How to Scan a Website for Malware — Full Guide 2023

Tyler Cross Tyler Cross

Short on time? Here’s the best malware scanner for websites in 2023:

  • 🥇 Sucuri SiteCheck: Versatile scanner that can check any website or page in a matter of seconds and make sure that it’s virus-free. The premium version can remove malware and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

When you have your own website, it’s vital to make sure it isn’t infected by malware. There are nasty threats out there that can harm your customers, ruin your reputation as a safe merchant, or even lead to your whole website being hijacked. I wanted to find some convenient tools website owners can use to run quick scans and make sure that there’s no malware infecting their sites.

So I started testing website malware scanners and vulnerability checkers. I wanted to find some that actually work — a lot of website scanners are outdated, only work for a small number of websites, or give highly technical reports that would require research for anyone, even tech enthusiasts, to fully understand.

I’m glad to say that I was able to find 5 great website malware scanners that work well, are easy to use, and are free. My favorite scanner for non-WordPress websites is Sucuri SiteCheck. It’s fast, free, and has a good premium option that can also remove any malware it catches. If you’re using a WordPress website, I recommend the WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker. It only takes a few seconds and doesn’t require any downloads. That said, you can’t really go wrong with any of the scanners on my list.

Quick summary of the best malware scanner for websites:

🥇1. Sucuri SiteCheck — Best Overall Website Malware Scanner

Sucuri SiteCheck is a free online website malware scanner that requires no downloads. It’s one of the most versatile free website scanners, and it can scan domains on any website platform (e.g. WordPress or HTML). Its scans are thorough too, searching for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, and more.

In my tests, I was able to scan every website I tried in about 30 seconds to a minute, making it one of the fastest scanners I found. It gives you an overall security score as well as a highly detailed breakdown of everything it scanned for. The information is presented in neat sections and the language isn’t overly technical. In fact, anyone could use Sucuri SiteCheck regardless of how experienced they are with technology.

The results included my websites’ blacklisting status with Google, McAfee, and others. Luckily, the sites I tested hadn’t been blacklisted, but if you do find that your website is on blacklists, it could be because of hidden malware that you need to uninstall. Blacklisting can be extremely harmful to a website and can take years of reputation-building to recover from — so I’d recommend performing regular scans of your website to avoid it.

Sucuri has a very intuitive 1-click design. All you need to do is paste in the URL of your website into the provided text box, then click Submit, and the rest is automatic. The website is also very sleek — unlike some other products, it has no ads or annoying pop-ups cluttering the scanner.

Sucuri’s premium plans are a bit pricier than some of the other options on my list, starting at $199.99 / year. While quite expensive, Sucuri’s premium product offers malware removal tools, an excellent firewall, blocklist monitoring to protect your reputation and stay off blocklists, hack protection and DDoS mitigation to protect from cyber attacks, and more. All plans cover 1 domain and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Sucuri offers an incredibly versatile website malware scanner. The scans were fast — all under a minute during my tests — and came with detailed breakdowns of everything that was scanned for. This included viruses, domain blacklisting status, and much more. Sucuri is very user-friendly and has an intuitive design. The premium plans include a great firewall, malware removal tools, hack protection, blocklist monitoring, and more. They cover 1 domain and are all covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.


🥈2. Quttera — Versatile & Fast Website Malware Scanner

Quttera is a quality website malware scanner. Unlike most website scanners, it’s compatible with any website and not just limited to specific platforms like WordPress. The scanner is completely free and hosted on the Quttera website, meaning there are no installations required.

When I tested it out, the scans were fast and efficient. Each scan I tried took about 30 seconds to a minute and provided me with both a quick safety check and the option to view more detailed scans. It showed me malicious files, suspicious and potentially suspicious files, and a lot more. It also showed me if the website I was testing was blacklisted by Google, Fortinet, or other blacklisting authorities.

Quterra is very easy to use, though the UI is a bit cluttered. There were several ads that I had to scroll past to find the website scanner and it can be easy to miss. By comparison, Sucuri and VirusTotal have much more intuitive designs that put the scanner at the forefront of the page. Also, since there can be a queue if many users are using the scanner, sometimes there’s a long wait to scan your website.

Quttera’s THREATSIGN! Website Anti-Malware premium plans offer more features. The Essential Security plan offers a network firewall and several malware removal tools for $10 / month. The best value plan, Premium Security, offers more frequent malware scans, faster response times, automatic malware removal, unlimited malware removal requests, and blacklist removal for Google, Yahoo, McAfee, and more for $179 / year. Quttera plans cover 1 domain and come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Quttera is a great website malware scanner. You can scan any website domain right from the Quttera homepage with no installations or downloads required. Most scans took under a minute during my tests and came with a detailed explanation to help me understand what was checked. The premium plans include website malware removal tools, cover 1 domain, and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


🥉3. VirusTotal — A Truly Free Website Malware Scanner

VirusTotal is a free tool that uses 70+ domain blocklisting services and antivirus scanners. Its website lets you scan any site or page by pasting your URL into a search bar located on the main page. While it’s usually better to scan a whole domain rather than just a specific page, it’s still nice that VirusTotal offers this extra level of versatility.

Scanning a domain took about a minute in my tests, and I was given an in-depth review of the site. It showed me the results of every one of its antivirus engines and domain blocklisting services in an easy-to-read graph.

VirusTotal is free to use and supported by a strong community. One of its main features (one that I like a lot) is that it allows users to comment on files and URLs that have been scanned with VirusTotal, and send notes to other users. Whenever you submit a scan, you’re helping build a community-supported cybersecurity service in real time.

While VirusTotal does have premium products — which offer extremely in-depth information and scans — none of them offer malware removal tools like Sucuri or Quttera. Rather than having prices listed, you can receive a quote when you request the software.

Bottom Line:

VirusTotal is a free online website malware scanner that has fast and thorough scans. It uses over 70 antivirus scanners and domain blocklisting services to detect any threats your website might be facing. It is heavily community-focused — scans are saved and community members can send notes and leave comments on specific URLs.


4. WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker — Fastest Scanner for WordPress Websites

WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker is a free tool hosted on the SafetyDetectives website. It utilizes the CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) database and Top-200 WordPress Plugins list to perform an in-depth analysis of any WordPress website. All you have to do is paste the URL of your website into the search bar and click Check Website.

The Vulnerability Checker’s scanning is super quick (my longest scan was about 20 seconds), and it provides you with a detailed report that shows you out-of-date plugins and includes a link to a relevant app that can help update the plugin. I tested it out on several popular WordPress websites (like the Obama Foundation), and it successfully scanned all of them.

The tool has an intuitive design and works with a single click. Though it might not have as many features for WordPress websites as MalCare — which includes a real-time firewall and excellent malware detection scans — it doesn’t require you to make an account or download anything (which MalCare does).

All that said, the Vulnerability Checker only works for WordPress websites. For different platforms, I’d recommend Sucuri SiteCheck instead.

The WordPress Plugins Detector won’t remove malware or auto-update plugins, but it is completely free, very fast, and uses massive cybersecurity databases to guarantee its scans are always accurate.

Bottom Line:

The WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker is great for WordPress sites — it scans them for out-of-date or vulnerable plugins. It’s very fast and uses massive cybersecurity databases to provide detailed information and links to update plugins. The Vulnerability Checker requires no downloads or account to use and is completely free.


5. MalCare — Reliable Scanner for WordPress Websites

MalCare is a very thorough scanner for WordPress websites — though it’s different from other options on this list. Rather than being able to simply paste your website’s URL in and scan it, you first must create an account and provide your WordPress admin details, then download the plugin. While it’s less convenient for WordPress websites than the WordPress Plugins Detector, its scans are significantly more thorough (and take longer).

MalCare uses intelligent scanning technology to catch malware and help prevent your website from being blacklisted — which can cost you a small fortune in lost ad revenue and SEO drops. I also like that it doesn’t slow down your website during scans (I tested less reputable scanners that caused significant slowdowns during full scans).

The free version also comes with a lot of features, including a real-time firewall, daily malware scans, login protection, and more. In fact, if the plugin worked for more than just WordPress websites, it would easily be my top pick thanks to the number of completely free features that it offers.

MalCare’s premium plans are pretty good too. They start at $99 / year and can cover up to 10 websites. The best value plan is the MalCare Plus plan, which includes malware removal, bot protection to detect and remove malicious bots, personalized support, 1-click staging for easy website previews, and a lot more. Overall, MalCare is a great choice for WordPress websites, and all premium plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

MalCare is a fast and free scanner that comes with tons of extra features, like a real-time firewall and login protection. While it is free, it does require you to make an account, provide your WordPress admin details, and download the plugin. The premium plans are affordable and include malware removal, bot protection, and a lot more. Plans are backed by a risk-free 14-day money-back guarantee.


Comparison of the Best Website Malware Scanners in 2023

Website Scanner Removes malware? Platforms Free scans? Starting cost (for premium plans) Money-back guarantee (for premium plans)
Sucuri SiteCheck
With premium plan
All $199.99 / year 30 days
With premium plan
All $10 / month 30 days (if no malware
removal request is submitted)
VirusTotal All Custom quotes
WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker WordPress Truly Free N/A
With premium plan
WordPress $99 / year 14 days

How to Choose the Best Malware Scanner for Websites in 2023:

  • Look for a high malware detection rate. The ability to detect 100% (or almost 100%) of malware is essential for any good scanner. I only included scanners that use massive malware databases, machine learning, or a combination of both to find any and all threats to your website.
  • Consider ease of use. Some website scanners can be hard to use, with overly complex results, tons of technical language, and outdated UIs. I made sure to consider the experience of new users while making my list.
  • Make sure the scanner is compatible with your website. A lot of website scanners are built for specific website platforms. For example, MalCare is a WordPress-only scanner, so if your website isn’t made on WordPress, it won’t do anything for you. I included information on what type of website each scanner works for so you don’t have to do any guesswork.
  • Find a fast scanner. Many free scanners can take an unnecessarily long time to conduct simple scans. To stop you from wasting your time, I looked for the fastest scanners available.
  • Look for a truly free scanner. It can be very frustrating when you find a product that seems like a perfect fit, only to be hit with a paywall just before it reveals the results of the scan. I made sure the scanners on this list are truly free to use, though many have premium options you can use to remove the malware on your website and access real-time website protection to keep your site safe going forward.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Astra. Astra is a free tool that performs a thorough scan of any website and gives you tons of information about what it’s scanning for. During my tests, the explanations it gave were highly technical, without any accompanying explanations for less tech-savvy users. It also gave every website I tested a lower security score than any other scanner, and it wasn’t entirely clear why.
  • Hacker Combat. This free tool is comparable to Sucuri or Quttera and is bascially a good product. It just narrowly missed my list because it falls short when it comes to ease of use. The UI is slightly less user-friendly, with some instances of dark gray text on black backgrounds that were difficult to read. While this was a minor issue, my top picks didn’t give me any UI-related problems at all — besides a few ads on Quttera.
  • SiteLock. This tool is actually pretty good — it can scan website domains for vulnerabilities with premium options to remove any threats you find. But it missed a spot on my list because it’s relatively slow. While the WordPress Plugins Detector can run a vulnerability scan in seconds, it takes SiteLock up to several minutes to run scans.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to scan a website for malware?

Simply choose one of the scanners from my list (I recommend Sucuri SiteCheck) and paste your website’s URL in the search bar. Your website will then be scanned for malware and other threats.

Most website scanners use massive malware databases to find threats, while some use machine learning to boost their ability to detect malware — the best use a combination of both. If you have found malware on your website during your scans, the next step is to remove it. Most of the products on this list, like Sucuri and Quttera, offer premium products that remove threats for you and add real-time protection for your site.

What kind of malware can infect a website?

Infected websites can be afflicted with a variety of problems — including malware that infects visitor’s devices with viruses, redirects users to different websites, hijacks your whole site, encrypts and ransoms your business’s data, and more. Hackers can harm your website’s customers, your reputation, your sales, and at worst even shut down your entire company or site.

If you think your website might be a victim of malware or hackers, the first thing you need to do is run a malware scan. For a fast and free check-up on a WordPress-based website, I’d recommend the WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker. It uses a massive malware directory to find any known threats in a matter of seconds.

How do I know if my website has malware?

The simplest way to answer this question is by running a website malware scan (or vulnerability checker). The WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker is my recommendation for WordPress-based websites, while Sucuri SiteCheck is my top pick for websites built using other methods.

There are some signs you might notice before scanning, like increased spam or pop-ups appearing, or your website taking significantly longer to load. If you have been noticing these problems, then I’d say it’s time to scan it immediately using one of the free tools above. I tested all five to make sure they’re all fast, easy-to-use, and if you do opt for the premium versions, they’re worth your money.

Can I scan my website for free?

Yes! Using any of the tools I included on my list, you can scan any website for free. Sucuri, Quterra, and VirusTotal can scan any website and run a quick checkup on it, while the WordPress Plugins Detector – Vulnerability Checker and MalCare are two great options for WordPress websites.

Now, while you can scan them for free, you probably won’t be able to remove the malware on your site for free. Malware removal tools are typically only included in the premium version of each of the respective scanners. Sucuri, Quttera, and MalCare all have premium options to get rid of malware on your website and give you real-time protection against future threats.

About the Author

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."