Contrary to popular belief, WordPress sites aren’t any more or less vulnerable than other websites. The same malware threats – Pharma hacks (spam injections to your site database/ files), backdoors, drive-by downloads, malicious redirects to dangerous websites, database phishing (steals your users’ information) – are just as common on HTML or websites built on other platforms as they are on WordPress.
However, that does not mean you can become lax in scanning and security hardening. WordPress websites are still a high yield target (one vulnerability can put millions of sites at risk since the underlying tech is same). In order to keep your website well protected, make sure you are running routine maintenance and scanning your website frequently for malware.
In this post, I have listed several free, premium, and free-&-premium (freemium) WordPress security scanning tools you can use to that effect:
1. Sucuri Security – SiteCheck Scanner
Sucuri is one of the foremost solutions in site security, and their WordPress plugins and security solutions are unparalleled. The tool to use religiously is the Sucuri SiteCheck Scanner – a free malware scanning tool that will scan your website for malware, spam injections (database as well as content/ media files), blacklisted server detection (in case your server has been blacklisted for being used to send copious amounts of spam to search engines), etc.
The only certain pain is that you have to run the SiteCheck scanner manually – there is no automated schedule feature for malware scanning via this powerful tool.
CodeGuard isn’t necessarily a security plugin. It’s actually an automated backup solution for WordPress websites (with an easy restore feature built in). It does, however, have a monitoring feature that keeps track of daily changes on your website and reports instantly if it detects malware or signs of other malicious activity.
Similar backup solution providers like VaultPress or ManageWP’s easy administration dashboard also come packed with similar monitoring features for daily activity and malware scanning. Make sure to check those out too.
3. WP Security Audit Log
This is a developer’s best friend, so if you have someone on your team who knows their way around code and WordPress structure, WP Security Audit Log can prove to be a free, extremely effective solution. It will let your IT guys keep an eye on all activity on your website, track changes, and receive instant security alerts for suspicious activity like multiple failed logins, breaches, to plugin installation.
4. WP Antivirus Site Protection
This brilliant and efficient security plugin from Siteguarding team is a complete malware scanner, with its hawk-like eyes out for detecting any backdoors, Trojan horses, rootkits, worms, adware, spyware, and all types of malware that could be present on your WordPress website’s theme, plugin, media or even core files.
The free version of this plugin scans your site weekly, while upgrading to pro gives you more flexible scheduling options including daily monitoring and additional security features.
Like Sucuri, WordFence is a classic in WordPress site security.
The plugin has a super powered site scanner which doesn’t miss a beat – it scans core files, themes and plugins, and added custom code snippets for every known threat. It updates it’s knowledge (of known threats) continuously and keeps pace with the more ardent hackers out there.
Simply put, there is no better WordPress security plugin. It comes in free and pro versions, although the benefits and features of both are comparable.
Other plugins to consider using for malware scanning are:
• Theme Authenticity Checker
Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory
A WordPress plugin of great renown (especially among pro users and theme developers), TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker) is a great tool to have on your website.
The plugin scans every single theme you have downloaded and installed on your website/ WordPress directory (currently active or otherwise). It’s especially proficient in pinpointing footer links, Base64 injections, etc. from front-end.
If you’re generally indecisive regarding your WordPress themes and site appearance or simply like to experiment (especially with free themes), this plugin is absolutely mandatory.
Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory
The name is pretty apt for anti-malware. This plugin sticks to business; it scans your website for malware and all suspicious code and automatically removes them (based on your configuration on what counts as threat, so ask a security expert to configure it properly). It also has additional features to harden security on WordPress login pages.
Monitoring tools and services like Site24x7, StatusCake, iThemes Sync, even Jetpack (free and pro) security modules will generally have some built in security features to monitor not just uptime and performance, but also to detect threats, malware, and other malicious activity on your WordPress website. If you’re using any of them, make sure to make full use of available features.
Always have a backup ready and maintain contact with your web host. Sometimes the malware can come from an infected website on a shared host.