Best WordPress Theme Virus Checker For 2024 (EASY Cleaning Guide)

wordpress theme virus checker

When building websites most people install either a free theme from the WordPress themes library or buy a premium theme.

But nobody cares to check whether the theme is free from viruses.

It’s only when their website starts to behave abnormally or gets hacked, they try to find a quick solution.

The irony is that I was one of those people myself.

It’s only after getting hacked that I realized the importance of checking WordPress themes before and after installing them.

I am going to share with you how you can use a WordPress theme virus checker before and after installing a theme.

More importantly, I am going to let you know how I protect my sites from getting hacked.

Let’s begin.

WordPress theme virus checker

The best free WordPress theme virus checker is VirusTotal. You can check for viruses before installing the WordPress theme on your site. After installing a WordPress theme, the best free virus checkers are Wordfence, Sucuri, and MalCare. To remove viruses found you have to pay for their services.

But first, let’s understand the reasons for getting infected.

Reasons for getting viruses in WordPress themes

If you are not careful in choosing a WordPress theme, you risk getting a virus.

So, before installing a theme, keep the following things in mind:

Shady sites

You should always install a free theme either from the official WordPress themes library or from the website of a reputed theme developer.

Buy premium themes from reputed theme marketplaces like ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, StudioPress, etc.

Nulled themes

You may come across sites offering a premium theme for free.

Such themes are modified premium themes in which there is no need for a license.

These are nulled themes and almost certain to viruses.

So, never ever install a nulled theme.

Plugin vulnerability

Poor coding of a plugin leads to security issues for your site.

Poor coding creates a backdoor for hackers to enter your site.

So, make sure that the plugins you use are in the WordPress plugin library or downloaded from the developer’s website.

Shared Hosting

When you host your website on a shared hosting plan, your server will have other websites hosted on it.

If one of the websites is infected, then yours may get the infection too.

Although hosting companies have a firewall to protect them, there is always a risk.

You can minimize such risk by opting for a dedicated server or cloud hosting.

Why do hackers try to infect WordPress themes?

Hackers try to get hold of websites for their own benefits such as – 

Insert ransomware

Ransomeware is malware or viruses which hold your website hostage.

The hacker, by injecting malware into your site, gains full control over it and then demands money for releasing the site back to you.

Your website may display a notice that it has been hacked and/or you will get an email instructing you to send money for releasing the website back to you.

Tracking visitors

Hackers hack your site to get data of website visitors and sell those data.

Adding backlinks

Hackers may inject a virus into your site and add backlinks for their own SEO benefits.

Steal content

The hackers may steal your write-ups, video, audio, pdf, etc., and use them on their site or sell them.

Inserting ads

The hacker may use your site to display ads to earn from them.

Stealing email and passwords

The hacker may steal sensitive content such as email and passwords and send spam to your contacts.

Effects of an infected WordPress theme

You can understand by now how hackers harm a website.

But, how the virus affects your site?

Slow website

This is the first thing that you will notice on a site infected by a virus.

It will be hard to navigate the site as the speed will be too slow.

The pages of the site will take forever to load.

Decrease in ranks on the SERP

You will immediately see a decrease in your rank on search engines if you have a virus on your site.

As security issues on a site are one of the ranking factors, your site may get a manual penalty from search engines like Google, resulting in a loss of rank and traffic.

Getting blacklisted by search engines

A search engine like Google will immediately blacklist a hacked website to restrict the spread of the virus on the internet.

Your site may even be de-indexed from the search engines.

Ban of the hosting account

A hacked site will be blacklisted by the hosting company too, to restrict other sites on the server from getting infected.

So, your host may ban your hosting account.

Loss of business

All this means, that your business will see a huge loss in website traffic and revenue.

Your brand and reputation will be lost.

How do I know if my WordPress theme has a virus?

If you face the above issues, then you should immediately check whether your site has been infected by a virus.

Additionally, watch out for the following signs too – 

Google warning

Go to Google Search Console and check for manual penalties on your site.

You will also receive an email from them about it.

Website crashing

If your website crashes frequently, then it may be because of viruses.

White screen of death

Your website may not show anything at all except a blank white screen.

In most cases, if there is a server or a WordPress database issue, an error message is shown.

However, when a virus infects a site, no such error is shown at all, except a white screen.

This is a sign of a virus.

Popup ads

Do your site display popup ads all the time?

It is a sign of a virus.

Redirection

Does your website redirect to another site?

Or redirects to Google?

That’s a sign of a virus too.

Email from an unknown source

Did you receive an email from an unknown source claiming to have found issues on your site?

Most of the time it may be a false alarm.

Such emails actually contain links, which on clicking will inject a virus into your computer.

But, at other times it may signal that your site is hacked.

So, it’s better to do a scan of your website immediately after getting such emails.

How do I scan my WordPress for viruses?

Now, let’s talk about how to catch those viruses.

You can scan your website either before installing a WordPress theme or after installing a theme.

I recommend running a scan before installing a theme first.

But that does not mean that if you install a “clean” WordPress theme you will never get a virus.

So, ideally, check for viruses every month after installing a WordPress theme too.

VirusTotal

virustotal
VirusTotal

Are you searching for a malware scanner online?

If so, when installing a theme, download the theme to your computer first.

Then upload it to VirusTotal for a scan.

You can also use it to scan a URL.

It is an excellent nulled theme checker.

WordFence

wordfence
Wordfence

Wordfence is a popular security plugin that scans your website either automatically or on demand.

The best part of this plugin is that it has a free firewall to protect your site from brute-force attacks.

You can also run pre-scheduled scans for free.

It is also a WordPress version checker and informs you if your WordPress needs an update.

But you need to pay for the premium features such as real-time protection and recovery from hacks.

Sucuri 

sucuri
Sucuri

Sucuri is another popular WordPress security plugin that will search for malware on your website.

The scans are performed remotely on their server, which means that there will be less load on your site.

It will inform you about security vulnerabilities on your site and recommend the actions needed to protect your site from getting hacked.

However, you have to pay to use the firewall and remove the viruses.

MalCare

malcare
MalCare

MalCare is similar to Sucuri.

It also scans for malware on its own servers, informs of security issues, and protects your website from malicious traffic.

They claim to remove viruses from your website within 60 seconds, which is a paid service.

How do I remove malware from my WordPress theme?

Although it is possible to repair a website on your own, there is a steep learning curve.

So, unless you want to go through that route, I recommend using the virus removal services of Wordfence, Sucuri, or MalCare.

The next sections will answer some common questions about website viruses.

Is it safe to use a nulled WordPress theme?

No. It is not safe to use a nulled WordPress theme, because they contain viruses.

A nulled theme is a modified premium theme in which the codes for checking the license of the theme have been removed.

Hackers offer null WordPress themes in order to attract people to use a premium theme for free and without any limitations.

Mostly, null themes cannot get updates as the license codes have been removed from them.

How can I tell if a WordPress theme is safe?

You can tell whether a WordPress theme is safe to use by checking whether it gets automatic updates from the developer.

However, do note that free themes are rarely updated.

But that does not mean that they are not safe.

I recommend installing free themes either from the WordPress theme library or directly from the website of the theme developer itself.

But, ensure that you only use a free theme that is tested and recommended by other users.

Premium WordPress themes, on the other hand, are almost always regularly updated.

So, if you have chosen a premium theme, check whether it is getting updates.

Can WordPress plugins contain viruses?

Yes. WordPress plugins can contain viruses.

Just like WordPress themes, you should scan for viruses before using plugins from unknown sources.

The chances of getting viruses are less if you install plugins from the WordPress plugins library or purchase them directly from the website of the plugin developer.

Protect your WordPress theme from getting infected

Here are the steps that you should take in order to protect your WordPress theme from getting infected – 

  • Install free themes from the WordPress theme library.
  • Install free and paid themes from either the website of the theme developer or from a reputed marketplace such as Themeforest, TemplateMonster, ThemeIsle, etc.
  • Before installing a theme perform a scan using VirusTotal.
  • Install a security plugin like Wordfence, Sucuri, and MalCare. Activate the firewall feature.

Conclusion

Here’s what we learned about the best WordPress theme virus checker and how to clean an infected site – 

  • The purpose of a hacker and a virus is to ask for ransom, track visitors’ data, steal email and passwords, insert backlinks, insert ads and steal content.
  • Effects of a hacked website are a decrease in search engine ranking, site getting blacklisted by search engines, websites becoming slow, hosting accounts getting banned, and loss of traffic and business.
  • The signs of being attacked by a virus are getting warnings in Google Search Console, website crashes, white screen of death, popup ads, website getting redirected, and emails from unknown sources.
  • If you do not get updates for your purchased WordPress theme, that is also a sign of your site being affected by viruses.
  • Your site can get a virus if you install a WordPress plugin that has security issues.
  • There is also a risk of getting viruses if you host your site on a shared hosting server.
  • The best free WordPress theme virus checker is VirusTotal.
  • With VirusTotal you can check a WordPress theme before it is installed.
  • After installing a WordPress theme the best free virus checkers are Wordfence, Sucuri, and MalCare.
  • There is a steep learning curve for cleaning infected sites.
  • To clean your website from viruses you should avail the cleaning services of either Wordfence, Sucuri, or MalCare.
  • Before installing a WordPress theme ensure that you are not installing themes from shady sites or using a nulled theme.
  • Always install free themes from either the WordPress themes library or directly from a theme developer’s website.
  • Always purchase premium themes directly from the theme developer’s website or from reputed marketplaces like ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, ThemeIsle, etc.
  • Always perform a scan of the WordPress theme with VirusTotal before installing them.
  • Always install a WordPress security plugin like Wordfence, Sucuri, and MalCare.

I hope this article has helped you to find a WordPress theme scanner for your website.

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