WordPress themes allow individuals looking to build their website to save a ton of time creating the basic foundation of their website. WordPress themes are essentially pre-built structures of a website, which the user can then edit and change as they see fit for their needs.
Using a WordPress theme is great if you aren’t particularly creative or don’t know where to start. However, it’s also recommended that you use a theme, especially if you are a beginner, to avoid silly and simple mistakes that can affect your site’s overall functionality.
One thing worth mentioning is that many better WordPress themes come at a premium, which in many cases can reach hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
As a new business, many individuals would try to cut corners to reduce their website building expenses. For this very reason, many business owners are tempted into using Nulled WordPress themes for their website rather than paying for the official versions.
These shortcuts are known in the web development industry as unethical and dangerous as they can compromise the website’s security and many other issues, which new website designers might not even be aware of.
In this blog, we will look at Nulled WordPress themes and just how safe they are.
What are Nulled WordPress Themes?
A nulled WordPress theme is a premium theme offered as a free download or for very little money by a non-licensed third party. These third-party vendors hack the premium WordPress theme and modify the code to make it accessible and appealing to newbies in the space.
Those premium themes that come at the cost of nothing are often set to work as a virus and, in extreme cases, to have complete control over your website at any point in the future.
In much simpler words, The nulled WordPress themes are pirated copies or cracked versions of premium WordPress themes designed to extract monetary value from your business in the future by holding you ransom.
7 Top Reasons to Avoid Using Nulled WordPress Themes
Need some convincing to not use a Nulled WordPress theme for your website? Below, we will look at seven of the top reasons you should avoid downloading free themes.
1) You Don’t Know What’s in the code
When you download a theme from a source other than the developer or trusted vendor, there is a pretty big chance that you will download a theme that has additional code that can harm your business and website later down the line.
Worst thing? You won’t even know the harmful code unless you are an experienced website developer and have some free time to go over every single line of code.
These can contain malicious things like malware and viruses, which can spread throughout your system, break it down, and collect your private information, or in more severe cases, it can create an opportunity for hackers to manipulate your website without your permission.
2) No Support From the Actual Developer
Maybe you are happy that a nulled WordPress theme can get you all the features of a premium theme, but you should know that you cannot depend on the actual developer to support you through the troubles if any bugs appear.
When you buy a premium theme, you get the option to directly reach out to the developer in case of any bug or issue.
Your only options then would be to try and figure out the bug yourself and try to fix it through Google or YouTube, or pay a developer to do that for you. Either way, it’s either going to cost you money or time.
3) No Access to Maintenance or Updates
To enable the automatic update for a premium theme, you will need a license key. Without a valid license key, you have to update it manually whenever a new update is up.
The first problem is that you have to delete the plugin and re-upload it time and time again. This can be pretty annoying and time-consuming.
The second problem is quite severe as you are not getting any notifications or automatic updates. As a result, you will never get urgent security updates on time, which will make your website exposed to the latest WordPress attacks.
4) SEO Is Crucial for Every Website
The nulled WordPress theme can be one of the reasons for your bad SEO. The nulled WordPress themes can add spammy links without your knowledge and direct your users to sites that Google portrays as spammy, ultimately affecting the user experience (UX) on your website.
If you have even the tiniest bit of SEO knowledge, you will know that user experience plays a very important role in SEO and ranking high on Google. Search Engines are very good at detecting unethical practices and spammy activities, which they can quickly and easily penalize you for. This will lead to decreasing your ranking on Google and ultimately affecting your business revenue.
5) Legal Consequences
Most of the WordPress themes are open source, but some can be mixed source. By mixed source, we mean that copyright laws protect some part of the code. So if you are using it and haven’t bought it from the original developer, you are not using it legally, and there is a chance of legal action against you.
The nulled WordPress themes can result in data theft, loss of data, or even the distribution of illegal materials. This will not lead to the government knocking on your door but can lead to legal proceedings where you have to pay a lot more for lawyers and penalties, which you can avoid by buying the original theme from the developer.
6) No Detailed Documentation
Even if you have been using WordPress for ten years, you will need proper detailed documentation to understand the functionality of a new theme before you can start using it on your website.
Developers of these themes spend a lot of time creating proper documentation to help their users navigate the theme and better understand it. In many cases, developers also hire support staff to improve customer service further.
If you are using a nulled WordPress theme, you will not get any third-party vendors’ documentation. You will not be getting any customer support from the actual developer as you haven’t bought it from their website. You will be left to figure it out all alone with the help of Google and YouTube.
7) So Many Free Alternatives
There is no reason for any business or anyone to use a nulled WordPress theme. However, with so many affordable and even free (legitimate) options on the internet, you can find free themes for your business without exposing yourself to any of the risks from above with a bit of digging.
How to Spot a Nulled WordPress Theme
Now that you know why you should avoid nulled WordPress themes let’s look at how to spot one before installing it on your website.
1) Research the Theme
The easiest place to start is with the vendor. Is the theme you are looking for is available in the WordPress directory? If not, is it being distributed by a reputed theme repository?
To determine if the vendor is trustworthy, check out their website. Does it look professional, or does it look sketchy and spammy? If the latter, then that is a pretty good indicator of a site that you cannot trust.
One other aspect you can check is the price. Check around and see if the theme is being sold for a higher price elsewhere. If so, then it wouldn’t make sense for someone to sell it cheaper. This is a pretty good sign that something is going on.
2) Take Any Necessary Precaution You Think Are Relevant
In case you can’t tell if a theme is dodgy from just browsing around on the internet, you can download it and run a couple of security checks through one of the many available online options.
We always recommend making a backup of your website before making any changes, installing new themes, and trying any new plugins. Even in this case, it can ensure the safety of your website if something gets haywire.
3) Check the Price Tag
All premium WordPress themes come with a price tag. Setting a budget for it, along with a list of the most critical functions and additional functions required ahead of time, will help to find a functional theme within your price range.
We also recommend researching the premium theme marketplace, which will give you an idea of how much you should pay. In addition, it will help you spot nulled themes effectively, which advertise premium content at a much lower price point.
Everybody loves free stuff, especially if they can benefit them in a great way while saving them money. With Nulled WordPress themes, you will find that ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is the case almost 100% of the time.
The safest route to go down when building your website is simply purchasing the theme from a licensed vendor. This way, you are not only legally allowed to use the theme but are also not going to be affected by the people that you downloaded the “free” theme from.
It is much better for you to pay for a cheaper theme and use that than download an expensive theme for free through unauthorized individuals that may harm your business to a great extent later down the line.