Website Malware Removal – Best Practices

Removing malware from your website is a crucial task to ensure the safety of your visitors and maintain your site’s reputation. Here are the steps and checks you should follow to remove malware from your website:

Complete Malware Removal Checklist:

1. Identify the Malware:

   – Website Scanner Tools: Use website security tools like Sucuri SiteCheck, Google Safe Browsing, or Norton Safe Web to scan your website for malware.

   – Google Search Console: Check if Google has flagged your site. Google Search Console provides information about security issues detected on your website.


2. Isolate Infected Files:

   – Identify and isolate infected files and directories. Remove any unfamiliar or suspicious files.

   – Restore clean, uninfected files from backups if available. Ensure the backups are malware-free.


3. Update All Software:

   – Update your CMS (e.g., WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) and all plugins, themes, and extensions to their latest versions. Malware often exploits outdated software vulnerabilities.


4. Change Passwords:

   – Change all passwords, including website CMS, hosting, FTP, and database passwords. Use strong, unique passwords for each account.


5. Database Inspection:

   – Inspect your database for unauthorized users or suspicious entries. Remove any unfamiliar database entries.


6. File Integrity Check:

   – Use tools like AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment) or similar file integrity checking tools to identify changes in your website files. These tools can help identify altered files.


7. Web Hosting Server Scanning:

   – Contact your web hosting provider and ask them to scan your server for malware. Hosting providers often offer server-level security scans.


8. Remove Malicious Code:

   – Manually inspect your website’s files for malicious code injections. Look for unfamiliar JavaScript, iframes, or PHP files. Remove any suspicious code snippets.


9. Check .htaccess and wp-config.php Files:

   – Inspect your .htaccess and wp-config.php files for any unusual or unauthorized code. Malware often adds code to these files for malicious redirects.


10. Security Plugins/Tools:

   – Consider using website security plugins/tools like Wordfence (for WordPress), Sucuri Security, or SiteLock. These tools can help you scan, detect, and remove malware, as well as provide ongoing protection.


11. Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF):

   – A WAF can filter and monitor HTTP traffic between a web application and the Internet. It can help protect your website from various online threats, including malware.


12. Regular Backups:

   – Regularly backup your website. If malware strikes, having recent backups can save you a lot of trouble. Ensure backups are stored securely and can be easily restored.


13. Google Reconsideration Request (If Blacklisted):

   – If your site was blacklisted by Google, submit a reconsideration request through Google Search Console after ensuring the malware is completely removed.


14. Monitoring and Prevention:

   – Implement continuous monitoring and security practices to prevent future attacks. Regularly update your software, use secure passwords, and consider a website firewall.


Remember that malware removal can be complex, and if you are unsure about any step, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional web developer or a security expert.


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