WordPress security is important. You need to keep your site secure for a whole variety of reasons, not least of which to protect your own personal data as well as any potential customer data that is present on your WordPress site. Wordfence and other plugins are commonly used by most web design agencies to secure WordPress websites.
If you have been worrying about how to best protect your WordPress site, Wordfence and Sucuri are two of the most trusted options to use for WordPress security. This comparison article will discuss the pros and cons of each and help you to determine which one is the best fit for your WordPress security needs.
Being able to secure your WordPress site without having to have extensive technical skills to deploy and manage your chosen security solution is essential. You have a business or a blog to run! You shouldn’t have to worry about security management as well.
What is a WordPress Security Plugin?
A security plugin for your WordPress site is used to prevent attacks from malware, brute force, or hacking. You will want to be sure that you have some form of security in place on your WordPress site to prevent these bad actors from harming your site and taking control of your data.
Hackers can steal your data; your compromised website can deliver malicious code to unsuspecting users and other websites. Any kind of security issues with your site can lead to a poor brand reputation as well as the loss of customers due to the hassles that have been caused by your compromised site.
What do Security Plugins Do?
Security plugins provide firewall protection services to help keep bad actors from being able to access your site. They also offer up scanning for typical security threats like DDOS attacks, malware attacks, or password guessing attempts.
Security plugins will automatically prevent many smaller attacks each day and they will send you notifications about larger and more pressing matters that have not been captured and halted by basic security measures. Timing is key when preventing website hacking attempts, and you need a security plugin that lets you know right away when there is suspicious activity going on that might breach your site’s security.
Security plugins also offer cleanup services for the process of getting your site back on track after an attack. You might be thinking that you will never need to access these services, but there is always the chance that your site can be compromised. It can be very difficult to do your own site cleanup without expert help.
Having a security plug-in on your side after a cyber-attack can get your site back up and running much more quickly and with far less chance that there is any remaining malware or other code on your site related to the attack. Being able to go back to operating as full functionality is important after an attack and you should not think that you will be able to go back to using all the functions of your site without first completing a thorough cleanup process.
Any good security plugin will offer you all of these services at a minimum. If you are considering a solution that does not offer some of these services, you can often invest in an additional plugin to cover the rest of your needs, but it does not make very much sense to use multiple plugins when you can just pick from the list of comprehensive security plugins that interface effectively with WordPress and are designed for use with the WordPress platform specifically.
Wordfence vs Sucuri
These two options are the best WordPress security plugins on the market. They both offer comprehensive protection against many kinds of cyberattacks and they are both made to be used as plugins for WordPress specifically.
They are both valued for being easy to install and easy to maintain. You might be thinking that you don’t need to think hard about this choice and that you will just pick whichever one you look up first. However, you need to know about the various features and options for each one to be sure which is the right choice for your needs.
We will look at these two products by categories so that we can compare and contrast them accurately.
Ease of Use
Website security is complex and technical. You cannot hope to learn all of the things that are contained within website security development and management by yourself unless website security is going to be your new profession!
Wordfence is easy to set up. You will install the plugin, and then you provide an email address to receive your security notifications. Their onboarding wizard will guide you through the setup process with ease and you will get a tutorial that allows you to learn about your security dashboard and all of the options and features that are contained within it.
Wordfence also shows you a learning mode and automatic scan feature during this tutorial that will probably be your primary basic model of use for the dashboard. You will be guided through the process to review the information that was delivered by the scan once it is complete.
A downside to the default settings of Wordfence is that the firewall runs as a plugin instead of running in extended mode. You can follow the manual setup process to change this functionality to better protect your site.
Sucuri has a better user interface and there are no prompts that pop up that you need to dismiss when you access the interface to check on security scans and other information. Sucuri is cloud-based, which means that the dashboard is not integrated into your WordPress site as an added menu option after installation.
This means that you will need to follow the process of adding your API key and configuring your DNS settings for your domain name so that Sucuri can take care of your security needs. The firewall in this model catches malicious traffic before it reaches the WordPress hosting server.
Sucuri is superior to Wordfence in the hardening options which are all available in an easy-to-use menu that allows you to toggle them on and off as needed. The interface is easy to use but it can be hard to find more minute functionality inside of menus. Thankfully, Sucuri setup is often made very clear on tutorials included in WordPress’s library.
This is the part of your web security plugin that will block common security threats automatically. There are many ways to implement this kind of protection, and different plugins will use different methods. Cloud-based firewalls are always superior to other versions of this kind of functionality offered by security plugins.
WordFence uses a website application for its firewall service. It is an application-level solution and is less efficient than cloud-based solutions will be. It will run on your server rather than in the cloud.
This firewall will turn on with basic mode when you install your plugin. WordPress will have to load before a threat will be blocked using this model. This takes up a lot of server resources and is not as secure for a variety of other reasons.
You can manually alter this setting to change your firewall to extended mode. This will not help with the other limitations of this type of firewall, however. Being an endpoint firewall, Wordfence will only block traffic that has already reached your hosting server. Brute force attacks can still bring down your site with this model of firewall.
Sucuri uses a cloud-based model, which means that it will block suspicious traffic before it reaches your hosting server. This saves resources, improves website speed, and also prevents many kinds of cyber-attack from being effective.
You will need to change your domain name’s DNS settings to all the firewalls to be in place, but this is a simple process. This kind of firewall can protect from password-guessing attacks, DDOS attacks, and malicious requests.
Sucuri also uses a robust machine learning algorithm that is sophisticated and prevents false positives. You can also change your settings to Paranoid Mode if you believe that you are experiencing DDOS and this will make sure that your site does not crash.
Notifications are how you know if there is an issue with your website. This is the most essential part of the communication of your security plugin that is relayed to you. You need to know immediately if something is wrong on your site so that you can handle the security concern before your site is hacked or data is stolen.
The first thing that you will need to do, no matter which security plugin you are using, is set up your WordPress site to send emails. You can do this by using an SMTP service to send them.
Wordfence has a great notification and alerts system. Notifications are highlighted in the menu in the sidebar of your WordPress site so you can see them right away. They are highlighted by severity, and you can click on them for more information about each one that is listed.
You will only see this when you are working on your WordPress admin dashboard, however, which is why you should allow your WordPress site to send emails about these kinds of issues. You can select Wordfence – All Options to control your email alert preferences to control this feature.
Sucuri will display critical notifications on your client dashboard. The top right of the screen will display the status of your core WordPress files. Alerts and audits are in a separate tab beneath this information. You can turn on the alerts settings in the security settings section of the dashboard.
You can also add emails that you want to receive alerts in this section of the dashboard and you can determine how many alerts will be sent per hour as well as which kinds of alerts will generate an email.
Both of these solutions communicate alerts in an effective manner and there is not much difference between the features they offer.
This is a component of both of these plugins and this scanning process is intended to prevent your site from being compromised by malware, changed files, or malicious code.
Wordfence has a powerful malware scanner that is highly customizable to meet your unique demands. It will be set to the limited scan settings when you install it, but you can easily access the settings and change any of the various options to fit your needs.
In the free version of Wordfence, this scan is done automatically at set times, but in the premium version, you can choose your scan schedule. You can also alter the premium scanner process to run in various modes and styles.
Sucuri uses its own scanner which is called Sitecheck API. This is an automatic check against APIs that have been blacklisted. The integrity of your core WordPress files is verified to make sure that it has not been modified.
You can customize your scanning settings in the scanner tab on your client dashboard. Sucuri has the added benefit of being an external scanner and not a WordPress scanner, which means that it is very good at detecting any kind of malicious coding without having any blind spots. It is less intrusive as well, which means that it will not suck up server resources.
Website Clean Up
If your site has been infected by malware, you might be facing a bit of a clean-up process. This can feel like it will be too big a process for you to complete on your own, but both of these tools can help! Both of these security tools offer malware removal services.
Wordfence offers this service as an added service that you must buy. This is done via a premium license that is sold for a single website. The cleanup process is straightforward and the tool will scan for viruses and malware for you and then remove all the affected files. It is unfortunate that this is not an included service, but this is common with non-cloud security solutions.
The Wordfence team will also investigate how you were hacked and they will give you a detailed report about the issues that led to your site being compromised along with suggestions for improvements to prevent future attacks. This can be a valuable service if you are not familiar with the process for preventing future attacks, or you have never had to use a cleanup process before.
Sucuri plans all include website clean-up services. These services include website cleanup, blacklist removal, and SEO spam repair. You will also get WAF protection for future prevention.
Sucuri does a great job of cleaning up spam, malware, and other backdoor access files through a simple process. You simply open a support ticket and their team will take care of your cleanup process needs. You will be provided with a report about the cleanup process after it has been completed.
While you may get a higher-level overview of the solutions that were used to provide cleanup services than you would with Wordfence, you will also be getting a more comprehensive cleanup service that is completed in a timelier fashion than with Wordfence.
Best Overall Value for Your Security Plugin Needs
Both of these are excellent security plugin options for your site. There are benefits to using both of them, and the primary reason that you might choose one or the other has to do with wanting to see the tool inside of your WordPress admin menu versus accessing the tool from an external site.
However, there are many clear advantages to all cloud-based security plugins and Sucuri offers superior protection and customization in most of the categories we have reviewed. You will have access to better cleanup assistance and improved malware prevention with Sucuri, among other key factors that will provide a better security presence on your site.
There are clear indications that cloud-based solutions are well on their way to replacing all of the non-cloud-based tools and solutions on offer. Being an early adopter is well worth the added benefits of jumping into cloud-hosted services of all kinds.
Wordfence is a bit more basic and offers a more traditional interface for WordPress veterans, but their tools and prevention methods are a bit outdated when compared with Sucuri. Even if you need to take the time to get used to the way that Sucuri works, you will be glad that you made the investment when there is an issue with your site and you need a quality security plug-in to help you keep your data safe.
Being able to protect your site’s security as well as its data is crucial. As hackers grow more sophisticated, simple or basic security plugins are no longer sturdy enough to prevent security issues. While it might be tempting to leverage a more familiar model of security plugin that works within WordPress, there are many arguments against this choice.
For the best protection against bad actors, malware, and other security threats, you need a quality and responsive product like Sucuri on your side.