How to Use a WordPress Firewall for Enhanced Security and Performance?

Guide to WordPress Firewalls – How do these work and enhance site’s security & performance?

The WordPress FireWall (Web application firewall) plugin serves as a shield between the website and incoming traffic. It monitors the site’s traffic and blocks the most common types of security threats before it actually reaches the website.  The WordPress Firewall plugins are specifically designed for providing protection to the site against hacking, brute forces as well as DDoS (distributed denial service) attacks. Apart from improving the site’s security, it is also capable of boosting up the speed and performance.

Major developments-Evolution into WAF (Web Application Firewalls)

1st Generation Firewalls (Packet Filtering)

Originally these firewalls have been designed and developed for controlling and blocking the network traffic. They used to do only the work of packet filtering but had no understanding of traffic payload. So in case, you have hosted a site on a network, you are required to open port 80 for the public through this firewall. After opening up the port, the firewall allowed incoming traffic through it which included even the malicious traffic.

2nd Generation Firewalls (Stateful Filtering)

This is a second-generation firewall which had been operated on layer four of the OSI model. It could find the type of connections that they have actually been handling. However this 2nd generation firewalls have many of the limitations while handling and controlling the traffic. But at least, it facilitated the administrators to develop the firewall rules on the basis of connection statuses.

3rd Generation Firewalls (Application Layer Filtering)

The 3rd generation Firewalls which are being used today were created in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is a modern and advanced firewall technique which completely understands applications as well as protocols. For example, it is capable of understanding whether the payload of packet is for FTP server and its request. It is this 3rd generation firewall technique which has led to a creation of single scope firewalls like Web Application Firewalls.

WordPress/Web application firewalls

It is a web application firewall which has been specifically designed for protecting WordPress and it is a single scope as well. When this type of firewall will actually be installed on to the WordPress website, then it will be running in between site and internet for evaluating all sorts of HTTP requests that are incoming. In case an incoming HTTP request comprises of malicious payload, it will drop down the connection immediately.

How does it work?

The manner in which WordPress firewall actually carries out the detection of incoming malicious requests that are quite similar to the way malware software works. The firewalls first utilize a list of known attacks- signatures. If the payload of an incoming HTTP request actually matches with any of the signature, it means that this HTTP request is malicious.  Most of WordPress firewalls don’t actually allow the modification of signature attacks.  You can customize it according to the site and develop your own specialized set of rules. However, you should be quite careful during the configuration of WordPress firewalls that it should not block even the legitimate traffic. There are certain specialized WordPress firewalls that are embedded with auto learning and heuristic technology which posses analytical ability to determine which of the traffic is legitimate and which one is not.

Major Types

WordPress Firewalls Plugins

These are the most commonly utilized firewalls Plugins.  These are affordable, easy to utilize and incorporate malware scanners in them as well. The majority of these have malware scanners embedded in them. Since it will be running on the website and be initialized by WordPress only, thus in case there be susceptibility on the website, before it is being installed, there is a chance that attackers may gain an access to the site.

Generic Web Application Firewall Plugins (WAF)

This type of firewall is an web-based security system that filters the bad HTTP traffic in between the customer and website. It is an online solution that acts just like a proxy server and filters site’s traffic which passes through it before forwarding to the website. It is either deployed as hardware equipment or an online web server. It is capable of intercepting HTTP requests and analyzing it before reaching out web servers for the purpose processing. These are more secured but costly and needs technical expertize to manage. Thus they are not utilized by small organizations.

Cloud-based WordPress Website Firewalls

It is actually a cloud-based solution that works as the reverse proxy server in between web server and internet traffic. The meaning is that it will be cutting and also deflecting all the traffic to site. Essentially, site owner points DNS towards it and it routes traffic to the WordPress host. Thus it sits in the middle and blocks all traffic before it could reach your hold. In this manner, it unburdens the web server as well as WordPress. The web server will be utilizing the resources which are required for displaying the site, the firewall will fend off attack independently. Thus there will be no overloading of server and site won’t shut down.

 Conclusion

Today the sites and servers are more susceptible to hacking, malicious attacks, brute forces or distributed denial service attacks than ever before. Fortunately, WordPress has already responded to this dilemma by providing the most secure and user-friendly of firewalls or security plugins to the users. Well, WordPress site is susceptible to innumerable vulnerabilities online and it is extremely challenging to the website security. But Web Application Firewall provides one of the quick ways to secure WordPress site’s security. Since each and every Web Application Firewall has its own merits and demerits, so you always should choose the one that best fits into your customized needs.

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