in

9 WordPress WAF to Prevent Security Threats

default image

Securing a WordPress website is a challenging yet crucial task for any site owner. With the immense popularity of WordPress, which powers over 40% of all websites, it has become a prime target for hackers and cyber attacks. Recent statistics show that WordPress sites are hacked at an alarming rate, with over 94% found to be infected with malware according to a report by Sucuri.

Implementing a WAF or Web Application Firewall is one of the best ways to protect your WordPress site. A WAF acts as a shield that monitors all incoming traffic to your site and blocks malicious requests and attacks. It can prevent various threats like SQL injections, cross-site scripting, DDoS attacks, brute force login attempts and more. There are generally two types of WAF solutions:

  • Cloud-Based WAF: These are hosted on the cloud and sit outside your infrastructure to filter traffic before it reaches your server. It only allows legitimate requests through.

  • Plugin/Server Based WAF: These are installed on your WordPress site, either as a plugin or server module. The requests are analyzed after they hit your server.

Cloud-based WAFs are usually more powerful as all traffic is screened offsite before reaching your infrastructure. Let‘s discuss some of the top WordPress WAF solutions:

1. Sucuri Web Application Firewall

Sucuri WAF is a leading cloud-based WAF specialized for WordPress sites. It offers complete protection against OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities, malware, exploits, DDoS and other threats.

As a cloud-solution, Sucuri sits outside your infrastructure and cleans all traffic before it reaches your server through a simple DNS routing. It combines advanced firewall security with performance optimization features like HTTP/2 support, caching, compression and more.

Some benefits of Sucuri WAF include:

  • Instant protection with customized security rules
  • Malware removal and attack remediation
  • DDoS protection with Anycast network
  • OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities blocked
  • Bot protection and IP reputation monitoring
  • Brute force attack prevention
  • Intelligent caching and compression

Sucuri plans start from $9.99/month per site. They offer a website firewall security free trial.

2. Wordfence Security

Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin installed on over 2 million websites. The premium version includes an integrated firewall module.

It performs real-time blocking of malicious requests by analyzing traffic against frequently updated firewall rules, malware signatures and threatening IP addresses.

Wordfence firewall offers protection against:

  • Known security vulnerabilities and exploits
  • Country blocking
  • Rate limiting rules
  • Blocking of scrapers, bots and crawlers
  • DDoS protection with challenge rules
  • Automatic blacklisting of malicious IPs

Other key features include two-factor authentication, scheduled scans, endpoint malware detection and more.

Wordfence premium plan is priced at $99 per year.

3. Cloudflare Web Application Firewall

Cloudflare operates one of the world‘s largest cloud-based WAF networks that processes around 25 million HTTP requests per second. Its WAF solution is available under their Pro plan.

It relies on an extensive set of rules to block SQL injections, cross-site scripting, vulnerabilities outlined in OWASP Top 10 and other threats. Additionally it offers WordPress-specific rules as well.

Key advantages of Cloudflare WAF:

  • Negligible impact on site performance with only 1ms latency
  • Real-time protection powered by global network
  • Customizable WordPress rules
  • Integration with many caching plugins
  • DDoS mitigation and bot fighting
  • IP/country blocking and rate limiting

Cloudflare plans start from $20 per month for the Pro version having WAF capability.

4. Astra Security

Astra offers an all-in-one WAF and security solution designed for WordPress sites. It can block vulnerabilities, prevent hacks, malware, DDoS and other threats.

It comes with advanced firewall rules to stop SQL injections, cross-site scripting, remote code execution and other OWASP top 10 exploits.

Other key protections provided:

  • Blacklist monitoring and spam blocking
  • Country and IP blocking
  • Protection against brute force attacks
  • Vulnerability scans and auto malware removal
  • Disabling of file editors, XML-RPC etc.
  • Login and firewall event notifications

Astra plans start from $19 per month. It offers firewall security audits and malware scanning free of cost.

5. NinjaFirewall Web Application Firewall

NinjaFirewall is a dedicated WAF solution built specifically for WordPress sites. It acts as an external shield placed in front of WordPress to filter all incoming requests.

It leverages an advanced filtering engine called Sensei which combines firewall rules, blacklist monitoring, threat intelligence and machine learning to block attacks.

NinjaFirewall offers protection against:

  • Access control rules
  • Filtering of cross-site scripting, SQLi
  • Blocking of unauthorized access to wp-config.php
  • Protection of WordPress REST API
  • Disabling of password brute force
  • Manual blacklist of IPs and countries

Single site pricing starts at $34.90 per year. It provides centralized logging, alerting, support for multi-sites and more.

6. StackPath Application Firewall

StackPath offers a tightly integrated WAF and CDN solution. Their application firewall scrutinizes all traffic at the edge before it enters your infrastructure.

It utilizes extensive rules to block OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, bots, account takeover attempts, DDoS and volumetric attacks. You can set custom rules based on request attributes like IP, URI, geography etc.

StackPath also provides features like:

  • Virtual patching of vulnerabilities
  • Auto-scaling protection against DDoS
  • Web scraping and bot prevention
  • WordPress-specific firewall policies
  • Integration with W3 Total Cache

Pricing starts at $20 per month for 5 websites including CDN, WAF and DDoS protection.

7. WebARX Web Application Firewall

WebARX offers an enterprise-grade WAF focused on WordPress security. It is available as a cloud-based proxy service or a plugin.

It blocks all known web application vulnerabilities and custom threat intelligence. The firewall engine examines attributes like IP, request URL, SQL queries, field length and more to detect malicious patterns.

Key features include:

  • Real-time protection against OWASP Top 10 threats
  • AI and ML driven firewall rules
  • Blacklist blocking of botnets and malware
  • Protection for WordPress admin, login, XMLRPC
  • Scoring and monitoring of all requests
  • Customizable actions like block, log, challenge

WebARX starts from $9 per month and offers a 7-day free trial.

8. Threat X Application Firewall

Threat X provides a modular WAF that combines signature-based rules, negative security models, machine learning and sandboxing. It is available as hardware, virtual appliance, cloud proxy and Kubernetes implementation.

ThreatX offers out-of-the-box protection for WordPress with pre-defined rules that block the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities along with plugins, themes and core files specific to WordPress.

Features include:

  • Auto policy generation for WordPress security
  • Negative security models to block zero days
  • Sandboxing of requests in isolated containers
  • Graphical rule and policy editor
  • Integration with WAF vendors like Nginx, F5, Citrix
  • Centralized logging and analytics

Threat X starts from $4999 per year including support. Free trials are offered on request.

9. Barracuda Web Application Firewall

Barracuda WAF provides strong protection for web apps and APIs. It leverages advanced features like decoys, cryptography and behavior analysis to block sophisticated threats.

The WAF policies and rules are automatically tuned to adapt to new vulnerabilities. It also provides managed rules tailored to block WordPress specific threats.

Key capabilities:

  • Managed rules to protect WordPress vulnerabilities
  • AI-based WAF tuning and auto policy generation
  • Integration of threat intelligence feeds
  • Detection of bots, crawlers and scrapers
  • API protection for REST endpoints
  • Load balancing and DDoS protection

Barracuda WAF is available on a subscription model starting from $249 per month.

Conclusion

Implementing a robust web application firewall is crucial to protect your WordPress site against ever-evolving threats on the internet.

The solutions discussed here offer powerful capabilities like virtual patching, bot mitigation, managed rulesets and more to keep WordPress secure. As website attacks become more complex, leveraging these WAFs along with other best practices can help block threats and harden WordPress.

Evaluate your website traffic, sensitivity of data and types of threats faced to pick the right WAF that suits both your security needs and budget. For managed WordPress hosting providers, always opt for ones providing default WAF protection. With the right firewall in place, you can rest easy knowing your site is safe from intruders.

Written by