Support » Plugin: Wordfence Security » Is this better than iThemes security?

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  • Also it would be nice to know if there might be a problem when switching over, are there any special considerations i need to make when deactivating iThemes security and then activating Wordfence?

    Julian, as part of a project to ramp up my security, I was about to go with iThemes then decided to try Wordfence first, mainly due to the Wordfence real-time system of blocking attacks based on crowd sourcing, as well as the Falcon cache system. I installed full with Falcon and my site quit working, so I’ve reinstalled without Falcon and it seems to be going ok. I’ll try with Falcon pretty soon, my finger are crossed.

    Mark has been helping, but his pace of tech support doesn’t mesh with my pace, so things have been going slow in terms of making a decision about keeping Wordfence or ditching it. I did pay for it, so expected it to be perhaps smoother in terms of the install.

    There is some overlap in features between iThemes and Wordfence, and quite a few security options can be easily coded without plugin, or done with other plugins. I’m not sure I’d call Wordfence a “replacement,” but I’d probably not run both of them.

    In terms of disabling iThemes and then running Wordfence, the thing to probably to remember is to fully remove the plugin, not just disable it. As always, do robust backups and disable as many plugins as possible before fooling around with these sorts of plugins that mess with your database. MTN

    Thanks a lot mountainguy2,

    I really appreciate your thorough response. Thats interesting about the Falcon feature, ill be sure to keep that in mind.

    thanks heaps for the heads up, ill do a robust backup as u say and do some testing.

    hope you get your issues sorted out.

    Good luck 🙂

    I used to use iThemes security, and then with the changeover it was just not delivering a stable solution. I changed to the paid version of Wordfence and have never looked back.

    Yes … you need solid backups before changing anything.

    Changeover notes – I found Better WP Security/iThemes had made changes to my htaccess files and a few other things that were not removed on uninstalling the old plugin, and I needed to go in and manually delete their traces. (There’s quite a few Google articles and a few forum posts out there on how to manually remove all traces). Hopefully iThemes have improved in removing all traces of their plugins over recent weeks.

    I also had caching traces left behind from other caching plugins that interferred with Falcon. Once I ferreted them out, Falcon has been brilliant.

    Bits that are a major improvement – if caching is not an issue for you, geoblocking is great if you are getting hammered from particular geographic locations. I also am a massive fan of the latest changes to autoblock on particular names being entered admin, administration etc. This was superb over the weekend for my sites.

    Good point Hearth about working with the .htaccess files. I’d offer that if anyone is serious about doing WP security, they need to get comfortable with editing and backing up their .htaccess file(s). Me, I keep multiple and current backups of .htaccess, and can restore or mod in minutes using FTP client. This has saved my behind dozens of times. It’s how I fixed things when Falcon didn’t work.

    Along with that, it bums me out when I hear a plugin leaves traces that are hard to find and remove. If that’s truly the case with iThemes, then it is worthless in my opinion. First step for a plugin is to behave.

    I do all my country blocking manually (cut paste from countryblock websites), which is one reason I’m looking forward to Wordfence, as I’d much prefer to just click on a checkbox to block countries irrelevant to my blog where attacks are coming from.

    Thanks for the hint about caching. Next time I try Falcon I’ll remove all my caching stuff from .htaccess.

    Plugin Author Wordfence


    Just a quick note re plugins leaving traces behind: We actually provide an entire companion plugin called Wordfence Assistant (also in the official repo) that lets you remove our data without having to reinstall Wordfence. And of course Wordfence has the built in option to completely remove all traces – see the bottom of the Wordfence options page.

    We had some issues with LiteSpeed web servers when we first launched, that’s been resolved.

    Also we now fully support nginx and PHP5-FPM configurations and Falcon will auto-detect if you’re running that and direct you to a page containing the configuration you need.

    Falcon is maturing nicely and we’re working hard to make it the best caching option in the business.

    I’d also add that our scanning is far superior to anything else out there because we are a WordPress specific product and we maintain a mirror of every plugin, theme and core file ever released along with SHA256 hashes of those files. We compare your files against the known files and that gives us a way to detect zero day infections and exploits which other products (including some very pricey one’s) can’t detect – and of course you can see the file changes and repair your files with Wordfence.



    I’ve been studying all this a bit more. Note that geo-IP banning as well as 2-factor authentication are NOT provided by iThemes at this time (though their website claims they are due to be added). As far as we are concerned in our enterprise, those are two features that ANY robust WP security plugin MUST have. Thus, I’m going to stick (at this time) with trying to get Wordfence working with Falcon. Sure hope it does…

    One other thing. In my opinion, 2-part authentication needs to be available on a per user basis, not global. I get the impression that Wordfence does provide it as setup for individual users, while iThemes is not clear about how theirs will work once they add it.

    iThemes is pricey for something that doesn’t include these two essential functions.

    Thanks for all the great feedback guys, im gonna the switch over from ithemes to Wordfence today. hope all goes well.

    when i tested word fence out and read about its features i thought to myself, all honesty iThemes is little more than a limit login attempt that doesn’t actually work (for me) very well. and really doesn’t do much more than block users from visiting your site based on certain conditions, that and detect file changes, which is ok. but scanning for viruses is what i’d expect in a security package for any software.

    And so im psyched to get Wordfence up and running and utilising the crowd sourced anti-virus and malware protection. very cool.

    I just tested two copies of an infected wordpress website.

    Copy A: Ran a malware the free version of wordfence
    Copy B: Ran a malware the Pro(Paid) version of itheme Security

    Here are my findings:
    1. Wordfence: was able to detect the malware (backdoors) in my website by performing a scan on my website
    2. iTheme: did not find any malware, it said that there were no malware found.

    After trying this numerous time I did not felt secure with iTheme as it did not detect a single malware. On the other hand Wordfence detected a over 30 malware in my website and was able to remove them all. Also, wordfence seems to be on top of virus scanning. I recently experience one of my website being hacked by a malware (CryptoPHP) which was a virus that was recently discover in November 10, 2014. After numerous of attempt to try to detect the file that was causing leaving the backdoor open I couldn’t get any help from the plugin iTheme Security.

    This is when I started looking at Wordfence. Right away in their blog I saw a post about them talking about this new malware that it was spreading in themes and plugins. Wordfence intermediately included a new search algorithm that was able to scan images in search for the CryptoPHP file. They were successful to identified the source and point it out to us.

    In my perception wordfence it is a lot more advance than itheme security.
    I’m placing a copy in all my sites.

    I would like to hear your experiences too,

    Plugin Author Wordfence


    Thanks for the feedback shockdav. We’re constantly adding new signatures for detection so we’re always improving. Our users generally send us new infection samples to (just FYI).

    Also just wanted to update this. Since this thread was started about 8 months ago we have 2 new support members in our team – Brian and Tim and you’ve probably seen them active in the forums. So I just wanted you to know that we take our customer’s feedback seriously and actually do something about it.



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