WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet. Its popularity has made it a prime target for hackers and other malicious actors who seek to exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access to websites.
If you have a WordPress website, it’s important to be aware of the signs that it has been hacked so that you can take action quickly to protect your website and its visitors. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of a hacked WordPress website and what you can do to prevent future attacks.
Signs of a WordPress Website Hacked:
- Unexpected Changes
One of the most obvious signs of a hacked WordPress website is unexpected changes. If you notice new pages, posts, or links on your website that you didn’t create, it’s possible that your website has been hacked. Hackers often use these techniques to redirect visitors to their own websites, sell products, or promote their services.
- Slow or Unresponsive Website
If your website suddenly becomes slow or unresponsive, it could be a sign of a hack. Hackers often use your website’s resources to carry out their activities, which can affect its speed and performance. They may also use “botnets,” which are networks of infected computers, to attack your website and slow it down.
- Pop-Ups and Ads
If you see strange pop-ups or ads on your website that you didn’t create, it’s possible that your website has been hacked. Hackers may use your website to display ads for their own products or services, or they may use it to distribute malware to your visitors.
- Error Messages
If you see error messages or warnings when you try to access your website, it could be a sign of a hack. These messages could include warnings about malware or unauthorized access. They may also indicate that your website has been blacklisted by search engines or security companies.
- Strange User Activity
If you notice unusual user activity on your website, such as new user accounts that you didn’t create or changes to existing accounts, it could be a sign of a hack. Hackers may create new user accounts to gain access to your website or modify existing accounts to gain more privileges.
- Search Engine Warnings
If your website has been hacked, search engines may flag it as unsafe and show a warning to users. If you see this warning, it’s important to take action immediately to remove the hack. Failure to do so can result in your website being removed from search engine results pages (SERPs), which can have a devastating effect on your online business.
What to Do If Your WordPress Website Has Been Hacked
If you suspect that your WordPress website has been hacked, there are several steps you should take to protect your website and its visitors.
- Contact Your Web Host
The first thing you should do is contact your web host and inform them that your website has been hacked. They may be able to provide you with additional information about the hack and help you take steps to secure your website.
- Change Your Passwords
The next step is to change all of your passwords, including your WordPress admin password, your web hosting password, and any other passwords associated with your website. Make sure to use strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess.
- Scan Your Website for Malware
Use a malware scanner to scan your website for malware and other malicious code. There are several free and paid malware scanners available online that can help you identify and remove malware from your website.
- Remove Any Suspicious Files
If you find any suspicious files on your website, such as files with unusual names or files that you didn’t create, delete them immediately. Make sure to back up your website before making any changes so that you can restore it if something goes wrong.
- Update Your WordPress and Plugins
Make sure that your WordPress installation and all of your plugins and themes are up to date. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to websites. WordPress releases regular updates that address security issues and other bugs, so it’s important to keep your website up to date to minimize the risk of a hack.
- Install Security Plugins
Install security plugins on your WordPress website to help protect it from future attacks. There are several free and paid security plugins available that can help you detect and prevent hacks, block malicious traffic, and scan your website for vulnerabilities.
- Harden Your WordPress Website
There are several steps you can take to harden your WordPress website and make it more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access. These include:
- Changing the default login URL and disabling user registration
- Enabling two-factor authentication for your admin account
- Restricting access to your website’s files and directories
- Using strong passwords and enforcing password policies for your users
- Limiting the number of login attempts allowed
- Backup Your Website Regularly
Make sure to backup your website regularly so that you can restore it in the event of a hack or other disaster. There are several backup plugins available that can help you automate the backup process and store your backups offsite for added security.
Preventing Future Hacks
Preventing future hacks is a crucial part of securing your WordPress website. Here are some tips to help you prevent future attacks:
- Keep Your Software Up to Date
As mentioned earlier, keeping your software up to date is one of the most important things you can do to prevent hacks. Make sure to install updates as soon as they become available to minimize the risk of a hack.
- Use Strong Passwords
Use strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, and consider using a password manager to help you generate and store strong passwords.
- Limit Access to Your Website
Limit access to your website to only those who need it. Use strong authentication methods such as two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.
- Use Security Plugins
Use security plugins to help protect your website from attacks. There are several free and paid security plugins available that can help you detect and prevent hacks, block malicious traffic, and scan your website for vulnerabilities.
- Backup Your Website Regularly
Backup your website regularly so that you can restore it in the event of a hack or other disaster. Make sure to store your backups offsite for added security.
In conclusion, a hacked WordPress website can have devastating consequences for your online business. It’s important to be aware of the signs of a hack and take action quickly to protect your website and its visitors. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can help prevent hacks and keep your website secure. Remember to keep your software up to date, use strong passwords, limit access to your website, use security plugins, and backup your website regularly.
As a seasoned professional with over 9 years of experience and a Highly skilled technical SEO & WordPress security specialist. With a deep understanding of search engine algorithms and a track record of success in optimizing websites for search. Also, ensure websites are protected from potential vulnerabilities. I always dedicated to providing high-quality services and strong focus on client satisfaction. With certifications from leading industry organizations such as Google, Linkedin, Udemy, SEMrush, Mangools, and Yoast Academy.