Hackers have increasingly sophisticated tools at their disposal, which is why your WordPress website may be more vulnerable to attack than ever. But keeping your site secure can be incredibly time-consuming if you try to handle it all yourself. That’s why automated software could be just what you need.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of a WordPress firewall designed to automatically defend your website. Both human hackers and bots will be blocked from getting into your site when you set up the firewall to align with your needs. You, and your users, will be safer from security threats overall.
Firewalls can be a complicated topic for newcomers, which is why we’ve created the following guide to WordPress firewalls. We’ll cover how they work, what benefits they offer, and more. We’ll also explore the top options on the market and walk you through the installation process.
Introducing WordPress Firewalls
With a WordPress firewall installed, a website will face less risk of being hacked. The firewall functions as a barrier and prevents malicious users from penetrating the site, getting past its safeguards, and accessing sensitive data.
Common types of firewall include:
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
A WAF examines inbound HTTP traffic. It filters, monitors, and ultimately blocks hazardous parties.
Domain Name System (DNS) Firewall
A DNS firewall will defend your network against external dangers, and can determine which domains may be malicious. It can also prevent and monitor users attempting to access those domains.
This is one of the biggest firewalls available, and has a module named mod_security — this can serve as a firewall to protect servers.
Network Address Translation (NAT) Firewall
The NAT only allows access to a device within a protected private network if it is requested by the network.
With this firewall, data packets are monitored and controlled based on IP addresses, ports, and protocols.
Most of the time, a WAF is used to protect WordPress sites: this feature is usually available with WordPress security plugins. Keep reading to find out more about these later in our guide.
Why is a WordPress Firewall Worth Your Time?
A WordPress firewall is a crucial tool for protecting websites, as it can defend against diverse security threats and hacks. These include:
- SQL injections
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
- File inclusions
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks
- Man in the Middle threats
- Cross-site forgery
Attacks such as these have the power to take websites down, capture invaluable data, and bring businesses to a stop. Installing a WordPress firewall can reduce your risk of falling victim to a preventable attack significantly.
Additionally, improving the security of your website will benefit your users, as it will protect their data and provide them with peace of mind. Installing a firewall isn’t a total security solution for WordPress sites, but it is a vital component of your safety setup. It can prevent attacks and hacks, as can performing regular security scans and backups.
What are the 3 Top Firewalls for WordPress?
You can add a firewall to your WordPress site in a few ways, such as if your web host offers you one as part of your package. Otherwise, installing a firewall plugin for WordPress could be the easiest option. Just install and activate your preferred plugin, and tweak its settings in the dashboard to get started.
Here are three of the top WordPress firewalls available:
Wordfence is a free firewall for WordPress sites, featuring a malware scanner and endpoint WAF. It can help your site stay safe from internal and external hazards.
As Wordfence is focused on endpoint instead of cloud protection, encryption weaknesses have no impact on it. You will also get access to malware signature updates and real-time firewall rules if you choose the premium Wordfence plan.
Wordfence’s main features include:
- High-quality malware scanner
- Focused on WordPress security
- Endpoint WAF
- Regular updates
With this popular suite, you will get access to an SSL encryption, CDN, and DDoS defense. There’s a free plan available, but if you want to take advantage of the Cloudflare WAF, you’ll have to buy one of the paid plans instead.
Cloudflare is a cloud-based solution offering protection against the most common types of security threat, such as SQL injections and CSS. You can customize the rulesets to fight off additional attacks, and Cloudflare’s zero-day protections are capable of patching security weaknesses within seconds.
Cloudflare’s features include:
- Bot management
- 250 server locations
- API and page shields
- 121 tbps protection against DDoS
- Almost-immediate security deployments
Sucuri is a complete service for website security. It contains features designed to reinforce your website, a malware scanner, and an auditing tool. While you can sign up for a free version, you would need a premium plan to try the Sucuri WAF.
With this firewall, you would be able to stop hacking attempts in real-time, mitigate DDoS attacks on large scales, and utilize SSL encryption. On top of all this, the Sucuri firewall also speeds up load times with a CDN.
Sucuri’s main features include:
- Can be used on one site
- SSL encryption
- Cloud-based WAF
- CDN access
- DDoS protection
Installing Your WordPress Firewall
Let’s find out how you can pick your WordPress firewall and set it up:
Part 1: Finding Your Firewall Plugin
While we have explored three popular WordPress firewalls, there are alternatives out there. Keep these factors in mind when browsing the market:
- Cost: Free firewalls tend to have a limited range of features, and you might want to weigh the expense against the quality of customization and security provided.
- Customizability: A lot of premium firewalls let you create blocklists and manage your settings. If these are crucial to you, pick a firewall with a wealth of customization options.
- Support: Access to support is valuable if your website is affected by an attack, but a lot of low-cost or free plugins lack fast customer support.
- Cloud-based against point-based firewalls: A lot of WordPress firewalls are based in the cloud, which lets them review a higher number of traffic sources and defend sites from DDoS attacks. But endpoint firewalls tend to be more accurate and fight off software-based hazards.
Generally, your choice will be based on your site and its unique requirements. But it’ll be easier to pick when you consider these factors carefully.
Part 2: Setting Up Your Firewall
To walk you through this example, we’ll explore configuring your WordPress firewall with Wordfence. If you pick an alternative software or firewall plugin, it’s best that you check its official documentation.
To start, install the Wordfence plugin then activate it. Next, just go to Wordfence > Firewall to confirm that your firewall is running. Click on Manage WAF to change some general settings, and you can manage your site’s brute force protection by clicking on the associated settings. However, you can’t access an IP blocklist or firewall rules without signing up for the premium version.
A WordPress firewall will filter visitors, and defend against security dangers such as DDoS attacks. You can set up a firewall on your site easily and cost-effectively, too. Before we end, though, let’s remind ourselves of the top firewall solutions for WordPress:
- Sucuri: Providing cloud-based firewall, CDN access, and SSL encryption.
- Wordfence: A freemium firewall plugin for WordPress, offering regular updates and endpoint protection.
- Cloudflare: A sophisticated solution featuring a cloud-based WAF, almost-immediate patches, and quality DDoS protection.
Make sure you’ve read Wordfence vs Sucuri comparison article published previously.