Three essential tools you must look at as soon as you suspect you have a hacked website. something wrong. After checking these tools, you should know where you stand and be able to formulate a plan for recovery.
Three Hacked Website Resurces
This is a checklist of three tools that will help your website if you think it’s been hacked:
In Google, type site:https://example.com/ with your website replacing example.com to see all the pages listed on Google search. What do you see? All of your pages exactly as they should appear, but whenever you click, you’re redirected to another website? Or the content you expect is different? Often, this kind of page/content redirect will be done at random. For instance, you could click onto your website three times and nothing strange happens. Then the fourth time you click, you get redirected to a bad website! Or depending on the hack, the bad content appears on your website.
This can happen a lot with WordPress and there are some files on your server that enable this to happen. See below where we go into a bit more detail on looking at files.
This tool might show pages that aren’t even on your website, or pages like ‘https://example.com/?s=’the bad search term’. This can be as a result of a website hosting spam links pointing to your website in a hope to get those pages indexed in Google. When clicked from search, those clicks can be captured and re-directed. Alternatively, they may be creted just to harm the way you look in search engines. It could also be a failed hack attempt to make those pages actually appear on your website as there will probably be no sign pf them on your side. If the pages are 404 not found, the attempt to host the content on your website has likely failed or is not visible at the time.
GSC also will deliver warnings that your website has possibly been hacked if it believes that to be the case.
Check the files on your server for anything that shouldn’t be there. Anything out of the ordinary should be removed but you may find that it returns a day or two later. That’s definitely not what you want, but at least now you’re on the right track.
You may need to remove such files repeatedly until you find the root cause which is sometimes a line of code that has been injected somewhere in your website’s core files or as a result of an errant plugin. Keeping your site’s CMS and plugins up-to-date and being vigilant, you will eventually get rid of the issue.
This can be tricky, taking up a lot of your time and you may need to call in a professional or restore an older backup. This can turn into a real pain if you’ve been updating your website a lot and didn’t catch the issue right away.
Hack recovery can be a long and/or tough road and you might want to unleash a few more tools that may require a financial investment to help you get back on track.
A link tracker/analyser so you can see what spam links have been built
A website auditor to analyse your pages
One way to recover from hacking attempts or help prevent your site being hacked in the first place is to hire a web producer. Hack prevention is better than cure and we offer a Web Producer service to help keep your website secure.
As soon as signs of an issue are detected (which will happen much quicker if you’ve invested in ongoing SEO), instead of you spending hours, weeks or even months to fix the problem, we’ll put in the time and effort to get you back up and running as soon as possible.