Are you considering using nulled WordPress themes or plugins? Hold on a bit. You will make a more informed decision after reading this article.
Shortly, you’ll learn what a nulled WordPress theme is. You’ll also see the reasons why you shouldn’t use nulled WordPress themes and plugins.
What is a Nulled WordPress Theme
As a WordPress user, you are most likely familiar with the word ‘themes’. WordPress themes are templates used to determine the appearance or layout of your site. If you need to change how your WordPress site looks at the front-end, simply change your theme.
According to research done by Scepter in March 2019, there are about 31,010 active themes. Some of them are free, others are premium themes.
These themes can help you create a variety of sites, such as:
- An agency website (with an Agency WordPress theme)
- Put your portfolio on display (with a portfolio WordPress theme)
- Build a magazine site (with the right Magazine theme)…
The average price of a premium theme is about $77.57. In most cases, the premium WordPress themes are worth every penny spent.
Sometimes, third party companies or individuals pirate these premium themes and give them out at low prices (or free). These pirated themes are called nulled WordPress themes.
The same thing applies to WordPress plugins. A WordPress plugin can be pirated and sold for less. They are called ‘nulled WordPress plugins’.
Apparently, using nulled WordPress plugins and themes would save you some money. But as the saying goes, ‘when you make a choice, you also choose the consequences’.
Using a WordPress nulled theme (or plugin) may cost you more than you ever bargained for. Let’s discuss some of the problems you may face with nulled themes (and plugins).
Reasons why you should not use nulled WordPress themes and plugins
No doubt, premium WordPress themes, and plugins are sometimes pricey. But does that really justify the use of WordPress nulled themes and plugins? Surely not! Here are some of the reasons why nulled WordPress themes and plugins may not be a good choice.
WordPress Security and Privacy
WordPress security is one of the most important subjects among WordPress users. Reportedly, 70% of the WordPress sites listed in ‘Alexa top 1 million’ are prone to attacks. This is in no way surprising. After all, WordPress is the largest and most popular CMS. And it has become a target for hackers.
In itself, WordPress’s core software is safe. WordPress developers also update it regularly to patch up any security frailties. Despite these efforts, you still have a part to play in keeping your WordPress blog or site safe. Here are some of the rules you must adhere to for your site’s security. They include:
- Never using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin
- Installing a valid SSL certificate
- Choosing a good WordPress hosting company (see a list of the best hosting providers to know more)
- Installing a good WordPress security plugin (see our article on the best WordPress security plugins)
- Using the WP two-factor authentication
- Customizing your login page URL
- Regularly doing a WordPress file and database backup.
A Nulled WordPress theme could contain malicious code. Malicious code is a generic term for codes that cause security breaches. These codes are added to:
- Get backlinks from your WordPress site
- Gain third-party access to your admin section
- Introduce ads and banners to your blog/site
- Bring down your WordPress website.
Also, a lapse in your site’s security could lead to stolen details of your customers. This includes their financial details, passwords, usernames, and emails. You may lose their trust and your reputation in the process.
So, when next you get a ‘juicy’ nulled theme or plugin offer, walk past it. For the love of your site.
Side note: If your site has been infected with malware, learn what to do in our Malware Removal Guide.
SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. Website owners use this approach to increase search engine traffic. If you are serious about driving traffic to your site, then you should adhere to certain SEO practices. These practices include:
- Installing an SEO plugin
- Optimizing your posts
- Adding your site to Google Search Consoles
- Correctly using tags and categories
- Inter-linking your posts
- Optimizing your site’s speed
- Keeping your site free from malware and other security issues.
We have established that nulled themes and plugins often contain malware. Here is how a Malware infection affects SEO.
- Poor Content and Defacement: Oftentimes, attackers use certain tools to identify unguarded high ranking sites. Then, they introduce spam links, unwanted content, and keywords to the high ranking pages. These links help the hacker’s site rank better in search engines.
Nulled WordPress Themes and plugins oftentimes contain backdoor access through which a hacker could infect your site. Anyone who loads your site may be redirected to another site. In most cases, the sites are harmful ones. Also, offensive messages could appear on your site, thereby turning visitors away from your site.
- Drop in Search Engine Ranking: Google webmaster tools can detect malware easily. When spammy links are detected on your website, it’s ranking would drop – badly. Anyone who tries to load your site will most likely get a warning to avoid your website. Worse still, your site may never appear on Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Ranking on google or any search engine takes time and effort. The mistake of using a nulled WordPress theme can bring you back to square one.
Keep in mind that high ranking sites are not the only targets of hackers. They sometimes attack small sites for some cheap SEO.
No Automatic Update
One of the benefits of using authentic WordPress plugins and themes is that they receive regular updates. This is to keep security issues in check and to add new features. But the case is different with nulled WordPress themes and plugins. They can’t receive those updates. Why? They don’t have a valid license key. You won’t even be notified if there is an update.
This leaves you with an outdated theme or plugin. Outdated themes and plugins expose you to security issues.
Also, WordPress releases updates to patch security weak points. With every new WordPress update, themes and plugins have to be updated too. This is to avoid any compatibility issues. This kind of conflict would hinder your site from working as it should.
So you see, using a nulled WordPress theme would end up being more of a problem than a smart move.
No WordPress Support
When you purchase premium WordPress plugins and themes, you have access to support from the developers. They spend lots of time answering questions customers may have. This isn’t the case with nulled WordPress plugins or themes.
You can’t seek help from the developers, neither can you have access to their tutorials. So, what if you have an issue that can only be addressed by the developer? What would you do? It’s best to avoid being in such a position.
Purchase and download WordPress themes and plugins from the developers, they will support you all the way.
There is no doubt that many WordPress themes and plugins are open source. This means anybody can take the source code and modify it. They can even re-package and release them as new software.
Nonetheless, some themes and plugins for WordPress are sold with mixed licenses. This simply means you are not permitted to use some parts of the code. They are protected by copyright laws. Using a pirated copy of a copyright-protected theme could get you in trouble with the law.
You can avoid this by purchasing premium WordPress themes and plugins directly from the developers. This way, you would not have to bother about being hit by a lawsuit.
Discourages Further Innovation
Imagine spending a lot of your time, energy and money developing a product. And then waking up one day to find a pirated copy being distributed for free. That would be upsetting.
Developers spend lots of brainpower, time and money writing codes that will solve real-life problems.
They hire staff, design a website, pay support staff, create documentation and a lot more. Not only do developers lose money each time you go for a nulled theme or plugin. They could get discouraged too.
Final Thoughts – Nulled WordPress Themes
The negative effect of a nulled WordPress theme on your WordPress website far outweighs its benefits. Nulled themes affect your site’s SEO and security, and discourages innovation. You stand to gain a lot more when you get a real theme or plugin rather than a nulled version.
If you cannot afford a premium theme or plugin, then opt for a free alternative. Many free WordPress themes and plugins are enough to meet your needs. We have compiled a list of top ten (10) free WP themes for a beautiful looking site. Or if you need a Woocommerce theme, check out our list of fastest WooCommerce themes. They are mobile responsive WordPress themes.
Feel free to analyze each one before making a choice. The next step after making a choice is to install and configure it. Don’t know how to go about that? Read our article on how to install and configure a free responsive WP theme. Also, please visit our WP college for other free WordPress tutorials.
Have you ever used a nulled theme or plugin on your WordPress blog/site? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.