This is a very important topic. You might have been blogging for a while, but never thought about scanning your website for viruses or malware. But believe me, any website can be affected, it can happen with everyone, even if you are very careful with your blog.
You can be managing your blog normally, without knowing about having some malware on your website, and one day you might get surprised to know the bad news. Actually, hackers who attack websites do it in a way that you don’t easily notice it, so they can do what they want to your website. The best way to protect yourself from problems and headache is to periodically scan your website for malware and to have some type of protection for your website.
In this article, we will be talking about the best ways to scan and protect your website from the most popular malware and viruses.
First of all, in order to be more protected, you need to have a good hosting company – this is the most important because the good hosting company will protect your website from the most popular malware. Actually, a lot of top hosting companies are providing special services such as daily scanning your website for all types of malware and viruses. I am currently using SiteGround hosting company, and when I signed up for their services, I bought the extra daily scanning for my website for just 19,99$ per year. Thanks to this service, I was once notified by e-mail that my blog has some malware, and some of my links were affected.
When I read the e-mail first, I was shocked and I thought: what should I do now? Why did this happen to my website?
I started googling about malware and how they can affect my website. I was reading a lot of articles on how to clean the malware from my website and how to protect my website from any attacks in the future. I would like to share with you my knowledge and help you to protect or clean your website as well.
Steps you should take for checking and cleaning your blog from malware:
1. Scan your website.
First of all, you need to check your website to see if it is clean from different types of viruses and malware. There are a lot of different websites which offer free services to check your website for malware and viruses. I recommend using Google site checker for malware, it is a free service.
If your website is clean you should see this message:
You can also check your website from Google Console via the "Health" menu. If your site has been previously flagged by Google as hosting malware, this will clear the flag once you remove the malware from your website. As a starting point, it's a good (and free) way to identify the presence of malware on your site.
There are some other popular websites where you can scan your websites, such as Sucuri.net and Quttera.com. These websites will provide you with a report on the malware scan, blacklist check for key signs of malware, such as sending spam, website defacement etc.
If your hosting company doesn’t provide you with daily scan, you can download a plugin from Sucuri for WordPress based sites. It’s free and it has some really useful features, such as WordPress hardening, last login notification panel, blacklist monitoring and security notifications etc. It also has automatic site recovery, as well as the ability to reset a user’s password.
If your website is clean – congratulations. If not, you need to clean it as soon as possible.
2. Change your password.
If you have found that your website is affected by a malware or a virus, immediately change your password in your dashboard. It may help you to prevent any further attack when you clean your website.
3. Regularly back up your website.
This is a “must do” for every website. You never know what can happen with your website or how something can negatively affect your files. The best way is to always have the ability to restore your website from a previous backup where everything was good with the website. To be honest with you, I had to restore my website from the backup during my blogging experience a couple of times. I regularly check my website performance characteristics which affect the speed of the website. In my next article, I will write about this topic in details. When my website performance characteristics are not as good as I want, and I don’t know how to fix it or what may be causing the problems, I just restore my site from the previous day’s backup, when everything was good.
If you have some links that are affected by malware or virus, the first step to do is to restore from a backup when your website was “clean”. In some cases it helps, in some other cases it just doesn’t, but it is worth trying, at least you can try to do it alone and without paying any money.
You can back up your website directly at your hosting company if they offer this service. SiteGround offers it for free, and I use it. You can also backup your blog on some third parties’ websites and platforms. I have read that a lot of people (mostly who are using some other hosting companies which do not provide a daily website backup) use DropBox services via their plugin for websites operating on WordPress. I was personally using DropBox plugin when my website was on Bluehost, as Bluehost didn’t offer daily backup, but just some random less frequent backup. However, DropBox plugin was negatively affecting my website performance. But other bloggers highly recommended it, so just feel free to try it on your blog if you wish so.
You can read more about my experience with Bluehost and why I switched to Siteground in this article.
4. Clean and protect your website.
There are different ways to clean and protect your website. In my case, restoring from a backup helped me to clean the malware. Additionally, I am running IThemes Security plugin, which should protect me from 30 different types of attacks. You can also download some other plugins which will protect your website.
To manually clean affected links by yourself, you can follow these steps:
To resolve the problem you should carefully inspect, clean and secure your account.
You can do so following these guidelines:
1) Run an anti-virus scan on your local computer, cleaning up any infected files.
2) Clean-up your account. You can do so by yourself, by downloading your website files onto your local computer, and use your local anti-virus software to scan and clean-up the infected files, and then upload the cleaned content back to your account. Make sure that the anti-virus software you are using is up to date. Alternatively, you can also order professional malware clean-up.
3) Change your cPanel password, as well as the passwords for the installed applications on your account.
4) Update any applications installed on your account and their components to the latest available version.
If you don’t want to do it by yourself, the best way is to hire some professional, and he will clean it for you.
I hope this article is useful for you and I highly appreciate if you can share it with your friends and colleagues to help them keep their blogs safe and clean.
Please share your experience in the comments below.