6 Best WordPress Plugins to Block Countries


Are you having issues with visitors from a certain country on your WordPress site? Using a WordPress plugin to block countries might offer just the solution that you need.

woman uses wordpress plugin to block countries

In my experience, a lot of WordPress websites will run into this type of problem at some point. I’ve had spam problems originating from a specific country (very common), malicious actors trying to gain access from a specific country (also very common), and so on. Or, you might just want to not make your website available in certain countries for legal or personal reasons.

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No matter your reasons, there are some great WordPress plugins that will let you block traffic from one or more countries to some or all of your website. And, in this post, I’ll give you a hands-on look at six of the best options, many of which offer functional free versions.

Table of Contents

1. iQ Block Country

WordPress plugin to block countries, the iQ Block Country plugin listing image at WordPress.org

By the numbers, iQ Block Country is the most popular WordPress plugin to block countries at the free WordPress.org plugin directory.

It lets you easily set up rules to block one or more countries from accessing some or all of your WordPress site.

For example, if you’re mainly worried about protecting your WP Admin dashboard, you could just block certain countries from accessing your dashboard and login pages. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with massive spam issues, you could fully block certain countries from accessing any part of your site.

WordPress plugin to block countries, setting up country-blocking rules in the iQ Block Country plugin.

To associate visitors’ IP addresses with countries, iQ Block Country uses the free GeoLite database from Maxmind, which offers 99.5% accuracy. For even higher accuracy, the plugin also works with the premium version of Maxmind’s database (which you can purchase from Maxmind).

To set up the database, you will need to download it yourself and then manually upload it using FTP or cPanel File Manager. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, I think that you might want to choose a different plugin that doesn’t require you to manually add the geolocation database.

Or, you can pay for a GeoIP API key that you can just add to the plugin’s settings. While this is a tiny bit simpler, I don’t think it’s worth spending the money on. Instead, you can try another plugin on this list before breaking out your wallet.

What I Like

  • You get very detailed rules for choosing what content to block on your site. It’s more flexible than many of the other plugins on this list.
  • Beyond setting up sitewide rules or blanket frontend/backend rules, you can choose to block countries from specific categories, tags, post types, pages, etc.
  • The plugin is 100% free to use, and it works with the free version of Maxmind’s geolocation database.
  • You can view logs to see statistics on blocking usage on your site.

Pricing

IQ Block Country is 100% free to use. You can also use the free GeoLite database from Maxmind for a totally free solution.

The free version is already 99.5% accurate in detecting users’ locations. But if you want even more accuracy, you can purchase the premium version of the database from MaxMind.

2. IP2Location Country Blocker

WordPress plugin to block countries, the IP2Location Country Blocker plugin listing image at WordPress.org

IP2Location Country Blocker is another popular geo-blocking plugin that’s available at the WordPress.org plugin database. It gives you the option to block one or more countries from some or all of your site.

While it doesn’t give you as detailed rules for blocking specific types of content as the previous iQ Block Country plugin, I think that this actually might be a positive for some people as it makes the interface a little simpler to use.

Additionally, while the previous plugin used Maxmind’s GeoLite database, this plugin is based on the IP2Location database (which comes in both a free and a paid version). The nice thing about this approach is that you don’t need to manually upload the file to your site (though that is still an option).

Instead, all you need to do is register for a free IP2Location account and add your download token to the plugin’s setup wizard. The whole process takes less than a minute and doesn’t require you to use FTP.

Then, you can jump straight into creating country-blocking rules for the front end and/or back end of your site.

WordPress plugin to block countries, setting up country-blocking rules in the IP2Location Country Blocker plugin.

What I Like

  • There’s an option to display a custom error page to blocked visitors (or you can just display your site’s default 403 page).
  • In addition to blocking specific countries, the plugin also lets you easily block country groups. For example, you could block all European countries with a single rule.
  • You can manually safelist certain IP addresses if you want to still allow specific visitors from a blocked country (such as an author on your site).
  • The plugin includes statistics/logging so that you can track country block numbers on your site.

Pricing

The IP2Location Country Blocker plugin is free and available at WordPress.org. You can also use it with the free version of the IP2Location country database.

There is a premium version of the database, but most sites will be fine with the free version for basic country-level blocking.

3. Wordfence

WordPress plugin to block countries, the Wordfence plugin listing image at WordPress.org

Wordfence is not just a WordPress plugin to block countries. Rather, it’s a full-service WordPress security plugin that includes a firewall, malware scanning, and lots of other features to protect your site from malicious actors.

However, as part of its firewall functionality, Wordfence also includes a feature to let you block certain countries from some or all of your site. You can easily set up as many country-blocking rules as needed using a simple interface.

WordPress plugin to block countries, the Wordfence country-blocking settings.

However, the country-blocking feature is only available in Wordfence Premium — not the free version at WordPress.org.

Therefore, I think that you should only use Wordfence to block countries if you’re also interested in the other premium security features that Wordfence offers, such as real-time rule updates for its firewall and malware scanning.

If you literally just want country blocking and you aren’t interested in those other features, I recommend choosing a different WordPress plugin to block countries on your site.

What I Like

  • There’s a feature to just block access to the WordPress login page or block access to your entire site.
  • You can set up unlimited country-blocking rules, including using different rules for different countries.
  • You can set up a country-blocking bypass page that lets certain users still access your site.
  • Wordfence is a full-service security plugin, so it includes lots of features to protect your site. However, I think you could also view this as a con if you’re looking for a more targeted tool.
  • Wordfence is very established, so you can trust the quality of the plugin.

Pricing

While Wordfence has a free version at WordPress.org, the country-blocking feature is only available in the premium version.

Wordfence Premium costs $119 for use on a single site. While that’s more expensive than other tools on this list, remember that you’re also getting access to lots of other security protections, such as real-time rule updates for the firewall and malware scanning.

4. IP Location Block

WordPress plugin to block countries, the IP Location Block plugin listing image at WordPress.org

IP Location Block is another free WordPress plugin to block countries that’s available via the WordPress.org plugin directory.

One unique feature is the ability to configure IP Location Block as a Must Use plugin. In a nutshell, this means that your country block rules will execute before your site needs to load other plugins, which can reduce the load on your server if you’re dealing with spam attacks from certain countries.

Another thing that I like about the plugin is that it starts working right away via built-in IP2Location and GeoIPLookup integrations. However, it also gives you lots of options for choosing which geolocation database to use if you don’t like the default setup, with support for eight different geolocation databases.

WordPress plugin to block countries, how to set up country-blocking rules in IP Location Block plugin.

However, one downside is that I found the interface to be a little technical. While I think that non-technical users will still be able to figure things out, it’s still not as simple to use as some of the other plugins.

What I Like

  • You can set up very advanced blocking rules, from basic frontend/backend blocking to more specific rules, like blocking access to certain categories, tags, post types, pages, and more.
  • The country blocking starts working right away thanks to built-in integrations with IP2Location and GeoIPLookup — there’s no need to connect to a service or upload a database.
  • You can choose from eight different geolocation databases (though using the other six databases will require you to add an API key).
  • The plugin is free, and most sites will be fine using a free configuration.

Pricing

The IP Location Block plugin is available for free at WordPress.org. If you use it with one of the free geolocation databases, you won’t need to pay a thing.

If you want even more granular blocking rules — e.g., the ability to block specific states or cities — you can use the IP Location Block database. This is free for up to 15,000 requests per month. After that, plans start at $4.99 per month for up to 80,000 requests and go up to $11.99 per month for unlimited requests.

5. Stop Spammers

WordPress plugin to block countries, the Stop Spammers plugin listing image at WordPress.org

As the name suggests, Stop Spammers is a plugin that’s wholly focused on helping you stop spam on your site.

While it includes multiple features to help you do this, one of those features is the ability to block certain countries from your site (along with an option to block specific IP addresses as well).

Beyond the country-blocking ability, some of the other spam prevention features that it offers include the ability to block spam words or disposable emails in comments, add a CAPTCHA to forms on your site, block suspicious behavior, and more.

Setting up country-blocking rules is super easy. You just go to Stop Spammers → Protection Options and scroll down to the Block Countries section. You can then easily block one or more countries using the checkboxes.

How to block countries from your site in Stop Spammers

While it doesn’t give you quite as much flexibility as other plugins, I think it’s one of the easiest ways to set up full country blocking on your site.

What I Like:

  • The plugin makes it very easy to set up your blocking rules — all you need to do is check a box next to each country that you want to block.
  • You can give visitors from blocked countries the option to solve a CAPTCHA to still access your site, which gives you a chance to still let in legitimate traffic. This is optional, though.
  • The country-blocking functionality is available in the free version of the plugin at WordPress.org.
  • The plugin also includes lots of other features to block spam on your site, which could be a nice addition if you want to block countries because you’re dealing with spam issues. However, if you’re not dealing with spam problems, you might view this as a negative.

Pricing

Stop Spammers has a free version at WordPress.org that includes the ability to block countries. There is a premium version that includes additional WordPress spam protections, but you do not need to purchase the premium version to access any country-blocking functionality.

6. All-In-One Security (AIOS)

WordPress plugin to block countries, the All-In-One Security (AIOS) plugin listing image at WordPress.org

As the name suggests, All-In-One Security (AIOS for short) offers an all-in-one approach to WordPress security. In that respect, it’s similar to the Wordfence plugin above.

In addition to all those general security features, AIOS also includes a country-blocking feature to let you use a person’s geolocation to restrict access to some or all of your site.

If you’re looking for a full-service security plugin in addition to the ability to block countries from your site, I think that this could make AIOS a good option for your site. But if you’re looking for a plugin that’s exclusively focused on setting up geo-blocking rules, there are better options on this list.

What I Like

  • You can set up country-blocking rules for your entire WordPress site or just for specific pieces of content.
  • You can manually safelist specific IP addresses so that they’re still able to access your site even if they’re visiting from a blocked country. For example, you could safelist an author who comes from a country that’s otherwise blocked.
  • The plugin includes a number of different security features to protect your site from malicious actors.
  • This plugin comes from the same developer as the popular UpdraftPlus backup plugin.

Pricing

While All-In-One Security does have a free version that’s available at WordPress.org, the country-blocking feature is only available in the premium version.

The premium version starts at $70 for use on up to two websites.

Bonus: Block Countries Without a WordPress Plugin Using Your Host or Cloudflare

While using a WordPress plugin to block countries is totally fine, I think it’s also worth noting that you might also be able to access this type of WordPress geo-blocking functionality without needing to install a dedicated plugin for it.

I’ll quickly cover two different options below.

Web Host Geo-Blocking Tool

First off, some WordPress hosts offer tools to block countries at the server level. If these exist, you can typically access them via your host’s dashboard.

For example, Kinsta, a popular managed WordPress host, offers an IP geo-blocking feature in its MyKinsta hosting dashboard.

You first need to enable the Geolocation feature by going to the Tools tab in your site’s dashboard. Then, you can set up a redirect rule that sends all traffic to a certain page on your site, such as a 403 page that explains why you’re blocking traffic from that country.

If you reach out to Kinsta’s support staff, they can also help you add a redirect rule that outright blocks traffic from certain countries.

How to block countries using Kinsta web hosting.

Before installing a dedicated WordPress geo-blocking plugin, you might want to see if your web host offers a similar feature.

Firewall Rules in Cloudflare (or Other Reverse Proxy Services)

Another way to block countries without a WordPress plugin would be using a reverse proxy service like Cloudflare. Cloudflare lets you set up firewall rules to block certain countries from some or all of your WordPress site.

This happens before visitors even reach your server, so it can be especially helpful if you’re experiencing high volumes of spam traffic or even a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

To set these up, open the Cloudflare dashboard for your site. If you haven’t set up Cloudflare yet, we have a whole guide on setting up Cloudflare for WordPress sites.

In the Cloudflare dashboard, go to Security → WAF and click the Create rule button.

Then, configure it as follows.

  • Field — Country
  • Operator — equals
  • Value — choose one or more countries that you want to block
  • Choose action — Block

Then, click the Deploy button to make your country-blocking rule live.

How to block countries using Cloudflare WAF.

You can create up to five firewall rules using Cloudflare’s free plan, so you shouldn’t need to pay anything. You can also add multiple countries to a single rule, so you won’t need to pay even if you want to block more than five countries.

My Recommendations

Again, I want to make it clear that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a WordPress plugin to block countries from your site.

If you prefer that approach for its convenience and/or simplicity, that’s totally fine. I just want you to understand that you have options when it comes to setting up geo-blocking rules on WordPress.

If you’re not sure where to get started, I think that the IP2Location Country Blocker plugin offers one of the simplest ways to set up basic country blocking, while iQ Block Country and IP Location Block could be better options if you want more flexible blocking rules (such as only blocking access to certain categories of content). Or, you can always use non-plugin tools from your host or reverse proxy services like Cloudflare.

All of the plugins on this list are solid options for blocking countries on your WordPress site. I think that your choice really just comes down to how detailed you need your country-blocking rules to be, whether you want a dedicated plugin or you’re happy with using a full security plugin, and your budget.

Make a list of your requirements and your maximum budget. From there, your sure to find the right fit.

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Vous pouvez lire l’article original (en Anglais) sur https://blog.hubspot.com/website/wordpress-plugin-to-block-countries

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