SiteGround offers a solid and secured hosting on Google Cloud Platform. They do have other features like in-house CDN and ultrafast PHP to make sure the site is fast enough regardless of the content management system you use. However, allowing file uploads on the site’s frontend or using outdated PHP scripts purchased from third-party can result in a security threat for your site. Here, I will explain what happens when such a threat is detected and how to prevent it beforehand.
Detection of Malware in SiteGround Hosting
Good part is that SiteGround guys run automatic malware detection on your account without any request. You will receive an email notification when malicious files are detected and prompted to fix the issue to avoid account suspension.
However, the bad part is that the scanning does not happen frequently and it’s for mostly false positive cases. For example, I have uploaded some files in April 2021 but received the malware detected email in June 2023, more than 2 years later. The files are also needed for the application to work and not malicious.
I assume, the scanning might have been triggered due to certain action like someone trying to login to upload files in suspicious ways. Keeping that point aside, let me focus on how to fix the issue.
Checking Details of Malicious Files
Login to your SiteGround hosting account and you will see a notification indicting malware detected on your site mentioning the site name.
Click on the “Review” button and you will see a pop-up showing lengthy details about scanning and fixing malware issues in SiteGround. Scroll down to bottom and click “View Evidence” button.
The evidence will show a list of suspicious files with the location on the server. Check the files are infected or really needed for the application to work properly.
Malware Clean Up Options in SiteGround
If the files are not required or really suspicious, the best thing you can do is to delete them using FTP or by going to File Manager section. After deleting the files, go back to the review pop-up, scroll down and click on “Request Scan” button. System will rescan your site and send you an email about the status. If everything goes fine, the scan will be successful and the malware notification will be removed instantly. You can request for scanning 3 times per day and the scanning is completely free.
Request Cleanup – Premium Options
If you do not know what to do or how to cleanup manually, then you are covered with the premium option. Click on the “Request Cleanup” button and order the custom service to check and cleanup your site. Alternatively, go to support area and select “Other > Website Security” option.
You have two premium options available for site cleanup – SiteGround service and Sucuri. For SiteGround service, you need to pay $100 one-time fee and send submit the form with details.
Sucuri will cost you $199 per year with complete firewall and cleaning up your hacked site.
I would recommend Sucuri as it is a yearly service. However, you can use one-time SiteGround fee and choose premium Site Scanner for $9.99 per month. You can even get 50% discount on the first-year payment on premium Site Scanner plan (that is $4.99 per month). Site Scanner will scan your site daily, check each uploaded file, quarantine detected malicious files and send you weekly status report. Surprisingly, Site Scanner also uses Sucuri for malware scanning with less price compared to purchasing it from Sucuri site.
If you purchase Site Scanner, go to “Security > Site Scanner” menu in Site Tools section of the affected site. Run the manual scan and take necessary actions to clean up the malware. After that the scanning will run automatically on daily basis to track all uploaded files on your site.
Learn more on how to setup Site Scanner in SiteGround.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Once you got the site cleaned up, it’s time to put some measures to avoid the same thing happening again. Remember, you should be careful in the following stuffs no matter even you use Sucuri or Site Scanner.
- Do not purchase PHP scripts from unknown developers and upload them on your site.
- Always try to use known content management systems like WordPress with correct PHP version and updated core/theme/plugin files.
- Keep your passwords safe for hosting account, site’s admin panel and FTP accounts.
- Use proper antivirus on your computer. Preferably use Mac to reduce the virus problems.
Do not get panic when you receive an email from SiteGround about malicious files are detected on your site. You can check the evidence and delete the affected files manually. If the files are legitimate, discuss with the support and inform them to review them again. You should do this to remove the notification from your account. Taking no action will lead to suspension of your account and then you need to follow up with them through support. For any assistance, you can go for one-time payment with premium Site Scanner option to fix the issue and put your site back on track.