This week, a friend’s website caught the flu. No, it wasn’t Coronavirus, their website was infected with malware. They were confused and worried about their customer’s safety, as they should be. My friend wasn’t even sure if it was a real virus, or if it was a scam, trying to get you to install a virus.
Seeing malware on your website (or anywhere), is a terrible feeling, and it’s happening more often. According to the AV-Test Institute, there are more than one billion(!) malware programs doing their nasty deeds out in the world right now, with over half a million more detected every day. Woah! And, those are just the ones we know about.
Hackers are getting more sophisticated. Nowadays, it is genuinely hard to tell if your website has malware, but you don’t have to panic about it. Instead of worrying, focus on the positives: there are lots of tools out there to help you fight back. In this article, we’ll cover how you can tell if your WordPress website has a virus, and how to get rid of it.
How to Tell if your Website is Infected with Malware
Here at Website Shepherd, we scan our customers websites from multiple angles, both inside and outside the website, and proactively fix vulnerabilities before they become problems. But most folks don’t have that luxury. So, how can everyone else tell if they have malware on their website? Begin with a resource you know is safe and reliable.
Start from a trusted source
Imagine you get an email, saying your website is infected. The email address sending the email is something like “[email protected]”. Sounds legit, right? That’s not a real website (at time of writing). But even if it was, have you ever been there? Why would a random security firm be scanning your website? Certainly not out of the goodness of their hearts.
Just because someone says you have a virus, doesn’t mean you do. Even if an email address appears to be coming from your website, the From: field in an email can be faked. That means you can get emails seemingly from your website, even when they are not. We’ll have another article on how you can fix this problem, later.
In short, don’t rely on emails to inform you about your website, unless its from a trusted source that you set up.
Just like a computer can have antivirus, your website should as well. You can get free and paid website scanners to watch over your website. Some are better than others, but all are better than nothing.
How to Set Up Antivirus to Scan a Website Infected by Malware
The best antivirus should come from your hosting company (the people you pay every year to keep your website online). Shoot them an email and see what they have to offer. A good hosting company includes malware protect in all plans.
Either way, you can set up your own scanner on your website infected by malware yourself. All WordPress website can install plugins. Plugins are like apps on your phone. They do all sorts of stuff. The antivirus ones are worth paying for, but most have a free, paired down version that can at least detect issues.
How to install a Website Malware Scanner on WordPress:
- Always install plugins from within your website’s admin screen. You can get plugins from all over the internet, but the ones you can find from Plugins –> Add New, have been approved by WordPress.
- When you are on the Add New Plugin page, there is a search box over on the right, towards the top, type in something like “antivirus” or “malware scanner”, and hit enter to do the search.
- There are tons to choose from. Just look through the first few options. What you’re looking for is one that will scan your entire website, and tell you about issues.
You’ll have to take some time to read through the options on all the different plugins. There are a lot of malware scanners out there, with more options every day.
My advice, pick one that does the core job the best. They all try to do more than you want, so just focus on the scanning part, and ignore the rest for now.
The Easier Alternative
Website Shepherd makes safety and security the main concern. We scan your website continuously for malware, alert you to any issues, and proactively fix issues that cause security vulnerabilities, often weeks before DIY options.
Along with daily backups and updates, hosting & domain names, SEO and speed improvements, we take care of all the technical parts of website maintenance and security, so you can focus on growing your organization. Sign up for a risk-free subscription today.