WP fail2ban – Advanced Security Plugin – WordPress plugin

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fail2ban is one of the simplest and most effective security measures you can implement to prevent brute-force attacks.

WP fail2ban logs all login attempts – including via XML-RPC, whether successful or not, to syslog using LOG_AUTH. For example:

Oct 17 20:59:54 foobar wordpress(www.example.com)[1234]: Authentication failure for admin from 192.168.0.1
Oct 17 21:00:00 foobar wordpress(www.example.com)[2345]: Accepted password for admin from 192.168.0.1

WPf2b comes with three fail2ban filters: wordpress-hard.conf, wordpress-soft.conf, and wordpress-extra.conf. These are designed to allow a split between immediate banning (hard) and the traditional more graceful approach (soft), with extra rules for custom configurations.

Features

  • NEW – Multisite Support
    Version 4.3 introduces proper support for multisite networks.

  • NEW – Block username logins
    Sometimes it’s not possible to block user enumeration (for example, if your theme provides Author profiles). Version 4.3 adds support for requiring the use of email addresses for login.

  • NEW – Filter for Empty Username Login Attempts
    Some bots will try to login without a username. Version 4.3 logs these attempts and provides an “extra” filter to match them.

  • NEW – syslog Dashboard Widget
    Ever wondered what’s being logged? The new dashboard widget shows the last 5 messages; the Premium version keeps a full history to help you analyse and prevent attacks.

  • Remote Tools Add-on
    The Remote Tools add-on provides extra features without adding bloat to the core plugin. For more details see the add-on page.

  • Support for 3rd-party Plugins
    Version 4.2 introduced a simple API for authors to integrate their plugins with WPf2b, with 2 experimental add-ons:

  • CloudFlare and Proxy Servers
    WPf2b can be configured to work with CloudFlare and other proxy servers.

  • Comments
    WPf2b can log comments (see WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_COMMENTS) and attempted comments (see WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_COMMENTS_EXTRA).

  • Pingbacks
    WPf2b logs failed pingbacks, and can log all pingbacks. For an overview see WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_PINGBACKS.

  • Spam
    WPf2b can log comments marked as spam. See WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_SPAM.

  • Block User Enumeration
    WPf2b can block user enumeration.

  • Work-Arounds for Broken syslogd
    WPf2b can be configured to work around most syslogd weirdness. For an overview see WP_FAIL2BAN_SYSLOG_SHORT_TAG and WP_FAIL2BAN_HTTP_HOST.

  • Blocking Users
    WPf2b can be configured to short-cut the login process when the username matches a regex. For an overview see WP_FAIL2BAN_BLOCKED_USERS.

  • mu-plugins Support
    WPf2b can easily be configured as a must-use plugin – see Configuration.

  1. Install via the Plugin Directory, or upload to your plugins directory.
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.
  3. Edit wp-config.php to suit your needs – see Configuration.

Recent spam and brute force attacks prompted me to install this plugin on my multisite network, and it works really well! It needs some minor configuration on the server up front, but once that was all set, it instantly started banning IP’s that violated the defined filters. Highly recommended.

Minor point of criticism: links to the documentation don’t work in the plugin

It’s impossible to even evaluate the usefulness of this plugin because it’s got lots of bugs. Upon installation the plugin provides links to documentation that results in 404 page not found. Then the documentation that is available doesn’t seem to work properly. If you put the constants necessary to enable logging in the wp-config, it throws undefined variable warnings. The whole thing is a mess, and it constantly nags you to pay them money. The administrative interface doesn’t work – it’s just a decoration to show you what MIGHT work if you pay them money. This is NOT how you do Shareware or encourage people to use your products.

I’ll be looking for an alternative that actually works and isn’t obnoxious. The really sad part is, this is a pay plugin that relies on a free, open source system, Fail2Ban. If I was going to pay anybody, it will be the creators of fail2ban, not this crappy, non-working plugin.

I’ve been an aficionado of Fail2ban for nigh on a decade. Whilst I have WordFence installed there are times when blocking would-be-intruders earlier than WordFence gets to is preferable.

Enter WP Fail2ban.

Documentation needs a mug or two to read through. I’ve been working, as a developer, with WordPress for nigh on twelve years now and even I got a bit “does he mean….?” during reading the config advice.

Pro Tip: You really do need to read the online manual if things aren’t working for you. My installation worked first time (Debian 10, Apache2, WordPress 5.5, early release of Fail2ban 0.11.1 )

Bonus: author is responsive to comments and feedback (I spotted a problem with the documentation, which has been addressed).

Cons: the “oh do please buy the pro version” and “WP2F2B has been improved!” repetitive messages & flags is a bit of a pain in the ass (and quite frankly comes across a little bit amature). Re the price for “pro” – I looked at the cost of the pro version and I think the author needs to have a re-think about what this app really offers and what’s it’s worth in money. Compared with, say, the cost of an annual WordFence license I don’t think it compares.

Free version is all locked

incessant nagging to update to “pro” version

if description mentioned that this “free” plugin isn’t free, that would be acceptable, but the current practice is deceptive and unethical

Was simple and great plugin until some 4.x version where it added Freemius marketing component making calls to api.freemius.com. Have to revert to the older version for that reason. At some point the plugin was also vulnerable because of this component.


Read all 54 reviews

“WP fail2ban – Advanced Security Plugin” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

4.3.0.9

  • Fix incorrect constant for disabling last messages (h/t @kermina).
  • Fix false positive with blocking user enumeration when a Contributor tries to list posts by another user.
  • Fix index issue with ancient versions of MySQL. [Premium only]
  • Fix harmless warning with a defined but empty WP_FAIL2BAN_PROXIES (h/t @stevegrunwell).
  • Backport new Block event class.
  • Update Freemius library.

4.3.0.8

  • Workaround issue with user enumeration blocking being triggered by Gutenberg pre-loading Author list. (h/t @brrrrrrrt) [WordPress only]

4.3.0.7

  • Finish refactoring to allow inclusion of constants in wp-config.php (h/t @iCounsellor).
  • Fix MaxMind database update. [Premium only]

4.3.0.6

  • Fix Forbidden error on Posts page for roles below Editor when user enum blocking enabled. [WordPress only]

4.3.0.5

  • Fix empty username detection for multisite.
  • Fix harmless warning when activating new multisite install.
  • Fix esoteric edge-case where wp-load.php is loaded via a script run from the CLI in a directory with a functions.php file.

4.3.0.4 “Columbo”

4.2.8

  • Add link to new support forum.
  • Fix user enumeration conflict with Gutenberg (h/t @dinghy).
  • Fix notices wrt admin menu (h/t @marioivangf).
  • Fix harmless XDebug notice (h/t @dinghy).
  • Update Freemius library.

4.2.7.1

  • Fix error when blocking user enumeration via oembed (h/t @wordpressfab).

4.2.7

  • Fix error when blocking user enumeration via REST.
  • Fix buttons on Settings tabs.

4.2.6

  • Add support for Remote Tools add-on.
  • Add support for the new ClassicPress security page.
  • Improved user enumeration blocking.

4.2.5.1

  • Fix premium activation issue with PHP < 7.0.

4.2.5

  • Properly fix PHP 5.3 support; tested on CentOS 6. Does not support any UI or Premium features.
  • Fix potential issue with WP_FAIL2BAN_BLOCK_USER_ENUMERATION if calling REST API or XMLRPC from admin area.

4.2.4

  • Add filter for login failed message.
  • Fix logging spam comments from admin area.
  • Fix Settings link from Plugins page.
  • Update Freemius library

4.2.3

  • Workaround for some versions of PHP 7.x that would cause define()s to be ignored.
  • Add config note to settings tabs.
  • Fix documentation links.

4.2.2

4.2.1

  • Completed support for WP_FAIL2BAN_COMMENT_EXTRA_LOG.
  • Add support for 3rd-party plugins; see Developers.
  • Change logging for known-user with incorrect password; previously logged as unknown user and matched by hard filters (due to limitations in older versions of WordPress), now logged as known user and matched by soft.
  • Bugfix for email-as-username – now logged correctly and matched by soft, not hard, filters.
  • Bugfix for regression in code to prevent Free/Premium conflict.

4.2.0

4.1.0

  • Add separate logging for REST authentication.
  • Fix conflict with earlier versions pre-installed in mu-plugins. See Is WPf2b Already Installed?.

4.0.5

4.0.2

  • Fix PHP 5.3 compatibility.
  • Bugfix for WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_COMMENTS_EXTRA.
  • Bugfix for WP_FAIL2BAN_REMOTE_ADDR summary.

4.0.1

  • Add extra features via Freemius. This is entirely optional. WPf2b works as before, including new features listed here.
  • Add settings summary page (Settings -> WP fail2ban).
  • Add WP_FAIL2BAN_PASSWORD_REQUEST_LOG.
  • Add WP_FAIL2BAN_SPAM_LOG.
  • Add WP_FAIL2BAN_LOG_COMMENTS_EXTRA – enable logging for attempted comments on posts which are:
    • not found,
    • closed for commenting,
    • in the trash,
    • drafts,
    • password protected
  • Block user enumeration via REST API.

4.0.0

3.6.0

3.5.3

3.5.1

3.5.0

3.0.3

3.0.2

  • Prevent double logging in WP 4.5.x for XML-RPC authentication failure

3.0.1

3.0.0

2.3.2

2.3.0

2.2.1

2.2.0

2.1.1

2.1.0

2.0.1

2.0.0

1.2.1

1.2

1.1

1.0



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