Did you know that over 100,000 websites get hacked daily?
If your WordPress site got hacked, it might be difficult to recover. This is especially true when you have little technical expertise. But, don’t let fear take over and do something rash or foolish. Dealing with a hacked WordPress site is like overcoming any other challenge – it’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world either.
With this guide, we’ll give you a quick overview of what to do to recover from a WordPress hacking situation. But first, it’s good to know…
Why WordPress Website Hacking Happens
At any given moment, over 150,000 small business websites in the United States have some sort of malware infection. Most people think their websites aren’t prone to attacks because they lack valuable or sensitive business information. But most hackers have other reasons to do these activities, such as:
- Malware spread
- Bandwidth addition to bot networks for DDoS attacks
- Black-hat SEO techniques
- The hacker’s own personal amusement
That’s why regardless of your website type or purpose, you’re a likely target for hackers. As soon as your website goes live, it carries a certain risk. But with WordPress used by 37.8% of all websites in the world, it isn’t difficult to see why it’s a desirable target for hackers.
Here are some reasons why WordPress websites are popular hacking targets:
1. Most WordPress Websites Have No Basic Security
You have lots of options when protecting your website from hacker attacks. Some are easy to implement, but the average website owner often forgets the best practices to secure their site. That’s why it’s better to get a WordPress two-factor authentication plugin since you can implement it within minutes.
With 2FA, you’re dramatically reducing the chances of hackers accessing your website. It applies even when they steal your credentials. For a good measure, look for WordPress security plugins that have firewall and malware scanning features.
2. Most Sites Use an Outdated WordPress Version
In most cases, outdated software has vulnerabilities fixed by later versions. So, if you use outdated plugins, themes, and other applications, you’re exposing yourself to security holes. Hackers can use these exploits a lot, making it a common reason for WordPress websites getting hacked.
These WordPress hackers have lots of free scanning tools and scripts in their arsenal. They use these to identify and exploit WordPress website vulnerabilities. A hacker with a respectable amount of experience and resources can do these en masse.
3. Most Administrators Use Weak Passwords
When thinking about your WordPress website’s security, your user password is your first line of defense. After all, when hackers guess your credentials, they gain the same privileges as you have on your website. This isn’t a great position to be in, regardless of your data’s importance.
This epidemic of weak passwords isn’t as isolated since lots of people use passwords. If you’re letting someone handle your website, educate them on the qualities of a strong password. For example, it must have a capital letter, a special character, and at least eight characters long. Learn how Pressable handles hacking.
With these qualities, they’re harder to guess and crack. If you have a hard time memorizing these long passwords, try password manager software.
What to Do When Your WordPress Website Gets Hacked
If you’re in a worst-case scenario where a hacker gained access to your website, it isn’t the end of the world. You have lots of options in dealing with hacking events. These are easy to do, so ensure you keep these in mind:
1. Keep Calm
Cleaning a hacked WordPress website starts by taking a deep breath. Becoming stressed or mad about your situation won’t help. This takes your much-needed concentration away from getting your website back on track.
Always remember to put your energy into finding solutions instead. It’s more productive than lamenting your situation.
2. Find the Hack
When the hack occurs, check the various aspects of your site and ascertain a few things. First, check whether you can log in using your WordPress Admin Panel. Look whether your web address redirects you to another website and look for illegal links.
Another thing to check is whether Google already considers your website as unsecured. These things are important, meaning you must record your findings. It’s an important process to make the next step easier to handle.
3. Contact Your Hosting Company
The majority of reputable hosting companies will assist you in this situation. Those with experienced staff already dealt with these problems, so they have the means of dealing to help. That’s why before taking matters into your hands, ask your hosting provider for valuable advice.
If your website uses a shared server for hosting, it can be a useful tool to solve your hacking situation. It will allow you to determine whether the hacker used another website on your server to get to yours. In this case, your hosting provider has the answers you need.
Also, they’re likely to tell you the location of your website’s backdoor. This helps in determining what part of your website got compromised. But the ideal situation is when your hosting company steps forward and provides WordPress hack recovery.
But rather than dealing with a hack, you must get a hosting company with unparalleled speed, a web application firewall, and support. Check out our WP hosting features and see whether we’re the right fit for your WordPress website.
4. Hire Professionals
If the attack on your website is so bad, hiring a professional is your best choice. Cleaning it as soon as possible is in your best interests since a vulnerable website only gets harder to recover the longer you wait. The faster you fix the issues, the safer your website becomes.
This is also your best bet if you’re not well-versed in technology. It also works when you’re not keen to mess anything up while recovering your website. In these situations, you’re more likely to make things worse if you’re unsure of what you’re doing.
When you aren’t comfortable making important changes to your website’s backend, it’s the right time to ask for support.
5. Restore a Previous Website Version
If you back your site up regularly, this is the best time for you to pat yourself on the back. It’s much easier for you to restore a website version from before it got hacked. Remember, restoring an old backup of your website reverts it to that version in its entirety.
It means the content you published and other changes you made after will disappear. But losing these is often a small price to pay for gaining a clean website. When you choose this option, remember that restoring the old version still makes it vulnerable to future attacks.
Once you restore your website with this method, put more effort into your security. Add security plugins and internalize the best practices. That way, you’ll avoid malicious attacks better as you move forward.
Is a website backup not an option? If so, cleaning the code manually will work too. Do this only when restoring to an old version gets rid of too many valuable improvements.
6. Scan and Remove Malware
Outdated plugins and themes are often heaven-sent to hackers. They use these to access your website and make a backdoor. That way, they can get into your website easier since it bypasses normal authentication methods.
If you believe that hackers gained backdoor access to your website, it’s time to install security plugins. That way, you can locate all backdoors and malicious code within your website. Keep it running even after you finish the recovery process since it allows you to remove threats before they become serious.
7. Look at Your User Permissions
Check your WordPress users and check their permissions. This audit allows you to ascertain that only you and your team members can access your admin accounts. This will also show whether your user accounts got tampered or new user accounts got added.
8. Change Passwords and Secret Keys
Be sure to include all the passwords related to your WordPress website.
Take note, you aren’t limited to changing these passwords. Look at all your website components and change the passwords of anything that can aid in helping a hacker access your website. After that, use a password generator to ensure its strength and uniqueness.
Change your secret keys and salts after you’re done. This will reforge your WordPress website’s safety and security. The best part is that you have lots of plugin choices to make this process easier even when you have no technical experience.
With this final step done, you can rest easy that your website is secure once more. It doesn’t mean hackers won’t try again, so, be vigilant. Remember, WordPress security is a continuous effort, so take it seriously from now on.
Get the Best WordPress Host Today!
These are things you must do to recover from a WordPress hacking issue such as website malware monitoring. Keep these in mind to ensure that you’re a less desirable target for hackers in the future. Don’t let your site fall victim to ransomware or other dangerous hacking activities.
Zach has 12+ years of experience with WordPress, from creating and maintaining client sites, to providing support and developing documentation. A knack for problem-solving and providing solutions led Zach to pursue a job with Automattic providing customer support in 2015 working with WooCommerce support, and now Zach has recently joined our team here at Pressable. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, and working on projects around the house.