WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world, powering over 55% of websites on the internet. While it is a powerful and flexible platform, it is not immune to hacking attempts. If you find that your WordPress website has been hacked, there are steps you can take to recover it and prevent further damage.
At WeDev.Africa, we recently had a client whose website got hacked. The hacker injected malicious code into the website, causing it to redirect to a spam website. As a result, Google and McAfee flagged the website as unsafe, and the client’s domain was blocked. We had to act fast to recover the website and regain the client’s reputation.
One of the main reasons for the hack was using weak login credentials. The client’s username and password were easily guessable, which allowed the hacker to gain access to the website’s backend. This could have been prevented by using strong and unique login credentials, which are much harder to guess or brute force.
Another factor was not updating WordPress and its plugins and themes to the latest versions. Outdated software can contain security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. In this case, the outdated software provided a backdoor for the hacker to inject malicious code into the website’s files.
The client also did not have any security measures in place, such as a security plugin or firewall. These measures can help protect a website from common attacks and identify suspicious activity before it causes damage.
In this article, we will share the steps we took to recover the hacked website and prevent future attacks.
Step 1: Identify the hack
The first step in recovering a hacked website is to identify the hack. There are several signs that your website has been hacked, including:
- Your website is redirecting to a different website
- Your website has been defaced with a message from the hacker
- Your website is displaying strange content or ads
- Your website is loading slowly or not at all
If you notice any of these signs, it’s likely that your website has been hacked. You can also use a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri to scan your website for malware and vulnerabilities.
In our client’s case, we identified the hack by checking the website’s code and using a security plugin. We found that the hacker had injected malicious code into the website’s files, causing it to redirect to a spam website.
Step 2: Backup your website
Before you start making any changes to your website, it’s important to back up your website. This will ensure that you can restore your website to its previous state if anything goes wrong during the recovery process.
There are several ways to back up your website, including using a plugin or manually backing up your website’s files and database. We recommend using a plugin like UpdraftPlus or Duplicator to make the process easier.
Step 3: Clean up the website
Once you have identified the hack and backed up your website, it’s time to clean up the website. This involves removing the malicious code and any other files that the hacker may have added to your website.
There are several ways to clean up a hacked website, including:
- Using a security plugin to scan and remove malware
- Manually reviewing and deleting suspicious files
- Restoring a clean backup of your website
In our client’s case, we used a security plugin to scan and remove malware from the website’s files. We also manually reviewed the files and removed any suspicious files that the security plugin didn’t catch.
Step 4: Update your website
After cleaning up your website, it’s important to update your website to the latest version of WordPress and all plugins and themes. Outdated software can be a security vulnerability, and updating your website can help prevent future attacks.
You can update your website by logging into your WordPress dashboard and clicking on the “Updates” tab. From there, you can update WordPress, plugins, and themes.
Step 5: Strengthen website security
To prevent future attacks, it’s important to strengthen your website’s security. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Installing a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri
- Using strong passwords and changing them regularly
- Limiting login attempts and using two-factor authentication
- Keeping your website and plugins up to date
- Regularly scanning your website for malware and vulnerabilities
In our client’s case, we installed a security plugin and made sure that all plugins and themes were up to date. We also implemented strong passwords and limited login attempts to prevent brute-force attacks.
In conclusion, a hacked website can be a nightmare for any website owner. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to recover and prevent future attacks. At WeDev.Africa, we have experience dealing with hacked WordPress websites and have systems and automation in place that show us when a website is vulnerable. This means that we are the perfect partner for WordPress maintenance.
If you need help recovering a hacked website or want to prevent future attacks, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team. We’d be happy to provide more information on our WordPress maintenance services and how we can help keep your website secure.