20 Signs That Your WordPress Site is Hacked

by Anil Parmar

More than 50% websites around the world are powered by WordPress CMS. WordPress is an open source CMS and hence, it remains prone to the hacking attacks. Outdated themes and plugins, malicious scripts, SQL injection, etc are the major loopholes that are used as a ladder by the hackers.

Now, how do you determine whether your WordPress site is hacked or not? Yes, this question may elevate your heartbeat but you should address this issue as soon as possible. Check out the following 20 signs that hint at a hacked WordPress site.

  1. Unexpected Popups and Advertisements

When you wake up in the morning, you notice some unusual popups on your website. You may wonder when you inserted these. These are not your advertisements. The hackers utilize the potential of your website’s traffic to accrue their earnings. They display the popups and pop under ads and thus, spamming your website.

  1. Problems with your Email account

If you have an email account associated with your website, the hackers may use it for sending spam. When you are not able to send or receive emails on the email account hosted on your web hosting servers, it might be a case of intrusion.

  1. Notifications in The Server Logs

The access logs and error logs on the cPanel display the errors pertaining to your WordPress website. If you notice any unusual happening, you can view the logs for more information. Moreover, the suspicious IP addresses are recorded in the logs as well.

  1. Slow Website or Unavailable Errors

When the server gets a lot of requests from various fake IP addresses, the loading speed of hosted websites may get slow and unresponsive. In some of the cases, the site remains unavailable. If you are experiencing this, check out the logs in your cPanel account for suspicious IP addresses.

  1. Suspicious Files in the Root Directory

The presence of unknown files and scripts on your website directory may disrupt the smooth functioning of your website. These files can be removed by accessing the root directory via FTP client. If you are not a technical person, it is advisable to install a security plugin, like Wordfence, to accomplish this job.

  1. Spam User Accounts

On certain websites that allow user registration, suspicious accounts are created that can obtain the administrator role. And these accounts can perform malicious activities on your WordPress website. If this is the case with your website, it has been hacked.

  1. Login Issue in WordPress

This is one of the most common hacking scenarios worldwide. The hacker gains permissions into your WordPress account and dethrones you from the administrator position by deleting your account. You need to configure settings via FTP client and patch up the loophole as well.

  1. A Different, Unfamiliar Homepage

If the website’s homepage looks strange and unusual, the hackers have triumphed by hacking your website successfully. Most of the hackers prefer to work silently by taking a back door entry but some believe in showcasing their skills by ruining your website’s homepage.

  1. Reduced Traffic due to Redirects

Successful blog owners doubt their expertise when they witness sudden drops in traffic. Google Analytics gives you a complete outlook on the website traffic. The hackers redirect your website’s traffic to malicious websites. Sometimes, the traffic plunge can be due to Google’s action against your website.

  1. Malicious Links on the Website

The hackers can modify database files that will result in text links being displayed on your website. This is called data injection, and this is the most widespread hacking issue around the globe. You need to perform an in depth analysis to weed out this problem.

  1. Increased Bandwidth Usage

You notice high consumption of bandwidth and you cannot think of a valid reason for this cause, you would like to know that your website might be hacked. The incrementing bandwidth consumption may result from larger database files, numerous requests from servers, and so on.

  1. Unexpected Rise in Traffic

A rise in traffic is a moment of joy but if it is unexpected, it might be a cause for concern. If your website is now a part of a redirect network, a surge in traffic is inevitable. And this traffic may come from an unreliable source. This can result in occupying a slot in the Google’s blacklist.

  1. Website Deleted

This sound harsh! And if it actually happens, it can be devastating. The notorious hackers believe in eliminating all the websites on a particular server. If you don’t back it up, you cannot find a trace. Utilize tools such as VaultPress to backup your website regularly.

  1. Wrong Meta Tags in Search Engines

Everything on your WordPress seems perfect but the search engine results show unrelated meta tags for a particular URL. If this is the case with you, the hackers have injected a malicious code that changes the meta tags meant for search engines.

  1. Scheduling Unscheduled Tasks

Don’t get confused, we will explain. WordPress allows users to set up scheduled tasks like publishing a post, etc. If you didn’t schedule a task but it is occurring automatically, your WordPress website is hacked.

  1. Google Warnings

Google is an intelligent bot that can detect the malicious activities before you can notice them. If Google displays a warning regarding your website when it is opened in the browser, take it seriously. The hacker might have injected a malicious code in the database files or source code.

  1. Website is Taken Off the Server

You may frown at the hosting provider’s decision but you must understand that your website may be hacked. This is the reason the service provider has removed your website from the servers to prevent other sites from damage.

  1. Statutory Warnings in Google Search Results

If Google suspects that your website is hacked, it will display the warning underneath the website URL in the search engine results. The warning prevents the visitor from surfing an infected site and intimates you to take an immediate action.

  1. Google Search Console Alerts

Search Console is an effective way of analyzing the website URLs and connectivity issues. When your website is attacked by a malware or a hacker, you will receive an alert. If you haven’t integrated your website with Google Search Console, do it right now!

  1. WordPress Security Plugin’s Report

Security plugins, such as Wordfence and Sucuri, are recommended for the WordPress users. They provide an overall protection against hacking, phishing, spamming, etc. If the plugin alerts you about a hacking attempt, you must take an appropriate action to prevent the mishap.

The Bottom Line

Prevention is always better than cure. Follow all the precautions to keep your website safe from the unsocial elements on the web. In case you notice any of the aforementioned signs, take necessary steps to weed out the problem from the roots.