"What do my ChangeAlert notification emails mean? Why did you report that these files changed?... I didn't change anything!"
Learning how to interpret your CodeGuard ChangeAlert notifications could take some practice, but we believe that it is well worth the effort! Though CodeGuard support does not offer insight into what ChangeAlert notifications could mean for your website, there are a few things you can do to start trying to understand them.
1. View the backup details in the dashboard.
To do this, first, log into the dashboard and click on the name of the website you want to inspect. Then, click on the 'Details' button for the date you received the ChangeAlert notification (button below graph).
The Backup Details page will show you a list of all the files on your website that were added, modified, or deleted in that backup. Look through the files on this page to see if you remember adding, changing, or deleting them on that date. Examining the path for each file will help provide you additional information.
For example, in the screenshot above all of the files changed were inside the /wp-content/plugins folder. If you made any recent changes to a plugin in your WordPress installation (updating it for example) this will cause us to notify you via a ChangeAlert notification. WordPress plugins and themes are also prone to updating automatically, and this will also result in a ChangeAlert notification. Examining the Backup Details page for your backup, and looking at the file names/paths on this page will help you to draw these conclusions.
2. Download a zip of the backup
Downloading a .zip file of your backup will allow you to actually open the files that were reported as changed, and see what content has been modified. For example, if you were to download your two most recent backups, you could compare the content of the changed files in your text editor of choice. For more information on downloading zip files, please take a look at this video tutorial.
3. Contact your web developer
If you are working with a web developer, it may be helpful to forward your CodeGuard ChangeAlert notifications to them for interpretation.
At this time, CodeGuard support does not offer personalized insight into what the ChangeAlert notifications could mean for your website, as all websites are different! By trying one of the above steps, though, you could start to understand what they mean for your website, and what action you may or may not need to take.
As always, if you are truly concerned about a ChangeAlert notification that you receive, and you fear that a hacker has attacked your website, you can always restore your content back to a previous date in time.
If the ChangeAlerts continue to notify you of the same directories changing each day, and those directories are not important, you can submit a support request and we will filter those directories from your notification emails.
If the ChangeAlerts notify you sporadically of changed content and you don't know what is going on, you should get in touch with the web developer who helped you build your site. Or if you built the site yourself, it might be time to find an expert to help you manage it. For a low cost, you can find someone to assist you in making sure your website is properly protected and overseen.
Understanding how to read and interpret your ChangeAlert notifications is a very important skill to have. We encourage all of our customers to give it a try!