How to Take a Fake Website Down in WordPress
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s totally free to use and install on your own server. Plus, it’s extremely portable: all the code and themes are open-source, which means you can download and run the entire thing on your own device—even if you don’t have access to high-speed internet.
But, just like any other piece of software or web application, it can be used in ways that are harmful to your business or brand. In this article, we’ll tell you how to take a fake website down in WordPress in 5 minutes or less.
Check For Errors
The first step in taking down a fake website is to check for any errors that might be present. You do this by going to wp-admin (the dashboard), clicking on Tools, and then clicking on LangTools. This will open up a new tab with all the errors displayed. You can also click the LangTools button to view errors in a specific language.
Now, you want to go through each error and correct it. In some cases, this can be as easy as replacing a few words or sentences with something more appropriate. But in other cases, you might have to delete an entire section of code or template that’s causing the issue. If you’re not sure what’s wrong, it might be a good idea to contact the WordPress Development Team – they can help you figure out which template or code is at fault.
Block Resource-heavy Pages
Another important step in taking down a fake website is to block resource-heavy pages from being loaded entirely. To do this, go to wp-admin and click on Tools. Then, click on Performance and Resource Management. This will bring up a screen where you can control which resources get loaded for each page: images, scripts, and stylesheets. You can block individual resources from being loaded or you can block all resources except scripts from being loaded. You can also choose to 404 Redirect all resource-heavy pages or just the home page (with index.php in the URL).
Now, if you decide to block all scripts from being loaded, you might notice that some of the functionalities on your site stop working. For example, if you have a contact form that utilizes scripts to send the message, form submission, captcha verification, and spam protection are all now unavailable. So, if you decide to block all scripts, be careful not to block everything!
Redirect To A New Home
Once you’ve taken down a web directory that was nothing more than a virus or phishing attempt (which, ironically, is mostly made up of spam and scams), you might want to redirect all the traffic to a new home. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do in WordPress. Go to http://yoursite.com/ in your browser and you should see a screen similar to the one below.
Click on Settings and then on Redirect to bring up the Redirection sub-menu. Then, you can enter the URL of your new homepage in the Home field and click Save Changes. Congratulations, you now have a properly configured and functional redirect.
If you’d like, you can also create a 404 Error for any non-existent page, blog entry, product, directory, or tag to ensure that no one accidentally lands on that URL. Just remember to replace the index.php in the URL with /, as index.php is the file used to display the WordPress homepage.
Change The Theme
One of the most important aspects of taking down a fake website is changing the theme. When most people think of counterfeit websites, they think of sites that are very similar to the original—maybe even identical in some cases. But, in reality, due to the ever-evolving world of hacking, spamming, and password-sniffing, the web hosts, designers, and programmers that build these sites typically have to tweak and update the code repeatedly to keep up with the latest virus, scam, or spam attack.
For obvious reasons, you never want to use the same theme that was used in the original website. So, after you’ve taken down the harmful website, you need to download the original theme from the ThemeForest, or a similarly named theme, and install it on your new site.
Make sure to customize the new theme to suit your needs. Then, you can upload relevant photos and artwork, adjust the colors, and add or remove modules as needed to create a functional and clean looking site that meets your needs.
Secure Your Server
Another important step in taking down a fake website is securing your server. Just like any other piece of software or web application, WordPress can be accessed from anywhere on the internet. So, if you’re viewing this article on a public website, anyone with internet access can also access your site. While this might not seem like a problem, whenever you have access to the internet, you’re also open to the possibility of being hacked, attacked by a virus, or scammed by a spammer. To secure your server, you can use the free antivirus software Bitdefender, which is simple to install and setup, or you can use the Comodo Dragon, which is one of the most popular solutions among the big-name antivirus providers. Either way, you need to keep your software up-to-date and secure your administrative area (called the admin panel) with a strong password. Once you do this, it’ll be almost impossible for an attacker to access your site unless they know your password or hack one of your social media accounts (which, ironically, is usually the easiest way to access all the good stuff). By securing your server, you’re also securing your business and brand. So, it’s worth it.
While we could go on and on about the dangers of using WordPress for a website, the fact of the matter is that this software is extremely secure and easy to use. And, above all else, you should use something that you know is safe and effective.