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How to Verify WordPress Checksums Using WP-CLI

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June 10, 2019

Verifying WordPress Checksums Using WP-CLI

If you do not keep site plugins updated along with WordPress core updated, then you run into the chance of your site being hacked or infected by Malware. If your site does get infected by malware, a way to easily find any of the non-standard WordPress core and plugin files is by using the verify checksums commands in the WP-CLI (WordPress Command Line Interface).

Preparing to Run Commands

First, you will need to login to your portal via SSH. For directions on generating credentials for sFTP/SSH creds from your site manager, see Finding Your SFTP/SSH Credentials in Managed WordPress Portal. For help using SSH, see Logging into Your Server via Secure Shell (SSH).

Getting Started

Security plugins have definite uses, but when you need to verify WordPress core as well as all installed plugins on the checksums, plugins are just not the appropriate tool. WP-CLI already has checksum commands for both WordPress core and all plugins.

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Checksum Commands

For WordPress Core Files

To verify that all WordPress core files checksum match, the WP-CLI command to run is:

wp core verify-checksums

For a Specific Version of WordPress Core Files

To verify checksum against specific versions of WordPress, you can include the version number in the command. To verify for version 6.1 of WordPress core, for example, the command would be:

wp core verify-checksums --version=6.1

If you were using an older version of WordPress, for example version 6.0.3, the command would be:

wp core verify-checksums --version=6.0.3

For All Plugins

To verify the checksum of all plugins which are installed on your site server (this would only include plugins available from WordPress), then the command to run would be:

wp plugin verify-checksums --all

For a Specific Plugin

To verify the checksums of a specific plugin (e.g., WooCommerce), you will need to know the plugin “slug” (or short name). You can find the slug by looking in the plugin links on the WordPress website.

The plugin slug for WooCommerce is woocommerce, so to verify the checksums of the WooCommerce plugin, the command would be:

wp plugin verify-checksum woocommerce

Summing Up

The files that the core verify checksum or the plugin verify checksum commands in WP-CLI will display will be any of the non-standard PHP or other files that should not exist in WordPress folders. The files should be deleted (it’s always a good idea to take backups before deleting data from your server). and then you can rerun the same verify checksums commands to check that there are no other files which should not exist on your site server.

Knowing how to verify the checksums of WordPress core files, all plugins installed from, and specific plugins installed from using simple-to-use WP-CLI commands will give you peace of mind in knowing that there are no non-standard files that exist in those folder directories.

Consider Managed Hosting with Nexcess

Managed hosting is a service where the hosting provider carries out all of the administration, setup, and maintenance and offers an excellent customer support service. If anything goes wrong with your WordPress managed hosting, the service provider will fix all the problems as quickly as possible, so your WordPress site is kept up and running correctly. With 24/7 support, you can rest assured knowing you’ll have the Nexcess team to help you with any step of the process.

Nexcess offers a wide variety of managed hosting packages and a constantly growing superb Nexcess Knowledge Base. Consider managed hosting with Nexcess!

Now that you’ve seen the advantages of a WordPress staging environment and how easy it is to set one up, you’ll most likely want your next hosting plan to include this awesome feature. Managed WordPress hosting with Nexcess makes setting up your staging environment easy.

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Luke Cavanagh
Luke Cavanagh

Luke Cavanagh, Strategic Support & Accelerant at Liquid Web, brings a decade of experience working with WordPress and WooCommerce to our product team. His GitHub page offers a glimpse into his multiple areas of subject matter expertise.

"Ninja stuff with WordPress and WooCommerce," is an apropos way to describe Luke's savviness with these platforms — and his way of influencing our organization for improving to them.

Coming out of the University of Brighton with a Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) Higher National Diploma (HND) in 2D & 3D Design, Luke's credentials prepared him well for his current role that blends both web development and design. His HND credential leveraged his foundational learning at West Kent College, where is received a National Diploma (ND) in Graphic Design.

In his personal life, Luke is a devoted husband and teen wrangler. He considers himself a Synthwave enthusiast, Jerry Goldsmith fan, and Doctor Who aficionado. He is happy to introduce his friends and teammates to essential vocabulary for life found only in British English, such as "gubbins" and similar terms.

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