Here is a brief review of iThemes Security Pro to secure the most loved and frequently jeopardized CMS–WordPress.
WordPress empowers even the non-computer guys to have a website up and running in a matter of minutes. Imagine what a devilishly trained cybercriminal could do with this simplicity.
Please note that WordPress core is very secure in itself–accounting for just 0.5% of the vulnerabilities. But it’s the themes and plugins which spoil the security equation for any website.
At the same time, it’s only these addons that make WordPress so doable.
Want an opt-in form–install a plugin.
Thinking of a floating social share–there are a few plugins.
Implementing dark mode–there is a plugin for that too.
In short, these plugins make our life with WordPress real easy.
However, plugins are also the root cause of WordPress troubles, as much as 97.1% of the time. And the remaining 2.4% goes to the never-ending beautiful WordPress themes that we can’t live without.
So it’s always good to have appropriate security measures in place, especially when you know 30,000 websites get hacked every day.
And don’t make the classic mistake of thinking that you aren’t big enough for a lucrative target. In fact, small to medium-sized businesses fall prey more frequently than the big ones. The most common reason is the absence of efficient security infrastructure.
The introductory plan sells for $80 per year, and all its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Start with creating an iThemes account, paying for your subscription, and downloading the plugin.
Next, go to WordPress admin to upload and activate the iThemes Security Pro from the plugin section.
Subsequently, click Settings to start the onboarding process.
The setup is very detailed, with options that let you tweak just about everything. Alternatively, you can skip settings to enforce default protection.
iThemes Security Pro Features
The following sections highlight some of the notable features that can come in handy to secure a WordPress website.
This is a major security loophole that is exploited frequently. What you can do is enforce strict registration policies like two-factor authentication, strong passwords, passwordless logins, etc.
While you can find separate plugins for everything that happens on WordPress, the idea is to have a single plugin to minimize the attack surface.
The recently added feature, Passkeys, helps you to avoid passwords entirely. This is about logging in to your WordPress website with the local authentication you already use with Apple (Touch ID, Face ID), Windows (Windows Hello), and Android (fingerprint, PIN, pattern).
iThemes also protects you from brute-force (discussed later) login attempts. These often take advantage of users setting easy-to-guess usernames and passwords.
But setting a strong password isn’t always enough. Well before anyone guesses the correct password, the sheer scale of these events can make most websites useless for the actual users.
The limited resources start gasping once your wp-admin is loaded relentlessly by the attack bots.
So the best thing is to limit password login attempts.
But iThemes Security Pro goes one step ahead and helps share these bad actors via its Network Brute Force feature. In addition, you can enable reCAPTCHA to shield your website from spam.
And finally, Magic Links will help you get inside while every other option is locked out during an attack.
This is an excellent feature to apply a special set of conditions to a certain section of users. For instance, you can create a group of editors and make them use the strongest passwords while signing up.
Moreover, there are numerous other ways to track and monitor a specific set of users.
Similarly, one can wave off restrictions like two-factor authentication for privileged staff.
And while it’s easy to add the default WordPress groups (editors, authors, subscribers, etc.), you can also make a custom category from handpicked users to set special permissions just for them.
Then there is this feature to add authorized hosts to avoid getting locked out from your own site. Remember to use this option only if you have a dedicated IP address.
Force Logout & Password Change
The iThemes Security Pro dashboard is very useful for securing your website in case of any attack.
You get to see the active users, enforce an instant password reset, and force logout all or selectively.
You can also take advantage of this feature to ensure the best security practices for your website in general. Besides, there is a provision to set a custom password age, after which a user is bound to change their password.
In the same panel, you can find the option to set Two-factor via mobile apps, email, or authentication codes.
This works with any authenticator apps having TOTP (Time-Based One Time Passwords) functionality, like Google Authenticator, Authy, etc.
Brute Force Protection
This is the area where iThemes Security Pro really shines. You have various means to support your website if you face repeated logins trying to force their way in.
First, you can lock out bad actors after a custom set number of failed logins. Further, you can set a lockout period to prevent hackers from trying again frequently.
However, it’s insufficient to ban bad actors for a specific time interval. Therefore, you can also permanently restrict repeat offenders after a defined number of lockouts.
Additionally, iThemes has the ability to block IPs or hosts after failed attempts. And you can use a really low threshold low to ensure maximum security.
Similarly, there is an option to set the number of wrong entries and lockout interval for reCAPTCHA.
Updates & Site Check
Another concerning area of a WordPress website is outdated plugins and themes.
While you can enable automatic updating from the WordPress admin area, iThemes Security brings it all under one hood.
So you can manage the theme, WordPress core, and the plugin updates from the Version Management section.
It also supports setting a delay for updating plugins, and the same applies to the themes. However, it’s normally recommended to get the updates right away without waiting.
Additionally, you can turn on Site Check which alerts you in case of any noteworthy change in the WordPress database.
And you can include/exclude specific file paths from the file change scan. Besides, there is the choice of automatic scans, which occur twice a day.
So this was a short survey of iThemes Security Pro. The features make it easy to recommend this for personal and professional use.
But if you’re searching for an alternative, try SUCURI or Malcare
However, not everything lies in the hands of a website owner. A few important matters need the attention of a web host. You can check these hosting security measures and verify if your web host is prepared for the worst possible day.
Hitesh works as a senior writer at Geekflare and dabbles in cybersecurity, productivity, games, and marketing. Besides, he holds master’s in transportation engineering. His free time is mostly about playing with his son, reading, or lying… read more