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WordPress Websites Under Attack: Steps to Detect and Remove Malware

WordPress Websites Under Attack: Steps to Detect and Remove Malware


WordPress has emerged as the most popular website content management system, powering millions of websites across the globe. However, its popularity also makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities and spread malware. Therefore, it is crucial for WordPress website owners to understand the signs of a malware attack and take the necessary steps to detect and remove it promptly. In this article, we will outline the steps you can take to safeguard your WordPress website from malware and answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.

I. Signs of a Malware Attack:

1. Slow Site Performance: If your website suddenly becomes slow, taking longer to load pages, it could indicate a malware infection. Malware can consume server resources, resulting in decreased performance.

2. Unexpected Redirections: Users being redirected to suspicious or unrelated websites is a clear indicator of a malware attack. These redirects often occur without the user’s knowledge or consent.

3. Unauthorized Content Modifications: If you notice changes on your website that you did not initiate, such as new posts, links, or modifications to existing content, your site might be compromised.

4. Error Messages: Regularly encountering error messages, such as the “white screen of death,” or encountering JavaScript or PHP syntax error messages could suggest a malware attack.

5. Blacklist Warnings: If your website appears on search engine blacklists or security plugins notify you of a potential malware infection, it is essential to take immediate action.

II. Detecting Malware on Your WordPress Website:

1. Scanning Tools: Utilize malware scanning tools such as WP Fix it SiteCheck or Wordfence to scan your website files and databases. These tools detect malware signatures and compare suspicious code against known threats.

2. Website Logs: Analyze your website logs for any suspicious activities, such as unusual login attempts, unknown IP addresses, or access to critical files or directories. WordPress security plugins often provide access to log files.

3. Website Behavior: Regularly monitor your website’s behavior by checking for unauthorized file modifications, unusual file sizes, or modified timestamps. This can be accomplished through FTP access or using security plugins.

4. Server Logs: Coordinating with your Hosting provider, review the server logs to identify patterns or malicious activities. Server logs can reveal vulnerable areas targeted by attackers.

III. Steps to Remove Malware from Your WordPress Website:

1. Backups: Ensure you have recent backups of your website files and databases before attempting to remove malware. This allows for a safe restoration if anything goes wrong during the cleanup process.

2. Disconnect & Isolate: Disconnect your website from the internet by temporarily placing a “Under Maintenance” page or any other notification. Isolate your website by removing it from the shared Hosting environment if possible.

3. Update WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins: Keep your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins up to date as vulnerabilities in outdated versions can be targets for malware attacks.

4. Scan and Clean: Use the results from your malware scanning tools to identify infected files and directories. Manually remove infected files or employ security plugins that can automatically clean malware-infected files.

5. Revoke Suspicious User Access: Change all user passwords, especially those with admin privileges. Remove any unknown or suspicious user accounts. Strengthen access controls to prevent unauthorized access.

6. Update Security Measures: Reinforce website security measures by implementing security plugins, strong passwords, and web application firewalls. Regularly monitor and update these measures to prevent future malware attacks.


1. How can I prevent Malware infections on my WordPress website?

Prevent Malware infections by keeping WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date, installing security plugins, using strong passwords, regularly scanning for malware, and backing up your website.

2. Can I clean the malware myself, or should I seek professional help?

If you have technical expertise and knowledge, you can attempt to clean the malware yourself. However, if you lack experience or the malware is complex, it is advisable to seek professional assistance from a cybersecurity expert.

3. How often should I scan my WordPress website for malware?

Regularly scanning your website for malware is crucial. Establish a scanning schedule, such as weekly or monthly, and perform additional scans after any suspicious activity or updates.


WordPress websites are constantly at risk of malware attacks, but with vigilance and proper security measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of infection. By actively monitoring your website, performing regular scans, and promptly addressing any signs of malware, you can protect your website and maintain a safe online presence. Remember, prevention and early detection are key to safeguarding your WordPress website from malicious threats.

Post Summary:

WordPress websites are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals looking to spread malware. It is important for WordPress website owners to be able to detect and remove malware promptly. Signs of a malware attack include slow site performance, unexpected redirections, unauthorized content modifications, error messages, and blacklist warnings. To detect malware, website owners can use scanning tools, analyze website logs, monitor website behavior, and review server logs. Steps to remove malware include backups, disconnecting and isolating the website, updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins, scanning and cleaning infected files, revoking suspicious user access, and updating security measures. It is important to regularly scan the website for malware and take preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection. Seeking professional help may be necessary for complex malware or lack of technical expertise.

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