7 Signs Your Website Has Been Hacked
WordPress is a very popular content management system because it is very user friendly and it is significantly more secure that many of the alternatives. With that said, there are still 136,640 attacks happening per minute to WordPress websites across the globe.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to tell if your WordPress website has been hacked. And, by familiarizing yourself with the most common signs, you will be able to identify an attack quickly and easily, and get started on a solution right immediately.
1. A Sudden Drop in Traffic
Malware and trojans often hijack website traffic and send it to spammy websites.
If you start to notice unusual drops in daily traffic to your website, this may be a sign your site has been hacked.
2. Inability to Login
If you are having difficulty logging into your WordPress dashboard, there may be an issue with your admin account. Some hackers will delete your account so they can have full control over your website. If your account has been deleted, you will not be able to reset your password from the login page.
To fix this, you will have to make some changes to your website’s wp-login.php via your hosting provider.
3. Email Issues
Sending spam emails is another way that hackers can use your WordPress website. To do this, they get into your website and use your host mail’s servers to send WordPress emails to the masses.
This can quickly get your website added to the block list by Google.
4. A Change in Website Appearance
This is one of the most obvious ways to tell intruders have attacked your website. If you notice visual changes to your website, there is a possibility that hackers have invaded your theme files and dropped a lot of bad, invisible code to your site.
5. Incorrect Meta in Search Results
If you run a manual search result on your website and notice that the Meta descriptions (the description that tells about your page) that should be there are not, or they have changed, someone may have hacked into your website and done damage.
Often times when you are logged into the dashboard of your website, everything looks the way it should. This is because malicious code has been inserted into the backend of your website, which modifies your website’s data in a way that only search engines can see.
6. New User Accounts
If your site does not allow user registration on your WordPress website, and notice new accounts being created in the backend of your site, you can assume your website has been hacked and you need to take action.
7. Site Scanner Alerts
If you use a website scanner like Sucuri Security or the popular Wordfence security plugin, you will receive notifications of any suspicious activity on your website. (Some website hosting services will include this service for no additional fees).
One popular notification involves unknown scripts or files on your server. By infecting your site’s files and scripts with corrupt or unknowns additions, hackers are then able to do things such as redirect all of your site’s visitors to a website of their choice.
This is in hopes that their website’s search engine results will increase thanks to the boost in traffic. As a result, your website suffers because of drops in traffic and your user experience is horrible since site visitors cannot connect with your content.
How to Avoid WordPress Website Hacks
There are several precautions that you can take in order to ensure that your WordPress website is not hacked:
- Monitor your site’s traffic using a tool such as Google Analytics
- React quickly when you notice anything unusual – highs or lows in site traffic, design changes, spammy links or code, etc.
- Always keep an updated backup of WordPress, plugins, and themes
- Only use themes and plugins from reputable developers to avoid poorly coded software and vulnerabilities
- Use a dedicated IP address. If you share an IP address with any other sites and they become compromised, you can be compromised as well.