Scan WordPress Site for Malware: Keep Your Website Protected

According to recent statistics, 73.2% of WordPress website installations are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Malware refers to a piece of malicious software whose code is developed to inject or introduce the website’s files or database with hacker attacks such as Backdoors, Trojans, and Phishing Scripts.

Being one of the best CMS tools, WordPress bases most of all websites running online. However, its popularity also makes it an open-source target for hackers and malicious players of the black hacking world.

Considering such scenarios, keeping your WordPress site safe and secure should be a top priority. Conducting routine WordPress Security Scans is an essential task that cannot afford to be postponed! Well, a regular malware scan and removal can help!

In this blog, we’ll explore the significance of performing scans on your WordPress site for malware. We will also provide you with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to remove malware effectively, highlighting its utmost importance in maintaining the integrity of your website.

Introduction to Malware in WordPress Website

Malware in a WordPress website represents a hazardous presence that can have far-reaching consequences. These steps in the WordPress site, in the form of hidden snippets or malicious code, have the complete potential to compromise the website’s integrity, security, and user experience.

These malware practices operate the web hiding in the dark, without the knowledge or consent of the website owner – often leading to unauthorized actions, data theft, or the injection of harmful content.

The impact of malware on a WordPress site can be severe, making it crucial for website owners to be vigilant and take proactive measures to protect their online presence.

In the following sections, we will delve into the various types of malware that can affect WordPress websites and discuss strategies for prevention and removal.

Types of Malware on WordPress Site

Malware infection on the WordPress website can be personified in various forms, each with its own malicious intent and potential consequences.

Understanding malware types is significantly vital to identifying, mitigating, and eradicating security threats on the WordPress website. Here are some common types of malware that can affect WordPress websites:

1. Backdoors

In the context of a WordPress website, a ‘backdoor’ refers to a hidden malware and unauthorized access point that allows malicious individuals or hackers to gain control over the site. 

Once inside, they can execute commands, steal data, or perform other malicious activities.

Common Characteristics: Unauthorized user, Remote access, and Malicious link redirection

2. Trojans

WordPress trojans are malware disguised as legitimate files or plugins. When activated, they can steal sensitive information, manipulate website content, or compromise security.

This malware type was named Trojans, after the famous story of the Trojan Horse – where Greek soldiers hid inside a large wooden horse to gain access to the city of Troy.

Common Characteristics: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), Search engine blacklisting, and Malware distribution

3. Phishing Scripts

Also known as malicious scripts, they attempt to trick users into revealing sensitive information.

By performing such malware attacks, hackers deceive individuals to share usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal data by impersonating legitimate entities or websites.

Common Characteristics: Deceptive web pages, phishing email campaigns, and data theft

4. Spam Injectors

These malware types insert spam links in the context of a WordPress site and refer to malicious code or scripts that are used to inject spam content into a website’s pages, posts, comments, or other areas of the site.

These spam injectors are basically added by attackers or automated bots for the purpose of promoting unrelated or malicious content, such as advertisements, links to phishing sites, or low-quality products/services.

The injection of spam content can harm the user experience, create a poor impact on the actual business appearance, and negatively impact its search engine rankings.

Common Characteristics: Irrelevant content, keyword stuffing, and inappropriate comment

5. Drive-by Downloads

Malware that automatically downloads and installs onto a visitor’s computer when they access an infected webpage, without their knowledge or consent.

Drive-by downloads can occur when a website visitor interacts with a web page, clicks on a link, or views certain content on the site.

Common Characteristics: Automated execution, silent infection, and exploiting vulnerabilities

Common Causes of WordPress Malware

Safety first! There are numerous reasons why a malware infection can occur. Understanding the common causes can help you take preventive measures to secure your website.

1. Outdated Software

Updates on core files, themes, and plugins get displayed on your website for a reason.

The developers’ community of each factor stays updated with such cyber vulnerabilities and conducts best practices to prevent them.

When you fail to maintain the required version update, it exposes your site to known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

2. Weak Passwords

‘admin@123’ – it has been ages now for hackers to be known with such passwords and crack them within a few seconds.

Using easily guessable or weak passwords for your WordPress accounts makes it easier for attackers to gain unauthorized access to your site.

3. Insecure Themes/Plugins

When you are choosing WordPress plugins and themes, you must check several aspects such as technical overview, last update, and active installations.

Top of all you must also verify the plugin author- it should be from a trusted source and the complete plugin inventory they’re offering should be fully functional and easy to use.

4. Lack of Security Measures

Having a WordPress website is not all about having an online appearance. But also about driving a significant amount of audience to grab some information, make an online purchase, or get hands-on service packages, the business offers.

While navigating such a targeted yet valuable audience, assuring WordPress security that safeguards user data is the most crucial practice to consider. If you are not implementing security measures like firewalls and malware scanners leaves your site vulnerable to attacks and infections.

5. File Upload Vulnerabilities

Allowing users to upload files without proper security checks can lead to the distribution of malicious files, compromising your website’s integrity.

Aspects such as no size limitations, weak file format permissions, and the absence of security headers can weaken the upload file exposures.

Importance of WordPress Malware Scan

Now, as we are known with Malware attacks and different types of malware infection. It’s time to understand the role of the security scanner conducted in the WordPress website.

Basically, scanning for website malware in WordPress is essential to ensure the security, integrity, and trustworthiness of the site.

Malware, as we have seen above – encompasses various viruses that can infiltrate your website, compromise user data, damage site content, and corrupt visitor trust.

By conducting a regular vulnerability scanner, you can promptly detect and remove malware, and protect sensitive data. It also benefits in preserving the website security and maintaining user trust.

Here are some reasons why a malware scan on a WordPress website is crucial:

1. Protect Web Visitors

A compromised site can infect your visitors’ devices, leading to data violations or financial loss. A regular WordPress security scan helps ensure a safe browsing experience for your users.

2. Preserve Business Reputation

Malicious code or activities can also impact your WordPress SEO rankings. If your website gets flagged as malicious by search engines or browsers – getting back your web reputation on the same can be a challenging task.

3. Prevent Data Loss

Till today, top data breaches had records of over 3 billion from a single platform including big brand names such as Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook

Usually, these Malware malware attacks are conducted to steal sensitive data, such as user information, credit card details, and login credentials.

4. Maintain Enterprise Continuity

Malware attacks can disrupt your site’s functionality, leading to downtime and potential revenue loss.

Steps to Enable WordPress Malware Scanner Using Security Plugin

Enabling a WordPress malware scanner using a security plugin is a straightforward yet crucial step for protecting the website from potential threats.

Step 1: Backup Your Website

  • Before making any significant changes on the web, taking measures to backup WordPress site is a wise step to take.
  • You can use a reliable backup plugin such as UpdraftPlus or your hosting provider’s backup feature.
  • Ensure to take a full site backup, which stands for including both the website files and the database.
  • This step ensures quick restoration of your site if anything goes wrong during the scanning process.

Step 2: Choose and Install a Malware Scanner Plugin

  • Select a reputed and trustable WordPress malware removal plugin. Here. we’ve mentioned the top three used plugins, you can get a quick overview and pick from:
    • Wordfence Security: A comprehensive security plugin that includes a malware scanner.
    • Sucuri Security: Offers a free website scanner tool as well as a premium security platform.
    • MalCare: A dedicated malware scanning and removal service for WordPress. 
  • Once you’ve chosen, install WordPress plugin  from the WordPress dashboard → Plugins → Add New

Step 3: Configure WordPress Malware Scanner

  • Access the plugin’s settings in the WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Configure malware scan schedules, email notifications, and other security preferences.
  • Enable the malware scanning feature within the plugin’s settings.

Step 4: Initiate the WordPress Security Scan

  • Start a malware scan using any of the WP security plugins.
  • Options may include quick scans, full scans, or custom scans.
  • Begin with a quick scan for immediate issues and proceed to a full scan for thorough checking.
  • Remember, when running a full website scan – depending on the site size and content complexity the scanning span can take time.
  • We suggest you be patient and allow the security scanner to do its job thoroughly.

Step 5: Review Scan Results

  • Examine the scan results provided by the plugin.
  • The scanner will provide a report detailing any suspicious or infected files
  • Take time to carefully review any suspicious files, code injections, or potential threats.
  • Distinguish between actual malware and false positives.
  • Use these features to eliminate threats from your website
  • However, exercise caution and ensure you’re not deleting legitimate files.

Step 6: Remove or Quarantine Malware

  • If malware is detected, follow the plugin’s prompts.
  • Edit infected WordPress core files or remove the code.
  • Quarantine malicious content for further investigation.

Following these steps and sub-steps will help you effectively enable and utilize a WordPress malware scanner using a security plugin to enhance your website’s security.

Benefits of WordPress Malware Removal

There are several ways your WordPress site can benefit from the removal of Malware.

  1. Enhance Website Security: Removing malware reduces vulnerabilities and the risk of future attacks, ensuring your website remains secure.
  2. User Data Protection: Malware removal safeguards sensitive user information from being stolen or compromised by malicious code.
  3. Website Restoration Functionality: Eliminating malware restores the website’s proper functioning, prevents errors and downtime.
  4. Improved SEO Rankings: The malicious removal from content and links can help regain lost search engine rankings, improving your site’s visibility.
  5. Blacklisting Prevention: Malware-free websites are less likely to be blacklisted by search engines or security organizations, ensuring continued accessibility.

Additional Measures to Consider For Preventing WordPress Malware

To maintain a standard balance between security and functionality, preventing malware on your WordPress website is crucial. Here are some measures to consider for preventing WordPress malware infections:

  1. Update WordPress Installation & Files: Keep the installation, plugins, and WordPress theme up to date. Developers release updates to patch vulnerabilities and improve security.
  2. Change Passwords for Each WordPress User Account: Regularly change passwords for all admin and custom user accounts. Use strong, unique passwords, or consider using a password manager for generating and store them securely.
  3. Scheduled Scans and Maintenance: Set up regular malware scans using security plugins like Wordfence or Sucuri Security. Schedule maintenance tasks to clean up unnecessary files and optimize your website.
  4. Firewall Protection: Utilize a web application firewall (WAF) to filter out malicious traffic before it reaches your website. Many security plugins offer WAF features, and you can also consider a dedicated firewall service.
  5. Monitor Alerts: Configure your security plugins to send you alerts or notifications when suspicious activity is detected. This can help you respond and take measures more quickly to potential threats.
  6. Stay Informed: Stay updated about the latest security threats and best practices for WordPress security. Join WordPress forums, subscribe to security blogs, and follow WordPress news sources.
  7. Enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implement 2FA for all user accounts, especially administrator accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter a one-time code from their mobile device.

FAQs About Malware Scan on WordPress Website

How often should I run malware scans on my WordPress site?
It depends on multiple factors such as the number of plugins, WordPress theme, and the ratio of audience your website is handling. As a general guideline, running weekly or monthly scans is recommended, with additional scans after any suspicious activity or changes.
Can I rely solely on security plugins for malware scans, or should I use external services as well?
While security plugins can provide effective malware scans, taking external security services from dedicated WordPress developers can provide an additional layer of security.
What should I do if a malware scan detects threats on my WordPress site?
If a scan identifies malware, take immediate action. Separate the infected files or plugins from the web server and remove the malware. After that, consider strengthening your website's security by updating software, changing passwords, and implementing security best practices.


Scanning your WordPress site for malware is a fundamental aspect of website security.

This process is fundamental in safeguarding not only your site but also securing the trust of your visitors and your online standing. Remember that while scanners are a powerful tool, proactive security measures are equally important in maintaining a safe and secure WordPress website.

It’s important to note that although malware scanners are a valuable asset, they should be complemented with proactive security measures to effectively maintain a secure WordPress site.

Staying alert and taking proactive steps are both essential aspects of keeping your website free from malware threats. If you have encountered a malware attack on your WordPress website and are looking for immediate assistance feel free to get in touch with us!

With over 5 years of experience, our team of WordPress developers is experienced at implementing quick and efficient measures to prevent malware, while ensuring a seamless restoration of your entire website without any data loss.

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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