How to Check and Scan a Website for Malware: Top 6 Methods

Join us for digital creativity inspiration on our blog!


Website security is a critical aspect of maintaining a successful online presence. Malware infections can lead to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and even blacklisting by search engines. Regularly checking and scanning your website for malware is essential to keep it secure. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to check and scan your website for malware infections.

Why Regular Malware Scanning is Important?

Here are the to reasons why regular malware scanning of websites is important:

  • Prevent Data Breaches: Detecting and removing malware helps prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information.
  • Maintain Customer Trust: Ensuring your website is free from malware reassures visitors about their safety.
  • Avoid Blacklisting: Search engines like Google can blacklist infected websites, causing a significant drop in traffic and reputation.
  • Compliance: For sites handling sensitive data, regular scans are often required for regulatory compliance.

Read: Automated WordPress Security Patching

Methods to Check and Scan Your Website for Malware

Here are some of the tried and tested methods that you can use to check and scan your site for malware:

1. Use Online Malware Scanners

Online malware scanners provide a quick way to check your website for infections. These tools analyse your site and detect any malicious code or suspicious activity.

Popular Online Malware Scanners:

  • Sucuri SiteCheck: Scans for malware, website errors, blacklisting status, and out-of-date software.
  • VirusTotal: Checks URLs against a variety of antivirus engines and site scanners.
  • Google Safe Browsing: Examines if your website is flagged by Google for containing malware or phishing content.

2. Install Security Plugins

For CMS platforms like WordPress, installing security plugins can provide real-time protection and regular scanning features.

Recommended Security Plugins:

  • Wordfence: Offers comprehensive security features, including malware scanning and firewall protection.
  • Sucuri Security: Provides malware scanning, monitoring, and cleanup services.
  • BlogVault: Includes malware scanning along with other security hardening features.

3. Check for Suspicious Activity

Regularly monitor your website for unusual activity that might indicate a malware infection.

Indicators of Malware Infection:

  • Unexpected Traffic Spikes: Sudden increases in traffic, especially from unknown sources, can be a sign of malware.
  • Slow Performance: Malware can consume server resources, leading to slow website performance.
  • Unwanted Pop-ups and Redirects: These are common indicators that your site may have been compromised.
  • Unfamiliar Files: Regularly check your server for new or modified files that you didn’t authorise.

4. Perform Manual Code Review

Manually reviewing your website’s code can help identify malicious scripts or unauthorised changes.

Key Areas to Review:

  • Core Files: Compare your current core files to a clean version to detect unauthorised changes.
  • Themes and Plugins: Check theme and plugin files for any suspicious code.
  • .htaccess File: This file is often targeted by hackers to redirect traffic or execute malicious scripts.

Learn: WordPress Security Incident Response

5. Use Server-Side Scanning Tools

For more advanced security, use server-side scanning tools that can check your entire hosting environment for malware.

Examples of Server-Side Tools:

  • ClamAV: An open-source antivirus engine for detecting malware on your server.
  • Maldet (Linux Malware Detect): Specifically designed to detect malware on Linux systems.
  • Rkhunter (Rootkit Hunter): Checks for rootkits and other vulnerabilities.

6. Leverage Professional Security Services

For comprehensive protection, consider employing professional website security services that offer advanced malware detection and removal.

Recommended Services:

  • Sucuri: Provides extensive website security services, including malware removal, monitoring, and firewall protection.
  • SiteLock: Offers malware scanning, automatic removal, and security enhancements.
  • WebARX: Delivers website firewall, malware scanning, and protection against various cyber threats.

How to Remove Malware?

If malware is detected, follow these steps to clean your website:

  • Isolate the Infection: Take the infected site offline to prevent further damage.
  • Backup Your Site: Create a backup of your site for recovery purposes.
  • Identify the Infection: Use the scan results to identify infected files and code.
  • Clean or Replace Infected Files: Remove malicious code manually or replace infected files with clean versions.
  • Update Software: Ensure all software, including CMS, themes, and plugins, are up-to-date.
  • Change Passwords: Reset passwords for all users with access to the site and its server.
  • Recheck for Malware: Perform another scan to ensure complete removal.

In Conclusion

Regularly checking and scanning your website for malware is essential for maintaining security, protecting sensitive data, and ensuring a trustworthy user experience. Utilise a combination of online tools, security plugins, manual reviews, and professional services to keep your website malware-free. By staying proactive and vigilant, you can safeguard your site against potential threats and ensure its ongoing security.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *