New or old to WordPress, if your site doesn’t have a security plugin installed, your site is vulnerable to attacks. Today, I am going to focus on a couple of great WordPress security plugins. We will walk through the complete set up these plugins to optimize the performance of your site.
I am an advocate for WordFence. Not only is itÂ a great plugin that provides security to WordPress, but it also provides page caching as well as real time traffic reports. Some of the options are only available in the pro version. Unfortunately, we won’t cover the pro version features today.
Let’s take a look at how to set it up.
After installing and enabling WordFence, click the WordFence admin panel in the main admin panel of WordPress.
Let’s start with the Firewall. First of all, you can either go through the tour or end the tour. For the sake of this post, we will end the tour.
First, click the box that is yellow that says Learning Mode. Change that to Enabled and Protecting and click save.
Next, you can choose to Optimize the WordFence Firewall. WordFence is able to conduct tests to determine your server configuration. Click the continue button.
First, weÂ will arrive on a screen to continue but weÂ must download .htaccess first in order to continue. Click Download .htaccess and Continue.
This will fully optimize WordFence Firewall.
WordFence Performance Optimization
Now that the Firewall is optimized, let’s take a look at how to optimize our site for the best performance. During this tutorial, I am going to utilize a free resource on the web, http://pagespeedgrader.com to look at the before and after results of our page load time. As a result of these tests, we should observe if WordFence actually delivers on increasing our page load time.
First of all, let’s look at our benchmark speed.
Our initial benchmark load time was 3.41 seconds. Additionally, our score was 73%. These results are fromÂ using the twentysixteen themeÂ on a default WordPress site with the Hello World post and the Sample Page.
By selecting the second option, Enable Basic Caching – 2-3 times faster, our page load time decreased by 1.5 seconds and is now 1.91 seconds. Consequently, our score also decreased to 71%. I will cover bringing your score back up in a later post.
Whenever we enable the final option, Enable Falcon Engine, you will prompted to download a backup of .htaccess before you can continue. Download .htaccess and proceed.
After enabling Falcon Engine, the page load time decreasedÂ to 1.62 seconds but our score increased to 80%. Because this is a WordPress security pluginÂ it comes as a surprise that it allowsÂ us to cut our page load time by just over 50%.
You can check out your own page load times and site score at http://PageSpeedGrader.com.
Because you can observe the traffic to your site and can determine if the traffic is from a human, a bot, or even if blocked traffic is trying to access your site, you have the ability to block the ip address or network from accessing your site.
WordFence gives you “antivirus” protection on your site by searching every file within the installation searching for malicious code. Also, there is an option to scan each file as if it were executable. Finally, there is also an option to scan directories outside of WordPress.
Learn more about WordFence atÂ https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/.