How to know if your WordPress site has been hacked?

Everything about WordPress is great but the biggest bummer is it’s not great when it comes to security. Since it’s so popular, hackers are well familiar with its vulnerabilities. Are you here because you think your WordPress site has been hacked? Before moving on to the measures to recover your site, let’s have a look at the signs that confirm the attack:

Sudden decrease in traffic

This is probably the first thing you will notice. It happens when a hacker redirects the existing traffic away from the main site. To take a good look, check your Google Analytics reports. Sometimes, a sudden drop in the traffic is because of the safe browsing tool by Google that shows warnings to your users regarding your site. This could be the cause of a sudden decline in web traffic too.

No access to the admin account

If your admin account is not accessible, that means you have been hacked.  You can lose all access if someone changes your passwords or even deletes your account. In some cases, you are able to log in but your administrative controls are missing. That means the hacker has removed your ability to control your site.

Your site redirects to another URL

If your website redirects to another site, that is another indication you have been hacked. In that case, Google your band name and you will see that your URL has been compromised. You will also notice a drop in web traffic. It is recommended to check your site when you have logged in and out of your account. Sometimes, the redirects only impact the users who have logged out. This is a trick used by hackers so that the website administrator does not know his site has been hacked.

In case the redirect URL takes you to a location that you recognize, then talk to your developer. He may be testing something and your website is safe.

Defaced homepage

This would be pretty obvious. These days, hackers don’t really deface the home page since they want the attack to remain unnoticed.

Suspicious user accounts

If you are not using spam registration protection and your website is open to user registration, you will see spam user accounts often and it is not a big deal, you can delete them easily. On the other hand, if you haven’t allowed user registration and still you find new user accounts, it means your site has been hacked.  If that account has an administrator user role, they can make unwanted changes in your site.

Slow or unresponsive website

All websites are prone to denial of service attacks. Sometimes, it happens when too many requests are sent to your server and other times, it can be an attempt to break your website.

These attacks will make your website unavailable, unresponsive or slow.  To fix that, you can check your server logs and block the IPs that are making multiple requests. On the flip side, a slow site could mean you need to work on the performance of your site.

Error message

Whenever you visit a suspicious website, most browsers warn you about the potential security risks. If a warning sign appears whenever you try to access your site it is a red flag. In that case, check the Transparency report by Google.

This problem occurs when a suspicious code is added to your website. The warming message prevents the user from being infected by the virus or malware when they visit your site.

Hijacked search results

When a website is hacked, sometimes, you see incorrect meta titles and descriptions in the search results whenever you Google your website. That means the hacker has injected malicious code to modify the data in your website.

Unusual activity in the server logs

The server logs are basically text files which are stored on the web server. These files maintain records of all incoming traffic and errors that may occur on your server. They can be accessed from the cPanel dashboard of your WordPress hosting account. In case your website has been hacked, you will notice unusual activity in the server logs. You can also obtain the IPs that were used to access your site and block them.

If you notice any of the above activities, take measures to fix your website as soon as possible. Most of these vulnerabilities are fixable. It is recommended to contact your web developer to take immediate steps for fixing the problem in case you don’t have the right knowledge. Otherwise, you can lose not just precious data but customers.