If you are wondering what role does a WordPress host play in the security of your WordPress site and why do you really require a plugin in addition to a hosting provider, then read on.
A good shared web hosting service works to protect your website and data from common threats by regularly monitoring suspicious data and the network, using tools to prevent large-scale attacks, keeping their server hardware and software updated, and having ready to use recovery programs and plans in case you need protection in the wake of a major mishap.
However, since many other customers share the server resources on a shared hosting plan, your website runs the risk of cross-contamination, rendering it vulnerable to hackers.
The other option is to use managed WordPress hosting services. They are comparatively more secure and offer more advanced security configurations, automatic backups, and automatic WordPress updates.
Coming to plugins, there are both paid and free WordPress plugins available. For example, there are plugins such as VaultPress or UpdraftPlus for backups, auditing back up and monitoring system plugins such as Sucuri Scanner, and so on. The most popular plugins amongst the ones available are the ‘all-in-one solutions’, for instance, the All In One WP Security and Firewall plugin. Such plugins are convenient and very effective in terms of all-round protection. There are also more targeted plugins available (e.g. WP Limit Login Attempts) in case you do not have a very large website and do not need such elaborate security.
You can also back up your WordPress website without a plugin if you have some basic technical skills. One very effective way is using WP CLi ( WordPress Command Line ) – this post explains how to automate WordPress backups to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud using WP CLi.
WordPress security plugins can help regularly scan your entire website for malicious codes and remove them; secure your login page using various measures such as two-factor authentication, limiting the number of failed login attempts, and blocking selected IP addresses from accessing your page; can keep backups; and help create a firewall for your website, essentially keeping your WordPress database safe.
Whether you decide to use plugins for your website’s security or manually take steps to ensure your data safety, there are a few thumb rules that should be followed: always download plugins and themes from known, reputable, and trusted sources (Elegant Themes, Themeforest, WPMU Dev, and StudioPress are some examples of paid services); always backup your site on a regular basis; and use a reliable and secure hosting environment.
No website on WordPress is 100% hacker-proof but you can always take measures to reach the highest level of security possible, and plugins surely make it a lot easier.