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WordPress Hacker and Spam Prevention: A Primer in Security Plugins

Posted by QuoteColo on July 21, 2016 - Updated on August 28, 2017

Picture28WordPress is the most popular website hosting platform in the world. That’s good news for many, but it’s also a bad thing. The more popular a particular platform is, the more time and energy hackers and spammers are willing to spend to compromise it. Think of Apple – the company’s reputation for not being vulnerable to viruses and malware is only partially to do with the quality of their OS. Most of it is due to the fact that Windows is just so much more widely used that it makes more sense to target PCs than Macs.

Of course, that offers cold comfort to those relying on WordPress to support their website, but there’s a silver lining here. There are plenty of WordPress security plugins that can help you combat the glut of hackers and spammers out there just waiting to take a crack at your website. Which ones are worth your time, though? Which plugins go beyond the hype and actually help you protect your digital assets and information? Let’s take a look at some of the best ones on the market.

First, Caveats

Before we get into the actual plugins, a word or two should be said about best practices. There’s a lot you can do as a blog or website owner to help protect yourself from hackers and spammers. One of those is to ensure that you always update to the newest WP version when it rolls out. This includes full version releases, but it also includes periodic updates. WordPress developers routinely address security concerns in each version and issue patches. If you don’t patch the problem, then no plugin is going to help you.

Next, make sure that you back your site up regularly. This ensures that if the worst does happen, you can delete the damaged site and reload from a recent backup. There are plugins that automate the backup process for you, but you can also do it manually if you prefer. The point is to do it, and to do it often.

Finally, if you’re using the default login information, stop, and stop right now. Most hackers are aware that the default login name for WordPress is “admin”. Change it to something that they can’t guess, and that makes using hacking software more difficult. Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters to really throw hackers for a loop.

On to the Plugins

Now that we’ve gotten those basic best practices out of the way, it’s time to focus on the actual plugins that can help defend your site against spammers, hackers and other digital threats.

Bulletproof Security

Bulletproof Security is available in free and “pro” version. Note that the pro version is not free. Both can offer robust security. Even the free version can provide you with a strong defense against almost any threat. It also includes a one-click setup wizard, and login security and monitoring. Key features include idle session logout, .htaccess website security protection, security logging, HTTP error logging, DB backup (full, partial, manual and scheduled) and both front and back end maintenance modes. Upgrading to the pro version brings custom php.ini security, uploads folder anti-exploit protection, dashboard alerts and other benefits.

WP Security Audit Log

Often, stopping hackers and spammers in their tracks is as simple as keeping tabs on what’s going on with your website. WP Security Audit Log allows you to track the activities of suspicious users before they achieve their goals. Alerts are generated when a number of different instances occur, including when new users are created, user roles are changed, passwords are changed, files are uploaded or deleted, email addresses are changed, widgets are added, moved or deleted, login attempts fail, and many others.

Picture29Antivirus for WordPress

Like all other website platforms, WordPress is susceptible to viruses and malware. It’s also subject to spam injections. Antivirus for WordPress is a handy plugin that is designed to work in tandem with manual security measures, resulting in the best possible defense. Out of the box, it can block most viruses and malware, as well as worms and malicious links. It also notifies you of hacking attempts listing all intrusions, injections and occurrences that were blocked.

Acunetix WP Security

Acunetix is a very handy plugin that offers both blocking and preventative action. One of the most important features of this plugin is that it will automatically scan your website for vulnerabilities. Not only will it detail vulnerable areas, but it will also suggest steps to take to secure them. The plugin scans for issues with passwords, file permissions, version hiding, security issues with your database and more. It also offers backup for disaster recovery, error-information removal on loading pages, PHP error reporting disabling and more.

iThemes Security

This plugin was previously named Better WP Security, and it offers more than 30 options to protect your website against hackers, spammers, viruses and malware. The plugin offers both free and pro versions, but the pro option is by far the better choice. It provides two-factor authentication, WordPress salts and security key updating, reCAPTCHA, online file comparisons, user action logging, temporary privilege escalation and other ways to safeguard your website.


Wordfence is designed for websites that need enterprise class protection, and is the most frequently downloaded security plugin for the platform. It’s free, and in addition to offering powerful protection, can also speed up website performance by up to 50 times. Note that this plugin is also available in a premium version, which comes with two-factor authentication, as well as live support from the company. The standard version includes a firewall, robust blocking features, login security and more that make this a must-have option.

When it comes to protecting your WordPress site from hackers and spammers, these plugins offer vital solutions and security, but make sure to follow the best practices discussed as well for more peace of mind.

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