How to Fix Site Infected with URL Blacklist

Does your site gets infected with URL blacklist and you’re not sure how to fix this issue on your website? Getting URL blacklisted by search engines is one of the most troublesome things which we all may suffer from. 

If I talk about myself, a few websites which I own also compromised, and the URLs get blacklisted from Google and Bing search engines. And in this scenario, I lost around 70% of my website traffic. If the same thing is happening with you, then here I’m with another most exclusive post on fixing infected sites from the URL blacklist. 

But why my website shows this issue?

Things like this commonly happen when you use nulled plugins or themes on your website. Apart from this, if your website got hacked or accidentally hosted a phishing script on your website, then it also shows this issue and blacklists the URL from search engines.

Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through it and help you to solve the URL blacklist issue on your website. You can trust me on this because I personally suffered from the URL blacklist issue and fixed it myself on the websites.

But before sharing the steps to solve this issue, first, let’s learn how and why search engines blacklist URLs.

What is URL Blacklist

A URL blacklist is a list of URLs which is blocked by search engines or security tools to show in SERPs or index due to security issues. These URLs are blocked because of some malicious behavior of sites.

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Website Showing “Deceptive Site Ahead” Error

Along with it, if the website is blacklisted by Security tools or Search engines, it will show an overridden page indicating that the website is malicious or infected. This helps and protects users from visiting a malicious or hacked website. It also helped to protect the user experience of peoples who visits your website.


How Does a URL Get Blacklisted?

Not sure how does a URL gets blacklisted by Google and other search engines?

When we talk about the search engines, they always update their algorithms to detect issues on the website and if they found any spammy site or a hacked site, the algorithms blocked them from showing in the results to prevent the security of users and to increase the overall experience.

So here are a few ways which cause search engines to blacklist your site or URL;

Backdoor or Malware in Website’s Theme or Plugin

Backdoor and malware attacks are some of the most common attacks through which your website can get penalized. Most of the time, people like us use nulled plugins or themes on our website to save a few bucks, but later we find out those plugins contains malware or virus.

But until we came to know about it, our website got completely hacked and you’ll see thousands of unknown Chinese or Japanese links indexed on search engines. It can be really harmful to your website so don’t even use nulled plugins/themes on the website.

Website Defacement

Website defacement is another common issue that happens mostly with custom websites. If your website got hacked by some hacker, they place a defacement file on your website instead of your normal index.php page which is shown to everyone.

If Google or any other search engines detect any website defacement page on your website, then you’re likely to get blacklisted by search engines. To prevent these types of attacks, make sure the security of your website is good and customized.

Phishing Hosted on Your Website

Google hates phishing links the most. Phishing links are a type of links in which you’ve created a fraudulent page of other websites appearing to be a legitimate page.

Most of the time, attackers host phishing sites on your website and show it to every user to steal the credentials of users including their Email ID or Passwords to their credit card or debit card details.

Spammy Links Attack

The last but not the least way through which your website got penalize is spammy link attacks. Hackers or sometimes even your competitors build negative or spammy links for your blogs using some tools like GSA.

These tools create hundreds or thousands of spammy links for your website and once the links are indexed in Google, it slowly started to decrease the ranking of your website. To prevent these types of attacks in the future, I highly recommend you disavow spammy links in Google.


How to Check If URL is Blacklisted

If your website got blacklisted in search engines, then you can see an instant drop in website traffic which can be seen in Google Analytics. This is the most common way to check if your website or URL is blacklisted in search engines.

Once you confirmed the decline in your website traffic, then use the tools I’m sharing below for issues.

  • Safe Browsing by Google – It is a tool by Google that allows you to detect issues on your website and also shows if your website or URL is blacklisted on Google or not.
  • Google Search Console Security Action – As a part of the Webmaster feature, it allows you to detect any security issues on your website and gives you a detailed overview of the issue found on your website. 

If no issues shown in “Google Search Console Security Action“, then it means Google hadn’t detected any issues on your website till now. But still, I’ll recommend you check your website using “Safe Browsing by Google” which is most accurate.

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Security Issues in Webmaster

Steps to Remove URL from Blacklisted

Once your website or URL gets blacklist in search engines, it’s a whole more process to get it removed from the blacklist. If your website got blacklisted, here are a few ways that actually helps to remove the penalty from your website.

Check if You’re Using Nulled Plugins/Themes

Most of the time the issue occurs due to nulled plugins and themes. If you’re using any nulled theme or plugin on your website, deactivate and then remove them from your server.

Once the plugin is removed, the next thing is to check the file integrity with a few security plugins like Wordfence. 

Check File Integrity Using Security Plugins & Manually

The next step is to check the integrity of the files using plugins like Wordfence. To check the file integrity, install and activate the Wordfence plugin on your website and then click on full site scanning.

It will take 5-10 minutes or more to properly scan your server and show the security issues it found during scanning your website. It also shows the integrity of the files and if any unknown changes made to your website’s files. 

If you found any files which are affected by malware or virus, carefully remove them with the fresh files – but before making any changes, take a complete backup of your WordPress website. If you’re not aware of how WordPress works, I highly recommend you hire some professionals for doing it.

Ask Your Hosting Provider to Remove Malware

Instead of doing it yourself, you can also ask your hosting provider to remove the malware from your website. Most of the hosting provider offers malware removal service along with the hosting purchase.

If your hosting provider is not removing the malware for you, then I recommend you shifting to Flywheel. It is because they offer free migration of your website even it is hacked and fixes everything for you, which further helps to remove the URL:blacklist issue from your website.

You can also hire our team to completely remove the malware from your website. For support, you can reach us at [email protected] with your issues.

In the end, if nothing works for you…

Upload Old Backup

Uploading an old backup is the last option you’ve got if nothing works for you. If you’ve got a backup of your website, upload it because it’s better to upload an old backup rather than losing your website completely. 

If you don’t have the backup of your website, ask your posting provider to upload it from their end. Because most of the hosting providers save the off-side backup on their server.

Once your website is fixed, it will take a few months to reflect and remove the penalty from your website


How to Protect Site from Being Blacklisted in Future

Till now we have shared the steps to remove the URL or site from the blacklist. 

But here I’ll guide you through a few best practices that will help you to safeguard you and your website from being blacklisted in the future using a few common strategies to protect your website.

I’ll recommend you following these strategies at the highest priority because a single hacking attempt or a malicious file can remove your website from search engines.

Using Reputable Hosting

Hosting plays an important role in preventing your site from getting hacked. If your website is hosted on a shared server or a server from some unreliable company, then you’re at great risk.

I highly recommend you to shift your website from those unreliable companies to some reliable companies who also prevent your website from getting hacked with their advanced firewall rules and securities. For this, I recommend you shift your website to some shared hosting providers like SiteGround, GreenGeeks or to managed hosting providers like WPX Hosting, Cloudways, Flywheel, etc.

I’ve also shared a separate post on my blog where I compared Flywheel along with SiteGround. If you’re confused between choosing managed hosting vs shared hosting, then I highly recommend you to go through it. You can find the post here.

Also, make sure your website is hosted on the latest version of PHP and MySQL databases. It is very important and with every update of PHP and database, they fix a lot of bugs.

Use Original & Trusted Plugins/Themes

Using trusted and original plugins or themes on your website plays a vital role in preventing your site from hacking attempts. It means I highly disagree to use nulled themes or plugins on your website because most of them come with PHP Shell to gain the access to your website and it’s not good for you and your website.

Don’t trust me?

To test this out, I’ve downloaded a nulled plugin “Updraft Premium” from some XYZ nulled website and tested the files using the website.

VirusTotal is a website that works to check viruses in the files you uploaded or the link you entered using various antivirus software. It is really helpful to detect viruses in files with hundreds of antivirus out there.

And here is the result of the nulled plugin I downloaded from some XYZ website;

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Virus Detected in Nulled Plugin Using VirusTotal

As you can see in the image above, the Qihoo-360 antivirus detected the PHP Web Shell in the plugin I uploaded. 

If you upload and use this nulled plugin on your website, then your website is vulnerable to various attacks and once it got attacked by hackers, you’ll completely lose your website ranking. 

So it’s better not to use nulled plugins or themes on your server.

Enable Auto-Updates on Your Website

Updating your website CMS, Plugins, or Themes comes under the best practices to prevent your site from getting attacked and from the URL blacklist. If you regularly update the website with the latest update of the plugin, then your chances of getting attacked will reduce.

Whenever a theme or plugin provider finds some vulnerabilities on their products, they’ll instantly release a patch update with the bug fixes and it helps a lot to prevent your website from getting vulnerable to that bug.

This type of attack mostly happens with business websites because once the business site is ready, people usually don’t log in to the dashboard or update anything on the website which is very harmful. In cases like this, I highly recommend you to auto-update your plugin, theme, or CMS to the latest version from the dashboard settings.

Here I’m sharing a code that can enable auto-update on WordPress Plugin and Themes for you. Just copy-paste this code on your theme’s function.php file.

And to set auto-update of WordPress CMS, copy-paste this code to the wp-config.php file.

Nowadays WordPress also comes with an option to enable auto-update of themes and files right from the WordPress dashboard. If you don’t want to add code manually, you can use those options to set auto-update from the dashboard with ease.

Use Security Plugins on Your Website

Security plugins play a major role in stopping hacking attempts on your website and protect sites from OWASP’s top 10 attacks and from security issues on plugins.

If you use a security plugin on your website, then your website will not get hacked and if anyone tries to attack your website, the plugin will blacklist the attacker’s IP and update you about it via email or any other options you selected during the setup of the plugin.

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Use Security Plugins on Your Website

Here are a few security plugins, which are best and helps to protect your website from spammers and attackers. I highly recommend you to consider these plugins for your website and safeguard yourself and your website from malicious files and hacking attempts.

1. WordFence

When it comes to managing the security of the WordPress website using some plugins, I trust WordFence. WordFence is one of the most popular and powerful tools which you ever got for your website. 

This plugin is something that I personally prefer to use on my all websites. The free version of the plugin works like a charm and the premium one is like cheery on the cake.

Depends on the type of website, I’ve installed both the free and the paid version of this plugin and it really prevents my website from getting hacked by various types of attacks including brute force attacks.

Along with it, the plugin features hard to scan, google reCaptcha on login page, real-time IP block, and tons of other powerful security features which you’ll never get in any other free plugin.

Some notable features of Wordfence;

  • Comes with Freemium Version
  • Tons of Security Features & Real-time IP Block
  • Easily Integrates with Google reCaptcha
  • Able to Manage site from Wordfence Central

2. Sucuri

Sucuri is another most popular and powerful security suite for your Website. It is a cloud-based security plugin for WordPress CMS with tons of useful features and comes with an easy-to-manage dashboard.

Just like Wordfence, Sucuri also comes with a freemium option and it is really helpful for checking the file integrity of the website, blacklist monitoring, remote malware scanning, and a lot more useful security tools to compliment your website’s security.

This plugin is highly useful for new bloggers and peoples who’re not much into technology and security. The plugin is really good and also offers post-hacking cleanup but the thing which I don’t like in their plugins is the website firewall because they only offer website firewalls to premium users.

Some notable features of Sucuri;

  • Comes with Freemium Version
  • File Integrity Monitoring & Remote Malware Removing
  • Blocklist Monitoring
  • Effective Security Hardening & Post-Hack Security Actions

3. iThemes Security

iThemes Security is another most powerful security suite for your website. It offers 30+ ways to protect your website from hackers. Most WordPress admins don’t know they’re vulnerable, but iThemes Security works to lock down WordPress, fix common holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials. 

The plugins keeps supporting WordPress and developing plugins from 2008, so you can trust the security they offers for WordPress and how far they’ve gone to protect your website from bad peoples.

They also offer a Pro plugin of iTheme Security which takes the security of your website to the next level. Some of the pro features can include, Two-Factor Login Authentication, WordPress Salts & Security Keys, Malware Scheduling, etc.

Some notable features of iThemes Security;

  • Prevents Brute Force Attacks
  • Bans Troublesome User Agents, Bots, and Other Hosts
  • Turns off File Editing from within WordPress Admin Area

4. MalCare

Malware is another simple to use yet powerful security suite for your website. It has the capability to detect and remove malware from your website in a single click. This plugin is created in such a way that t protects you from all security vulnerabilities and helps to focus more on growing your business.

It offers full-site malware scanning and cloud-based scanning for your website. You can easily request cloud-based scanning from their Malcare dashboard with a single click. It also has an intelligent firewall for your website and blocks bad bots too.

The thing which I don’t like much about this plugin is, it offers to view hacked files with the premium version of the plugin and also offers real-time firewall updates only on the paid plugin.

Some notable features of MalCare;

  • Cloud-Based Full-Malware Scanning 
  • Block Bad Bots from Your Website
  • Login Protection

Bonus – SiteLock

SiteLock is a cloud-based global security suite for website protection and monitoring. Their cybersecurity products eliminate cyber threats, keeping websites secure and safe. 

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SiteLock – Global Leader in Website Security

SiteLock service is also provided by various web hosting providers like Bluehost and SiteGround. The only downside of using SiteLock is, it takes a bit more time to configure and install it. 

Another thing which I liked most about SiteLock is, it not only detected malware or virus attacks on your website but also helps in removing them from your site. 

Some notable features of SiteLock;

  • Advance Website Scanning and Malware Removal
  • Block Bad Bots from Your Web Application
  • DDoS Protection, Reputation and Website Security

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still got any questions? 

Here I’m sharing a few frequently asked questions which help you!

Does URL:Blacklist Reduce My Website Ranking?

Yes, once google or any other search engines detect any malware or phishing on your website it blocks the URL from the search result. And once the URL is blocked, it will take a lot more time to again make your link visible in search engines.

Also, once the URL got blocked, it will become harder for you to again rank them on the first or second page of the search engines.

How to Check If My Website Got Blacklisted?

There are a few online tools that help you to check if your URL is blacklisted on search engines or not. Some of these tools can include “Safe Browsing by Google“.

As the name, this tool is officially by Google and helps to determine the issues on the page. Apart from this, Google also shows errors on the webmaster page, so keep checking the page for issues.

Wrapping Up!

In this guide, we shared a few ways to prevent your website from getting URL:blacklist and the methods to solve them. These methods are really helpful to remove the URL from the blacklist of Google and other search engines and again help you to rank those pages and your website in search engines.

I highly recommend taking these things seriously and preventing your site from getting blacklisted next time. If you still face any issue or wanted to share something, you can reach us at [email protected] or you can use the comment section below to reach us.

Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends, family, and followers to help them prevent their site from getting hacked or blocked, and remember sharing is caring. 😁

Sunny Kumar

Number of posts: 159

Hi, I'm Sunny Kumar, a passionate tech enthusiast and a blogger from New Delhi, India. With a degree in IT from IIT-D and expertise in SEO, Cloud Computing, Telecom & Networking, and CEH, I specialize in various technical fields, including SEO, WordPress Development, and PC Building. And being a proficient WordPress user, I’m dedicated to delivering quality content and a remarkable user experience.

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