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The 10 Best WordPress Vulnerability Scanners for Boosting Security

Ensuring your WordPress site is secure should be a top priority, but with so many potential vulnerabilities, keeping track of risks can feel overwhelming. This is where a dedicated WordPress vulnerability scanner comes in handy.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain exactly what these scanners do, the value they provide, and the 10 best options in 2023 for finding and fixing security flaws in your WordPress site.

What is a WordPress Vulnerability Scanner?

A WordPress vulnerability scanner is a specialized security tool that scans your WordPress site for vulnerabilities, malware, misconfigurations, and other security risks.

It goes far beyond just checking if your core, plugins and themes are up-to-date. Quality scanners dig deep to identify issues like:

  • Outdated plugins, themes or PHP versions
  • Insecure server settings
  • Suspicious files indicating malware
  • Data leakage via unprotected directories
  • Weak user passwords
  • Misconfigured database credentials
  • SSL issues
  • Code injection risks

The scan produces a detailed report highlighting security flaws and the files affected. Some scanners even recommend fixes for issues discovery.

This allows you to take targeted action to patch vulnerabilities before hackers have a chance to exploit them.

Why WordPress Sites Need Vulnerability Scanning

WordPress powers over 40% of all websites, which makes it an extremely tempting target for hackers looking to spread malware, steal data or hijack traffic.

In fact, studies show over 70% of WordPress sites contain at least one serious vulnerability.

The main problem lies in keeping everything updated. With thousands of themes and plugins available, and new threats emerging daily, manual security monitoring quickly becomes unrealistic.

This leads to situations where threats go undiscovered for weeks or months, providing ample time for attacks.

A reputable vulnerability scanner continuously checks your entire site for weak spots, acting as an automated security monitoring system. The instant any issue emerges, you get alerted so patching can start ASAP.

Simply put – scanners boost security and let you fix flaws before hackers find them.

The Best WordPress Vulnerability Scanners of 2023

There are dozens of WordPress vulnerability scanners on the market, spanning free basic tools to advanced commercial platforms.

To help you identify the top options, I’ve compiled reviews of the 10 leading solutions across three categories:

  • Free online scanners – Allow quick scans but provide limited results
  • Premium scanners – Offer advanced scans and extra features for a paid fee
  • Security plugins – Integrate scans directly into your WordPress dashboard

Free Online WordPress Vulnerability Scanners

While handy for quick checks, free online scanners only scratch the surface in terms of depth of analysis and insight provided in their reports. Still, they can uncover common issues.

Sucuri SiteCheck

Sucuri offers a nicely balanced free online scanner that checks for malware, blacklisting status, directory listing risks and outsdated software.

It scans WordPress along with other CMS platforms like Joomla and Drupal. One downside is scan time can slow down if their servers are busy.

Key Features:

  • Scans for malware, blacklisting and software versions
  • Supports WordPress, Joomla and Drupal
  • No login required

Pricing: Free

Pentest Tools WPScan

The Pentest Tools WordPress scanner utilizes WPScan vulnerability data to find risks. You get info on WordPress versions, themes, plugins and user accounts.

Bonus – it lets you download scan reports as PDFs. Just don’t expect ultra in-depth analysis beyond basics.

Key Features:

  • Leverages WPScan vulnerability DB
  • Prints PDF scan reports
  • Checks themes, plugins and accounts

Pricing: Free

Premium Vulnerability Scanners

For more rigorous scanning that uncovers vulnerabilities missed by free services, commercial scanners are the way to go. Their upfront costs deliver way more value.

Sucuri Website Scanner

The premium version of Sucuri’s scanner offers a major step up from their free tool. Full malware removal is provided if threats are found. You also get email alerts when new threats emerge.

Flexible pricing plans to accommodate personal blogs or big companies. For the price, it packs an impressive punch.

Key Features:

  • Daily scans
  • Malware detection + removal
  • Alerts for emerging issues
  • Suitable for all site sizes

Pricing: Starts at $16.66/month

Acunetix

If budget isn’t a major concern and you want one of the most advanced scanners around, Acunetix is easily a top choice.

It digs deeper than any other commercial platforms I’ve tested, leveraging integrated scanning engines and a mammoth vulnerability database.

Key Features:

  • Over 55,000 vulnerabilities covered
  • Specialized WordPress scanning engine
  • Detects zero-day threats
  • Web crawling identifies hidden threats

Pricing: Starts at $1,590/year

Intruder

Serious security requires serious protection, and Intruder brings enterprise-grade scanning capabilities.

It digs into flaws at the web layer along with underlying infrastructure misconfigurations. Flexible plans fit solo users to giant corporations.

Key Features:

  • Scans web apps + associated infrastructure
  • Powerful issue tracking and reporting
  • Highly customizable rules
  • Integrations for DevOps workflows

Pricing: Starts at $399/month

WordPress Security Plugins

If you prefer having scanning integrated directly into your WordPress dashboard rather than via an external service, plugins are the answer.

Wordfence Security

With over 3 million active installs, Wordfence is far and away the most popular WordPress security plugin.

It packs a surprisingly robust vulnerability scanner alongside a web application firewall, two-factor authentication and advanced blocking of bots/suspicious IPs.

Key Features:

  • Scans core files, plugins, themes and memory
  • Real-time blocking of attackers
  • Country-level blocking options
  • Additional firewall/login security

Pricing: Free or $99/year for premium version

iThemes Security

Over 2 million WordPress sites rely on iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) for protection.

Along with its solid vulnerability scanner, iThemes brings extra hardening like disabling file editing and forced SSL across your site.

Key Features:

  • File change detection
  • Prevents user enumeration attacks
  • Forced SSL site-wide
  • Export scanner reports

Pricing: Free or $97/year for pro version

What To Do Once Vulnerabilities Are Found

Discovering vulnerabilities is only step one. Quick patching is crucial before hackers sneak through openings.

Here’s a brief overview of how to address common WordPress security flaws uncovered by scans:

Outdated Software

Hackers love targeting outdated WordPress installs along with plugins/themes containing unpatched bugs. Simply update to the latest secure versions.

If updates aren’t available for abandoned plugins, remove them fully from your system.

Vulnerable User Accounts

Weak passwords lead to accounts being hijacked. Always use randomly generated 15+ length passwords.

Disable admin accounts fully if not needed. Limit administrator access only to trusted senior staff members.

Misconfigurations

Scanners pinpoint settings that undermine security, like allowing outbound connections from the DB or directory listing in web folders.

Carefully reconfigure options based on scanner suggestions to block threats from leveraging these openings.

Malware Infections

Signs of malware like strange files, suspicious redirects or unexpected code tweaks should be handled extremely urgently.

Use scanner file analysis capabilities to isolate and remove threats. In severe cases, restore your WordPress site from a known clean backup.

Exposed Sensitive Data

If scanners find admin pages or directories with database credentials, financial data or other sensitive materials exposed publicly, restrict access with password protection right away.

Prevent future leaks by enabling strict permissions on confidential assets.

The Importance of Continuous WordPress Scanning

With new threats constantly emerging, the only way to stay secure is through recurrent scans – at least twice per month.

This allows prompt discovery when any component like a plugin or OS server becomes outdated.

Certain premium scanners and plugins make continuous scanning simple by handling it automatically on preset schedules.

Monitoring scan results vigilantly also provides visibility if any unauthorized tampering occurs. Catching suspicious alterations early limits potential backdoor damage.

On top of scheduling recurrent scans, I recommend running new scans immediately after installing themes/plugins or making major WordPress configuration changes.

Keep Hackers Away With Reliable WordPress Vulnerability Management

I hope this guide has illuminated the immense value of leveraging WordPress vulnerability scanners as part of your website security strategy.

The top options allow proactive identification and patching of weaknesses before your site gets compromised. This saves enormous headaches down the road.

Whichever scanner you select, remember to keep it updated and scan frequently. Consistent protection repels the vast majority of hacker attacks targeting the widespread CMS.

Have you used any of the scanners featured here? Feel free to share your experiences via comments!

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