wordpress security logoWordPress is an open source content management system. It is one of the most powerful development platforms which empowers millions of websites over the web. It provides a number of features to it users which make it one of the most popular platform. It has become the first choice for the developers and business owners, who want to own a website, because of it is impressive and easy to use interface.

Any CMS can not be perfect and the scope of vulnerabilities is always there and WordPress is not an exception in this case. Although WordPress core team keep releasing frequent updates to avoid any security issues there is still a possibility of your website getting hacked. It is really a stressful situation for any website owner to face a hacking attack on the website. In this article, we will learn how to deal with your hacked website and how to clean it after the attack.

Make Sure Your Site is Actually hacked:

First of all, make sure that your site is actually hacked, sometimes it may be just a misbehavior of the website. Some website owners consider a broken down WordPress website or some spam messages as a hack and feel panicked. While all you need to do is stay calm and identify if your site is really hacked.

How to identify a hacked site?

  1. Check if your site is showing popups which you never implemented.
  2. If you can see some unwanted text in the “View Source” or in the footer.
  3. If Your website is redirecting to some other URL.
  4. If you can see some complicated or encoded text in the plugins.
  5. If you can notice any unusual behavior in the use of bandwidth or in the traffic.
  6. Check if there are auto links for keywords for which you did not create links.
  7. Check your site on google. Write Site:mysite.com ( replace mysite.com with your website URL ) in google search bar and click on search. Now see if you can see some malicious content or pages.

Once you have confirmed that your site has been hacked you cna follow the below-given steps to clean your website and restore it back to normal.

Create a backup:

Once you have found that your website is actually hacked you need to take a backup of your website immediately. You can use the backup system of your host or a plugin to create a backup for your website. The reason for creating a backup at this stage is that most of the hosting service providers will delete your website at once when you report for a hack. Create a complete backup of your website database and files.

Contact Your Hosting service Provider:

Contact your hosting service provider as soon as you have confirmed a hacking attack on your site. They deal these kinds of situations frequently and can guide you better. Moreover, they may provide you some additional information about how it happened. They will also make sure that the infection does not affect other assets on their network.

Restore the backup:

If you have a backup for your site then the first thing you will need to is to restore the backup. If you have identified when your site was hacked then restore it from earlier to that time.

Update the WordPress core files:

Most of the hackers generally go after a high yield hack which means if they successfully hacked WordPress Core or a popular plugin then they can gain access to a number of websites. For this reason, it is important to update the WordPress core files to the latest version.

Update your Plugins and theme:

Plugins and themes are the most common entry doors for the hackers. Delete all the plugins you are not using. Always make sure you are using the latest version of any plugin or theme.

Remove all the suspicious findings:

You need to clean all the malicious code that caused the problem. Delete each and everything you find suspicious. Make sure when you delete any files it does not affect any functionality on your site.

Check User Permissions:

You must make sure that only you or any trusted team members should have to access to the administrator of your site. Just check the user section on your WordPress website and if you find any unwanted users remove them immediately.

Reset the security keys:

To encrypt your passwords WordPress creates a set of security keys. So, if anyone has stolen your password and is logged on your website then the person will remain there because of the valid cookies. You have to disable the cookies to avoid any such situation. You need to create a new set of the security key and then add it to the wp-config.php file. It will help you to disable the cookies.

Change Your Login Credentials:

You have to change all your login credentials irrespective of the fact that from where the hacking attack originated. Create new passwords for your WordPress Control Panel, FTP, MySQL or any other user accounts password. While creating a password make sure that you have chosen a complex combination which is hard to guess.

Scan your WordPress site for any further infections:

After you have to remove everything suspicious from your site just run a quick scan again to ensure a clean website. You can run an automated malware scan by using any plugin. After that check your site to make sure that it if working smoothly.

Once you have restored your site back to normal, make sure that this kind of situation does not rise in future. You can follow the below given tips to avoid any hacking attacks in future:

  • Make sure that you are on a reliable managed WordPress hosting service to ensure the security of your site.

  • Install a security plugin which can take care of your site and allow you to keep track of the various events on your website.

  • Use complex and hard to guess passwords.

  • Use the latest version of WordPress and keep updating it with every minor and major release.

  • Always use the latest version of any plugin or theme

  • Remove anything extra on your WordPress that you are not using be it a plugin or any default theme

  • Limit the login attempts on your WordPress and disable the plugin and theme editors.

All these things can help you to clean your website after a security breach and help you to avoid any hacking attack in future.

Guest Post By: Jason is expert in developing WordPress websites and earns his daily bread from the same. He likes to stay updated with the latest tech advancements and also loves to contribute to the same. For those who are looking to hire WordPress developers that can match pace with the competitiveness can count on Jason for it.