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HostPapa Blog / Web Hosting  / Sucuri vs Wordfence: WordPress Security Plugins Showdown
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4 May

Sucuri vs Wordfence: WordPress Security Plugins Showdown
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(Last Updated On: May 4, 2022)

WordPress security is a significant concern for developers, and it’s only getting worse. Every day, thousands of WordPress websites are compromised. It’s a crucial issue that needs to be addressed immediately before entering into a potentially dangerous situation.

A secure, managed WordPress hosting service with a proven track record of adhering to industry best practices is the first step in protecting your site. The second step is to implement security measures on your WordPress site. However, you can invest in a dedicated third-party security service to improve the overall security of your website.

WordPress security plugins Wordfence and Sucuri are two of the most popular choices. They are equipped with a comprehensive set of security features to secure your website. Being similar in many ways, they’re still unique.

Which is better, Wordfence or Sucuri? The information in this article will help you make an informed decision about which of these two options will be the best fit for your website. To understand a better plugin, one must have experience using both. Users can compare them one-on-one for various features, performance, pricing, and overall value.

Why is WordPress Security Important?

A hacked WordPress site can cause significant damage to your company’s revenue and business image. By manipulating social engineering techniques, attackers may be able to hack passwords or other personal information from your users and install malicious software.

Many small business owners may believe their website is safe because they don’t think their company is large enough to threaten hackers. Given the potential profit to be made from selling personal information, hackers are generally unconcerned about the size of your company. You never know when or how your company will be targeted for an attack, which is why you must protect your website and use the necessary WordPress plugins to increase your security as soon as possible.

The good news is that when it comes to WordPress security, you can take various measures to keep hackers and vulnerabilities from infiltrating your eCommerce website or blog.

Wordfence vs Sucuri

Wordfence and Sucuri are the most widely used WordPress security plugins. They both provide comprehensive protection against brute force attacks, malware infection, and data theft, among other things.

As a website owner, it’s your role to select a security plugin that protects your website and does so efficiently. You would also prefer something that requires little maintenance to devote your time and energy to expanding your company.

You should choose a security plugin that’s simple to use without the need for technical skills to install and maintain.

Introduction to Sucuri 

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Sucuri is a website security plugin specializing in protecting WordPress-based web applications. They safeguard your website against hackers, malware, DDoS attacks, and blacklisting.

When you enable Sucuri, all traffic to your website is routed through their cloud proxy firewall before reaching your hosting provider. Because of this, they can block all of the attacks and only send legitimate visitors your way.

Malware detection, integrity monitoring, and security hardening are its most essential features. Sucuri scans everything from a remote location, so it does not perform in-depth scans on the server-side.

With Sucuri, you can expect websites to be protected, their performance improved, hacking indicators monitored, and unlimited support for security incidents (for premium users only).

It’s important to note that Sucuri is not a magic solution for all of your website security requirements. It’s meant to be used in conjunction with your existing web security. Sucuri, on the other hand, provides you with many tools to mitigate risks, allowing you to enjoy greater peace of mind and greater security awareness.

When discussing Sucuri, you should know about its three tiers of protection:

  • Sucuri Security is a free WordPress plugin that includes the standard security hardening features that you would expect. The free version of the plugin doesn’t come with a firewall.
  • Sucuri Firewall (WAF) is a fee-based service that can be used with the Sucuri Security plugin. It’s also possible to use the firewall without the plugin. Web application firewalls (WAFs), content delivery networks (CDNs) for performance optimization, load balancing for high availability, intrusion detection systems (IDSs), DDoS mitigation, and a slew of other tools are included in the package.
  • Sucuri Platform is a collection of premium cloud-based security services available at a competitive price. It includes all of the features found in the Sucuri Firewall and additional features such as monitoring, detection, and incident response, among others. By registering for the Sucuri Platform, you will be able to request that the Sucuri team “remove all malware & blacklist warnings” from your website.

The most significant advantage of using Sucuri is that it makes your website more secure. As a bonus, because the firewall reduces the amount of traffic to your website, you save money on your hosting bill because the load on your server is reduced significantly.

Introduction to Wordfence

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Powered by WordPress, Wordfence is a free security plugin that features an endpoint firewall (WAF) and malware scanner. It also includes login security (2FA, login page CAPTCHA, and limit login attempts), Live Traffic, and advanced rules-based blocking.

Wordfence, in contrast to Sucuri, is a localized firewall. It is not a cloud service because it is hosted on your web server. As a result, it can perform more in-depth server-side scans and provide complete end-to-end encryption.

However, this advantage comes at the expense of overall performance. The traffic is analyzed by your server’s resources, which will look for any malicious intent and, if necessary, will discard the traffic. If you host your website on a server with limited resources (for example, shared hosting or low-cost managed hosting plans), your website may experience a significant slowdown. Choosing your hosting provider wisely is highly recommended.

The quality of the hosting service determines how well your website is protected. In addition to world-class site speed, security, and ease of use, Managed WordPress from HostPapa provides you with a complete package from day one. With the fastest CDN in the world and global website firewall and malware protection, you can improve performance and secure your site.

During a DDoS attack, the sheer volume of malicious traffic can cause your server’s resources to become overwhelmed. That is a challenge that no local security plugin can meet. When compared to Sucuri, this is the most significant weakness of Wordfence.

Ease of Use

Website security is a highly complex and technically demanding field of expertise. In the first comparison category, we’ll look at the ease of use of both plugins.

Wordfence: Ease of Use

Wordfence is a simple program to install and configure. Immediately following the installation of the plugin, you’ll be prompted to enter an email address where you would like to receive security alerts and warnings. In addition, you would have to agree to their Terms of Service agreement.

Following that, you’ll be presented with an onboarding wizard that will assist you in becoming acquainted with the Wordfence dashboard. It indicates the locations where security notifications and scans will be displayed.

The plugin will enable the website application firewall while in the learning mode and will perform an automatic scan in the background while in this mode. Depending on the size of your website, you may or may not receive an email notification when the scan is complete.

Following a click on a notification, the notification’s details will be displayed, along with any recommended actions that you should take. 

The firewall is configured to run as a WordPress plugin by default, which is not very efficient. It is possible to run Wordfence in the extended mode for enhanced protection, but this will require you to configure it manually on your computer or laptop.

The basic Wordfence plugin configuration is straightforward and doesn’t require much user input. Beginners may find it difficult to locate specific settings or options because the user interface is cluttered.

Sucuri: Ease of Use

Sucuri is an easy-to-use security program. The user interface is up to date and effective. If Sucuri recommends that you apply any security hardening settings, it only takes a single click to make those changes.

After installing the plugin, you’ll need to generate an API key, which you can do directly from your WordPress administration area.

Sucuri automates most of its security features, allowing you to configure them once and forget about them forever. You also won’t have to worry about keeping the plugin up to date or maintaining it.

If Sucuri detects a breach, it will send you an alert. However, if you prefer to control things manually, it provides you with lots of options. Because Sucuri’s WAF is cloud-based, you won’t have to worry about performing any technical maintenance on your end.

Website Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall keeps an eye on the traffic on your website and blocks common security threats. There are a variety of approaches that can be used to implement a firewall (application-based vs cloud-based). Cloud-based firewalls are more efficient and reliable than traditional firewalls in the long run.

Sucuri and Wordfence both provide website application firewalls. Let’s look at how they differ from one another.

Wordfence: Website Application Firewall

In addition to a website application firewall, Wordfence provides malware monitoring and blocking services for websites. A cloud-based firewall is more efficient than an application-level firewall, which means it runs on your server and is less efficient than a local firewall.

Wordfence automatically activates it in the basic mode by default. This means that the firewall operates as a WordPress plugin and that for an attack to be blocked, WordPress must first be loaded. This can consume many server resources and isn’t very efficient.

To make this change, you’ll need to configure the Wordfence firewall in the extended mode manually. The Wordfence firewall will monitor traffic before it reaches your WordPress installation.

Because it’s an endpoint firewall, Wordfence can only prevent traffic from reaching your hosting server once it has already arrived there. In the event of a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack or a brute force attempt, your server resources will be depleted, and the performance of your website will be impaired. It may even come to a halt.

When you first activate Wordfence, its firewall is in learning mode, which means it constantly learns new things. It gathers information about how you and other users interact with your WordPress website. Several firewall rules are not enforced during this time to ensure that legitimate website users are not accidentally blocked from accessing the site.

Sucuri: Website Application Firewall

Sucuri provides a cloud-based website application firewall, which means that it detects and blocks suspicious traffic before it even reaches your hosting server.

This allows you to save a significant amount of server resources while simultaneously increasing the speed of your website. Sucuri’s content delivery network (CDN) servers are distributed across multiple geographic regions, which provides another benefit in terms of website speed.

To make use of the firewall, you will need to change the DNS settings for your domain name. Sucuri’s servers would be able to handle all of your website traffic due to this change.

There are no basic or extended modes in this game. Once the configuration is complete, Sucuri’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) will protect your website against malicious requests, DDOS attacks, and password guessing attempts.

To avoid false positives, they have developed a robust machine learning algorithm that is sophisticated enough.

Sucuri does allow you to switch from High-Security mode to Paranoid mode when you are subjected to a DDoS attack. This ensures that your website’s server does not go down unexpectedly. 

Security Monitoring and Notifications

The owner of a website needs to know as soon as possible if there is a problem with their website. It’s possible to lose customers and money due to a security breach.

Check that your WordPress site can send emails to receive these notifications. Use an SMTP service to send WordPress emails, as this is the most reliable method.

Wordfence: Monitoring and Alerts

Wordfence has a very effective notification and alerting system. First, notifications will be highlighted next to the Wordfence menu in the WordPress admin sidebar and dashboard.

The colour of the font indicates the severity of the issues. If you receive a notification, you can click on it to learn more about it and how to resolve it. However, you’d only be able to see this if you logged into your WordPress dashboard.

Wordfence also includes email notifications that are sent immediately. The ‘Email Alert Preferences’ section can be found on the Wordfence > All Options page by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Email notifications can be turned on and off from this page. You can also select the severity level for which an email alert should be sent.

Sucuri: Monitoring and Alerts

Sucuri provides you with important notifications on your dashboard. The status of the core WordPress files is displayed in the top right corner of the screen, which is dedicated to this purpose.

You can specify the email addresses to which you want to receive notifications. Following that, you will be able to customize email alerts further. You can also select which events you want to be notified about, the number of alerts you want to receive per hour, and the settings for brute force attacks, post types, and the subject of alert emails.

Their website application firewall will also send you automated high-level alerts to your email address when something goes wrong.

With the free Sucuri Security plugin, you can keep an eye on your WordPress website and put some basic security measures to keep things safe. However, it’s not intended to protect your website from significant cyberattacks.

Malware Scanner

Both plugins include built-in security scanners that will scan your WordPress site for malware, changed files, and malicious code, among other things.

See how Wordfence and Sucuri scan for malware and other issues in the following comparison test. Here’s a step-by-step guide on checking Protection Power malware scan history.

Wordfence: Malware Scanner

Wordfence comes pre-installed with a powerful scanner that can be configured to meet your specific hosting environment and security requirements. Standard configurations for the scan include only a few scan options (to save server resources on shared hosting plans).

Wordfence’s free version automatically determines a scanning schedule for your website. Users of the premium version have the option of customizing their scan schedules. Several scanning modes can be configured for the scanner. It’s only possible to use specific scan options with the premium version.

The Wordfence scanner can also check your plugins and themes to make sure they’re compatible with the repository’s current software version.

Sucuri: Malware Scanner

Sucuri Malware scanner uses Sucuri’s Site check API to scan for malware. This API checks your website against several safe-browsing APIs to ensure it is not listed as a blacklisted website. It checks the integrity of your core WordPress files regularly to ensure that they have not been altered.

By visiting the Sucuri Security » Settings page and selecting the scanner tab, you can change the scan settings.

Sucuri’s free scanner runs on your website’s publicly accessible files and reports back on its findings. Because it’s not a WordPress-specific scanner, it’s incredibly effective at detecting any type of malware or malicious code, regardless of the platform. It also benefits from being less intrusive on your server’s resources, which is a plus.

Hacked Website Clean Up

WordPress sites that have been hacked are difficult to restore. Malware can affect multiple files simultaneously, inject links into your content, and even lock you out of your website. The majority of beginners will not be able to clean everything manually independently.

Both Wordfence and Sucuri provide malware removal and website cleanup services to their credit. 

Wordfence: Site Clean Up

The site cleanup service provided by Wordfence is not included in their free or premium plans. It is available for purchase separately as an add-on service. In addition to site cleanup, you’ll receive a premium Wordfence license for use on one website.

Fortunately, the malware removal procedure is fairly simple to follow. They’ll scan your website for malware and infections and then remove any malicious code or files that have been found.

Their team will also look into how the hackers gained access to your site in the first place. They will compile a comprehensive report on the entire cleanup process and recommendations for future preventative measures.

Their WordPress site cleaning service includes the following features:

  • Remove all malicious code and links from the infected website to ensure it’s clean
  • Examine the circumstances surrounding the infection of the site
  • Please provide an in-depth report on the investigation and infection removal procedures
  • Use this form to request that the site be removed from anti-malware and anti-spam blacklists
  • Assemble a checklist to help prevent future attacks

Sucuri Site Clean Up

Cleanup of websites is included in all paid Sucuri plans. Website cleaning, blacklist removal, SEO spam repair, and WAF protection. In terms of malware cleanup, injected spam code, and backdoor access files, they’re among the most effective. 

There are no complicated steps to this process. Your team will begin working on the cleanup process once you submit a support ticket. FTP/SSH access and cPanel access will be granted using your login credentials. Every file they touch is recorded, and everything is automatically backed up throughout the procedure.

Summing It Up

Sucuri vs. Wordfence is a battle between two cybersecurity companies. What is the best option for you?

While Sucuri can provide high-level web security and performance, Sucuri is the superior solution when it comes to mission-critical business or eCommerce websites.

However, if you’re looking for a more reliable free web firewall, Wordfence is a better option. If that’s your preference, experts recommend pairing it with a dependable free content delivery network (CDN), such as Cloudflare.

Ultimately, it all depends on your hosting provider. The majority of the security measures will be taken care of by a reputable hosting provider for you. They recognize that the performance degradation caused by third-party plugins on their servers and in their service is not worth the inconvenience.

Your host should restrict code execution to specific locations and instances in an ideal situation. After that, only the code’s respective folder will be able to receive writing uploads. WordPress security plugins would be rendered obsolete if a few additional security hardening measures were implemented at the server level, as described above. Remember that website security is a journey rather than a destination.

Julia Keys

Julia is a Content Coordinator for HostPapa, with a special focus on editing copy and all things blog-related. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Oscar-nominated movies, and drinking iced lattes.

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