Defender Security – Malware Scanner, Login Security & Firewall


Defender adds the best in WordPress plugin security to your website with just a few clicks. Stop brute force login attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting XSS, and other WordPress vulnerabilities and hacks with Defender’s malware scanner, antivirus scans, IP blocking, firewall, activity log, security log, and two-factor authentication (2FA) login security.

No longer do you have to go through hideously complex security settings and get a virtual PhD in security. Defender adds all the hardening and security recommendations you need.

Security Recommendations

Defender starts with a list of one-click hardening techniques that will instantly add layers of protection and security to your site.

Block hackers at every level:

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) – App verification, backup codes, lost device email, WooCommerce 2FA, and Web Authentication
  • Login masking – change the location of WordPress’s default login area
  • Login lockout – failed login attempts lockout
  • Malware scanner – scan WordPress core files for modifications and unexpected changes
  • Security Headers – Add an extra layer of defense security and protect against common attacks like: XSS, code injection, and more
  • 404 Detection – automated block of bot IPs
  • Configs – Create your ideal Defender security settings and export / import saved configs to any other site
  • Geolocation IP lockout – block users based on location and country (IP blocking)
  • WordPress Security Firewall – block or allowlist IPs
  • Disable trackbacks and pingbacks – spam prevention
  • Core and server update recommendations – stay on top of your system
  • Antivirus scan – scan for active security threats and viruses
  • Disable file editor – if they get in, they won’t get far
  • Hide error reporting – don’t reveal your security issues
  • Update security keys – reset on-demand
  • Prevent information disclosure – why tell them what you have
  • Prevent PHP execution – because it’s daaaangerous
  • Resolve security recommendations and issues in bulk
  • Google reCAPTCHA – easy to add, stop fraud and abuse – including BuddyPress and WooCommerce.
  • Pwned Password Check – Protect against compromised passwords.
  • Force Password Reset – Force users with selected roles to reset passwords.
  • User Agent Banning – Block bad bots and user agents from accessing your site.

Learn The Ropes With These Hands-On Defender Security Tutorials

WordPress Security Scans

Defender’s free malware scanner checks WordPress for suspicious code and malware. The Defender scan tool compares your WordPress install with the master copy in WP directory, reports changes and lets you restore the original file with a click.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Easily add an extra layer of protection to your WordPress sites with Defender’s range of two-factor authentication (2FA) features. Including: mobile app verification (Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Authy), backup code generation, lost device emails, WooCommerce 2FA, Biometric Authentication (fingerprint/facial recognition), and Hardware Key Authentication (USB security keys).

Google reCAPTCHA Integration

Add reCAPTCHA to your login / registration pages, lost password forms, and post comments in a couple of steps to up security and help protect from fraud and abuse. Select reCAPTCHA type, language, location, and style to suit. As well as Google, Defender also supports the following reCAPTCHA types:

  • BuddyPress reCAPTCHA
  • WooCommerce reCAPTCHA

Firewall and IP Manager

Keep your site safe with Defender’s IP manager and firewall. Manually block specific IPs, import a list of banned IPs and set automated timed and permanent lockouts. Defender makes it easy to block and unblock specific locations quickly thanks to its advanced firewall (WAF).

Login Protection

Brute force login attacks are no match for Defender. Limit login attempts to stop users trying to guess passwords. Permanently ban IPs or trigger a timed lockout after a set number of failed login attempts.

Login Screen Masking

Defender makes it easy to move your login screen to a custom URL. Not only does login screen masking improve security, but it also lets you white label your login user experience and improves branding.

Force Password Reset

Password Reset enables you to force all users with selected roles to reset their password at any time. Especially helpful if you suspect a possible data breach on your site.

User Agent Banning

Add user agents to the block or allowlist and stop bad bots from spamming and scraping your site. All major search engines and special network bots are allow-listed out of the box. Easy to set up, Defender does all the security work, no editing of the .htaccess file required.

Security Headers

Security headers protect your site against the most likely types of attacks, such as: XSS, code injection, cross site scripting, and more. You can enable the following headers:

  • X-Frame-Options
  • X-XSS-Protection
  • X-Content-Type-Options
  • Strict Transport
  • Referrer Policy
  • Permissions-Policy

404 Limiter

Defender detects when bots are being used to scan your site for vulnerabilities and shuts them down. The 404 limiter lets you stop the scan by detecting when a bot keeps visiting pages that do not exist, which can also save you from a giant strain on your site’s performance.

Notifications and Reports

Defender runs surveillance and sends security notifications with information that matters.

Reduce Setup Time With Saved Configs

The configs module allows you to save your Defender configurations and reapply them to your other sites in just a few clicks. You can create and save an unlimited number of security configurations.

Pwned Password Check

Protect your site against password leak attacks. Entered passwords are checked against public database breach records. If a password is identified as compromised, the user will be asked to change it.

Global IP Block/Allowlists

This is a game-changer if you manage multiple sites. Create your IP block/allowlist once, then apply and automatically sync to all your other sites with a click. You’ll save hours by not having to manually add IPs to each individual site. *Note: a WPMU DEV membership is required to access this feature. Our new and 100% free plan is the best place to start.

What Do People Say About Defender?

“I found other pro security plugins a bit too fiddly for my taste…I’m delighted with Defender” – KeithADV

“Thank you for bringing back a free and easy to use 2-Factor Authentication after Clef! Defender helps keep me aware of my sites security.” – awijasa

“Defender’s interface is very intuitive with warnings that are very helpful” – djohns

“Defender Recently blocked over 3000 attacks in one week without any noticeable impact on the website. WPMUDEV knocking it out of the park on this one.” – David Oswald

Secure Websites, More Trust, Better Profit

Your visitors expect a super-safe extra secure website when deciding whether or not to make a purchase or submit information. If visitors don’t trust your site, they will leave without completing a transaction.

If you’re running a business website or eCommerce store privacy, security, uptime and trust are essential.

Defender is here to help you: it’s a one of a kind WordPress security plugin that makes web security easy for anyone, for free!

  • Google two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Web Authentication
  • One-click site hardening and security tweaking
  • WordPress core file scanning and repair
  • Malware scan
  • Ongoing firewall protection
  • Google reCAPTCHA
  • Security headers
  • One-click configs
  • Login Screen Masking
  • Pwned Password Check
  • IP Blocklist manager and logging
  • Unlimited file scans
  • Timed Lockout brute force login attack shield for login protection
  • 404 limiter for blocking vulnerability scans
  • IP lockout notifications and reports

Defender is built to make security simple: it makes your WordPress site harder to hack and it’s insanely easy to set up. Run a security scan and implement recommended changes in one-click, for added security in mere minutes.

All the above is free and will secure WordPress for you. If you need extra security for your WordPress site, you should get WPMU DEV Membership.

Our Membership gives you access to Defender Pro – which features automated scanning, scheduled malware scans for Core, themes, plugins and other files, audit logs, firewall protection, Blocklist monitoring – alongside Snapshot Pro cloud backups, the Hub with automated plugin, theme and core updates and safe-upgrade scans, all our premium WordPress plugins, 24/7 WordPress support and if your sites already been hacked our team of security experts will clean it up at no additional cost.

It’s an incredible deal, and you can find out more here.

A Note From Defender

Hey! This is Defender, your trusted solution for WordPress security and hack prevention. I’m part of the WPMU DEV team, a superhero-suite of WordPress plugins, services, and support. Here are some of our other free plugins:

  • Smush – Image Compression and Optimization
  • Forminator – Form, Quiz, Poll and Survey Builder
  • Hummingbird – Page Speed Optimization
  • Hustle – Pop-ups, Slide-ins and Email Opt-ins
  • SmartCrawl – SEO checker, Analyzer and Optimizer

And if you need ALL our Pro plugins AND 24/7 WordPress support, get WPMU DEV membership! You can try it free for 30 days:

My superhero friends run the WPMU DEV Blog, your source for the very best WordPress tutorials. If you need to be in the know about WordPress, check it out.

Thanks for looking at Defender, and I look forward to hardening your site and making it safer than ever.

Enjoy, The Defender

About Us

WPMU DEV is a premium supplier of quality WordPress plugins and themes. For premium support with any WordPress related issues you can join us here:

Don’t forget to stay up to date on everything WordPress from the Internet’s number one resource:

Hey, one more thing… we hope you enjoy our free offerings as much as we’ve loved making them for you!


  • Malware scans and one-click hardening recommendations.
  • Layered security recommendations let your harden your site with a few clicks.
  • Compares your WordPress install with the directory and restore original files with a click.
  • Use 2-Step Verification to protect your accounts with your phone.
  • IP blocklisting, 404 limiter and Timed Lockout attack shield.


  1. Upload the wp-defender plugin to your /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.
  3. Configure and manage using the defender menu item in the WordPress dashboard.
  4. Done!


Why should I choose Defender over other security plugins?

Defender is built to add all the best hardening and security recommendations used by the pros without having to become a security expert. This means you get all the most effective and proven protection methods other services provide with fewer settings, on-click hardening and faster setup.

Is Defender the only step I need to take in securing my WordPress site?

Hackers and bot attacks are not the only threat to your site. No matter what security plugin or service you use, always be prepared with a secure backup stored in a safe location away from your live site. Security does not protect from hosting outages, server errors and accidentally lost or damaged data. We recommend Snapshot. Defender with scheduled managed backups is the best way to keep your site safe.

Does Defender protect against harmful bots?

Yes! Defender’s Firewall gives you robust site protection and security by allowing you to block bad bot IPs.

Can I use Defender with other security plugins?

You can. Just make sure not to enable the same security features in the third-party plugin, that you also have enabled in Defender, as this might cause conflicts.

Is Defender compatible with WordPress Multisite?

Yes! The plugin is fully compatible with a multisite installation. It can be network enabled and managed from the network admin.

Does Defender offer spam protection?

A high percentage of Trackbacks and Pingbacks are spam. Defender allows you to easily disable both, giving you added security and protection.

Will my site be protected from DDoS attacks?

Yes. Defender’s IP banning, IP lockouts, and 404 detections can identify DDoS attacks and block bad IPs.

I’ve locked myself out of my admin panel, what can I do?

Add the code below to your theme’s function.php file, which you’ll find in the main directory of an active theme. Replace “YOUR IP HERE” with your IP address. Use a site like whatsmyip to get your IP.

add_filter( 'ip_lockout_default_whitelist_ip', function ( $ips ) {
  $ip    = 'YOUR IP HERE';
  $ips[] = $ip;
  return $ips;
} );

Help! I was already hacked. What should I do?

WPMU DEV’s expert support can advise you on how to clean up your site if it’s been hacked. Create a new thread in our support forum, or start a free 7 day trial of Defender Pro to get access to 24/7 live support.

I have another question, where’s the best place to get help?

Please open a new thread in Defender’s support forum. Our support team is always happy to help!


फ़रवरी 13, 2023 1 reply
I've been a long-time satisfied user of Wordfence. But in troubleshooting site memory usage it seems that WF just doesn't play well with my database. With Defender (so far)... peak memory usage actually went down from baseline usage... gotta like that... easier to use interface too.
फ़रवरी 9, 2023 2 replies
Has all of the features I love about the iThemes Security plugin, but it uses less memory and slows down my websites less [ link deleted, never put links in reviews as the form says ]. Really glad they just started to implement 2FA for the free version, as that's a must for me, and would have prevented me from switching otherwise. I also love how the family of WPMU Dev plugins work so great together. Simple options, easy setup, and every one has an option to remove all plugin data on deactivation. 5-star plugin design. I highly recommend this, and other WPMU Dev, plugins!
दिसम्बर 27, 2022 1 reply
Read all 248 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Defender Security – Malware Scanner, Login Security & Firewall” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


“Defender Security – Malware Scanner, Login Security & Firewall” has been translated into 14 locales. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “Defender Security – Malware Scanner, Login Security & Firewall” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.


3.9.1 ( 2023-03-14 )

  • Enhance: Compatibility with WordPress 6.2
  • Enhance: Security improvements

3.9.0 ( 2023-02-20 )

  • Enhance: Remove Hummingbird log from Audit Logging
  • Enhance: Add YARA rule to detect malware
  • Enhance: Improve IP columns
  • Enhance: Minify DateRangePicker JS and CSS files
  • Enhance: Display additional vulnerability data on Malware Scanning page
  • Fix: Defender continuously reports WP core vulnerability even after ignore
  • Fix: File change detection for plugins and WP core not working on Windows
  • Fix: Google reCAPTCHA error when using ProfilePress plugin with Lost Password enabled
  • Fix: Google reCAPTCHA is preventing the submission of the WooCommerce review form
  • Fix: Country flag broken on Defender’s Dashboard page if Emojis Remove option selected in Hummingbird

3.8.2 ( 2023-02-09 )

  • Fix: Issue with saved configurations from the Hub

3.8.1 ( 2023-01-19 )

  • Fix: Issue with “Prevent user enumeration” recommendation and WP_Sitemaps_Provider and Stop oEmbed calls

3.8.0 ( 2023-01-16 )

  • New: Display vulnerabilities in WP Core on Malware Scanning
  • Enhance: New filter to allow specific URLs in Mask Login
  • Enhance: Display theme vulnerabilities on Malware Scanning
  • Enhance: New cron to remove old lockout records
  • Enhance: Improved Firewall Log Buttons on Mobile View
  • Fix: Issues with Reset Password link on new user creation
  • Fix: Translations are not named properly on
  • Fix: Defender Audit Logging not catching Core updates from HUB
  • Fix: Issues with Country detection API
  • Fix: Incorrect information on Defender’s config profile
  • Fix: Defender can’t find the infected file in WPMU DEV Dashboard
  • Fix: Update YARA rules for different malware in plugins and themes
  • Fix: Defender adding IP on both Permanent and Temporary banning lists
  • Fix: Files being reported as modified even when identical
  • Fix: Regex issue when “Prevent user enumeration” is active
  • Fix: Minor grammar and UX Improvements
  • Fix: Shared component SUI select vue directive throws JS error
  • Fix: Update text in “Prevent Information Disclosure” recommendation

3.7.0 ( 2022-12-14 )

  • New: Firewall widget displaying a list of the countries with the highest number of blocked IPs
  • Enhance: Block IP when UA is banned
  • Enhance: Display IP value in the Firewall log header
  • Enhance: Save TOTP secret key to DB only after code verification
  • Enhance: Add max number of lockout records
  • Enhance: Add timestamp for all lockout records
  • Enhance: Firewall Log improvements
  • Enhance: User role check
  • Fix: Settings saved notice not dismissed automatically
  • Fix: Two files from Avada builder 3.8 are reported as suspicious
  • Fix: Broken CVSS score details of previously ignored issue

3.6.0 ( 2022-12-05 )

  • New: Global IP Allowlist/Blocklist

3.5.0 ( 2022-11-21 )

  • Enhance: Two-Factor conflict between Defender and WordFence
  • Enhance: Notification configuration settings
  • Enhance: Notice for viewing two-factor user information on multisite
  • Enhance: Code color for PHP Execution and Information Disclosure
  • Enhance: Update SUI to the latest version
  • Fix: Banned usernames for WP version older than 5.4
  • Fix: Date range calendar on Audit and Firewall logs
  • Fix: Remove ‘Name & Description’ option for the Default Security config
  • Fix: NaN showing on Recommendations screen
  • Fix: Audit date filter not working for predefined data ranges
  • Fix: Redirect URL for the Mask Login feature throwing an error

Changelog for previous versions.