A WordPress Security firewall plugin (also known as web application firewall or WAF), acts as a shield between your website and all incoming traffic. These web application firewalls monitor your website traffic and blocks many common security threats before they reach your WordPress site.
Aside from significantly improving your WordPress security, often these web application firewalls also speed up your website and boost performance.
There are two common types of WordPress firewall plugins available.
DNS Level Website Firewall – These firewall route your website traffic through their cloud proxy servers. This allows them to only send genuine traffic to your web server.
Application Level Firewall – These firewall plugins examine the traffic once it reaches your server but before loading most WordPress scripts. This method is not as efficient as DNS level firewall in reducing the server load.
We recommend using a DNS level firewall because they are exceptionally good at identifying genuine website traffic vs bad requests.
They do that by tracking thousands of websites, comparing trends, looking for botnets, known bad IPs, and blocking traffic to pages that your users would normally never request.
Not to mention, DNS level website firewalls significantly reduce the load on your WordPress hosting server which makes sure that your website does not go down.
BulletProof security is another popular WordPress security plugin. It comes with a built-in application level firewall, login security, database backup, maintenance mode, and several security tweaks to protect your website.
BulletProof security does not offer a very good user experience and many beginners may have difficulty understanding what to do. It does come with a setup wizard that automatically updates your WordPress .htaccess files and enables firewall protection.
It does not have a file scanner to check for malicious code on your website. The paid version of the plugin offers extra features to monitor for intrusion and malicious files in your WordPress uploads folder.
Pricing: Free basic plugin. Pro version costs $59.95 for unlimited sites and lifetime support.
Cloudflare is best known for their free CDN service which includes basic DDoS protection as well. However, their free plan doesn’t include website application firewall. For WAF you will need to signup for their Pro plan.
Cloudflare is also a DNS level firewall which means your traffic goes through their network. This improves performance of your website and reduces downtime in case of unusually high traffic.
The Pro plan only includes DDoS protection against layer 3 attacks. For protection against advanced DDoS layer 5 and 7 attacks, you will need at least their business plan.
Cloudflare has its pros, which include CDN, caching, and a larger network of servers. The downside is that they do not offer application level security scans, malware protection, blacklist removal, security notifications and alerts. They also do not monitor your WordPress site for file changes and other common WordPress security threats.
Pricing: Starting from $20/month for Pro plan and $200/month for Business.
Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin with a built-in website application firewall. It monitors your WordPress site for malware, file changes, SQL injections, and more. It also protects your website against DDoS and brute force attacks.
Wordfence is an application level firewall which means that firewall is triggered on your server and bad traffic is blocked after it reaches your server but before loading your website.
This is not the most efficient way to block attacks. Large number of bad requests will still increase load on your server. Because it’s an application level firewall, WordPress does not come with a content delivery network (CDN).
Wordfence comes with on-demand security scans as well as scheduled scans. It also allows you to manually monitor traffic and block suspicious looking IPs directly from your WordPress admin area.
To get their sophisticated application level firewall, you really need the Premium version.
Pricing Basic plugin is Free. Premium version pricing starts from $99/year for a single site license.
SiteLock is another well-known website security company offering website application firewall, DDoS protection, malware scan and removal services.
SiteLock’s WAF is a DNS level firewall with a CDN Service Included in all plans to improve performance of your website. They offer daily malware scans, file change monitoring, security alerts, and malware removal.
All plans include basic DDoS protection while advanced DDoS protection is available as an add-on. They also allow customers to display SiteLock trust seal on their websites.
They have also partnered with many hosting companies to offer their basic plan as an addon.
However, it is unclear what’s included in that addon, and how it is different than the plans offered on SiteLock’s official website.
Pricing: Accelerate Plan costs $299 / year and Prevent plan costs $499 / year.
Sucuri is the leading website security company for WordPress. They offer DNS level firewall, intrusion and brute force prevention, as well as malware and blacklist removal services.
All your website traffic goes through their cloudproxy servers where each request is scanned. Legitimate traffic is allowed to pass through, and all malicious requests are blocked.
Sucuri also improves your website’s performance by reducing server load through caching optimization, website acceleration, and Anycast CDN (all included). It protects your website against SQL Injections, XSS, RCE, RFU and all known-attacks.
Setting up their WAF is quite easy. You will need to add a DNS A record to your domain and point them to Sucuri’s cloudproxy instead of your website.
At Abolly Hosting Inc., we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security.
Pricing: Starting from $199.99/year billed annually.
After careful comparison of all these WordPress firewall plugins, we believe that Sucuri is undoubtedly the best firewall protection you can get for your WordPress site.
It is the best DNS level firewall with the most comprehensive security features to give you complete peace of mind. On top of that, the performance boost that you get from their CDN is very impressive.