Nulled themes and plugins, you might have heard of them.
Essentially, they’re pirated copies of premium WordPress themes and plugins. They help you gain premium WordPress features and functionalities without having to pay for them.
A lot of people, seeing the word “premium” and “free” get attracted to these themes and plugins and download them on their WordPress website.
But the problem is that while you get a ton of premium features for free, nulled themes and plugins pose a security risk to the security of your WordPress website.
The aim of this post is to outline some of the disadvantages associated with using nulled themes and plugins.
But before we begin, let’s discuss what they are in detail.
Nulled Themes and Plugins: Explained
We’ve already discussed the essential nature of WordPress’ nulled themes and plugins.
If we dig a bit deeper, we will find that these themes and plugins are distributed across the internet in an unethical manner.
While it is technically ok to copy these themes and plugins since they’re built for an open-source platform and are licensed under the GNU GPL, it’s okay for users to copy it.
But here’s the problem. This whole practice discourages developers and companies who are constantly producing and updating quality products for WordPress websites looking to boost their operations.
It beats the point of creating on WordPress.
But the unethical nature of these themes and plugins just scratches the surface of things. When users install these on their websites, more often than not, it causes the site to get infected, and hacked.
For users with established blogs and businesses on WordPress, this poses a serious security threat to website owners of all shapes and sizes who have installed it on their website.
Now, let’s discuss the reasons why these nulled themes and plugins pose a major WordPress security risk.
First and foremost, let’s discuss the legal issues at length.
At their very core, most WordPress themes and plugins are built according to open-source conventions. Under the GPL license, they are free to distribute and use.
These licenses come in different shapes and sizes. Some have different copyright considerations compared to others. However, because of their copyright, using these themes and plugins and plugins illegally can result in a lawsuit for you.
Now, if you’re running a small website, using a pirated theme might not get noticed since you’re already under the radar. However, if you’re running a big brand and you’re using website code that’s copyrighted, then you can face legal troubles.
More often than not, the nulled themes and plugins that you use on your website are infected with malicious code.
They come pre-installed with the nulled themes and plugins. When installed on your website, they can cause major damage to your WordPress website.
They can steal user information, infect the entire site with malicious code, and cause irreversible damage to your website. Worse off, if it’s a valuable website, they can even steal the information of your website on hacker forums or even the dark web.
In short, when you install a nulled theme on your website, you and users both are at risk of getting hacked.
Because of this, it’s best to avoid using them at all costs.
Another reason for not using them is because when you install such themes and plugins, the errors are planted deep inside the code which makes it hard to detect for regular WordPress website owners.
Even developers won’t fare that well in detecting where the error took place since there are multiple points of such errors.
It’s Bad for SEO
The worst part about using nulled WordPress themes and plugins, and which most website owners fail to realize, is that it decreases the SEO value of your website.
Since they are infected with malicious code which can cause damage to your website, nulled themes and plugins can infect your WordPress pages and post and cause them to get infected as well.
This results in the accumulation of spam links on your WordPress aimed at reducing the SEO value of your website and hijacking your users.
Again, since these infections are happening at the code level, they can be quite hard to identify.
Even the most veteran of developers can face problems with identifying the code.
However, search engines don’t think that way. They are bots who are very quick to identify the links going in to, and out of the website.
Once they identify spammy links that lead to shady websites, Google (among other search engines) are going to penalize you, drop your rankings, and even de-index and blacklist your website completely.
SEO experts have argued that it’s near impossible to recover a website once it’s been blacklisted by Google. There’s a lot of work to do in that regard.
No Updates For Nulled Themes And Plugins
If you’ve been a WordPress user for a while now, then you might have updated your themes and plugins from time to time.
For those who don’t know, WordPress is heavy on updating and maintenance. Because of the constant hack attacks, WordPress doesn’t lag behind on it’s core software updates, and also encourages developers of themes and plugins to release updates and maintain their software.
When you have a premium WordPress theme or plugin that you paid for, you can update them with ease.
However, nulled themes and plugins don’t have a valid license key. This means that when you install a nulled theme for the first time, you’ll get the premium features, but you won’t be able to update them.
Since you can’t update them, you’re also leaving your website open to malware injections since old themes, over time, can get infected with malware.
This is by-far the most important reason why you shouldn’t go for nulled themes and plugins.
No Support & Documentation
If you’ve installed a new theme or plugin, you’ll obviously have to learn how to use it.
Now, besides video tutorials, a lot of people depend upon the documentation of the themes and plugins.
It’s the developer’s job to provide at least some level of documentation.
Obviously, with premium plugins and themes and plugins, there is an extensive list of documentation available.
This means that users don’t have to rely on any external tutorial to get started with the theme since the premium themes and plugin providers do it for you.
On top of the documentation, you also get support in the form of email chat and others.
But when you install that same premium theme illegally and upload it to your website, you can get access to the documentation but you will not be able to contact the theme providers for support.
For users who download these themes and plugins, this presents a serious drawback if they’re looking to gain support.
At the start, premium WordPress themes and plugins can look as though they’re beneficial to your website.
However, with the risks we’ve discussed in this article, it seems clear that these plugins and themes carry more disadvantages than benefits.
If you don’t have the budget to go for a theme, there are plenty of customization options for free WordPress themes and plugins.
If you have the budget, then you can always purchase a paid theme. Either way, don’t download nulled themes and plugins.