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How to Identify and Repair a Hacked WordPress Site – Introduction – The Symptoms of the Hacked Site

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Good morning everybody and welcome to this special seminar on How to Identify and Fix a Hacked WordPress Website. I’m going to start this off by showing you the problem on a member’s website.

The Symptoms

It appears partly on her homepage. Her image here is not clickable, this should be taking us to her homepage not just doing nothing. GoDaddy has this image of what her site looked like yesterday and you can see that there’s the image here but then you’ve got this black background and this welcome thing and then this whole page is all broken.

Missing Body Classes

There’s quite a bit of failure happening here and we weren’t really able to identify right away what was causing it. We were able to identify ultimately why the problem existed. If we view the page source and come down and look at our body tag, it doesn’t have any of the typical classes assigned to it.

When the body tag doesn’t have classes assigned to it, the header and this background image and things like that typically fail. In fact, a bunch of the formatting on the site will fail because it’s dependent upon the body classes that are added to a page.

What the Body Classes Should Show

I’ll show you one of my test sites, sbywhfinal. This is also a Genesis Agency website, using the same version of Genesis and the same version of Agency that Leah’s site is using. If you view the page source on this one and come down to the body tag you can see there’s this class=”home blog custombackground custom-header header-image full-width-content, etc, etc.

It’s got all of these classes that have been added to the body tag so we refer to as a body class. These are classes in the body tag and the styling and arrangement of the page is very dependent upon those body classes and that’s been missing from this even though at the moment, it looks quite a bit better than it did when we were looking at it yesterday.

Another Site with Similar Problems

I have another example of this happening on another member’s site. In this case, his header image is entirely missing, his background image is missing and if we look at his Career Development page, it’s all cut off and so these are all symptoms of that same problem.

Again, if we view the page source and scroll down here and look at the body tag, you can see that the body tag doesn’t have any classes associated with it. So that is the problem that we are trying to solve.

I’m going to walk you through the process of troubleshooting this and in particular, part of this process is going to be identifying that the site is in fact hacked because this problem actually does come from a hacking but we didn’t know that until this morning, until I was working my way through identifying and solving the problem.

Who Is This Seminar For?

So who is this seminar for? It’s for somebody who has really inexplicable errors, they can be intermittent errors, they can often display different symptoms but it’s not necessarily a consistent problem and it’s definitely not a stylistic problem.

So this is for someone who’s site is misbehaving in one way or another and there have been many different instances of this misbehavior that I’ve talked about over the last couple of years. We’ve had conversations like this whether permalinks are failing or archive pages are failing, just many different things.

But we’ve never seen the body class system being broken on a site before and so it can be appropriate for any number of odd ball out of the blue problems where the solution doesn’t really sort of leap to mind. Now, bear in mind this is not for small problems, right?

I field questions like this all the time on the forum where somebody says, “Well, I can’t get my header image to get centered so I think there’s something wrong with my site”. Well, I mean to be honest the answer to that question almost always is, no, you just to learn something new.

The answer generally is not “There’s something wrong with the site”, but the answer is, “There’s some gap in the person’s knowledge”, and if you’ve got stylistic problems that you’re having issues with, don’t try to fix it this way. If you’re having stylistic issues, post the question on the forum and let me address it that way because the chances are, most of the problems that you are going to identify, have to do with missing knowledge.

Most things that don’t seem to work exactly the way you want them to do are not going to rise to a level of complexity sufficient to require you to do what we’re doing here today in this seminar on How to Identify and Fix a Hacked WordPress Website.

Next I’m going to show you how to identify problems on a WordPress Website.

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