Have you found that your WordPress has started redirecting to another website recently? In most cases, this means that your visitors are being redirected to obscene or spam websites and this is the result of being hacked. If this has happened to your website, then it is absolutely crucial that you fix it immediately.
How to spot if your website has been affected
If you have noticed this happening on your website, then this is, unfortunately, a result of your website being hacked. If this has happened, then it is vital that you try your best to solve this issue immediately and take back control of your website.
If you are pressed for time and need to also clean up your website, then there are some automated malware removals which can do this, but in order to stop this from happening again in the future, you need to understand what has happened and why.
The security of your website is important and particularly more so if it is hosted on WordPress. This is because WordPress is a popular hosting choice for many websites, with around 35% of all worldwide websites being hosted on there, so is a popular choice for hackers. According to a recent study, 90% of all WordPress websites have been infected with malware.
How do hackers cause a website to redirect?
There are a few tricks which hackers use in order to get access to your website. Some of the most common ways are:
- Adding themselves as a ghost admin onto your website
- Changing the homepage URL
- Adding malicious malware onto your WordPress database and files
In most cases, visitors will find that there are being redirected to another website before they land on the homepage of your website. The tricky thing about these kinds of hacks is that they can lie unnoticed and dormant on your website and unless it is bought to your attention, you might be hacked for quite some time.
If you have noticed that your website is redirecting, then you need to rectify it immediately, Redirects can have hugely damaging impacts on your website and your visitors and can lead to very severe repercussions.
Why you should worry about malicious redirects?
A malware hack which causes redirects can lead to severe and sometimes irreversible damage to your website for a number of reasons.
Your SEO will be affected
It is no easy task to get your website ranking on search engines and can take a lot of time and effort. Once your website is hacked in this way, hackers will then use your SEO efforts to cause even further damage.
Your traffic will drop as your visitors are redirected to malicious sites and hackers can place links inside your website, meaning that if a visitor was to click on it, they’ll be redirected. A malware hack can cause Google to penalise your site for bad backlinks, and recovering your SEO can take months.
Google may blacklist your website
Google prioritises the safety and experience of users above all else. If your website is putting users at risk, then Google may well blacklist your website. Visitors who try to visit your website will be shown a warning sign from Google informing them that the website is at risk, or they will be blocked from entering the website.
Your brand image will be affected
One of the worst parts of being hacked is that your brand image, which you have worked so hard to build, can be shattered in a moments notice. In the majority of cases, customers who see that a website has been hacked are very unlikely to return.
How to clean and detect malicious redirects
Your website is redirecting because of the infected codes which the hackers have added. To remove these redirects, you need to find where the malware and code has been hidden and remove it. But, the issue with this is that this could be hidden anywhere, from your database, “.htaccess” file or even discreetly hidden in your uploads. You can scan your website, either by using a security plugin or by manual search, to find the malicious code.
During a manual website scan, you may find yourself looking for known patterns of code which are often used in a malicious way. Should you find a snippet of this code, then it can be easily removed, but the problem with this method is that it will only ever match a known pattern. This part of the code can be used in a number of different patterns and can be a relatively tedious process.
Another way that you can search for malicious code is to search for known keywords which are commonly used within malicious code, such as “base64_decode” and “eval”. One of the drawbacks when using this method is that, like manual scanning, you can find that these keywords can be used to form legitimate code. A lot of plugins, especially on WordPress, so searching for these isn’t a foolproof plan.
Matching plugin files
Another way that you can search for malicious redirects on your website is by matching the plugins you have used. Make a list of the different ones installed on your website and then download the same plugins again from the repository. Then you can match the two to look for any differences to spot where the code is hidden. This is a highly effective, but time-consuming, way to search for and identify malware. There are a number of versions of plugins and not all of these are available for public use, so modifications may have been made.
In an ideal world, you should use a trusted security plugin to scan your site and files for malware and this should then deal with the additional task of cleaning your website too.
Protecting your website from future malicious redirects
By simply just locating where the malware is on your website and cleaning up the site, you are not protecting your website against any future malicious hacking attempts. It is vital that you take security measures for your website seriously so that it is protected from future hacks and attacks. There are many recommended security measures across all CMS’, which means that website owners can implement some of, if not all, of those recommended.
Manually implementing these measures onto your website may take some form of expertise, especially if you are not too sure as to what you are searching for. You can use some of the WordPress security plugins and features as a first measure to protect and fix your website and then get a professional to look into it further.
This is particularly important if you work with other businesses and websites who’s information may also be vulnerable or if you are an investor. Ideally, you should always carry out technical due diligence in these cases – remember that bad technology and practises will guarantee failure.
Moving on from your website being hacked in this way can be quite a stressful and time-consuming period, especially if your website is your means of income. You should ensure that the modification of the primary files on your website are disabled so that you can prevent any future hackers from inserting malicious files and code onto your site again. This should be done as part of your website’s best practices and security hardening steps.
If your web host suspended your account following your website being hacked and removed your website, then you can get in touch with the support team and explain the situation to them. You can send them screenshots along with any other important information which they may require. They can verify your website and, once they have the information which is needed, they will un-suspend your account.
Every website owner should bear in mind that having a website and presence online which can store valuable user data and information is a big responsibility and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Data is a hugely valuable commodity these days and is what hackers are looking for when they carry out these attempts on websites. Take time investing in your website’s security and ensure that you have reliable backups and effective security measures in place to make sure that your website is fully working.
Submitted by guest author: Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many business and technology publications. With a wide range of knowledge in the sectors, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field, taking particular interest in Northern tech brands.. Having worked with a number of different businesses, Natalie is now a freelance writer looking to specialize in the sector. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.
The Difference Between Internal And External Hosting?
To create a website successfully that has high volumes of conversion and increase website traffic, having a secure web hosting provider is paramount either for an organisation or an individual. But, the different types of web hosting will depend on the type of website that is being created.
A large, corporate business website will differ from that of a small independently owned site, and so will the size and power of their website hosting needs. It is this point where many get confused as to what type of hosting is best for them to ensure the smooth running of the website once it has been built.
Because of this, in this article we will be focusing specifically on two different types of web hosting, internal and external hosting, helping to give you a clear understanding on which website will need these and the reasons as to why.
Internal Web Hosting- What is It?
Internal, as based on the name, is a form of website hosting done in house, within the business place or offices and operated by the company. Because of the independent nature of this form of web hosting, the business will have to cover all parts of the job. Helping to ensure that the website continually runs and can be successfully used by anyone around the world. Surprisingly, it is not only about having an internal IT department, the business must have specific assets such as hardware, servers, and the correct softwares for internal hosting, with each alone being on the pricey side.
The types of things that the business will need to cover include:
- Site costs
- Technical support
- High-quality system security
- Device maintenance
- Database control of information
Benefits Of Internal Web Hosting
By hosting the website in house, the business can see quite a variety of benefits, that would not be available if done differently.
Complete Site Ownership
Firstly, through an internal web hosting, the business has full control over access to the website, and everything in between this process. From the back end to all configurations, these can be chosen easily by the business, and directed in the exact way they wish. The website can be accessed and controlled 24/7, so if a new idea arises or an issue decided to spark, it can be changed quickly with no real downtime faced that could harm the traffic and potential popularity of the website.
No Additional 3rd Party Fees
When hosting internally, there is no need to waste money, that would usually be spent on third-party or management, for something as simple as a phone call. Through internal hosting, the business pays for exactly what is needed, and nothing more, where they can usually get caught up in a handful of unnecessary charges if hosting outside of the business place.
Keeps Internal Data, Internal
Another benefit of hosting a website internally is the promise that everything is kept in the house. From decision-making to background data implemented into the site, nothing has to leave the building, decreasing the chance of any fraudulent activity happening.
This way, the business can hold the decision to how high they would like their site security to be, giving them the confidence to control as they wish, without any worry of outsiders getting into the system.
External Web Hosting
External web hosting is slightly different from internal, quite clearly being its opposition. External web hosting is done by a third-party source, outside of the office, providing a business with the service needed to run a website successfully, without the hassle of having to do it themselves.
Benefits Of External Web Hosting
External website hosting is the preferred method for many, due to its simplicity, price and usual good deals on offer open to new businesses joining the service. When hosting externally, the business has no need to purchase extensive IT devices, or even a team to take control of the website, which can take a huge toll on company accounts, each costing a large sum within itself.
All of the external web hosting services will come with a technical support team at hand, 24/7, to aid their clients when the website begins facing some running troubles. In some cases, problems may never arise if the hosting service is continually up to date with client site checks. But if they were to arise, the support team is on hand to fix the issues as quickly as possible.
Unlike internal hosting, when hosting with a third party business, the service is usually brought within plan sizes. This will allocate the business site with a specific amount of data, network, and overall quality of the service given towards a website, depending on how well the business is wanting it to run.
If in time the business grows, and they need to adapt the size of the site, or the running speed and data sizes, they can simply upgrade the package to get more benefits out of the external hosting service, with a little extra charge.
Each different types of web hosting have some distinctive differences that need to be chosen accordingly to what the business place can handle.
That of a slightly large business place may decide to host the site themselves to have complete control over their brand, with a size large enough to bring a quality web team into the mix to run the IT department. But, a slightly smaller business just starting out may choose the simpler route of external hosting, to ensure the smooth running of their website in the early stages of the company, without any additional performance worries.
Highlighting the many differences, the choice of external hosting may seem more appealing, due to its simplicity by taking away an element of stress that some business places just cannot afford to obtain. However, for those with the money to spare, a quality rackmount server will allow businesses to host a team and department to run and maintain the website for themselves.
Hopefully, we have answered any questions that you may have about the differences between internal and external hosting, however for those questions not yet answered, comment below.
Mobile UX Design – 5 Essential Practices for Designing a Mobile UX
Everyone wants to build beautiful apps that look perfect and engages the audience instantly. But very few apps achieve perfect User Experience (UX) that resonates with their target audience. A gamut of apps falls short of the excellence they need to deliver just because of not following the critical UX principles or not evolving with the UX standards and design practices.
Here we are going to explain the key principles and practices to help mobile app developers to create standout UX.
Use Custom and Motion Graphics
Being visually attractive and engaging at a glance should be the primary design objective. To achieve this, there is no dearth of visual experiments and tweaks, but some visual elements remain the winner among the visual design experiments. The custom graphics and motion graphics in recent times have emerged as effective and highly efficient design elements for countless successful apps across the niches.
When you use custom graphics instead of stock photos, you give your app more visual relevance. Moreover, you can also incorporate a sense of humour or different visual twists with custom graphics. On the other hand, stock photos are like run of the mill visuals that lack depth and context most of the time.
In the same manner, motion graphics and animation can further add engaging visuals to your app and can ensure better visual engagement of the users. Animation and motion graphics can also deliver an informal look and feel. As the 5G technology is going to launch in 2020, more apps with these attractive visual experiments are about to come.
Give Utmost Importance to Button Design
Button design in the context of the mobile UX plays a very important role. In respect of achieving maximum traction with the CTA buttons, it is important to follow the developer guidelines of the respective platforms.
First of all, buttons should look like the buttons and follow the convention. This is why, from size to colour to contrast; every aspect of the button design really matters. The appropriate size of the button helps the users to tap on the buttons easily while the extra-large size can only make the visual clarity suffer. Opting for a balanced button size as per the guideline of Apple iOS and Android is important.
When it comes to shape, a button shape can differ from one platform to another. For example, Android buttons can be designed as flat and raised from the surrounding by following the material design principle; while for iOS flat button design is the convention.
Now, for choosing the colours for the buttons, you need to make sure that the buttons look actionable. Proper use of colour based upon the niche and appropriate contrast can play a vital role in engaging more audiences who will end up clicking the buttons.
Users like familiarity and they associate some colours with some niches and actions. This is why you need to choose button colours that intuitively tell them about the action to take and the course of steps to follow.
It is true that across the vast majority of the successful mobile apps, minimalist design right now dominates simply because of the ease of use this design principle offers to the users. The main factor behind the popularity of the minimalist design is the demand for visual clarity and dislike for clutter. No wonder, most apps either marginally or in a fully-fledged manner need to conform to this design principle.
A clutter-free simple design with a lot of white space helps reduce the visual distractions and while helping users to settle their attention on the app content and functions they need. Moreover, the minimalist design prioritizes the content and visual elements to give byte-sized content at a time and thus helps to avoid cognitive overload.
Stay Focused on User Objectives
The goal of a person using an app can be a lot different than the person accessing the same content or function through a desktop website. Since mobile app users mostly try to get away with the content and functions that can be accessed at a glance, the user interface and other design elements should help them stay focused on what they need at a particular context or situation.
For example, when the user needs to order something or get road directions, the app should exactly allow him to do the same without any delay.
Finally, for great user experience, any app needs to allow scope for personalization as much as possible. As today’s mobile apps, thanks to a host of innovative and cutting edge technologies, can personalize a lot of visual elements and UX attributes, personalization became a must-have UX design element that every app needs to incorporate.
Personalized UX design will help users get access to content when and where they need depending upon the context. Personalization also helps users get what they want without being exposed to distractions and cognitive overload.
For example, while using a banking app, if the user isn’t interested in all menu options, he should be allowed to customize the menu options and select favourite transactions to help them use the app most of the time.
In the years to come, mobile app user experience is likely to be more fluid, user-centric, and context-focused. The above principles only help you design mobile app UX with these attributes.