Are you looking for the best WordPress firewall plugin for your website? WordPress firewall plugins protect your website against hacking, brute force and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In this article, we will compare the best WordPress firewall plugins, and how they stack up against each other.
What is a WordPress Firewall Plugin?
A WordPress firewall plugin (also known as web application firewall or WAF), acts as a shield between your website and all incoming traffic. These web application firewalls monitor your website traffic and blocks many common security threats before they reach your WordPress site.
Aside from significantly improving your WordPress security, often these web application firewalls also speed up your website and boost performance.
There are two common types of WordPress firewall plugins available.
DNS Level Website Firewall – These firewall route your website traffic through their cloud proxy servers. This allows them to only send genuine traffic to your web server.
Application Level Firewall – These firewall plugins examine the traffic once it reaches your server but before loading most WordPress scripts. This method is not as efficient as DNS level firewall in reducing the server load.
We recommend using a DNS level firewall because they are exceptionally good at identifying genuine website traffic vs bad requests.
They do that by tracking thousands of websites, comparing trends, looking for botnets, known bad IPs, and blocking traffic to pages that your users would normally never request.
Not to mention, DNS level website firewalls significantly reduce the load on your WordPress hosting server which makes sure that your website does not go down.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the best WordPress firewall plugins that you can use to protect your website.
Sucuri is the leading website security company for WordPress. They offer DNS level firewall, intrusion and brute force prevention, as well as malware and blacklist removal services.
All your website traffic goes through their cloudproxy servers where each request is scanned. Legitimate traffic is allowed to pass through, and all malicious requests are blocked.
Sucuri also improves your website’s performance by reducing server load through caching optimization, website acceleration, and Anycast CDN (all included). It protects your website against SQL Injections, XSS, RCE, RFU and all known-attacks.
Setting up their WAF is quite easy. You will need to add a DNS A record to your domain and point them to Sucuri’s cloudproxy instead of your website.
At WPBeginner, we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security. See how how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 WordPress attacks in 3months.
Pricing: Starting from $199.99/year billed annually.
2. MaxCDN (StackPath)
MaxCDN (now part of StackPath family) is one of the leading CDN security and web application firewall provider in the industry. Their robust platform by default adds Layer 3 and 4 DDoS protection on all plans.
The StackPath WAF adds Layer 7 DDoS protection to the domains under its protection. Similar to Sucuri, this is a DNS level firewall which not only helps you speed up your website, but it also protects you from malicious attacks.
StackPath does not offer application level firewall because they do not have a WordPress plugin which is why they’re #2 in our list after Sucuri. However their plans are more affordable and featured-packed for small businesses compared to Cloudflare (our #3 ranked provider).
Pricing: They offer a 1 month free trial and after that pricing starts at $20 per month which is sufficient for most small business WordPress websites.
Cloudflare is best known for their free CDN service which includes basic DDoS protection as well. However, their free plan doesn’t include website application firewall. For WAF you will need to signup for their Pro plan.
Cloudflare is also a DNS level firewall which means your traffic goes through their network. This improves performance of your website and reduces downtime in case of unusually high traffic.
The Pro plan only includes DDoS protection against layer 3 attacks. For protection against advanced DDoS layer 5 and 7 attacks, you will need at least their business plan.
Cloudflare has its pros, which include CDN, caching, and a larger network of servers. The downside is that they do not offer application level security scans, malware protection, blacklist removal, security notifications and alerts. They also do not monitor your WordPress site for file changes and other common WordPress security threats.
For more details see our comparison of Sucuri vs Cloudflare.
Pricing: Starting from $20/month for Pro plan and $200/month for Business.
4. Wordfence Security
Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin with a built-in website application firewall. It monitors your WordPress site for malware, file changes, SQL injections, and more. It also protects your website against DDoS and brute force attacks.
Wordfence is an application level firewall which means that firewall is triggered on your server and bad traffic is blocked after it reaches your server but before loading your website.
This is not the most efficient way to block attacks. Large number of bad requests will still increase load on your server. Because it’s an application level firewall, Wordfence does not come with a content delivery network (CDN).
Wordfence comes with on-demand security scans as well as scheduled scans. It also allows you to manually monitor traffic and block suspicious looking IPs directly from your WordPress admin area.
To learn more about Wordfence, see our guide on how to install and setup Wordfence security in WordPress.
To get their sophisticated application level firewall, you really need the Premium version.
Pricing Basic plugin is Free. Premium version pricing starts from $99/year for a single site license.
Jetpack is a popular WordPress plugin that comes with a suite of features including WordPress security and backups. Similar to WordFence, Jetpack is an application level firewall which means that bad traffic is blocked after it reaches your WordPress hosting server.
Their free plan offers very basic brute force protection and downtime monitoring. You will have to upgrade to at least the Personal plan to unlock daily automated backups and automated spam filtering.
However to truly unlock the automated malware scanning and security fixes which is what providers like Sucuri offer, you will have to be on Jetpack professional plan.
Since Jetpack offers a large suite of features, the price tag makes it a very affordable option. However for a true security firewall, you’re better off going with Sucuri or MaxCDN.
Pricing: Basic plugin is free. Personal plan costs $39 / yr and Professional plan costs $299 / yr.
6. BulletProof Security
BulletProof security is another popular WordPress security plugin. It comes with a built-in application level firewall, login security, database backup, maintenance mode, and several security tweaks to protect your website.
BulletProof security does not offer a very good user experience and many beginners may have difficulty understanding what to do. It does come with a setup wizard that automatically updates your WordPress .htaccess files and enables firewall protection.
It does not have a file scanner to check for malicious code on your website. The paid version of the plugin offers extra features to monitor for intrusion and malicious files in your WordPress uploads folder.
Pricing: Free basic plugin. Pro version costs $59.95 for unlimited sites and lifetime support.
After careful comparison of all these popular WordPress firewall plugins, we believe that Sucuri is undoubtedly the best firewall protection you can get for your WordPress site.
It is the best DNS level firewall with the most comprehensive security features to give you complete peace of mind. On top of that, the performance boost that you get from their CDN is very impressive.
MaxCDN (StackPath) would be a close second in our list for the price and value it offers.
We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress firewall plugin for your website. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress security guide for beginners.
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Rafael Ninvalle says
Hey guys. Amazing article. I’m facing some security issues right now on my site and this has helped me understand some of the differences among the offerings.
Just a quick typo….one of your paragraphs says:
“Because it’s an application level firewall, WordPress does not come with a content delivery network (CDN).”
Should that say “WordFence” instead of “WordPress”?
Hope I was helpful!
WPBeginner Support says
Thank you, the typo should now be fixed
Muhammad Ikram says
Please explain what is meant by bad traffic ? Thanks
WPBeginner Support says
Traffic from spam bots and not actual users is the most common bad traffic for what we mean
As you said on the first comment Wordfence provide free firewall but when I check my site on sucuri site checker then it shows firewall is not activated.
Is there any other free firewall plugin?
The sucuri site checker does NOT check for the Wordfence firewall (it checks for the sucuri solution), so that is exactly what to expect.
Pls we need help concerning free firewall plugins. Not all website owners can afford these plugins
WPBeginner Support says
Wordfence is available as a free plugin, as well. The paid version gives you extra features and support.
Great article, but I could I ask you to do this again from a global perspective. What you have written I can see for example is US or Europe focused.
Let me explain our issue, we are with Sucuri, which they are great but, as an Australian company the nearest Sucuri WAF is Japan or West Coast US. So that means all traffic has to go from Australia (where most our visitors are) to Japan or the US then back to Australia and we are averaging 1.5 second times for this.
Your blog post didnt take into account anywhere the server locations of any of the services. Do you think you could redo factoring in the WAF locations?
WPBeginner Support says
You are right, the location of the data center can affect performance. You can look into Cloudflare, they do have data centers in Australia.
Hello, what about using, for example, Sucuri and Wordfence together?
Does this make problems? Should there always be just one of those in use?
Carsten Dohmann says
I always use iThemes Security or Wordfence in combination with htaccess.
Do you know Ninja Firewall?
It sounds to me like sucuri “Full standalone web application firewall. Works before WordPress is loaded.”
Does anyone tested it?
Jason Egan says
I have used Itheme security pro for years and love it! Recently we have added sucuri to some of our sites as well and it’s fantastic!
Yes, I have to agree with Jason, I am also using Itheme security and it is also, in my opinion very good.
Hopefully you can assist me. I downloaded Image Mapper in hope to be able to map a graphic in WordPress. Sadly to say after mapping our the image with 8 links, it didn’t work. So, i asking if there is a good mapping program which will work well with WordPress.
D Gariepy says
I currently use Cloudflare Pro and Wordfence Pro in combination and have great success keeping my sites safe. I have used SiteLock in the past (in fact have 3 sites under contract for another month). SiteLock’s customer service wasn’t great at all. One sales rep kept trying to upsell me on the firewall because of our SSL but never sent cost proposals after many requests. Nor did he explain why the firewall needed to be updated after selling us the first one. The firewall seems ok, but not without minor flaws. I also didn’t notice any speed increase at all with SiteLock.
I have had the same problems with SiteLock in the upselling each time I had to contact them. SiteLock did not run well with my server. It has been a headache. I also had to pay for SSL Comondo separate. I will now try Scuri for $300 a year. YIKES! Hope it works for me.
How about including and comparing few free WP firewall plugins? Many small bloggers don’t have the budget to pay monthly or annually for this software. Also there are many free options that do an excellent job protecting WP sites.
Is it ok to have 2 instead of one? What about Jackpack and Wordfence (free edition). i have them both together on my blog, is that ok?
WPBeginner Support says
You can use both, however you need to monitor how keeping them both activated on your site affects your page speed.