Best hosting with free malware detection and removal – safety first!

Best Hosting with Free Malware Detection and Removal – Safety First!

Keeping a website secure and free of malware should be a top priority for any webmaster.

An infected website can cause Google to block visitors from accessing it, compromise your and your users’ sensitive data, and even cause you to lose money.

If you plan on using WordPress (WP), you can install a free plugin that will detect malicious code/viruses and delete or quarantine them.

However, if you are not planning to run WP, or if you’d like to have an extra layer of security in case your plugin underperforms or fails, look for a hosting provider with free malware detection and removal.

Unfortunately, the majority of hosts that offer free scans do not clean up infected files; they leave the worst part to the website owner.

To help you out, here’s a list of the top hosts that do free malware scans and remove found malware for free.

Best shared hosting with free malware scans and clean-up

#1: Namecheap

Scanning software: ClamAV
Scanning frequency: a few times a week

Namecheap is one of only a few shared hosting providers that offer not only free scans but also free malware clean-up in case they detect an infection.

If they find a virus, they’ll send you an email with a list of the infected files. You can then reach out to them via live chat and ask them to fix the problem.

They have one of the cheapest annual hosting plans around, making them a great choice for beginners. Even advanced users may find value at Namecheap, as they are on our list of most affordable hosts with unlimited websites.

Namecheap basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $1.30/mo.
  • Websites allowed: three
  • Storage: 20 GB
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Email accounts: yes
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Support: 24/7 Live Chat

#2: Hostwinds

Scanning software: ClamAV
Scanning frequency: twice a month

Hostwinds’ servers exhibit excellent performance, as you can see in our test and review.

They are also very affordable, with prices starting at $2.35/month. They are also one of the hosts with the longest money-back guarantees in the business. The free domain and free SSL certificates are also big pluses.

Hostwinds basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $2.35/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: unlimited
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Email accounts: yes
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Support: 24/7 Live Chat

Best WordPress hosting with free malware scans and clean-up

#1: WPX hosting

Scanning software: ClamAV
Scanning frequency: undisclosed

WPX is one of the top WordPress hosting providers for webmasters looking to host multiple websites – their Business Plan starts at $20.83/mo. and allows you to host five websites, translating to an average of $4.16 per site.

Their customer service is exceptional, and their pricing structure is refreshingly transparent. They are also one of a handful of hosts with pro-rated refunds.

WPX basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $20.83/mo.
  • Websites allowed: five
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Bandwidth: 100 GB / month
  • Control panel: custom-built
  • Email accounts: yes
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Support: 24/7 Live Chat

#2: WP Engine

Scanning software: Proprietary
Scanning frequency: on-demand

Their servers perform well and provide generous storage for a WP host. The quality of their live chat is a bit hit and miss, depending on the agent you are connected with. See our WP Engine review for more.

Overall, we probably wouldn’t recommend WP Engine on account of their price, but they do offer free malware scans and removals, along with unlimited Inodes, so we decided to list them.

WP Engine basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $29.16/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Bandwidth: 50 GB / month
  • Control panel: custom-built
  • Email accounts: no
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Support: 24/7 Live Chat

#3: GoDaddy

Scanning software: undisclosed
Scanning frequency: daily

GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting comes with free malware scans and removal, but keep in mind that their shared plan does not.

Their pricing is well-suited for users planning to host just one website. Whats more, GoDaddy is among a small number of web hosts with negotiable prices.

GoDaddy basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $6.99/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Email accounts: no
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days on annual or longer plans
  • Support: 24/7 Live Chat

Great hosts with free malware scans but no free malware removal

If you don’t mind removing detected malware yourself or if you have access to someone who can do that for you, here’s a list of great hosting providers that offer free scans without free clean-up. All of these hosts scored very highly in our tests:

Do all hosting companies offer free malware scans?

Unfortunately, no. Quite a few hosts, even some high-end ones, do not offer free scans.

If that’s the case, you’ll usually have two options:

  1. Install a security plugin for your content management system (such as WordPress or Drupal)
  2. Buy a premium anti-malware package

What software do hosts use to perform virus scans?

Usually, they use ClamAV a free cross-platform antivirus toolkit popular in the hosting industry.

However, some hosts use their own custom-built proprietary security software.

What happens if a free malware scan detects an infection?

Most hosts will email you a list of the infected files, and that’s it.

From there, it will be your responsibility to delete the files and replace them with uninfected versions, or otherwise remove the infection. You can do that yourself or hire a security company to do it for you.

In fact, some hosts will take your website offline if they detect infection and only bring it back online after you resolve the issue.

Luckily, some hosts do offer free malware removal along with free scans – see our rankings above to find out which ones.

Do I have to request a free scan or are they automatic?

Most hosts carry out free malware scans of your website as part of a schedule – e.g. daily, every other day, or weekly.

However, a few hosting providers require you to contact them( via live chat or email) and request a scan. Examples of such hosts include InMotion, WP Engine, and Bluehost.

Do hosting companies offer premium (paid) malware scanning?

The majority of them do, even if they also offer free scans.

Premium anti-malware add-ons usually cost around $25 per year and employ one of the following scanning software:

  • Sucuri (owned by GoDaddy)
  • SiteLock
  • Proprietary software

What is the advantage of paid vs. free malware scans?

With paid scans, detected malware is automatically removed or quarantined so that it doesn’t cause damage to your website.

Additionally, premium malware-detection packages are usually more robust and able to detect – and deal with – a larger variety of viruses and malicious programs.

Why won’t some hosts disclose the name of their malware-detecting software?

Most likely for security reasons.

The less information attackers/hackers have about the security measures employed by a hosting company, the more difficult it is for them to find a loophole and infect websites hosted on their servers.

What options do I have if my host doesn’t remove detected malware for free?

Usually, you have four choices:

  1. Remove the malware yourself
  2. Hire a website security specialist to clean up your website
  3. Pay for a premium malware detection package, which almost all hosts sell nowadays.
  4. Install a free malware-detection plugin (for WordPress and other CMS users)

If malware is detected but not removed, what happens to my site?

Most hosts will just leave your website up and give you a deadline – usually 3-7 days – to solve the issue. If your site is still infected past the deadline, the site will be taken down until it is fixed.

However, some hosting providers, such as BlueHost, will take down your website instantly without prior notice.

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