All Wordfence installations need a license key, also known as an API-key. The key can be a free key or a Premium key.
Installing your Free License Key
Please be advised that Wordfence Free has a 30 day delay on receiving firewall rules and malware signatures. For real time firewall rules and malware signatures, protect your site by upgrading to one of our Premium products.
How to get a free key
Once you have installed the Wordfence plugin you will be prompted to “Get Your Wordfence License”, which will bring you to Wordfence’s product web page where you can view our full suite of products to determine the best option for you. Select the button for your desired product. In the case you decide on Wordfence’s Free license, select the “Get a Free License” button. This will launch a “Get Wordfence Free” pop-up where you’ll need to input your email, optionally subscribe to our Wordfence mailing list to receive news and alerts, accept legal Terms and Conditions, and select “Register”.
Successfully completing this pop-up and selecting the “Register” button completes your Free license registration and sends your license key as well as installation instructions to the email provided. Note that this is not the end of your Wordfence installation, which must be completed for Wordfence to be successfully installed and activated.
Open the email containing your Free Wordfence Security license key. Click on the “Install License” link within the email if it’s within 24 hours of the time you registered for a Free license. This link will automatically install the Free Wordfence license key from the email you received to your requested website.
If installing after 24 hours of receiving the installation email, or in the event that the automatic install fails, you will need to copy and paste the license key into the Wordfence Security plugin by selecting the option to “Install an existing license” from the WordPress Plugins page. Copy the key from the email, paste in your license key and read/select the checkbox for legal Terms and Conditions before selecting the button to “Install License”.
Problem receiving installation email
Please note that emails may not be delivered successfully to disposable or temporary email addresses. In the event you are not receiving the email with your Free license key and installation instructions, first try the following:
- Check your Spam folder
- Verify the spelling and email address provided are correct
- Make sure your email mailbox isn’t full
- Add “email@example.com” to your email client address book, and “wordfence.com” to your allowlist
- Retry with an alternate email account
Registration process shows two different URLs
When registering for a free license, some site owners may see a message like:
Your site is registering with the URL https://example.com but the admin URL we received from your site is https://example.org.
This usually means that the Wordfence plugin running on your site got two different URLs from WordPress for the site URL and admin URL.
If you recognize both URLs as a part of your site or hosting plan, it is generally ok to proceed and usually will not affect your Wordfence installation. If you are not sure about one of the URLs, you can contact Wordfence support using the buttons near the top of this page.
Some examples we have seen include:
- Multi-language sites may have two different URLs like www.example.com and en.example.com.
- In rare cases, a host may assign a different URL for administration, and you may see domains like www.example.com example-site.hosting-company.example.com. If you see significant differences like this, you can check with your hosting company if you are not sure.
- If one URL uses plain http and the other uses https, this should not be an issue as long as you started the registration process from the prompt in the Wordfence plugin on your site. Some sites force http in .htaccess or Nginx configuration files, even if WordPress itself is still set to use plain http.
- If testing on a localhost site or a virtual machine, you may see “localhost” or your machine’s IP address in some cases.
- URLs containing non-latin or accented letters may appear in “punycode”, a standard for encoding non-ASCII characters. When this occurs, parts of the URL begin with “xn--“. This includes domains using languages with completely different characters, like Japanese, as well as latin characters with modifiers like accents or umlauts. If you see a URL like this while registering, but aren’t sure if it is valid for your site, Wordfence support can help confirm if it matches your domain.
Error attempting to install the Wordfence license key from the email to your website
If you attempt to “Install License” after 24 hours, you will no longer be able to automatically install the Wordfence license key. Additionally, if you are in a different browser than the one used when requesting your Free Wordfence license, you will be unable to automatically install your new Free Wordfence license. In those cases you will need to manually copy and paste the key from the email to complete the activation of Wordfence Security.
If you copy/paste your new Wordfence license key into the “License Key” field and you receive a message “Error Installing License”, first verify that you did not inadvertently copy only part of the license key or overwrite a portion of the license key when pasting the key in to the text box. When in doubt, clear out the field and recopy/paste the key into the “License Key” field. If this does not work, return to the WordPress plugin page and request a new Free key by selecting the button “Get Your Wordfence License”.
Installing your Premium License Key
When you purchase a Wordfence Care or Response license from wordfence.com, our Customer Service team will login to your site with your permission and install and configure Wordfence for you.
When you purchase the Premium version of Wordfence, you will receive a new license key that you need to install on your site to enable the Premium features. Your Premium license keys are stored under the LICENSES page in your account on wordfence.com. You can retrieve them from your account at any time.
When you first install our plugin on your site, you have the option to install an existing Premium license.
We strongly recommend connecting your site to Wordfence Central and using it to install or upgrade your site’s license key. You can also manually install a Premium license at any time using the following steps:
- Sign in to wordfence.com with the account you created when you ordered your license key(s).
- Click the “LICENSES” menu item.
- Your license keys will be listed on the license key management page that will open.
- Copy the license key that you want to install.
- On your site, go to the Wordfence “Dashboard” > “Global Options” page.
- In the “Wordfence License” section, paste the license key that you copied from your wordfence.com account into the “License Key” field.
- Save the change and the Premium features will now be enabled.
Managing your License Keys
When you purchase a Wordfence Premium, Care, or Response license, you create an account at wordfence.com. You can manage your License Keys at any time by logging in to wordfence.com at www.wordfence.com/sign-in/ and clicking “Licenses” in the menu at the top of the page.
From here you can do the following:
- Search and Filter license keys by status and domain
- Copy a license key to install it in the Wordfence plugin.
- Manually renew license keys.
- Disable or enable automatic renewals.
- Purchase additional licenses.
- Reset Premium license keys to be used on another site (Care and Response licenses cannot be reset).
Note that you can also use the highlighted icons to switch between List view and Card view for easier management of multiple licenses.
How many license keys do I need to buy?
Each installation of the Wordfence plugin requires a unique Wordfence license key. If you have a WordPress Multisite, you only need one license key because a WordPress Multisite is a single installation of the WordPress file system and only has one installation of the Wordfence plugin.
You can not protect more than one WordPress installation (single or Multisite) with one license key unless it is a staging or development site of the accompanying production site. See the section below for staging sites to learn more about this.
Use Wordfence license on staging
A Premium, Care, or Response license that is valid for a site can also be used to enable Premium functionality to a corresponding staging or development site. The Security Incident response services that come with Care or Response licenses can be extended to a staging or development site for an additional cost of $199/site.
We are initially opening up this capability to the following common subdomains below and your license key will work automatically on these staging or development site subdomains. If you have different staging or development URLs then these will need to be enabled by Wordfence Premium support staff. Please send in your staging or development site URLs via our Premium support ticket system.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a key for both my staging and regular website?
A Premium, Care, or Response Wordfence license can be used to provide Premium-level protection on a corresponding staging or development site.
- What is an API-key?
An API-key, or license key, is a unique identifier that Wordfence uses to verify that your site is actually your site and not another site. The key is a long row of random digits and letters. When you install the free version of Wordfence you are automatically assigned a free license key. When you upgrade to Wordfence Premium, Wordfence Care, or Wordfence Response, you get a license key which is installed in place of the free license key.