Whenever you plan on setting up your blog or an e-commerce website, one is always invested in the initial investment that goes along with creating the website. The most important aspect, perhaps, specifically when choosing a particular hosting plan and a theme, is its overall security.
The two names that immediately comes to mind are iThemes and Wordfence. While it has always been a debate, as to which service provider is more robust, in terms of security, we will try to put things into perspective, by weighing in the security aspect of both iThemes and Wordfence, to determine a winner.
iThemes Security vs Wordfence – Which one stands on top?
While it is not hidden fact that iThemes and Wordfence are one of the most secure platforms, for WordPress plugins. Both offer server-level safeguards, coupled with advanced security features. Before we jump into which one stands out on top, let’s go through an overview of both:
- iThemes Security: Formerly known as StellarWP or WPSecurity, iThemes security offer seamless protection to your WordPress site, with 30+ offerings, designed to protect your site to the fullest, avoiding hacks and breaches. iThemes security primarily focuses on recognizing vulnerabilities in the plugin, including weak passwords, and software malfunctions. iThemes Security is also designed to eliminate your guesswork in WordPress security, allowing you to easily navigate around a security plugin. While the basic version of iThemes Security is sufficient for beginners offering a great deal of basic security features, however; for users looking to include advanced security features, the pro-version allows you to access additional and more robust security features like two-factor authentication, strong password reinforcement, backup of your database, and much more.
- Wordfence: Wordfence Security is a combination between simplicity and robust protection. It includes login security features and incident recovery tools. It also provides analytics regarding security breaches and hacking attempts. It protects your site through an advanced malware scanner and endpoint firewall. Wordfence security also offers Threat Defense Feed, providing you with malicious IP addresses, malware signatures, and the most recent firewall signatures to keep your site up and running, in terms of security.
Now that we’ve covered brief overview of both iThemes Security and Wordfence, here’s a feature comparison table to give you an idea:
|FEATURE COMPARISON WINDOW FOR ITHEMES SECUTIY & WORDFENCE|
|iThemes Security Features||VS||Wordfence Features|
|Brute Force Protection||Endpoint Firewall|
|404 Detection||Security Scanner|
|File Change Detection||Threat Defense Feed|
|Strong Password Enforcement||Wordfence Central|
|Lock Out Bad Users||Leaked Password Protection|
|Away Mode||Live Traffic|
|Email Notifications||Advanced Manual Booking|
|Database Backup||Country Blocking|
|Two-factor Authentication||Repair Files|
|Security Dashboard||Two-factor Authentication|
|Security Grade Report|
|Trusted Devices with Session Hijacking Protection|
|User Security Checks|
Based on the above feature comparison, it must be clear to you that iThemes Security offers an array of different features, based on the version you opt for. The PRO version comes with all the advanced features mentioned.
To make things simpler for you, let us first talk about the similarities between both, to help you understand what iThemes Security and Wordfence are aligned with, in terms of security features.
Disclosure: This guide contains affiliate links. When you purchase a theme through the links, I sometime earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Similarities between iThemes Security & Wordfence
While both iThemes Security and Wordfence are robust service providers, in terms of security for your website, it is important to understand the similarities between the two, to take things ahead:
- Both iThemes Security and Wordfence are Security Plugins for WordPress
- Both iThemes Security and Wordfence include Two-factor Authentication
- Both have Malware Scanning capability
- Brute Force Attack Prevention is also a common to both security plugins
- Security Dashboard is present on both iThemes Security and Wordfence under different names (Security Dashboard vs Wordfence Central)
- Both include File Change Detection
- Both have GeoIP Banning
- Both have support for Affiliate Program
While there are many similarities between iThemes Security and Wordfence, the user experience is different, mainly owing to the unique features offered by both security plugins, which brings us to the difference between both services.
Differences between iThemes Security & Wordfence
The main difference between both security plugins lies with the unique features. The unique features of iThemes Security include:
- Away Mode – with this enhanced security feature offered by iThemes Security, your WordPress Dashboard may be set to act as inaccessible during specific or certain hours of the day, to avoid modification of usage by any other person, keeping your site secure at all costs.
- iThemes Sync – iThemes Security is known for its handful of features and iThemes Sync is no different. Having this feature on-board, you can manager numerous websites from one place. It’s an excellent and secure way to release lockouts, sitting from anywhere, and set your Away Mode to shut off access to the Dashboard of your site. Additionally, you can also view the IP addresses for the users who have been locked out.
- Version Management – Managing a WordPress site as it grows is no easy task. It requires for you to have functionally efficient plugins, to avoid vulnerabilities of site, in terms of security. With the Version Management feature of iThemes Security, you’ll be able to automatically update to newer versions of plugins and WordPress themes, while updating the security measure along the way. What’s more interesting to note is that iThemes Security automatically puts up with advanced security measures and strict protocols, when it detects that your plugins or themes are outdated, while notifying you to update as well.
- Passwordless Login – One of the newer unique features of iThemes Security that allows you to identify users without having to login through passwords (as passwords can be guessed). It’s a highly secure and simple mechanism, allowing you to login without having to administer your password. The feature sends you an email, redirecting you with a link that directly logs into your site.
On the contrary, the unique features of Wordfence include:
- Repair Files – With this feature of Wordfence, one can safely recover from a hack through source code verification feature by Wordfence, telling you exactly, about the changes that occurred in the plugin theme files or core, while also helping you repair them. This feature is backed by cloud servers of Wordfence, by checking the files against WordPress repository.
- Security Scanner – Wordfence’s security scanning feature is quite unique as it allows you to check core files, themes, malware, spam content, backdoors, redirects, SEO-related spam, bad URLs, and many more. Moreover, Wordfence’s security scanner checks and scans for the files present in the WordPress repository, against its integrity, and any changes made.
- Threat Defense Feed – The Threat Defense Feed of Wordfence is perhaps a class of its own, in terms of firewall. The plugin receives the most firewall rules, malicious IP addresses, along with malware signatures to monitor your site. This allows you to get unmatched and uncompromised security. Wordfence will constantly update you and inform you about any threats via Threat Defense Feed, while simultaneously blocking them.
- Endpoint Firewall – Wordfence strives to provide you with better protection than cloud firewalls that are prone to data breaches. The Endpoint Firewall feature of Wordfence offers you advanced protection against potential data breaches, leveraging user identity data in more than 85% of its firewall rules. This is in line with Wordfence’s brute force protection.
Which Security Plugin comes out on top?
There are pros and cons to using both security plugins and we mentioned above, it’s all about the uniqueness of features offered that makes you prefer one over the other. If we talk about the pros of iThemes, there are numerous:
- Availability of free version
- Snappy installation with one-click
- Robust login features through Passwordless login
- Extremely suitable for beginners
- Backs up the WordPress data base on a regular basis
- Advanced features available for Developers and Experts
- Simplistic user interface
The pros of Wordfence would include:
- Excellent Security Scanner
- Threat Defense feed allows for real time updates
- Availability of Brute Force Detection
- Powerful Endpoint Firewall
- Excellent customer service
While both security plugins are excellent, in terms of security aspects, there’s always one that slightly bends the extra mile, to truly offer an immersive experience for users.
Both iThemes Security and Wordfence have amazing benefits, irrespective of some flaws that are common to both; however, if we were to pick one over the other, we would go with iThemes security, simply given that it’s packed with usability and security features and has been the main choice for many users.
Having said that, iThemes is able to offer you the best value, in terms of the features it is offering you.
In the end, it will depend on what you prefer. If you desire simplicity and value for money, then iThemes is the best option to go for. If you’re looking for something technical, offering a native firewall, then Wordfence would be the way to go.
In any case, you won’t go wrong with either one.