You need to protect your website and your learners from online security threats. These plugins can help.

As an online course creator, protecting your website from online threats should be a priority for your business. Online security threats come in many forms. They can be a hacker trying to lock you out of your website in order to hold it hostage. They can be malware scripts that cause spam advertisements to appear on the front end of your site. Or they can be programs that intercept data in order to the steal password and login information of your learners.

While most hacks won’t destroy your business, they can disrupt the delivery of your course and damage your credibility. No one wants their learning experience to be disrupted by spam pop up ads, or to have their email and password compromised because of bad security. And unfortunately, hacks are more common than many website owners realize.

According to hacking statistics published by Astra in 2020:

  • 64% of companies admit to experiencing cyberattacks.
  • Over 40% attacks target small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • 73% cyberattacks are carried out for economic reasons.

In other words, your online course is a potential target, and you should take precautions to safeguard your business and the digital privacy of your learners. Fortunately, there are any number of plugins designed WordPress to help protect your course.

The following are some of the best-reviewed security plugins for WordPress, although remember that you usually only need one to protect your site. Two plugins performing the same function might conflict with each other, but you shouldn’t have any problems combining a plugin that specializes in firewall and malware detection with one that specializes in password controls.

1. Sucuri

If your site has been hacked, Securi’s post-hack virus removal tools are some of the best around. They can scan your site, identify tampered files, and harden your security against future attacks.

The free Sucuri WordPress Plugin offers a number of features from malware scanning to email alerts that are perfect for course creators who are just getting started. However, some features, such as their firewall integration or more frequent security scans, are only available on paid plans. These additional safeguards may be worth investing in as your course grows.

Key Features:

  • Cleaning up your site after a hack
  • Malware scanning
  • Firewall protection
  • DDoS attack mitigation
  • Brute force attack protection

2. iThemes Pro

One of the best-known names in WordPress security, iThemes Pro is a comprehensive plugin with a feature set that can handle most of your security needs in one place. While it doesn’t have the post-hack services of Sucuri, it does have excellent security monitoring tools, including a security dashboard.

Another feature that isn’t often offered is their “away mode,” which lets you lock down your WordPress dashboard for specific time periods, preventing anyone from making changes while you’re gone. It also integrates with BackupBuddy for regular backups.

Key Features:

  • Brute force attack prevention
  • Strong password enforcement
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Malware scanning
  • Scheduled database backups

3. All In One WP Security & Firewall

For users looking for a free security plugin, All In One WP Security & Firewall not only offers a robust feature set, it’s also highly reviewed. While it requires more manual configuration for the user, the designers of this plugin have gone out of their way to make it easy to use and understand.

Key Features:

  • Prevents identical login and display names
  • Strong password tool
  • Brute force attack prevention
  • File change scanning
  • Add reCAPTCHA to forms

4. Defender

Defender offers both a free and a pro version of their plugin, both of which offer great value for the features they provide. The free version offers a firewall, as well as IP blocking that automatically detects and blocks bots, and also lets you shut out visitors from certain geo locations.

The pro version offers some additional features, such as scheduled security scans, backups, and website restoration, that are well worth the price.

Key Features:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Firewall and IP blocking
  • Login protection
  • Scheduled security scans (pro)
  • Change file restore and repair (pro)

5. VaultPress/Jetpack Security

As an Automattic plugin, Jetpack is a well-known name in the WordPress community for helping to speed up WordPress websites. It recently acquired VaultPress, another familiar WordPress plugin, and now offers its backup services as part of the Jetpack Security package. Taken together, these features cover a broad range of essential security services.

Key Features:

  • Automatic updates
  • Spam blocking
  • Security scanning
  • Regular backups
  • Brute force attack protection

6. WordFence

WordFence is best known for its firewall protection, but it also offers a long list of other premium security features, including live traffic monitoring that includes IP addresses, origin, and time of day. It also offers a global dashboard, WordFence Central, that lets you monitor security across multiple sites at once.

Another useful feature is their leaked password protection, which checks administrator login information against password information from known data breaches. If your admin password is compromised, it will block your login and prompt you to set a new one.

Key Features:

  • Firewall protection
  • Malware detection
  • IP blacklisting
  • Leaked password protection
  • Two-factor authentication

7. Malcare

Malcare bills itself on its simplicity, with a fast stet-up and a one-click cleanup tool that can automatically remove malicious code. It also includes a firewall, plugin update management, and email alerts for any security breach. Malcare also offers a BlogVault add-on for regular backups, and a bulk update feature that makes it easier for you to keep up with the latest versions of plugins, themes, and even WordPress core.

Key Features:

  • Malware detection
  • Firewall protection
  • Login protection
  • Automatic scans

8. Astra

We mentioned some security statistics from Astra at the beginning of this article, so it’s about time we talked about their plugin. Astra’s security plugin is another feature rich solution that covers a lot of important bases.

Like Sucuri, they also offer post-hack services, however their plugin doesn’t have automatic backups or some of the login protection features (such as two-factor authentication or strong password enforcement) that other plugins offer.

Key Features:

  • Firewall
  • Malware scanner
  • Security audit
  • Security dashboard

9. miniOrange’s Google Authenticator for WordPress

If you’re looking for extra password protection, the Google Authenticator for WordPress plugin by miniOrange lets you fine-tune your configuration in impressive ways. It even offers integration with LearnDash login forms, if you want to add protection to learner accounts as well.

The main feature is their integration with Google Authenticator, which you can synchronize with your phone in order to receive a special login PIN that automatically updates every thirty seconds or so. You can also choose to login only with the authentication PIN (for passwordless logins), or to change password requirements based on device, time, and location.

Key Features:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Risk-based assessment
  • Passwordless authentication
  • LearnDash integration

Securing your website from most major online threats is easier than you think.

Security is hard, but protecting yourself from the most common threats is not. The majority of cyberattacks are not targeted toward individual users, but rather are carried out by bots, combing the Internet looking for websites that have left their guard down. Just by using a security plugin and following some common sense guidelines about website security, you make yourself a harder target for the majority of cyberattacks.

Taking steps to secure your site is essential for your business, and for your learners. Don’t wait until your site is hacked to start looking for solutions.

Laura Lynch photo

About Laura Lynch

Laura is a marketing specialist with experience presenting at WordPress events in Ann Arbor and Vienna. She speaks Russian and German and holds a double MA (Hons) in History and Russian Studies from the University of Edinburgh.

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Comments

5 responses

Leave a Comment

Interesting, thanks!

MeganReply

Great tips. Thank you. Sucuri is my fav and also your number 1.

Yes! It’s one of the best out there for sure.

Laura LynchReply

I love WordFence (premium version). Easy to set up and use. We haven’t come across many issues (LearnDash, Memberium, and Divi). However, I have a client using the free version with Divi that has issues – they just need to use Learning Mode on the firewall a little longer.

KatReply

Wonderful! Always good to hear folks are having good experiences with a plugin.

Laura LynchReply

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