of a simple user interface paired with strong security tools to deliver stronger protection for your WordPress site.
In particular, Wordfence has strong login security protection as well as powerful tools for security incident recovery.
The interface also offers a look at statistics like overall website traffic as well as a history of hack attempts.
The free version is a good security add-on in itself. But the premium version offers even more beefed-up security like brute-force security and firewall protection.
iThemes has one of the largest collections of security features in a single WordPress plugin. It offers around 30 different ways to improve website security, from blocking suspicious users to preventing hacks.
The plugin has a core focus on identifying and improving vulnerabilities. It can also identify and notify you of things like weak passwords or obsolete software.
The free version only has basic features, so to get the full range you will need to subscribe to the paid version.
You can use your paid plugin on up to two websites at a time. In terms of features, very few plugins can offer better value.
Like many others, the Securi security plugin also offers a basic and a paid version. However, the basic version contains a great range of features that make it suitable for any type of website.
Of course, you will need to subscribe to the paid version for certain key features like website firewall protection. But both versions come with security auditing tools that allow you to assess the strength of your protection.
Both can monitor file integrity in real-time, offer real-time security notifications, and even help to monitor blacklists.
The premium version allows you to add on several key modules such as customer service and more frequent scanning.
Hide My WP
Hide My WP is a premium, single-purpose plugin. It is designed to hide the fact that you have WordPress as your website CMS. If cybercriminals can access this information, they can use it to narrow down the range of attacks they use on your website.
That is why Hide My WP prevents spammers, hackers, and even third-party theme detectors from finding out what CMS you’re using. The plugin is able to do this using advanced intruder detection to block attacks like SQL injections as they occur.
This plugin has the singular role of taking on all your website security responsibilities. It is one of the smartest security plugins with a whole host of features that can act on their own without you having to authorize each action.
Shield Security is perfect for both veteran security experts as well as people new to website security. The plugin starts running immediately after activation.
It will continue to scan and protect your website autonomously. At the same time, it documents all security options, allowing you to explore the strength of your website security at your own pace.
Sheild Security is a “free forever” plugin with the larger goal of protecting every website on the internet, not just ones that can afford advanced security.
Astra Web Security
This is a very popular plugin with most WordPress webmasters all over the world. Astra offers a single plugin to deal with a range of security needs.
From malware attacks to comment spamming to SQL injections, Astra can handle it all. The best part is, it offers a very simple and intuitively-designed dashboard.
Unlike many other plugins, it does not come with an overwhelming display of buttons and options. The dashboard is designed to make it easy to use for just about anyone.
Astra is widely in use all over the world, including with internationally-acclaimed brands like Ford and Gillette. That should give you a good idea of the credibility Astra Web Security has in website security circles.
Defender offers layered security options for WordPress websites. But what makes the plugin very different from others is that it is deliberately designed to be very simple and easy to use.
Even a non-techie can learn to operate Defender without prior experience. Both free and paid versions share the same initial security hardening techniques you need to improve web security.
The free version also offers the ability to run scans for any suspicious code or scripts. It can compare the site install with the website directory, and identify any changes made to the file.
With a simple click, you can restore your original site file. The paid version offers additional access to a 10GB remote cloud backup along with security audit logs to monitor changes to the website in real-time.
The premium version can also run website security scans automatically, while also monitoring blacklists. Defender also offers expert technical support in dealing with a site that has been hacked.
Security Ninja is one of the oldest security plugins for WordPress, first emerging more than 7 years ago. Initially available as a paid plugin on CodeCanyon, since 2016 it has adopted the freemium plugin model.
Where it used to come with 4 different security add ons, Security Ninja now only offers a basic and a pro version.
The free version comes with over 50 different tests to gauge website security strength and flaws. It can check a range of things from MySQL permissions to different PHP settings.
The plugin also uses a brute-force test to identify user accounts with weak passwords. Thanks to its auto-fixer, the plugin can resolve most security problems on its own.
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However, it still offers detailed information for each security test so you can understand what is going on. The plugin even offers the correct code that you would need to fix specific issues yourself.