How to Find and Rectify Malicious Redirected Links

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A malicious redirect code is usually inserted into your website with a plan to redirect the site visitor to other websites. Attackers often place these malicious redirects into a website intending to create marketing impressions. However, the problem comes when these redirections cause more damaging effects.  Some damages can include vulnerabilities in the computer of the site visitor. This happens through web-based scripts that install malware on vulnerable machines. Therefore, it is vital to remove any malicious redirect from your site. In this how-to guide, we will explain the best ways to identify and remove malicious redirects from your website.

How to know if your site is infected

As a site owner, you may not be aware that your website is redirecting visitors. By the time you realize it, your customers may have already ending up visiting a not so pleasing website via a redirect while trying to visit your site. In as much as you may think everything is ok on your computer, site visitors using mobile platforms may still experience malicious activities. However, the redirects usually happen on some pages, but not others. At times, you may need to identify any malicious redirects, find out how to remove them and restore your site to normalcy.

Finding and removing harmful (malicious) redirects

Ensure you back up any site files in a secure place before you make changes to the data in your site, as well as the database. This process is vital for those who are unaware of their content management system’s (CMS) inner workings. You can find malicious redirects in any area of your site, including your database, site files, and so on.

Here is how you can find and rectify redirected malicious links:

Javascript inserted in pages and posts

Attackers usually run a script that can add javascript through each post and page on your site. So, these redirects will be found in the site’s database. (here’s an example of JS redirect to see on your database).

Removing this redirect: The scripts can be removed via editing through the necessary tools.

Complicated javascript added to javascript files 

An attacker adds some lines of javascript to numerous javascript files in your site’s data. For this reason, you may not find results due to the site files searching for the URL redirecting you to the website.

Removing this redirect: You can remove this malicious file by downloading the entire site through an FTP program to your machine. The process will enable you to search for the offending javascript using any file editing software, such as Notepad++ (our personal favorite). A development tool can detect if the malicious files have been inserted in all the javascript files on the site.

Ad networks

Your site may be free of malware, but some advertising networks can redirect your site visitors. Knowing the culprit advertising network may be challenging due to sporadically and random malicious advert redirects.

Removing this redirect: Maybe you have utilized all options to stop advertising networks from redirecting your site visitors. In such a case, removing the ad networks from your site will resolve the malicious redirection concerns.

How to Protect Your Site from malicious redirect attacks

Attackers may insert malicious code on your website and make it behave abnormally. You can take the following steps to ensure your site is secure:

  • You can begin by reviewing your hosting account to ensure it doesn’t contain additional harmful content.
  • Make sure your site has updated applications in their latest versions
  • Update your site plugins, extensions, and plugins to their latest versions.
  • You can change the FTP database passwords along with web apps
  • Consider scanning your local workstation for any signs of compromise and take necessary actions.
  • Adopt security software for your website to scan your site for compromises and vulnerabilities.

Why You Should Protect Your Site from Redirects

Redirect attacks can include malware hacks and can cause severe damage to your website. Some of the ill effects associated with redirects include the following:

Reduces SEO effectiveness

Getting your site to rank high on search platforms is a difficult task that takes months of laborious hard work. Hackers, once they get access to your website, piggyback on your SEO endeavors. Your traffic may fall as site visitors get redirected to other webpages. Hackers tend to place links inside your site, baiting visitors to click on them upon which they get redirected to other websites. Such hacks can cause Google to penalize you for bad backlinks. Recovery from this kind of failure could take a lot of time.

Privacy breach

Website hacks increase your risk of visitors’ information being stolen which is what is usually referred to as a data breach. This is considered a severe offense to visitors because no one gets pleased when their personal information is leaked to anyone. Data breaches also carry a lot of legal consequences depending on each country’s regulations.

Risk of Google Blacklist of Your site

Search giant Google values its users’ safety and experience above all. Keeping this in mind, sites with malicious links may be blacklisted on Google. When this happens, your prospective site visitors will either be shown a warning that the site risks their information or be blocked from accessing the site.

Your web host may suspend your account

Web hackers need to access your web server resources to be able to run their activities smoothly. This can easily exceed your web host limit. Sites with malicious content eat up more server resources than what may be granted. This usually slows down other sites on the same web server or causes unforeseen problems for your web host. This may prompt the web host provider to suspend your account.        

Loss of revenue and sales

When your site is suspended and blacklisted, the visitors to your site will be diverted, and you will effectively take a hit. Putting this into perspective, for every second your website is down, you stand to lose your ad revenue and paying customers.


In conclusion, knowing how the redirect got into your site is paramount. You need to know the malware types as well as security vulnerabilities on your website. You will need to see how the attacker gained access to your site and inserted the malicious (harmful) redirect.

Want to check if you have hidden redirects? My recommendation tool is ‘Redirect Tracker’ –

John Culotta
John is the chief editor here at WebDesignDev. He is a creative who enjoys writing, research, and all things design related as well as (formerly) a full-time musician. As an entrepreneur, he has many years of experience in designing websites, packaging, logos, photo editing, and the development of his own top-selling products on Amazon and Shopify. You can see his motivational Instagram account or connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

1 thought on “How to Find and Rectify Malicious Redirected Links”

  1. Having designed and developed so many websites over the years, I think it is also important to point out that prevention is better than cure. In many cases, websites get malicious attacks or hacked because they cut corners by using cracked/nulled/free themes or plugins. Nothing free is good, guys. Get a proper licensed theme or plugin. Update your website regularly. Set difficult password with uppercase letters and symbols. And you’re set!


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