Cybersecurity is a big issue if you own one or more websites. You need to ensure your sites are secure to avoid getting hacked. But in unfortunate cases that you do get hacked, there are specific steps you can follow to fix your WordPress site.
Signs That Your WordPress Site Has Been Hacked
How do you know if your WordPress site is being hacked? Well, some signs can indicate this. The first red flag is when you try to log in but can’t. This could suggest that an unauthorized person has taken over your site.
When you notice any changes to the WordPress website that you did not approve, chances are, you’ve been hacked. This could include a change in the homepage, redirection to another website, or new content you didn’t create.
Some other entities, such as Google, your security plugin, and your hosting provider, could also warn you about unusual activity on your website.
What to Do When Your WordPress Site Was Hacked
If you have confirmed that you have indeed been hacked, try to stay calm so you can try to fix the problem with a level head. Here are the steps you can take when resolving a hack.
- Put Your WordPress Site on Maintenance Mode
Your WordPress website has been compromised, and you don’t want any users visiting your site while it is in this state. So, you should put your website in maintenance mode while you fix it. This way, your users will simply think that you have routine site maintenance.
- Reset All Your Passwords
People could hack into your site if they were able to obtain a working password. But you won’t have any idea which one they had access to. So, it’s best to reset all your passwords. This includes passwords outside your WordPress password, such as the hosting provider password and database password. Also, make sure to inform other admin users to reset their passwords as well.
- Update All Your Plugins and Themes
To improve the security of your website, make sure you update all your plugins and themes.
- Remove Unknown Admin Accounts
You won’t solve the problem if the hacker is still there. So, it’s best to remove any unknown or suspicious admin accounts. Before you do this, make sure to check with your team which accounts are theirs to avoid accidentally deleting an authorized admin account you just didn’t recognize.
- Remove Any Unwanted Files
You don’t want to have any files that shouldn’t be there. However, identifying these unwanted files can be tricky to do manually. So, it’s best to install a security plugin that can scan your website and tell you if you have any files that aren’t supposed to be there.
- Clean Out Your Sitemap
It could be that your sitemap.xml file has been hacked. So, you should clean out your sitemap and regenerate it using an SEO plugin. Before you can regenerate your sitemap, you need to inform Google that it has been clean. So, you’ll need to resubmit your WordPress website to Google by submitting a report through Google Search Console telling them that you need your website to be crawled. This may take up to two weeks, and unfortunately, you can’t do anything to speed the process up.
- Reinstall Plugins, Themes, or the WordPress Core Itself
For the plugins and themes you haven’t updated, you might need to delete and reinstall them instead. Question the security of the plugin or theme before proceeding with reinstallment. Don’t reinstall any free plugins or themes that you got outside the WordPress plugin and theme directories. Instead, purchase authentic versions or replace them with free secure ones.
If the problem persists, then you might need to reinstall WordPress itself. Compromised files in the WordPress core need to be replaced with a clean installation.
- Clean Out Your Database
Lastly, you’ll also need to clean out your database if it has been hacked.
To avoid hacking, it’s best to follow some cybersecurity best practices. After all, it’s better to put energy into preventing a problem than getting stressed over trying to fix it.
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