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Having your site hacked, for a business owner, can be one of the worst things that can happen to you. It can severely impact your business, online reputation, search engine rankings, traffic volumes, apart from the stress involved in getting your site back up and running again.

So, how do you know if your site has been hacked.. and what to do if it does happen?

The signs of a hacked WordPress website are:

  • You cannot log in to your admin panel.
  • Your site redirects to another or other websites.
  • Strange links appear in your content.
  • Google marks your site as “Insecure” within the search results.
  • You get a warning from your browser – Chrome and some other browsers often warn visitors if they encounter malware on a site.
  • Your site slows down to a crawl and takes ages to load.
  • You get a message from your web host telling you your site has been hacked and has taken your site down.
  • Your security software shows a problem.

This is by no means a totally exhaustive list, it does cover most eventualities.

So what do I do now?

Don’t Panic. You will want to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, but don’t act rashly although it may be tempting. Check your local machine. If a hacker has compromised your system, it could extend onto other sites you often log into.

Talk to your hosting provider – You web host will be interested in the security on their servers and it is often the case, that they have the know-how and experience to sort the problem for you even if they charge for the service.

Restore your site from a previous back up – If you back up your site regularly, you can restore a back up from a pre-hacked version. Remember though, even if you get your site up and running, you will need to address any security issues – your site did get hacked initially, remember.

If all else fails, hire a professional. WordPress security is a serious matter and there are experts out there who specialise in just that.

Prevention

Wouldn’t it be great if the site wasn’t hacked in the first place? Here are a few pointers to stop the hackers in their tracks

  • Keep WordPress up to date at all times
  • Keeps all your plugins up to date
  • Do weekly backups
  • Install some security software on your site and scan regularly for malware.

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