What is a Web Application Firewall?
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a type of firewall that protects web applications. A WordPress firewall, on the other hand, is a WAF that protects WordPress websites. WAFs, and by extension WordPress firewalls, are a relatively new technology that has been gaining a strong foothold within the WordPress community and web application administrators.
How does a Web Application Firewall work?
Web Application Firewalls are very focused firewalls with one scope – protect a web application from malicious attacks. WordPress WAFs, are mainly installed via plugins and sit between the website and incoming internet traffic. However, there are also other types of WAFs including on-site and off-site solutions.
To protect WordPress from malicious attacks, WAFs look at the incoming HTTP traffic and determine whether it’s legitimate traffic or not. It does this through signatures – something akin to a blueprint of known attacks. If the incoming traffic matches a signature, it is automatically dropped and not allowed through.
Most WordPress WAFs receive their signatures from the developer, with no ability to modify these signatures yourself. General WAFs, however, may include such customization options, which may make them ideal for more experienced administrators who would like to have more control.
WordPress plugin WAFs are the most popular types of WordPress firewall. They are easy to install and use, and are generally very affordable. General WAFs, on the other hand, can be hosted on-site or off-site. These are general WAFs that can be adapted to protect WordPress websites. While these tend to offer greater flexibility and security options, they are costlier and require a greater level of expertise to manage.
The benefits of a Web Application Firewall
Web Application Firewalls, like other types of firewalls, have many advantages. They can protect your WordPress website from a number of different attacks, with a number of them also including malware scanners for even greater protection.
Firewalls can also help you comply with certain industry compliance and requirements, which in many cases require that adequate security structures be put in place to ensure adequate protection of customer data.
How to protect your WordPress website using a Web Application Firewall
You can easily protect your WordPress website using a Web Application Firewall. WordPress WAF plugins are by far the easiest to install and manage and can provide a good level of security. If WAF deployment is part of a compliance exercise, you’ll need to make sure that the WAF you choose covers the requirements laid out in the relevant rules and regulations.
It’s important to keep in mind that while WAFs offer a good degree of security and protection, they are not a one size fits all solution. Hardening WordPress, along with following security best practices, can help you make sure you can keep security risks in check and rest easier.