Getting hacked is every blogger’s worst nightmare.
Isn’t that true?
While there are many things you can do to secure your WordPress site using plugins and simple tweaks, one of the best ways to prevent security lapses is to choose a secure WordPress hosting from the beginning.
Most hosts advertise something about their security as a general rule of thumb, but not all hosts are equal when it comes to securing your WordPress site.
To help you find the most secure hosting for your WordPress site, I’m going to first share the specific features that go into making secure WordPress hosting. Then, I’ll recommend five hosts that do an especially great job of keeping your WordPress site safe.
What Makes For A Secure WordPress Hosting?
No host wants their clients’ sites to be hacked, so what differentiates a secure WordPress hosting from all the others?
Basically, while all good hosts should implement basic security controls, some hosts – typically managed WordPress hosts – go above and beyond to implement extra security protocols to keep your data safe.
So what are those extra protocols? Here’s what makes for extra secure WordPress hosting:
- WordPress-optimized web application firewall (WAF): A web application firewall is a set of WordPress-specific rules that can block many malicious attacks before they even happen by inspecting incoming traffic and filtering out anything bad.
- Malware scanning: If something does make it to your site, daily malware scans can pick it up quickly before too much damage is done.
- Rate limiting: Rate limiting protects your site from brute force attacks. And some hosts will even go further and ban IPs with more than a certain number of failed login attempts.
- Account isolation: Account isolation ensures that your sites are entirely separate from other sites. Unlike shared hosting, this means that you’ll never be in trouble just because someone else’s site got hacked.
- Automatic updates: According to the data, out-of-date WordPress software accounts for a huge percentage of hacked sites. Secure WordPress hosts will automatically update your software so that you’re never out-of-date. Of all the websites, Sucuri cleaned last year, 36.7% of WordPress clean up requests had an outdated version.
- Free HTTPS: A good secure host should offer a free SSL/TLS certificate so that your site encrypts all data between a user’s browser and your server.
- Latest technology: Using out-of-date technology, like PHP 5.X, opens your site up to hacks. A good, secure WordPress host should offer the latest and most secure versions of PHP and other technologies.
- Two-factor authentication: Using two-factor authentication for your hosting account ensures no one gets access to your site through your hosting account credentials.
- Hack-fix guarantee: If anything does happen to your site, most secure WordPress hosts will fix it for free.
- Automatic backups: While not a direct security feature, automatic up-to-date backup of your site ensures that you’ll never lose your data due to a security incident.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into secure WordPress hosting, and not every host will offer all those features.
5 Best Hosts For People Who Need Secure WordPress Hosting
All of the following hosts offer all, or at least most, of the security features listed above.
Kinsta is a popular managed WordPress host with a great reputation for security. It’s also where I host WPSutra. You can see my full Kinsta review if you’re interested in more than just Kinsta’s security features.
To my knowledge, Kinsta has never had a security incident, which isn’t a surprise because they put a lot of controls in place to keep everything safe.
First off, Kinsta uses Google Cloud Platform to power its hosting, which instantly gives you the security of Google for your physical hardware and network.
Then, Kinsta stacks its own set of security rules on top. You’ll get:
- A web application firewall
- Malware scanning
- Account isolation via Linux containers
- Automatic updates for WordPress security updates
- The latest version of PHP
- Automatic backups, plus storage for the last 14 days
- Free SSL certificate for HTTPS
- SFTP and SSH
- Two-factor authentication for your Kinsta account
Kinsta also offers some other unique WordPress security rules. For example, they automatically enforce strong passwords for all WordPress accounts. And they also automatically ban any IP address with more than six failed login attempts in one minute.
Finally, if anything does manage to get through all those protections, Kinsta offers a Hack fix guarantee. In their own words – “If your site is compromised, we’ll fix it for free.”
Kinsta’s hosting plans start at $30 per month and have great performance, as well as lots of other helpful features.
2. WP Engine
WP Engine is one of the most popular and well-known managed WordPress hosts.
Like Kinsta, WP Engine puts in place a number of techniques to secure your WordPress site. You can see the full details here, but the most relevant features are:
- Web application firewall. One neat thing the WP Engine does is use its scale to monitor for new network attacks and then add those to the firewall rules. Because WP Engine hosts so many WordPress sites, you benefit from “herd immunity” here.
- Free SSL certificates
- SFTP for secure file transfers
- The latest version of PHP
- Automatic updates for WordPress software. WP Engine will even identify vulnerable plugins and either update them or patch them for you.
- Automatic backups
To keep both your hosting account and your WordPress accounts safe, WP Engine also:
- Offers two-factor authentication for your hosting account
- Includes access controls for hosting accounts you give to other people
- Enforces strong passwords for WordPress accounts with Administrator, Editor, or Author user roles
In the interest of transparency, WP Engine has had one security issue in its history. Back in 2015, some customer credentials were exposed. WP Engine handled the situation promptly and there haven’t been any incidents since.
WP Engine plans start at $35 per month.
Flywheel is an affordable managed WordPress hosting. Despite offering slightly lower entry-level prices than Kinsta or WP Engine, Flywheel still offers plenty of great security features:
- Built-in firewall to detect and block malicious actors.
- Malware monitoring
- Automatic updates for WordPress core. Flywheel doesn’t automatically update plugins, but they will also send out notification emails if you’re running a plugin version with a known vulnerability
- Free SSL certificate
- Enforced strong passwords for you and all your users
- Limited login attempts by default
Similar to Kinsta, if something does manage to get through all those security layers, Flywheel promises to clean your site and restore it to working order for free.
Flywheel’s plans start at just $15 per month.
Pagely is probably the most expensive WordPress hosting that you can find, so this one is definitely not for most bloggers. But if you’re willing to pay a premium price for premium service, Pagely has a strong focus on security and performance for large WordPress sites.
Pagely calls its various security features PressArmor.
Here’s how it works.
First, Pagely’s base security level is its web application firewall to block most known exploits, as well as network edge rules for further protection. On top of that, Pagely adds real-time malware monitoring that searches for “trojan horses, viruses, worms, keyloggers, spyware, and adware”.
Pagely also goes beyond that and will automatically patch vulnerable plugins, as well as automatically update your core WordPress software for security updates.
Other security features include:
- Free SSL certificate
- Automatic backups
- Two-factor authentication for core services
- Locked down SFTP/SSH
Pagely’s PressArmor will even help you filter out spam comments!
God forbid, if anything does go wrong, Pagely offers a free hack fix guarantee like Kinsta and Flywheel.
Pagely’s cheapest plan starts at $299 per month (yes – $299!).
While the four previous hosts were all specifically managed WordPress hosts, Cloudways lets you host any type of site (including WordPress, of course).
It’s actually a service to add managed hosting to various cloud hosting providers like DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud.
As part of Cloudways’ service, it adds a number of important security features:
- Firewalls to filter out malicious traffic
- Automatic backups
- Easy and free SSL certificate
- SSH and SFTP for secure server access
- PHP 7 and other latest tech
- Two-factor authentication for your Cloudways account
Cloudways takes a little bit more of a “do it yourself” approach to hosting while offering good security controls.
If you want that flexibility, while still having a secure environment, Cloudways can make a good choice. But if you’re a beginner blogger, I recommend staying with one of the managed WordPress hosts.
Cloudways plans depend on which cloud hosting provider you choose. The cheapest option is a $10 per month DigitalOcean server.
Conclusion: What’s The Best Secure WordPress Hosting For You?
All of these hosts offer secure WordPress hosting, but there are some significant differences in price and features.
If you’re a beginner at blogging and want something affordable but still more secure than shared hosting, I would recommend you start with Flywheel as it’s the cheapest option at just $15 per month.
If you can afford $30 per month, I like Kinsta. Again, this is where I actually host WPSutra. Just make sure to pay attention to the traffic limits on the various plans.
And if you have a huge budget, Pagely offers a great service – it’s just not cheap. Kinsta and WP Engine’s higher plans are also good options.
Do you have any other questions about what makes secure WordPress hosting? Leave a comment and we can talk about it.
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