WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that you can use to build your very own website. Websites build in WordPress have a 40% market share of all websites built on the internet and are one of the most popular cms.
WordPress is a popular CMS that has its Pros and Cons.
The Pros of using a popular CMS such as WordPress are the extensibility and community you can have. With thousands of plugin modules and themes, you can turn a simple blogging platform website into a powerful business website without starting from scratch which can cost a lot of money.
The Cons that come with using a popular content management system is that it is a suspectable target for hackers, malware, and virus attacks. However, hackers, malware, and virus attacks on your WordPress website can be prevented by using the right security plugin for WordPress websites.
Below are our top recommended WordPress backup and security plugins that can help secure your files and prevent invasive malware, and virus attacks including hackers.
But before you start investing in these security and backup plugins, you must first have a good web host. No matter how good your security plugins are, if your web host is vulnerable to attack, it would be pointless to use these plugins. You can check our recommended web host at The Top 5 Web Hosting that we Recommend and Don’t Recommend to our Clients.
iThemes Security Pro
Themes Security Pro is one of the oldest and best security plugins you can have for your WordPress website. iThemes Security Pro is a paid version of the iThemes Security plugin which is free and available to be download in the WordPress repository.
Unlike the free version, iThemes Security Pro offers an extra layer of protection for your WordPress website against brute attacks, malware, virus, and hack attempts. iThemes Security Pro includes a Magic Link and Two Way Authentication login that provides access security for your website against hackers and hijackers.
With a Magic Link or Two Way Authentication integration, an email will be sent to you with a generated security code that needs to be entered with your password before you can access your WordPress admin dashboard. If you are running an eCommerce website using WooCommerce, iThemes Security Pro also gives an extra layer of protection to your customer and is fully compatible with WooCommerce.
Aside from that, iThemes Security Pro also includes a real-time security dashboard that allows you to see any suspicious activity that is currently happening on your WordPress website. iThemes Security Pro also detects and block suspicious I.P address, scan file changes and have a featured called “Trusted Devices” which we commonly encounter on Google Mail or similar app if we try to log to another location or access the app using a different I.P. address.
One of the reasons we recommend iThemes Security Pro is the ease of use and the after-sales support you can receive from them. Investing in security plugins likes iThemes Security Pro can give you peace of mind that your WordPress website is safe, secure, and protected. You will also save yourself from headaches if something went wrong as iThemes Security Pro includes a backup system that you can use to restore your website anytime.
Why did we choose iThemes Security Pro vs Sucurri Security
Another WordPress security plugin you can use is Sucurri. You can consider Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner, and Security Hardening a more complete package than iThemes Security Pro so are the costs of having it. We would recommend Sucurri if you can shoulder the cost of having it however what the iThemes Security Pro plugin lacks from Sucurri can be filled with a freemium WordPress security plugin.
These three features that the iThemes Security Pro plugin doesn’t have that Sucurri has are spam protection, malware cleanup, and a firewall.
Here are the freemium plugins which you can use to enhance your WordPress website security that iThemes Security Pro lacks.
Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall by GOTMLS
The security plugin name is Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall but the function of this plugin is more of a malware cleaner. If iThemes Security Pro can detect a file change that you are not familiar with, you can use and activate Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall plugin to clean up your files.
You do not necessarily need to have this plugin enabled or activated all the time since iThemes Security Pro already includes a Brute-Force Protection. it is also unlikely to have file changes in your WordPress files though if it happens, you only need to run and activate Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall plugin and let it work.
if you want to run both iThemes Security Pro and Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall at the same time, you can do that by simply deactivating the iThemes Security Pro Brute-Force Protection function in its settings.
By deactivating the Brute-Force Protection of iThemes Security Pro, it will prevent a plugin conflict between the two plugins.
Spam Protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk
Though iThemes Security Pro includes google Recaptcha that helps prevents spam, Google Recaptcha is not sufficient to stop and prevent smart bots.
There are two ways you can improve your spam protection in your forms, one is implementing the Honeypot Spam Prevention: Anti-Spam Technique and the second one is installing Spam Protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk WordPress plugin.
if you want to do the first approach which is the Honey Spam Prevention, you can read the steps how you can do that on How You Can Stop Spam using Honeypot Spam Prevention: Anti-Spam Technique but if you want to go in a simplified approach using Spam Protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk, all you need to do is install the plugin and signup for a free CleanTalk account.
We do however recommend getting the paid version if you need powerful spam protection for your website. The paid version only costs as low as $8 a year and is worthwhile especially if you have a lot of forms that encounter frequent spam.
Spam Protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk is definitely a must-have though if you only have one form like a contact form, it might be better to go with a Honeypot Anti-Spam Technique; That is if you do not mind doing the extra work of implementing it in your form.
You can have Spam Protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk activated with iThemes Security Plugin and there won’t be an issue or plugin conflict.
Website Application Firewall (WAF) by Sucuri
iThemes Security Pro doesn’t include a firewall but it recommends the usage of Website Application Firewall (WAF) by Sucuri. The WAF by Sucuri offers a great layer of protection that includes DDoS mitigation and prevention as well as improves your site performance by reducing your server load and optimizing your resources.
Website Application Firewall (WAF) by Sucuri can be compared to a CDN but with a premium feature of security and protection against bots and hackers. The WAF provided by Sucuri is effective if you get the paid version of their Firewall.
Why did we choose iThemes Security Pro vs WordFence WordPress Security plugin
Wordfence is another decent WordPress security plugin that includes server-side firewall protection that can give an extra layer of protection to your website compare to iThemes Security Pro that doesn’t. However, that extra protection you receive from Wordfence Firewall increases the resource usage of your web server which can affect your website performance.
A slow website can drastically affect the bounce rate and search engine crawl speed on your website. These issues will affect your website’s search engine ranking and performance.
If you want to take advantage of WordFence Firewall, we recommended checking out The Top 5 Web Hosting that we Recommend and Don’t Recommend to our Clients that you can use with WordFence without having issues with resources usage.
Things to consider before using iThemes Security Pro
No doubt that iThemes Security Pro is a great plugin but there are things you need to consider before using iThemes Security Pro for your website.
iThemes Security Pro does not work in any server
iThemes Security Pro also uses a lot of resources but not as resource hog as the Wordfence security plugin. If you are using shared hosting, we recommend upgrading your plan to VPS or higher or use one of The Top 5 Web Hosting that we Recommend and Don’t Recommend to our Clients.
iThemes Security Pro could break your website
iThemes Security Pro if not configured properly, can break your website. It is recommended that you first run a backup before installing and configuring your iThemes Security Pro plugin. iThemes Security Pro plugin follows a standard structure that WordPress uses so it may not work very well with themes that don’t use the standard coding of WordPress.
iThemes Security Pro may require you to edit your .HTACCESS
The .HTACCESS file is where most of your security and cache plugin configurations are added. Editing an .HTACCESS requires FTP or file manager access. Without prior experience, editing the .HTACCESS file could also break your site.
It is important to do a backup of the .HTACCESS file and completely follow the iThemes Security Pro instruction in editing the .HTACCESS file.
Having a professional assist you n setting up your iThemes Security Pro plugin can help you avoid breaking your site. If you need professional help to assist you in setting up iThemes Security Pro, please feel free to contact us.
iThemes Security Pro is included in the Agency Bundle
If you are planning to build a course or membership website, you might wanna consider getting the agency bundle of iThemes which also includes the iThemes Security Pro plugin. The agency bundle also includes the Kadence theme and iTheme Sync that allows you to manage multiple sites. The agency bundle gives a hefty discount versus buying the themes and plugins individually.
iThemes Security Pro is free in iThemes Hosting
iThemes has a web hosting service that includes iThemes Security Pro for free. iThemes web hosting is fairly new to the web hosting market so we have not yet made any review on it. We however know that iThemes has been acquired by Liquidweb that is a good web hosting company with a good reputation for its excellent customer service. Liquidweb would be one of our recommended web hostings but it would be more on an enterprise-level web hosting that is why we did not include it in our article about The Top 5 Web Hosting that we Recommend and Don’t Recommend to our Clients.
iThemes Security Pro Pricing
Though the iThemes Security WordPress plugin includes a free version, the PRO version of it starts at $80.00
The only difference between the iThemes Security plugin pricing is the number of websites you can use it with.
All plans include the same feature whether it is Gold, Small Business, or Blogger plan.
Malcare – Better Alternative for iThemes Security Pro
Though we recommend iThemes Security Pro as your WordPress security plugin, you might wanna also look at MalCare security which is another alternative to iThemes Security Pro. MalCare security offers more robust features such as Instant Cleaning, Integrated Web Application Firewall, and One-Click Automatic Clean-Up which iThemes Security Pro doesn’t have.
For a single site plan, the MalCare security plan costs $99.00 which is more expensive than iThemes Security Pro. You may consider MalCare security as a cheap alternative vs Sucuri and a more robust security plugin than iThemes Security Pro for an additional $19.00.
The pricing however of MalCare Security and iThemes Security Pro drastically change if you own more than one website. This is why we recommend iThemes Security Pro vs Malcare Security due to its affordability for multiple websites though if you only have one website, you might as well go with MalCare as the extra $19.00 you will be paying is worth it.
Commonly Asked Question about iThemes Security PRO
Can I use iThemes Security Pro with Wordfence Firewall?
Yes, you can use both iThemes Security Pro and Wordfence together however it is not advisable to do so. Not only it will take a toll on your server performance, but it would possibly create a false positive alert.
If you need a firewall for iThemes Security Pro, iThemes recommends getting Sucuri Firewall.
Is iThemes Security Pro GDPR Complaint?
Yes, iThemes Security Pro is GDPR compliant. However, you are still responsible for ensuring the compliance of your website in protecting information data.
If you need professional help in making your website GDPR compliant, please feel free to contact us.
Does iThemes Security Pro give a discount?
Yes, you can receive up to 25% discounts on all of their products by clicking here.
Is iThemes Security Pro the best WordPress Security Plugin?
If your budget is limited, iThemes Security Pro is the best security plugin you can have but if you are willing to invest more in your website security, we would recommend getting the Sucuri Security instead.
Final Thoughts using iThemes Security Pro
iThemes Security Pro is a balance between pricing and feature. What iThemes Security Pro lacks can be resolve with freemium plugins that can be downloaded in the WordPress Repository plugin.
If you need a plugin that can give your website and your customer an extra layer of protection, get the iThemes Security Pro. Get MalCare Security or Sucuri Security, the more expensive alternative of iThemes Security Pro If you need complete protection to your website.