Our top 3 free security plugins for a WordPress blog or website

A friend of mine recently had her self-hosted WordPress blog hacked. The hackers began to send spam messages out from the site and her hosting provider quickly shut her down. You’ll know how awful it feels to receive that message or tweet that says your site is down, worse still when the email comes from your hosting provider and tells you to fix a problem you probably have no clue how to find.

As bloggers none of us have the cash to run off and fork out for a professional development team or coder to get to work on finding the hack, removing it, and sealing up any backdoors they may have left behind (it sounds dirty and it is. Hackers leave code in other openings so if you close up one they can easily return).

While the obvious solution is to sign up for a coding course, we’ve listed our three top security plugins for WordPress sites that you can use. They’re also free:

1. Wordfence Security

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Wordfence Security will run security checks on your site which then allows it to determine if your site has been infected. This is a great way to pick up if there is a problem. It’s notify you when there are changes to your theme or plugins’ source codes. The emails to notify you of plugin updates, changes and when someone logs in to the site are a bit annoying but for the most part we figure annoyance over site annihilation right? You can schedule scans to run once a week and the plugin has its own high speed caching engine so your site will be faster.

2. Akismet

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Pesky spam comments clogging your blog? Akismet puts an end to the ridiculous write ups by checking your blog comments against its web service and then, if they look, suspicious files them in the spam box of your blog comments section. You’re able to then double check and review. Sometimes Akismet gets it wrong but for the most part – we’re big fans. You need an Akismet API key which is easy enough to obtain and free for personal blogs. We’ve tried a few spam comment blockers and this one is, by far, the best.

3. Better WP Security – now known as iThemes Security

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Activate this plugin along with Wordfence. It obscures data and information from potential hackers (you won’t notice a thing is happening on the actual site, promise) and also protects the site from a host of different threats. There are more than 30 ways to secure and protect your precious blog when you use iThemes. Once it has worked through those two it also offers a feature to detect threats or recover old code if the site becomes compromised.

Safety first!

1 Comment

  • Reply adamcarter78 August 28, 2014 at 23:27

    Very cool plugins, I use Akismet but did not know of the others. For your more tech savvy readers I highly recommend validating, escaping and sanitizing user data. There is some great stuff in the WordPress Codex about this. http://codex.wordpress.org/Validating_Sanitizing_and_Escaping_User_Data

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