Free Tools to Scan Your WordPress Site for Vulnerabilities
If they can find a way to hurt WordPress websites, it’s a stroke of luck for mischiefmakers on the internet. They can take a shot at almost 30 per cent of the websites on the internet with only one trick up their sleeves. That’s the downside to the most common CMS being WordPress. On our side, as website owners, we need to be vigilant and to periodically review/update security measures to be safe from hackers. Scanning WordPress for vulnerabilities is one essential and easy-to-implement step in your security checklist.
Why You Should Scan WordPress For Vulnerabilities
- Your WordPress website may be the repository of sensitive personal information submitted by users. They trust you to prevent this information from falling into unwanted hands.
- Others can place backlinks, redirects, advertisements or banners of websites that they want to promote on your site.
- Users with unauthorized access to your website may be eating into your bandwidth, even without you knowing it.
- So long as it’s not detected, malware can lurk within your website and gather information. It can send out spam emails to others infecting them too in the process. This can lead to Google and other security services like AVG or Norton blacklisting your site. Again, you may not even know about it.
- Regular scans can catch some security threats early and prevent your site from being hacked.
Ways to Scan WordPress
It is neither difficult nor costly to carry out a simple search for vulnerabilities on your WordPress website. But you’ve got choices, like more stuff in life. There are two main approaches when it comes to searching WordPress for vulnerabilities.
Remote scanners are instruments that can conduct a preliminary scan and expose a variety of security vulnerabilities. In your safety regime, they’re a sort of fast search. Generally, most scanners operate in much the same way, simply entering your website’s URL on their website. In a few moments, your domain, as visible in the browser, will be scanned and a report produced. The report can show several vulnerabilities. Some instruments may also recommend remedial acts that you may take. Some remote scanners are explicitly designed to scan WordPress pages, while others in their feature list have a WordPress scan.
On the opposite, it accesses the server in the hosting setting where it lives when you add a plugin and performs a much deeper search. To ensure protection, a plugin offers options for setting up scanning rules, automations, and full scans that dive into your database.
The significant difference between the two is that a remote scanner only looks at your website’s final rendered version, as it appears on your browser (sort of like a search engine bot). A remote scan does not look through your server, unlike plugins, and so any malicious element on your server could remain undetected.
There are several free remote scanners and free plugins available that can check for rogue applications on your website. Let’s look at some of the best ones.
First on our list is MalCare, which offers free cloud-based scanning via their free plugin. This high tech WordPress site scanner looks at all of your files and your entire database to find even the most complex malware. And best of all, because it uses MalCare’s own cloud servers to scan for vulnerabilities it won’t slow down your site.
MalCare even provides premium plans with even more early detection choices, automatic malware screening & removal, CAPTCHAs, IP blocking, WordPress settings suggested (disable file editor, folder safety uploads, security keys, etc.), disallowed plugins, plus more. And they also provide a white-labeled solution with personalized reports for your customers, depending on your needs.
2. Sucuri SiteCheck
In website security, Sucuri is a well-known name and compiles frequent and detailed vulnerability reports. All websites, including WordPress websites, will be scanned by SiteCheck to expose known malware, out-of-date software and website errors. With services like Google, AVG Antivirus, McAfee and Norton, you’ll also be familiar with your blacklist status.
The scanner compares all your pages with the Sucuri database and reports any anomaly. The report also recommends how you should handle these anomalies.
3. WP Sec Scan
If you’re looking for a WordPress specific scanner, WP Sec will fit the bill. On their webpage, you have a choice – submit your website URL for a scan or sign up for their free / premium account.
A free account entitles you an automatic weekly scan. If you’re managing multiple WordPress websites, you can keep track of the security of all the sites from a single dashboard. You’ll also receive alerts by email if any bug is found or if your WordPress installation is due for an update.
A basic report can list some security flaws as well as tell you how to go about setting it right. You can also access a record of your scan reports for future reference. WPScans maintains a vast database of the latest bugs and security threats, which means the more common threats can be detected with this scanner.
4. WordPress Security Scan
Two options are also offered by WordPress Security Scan: a free basic version and an advanced premium version. By calling up a number of pages through daily web requests, it carries out checks and analyzes the corresponding HTML source. A scan will expose apparent security vulnerabilities in WordPress and suggest security-related configuration changes that can step up protection against potential attacks.
5. First Site Guide
The First Site Guide scanner works in much the same way as other scanners – enter your site URL and hit the Scan button. It tests whether information about WordPress version, usernames or failed login attempts are detectable.
It also tests whether files such as readme.html, install.php and upgrade.php can be accessed via HTTP and whether the upload folder is browsable. But they advise you to install Security Ninja for a more meaningful scan that covers over 40 tests.
Wordfence is a robust protection plugin that scans everything, including source code and image files, relevant to WordPress on your website. If you allow this option, non-WordPress related files will also be scanned. Their Threat Defense Feed is continually updated and scanners use the feed to recognize suspicious apps.
A scan looks for 44,000+ known malware and backdoors, as well as for phishing URLs in all your comments, posts and files. Not only that, it scans the core files, themes and plugins and compares it with the files in the WordPress repository.
7. Virus Total Scanner
You should upload it to Virus Complete, a subsidiary of Google, instead of running your page URL via several scanners. It does the job by integrating the outcomes of a scan from different scanners such as Avira, Comodo, Sucuri and Qettera.
The benefit of such a technique is that you can more quickly detect false positives from scanners. When the URL is run through several scanners, you’ll know if any harmless resource is wrongly labeled as malware. This method is not exclusive to WordPress and the scanner can be used for all sorts of websites. Virus Total is not a systematic testing method for viruses, but a search aggregator that results from multiple scanners.
To boost overall web protection, files and URLs submitted to Virus Total will be shared with security companies for their use.
While Quttera does offer a one click online scan, it also packs in a WordPress specific scanner, that requires you to download their plugin onto your WordPress website.
The plugin scours your site for suspicious scripts, malicious media and hidden threats and lets you know if you’re on any blacklist. The remote servers of Quttera scan the data. On completion of a scan, you’ll receive a detailed investigation report, which will recommend corrective action. These reports are classified as Clean, Potentially Suspicious, Suspicious and Malicious and are available to the public for viewing.
These free online scanners and plugins do a basic job of revealing malware and vulnerabilities. For a more thorough analysis and spot-on recommendations to reduce vulnerabilities you’ll need to look into their premium plans. These plans bundle services like monitoring, cleanup and hands-on support when faced with threats. And, as I mentioned at the start, scanning your website is only the first step in WordPress security.