Online security is a pressing concern for most website owners, especially those running a business. When your professional integrity is at stake (not to mention your income), making sure your website is Fort Knox safe for both you and your visitors should be a top priority. So what can you do? First, security is a process and should not be treated as a static state. Second, you can leverage security controls designed to help you improve your overall security state. One such tool is a website firewall.
A Web Application Firewall (WAF), more commonly known as a website firewall, is the key to making sure malicious attacks are neutralized at their source.
It’s a vital component of your overall security measures. Without one, you’ve essentially left your front door unlocked.
In this article, we’ll explain what a website firewall is and discuss how it can benefit you. Then, we’ll compare some popular solutions for protecting your site and talk about what makes each one unique.
What is a web application firewall and why do you need one?
First, let’s answer the most important question: What is a WAF? You can think of it as a safety gate between your site and the internet as a whole, allowing certain people to pass through while blocking other potential threats.
General-purpose firewalls monitor and protect against unauthorised access to your network.
A WAF does these things as well, but also has the ability to filter out and prevent attacks such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), SQL injections and much more. For your business and your customers, the benefits of a WAF are manifold:
- With the right solution, your business doesn’t have to constantly monitor its website traffic or employ a dedicated security team.
- Customers can browse a secure website and feel safe in the knowledge that their personal details won’t be compromised.
- Your business can constantly refine its approach to security by blocking known malicious IPs and the countries they originate from.
Without overstating the obvious, a website firewall is crucial for security. That’s why it pays to choose the right one.
GoDaddy Website Security, powered by Sucuri
While you’ll get malware removal and Google blocklist monitoring regardless of your plan, on the higher tiers you’ll also benefit from a dedicated website firewall. Along with scanning for malicious attacks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this feature protects your site against SQL injections, XSS, Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) and brute force attacks, zero day attacks and much, much more.
In addition to the proactively protecting your site, GoDaddy extends their security service to provide a more holistic approach, which includes continuous detection of anomalous behavior, brand monitoring to ensure that you’re not suffering from any blocklists, and they offer a team of professionals available all the time to ensure nothing is missed. Backed by the power of Sucuri, this is a surefire, comprehensive solution to online security.
Additional WAF solutions to protect your website
Now that you understand the importance of a quality firewall, we’re going to introduce three of the best website firewall solutions for protecting your site and customers. Let’s take a look!
1. Wordfence Security
For WordPress users looking for a dedicated plugin, Wordfence Security offers arguably the best website firewall solution around. It provides a number of quality security features, such as a malware scanner, two-factor authentication (2FA) and perpetual checks for spam relating to your IP address and website.
Wordfence also includes a strong firewall, which provides real-time scanning of your website and automatically blocks brute force attacks and suspicious IP addresses. It will even let you block entire countries that are known to be the origin of many malicious acts.
The base Wordfence plugin is completely free, and for many users it will be more than enough to protect your site. However, you can sign up for the premium tier for an manageable monthly fee to enjoy additional features.
Cloudflare is well-known for its Content Delivery Network (CDN) and web optimization. It provides millions of users with a reliable and cost-effective way to boost the speed of their websites.
Their service also offers crucial security functionality, including a dedicated WAF.
The company has a dedicated team that seeks out new vulnerabilities affecting their user base. When an issue is discovered, a new rule is automatically applied to the solution in order to protect websites and their visitors. What’s more, when a customer requests a new WAF rule, it’s applied to all sites on the network. This means the community is essentially working together to combat malicious attacks.
The free version of Cloudflare doesn’t include a website firewall, so you might be better off with the pro plan for a moderately priced monthly fee.
Finally, we have Sucuri. They offer a full suite of security-related functionality, such as malware scanning, file integrity checks and more. They also provide a backup tool so you can restore your website if something goes wrong.
With their free WordPress plugin, you can enjoy plenty of security benefits — minus a WAF (included in the premium version). The premium option protects against hack attempts and brute force attacks, in addition to helping prevent zero day exploits before they can affect your site.
If you decide to just go with their website firewall independent of their WordPress plugin, you can secure one for a manageable monthly fee. Though, it might be in your best interest to upgrade to their pro or business tiers to enjoy their full suite of security tools.
So now that you’re no longer asking yourself what is a web application firewall, you can choose a WAF solution that suits your business. There’s no worse scenario for a website owner to face than a hacked or otherwise compromised site. With that in mind, you’ll want to nip these intrusions in the bud — and a website firewall is a key component in online security.