Security is essential for every website. Unfortunately, it can take years to establish your reputation, company, and site. However, it can only take a few minutes for a hacker to destroy everything you’ve created. That is why in this iThemes Security vs Wordfence comparison, I will discuss how you can protect your sites and compare the features of these two plugins.
Wordfence and iThemes Security are the two most popular website security plugins. They’ve grown in popularity in recent years, have many impressive reviews and ratings, and are actively used on millions of sites worldwide.
Both plugins are very similar to one another in terms of brute force protection, malware scans, and other functions. This can make it more difficult to select the right tool to use for your site.
iThemes Security has several remarkable website protection functions with a very intuitive interface. In addition, Wordfence also offers its own advanced security options. The plugin has been installed on more than three million sites since its launch.
In this article, I’ll evaluate several important security measures from each of these plugins. Hopefully, this information should help make a decision on which is better for your needs.
iThemes Security vs Wordfence
WordPress, by default, already has some basic security features. But they pale in comparison to the services that many popular security plugins provide. For example, brute force attack protection, post-hack activities, active security monitoring, file scans, malware, and firewalls are some of the many features offered by many well-known WordPress security plugins.
Wordfence and iThemes Security are some of the top WordPress security plugins. They both have the features listed above and several other security measures. These tools won’t harm your website performance while providing safeguards at a server and site level.
Below you can see Wordfence vs iThemes Security comparison based on most significant features that each provides.
- Ban bad users
- Block specific IP addresses and user agents
- 404 Detection
- Hide Login & Admin URL
- Change WordPress salts & keys
- Away Mode
- Database Backups
- File Change Detection
- Remove Windows Live Write header information
- Remove RSD header info
- Rename 'admin' account
- Change WordPress database table prefix
- Change wp-content path
- Force SSL for any post, page, or admin page
- Turn off file editing in WordPress admin
- Local brute force protection
- Network brute force protection
- XML-RPC brute force protection
- Security logs
- Email Notifications
- Strong Password Enforcement
- File Permission Check
- Malware Scan
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Scheduled Malware Scanning
- User Action Logging
- Password Expiration
- Passwordless Login
- Bypass Lockouts with Magic Links
- Web Application Firewall
- Monitor live traffic
- Content safety checks
- Country blocking
- Checks your site for known security vulnerabilities
- Repair files
- Rate LimitingEnable blocking/throttling functions
- ITHEMES SECURITY PRO
- Free and paid versionPaid version is $80/year for one site, $127/year for 10 sites, and $199/year for unlimited sites.
- Available in PRO version
- Available in PRO version
- Available in PRO version
- Available in PRO version
- Available in PRO version
- Available in PRO version
- WORDFENCE PREMIUM
- Free and paid versionPro version price for one site is $99/year, for two $170, etc.
1. When to pick iThemes Security?
iThemes has solid security functions. It’s a simpler, more intuitive plugin. iThemes Security can be a good resource for people who are new to website security or just new users in general.
Works well for small to medium-sized websites and personal blogs.
2. When to pick Wordfence?
Defense threat feed and endpoint firewall are just some of the superior security methods included in Wordfence. In addition, users who prefer advanced security options should like its real-time security enhancements.
Works well for sites that have sensitive information and medium to large-sized business websites.
NOTE: This is a brief comparison of what Wordfence and iThemes have to offer. I’ve used a table to showcase certain features of each plugin. The official websites for both plugins have more comprehensive lists of all available features.
The options and features that are compared and listed in this table might not necessarily be correct. That’s because plugins are frequently updated and changed. Their official sites have the most up-to-date information. Another important point is that not all of the current features for each plugin are evaluated and included in this article.
Tech experts programmed and developed the iThemes Security WordPress plugin. These experts’ primary focus areas are Internet security and WordPress.
The plugin is intended only to allow site owners, managers, and employees to use their site content and access the site dashboard. iThemes Security is widely regarded by many people in the industry as an amazing security resource. As a result, website owners don’t have to worry about being hacked and can concentrate on growing their business.
This isn’t a plugin that you can install, activate and forget about. Though you can do that, for best performance, regular monitoring and participation on your part will be needed to ensure that your site is never compromised.
The tool can keep your site safe from hackers in 36 ways. There are free and paid versions of the plugin. Each version varies in the number of functions that are provided. For more info, you can check my iThemes Security review.
Wordfence has powerful login security functions and security incident recovery tools. These are just some of the data recovery solutions that they provide.
The plugin gives you information about traffic trends as a whole and any hack attempts on your site. It also uses its endpoint firewall and malware scanner to protect WordPress websites from unauthorized access.
Threat Defense Feed is an impressive Wordfence function. It provides protection and security with its latest firewall rules, malware signatures, and listings of known malicious IP addresses. Wordfence is a comprehensive security tool because of its many invaluable features.
Anyone who wants to secure their site with an advanced plugin can benefit from Wordfence. A central dashboard called Wordfence Central allows you to set up the plugin, control more than one site at the same time and monitor security events.
Wordfence can be a good fit if you’re looking to lock down your site with a modern security plugin.
Now that you have an overview of both the security plugins let us look at their key features.
- To stop brute force attacks on your website, iThemes allows you to limit user login attempts. Users will automatically be locked out of the plugin after several attempts.
- The plugin comes with 404 detections. Once the limit that you assigned has been reached, the IP address will be locked out.
- You will also be notified by iThemes Security of any changes made to your site. In addition, you can identify the changes that you made and the alterations made by other parties.
- Two-factor authentification adds extra security measures by requiring both a code to be sent to your mobile device and a password to be entered.
- iThemes Security has a convenient function that allows you to lock down WordPress and enforce strong passwords. This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of admins, users, and site editors.
- No one can access your site during predetermined times when the Away mode has been activated. This prevents outsiders from changing or entering your site.
- If someone is locked out of your website for having too many unsuccessful login attempts, you can be informed of this by email.
- The plugin allows you to change your login area’s default URL or hide the login section. This can be used to prevent unauthorized visitors from trying to enter the site.
- Website database backups can be scheduled. You can receive them in your email if you wish.
- Log entries and other site activity can be monitored. A composite of associated entries will be shown in a convenient format for you to review and evaluate.
- Security Grade Report will display settings and software information and an overall security grade. You will also be advised on raising your security grade. All of these details can be used to identify and fix any active issues.
- Session highjacking protection can be implemented along with enacting specific security measures for unknown devices. This can protect you from unknown compromises and lock your website down when necessary.
- The plugin’s malware scan function is powered by the iThemes Site Scanner. It can be used to look for outdated software, site errors, any known vulnerabilities, blacklist status, and malware. You can receive email updates for anything detected during daily site scans.
- If you want to confirm user identities without mandating login passwords, you can always activate the Passwordless login feature.
- Two-factor authentification so that you won’t have to worry about brute force attacks.
- Country blocking for additional security. IP addresses from nations with malicious activity can be blocked as needed.
- You can monitor site visitors and hack attempts. This is a unique feature that will show the IP address, origin, and time of day.
- The manual blocking function can be used to block any potentially suspicious IP addresses.
- Lead password protection lets you use trusted, proven passwords for admin logins.
- The plugin will inform you about any alterations to the core, themes, or plugins if your site does get hacked. Wordfence will also assist you in fixing any files that may have been damaged.
- Wordfence’s threat defense feed is another impressive function. It updates regularly according to information from more than three million users around the world.
- The plugin operates at the endpoint, which is your server. This is a more secure method for companies with data leaks or who rely on cloud firewalls for protection. Wordfence’s firewall supports the majority of user identity information. Your scanner and firewall are more effective because that data is leveraged in over 85% of the plugin’s firewall regulations.
- The Wordfence Central platform lets you control everything from one location. It can simplify security for more than one site at a time.
- The security scanner provided by the plugin will evaluate other plugins as well as core files and themes. It looks for code injections, search engine optimization spam, backdoors, redirects that might be malicious, malware, and potentially troublesome URLs.
Alerts & Monitoring
Receiving alerts about the suspicious activity as soon as those incidents occur is important. A good security plugin should offer that service and watch site changes and traffic for you.
A malware scanner is included with iThemes Security. The scanner will inform you if any malware has been found. It will also look for site errors, outdated software, and blacklist status.
iThemes also comes with a security checker. You can use this feature to evaluate the security of all of your WordPress site users. Then, you can perform appropriate steps that are required as a result of this analysis.
You’ll also receive a site report that has been graded and is in full detail. If you want to raise your website’s security grade, you can perform corrections that the report suggests.
Version management is a feature that only iThemes Security offers. You won’t have to worry about any potential security problems caused by older versions of plugins and themes installed. If the plugin or theme hasn’t been updated, you’ll receive automatic alerts.
iThemes Security will look for any alterations made to your website, lockout any IP addresses deemed suspicious, and look for 404 errors.
Emails will be sent to you regarding any problems with your site. This enables you to correct those issues quickly in many instances. In addition, all alert and monitoring functions can be disabled or enabled as you see fit.
Wordfence’s security scanner is one of the best scanning tools around. It checks themes, core files, and plugins regularly. The scanner will look for any SEO spam so that you can have a more secure site.
A powerful threat defense feed can detect issues early because the scanner is regularly updated with the malware’s latest signature to make early detection possible.
Site files are also checked for any possible changes. If anything is detected, Wordfence will automatically repair it.
Content safety checks are conducted regularly. This is done to determine whether or not any problematic URLs are in your posts, files, or comments. A live monitoring function is also included.
You can monitor site visits and hack attempts. For example, Wordfence lets you see a site visitor’s origin, IP address, and the day they visited your website.
Abandoned plugins and themes are reviewed as an additional security measure. Wordfence has a nice assortment of security functions that are suitable for many kinds of sites.
WINNER: The alert and monitoring functions that both iThemes Security and Wordfence offer are commendable. Wordfence’s advanced monitoring and endpoint firewall give it the advantage in this category.
WordPress sites need a good plugin that will let you block certain web browser patterns, web browsers, and IP address ranges when necessary.
iThemes Security does an excellent job of preventing possible threats so that you can concentrate on expanding your company and improving revenue, sales and profitability. 404 errors are created when bots attempt to scan your site for possible vulnerabilities.
You can add limits to errors so that iThemes security will block the IP address automatically once that limit has been reached.
Two-factor authentification is an added level of security. Users will need to enter a code on their mobile device and user password when logging into the site.
Unwanted login attempts are avoided by implementing this function. iThemes Security also works with Authy, FreeOTP, Google Authenticator, Toopher, and other popular mobile apps that use two-factor authentification.
iThemes Security’s malware scanner finds site errors, blacklist status, outdated software, and malware automatically. You can schedule iThemes malware scans and be informed by email about any problems that were detected.
Enforcing strong passwords, security method can be implemented for added security. Away mode function can be used if you don’t intend to log in to the site for a certain period of time. This feature will let you shut down site access.
Away mode can be manually activated or deactivated as needed. Your WordPress login can be hidden, or you can change the login URL so that hackers can’t try to log in.
iThemes Security also has several helpful functions that can prevent people with WordPress user accounts from maliciously attempting to enter your site. It’s an important feature because this tactic is becoming increasingly common. It lets you log out users, change user permissions, and add or delete users according to the specific scenario.
iThemes Security ven allows you to implement limitations on login attempts from unknown devices. Any new device login attempts will result in an email about that attempt being sent to you automatically. This can prevent cookie and session hacking.
An endpoint firewall is included with Wordfence. This is better than a cloud firewall in terms of security. Endpoint firewalls operate on your own server and stop data leaks.
Endpoint firewalls can’t be bypassed, unlike cloud firewalls. They’re more reliable because encryption isn’t broken. Also, cloud firewalls can’t use the user-friendly bypass rules that are typically associated with endpoint firewalls.
Wordfence also provides Two-factor authentification. This feature can protect your website from unwanted visitors and brute force attacks.
Geolocation is another convenient Wordfence feature. Users from countries that are regularly involved in cybercrime can be blocked easily. Any suspicious IP addresses can also be blocked manually.
A threat defense feed has the most recent firewall rules, malware signatures, IP addresses, and other security functions. You’ll receive information about where different hacking attempts started and the codes that they left.
You can see all of your site logins and logouts with Wordfence. You can also check any new site logins. It also helps in removing malware and blacklisting.
WINNER: Wordfence and iThemes provide excellent security features. Wordfence has great firewall protection, and iThemes Security has many other useful options like Away Mode. It’s tough to choose a winner in this category. I’d say that this one’s a tie between iThemes and Wordfence, as each has several unique options.
Backup & Restore
Site backups are just as important as security. Your website could be hacked, no matter how secure it may be.
If your site does get hacked, valuable data won’t be lost if your site is properly backed up. So it’s time to discuss the restore and backup functions that each plugin provides.
Data is backed up with iThemes Security. You’ll receive emails when iThemes Security regularly backs up your data. It’s a good resource for securing important data on smaller sites.
You may want to think about using the iThemes Backup Buddy plugin if you have a large amount of confidential user information or need full site backup.
It is a complete backup plugin that allows you to schedule your backups and store them offline manually. For more info, you can check my BackupBuddy review.
Wordfence provides site cleanup and security audit service. But when it comes to backups, you will have to install a third-party backup plugin as Wordfence doesn’t provide that option.
WINNER: iThemes Security performs basic backup functions, so it’s the winner in this category. Wordfence doesn’t have any backup options. But with both plugins, you will need to use a backup plugin.
You can use the free versions of Wordfence or iThemes Security if you want to try them out to see how they work. However, there are also premium paid editions of each plugin, which I’ll discuss in this section.
iThemes Security free version can be downloaded from the WordPress repository. You have three pricing plans in the Pro version: the Blogger plan, the Small Business plan, and the Gold plan.
Here’s a brief synopsis of each option:
- The Blogger plan costs $80/year. It provides 1 year of plugin updates and support for 1 site.
- The Small Business plan is priced at $127/year. It offers a year of plugin updates and support for up to 10 sites.
- The Gold plan costs $199/year. It provides a full year of plugin updates and support for unlimited sites.
Brute force protection and firewall blocking are provided with Wordfence’s free edition. Their Premium plans begin at $99.10 annually for a single website. If you need more than 1 site, then each additional site is paid additionally.
License plans for more than one site are as follows:
- If you buy a 2-4 sites license, the price is $89.10/year per site
- If you buy a 5-9 sites license, the price is $84.15/year per site
- If you buy a 10-14 sites license, the price is $79.20/year per site
- If you buy a 15+ sites license, the price is $74.25/year per site
People who own multiple websites can save significantly with the above Wordfence plans. The more sites you have, the less you’ll spend in the long run. You can save even more by purchasing plans for several years. The pricing page of Wordfence’s website has more information about these plans.
WINNER: Looking strickly at pricing, iThemes security is a way cheaper option.
Pros & Cons Differences
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using each plugin.
iThemes Security vs Wordfence Conclusion
These two can’t exactly compare as each does things differently.
Wordfence uses a firewall as an effective security measure. It comes with an Endpoint firewall that allows it to be more secure & completely integrated with WordPress than a cloud-based firewall.
A security scanner is included that regularly checks plugins, themes, and core files. It searches for SEO spam, backdoors, and many other potential problems. You can use Wordfence to monitor live traffic like time, IP address, origin, and other live site traffic attributes.
Wordfence’s two-factor authentification is excellent against brute force attacks, block countries employing suspicious activities, manual blocking, and blocking accounts with compromised passwords.
Wordfence is a very effective security resource. Its drawbacks are a confusing interface that can be difficult to navigate and the fact that the plugin can use more server resources.
File Change Detection is one of several functions that are unique to iThemes Security. This plugin does a better job than Wordfence’s premium plans. It’s important to remember that resources will be consumed by any plugin that scans site files.
It’s up to you to select the iThemes Security options that you want to activate or deactivate. For example, you may want to activate specific functions during low traffic times or deactivate functions that you currently don’t need.
Wordfence and iThemes Security are impressive plugins that have a vast assortment of useful features. The plugin that you pick should be based on your own individual needs.
I suggest that medium to large-sized companies choose Wordfence. You really can’t go wrong with this advanced security tool.
iThemes Security is recommended for small to medium-sized businesses. It doesn’t take much knowledge or experience to use. Beginners will be able to set it in no time. It’s simple to understand and intuitive.
You will receive top-notch security features from either of these plugins. Hopefully, this iThemes Security vs Wordfence article supplied you with enough information to assist in your selection. As an alternative option, you can check the MalCare review.
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10 thoughts on “iThemes Security vs Wordfence Comparison (2023) Which Is Better?”
Thanks for the Analysis, it is very useful.
Sorry if it is a bad question:
Should I use ithemes security on its own?
Or would it benefit from using additional security plugins? if so, which ones?
Say… Real Simple SSL?
Thanks in advance!
Real Simple SSL is not a security plugin. Yes, you can use just iThemes Security. You don’t need any other plugin.
Thanks a lot for your reply!
One more question.
I’ve read that wp-hide (It hides the fact that it is a WordPress site) is helpful because they don’t know what plugin to attack.
Is that really useful?
Can I have wp-hide and ithemes at the same time?
Thanks again in advance for your answer
I don’t recommend using two security plugins at the same time as it will come to conflicts and potential site issues.
Super thanks again!
Thanks for the analysis. We use WordFence and like it but were also looking at iThemes because we want to better protect the login, update the login URL, block wp-login.php
Do you have any suggestions other than switching systems?
I suggest you stay with WordFence if you are satisfied.
Thanks for the in-depth article. It is always nice to read more about security plugins and the latest wordpress updates. I personally use wordfence for all my sites and must say, I’m truly satisfied. Anyway, keep up the good work.
Thank you for sharing your experience with Wordfence.