Nulled are pirated or hacked themes available for free download on various communities and forums. Whenever you search for themes for any CMS like WordPress, Magento and others, you are presented with three options:
- Buy a premium theme
- Download a free theme, available officially
- Download a nulled/cracked theme
Many newbie bloggers choose the third option because nulled themes are cracked versions of premium themes, and offers better functionalities. Choosing not to invest on your blog is a problematic choice. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using nulled themes thinking there is no difference in the nulled and the premium version.
In this article, we will look at some reasons why you should never buy a nulled WordPress theme.
#1 Illegal Usage
As mentioned before, nulled themes are cracked versions of a premium theme; they are stolen themes where the hacker removes the license key and other copyrighted materials, and releases it on the Internet. There are a lot of websites that host these nulled themes.
However, know that such themes are illegal and will potentially harm your blog’s growth. If detected, theme developing companies can take stringent action against you. In trying to save $50 for a premium theme, you are opening the door for future legal actions, and that is not going to cost just $50, right?
If you want to use a theme, search for them in the free theme directories. Many premium themes often release a Free version of the same with limited functionalities that is sufficient for a new blog. Once the blog scales regarding traffic and revenue, you can upgrade to the paid version.
#2 Automated Backlinks
SEO survives on backlinks. Generating backlinks from nulled themes is a dangerous blackhat SEO strategy. When you install and activate a nulled theme, scripts begin to run in the background automatically that creates backlinks for other websites. You will never detect this as the codes and scripts are deeply embedded in the nulled theme.
Essentially, by using a nulled theme, you are giving hackers the permission to create backlinks from your blog. If you are serious about blogging, this will definitely harm the blog shortly.
#3 SERP Penalty
Google penalties aren’t unheard of. The search giant wants to ensure relevancy of its search engine results and often penalises blogs and websites that don’t meet their standards. If your blog has hacking scripts injected, Google and other search engines can permanently deindex it from search.
#4 No Product Support
Nulled themes do not have product support. When you buy a theme, the company guarantees predetermined months of Support and product upgrades at no additional cost. Both these benefits are lost with nulled themes.
Product upgrades and product Support is essential to run a bug-free blog. Without a licensed theme, you won’t get any bug fixes. Moreover, premium theme developers often introduce new theme features which you won’t ever get to use because the theme is a nulled one.
#5 Security Breaches
Malicious creation of backlinks is just one negative factor of using nulled themes. Think logically – why is anyone taking the pains to crack a theme and make it available for free download? Surely, there is some ulterior motive. Some security breaches you could experience with a nulled theme are:
- Redirecting the blog to spam sites
- Access confidential information of the site, including login details
- Adding advertisements on the blog
- Misuse the brand value (if any) of the blog.
Are nulled themes worth it? I don’t think so.
Protection Against Malicious Scripts
If you’re already using any nulled theme, we recommend that you change it immediately. Also, you can use these tools to scan the blog for malicious scripts.
Sucuri is the TOP recommended tool to scan any site against all kinds of malicious scripts. The checks are free, and if you sign up for their paid plan, they will sync Sucuri to your blog and conduct automatic checks.
#2 Theme Authenticity Checker
#3 Antivirus Plugin
A free WordPress security plugin, the Antivirus scans the theme templates for potential hacks and malicious code injections.
#4 Virus Total
Virus Total is a popular virus and trojan checker where you just need to upload the theme file. If the result shows a red signal, it means the theme file is infected.
What is the Solution?
If you don’t have the money to buy a premium theme, look for the official Free versions. Check the WordPress theme repository for free themes. However, if you can spare around $60, we recommend you to check out WordPress themes listed on the ThemeForest marketplace – the global leader of paid themes.
Remain clear of nulled themes. They are harmful to your blog.