Nobody likes spending extra money unnecessarily – it’s human nature. Most people are always looking for ways to minimize costs. For this reason, some WordPress users get tempted to opt for illegal website themes and plugins instead of verified premium versions. While WordPress offers free website themes, they are often unattractive or too basic.
On the other hand, premium themes are expensive, and in the interest of cutting costs, people get tempted to use the illegal ones. Below is a discussion about illegal websites, also known as nulled themes.
What Is A Nulled Theme?
Nulled themes refer to premium WordPress themes that get hacked and have modified codes meant to collect data or cause harm. Nulled basically means stolen website themes, which means you could find yourself in a legal dispute. Opting for these pirated themes could lead to problems. Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t opt for nulled website themes.
Reasons You Should Not Use Nulled WordPress Themes
A pirated theme isn’t like downloading a song or a movie illegally. They are software codes that will run your website, which could negatively impact your entire website.
1. Infect Your Site with Malware
People who pirate WordPress themes don’t just do it to make money. Instead, they use these themes to spread malware, to either steal information or harm your site. When you download nulled themes other than opting for trusted developers, you never know what’s lurking in its code. There a lot of ways malware programs can affect your site, which include.
- A Backdoor To Your Site. The nulled theme can have an access path to your website by a third party. They can access all the sensitive information.
- Infect Your Files and That of Your Visitors. Nulled themes contain malicious codes that infect all your files and spread to your visitor’s device.
- It Negatively Affects the Performance of Your Site. Often nulled themes slow down your site and make it hard to use due to the other process running in the background.
According to Google, in 2016, the number of hacked websites increased by 32%. That’s mainly because of malware found in nulled themes. On the other hand, reliable, SSL-certified hosting providers prioritize the security of your website. For the security of your site, you should only limit yourself to reputable sources.
2. You Don’t Get From the Original Theme Create
When you purchase any services related to websites and computers, you get a warranty and after-sales service from the provider. The charges for GPL-licensed software include customer support from the developer. However, if you get nulled themes, you won’t get help in case there are issues. The nulled themes may get you all the attractive features as a premium one, but nobody is responsible if it fails.
Contacting the developer at this point is a dead end. That’s because you’ll need to verify your purchase which you do not have. Finding the third party that uploaded it is close to impossible. You may get suggestions from volunteers on forums, but they won’t fix the problem.
3. You Won’t Get Automatic Theme Updates
Website updates are critical for the safety of your site. WordPress and theme developers release updated versions regularly to fix bugs, secure the platform and enhance performance. For your website to automatically update to the new version, you’ll need to have a valid license key. If you have a pirated theme, you will not access the update, and your website will be vulnerable to hacking.
The people who pirate original themes remove the metadata that identifies that theme. For this reason, you won’t have any idea about updates and new features from the developer. Even if you get another download for the latest version, you will lose all your customization. Remember, every time you get a theme from a disreputable source, you again risk the security of your site.
4. Nulled Themes Impact Your SEO rankings
Anything you download from the internet needs verification before using it. This rule also applies to website themes. If anything, they need you to be extra careful. For example, an e-commerce site that relies on search engine traffic, a few backlinks could torpedo its authority and rankings. This impact on SEO is one of the downsides to using nulled themes.
Sometimes they may contain external links to other shady websites hidden within the code. The links will direct your visitors to other sites, and it’s enough to sink your SEO rankings. In most cases, they tuck the links within the footer or metadata of the theme.
The people who spread these nulled themes are usually after improving their site’s SEO. In this process, Google penalizes your site and hurts your rankings. You may be able to remove the links that you never added from the theme’s code.
However, going through your new themes’ entire code is not something you want to spend your time on. Plus, they may not be easy to find. The effort to make sure the nulled works properly outweighs the cost of purchasing a genuine copy.
5. Nulled Themes Are Unethical
WordPress provided themes under generous terms and conditions, which gives you the freedom to change and make a great website. When you opt for nulled themes, you exploit this generosity to get things for free. Most developers indeed enjoy creating website themes, but they also depend on the platform to make a living.
These developers need revenue to compensate for the time they spend creating and maintaining these products. When you choose an illegal product, you deprive them of the funds they use to enhance their themes. Such exploitation only makes it hard to develop new products and maintain initiatives. You also force them to reduce their workforce to save their business instead of enhancing products.
If you can go out of your way to look for an illegal WordPress theme, which only means that you think it’s a valuable plus to your site. Even if you don’t want to spend money, you also deprive yourself of an even better theme in the future. Basically, paying for genuine products is ethical and helps the developer create more stuff to make your life easier.
How to Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes
If you have just started and don’t have a theme in mind, then the theme list can help you save time. It has website themes picked by experienced WordPress users who rank them according to features, design, speed, and SEO optimization. Here you will find trustworthy and popular WordPress themes. You also find safe downloading websites, including WordPress.org. Additionally, consider checking the following:
WordPress Theme Directory. The fastest way to find premium themes is through the WordPress directory. All the website themes on the WordPress directory have gone through a rigorous review for approval. WordPress also offers information that is helpful in decision-making.
Developers and Theme Shops. Many companies offer free themes from their websites. All you need is to take time to research that particular shop. Find out about theme quality and company reputations. Once you find the best theme, look for its reviews and that of the developer.
When it comes to building websites, there are few tools as trusted and popular as WordPress. Unfortunately, this popularity has given room to malicious people to cause trouble. The only way to stay safe is to download themes and plugins from trusted developers.