6 Best WordPress Malware Scanner and Removal Plugins (Free + Paid) Compared

6 Best WordPress Malware Scanner and Removal Plugins (Free + Paid) Compared

Not Sure of Which WordPress Security Plugin to Buy? Here is a Comparison To Help You Decide.

Since the first release of WordPress in May 2003, this open source tool has been used extensively to power nearly 32% of global websites. WordPress also dominates the CMS software industry by powering over 60 million websites.

Did you know?  WordPress (or WP) plugin downloads crossed 1.48 billion in the year 2016.

Thanks to their functionality and flexibility, WordPress plugins are preferred by most web developers and businesses. However, because of its popularity, WordPress is also a favorite target for hackers. WordPress plugins also pose a security threat to websites, mainly if they are not maintained or updated at regular intervals. Security attacks or hacks can undermine a completely functional site in a matter of a few hours.

Ensuring the overall security of your website from a variety of external threats including malware, spam, and bots is a critical and necessary task for WordPress website owners.

This article presents a comparison of the leading WordPress security plugins available in the market, including their features, pros and cons, and pricing.

Top 6 WordPress Security Plugins of 2018

1. MalCare

Malcare Logo

Developed by the same team behind the successful BlogVault backup plugin, MalCare’s unique feature is that it does not overload nor impact the performance of the site’s server. It uses over 100 intelligent signals and an integrated scanner and cleaner. MalCare is easy to operate with its user-friendly one-touch scanning and cleaning features along with its ability to detect the most unknown of complex malware.

Features of MalCare

  • Advanced Deep Scan technology developed after analysis of over 240,000 websites
  • Automatic and on-demand scanning available
  • Execution of scanning operations on its servers and not on the client web servers, thus preventing any server overload
  • Detects new and complex malware
  • Tracks any changes to files
  • Reporting of minimal false positives
  • One-click automated removal of malware
  • Protection from brute force attacks
  • Website hardening measures
  • Integrated backup features and user management

Pros of MalCare

  • Daily automatic scan along with on-demand scans
  • A convenient one-click automatic cleaning feature that can be performed by non-technical users too
  • Adherence to the best website hardening practices for website security as recommended by WordPress offers website hardening features
  • Prevents the slowing down of the overall WP website as MalCare runs on its servers
  • Minimizes the reporting of false alarms by automatically verifying the presence of any malware
  • Tracks changes made of all files to record and investigate any changes
  • Uses the advanced Incremental Backup technology for creating the website backup
  • Includes other features like site management, user management, white-labeling and client reporting

Cons of MalCare

  • Lack of the two-factor authentication process
  • Automatic updating of plugin or themes not enabled 


MalCare offers a free version, which includes scanning and firewall protection. The paid versions start at a monthly price of $8.25.

2. Wordfence

Wordfence Logo

Downloaded by over 2 million times, WordFence is an open-source WP security plugin that is popular among WP users. Some of its notable features include 2-factor authentication and protection from brute force attack.

Features of WordFence

  • Real-time monitoring using the Real Time threat defence feed
  • Built-in Web Application Firewall (or WAF)
  • Timely alerts and user notification of security scans
  • Repairing of hacked files
  • IP Blocking
  • Security of multiple websites
  • Website caching functionality 

Pros of WordFence

  • Automatic scanning and reporting of compromised files
  • Improved website performance through its server-side caching tool
  • The effectiveness of the WordFence firewall in blocking malware attacks or any backdoor attacks
  • Timely E-mail alerts for any updates required for security plugins and themes
  • Provides live statistics of your website traffic
  • Automatic updating of the WordFence plugin
  • Helpful customer support

Cons of WordFence

  • Customer support priority for paid customers
  • False alarms created by email alerts about malicious threats
  • Scanning and cleaning process can overload your web server, thus affecting the overall website speed and performance
  • The free version does not have critical features including real-time monitoring, sign-in using a mobile phone, scheduled malware scanning, country blocking, and password audit 


Wordfence offers a free version, which includes basic scanning and firewall protection. The premium versions start at a yearly price of $99. 

3. Sucuri

Sucuri Logo

Among the leading cloud-based security companies, Sucuri has marketed its security products in more than 12 countries. Along with WordPress, Sucuri is compatible with Joomla, Drupal, PHP, .NET, and HTML websites. The cloud-based active monitoring log feature of this security plugin enables detection of potential security threats.

Features of Sucuri

  • Monitoring of file integrity and website blacklisting
  • Active Monitoring Log feature
  • Remote scanning of malware
  • Website hardening measures
  • Post-hacking website security actions
  • Timely notification of security alerts
  • Integrated Website Application Firewall (or WAF)
  • Intrusion prevention system (or IPS)
  • Content Distribution Network (or CDN)
  • Cloud-based website backup services
  • Real-time mitigation of DDoS attacks

Pros of Sucuri

  • Effective blocking of DDoS attacks
  • Improvement in website security due to WAF and IPS functionalities.
  • Easy and fast cleaning and restoration of hacked websites
  • Increased customer satisfaction, page views, and conversion rate due to the adoption of CDN service
  • Regular researching and reporting of WP security issues

Cons of Sucuri

  • Firewall and scheduled malware scanning not available with free version.
  • High costs of up to $500 for each clean-up procedure 


Sucuri offers both a free version that includes features such as scanning, auditing, and website hardening. Premium or paid version is priced at around $200 for a year.

4. iThemes Security

iThemes Security Logo

Formerly known as Better WP Security, iThemes Security can protect the WP-powered website from over 40 types of vulnerabilities. Some features include locking down of a WordPress website, fixing of common vulnerabilities, stopping automated attacks, and enhancing the strength of user credentials.

Features of iThemes Security

  • 2-factor authentication
  • Protection from brute force attacks
  • Reporting of any changes to core files
  • Detection of any security threats
  • Logging of all user actions
  • Data obfuscation and database recovery
  • Compatibility with multiple sites
  • Detection of 404 Errors on the website
  • Timely backup of the database
  • Tutorials on security measures

Pros of iThemes Security

  • Effective website protection by allowing renaming of the content folder, database table prefix, and login URL.
  • Usage of the latest and updated version of the WP plugins and themes
  • Enforcement of strong user password
  • Use of the vacation mode to block malicious bots and code from the login page.
  • Monitoring of files for any modifications
  • Prevention of brute force attacks by banning of repeated failures of login attempts
  • Tracking of user activity after log in till log out.
  • Detection and fix of website vulnerabilities
  • Two-factor authentication and Google CAPTCHA feature
  • Prevention of any unauthorised changes to core files

Cons of iThemes Security

  • Ticketed customer support only available for premium customers.
  • Features like scheduled scanning, 2-factor authentication, and password expiry only available for premium customers. 


iThemes Security only offers paid versions starting from $80 a year.

5. SecuPress

SecuPress simplifies website security by performing scanning on the following components:

  • Login page
  • Installed plugins and themes
  • Core WordPress and sensitive files
  • Malware
  • Firewall

Features of SecuPress

  • Both scheduled and automatic scanning of malware
  • Regular backups of files and database
  • Automatic detection of vulnerable plugins and themes
  • Anti-spam feature
  • Integrated backup feature
  • Protection of security keys

Pros of SecuPress

  • Continuous Email alerts in the event of brute force attacks
  • Automatic changing of login authentication page to another address on detection of any brute force attack
  • Enforcement of strong user password, double authentication, profile page protection, and WP updates
  • Additional security features for disabling of .zip upload files, plugins and themes, and XML-RPC

Cons of SecuPress

  • Not cost-effective for single site protection
  • Usage on multiple websites only available for premium version customers


SecuPress offers a free version as well as a premium version that starts from $59 a year.

6. SiteLock

SiteLock Logo

Based on cloud-based security, SiteLock provides automatic website protection through features such as the DNS-level firewall, which performs automatic malware scanning and enhances the overall speed and performance of the website. SiteLock also generates malware reports for immediate actions.

Features of SiteLock

  • Daily scanning for malware
  • Automatic detection and removal of malware
  • Built-in Web Application Firewall (or WAF)
  • Removal from blacklists
  • Protection from DDoS attacks

Pros of SiteLock

  • Offers a range of security products for your WP website
  • Repeated scanning of the site to detect and remove any malware
  • Scanning of website pages in draft mode
  • Can be a low-cost security solution
  • Effective white box testing to analyse sites
  • Blocking of harmful requests by the WAF

Cons of SiteLock

  • Large variations in costs


The pricing of SiteLock can vary among users. But you can try out the free version too.


With the increasing complexities associated with WordPress website security, most users would find it challenging to perform the critical task of protecting their website resources. Depending on the important and specific requirements of your website, selecting the right security plugin can simplify this process.

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