If you have observed a big red warning sign on your WordPress website that claims “The Site Ahead Consists Of Malware,” your site is contaminated with malware or has been hacked. And what’s worse? Google has detected the malware and delisted your WordPress website.
But before you panic, we can assure you that we can help you fix the red “The website contains malware” screen.
The warning itself is a pretty good sign of a hack, yet you still require to validate the hack before you can repair this caution.
The initial step to fixing Google warnings is checking your WordPress website
Once you verify the hack, you need to act quickly. That is because hacks worsen exponentially over time, and clean-up becomes more complicated.
The fact that Google identified the malware before you noticed it means it is obvious and has been on your WordPress website for several days. So, do not waste time and clean up your website before asking Google to check your website.
What does “The site contains malware” mean?
The error message “The Site ahead contains malware” is one of Google’s blocklist warnings. Google’s safe browsing initiative regularly scans websites and flags them if it finds something suspicious on the website.
This particular warning is displayed to potential website visitors when Google finds malware on your website. Hacked WordPress websites are blocked to warn users that they might compromise their security if they visit the website.
Google warnings are just symptoms of a hack and have enough negative consequences. The warning “This website contains malware” can drastically reduce your organic traffic overnight. Now imagine this: If the consequences of the malware warning are so dire, the hack itself must be wrong, too, right?
If that wasn’t bad enough, Google might drop your website entirely from its search engine after blocklisting it. Because of this, your website will lose all organic traffic. Moreover, your web host will suspend your account, and you will lose access to your website and all your data.
Why has your WordPress website been flagged with a warning message?
If your WordPress website is flagged with the warning “Google website contains malware,” it is a sign that your website has been hacked. Googlebot is thorough when it crawls websites, so the chances of a false positive are meager.
You can safely assume that your website is infected with malware. More importantly, it needs to be cleaned before you can do anything about the caution.
The existence of malware on your website could be due to surprise vulnerabilities or backdoors, faulty themes and plugins, a preliminary security plan for your website, or the non-use of SSL.
Even though it is essential to determine the reason for the hack, your current priority should be to find and remove the malware.
Removing amalicious software (malware) infection from your WordPress site
Removing the “Google Chrome website contains malware” message can be a complex process. That is because before you can even deal with the Google warning, you need to get to the issue’s origin, recognize the hack’s symptoms, confirm the hack and remove the malware from your website.
However, there is no need to worry. Here we’ve listed all the things you need to know before starting.
Symptoms of malware on your WordPress website
The message “This website contains malware” clearly indicates that your WordPress website has been hacked. A scan is the easiest way to confirm a hack, but it is always good to be aware of additional symptoms of the hack.
Symptoms that appear in search results
You have already recognized the main symptom of malware in search results: the Google warning. But malware can also appear as other symptoms in your website’s search results.
Junk meta descriptions: The descriptions you see below the search results are called meta descriptions. Usually, these are excerpts from the page or a description provided by the administrator. However, if you see junk values, such as Japanese characters, in the meta descriptions, This is a symptom of a malicious software (malware) infection on your site.
Indexed pages: When you search for your website on Google by typing site:yourname.com, Google displays all the pages on your website, and the total number of results usually corresponds to the number of pages on your website. If this number is much more than the actual variety of web pages on your website, there is a possibility that there are spam pages indexed on your website due to malware.
Symptoms that appear on your website
Your website itself is an excellent area to look for symptoms of malware. If you notice any of the following symptoms on your website, your website might have been hacked.
- Spam pop-ups (malvertising)
- Phishing/spam pages
- Redirects to spam pages from any page
- Redirects when you click on a link
- Redirects when you visit your website from a cell phone
- A defective website with code displayed in one place
- White screen of death
Symptoms that appear on the backend
The backend of your website is also affected by malware. Can delete some of these symptoms through the dashboard; for others, you need to be familiar with the file manager and other cPanel tools.
- Strange code in files
- Unexpected changes
- Unusual user activity
- Escalation of privileges
- Additional files in the root directory
- Changes in settings
- Fake plugins
Finally, malware can severely affect the performance of your website. Performance issues are much more apparent and are noticed quickly. So, watch out for these symptoms and scan your website if you notice any of them.
- The website becomes slow
- The website is inaccessible
- Server resources are depleted
- Users are unable to log in to your website
- Visitors complain about symptoms
Scan your website for malware
Even though hacks can be identified quite well based on symptoms, you can’t correctly diagnose them until you scan your website. Scanning confirms a hack on your WordPress website and helps you locate the malware using the right tools. There are several ways to scan your website. We have listed the methods for you in order of convenience and effectiveness.
Scan your website manually
You can also scan your website for malware manually. However, we do not recommend doing so, as it is a lengthy and complicated process. You will need to go through each file and table on your WordPress site to see if there is anything suspicious. Even experts rely on tools to scan websites because they speed up the process and reduce the risk of human error.
If you still want to scan your website manually, first look at the recently modified files on your website. You can use the file manager to access the backend and see if any recently changed files contain strange codes like wp-feed.php, favicon.ico, wp-VCD, etc. If you have not modified a file, it might have been modified by malware. However, hackers can also change the timestamps of the files, so this method is not entirely reliable.
Other methods to scan for malware
Apart from the above scanning methods, there are other ways to check your website for malware.
- Visit your website in an incognito browser window to see if you notice any previously overlooked symptoms.
- Check your website’s activity logs the unusual user activity. If you don’t have an activity log, you should get one. It’s an invaluable tool for managing your website.
- Check your website analytics data for unusual traffic spikes or sudden conversion changes.
- Log into your Google Search Console and check the “Security Issues” section.
Remove the malware from your website
Now comes the part where you remove the malware from your internet site. We advise utilizing a protection plugin for the clean-up, as this is the fastest and most effective way to eliminate the malware. However, there are several methods exactly how you can clean your WordPress website. We have noted the three most typical approaches for you.
Automatic cleaning with MalCare
The best way to clean your WordPress website is with MalCare. MalCare removes every trace of malware from your website within minutes, and all you need to do is click a button. You’re already halfway there if you’ve already used MalCare to scan your website. If not, here’s how to clean your WordPress website automatically with MalCare.
- Install MalCare on your WordPress website
- Let MalCare sync with your website and run the first scan
- Update your account to access the clean-up feature
- Click “Auto-Clean” and watch as MalCare cleans up your website
MalCare protects your website after clean-up with its powerful firewall and regular scans and alerts you when it detects malware.
Hire a security expert
You can hire a security expert to clean your website if you don’t want to use a security plugin. Security experts will manually go through your website and clean it up for you. Security professionals likewise use devices to be detailed because hands-on cleansing leaves a great deal of room for mistakes. While we can’t guarantee the quality of all clean-up services, it’s still a better option than having your website cleaned up manually.
Note: cleaning up after pets usually costs extra and doesn’t prevent future infections. So if your site obtains reinfected, the clean-up price can add up.
Clean malware manually
As we have already mentioned, hands-on cleansing is not suggested. You need not try to clean your website unless you are a security expert. The most important reason is that you might damage your website if you delete something integral. But since we want to be thorough, we’ve added this section for your convenience.
You can clean your WordPress website manually by following these step-by-step instructions.
Ensure you have access to your website: In many cases, a hack can cause your web host to suspend your account and cause you to lose access to your website altogether. In this situation, you need to email your web host and also ask them to allowlist your IP address for clean-up.
Create a backup: this step is essential: Back up your website before you start the clean-up. This way, you can restore your website in case something goes wrong. Even if your website has been hacked, it will still be functional, which is much better than having no website.
Download clean files for the WordPress core, plugins, and themes: To locate and identify malware, you need a baseline reference. Download the clean installs of the WordPress core files and all themes and plugins on your website. Make sure you download the identical versions as the ones on your website.
Reinstall the WordPress core: Start cleaning up the WordPress core files. You can replace the wp-admin and wp-includes folders as they do not contain valuable content.
Once you are done with that, look for PHP files in the wp-uploads folder. If you locate any type of PHP data, erase them.
You must look for odd code and anomalies in all other core files. These data are a fantastic place to begin:
- wp-config. PHP.
- wp-settings. PHP.
- wp-load. PHP
Tidy up the styles and plugin documents: The next step is to delete all styles and plugin data. You can locate these documents in the wp-contents folder.
You need to carefully review each file and check every line of code for signs of malware.
Since there is no template for malicious code, you need to compare each file with the newly installed files and check if there are any abnormalities in the installed files. To speed up this process, you can use an online diff checker.
Also, note that not all additional or deviating code is malware: Customizations can also alter the code; deleting them may undo all your customizations.
Clean up your database tables: To clean up your database, you will need to access the data source tables from your site. You can make use of phpMyAdmin to download and view the tables.
Experience each table individually and look for any strange code that seems out of place. Strange code is not very informative because malware can disguise itself as part of the code, and there is no example it follows.
Remove all backdoors: you are virtually done: You have cleaned up all the data and tables on your WordPress website, and the malware is gone. But if you don’t remove the cause of the hack, your website will keep getting reinfected.
Backdoors usually cause hacks in your WordPress website, i.e., loopholes in the code through which hackers can gain access. To protect your website, you need to remove these backdoors. You can search for these popular keywords that are usually found in backdoors, but these keywords also have legitimate uses, so be careful before deleting anything.
Re-upload clean files: Now that you have cleaned all the WordPress files and tables, it is time to re-upload the cleaned files. First, you must delete all the files on your website and then upload the cleaned files. For this, you need to use the file manager and phpMyAdmin. This process is similar to a manual recovery, so you can check out this detailed guide showing you how to recover your WordPress website manually successfully.
Clear Cache: The cache is the temporary storage (cache) of your website that makes your website load faster. However, if your website is infected, the cache also contains malware. So, you need to clear the WordPress cache to eliminate all traces of malware on your website.
Confirm this with a security scanner: The clean-up is done and done! Before you ask Google for a scan, ensure the malware has been removed from your website. Use a security scanner to scan your website and confirm it is malware-free.
How to remove the “This page has malware” caution?
Your internet site is ultimately clean, and you are more detailed in removing the “Website contains malware” warning from your website. Before you can contact Google with a review request, you need to make sure that there is no malware left on your website.
Review requests are processed manually by Google. The warning may take a few days to remove, even if your request meets all the requirements. To ask for a testimonial from Google, comply with these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Search Console account.
- In Google Search Console, go to the “Security Issues” tab.
- Select “I have fixed the issues.”
- Click the “Request a review” button, but review
- Describe what was done to fix the issues
Now you require to be patient and wait for a response. Sending too many requests may result in Google flagging you as a “repeat offender.”
What to do if Google rejects your request?
There may be times when Google rejects your request because it can still detect malware. That can happen in the following cases:
- The cache has not been cleaned and still has traces of malware. In this case, you need to clear the cache and submit the request again.
- Old links to spam pages are still marked as malware. Check the scan results provided by Google and remove all spam links.
- Manual clean-up was not successful. The only solution is to install a security plugin and let it perform a thorough scan and clean-up.
Ensure your website is clean because Google will ban you for 30 days if you make too many requests. Google rarely detects false positives, so ensure your website is 100% malware-free.
Why does Google flag hack websites?
Google wants its search customer to have a safe browsing experience. To achieve this, Google scans the websites on the Internet and flags all the websites it considers harmful. Harmful often means that these websites contain malware, phishing, or illegal pharmaceutical content.
These websites can be dangerous for users. They might trick visitors into revealing their personal or financial information, unknowingly download malware, steal their data, or use social engineering tactics to access digital domains.
Since this can have serious consequences, Google does not tolerate any signs of malicious content on a website. Your website has been blocklisted because Google has deemed the malware on your website dangerous for users.
Impact of the red screen “This website contains malware” on your WordPress website.
The effect of a Google warning on your WordPress website is catastrophic. However, most people don’t realize how far-reaching the consequences can be. Aside from the immediate impact on your organic traffic, the “This page consists of malware” caution can impact your website and your visitors in an extra extensive way:
- Loss of traffic
- Loss of revenue
- Brand image suffers
- Loss of customer trust
- Loss of data
- SEO rankings are degraded
- Legal issues arising from data protection laws
- Clean-up costs
- Troubleshooting and also PR prices
These effects can accumulate and result in severe losses for your business and visitors. Therefore, it is essential to take malware very seriously and take proactive measures to avoid malware infections in the future.
Preventing Hack Attacks on Your Website
You currently understand how much damage a hack can do, and also, your site is back to typical. However, do not stop here, or you’ll remain in the exact placement again in a couple of weeks. It is imperative to take measures to prevent hacks from taking place. With a few procedures, you can protect your website sufficiently to prevent most malware, and if a hack does make it through, you can remove it before any damage is done.
Install a security plugin
One of the essential parts of this process is to mount a safety and security plugin like MalCare on your WordPress website. MalCare has a solid firewall program that safeguards your site from strikes while scanning your website routinely so you can discover any kind of malware that makes it through as quickly as possible.
MalCare also alerts you to malware and vulnerabilities on your site, so you’ll always be aware of your site’s security.
Choose strong passwords
Passwords are the key to your website. And just like you wouldn’t secure your house with a weak padlock, you shouldn’t choose a weak password for your website. Weak passwords are easy to crack.
Don’t worry if you can’t remember all your complicated passwords. You can save them in a password manager, and you won’t have to remember the passwords while securing your WordPress website.
Update your website
A common cause of malware infections is security vulnerabilities on your website. These are often found in WordPress themes or plugins. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in the code to gain access to your website.
Once the vulnerability is discovered, the developers announce the vulnerability and release a patch for the vulnerability in the form of an update. If your website is not upgraded regularly, you may miss these patches. As a result, hackers can exploit the vulnerabilities on your WordPress website to inject malicious code.
SSL encryption is an extra layer of security for your website that is essential. SSL encrypts the communication between your website’s server and every other server it connects to. That makes it virtually difficult for third parties to decrypt the communication and gain access to your data.
Harden your WordPress website
WordPress hardening is a set of measures to improve website security recommended by the makers of WordPress itself. It includes a checklist of measures like adding two-factor authentication, limiting login attempts, using SSL, and much more. Using MalCare, you can set WordPress with a switch and not have to implement each action separately.
Google Chrome warns that “The site ahead contains malware” is one of the most incriminating consequences of a hack. Especially since it is visible to everyone who visits your website, that step-by-step guide describes the activities you can require to get rid of the malware and remove the Google warning from your website.
The easiest way to clean your website is to use MalCare for a quick and reliable one-click clean-up. As well as, our group is constantly readily available to help you navigate the risks of WordPress safety, be it invisible symptoms or Google blocklist.
This website security checker scans your site for malware, removing it automatically and protecting your site from attack.