WordPress Malware Removal: A Simple Guide
The Basic Four-Step Process for Malware Removal:
- Before making any changes, back up your site, this ensures you have a restore point in case something goes wrong during the cleanup process.
- Quarantine Your Site:
- Start by contacting your hosting provider and requesting they isolate your website. This ensures that the malicious elements are confined, preventing further damage. Your hosting provider will typically create a backup of your /public_html directory.
- Utilize a reputable security plugin like Wordfence, Sucuri, or MalCare to scan your site. These tools can help identify the infected files and malware types.
- Note: You can bypass this step and work directly within your /public_html directory, but there’s a higher risk of accidentally damaging essential files.
- Update Security Credentials:
- Reset passwords for all user accounts linked to the website. For added security, consider even changing usernames.
- It’s advisable to share the new credentials offline, such as direct phone calls.
- Repair, Replace, and Update:
- Begin by updating all website components, including your CMS, plugins, and themes.
- Navigate to the File Manager in your website’s control panel (cPanel). Locate the backed-up /public_html directory, which may look like /public_html.quarantine.current-date.
- To swiftly identify corrupted files, compare the WordPress core files with known clean versions. Look out for discrepancies in file sizes, recent date modifications, or multiple files sharing the same modification date.
- Alternatively, replace all core files except the /wp-config.php. This involves downloading a fresh set of WordPress core files and overwriting the old files. Before this step, ensure you back up your /wp-content directory and /wp-config.php file.
- After updating the core files, check for potentially corrupted plugins. If any plugins are identified as the source of the breach, rename their directories, and if your site runs without issues, you can then safely delete and replace those plugins.
- Bolster Admin Security:
- Modify the FTP and SSH passwords associated with your site to curtail unauthorized access in the future.
- Installing security plugins like Wordfence is beneficial to bolster your site’s defenses against future attacks.
While a malware-infested site can seem daunting, following these organized steps and maintaining vigilance ensures your WordPress site remains secure and operational.