Is Your Website Spewing Malware?

When it comes to your website you don’t want to be going “viral” by spewing malware. In the last month, I have helped two website owners whose blogs and websites were infected and had been banned by Google get back in business. It can happen to the best business really.

In fact, in the last two months two of the problems have been clients who have been hosted on Network Solutions. That’s a big firm and you would think that your website would be safe there, but in one case we found that the infection and re-infection was not coming from the outside but rather from Network Solutions internally. It appears that their systems had been compromised and the source of intrusions were coming from their own servers. That’s really a terrible situation and devastating to their own web hosting business.

One of the other sites was hosted at a small webmaster either in a privately branded enterprise or on a server in his own office. We’ve also seen sites on GoDaddy be compromised as well recently.

So what’s the best solution? I tell my clients that really any host could have this problem, but you have a better chance of being malware and hack-attack free when you use a mainstream host. Personally, I like Hostway. My own website has been hosted at Hostway since 2001 and many of my own clients. I have not had a single incident on my own site or on my Hostway hosted client sites. Yes, you will pay for improved security when you work with a quality mainstream webhost, but ask any of the victims I have worked with recently and they would have paid it willingly if they could have only known what problems being infected would cause as well as the expense to repair the damage.

In some cases Google will tag a site in the search index if it spiders malware spewing code on a website page. There is nothing more devastating than seeing your site with a warning on Google. You literally will be shut down and may even take a “black eye” with customers when this happens to you.

One of the best ways you can make sure you aren’t spewing malware is to list your site in the Google Webmaster control panel and keep an eye on your own organic search placement. In the cases I have worked on, two had the warning notice on and only one had a notice in the webmaster control panel. But there were other signs such as funny keywords appearing as queries in your Google Webmaster results, and funny code appearing as your meta description in search results.

You’ve just got to keep an eye on your own web presence and use any tools you can to make sure you don’t become the next victim for the criminals that want to use your site to spew their malware. Be vigilant to be safe!