Support » Plugin: iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) » Does it slow down the website?

  • Hi,

    I’m looking to start using Better WP Security, but I’ve read a few threads that this plugin slows down the website and the whole server since it’s sending queries to the host too often.

    Anybody has any info on this? I’ve been working hard on speeding up my website, don’t really want even a minor slow down.


Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Hi I have been using this plugin on all my websites without any issues on resources as long as you read carefully the options you select and you keep your log files empty.

    Something else you might also consider is that, it is ok to sacrifice some performance for security. Security is just if not more important as performance and speed.

    Kind regards



    I think all plugins will cause decreasing of website perfomance. The important thing is how much the slowliness compare to the features you get.

    I personally experinced high CPU load if I enable the “File Change Detection” feature in this plugin. Other than that, I never seen any significant perfomance issue.

    My suggestion is only enable the features you understand and need. Also as being mentioned by mbresolution, you should clean your log file frequently.

    I’ve been working hard on speeding up my website, …
    You may need to consider to move to a better webhosting. Previously, no matter how much optimizations I’ve done, my website was always slow. After moved to a good webhosting, now my sites can use up to 1 MB memory and the speed are above average.

    We installed it for a week trial and even though I tried to tweak it, we were getting sporadic slow pages and even database errors – when we removed the plugin the site worked fine again!

    I’m using the plugin on several sites with no issues. I’m not seeing any slowdown due to this plugin.

    What do you mean by “seeing”? Are you looking at your server performance? I’m seeing nearly a doubling of PHP processing time when BWS is active:

    New Relic Performance Graph:
    BWS Settings:

    You’ll notice I have very little enabled. No 404 or file change detection.

    I’ve tried changing some settings but same results. And there’s no traffic spike or load on the server by other means.

    I drilled into it a bit and there seems to be a huge increase in updates to the wp_options table, which may be the cause of the performance decrease:



    Interesting test result. Have you tried to perform the test on different time? It will be great if you perform it several times on different time (morning and night) and on different days (weekend and non-weekend).

    As you have said, you only enabled too few features, it shouldn’t burden your server. It also a good idea to perform the test when it is installed but not activated and installed but with all features disabled.

    I personally experinced high CPU load if I enable the “File Change Detection” feature in this plugin. Other than that, I never seen any significant perfomance issue.

    Thanks for that, Handoko!

    I, too experienced high CPU load on my dedicated server, and could not figure it out. iThemes Security ought to make that very clear on the checkbox for File Change Detection.

    It was so bad I had to reboot the server a few times to unfreeze it, so I could work on it some more.

    It was a real pain in the butt, finding the source of the problem, and I wasted a lot of time on it. Should I have been able to figure it out quicker? Probably, but they really need to make the risk of that feature clearer.

    So, thanks for the hint!


    I have been using this plugin on my site. When I checked for time-intensive plugins using “W3 Plugin Profiler”, it indicated that iThemes Security was contributing to 95.64% of the overall plugin time consumption, as below!!

    iThemes Security – 2.7419 sec – 95.64%

    My site is

    Some pages such as below have especially high load times
    Sample MBA Personal Statement
    Why MBA in marketing

    Can anyone recommend any changes/changes in settings so that this issue is mitigated?




    Have you tried to disable “File Change Detection” feature? This feature may consume lots cpu resources.

    I now do not use this plugin, because I found a better alternative, which is more stable and resource friendly, at least on my tests. Perhaps you you wish to know its name: All In One WP Security & Firewall.

    I decided to deactive IThemes because of out of memory errors.

    The latest one is:

    Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 249823232) (tried to allocate 35652323 bytes)

    My memory limit is 256M.

    Thanks Handoko

    I will test both options.

    [ Signature moderated. ]

    @ Handoko: I just found out – the file change detection feature was disabled by default. So I am seeing high load times despite that….

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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