Is your WordPress hacked? And how can you know it?

One of the main reasons why hackers target WordPress websites is because of WordPress’ high popularity. On the one hand, WordPress has many plugins and themes to offer. On the other hand, these plugins and themes are exactly what make the WordPress CMS less secure if they are not updated timely.

So let’s get to it.

How can I know my WordPress is hacked?

How do hackers know that your website is prone to hacking?

Hackers break in your WordPress website multi-ways: through a weak hosting platform, insecure plugins or themes, weak passwords, un-updated WordPress.

Hackers usually use bots that crawl fragile websites. If your website is one of them, then you become a possible target.

So how can you know that your WordPress is hacked?

Here are some signs that give an indication about hacking:

  • You cannot log in to your WordPress account 
  • Your website gets slow and unresponsive 
  • Strange files and suspicious scripts are in your server 
  • Doubtful user accounts in WordPress account 
  • Bad links attached to your website 
  • Abnormal activity in server logs
  • The search results from your website show a wrong title and meta description 
  • You are unable to send and receive emails from WordPress 
man wearing a wordpress black tshirt working on his computer
Photo by Fikret tozak on Unsplash

If you notice the above signs, don’t get panic.

Here’s what to do.

Check your user approvals or permissions

First, you need to:

  • Check the user permissions.
  • If you have multiple users then check all your WordPress users.
  • Make sure that only you and your trusted users have the access to the admin account of your WordPress and the permissions of account login haven’t been changed
  • If you notice any new unfamiliar users in your admin account then remove them instantly

Locate the hack

If you can log in to your WordPress then check all users properly.

Check out how that hacking happens, for locating the hack you should go through from these questions:

  • Can you login to your WordPress admin panel?
  • Also, check for links. Does your WordPress website has banned or illegal links?
  • Analyze whether your WordPress site redirecting to another website
  • Does your website shift from https to http?
  • Does Google mark your website as insecure?
  • Has your website become unresponsive?

Write down the answers to the above questions because this will help you when you’ll talk to your hosting company.

Go through the user’s list properly. Pay attention to the list of WordPress plugins that you are using. Make sure that everything is up-to-date. Also, confirm that only one theme is installed.

Restore your website to an older version

Restoring your website to the old version can be one of the best options you have, if you want to remove the hack manually.

Once you have restored your website to the old version then follow, do these:

  • First of all, change your password for all users, and then check the user list to confirm that there is no suspicious user in the user list.
  • Then, update your WordPress, plugins, themes and other tools that you use for your website.
  • Last but not least, create a backup list. Remove any remaining wrong or suspicious code, and note that you complete a scan of your website so as to prevent it from breaking down due to the removal of code.

Change passwords and secret keys

Change all passwords linked with to your WordPress site. Make your password strong by using unique characters you can use a password generator to ensure your password is unique and strong enough. 

Change the password of your main dashboards like-

  • MySQL database
  • WordPress dashboard
  • cPanel 
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Get in touch with your hosting company

If any problems insist, maybe it’s time to contact your hosting provider.

If you don’t have any knowledge of your WordPress dashboard then it is better to get in touch with your hosting company and follow their instructions.

They will also tell you how the hack has happened, the reason behind the hacking, and how the hackers got access to your website.

If you are unable to get in touch with your hosting provider then it is recommended that you should hire an expert. 

Scanning & removal of malware

The chances of hacking increases if the plugins or themes that you are using are not up-to-date; hackers can easily have access to the outdated files. 

The hackers circumvent the usual or normal authentication process and hence gain access to the server. 

WordPress security plugin scans your website regularly and also notify you if there is a suspicious attempt in your website or a malevolent code is trying to get installed your website.

Some of the most popular security plugins are WordFence, BulletProof Security, and Sucuri Security.

photo of a laptop screen showing the WordPress dashboard
Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash

Nonetheless,s what should you do when your website recovers from the hack?

Your website can be hacked again if you don’t make proper security changes. If you use your website for business purposes then make sure you are using a good hosting company.

Ask a professional for help

Like I stated earlier, if you don’t have knowledge of WordPress dashboard and if you are not comfortable with the codes, scripts, servers and if you can’t makes changes in the backend of your website. Then it recommended that you should contact a professional. 

The hackers hide their codes in different positions countenancing for hacks to come back over and over again. 

If you want to save your time and want to avoid things to get worse, then hiring a professional is the best choice.

WordPress Hacked: Conclusion

Here are a few tips if you don’t want to see your WordPress hacked again:

  • Make sure you are using updated themes and plugins
  • Use a two-way authentication process for ensuring high security 
  • You can also use your email to login in your WordPress account 
  • Use a unique password and admin name
  • Add password to your wp-admin directory 
  • Have a regular checkup on the user’s permissions 
  • Make backups regularly 
  • Disallow the file editing permission to the users 
  • cPanel password should be changed every 3 months.
  • Hide your WordPress admin panel from unprivileged users and employee
  • Don’t install any third-party plugin

If you are familiar with the WordPress dashboard and you have knowledge of codes and scripts then only you should make changes in your WordPress dashboard.

Otherwise, if you don’t have proper knowledge of WordPress in general, then instead of making things worse, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional or contact your hosting company.