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.
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.
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).
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.
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, WordPress 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 get their sophisticated application level firewall, you really need the Premium version.
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.
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.