Even if you think you’ve done everything right, there’s always a chance your website will be hacked. If that occurs, the faster you find out and do something about it, the better off you and your visitors will be. An attacker with control of your website can do a lot of damage to your visitors, SEO rankings and reputation. If your website is critical to your business, it can also directly impact potential sales and revenue.
The first and easiest thing to do is use Google’s free safe browsing checker to scan your website for suspicious activity. Just copy and paste this link into your browser and replace “yourdomain.com” with your actual domain before hitting enter:
Hackers often try to “cloak” malicious content to prevent it from being easily found, even by Google. If you’re having trouble locating all the hacked content on your site, or you need to double check that you’ve cleaned up all the content on your site, you can use this free troubleshooter:
There are several other things you can do to improve your odds of detecting a hack quickly:
- Visit your site often. As the site owner, you are much more likely than someone else to spot something that doesn’t look right.
- Search Google for your website and click the links in your search results to make sure they are pointing where they should.
- Set up email alerts in Google Search Console. Google is constantly crawling your site and will alert you if problems are detected, including the presence of malware.
- Use a security scanner and set up email alerts. The scanner checks files for malware, bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects and code injections. Email alerts report any changes to you, so you can take prompt action.
- Your site visitors may be the first to see something wrong with your website. Make sure your contact information is easy to find so they can report it to you.
- Watch for unexplained spikes in traffic. If your site is hosting malicious content, it is likely that you will see unusually high traffic.
If you have identified and removed malware on your website and it keeps coming back, this may be due to an automated task having been installed on your host server’s Cron Job scheduler. If your server uses such a scheduler, you can access it via your hosting control panel and delete any suspicious tasks.
Taking the time and effort to monitor and clean your website on a regular basis can help protect your customers and your reputation. Having a technology partner on call to keep your website safe from damage or loss is well worth the peace of mind.
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.