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How to Remove Malware from a Website Using SiteLock

What is a Malware Infection?

Malware, short for malicious software, is a program cybercriminals use to access and damage computers and websites without a user's consent. Malware can affect websites in several ways, so learning how to remove malware from websites is important. Once the malware has been successfully removed, we recommend learning more about how to prevent malware attacks from happening.

  • Malware can modify the look and feel of your website. Cybercriminals can use defacements to replace your website content with their own message. This message is often politically or religiously motivated, intended to shock or block visitors, and may drive them away.
  • It can hide itself within ads and redirect site visitors to harmful websites. Malvertising can distribute malware through an advertisement that requires a click or a "drive-by" download that infects the user's computer upon visiting the website.
  • Cybercriminals may gain unauthorized access to your website. Cybercriminals could expose private information, change the look of your website, and more if they have access to it.
  • Spammy content can be placed on your website. Cybercriminals can drastically reduce website traffic by inadvertently uploading hundreds or thousands of files with harmful backlinks and irrelevant keywords to your website. This will lower your site's search engine results.
  • Search engines can flag your website as dangerous and remove it from search results. Search engines may further provide a notice on websites that are blacklisted to shield users from harmful information. Visitors are blocked from accessing the site and are informed that it is contaminated by the warning. This would decrease traffic and cause those users to become suspicious of your website and never return.


What are the Different Types of Malware?

  • Bots - Runs automatically over a network to accomplish predetermined tasks. A malicious bot can launch a cyberattack or steal confidential information, even though the majority are not harmful.
  • Botnets - Collection of computers that have been compromised by malicious software. Cybercriminals utilize these networks to carry out various illicit activities, including infecting other websites with malware.
  • Keyloggers - Records every keystroke a user makes, usually without the user's knowledge. Keyloggers are the main tool cybercriminals use to obtain passwords, account logins, and other private data from customers.
  • Fileless malware - Takes advantage of trustworthy applications on your computer to cause harm.
  • Ransomware - Cybercriminals encrypt files to prevent you from accessing them and then demand payment to unlock them.
  • Rootkits - Allows unauthorized users to access your computer or website.
  • Spyware - Takes a user's data without the user's consent as spyware is installed on their device.
  • Trojans - Fools users into believing it is safe, doesn't replicate itself, and looks like genuine software.
  • Viruses - Record your keystrokes, steal confidential data, and corrupt your files.
  • Worms - Steal data, corrupt website files, and deplete system resources.

How to Tell if My Website Has Malware

To check for malware, go to your File Manager and check for scanned files to help identify what needs to be cleaned, which may reveal what was infected. For instructions on doing so, please see How to Locate Your malware.txt/scanreport.txt File. SiteLock's Free Scan does not include automatic malware removal. You can upgrade to Essentials, Prevent, or Prevent Plus to take advantage of automatic malware removal.

If you have an active SiteLock plan set up, it will automatically detect and remove website malware. Our SiteLock team will provide you with clues about what happened to your website and possible solutions to prevent your account from being compromised again during the cleanup process.

How to Remove Malware from a Website

Knowing that your website has been infected with malware can be frustrating. Please contact Bluehost support to fix website malware infection, and we will help you choose the best option to secure your site.

Note: Bluehost support does not offer direct malware website removal services; however, we can scan it and put it into one file called "scanreport.txt" to identify the infected files inside your File Manager. Check out How to Locate Your malware.txt/scanreport.txt File for step-by-step instructions.

There are several ways you can remove website malware:

Professional Malware Cleaning Services

Having experts that can clean the malware infection from your website is an excellent option if you don’t have the time or ability to do it yourself. Our security partners with the SiteLock team can provide the most convenient ways to remove website malware. They can also discuss solutions to prevent future infections proactively.

For more information about our SiteLock plans and their pricing, see How to Order SiteLock.

Alternative Options: Manually Remove Malware from Site

  1. Restore Your Site - You can restore your website using a backup made before your site became infected with malware. If you do not have a backup, you can contact Bluehost support for options.

    • It is critical that you use a backup made prior to the site being infected to remove the malicious code altogether; if not, your restored site will remain infected.
    • Be aware that you will lose any changes made to your site after creating the backup you use. Even after the restoration process, your site will have the same vulnerabilities that would allow it to be compromised again. It is highly recommended that you take a proactive approach to prevent future infections.
  1. Create a New Site - If you are unable to restore your website or have it cleaned, then the final option would be to create a brand-new site. Preventing website attacks is always easier and faster than repairing a site that has been infected with malware.

Bluehost recommends you choose a website security plan from our partners at SiteLock to address vulnerabilities and prevent reinfection. Check out the discounts available to Bluehost customers in How to Order SiteLock.

Bluehost Website Malware Removal

When a site is compromised by malware, we recommend using a professional service to guarantee resolution and prevent future infection.

If you are not able to hire a professional, you can attempt to fix your website. To do this, you can scan your website to see the infected files. Usually, you may locate all of them inside the "scanreport.txt" file. You also need to identify and remove recently added or modified files or directories. Please see How to Locate Your malware.txt/scanreport.txt File for step-by-step instructions.

  • File removal does not address vulnerabilities that allow attackers to gain access to your site. By choosing to self-service a site infection, you take full responsibility for changes made to the site, any files deleted, and/or breaks in functionality.
  • You need to exercise extreme caution when removing website files and directories. You can disable features and functionality on your site, and it does not guarantee the malware website removal.
  • If your website is currently under investigation, please DO NOT MAKE CHANGES, including the removal of files and directories.

Google Attack Page

If you see a "Google Reported Attack Site!" warning on your website, you must read the following article to learn how to clean the site and remove the warning:

Note: Not all browsers will display the warning page. This warning only happens in browsers that have a relationship with Google, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and some Safari versions.

Summary

Malware can severely damage the reputation and functionality of your website. If your website gets infected, you have a few options to consider. You can seek professional services, restore your website through a backup, or create a new site. It's crucial to stay informed and take necessary measures to protect your website from cybercriminals.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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