Getting your website hacked is devastating

Your website is such a valuable commodity and fixing hacked websites is complex, and it’s not always as simple as rolling back to the previous version. If your website is a business, then security should be one of your top priorities.

When we talk about hacking we think it’s something that happens to someone else…. no, it happens all the time, and great hosting and regular software updates are measures you can’t afford not to have.

Over the last 7 years I’ve had to deal with a handful of hacked sites and every single one was because the client neglected their updates, whether that be declining annual maintenance for us to take that worry away from them, or not doing it themselves.

Paying for software maintenance is a little bit like insurance, you never really understand the value of it, until something bad happens.

If your site is hacked it can lead to you loosing search engine rankings, exposing our your visitors to viruses, site redirects to unpleasant websites, loss of data or even your domain name blacklisted.

Here’s my thoughts on what do do if you think your site has been hacked…

1. Check out the problem

It’s worth checking these simple steps:

  • Can you login to your WordPress admin panel?
  • Is your WordPress site redirecting to another website?
  • Does your WordPress site contain illegitimate links?
  • Is Google marking your website as insecure?

This is all useful info which will help you when you’re talking with someone to try and help you.  It’s a good ideas to change your passwords before you go any further, and again once the issue is resolved.

2. Check your site users

Look in the users section of WordPress to make sure only you and your team members have administrator access to the site, if you see a suspicious user there, then delete them.

3. Malware scanning and removal

Both WordFence and Sucuri plugins have a site scanner you can use which can help to identify malicious files which may require removal.  You have two options for fixing the hack here. You can either manually remove the code, or you can replace that file with the original file.

You also want to make sure that your theme and plugin folder matches the original ones. Sometimes hackers add additional files that look like the plugin file name.

4. Restore from backup

Fingers crossed you have backups in place as it may be possible to restore from an earlier point when the site wasn’t hacked. If you can do this, then you’re set, otherwise it’s going to be a manual process.

5. Call your hosting company

Security is a technical matter, and if you’re not comfortable dealing with it, then it’s almost always better to have a professional do it. Why? Because hackers hide their scripts in multiple locations allowing for hacks to come back over and over again.  Most good hosting providers are saviours in these situations. They have experienced staff who deal with these kind of things daily and they will have a range of tools to help diagnose the problem. They may even be able to clean up the hack for you.

If your site hasn’t been updated in a while and you would like it checked over, then get in touch.