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The security of your online presence is of utmost importance.

The most popular method by which hackers can damage your website is by inserting malicious code. Owning a WordPress website makes it imperative to protect it from viruses by doing routine scans. 

With the growing number of WordPress websites undergoing malware inspections, it’s now simpler to protect your online assets and keep your users’ environment safe. 

In this post, we’ll go over how to check your WordPress website for possibly harmful code. This will help you not only identify and remove malware but also shield your website against malicious code assaults in the future. 

Let’s study how to check your WordPress website for malware and discover the best procedures to adhere to maintain the security and safety of your website.

Why scanning WordPress sites for malware is important

By routinely checking your website for malware, you can keep your online presence safe and avoid a host of possible problems that might result from hacked websites. These are the main arguments for why it’s so important to check your WordPress website for malware:

SEO penalties

User security and safety are top priorities for search engines like Google. Malware infection on your website may result in harsh SEO penalties and a sharp decline in search engine ranks. This may have a direct effect on how visible your website is, which might result in a decline in organic visitors and possible income loss. By checking your WordPress website for malware, you may find and fix any security vulnerabilities and maintain the integrity of your website’s search engine rankings.

Poor website performance

Malware frequently causes websites to malfunction, crash, or act strangely, which makes for a bad user experience. You can detect and eliminate malware by routinely scanning your WordPress website for dangerous code. This will help you keep your website operating efficiently and provide users with a flawless experience.

Denied IP address

Internet service providers (ISPs) and security software suppliers may block an IP address when they discover a website harboring malware. As a result, your users may face difficulty accessing your site, causing significant damage to your online reputation. To prevent your IP address from being blacklisted and guarantee that people may continue to access your WordPress website, you should regularly scan it for malware. This will help you find and eliminate any dangerous code.

Risks to your website visitors

If your website is infected with malware, it can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and privacy violations. You can safeguard your visitors and preserve their faith in your website by running a virus check on your WordPress website to detect and eliminate any potential threats.

When to scan WordPress for malware and malicious code

You should check your WordPress website for malware and dangerous code in the following situations:

Routine checks

To proactively find and fix any security vulnerabilities, schedule routine scans on a weekly or monthly basis. Regular scans contribute to the general security and well-being of your website. 

Following the installation or upgrading of plugins and themes

Attackers may be able to take advantage of security flaws in plugins and themes. It is advised to check your WordPress website for any potentially dangerous code whenever you update or install a new plugin or theme.

After a suspected attack

It’s critical to do an instant scan to find and eliminate any malware that may have been installed if you see any strange behavior on your website, such as unauthorized access, spam comments, or unexpected redirects.

Following the approval of a fresh user or developer

It is crucial to check your WordPress website for any potential security threats before adding a new user or developer. By doing this, you can be confident that no harmful code entered your website during their visit.

Before and during the migration process

It is crucial to do a virus check on your WordPress website both before and after moving it to a new host or domain. By doing this, you can be sure that any possible problems are found and fixed before they have a chance to damage your brand-new website. 

Following major site modifications

It’s important to check your WordPress website for any security holes that could have been created during the modifications whenever you make major changes to it, such as redesigning it or adding new features.

Best tools for scanning WordPress for malware


Sucuri is a renowned industry leader in WordPress security and is considered one of the top WordPress security plugins available. In the past, we utilized Sucuri at WPBeginner for its WordPress firewall capabilities and to enhance our site’s speed.

The company offers a complimentary Sucuri Security plugin for WordPress, enabling users to scan their websites for prevalent threats and bolster their WordPress security.

To promptly scan your site, you must first install and activate the plugin. For further information, consult our detailed guide on installing a WordPress plugin.

Once installed, navigate to the Sucuri Security » Dashboard, where you’ll be notified of any issues with your WordPress code.

The plugin examines your WordPress files for alterations and scans for potentially malicious code, iframes, links, and suspicious activity before it reaches your website.

While the free WordPress scanner is valuable, the true benefits lie in the paid plans that provide superior WordPress firewall protection.

Sucuri’s paid plans include a DNS-level website firewall, which outperforms standard firewalls in effectiveness.

Additionally, Sucuri delivers your website content through its proprietary CDN, potentially boosting your website’s performance and improving its speed.

Most importantly, if your website becomes infected, Sucuri’s experts will clean your site at no extra charge.

Restoring a hacked WordPress site can be challenging, even for seasoned WordPress users. Knowing that professional security experts are on standby to clean your website offers immense reassurance to small business owners.


MalCare is an efficient security plugin designed to examine your site’s files and database for malware, backdoors, dubious code, and more.

The plugin automatically scans your website for malware daily, with the option to initiate an on-demand scan when required.

Upon installing and activating MalCare, your site will sync automatically. You can then access the MalCare dashboard and click the ‘Scan Now’ button to commence your initial malware scan.

Within minutes, you will receive the scan results, informing you of any malicious components detected.

A key distinction between MalCare and other malware scanners is that the scanning occurs on MalCare’s servers, ensuring that your website’s performance remains unaffected.

However, MalCare’s free plan is somewhat limited. While the free scanner informs you if your website contains malware, it does not specify the compromised files. To access the instant malware removal feature, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.


Wordfence is another widely used WordPress security plugin that enables users to swiftly scan their WordPress site for dubious code, backdoors, malicious code, and URLs, as well as known infection patterns.

The plugin automatically scans your website for prevalent online threats, but you also have the option to initiate an in-depth site scan whenever necessary.

After installing and activating the plugin, navigate to Wordfence » Scan and click the Start New Scan button to conduct a security scan.

Subsequently, you will receive notifications if any indications of a security breach are found, along with suggestions for securing your website.

Similar to Sucuri, Wordfence also features a built-in WordPress firewall. However, it operates on your server before WordPress is loaded, rendering it slightly less effective than a DNS firewall.

IsItWP Security Scanner

The IsItWP Security Scanner is an additional tool that allows you to promptly examine your WordPress website for malware, malicious code, and other security weaknesses.

By entering your URL, you will receive a comprehensive analysis of any security concerns affecting your site.

Powered by Sucuri, this tool enables you to swiftly scan your website for potential vulnerabilities and provides step-by-step guidance on enhancing your WordPress security.

Now that you are familiar with the most effective tools available, let’s explore the optimal approach to eliminate malware and malicious code from your site.

iThemes Security

Previously known as Better WP Security, this plugin boasts over 30 security features designed to protect your site from various attacks. With the free version of iThemes, you can conduct basic malware scans and identify any issues.

Alternatively, the pro version enables you to schedule malware scanning and receive email updates, making it incredibly convenient to maintain your site’s security.

How to clean up malware or suspicious code in WordPress

It’s critical to remove malware and questionable code from your WordPress website to preserve security and safeguard user information. Here’s how to clean up your WordPress site step-by-step:

Step 1: Backup your website 

Make a backup of your whole website, including all of its files and databases, before making any modifications. By doing this, you can be confident that you have a backup plan in place in case something goes wrong when cleaning up.

Step 2: Determine and scan for malware 

To check for malware and suspicious code on your WordPress website, use a reputable security plugin like Wordfence, Sucuri, or MalCare. These tools will provide you with a thorough report on the malicious code and infected files, as well as assist you in identifying any possible problems.

Step 3: Eliminate the malware 

There are two ways to get rid of malware: either manually or by using a security plugin’s automated cleanup tool. This can be done after you have located the malicious files and questionable code.  It is advisable to delete files manually only when you’ve sufficient knowledge of WordPress file structures and PHP code. This will prevent the accidental deletion of critical files.

Step 4: Update WordPress core files, plugins, and themes 

Hackers may use outdated WordPress core files, plugins, and themes as access points. To reduce security risks, regularly update all of your plugins, themes, and the WordPress core to the most recent versions. 

Step 5: Verify user accounts and rights 

Make sure no unauthorized users have administrative access by going over each user account and its permissions. Update each user’s password and delete any questionable user accounts.

Step 6: Harden your WordPress security 

Use a firewall in conjunction with a reliable security plugin, set up two-factor authentication, limit the number of times users may log in, and create strong passwords as proactive steps to fortify your WordPress security.

Step 7: Keep an eye on your website 

Monitor your website regularly for unusual activity or unauthorized access. Configure email notifications for security-related problems and run regular security plugin scans to find dangers.

Step 8: Restore your website 

Using the backup you made previously, restore your website to its original state if the cleanup procedure was successful and it is now malware-free.


To sum up, scanning your WordPress website for possible malicious code is a crucial step in keeping a trustworthy and safe online presence.

The plugins we covered in this guide can effectively identify and fix security flaws, protecting both your website and its visitors. 

Frequent website scans ensure the general health of your website, detect and eliminate malware, and stop further attacks. 

You can maintain user trust, safeguard your online reputation, and keep offering your visitors a seamless and safe experience by continuing to be watchful and proactive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of a WordPress malware infection?

Signs of a WordPress malware infection may include slow website performance, unexpected redirects, spammy links or content, suspicious user accounts, unauthorized access, and frequent crashes.

How does malware generally infect a WordPress site?

Malware generally infects a WordPress site through security vulnerabilities in outdated plugins/themes, weak passwords, compromised user accounts, or insecure hosting environments.

Can I remove malware from WordPress myself?

Yes, you can remove malware from WordPress yourself using security plugins, manual file cleanup, and database scans. However, it can be challenging, and seeking professional assistance is recommended for more complex infections.

What’s the cost of scanning and removing malware from WordPress?

The cost of scanning and removing malware from WordPress varies, with free plugins available for basic scans and cleanup. Premium security services may charge a monthly or yearly fee, ranging from $100 to $300 per year, depending on the features offered.

How often should I scan my WordPress database for malware?

It is advisable to scan your WordPress database for malware at least once a week. However, the frequency may depend on your site’s size, traffic, and potential security risks. Regular scans help maintain the overall security and integrity of your website.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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