WordPress Website Malware Removal Guide

Malware is a major problem for websites, especially WordPress sites. Malware can slow down your site, damage your reputation, get your website blacklisted in the Google search results and even harm your website visitors who could be infected with a virus after visiting your site and may take legal action against you or your business. Removing malware from a site can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it is possible to clean up your hacked WordPress site and get it back to normal.

In this blog post, we will go over the steps you need to take to remove malware from a WordPress website.

What is Malware

Malware (short for malicious software) refers to any program or code that is designed to cause harm to a computer system, network, device, or website. Malware can take many forms, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other types of malicious software.

Malware can be used by hackers or cyber criminals to steal sensitive data, damage or delete files, take control of a computer or network or use a device’s resources to perform unauthorized tasks, such as sending spam emails or participating in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Malware can be spread through a variety of means, such as email attachments, infected software downloads, or malicious websites. To protect against malware, it is important to use up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software, avoid suspicious downloads and links, and keep all software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches.

How Did My WordPress Website Get Infected With Malware

WordPress websites can be infected with malware in several ways. Here are some of the most common ways

  1. Outdated software: If your WordPress website is running on outdated software including WordPress core, plugins, or themes, it could have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to inject malware into the PHP scripts.
  2. Weak passwords: Weak or easy-to-guess passwords make it easy for hackers to gain access to your website and install malware.
  3. Malicious plugins or themes: Malicious plugins or themes can contain code that installs malware on your website without your knowledge.
  4. Phishing attacks: If you fall victim to a phishing attack, hackers can trick you into giving them access to your website or install malware on your system, which in turn can infect your website.
  5. File uploads: If you allow users to upload files to your website, such as images or documents, these files could contain malware that infects your website.
  6. Vulnerable server: If your web server is vulnerable, hackers can gain access to your website and inject malware via the server softare.

How Do I Remove the Malware From My WordPress Website

Step 1: Identify the Malware

The first step in removing malware from your WordPress website is to identify the source of the problem.

This can be a tricky process, as malware can be hidden in many different places on your site. If you suspect that your site has been infected with malware, it is important to act quickly. The longer you wait, the more damage the malware can do to your site.

Some Common Signs Of Malware Infection Include

  1. Your website is slow to load
  2. Your WordPress website Is showing a 500 internal server error
  3. The website is showing a white screen
  4. Your website has been marked as dangerous in Google and you have lost all your traffic and sales
  5. A website visitor has contacted you to let you that they have been infected with malware, virus after visiting your website
  6. The hosting provider has suspended your hosting service
  7. Your website theme, plugins or general functionality is not working as it should do
  8. Your site is redirecting visitors to other sites
  9. The website is showing popups
  10. The website email accounts are sending out spam

Step 2: Back Up Your Site

Before you begin to remove the malware from your site, it is important to back up your website. This will allow you to restore your site to its previous state if something goes wrong during the removal process. You can use a plugin like UpdraftPlus or Jetpack to create a backup of your WordPress site. You can also use the backup options available via Cpanel or Plesk 

Step 3: Scan Your Website

There are several tools available to scan your WordPress website for malware. These tools will search your site for any suspicious files, code, or links that could be causing the problem. Once you have run a scan on your site, review the results to identify any malicious files or code that needs to be removed.

Some popular malware plugins which include scanners  are

  1. Sucuri SiteCheck
  2. Wordfence Security
  3. Ithemes Security
  4. All In One Security 

Step 4: Remove the Malware

After you have identified the malware on your site, it is time to remove it. Depending on the severity of the malware, you may be able to remove it manually or you may need to use a malware removal tool.

Manually Removing Malware

To manually remove malware from your WordPress site, follow these steps. You can also use a plugin or your hosting provider may have an automated malware removal tool available

  1. Delete any suspicious files from your site
  2. Remove any malicious code from your site
  3. Remove any suspicious plugins or themes from your site
  4. Change all of your passwords (including your WordPress login, FTP, and database passwords)
  5. Update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to the latest version

Step 5: Secure Your Site

After you have removed the malware from your WordPress site, it is important to take steps to prevent it from happening again. Some steps you can take to secure your site include:

  1. Install a security plugin like Wordfence or iThemes Security
  2. Keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date
  3. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
  4. Limit access to your site by only giving out passwords and login information to trusted users
  5. Back up your site regularly to a remote location

Removing malware from a WordPress site can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it is essential to protect your site and your visitors. By following these steps and taking measures to secure your site, you can prevent future malware attacks and keep your site running smoothly. Remember to back up your site regularly and stay vigilant for signs of malware so you can