Your WordPress website is the product of countless hours of hard work, so it’s important to keep it secure. One essential part of your security setup should be a robust and reliable malware scanner. An effective WordPress malware plugin will help you quickly identify any malicious software that makes its way onto your WordPress website, and provide guidance on removing it.
But, with lots of different WordPress malware scanner plugins available, it may be a challenge to determine which one is right for you. To help, we’ve reviewed six of the most popular options and set out some key things to consider when deciding on the best WordPress malware scanner for your website.
A review of the best malware removal plugins for WordPress
Jetpack Protect is an impressive, free WordPress malware scanning plugin that helps you keep your site secure and clean. It enables you to stay one step ahead of security threats by automatically scanning your site against over 37,000 types of malware — and you can activate its powerful protection with just one click!
New malware is constantly being developed, but WordPress security experts update Jetpack Protect’s malware database as soon as new information becomes available — defending against the latest attacks and vulnerabilities. Jetpack Protect also alerts you to any security vulnerabilities within your plugins or themes, so you can take steps to secure your site.
The plugin will notify you if it finds any malware or other security vulnerabilities within your website, and its powerful technology can scan your entire site, including plugins and themes. If it detects an issue, it will provide straightforward guidance to help you secure your site and remove any malware. Jetpack Protect uses clever decentralized scanning technology, which enables it to scan your site using Jetpack’s servers. This means that its daily scans can detect even the most complex malware without slowing down your site.
Jetpack Protect is made by Automattic, the team behind WordPress.com, so it seamlessly integrates with your WordPress site. Automattic is also behind WPScan, allowing Jetpack Protect to scan against the same malware database used by some of the world’s leading brands, making Jetpack Protect one of the best WordPress malware plugins available.
Key features of Jetpack Protect:
- Powerful malware scanning against over 37,000 malware types
- Automatic scans of your plugins and themes for known vulnerabilities
- A simple one-click setup
- Daily scans that help keep your site secure
- Regular updates to the malware database by a team of dedicated WordPress security experts
- Recommended actions if a security issue or malware is identified
Pros of Jetpack Protect:
- As the daily malware scans use Jetpack’s servers, Jetpack Protect can scan your site without slowing it down.
- You can start protecting your site with just one click. It will automatically scan your site daily and notify you of any issues through your dashboard.
- Jetpack Protect uses the same malware database as WPScan, which is constantly updated by experienced WordPress security experts as soon as new malware or security issues are discovered.
Cons of Jetpack Protect:
- While the plugin offers advice on how to resolve any security issues, it doesn’t provide automatic malware removal. However, one-click fixes for most types of known malware, alongside real-time email alerts, are available through an upgrade to Jetpack Scan. You can switch within the plugin for only $9 a month.
Ease of use:
It only takes one click to activate Jetpack Protect’s advanced malware scanning. The plugin then protects your site automatically in the background, meaning you don’t have to remember to run scans. There’s detailed documentation available, and if you need support, you can access Jetpack’s team of WordPress Happiness Engineers.
Jetpack Protect is available for free from the WordPress plugin directory.
Sucuri is a popular name in website security, and they offer a free WordPress plugin alongside premium services, such as a web application firewall and malware removal. Sucuri’s plugin scans your WordPress site and looks for any changes in the WordPress core files, and it also gives you access to Sucuri’s SiteCheck remote malware scanner.
Key features of Sucuri:
- File integrity scanning
- Security event logs
- Remote malware scanning
- Email notifications of any issues
- Blocklist monitoring
- A web application firewall (premium)
Pros of Sucuri:
- Sucuri provides an activity log of key events on your site, which you can use to help identify the cause of a hack or malware infection.
- Sucuri’s premium plans include unlimited malware removal by a security expert.
Cons of Sucuri:
- Sucuri may not be able to spot all malware on your site. This is because the plugin’s malware scanners run remotely, so it can only check for malware in the source code of the public-facing pages on your site. Sucuri says that their WordPress malware scanner isn’t 100% accurate, as malware could be inserted into plugin files or other admin areas and, therefore, wouldn’t show up on your site’s front end.
- In the free version of the plugin, Sucuri only provides general advice for securing your site after a malware infection. It encourages you to subscribe to its premium services to remove malware.
- Sucuri provides security services that can be used on any website, which means its malware scans are not tailored to WordPress.
- Sucuri has features that can block Jetpack’s connection to your site. If you use this plugin, be sure to allow our IP addresses access to your site’s xmlrpc.php file.
Ease of use:
Sucuri is easy to install and allows you to schedule website scans. Sucuri offers support for the plugin through the plugin’s support forum.
The plugin is free of charge. Premium subscriptions start at $199 a year and include a web application firewall and unlimited malware removal.
MalCare is a WordPress malware scanning and removal plugin developed by a team of WordPress security experts. The plugin includes automatic malware scanning and a web application firewall to help prevent hackers from accessing your site. The premium version of the plugin offers automatic malware removal.
Key features of MalCare:
- A malware scanner, which automatically scans your site daily
- A WordPress firewall
- Vulnerability detection
- Automated malware cleaning (premium)
Pros of MalCare:
- MalCare scans your entire site for malware daily.
- MalCare temporarily and securely copies your files to its servers to conduct the malware scan, meaning that scans won’t slow down your site.
- MalCare’s free version includes a web application firewall, which can help protect your site against hackers and brute force attacks.
- MalCare will alert you by email if a plugin you’ve installed has a known security vulnerability, so you can take action to secure your site.
Cons of MalCare:
- The free version of the plugin only tells you if your site is infected with malware, not where it is. You must upgrade to a premium plan to locate and remove the malware.
- Malcare can also block Jetpack from making requests to your site’s xmlrpc.php file, which is necessary for Jetpack’s connection to work. Make sure you allow our IP addresses to keep the connection working properly.
Ease of use:
MalCare is easy to install and configure, and its automatic scans mean you don’t need to remember to scan your site. MalCare offers support for all users via email, alongside live chat support for premium users.
Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin that includes a malware scanner and a web application firewall that identifies and blocks malicious traffic. The plugin’s WordPress malware scanner automatically scans your whole site, including code injections, malicious redirects and backdoors. The plugin will also check the integrity of your core files, themes, and plugins against the official versions from the WordPress.org repository, then report any changes to you.
If Wordfence detects malware, it can help you replace any damaged core WordPress files with the official version and delete any files that have been added. Full malware removal is included at some of the higher, premium subscription levels.
Key features of Wordfence:
- An automated malware scanner
- Basic repair and deletion settings for removing simple malware
- A web application firewall, which helps prevent brute force attacks
- Two-factor authentication and login protection
- Access logs and real-time traffic monitoring
- Manual malware removal by a WordPress expert (premium)
Pros of Wordfence:
- Wordfence automatically scans your site and sends you daily emails if it notices any issues.
- Alongside malware scanning, Wordfence includes additional features to help keep your WordPress site secure, including a firewall, access logs, and two-factor authentication.
Cons of Wordfence:
- The free version of Wordfence only provides malware database updates every 30 days. Unfortunately, this means that the newest malware might not be detected.
- Wordfence conducts its scans on your server, meaning it can have an effect on your site’s performance.
- The malware removal tools in the free version are limited to deleting and replacing files, which isn’t sufficient to remove more complex malware infections.
- Wordfence also has features to block access to the xmlrpc.php file. Wordfence uses CIDR notation to allow IP addresses access. You can learn more about how to allow those in our support article.
Ease of use:
Wordfence requires configuration to ensure that it fully protects your site. The daily alert emails sent by Wordfence sometimes flag legitimate changes as a concern, which can cause confusion for those unfamiliar with WordPress. Wordfence has comprehensive documentation and a learning center. Free users can access support through the plugin’s support forum while premium subscribers also have access to support via email.
Wordfence offers a free plugin that includes malware scanning and a firewall. Wordfence Premium costs $99 a year and includes daily malware database updates. Wordfence Care costs $499 a year, which includes installation and optimization of the plugin as well malware removal by a WordPress security expert.
SecuPress is a WordPress security plugin that helps you analyze the security of your site. The plugin will give you a security grade and a list of recommended changes to help make your site safer, many of which it can take care of for you. In addition, the plugin’s premium version offers automatic malware scanning with daily malware database updates.
Key features of SecuPress:
- Security audits that identify and automatically fix common security issues
- Brute force login protection
- A web application firewall
- Login protection
- Protection for your website security keys
- Malware scanning (premium)
Pros of SecuPress:
- It scans 35 different elements that could negatively impact the security of your site, and enables you to fix them in one click.
- SecuPress offers a wide range of security features in addition to malware scanning.
Cons of SecuPress:
- Malware scanning is not available in the free version, which is restricted to scanning for security vulnerabilities only.
- Automatic security scanning is not available in the free version of the plugin, meaning you must remember to run a scan.
- Free security scans are limited to one per week.
- SecuPress also blocks the xmlrpc.php file. Be sure to make sure Jetpack’s IP addresses are still allowed to access it, so that the Jetpack connection keeps working.
Ease of use:
The plugin is easy to install and set up. However, the security scan must be manually run in the free version of the plugin. Comprehensive documentation is provided, alongside email support for the premium plugin.
A limited, free version of the plugin is available, but to enable malware scanning, you need to use SecuPress Premium, which starts at $69.99 a year.
Titan Anti-Spam and Security is a security and malware scanner for WordPress that was created by a team of developers called Creativemotion. The plugin combines malware scanning with anti-spam protection. The free version includes automated malware checking against 1,000 kinds of malware and other security features, including file integrity scanning and brute force login protection.
Key features of Titan Anti-Spam and Security:
- Malware scanning against 1,000 types of malware for free users
- Malware scanning against 6,000 types of malware for premium users
- File integrity scanning
- Anti-spam tools
- Brute force login prevention
- Additional security features, including a full firewall and advanced anti-spam tools (premium)
Pros of Titan Anti-Spam and Security:
- Titan Anti-Spam and Security combines anti-spam with basic malware scanning.
Cons of Titan Anti-spam and Security:
- The free version of the plugin can’t detect all malware, as it only checks your site against a small library of 1,000 types of malware.
- The plugin runs its scans on your servers, so your site may slow down when a scan is running.
- The premium version unlocks malware scanning against 6,000 types of malware, which is still considerably less than some of the other plugins in this list, such as Jetpack Protect.
- This tool conflicts with major plugins like Jetpack, which can hamper your ability to maximize site performance in other areas.
Ease of use:
Several steps are required to set up this plugin, and it includes an intuitive wizard that helps you configure the plugin, so it works well on your site. The developer offers a support forum for all users, and email support for premium subscribers.
The free version includes limited malware scanning against just 1,000 types of malware. Premium subscriptions start at $55 a year and unlock additional features, including malware scanning against 6,000 types of malware.
A comparison of the top malware removal plugins on WordPress
|Jetpack Protect||Sucuri||MalCare||Wordfence||SecuPress||Titan Anti-spam and Security|
|Made specifically for WordPress||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Number of malware definitions your site is checked against.||Over 37,000||Not stated||Not stated||Over 44,000||Not stated||1,000 in free version. 6,000 in premium version.|
|Automated scans||Yes||Yes — site integrity only||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Scans full site including admin files||Yes||No — scans public facing files only||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can scans impact website performance?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Frequency of malware definition updates||Daily||Daily||Daily||Every 30 days (free version) Daily (pro version)||Not stated||Not stated|
|Malware removal||No (Jetpack Scan can remove malware for only $8 a month)||Only in premium version.||Only in premium version.||Basic removal through deletion and re-instating files only.||Additional charge of $99 per removal on all plans.||No|
|Any limitations in the free version?||No — free version is fully featured.||Yes. Only general advice on removing malware is provided.||Yes. Information is not provided on where any malware found is located.||Yes. Malware definitions only updated every 30 days.||Yes. Malware scanning only available on premium plans.||Yes. Your site is only checked against a limited number of definitions.|
|Price||Free with no limitations.||Limited free version. Premium plans start at $199/year.||Limited free version. Premium plans start at $69/year.||Limited free version. Premium plans start at $99/year.||Malware scanning is available on premium plans that start at $69.99/year.||Limited free version. Premium plans start at $55/year.|
What’s the best WordPress malware removal plugin?
The best WordPress malware removal plugin will depend on several factors, including your experience with WordPress and if you need other security features in addition to malware scanning.
But it’s clear from the comparison table above that Jetpack Protect is the best malware removal plugin for WordPress. Jetpack Protect is free and offers advanced malware scanning that doesn’t slow down your site. It’s simple to set up and works automatically to scan your website for malware against a comprehensive database that’s constantly updated by Automattic’s WordPress security experts.
And since it’s made by the people behind WordPress.com, it seamlessly integrates into your site. Jetpack Protect also works perfectly alongside the security features included in the Jetpack plugin and Jetpack’s other security packages, including Jetpack Security and Jetpack Scan.
Factors to consider when choosing the best malware removal plugin
How much does it cost?
It’s important to consider how much a WordPress malware plugin costs and if it provides enough value for its price. Some free malware plugins, including Jetpack Protect, offer robust malware protection at no cost. Jetpack Protect checks for malware against an extensive database that’s larger than many of those used by some paid plugins.
Was it built for WordPress, specifically?
Some WordPress malware scanning plugins, such as Sucuri, use malware scanning technology that works on all websites, which means it hasn’t been developed specifically with the needs of WordPress in mind.
However, Jetpack Protect is an excellent malware scanning plugin built by Automattic — the team behind WordPress.com and WooCommerce. This means Jetpack Protect was built specifically for WordPress and that its malware database is updated by WordPress security experts as soon as new information becomes available.
Does it provide any additional security features?
It’s important to consider if the WordPress malware plugin includes any additional security features, such as a firewall or anti-spam protection. And if it does, how robust are the features? You may find that using a dedicated malware scanner, such as Jetpack Protect, provides the highest level of malware protection for free, and works seamlessly with other security tools, including Akismet Anti-Spam, Jetpack, and Jetpack Security.
Is it easy to use?
You should consider how easy the WordPress malware scanning plugin is to use. Some plugins, such as Jetpack Protect, are designed to be simple to use and can be set up with just one click. Then, it automatically scans your site for malware each day.
You should also think about how easy it is to interpret the malware scan results. For example, some plugins will only tell you that you have malware, not where it is or how to remove it. But others, including Jetpack Protect, will give you recommended fixes to banish the malware from your site.
Can it scan your entire WordPress site?
Some WordPress malware scanners can only check the public-facing pages of your website for malware. This means that they cannot check your entire site for malware.
Site-level malware scanners, such as Jetpack Protect, offer greater protection as they can scan your entire WordPress installation, including plugins, themes, and media files. But, if this detailed scanning happens on your server, it can temporarily slow down your website, so it’s important to check where the scan takes place.
Some WordPress malware plugins like Jetpack Protect can offer site-level scanning without impacting performance by using external servers to conduct the scan.
How robust is its malware database?
A malware scanner is only as good as its malware database. Some plugins use a relatively small database or only update it every 30 days, which means they may not be able to identify the latest malware. Other plugins have a much more extensive database, which is updated daily.
Jetpack Protect utilizes the same database as the industry-leading WPScan, which is trusted by some of the globe’s largest brands to keep their site secure. Its database is updated by a dedicated team of WordPress security experts as soon as new malware or vulnerabilities are discovered. This means that Jetpack Protect can detect the newest malware and give you clear recommendations on how to deal with any infections.
Frequently asked questions about WordPress malware removal
What is malware on WordPress?
Malware is short for “malicious software” and it’s a general term for harmful software. Once malware is installed on your WordPress site, hackers can use it to damage it, take it offline, steal data, or gain access without consent.
It’s essential to ensure you regularly scan your site for malware using a free WordPress malware scanner plugin like Jetpack Protect.
How do I know if I have malware on my WordPress site?
If your site becomes infected with malware, you’ll often notice that it starts behaving strangely. Some signs of malware infection include:
- A decrease in speed or performance
- A security warning when visitors try to access your site
- Changes to your site content or new, malicious links
- Problems logging into your site
- Odd behaviors, such as lots of popups
It’s important to take action as soon as you know your site has a malware infection. But not every malware infection is easy to spot, and the only way to know for sure if you have malware on your site is to scan it using a WordPress malware plugin like Jetpack Protect. Regular scans will help ensure you spot malware as soon as possible and receive helpful guidance on how to resolve any issues and get your site back to normal.
What makes a good WordPress malware removal plugin?
A good malware removal plugin should be easy to use and scan for malware daily without you having to do anything. It should have an extensive malware database that’s updated as soon as a new piece of malware or security vulnerability is discovered. The plugin should also scan your site in a way that doesn’t impact your speed, and be able to scan the entirety of your site, including themes, plugins, and media files.
A good WordPress malware removal plugin should then give you clear information about the location of any malware it finds, along with easy-to-follow guidance about how to remove it. Jetpack Protect is one of the best malware plugins for WordPress as it offers all of these features for free.
How much does a malware scanning plugin cost on WordPress?
WordPress malware scanners can be either paid or free, but the top plugin in our review, Jetpack Protect, is free. It was developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress.com, and is perfect for WordPress site owners who want to have the most robust and reliable malware protection available, including automatic scanning and recommended fixes.
Is it easy to set up a malware scanning plugin on WordPress?
This depends on the plugin. Some require you to make several changes to your website and to manually interpret scan results. But the top plugin in our review, Jetpack Protect, can be set up in just one click and doesn’t need any complicated configurations. Jetpack Protect also clearly tells you if it’s found malware and gives you recommended fixes, so you can get your site back to normal.
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