It is very common nowadays for people to build websites using WordPress. In fact, WordPress powers more than 30% of all websites created around the world. This means that there are millions of websites using various WordPress themes and plugins. Plugins, in particular, are used heavily by WordPress websites to add various “cool” features to WordPress. This makes plugins the prime targets for hackers to hack into your website.
So, can WordPress Plugins contain viruses? Yes, WordPress Plugins can contain viruses if they come from unreliable sources. But in general, WordPress plugins do not contain viruses if you get them from trusted and reliable sources.
But how do plugins introduce viruses? How much harm can these viruses cause? Can such viruses spread to other websites?
You will find answers to all of these questions and many more in this little guide. So keep reading…
How Do WordPress Plugins Induce Viruses?
WordPress is based on a programming language called PHP.
So even WordPress Plugins are written in the same PHP programming language.
And a piece of code written in PHP can do anything!
This means that WordPress Plugins are capable of doing anything. They can access the data in your WordPress database, edit that data, delete that data, or do whatever the plugin is written to do.
That is how WordPress Plugins induce viruses.
How Much Harm Can Viruses Cause To A WordPress Website?
As I just said, WordPress plugins can be written to access the WordPress database.
So they are capable of editing or deleting the data residing in your WordPress database which includes your WordPress settings, user credentials, other sensitive data, etc. They can even send out the data collected by them to the hackers.
This can severely impact your website and totally distort it.
It can even lock you out completely from accessing your WordPress Admin Panel.
Or leak your customer data to hackers if you are running a WordPress eCommerce store.
This will not only cause harm to your website but it can also cause a lot of damage to your business.
Now the next question that comes up is…
Can The Virus Spread?
There are two ways in which the virus can spread…
- From one website to another, and
- From one website to the entire server on which the website is hosted.
For the first one, it is unlikely that a virus will spread from one website to another website as long as the other website has security measures in place protecting it from injection of any malicious code.
For the second one, whether a virus can spread on a server depends on the server setup.
But in general, a virus cannot spread on an entire server because most of the web hosting companies do have adequate security measures in place to avoid this situation.
However, if you set up a server and allow downloading and executing of files, then it is possible that some unwanted files can be downloaded containing code that can cause some serious damage to your server.
This could even lead to an entire server containing multiple websites getting infected.
All those websites would then get infected too.
However, this situation is not so common because almost all web hosting companies have security measure in place on their servers.
Okay, I know you are getting worried by now and are probably wondering…
Is WordPress Safe To Use?
Yes, WordPress is safe to use.
Mostly, the websites built using WordPress get infected with viruses if you install plugins from unreliable and untrusted sources.
As long as you don’t do this, WordPress is perfectly safe to use.
After all, more than 30% of the websites around the world wouldn’t be using WordPress if it was not safe to use.
So remove the fear from your mind about using WordPress.
I am using WordPress for more than 10 years now and never had any security issues as such.
So are there any security measures that you should take?
Simplest Ways To Secure Your WordPress Website From Viruses
First of all, choose a good and reliable web hosting company to host your website.
If you are unsure about which web hosting company you should choose, then take a look at my web host recommendations.
I always keep this list of WordPress web hosting companies updated based on my experience with them.
So you can safely choose one of them.
Once you have done that, the next thing that you should do is to make sure that you do not install plugins from unreliable and untrusted sources.
Always install plugins from the WordPress Plugins Repository.
This will drastically reduce the chances of any viruses creeping into your website.
I must put a disclaimer though that all plugins are not created equal. So there are chances that the plugin developer could have left a security hole that hackers can exploit.
However, such instances are not common even if they do happen once in a while.
Now, if you want to use plugins from outside, then do your complete research before using them.
If these are free plugins, then there is absolutely no reason for them to be not available on the WordPress Plugins Repository.
And if these are paid plugins, then usually they should be safe. However, it never hurts to do some background checks on the developers of these plugins to see how trustworthy they are and their past reputation.
Keep this one simple rule in mind…
Never ever install a plugin on your WordPress website from unknown sources. Always, always, cross-check the trustworthiness of the plugin developer.
Alright, I hope you have understood the importance of being cautious in using plugins.
Let’s Wrap Up!
I guess you have understood by now that WordPress plugins can contain viruses.
However, it is not common for a plugin to contain viruses if it comes from a trusted and reliable source.
So using WordPress and WordPress plugins is safe.
Don’t be afraid to build your website using WordPress. It has a very large community behind it and so it is easy to find help if you ever need it.
Finally, if you found this little guide useful, then please share it with your friends on social media. I would really appreciate that.