Are you using nulled themes and plugins on your WordPress site? If so, then stop!
Yes, it’s very tempting to use them to gain access to premium features. But what if we told you that, by using them, you’re placing your website’s security at risk?
Your website’s security is your top priority. Exchanging it with the allure of an older version of a theme or plugin is not an intuitive move.
Look at it this way. The plugins and themes you’re pirating have already been updated to a newer version or require premium licenses to operate legally. Apart from some niche features, they are also updated to remove security bugs. Why use a buggy plugin and theme in the first place?
But it doesn’t end there. If they are infected, then it gives hackers sufficient room to cause problems on your site. When they gain a backdoor like that, they can seriously damage your website. Sending spam emails, phishing, spam comments, link redirects to shady websites, among many others are the modus operandi of any hacker who gains access.
All of what we’ve written above isn’t meant to scare you; it’s meant to showcase the consequences of disregarding WordPress security. What follows is a detailed explanation of what nulled themes or plugins are, how their piracy goes about, and the reasons why you should never use them.
Nulled Themes and Plugins: What They Are?
WordPress is the most popular platform on the internet today. Powering over 30% of websites around the world, it’s the go-to choice for individuals looking to build their digital identity.
Anyone, regardless of budget and coding knowledge, can benefit from the power of the CMS. To add more value, it also comes equipped with multiple themes and plugins that enable you to personalize your website experience.
While the majority of plugins and themes available on the platform are free to install and use, some developers have also released the premium versions of such themes. There are also developers who only create premium themes. They do so to ensure that they are covered financially enough to keep on developing better products in the future.
On the other hand, you have the consumers; a majority of whom are small businesses, bloggers, and beginners. Now, some of them can make do with the free version of a plugin, but there are some who, in pursuit of better functionalities, wish to gain access to a premium theme or plugin.
They are restricted by their budget, but also wish to gain access to the premium version. This statement is the point where demand is generated for the nulled version.
At this point, we know that a nulled theme is free (with repercussions, of course). But how and why they are made free?
The World of Theme and Plugin Piracy
Premium themes and plugins come at a cost; that’s pretty much established. When you incur the cost of using a plugin or theme, you’re paying for its premium features. Moreover, if you’re using them for multiple sites, then you will have to purchase an upgraded license. These licenses are used by developers to ensure that the plugin is not being used as a “free for all”.
But like most things technology, it’s not safe from crackers who bypass the licenses to make it usable for multiple sites. The cracked or modified version of the software are classified under the category of pirated, nulled, or cracked software.
These modified versions are distributed all across the internet where anyone can download it for free. Why not? It’s free!
But one begs to question, what is the motive behind distributing such software for free?
The major benefits of this trade are to make money out of illegal downloads and to use the vulnerabilities present in the software for malicious purposes. Both of these are done using the following methods:
- Generating advertising revenue for the site’s hosting illegal downloads. Since every download on the site is free, they make significant money from just ads.
- Implanting bugs and security vulnerabilities in the software. When an individual downloads the software, he/she is also installing the implanted malware.
- By gaining access to your computer or site, they can gain access to important information related to your life. Anything from your social security number, your credit cards, and even your identity can be stolen.
Nothing in this world is free. With illegally downloaded software products, you’re trading your personal and professional information. In the next section, we will explain why you shouldn’t use them.
Why You Should NEVER Use Nulled Themes and Plugins
Using nulled software, in any case, is never a good idea. Here are some of the major reasons why nulled themes should always be avoided:
Downloading from reputable sites like the official WordPress repository, CodeCanyon, the WooCommerce plugin store, or ThemeForest has its benefits. The primary one being security, and the fact that is up-to-date with the latest WordPress version and quality assurance requirements.
These platforms are popular for a reason; they ensure that any plugin or theme meets all sorts or security and QA guidelines before they are submitted. The WooCommerce plugin store, for example, requests plugin publishers to run its code sniffer which detects whether or not problems lie on your website.
Nulled themes and plugins base themselves on the exact opposite of these best practices. There is no guarantee that they are secure. Moreover, some nulled themes are released into the “market” for the sole purpose of hacking and planting malware. This is one of the major reasons why they should not even be the last option for you to download.
You Won’t Get Updates
If you’re already using a previously cracked version of a plugin or theme, you won’t receive updates for it. Theme developers are aware of the prevalent piracy with their plugins and themes, and therefore, take necessary steps to ensure they do not get relevant updates.
All in all, if you go about updating those plugins and themes manually, then you will have to register using a license. Since it’s a pirated theme already, then its an impossible task since users haven’t even paid for the license.
As a result, the users stay with the current version of the theme or plugin, which eventually gets infected. At the end of the day, the trade-off is shown in full-swing since your site gets infected with malware and viruses. You can also check out this WordPress Security guide for more info
Forget About Support
You can install the nulled theme or plugin without looking for any particular support or help. However, there are plenty of situations where you have to contact developer support. For premium users, developer support is usually top-notch.
However, if you’re using a nulled version, then forget about developer support since the moment you enter your query, you won’t have any identification to showcase you’re a premium user. In short, if you’re using a nulled theme, then forget about developer support.
You’re Demotivating the Innovators
As they have been through the history of WordPress development, developers are innovators. They care about what they build and want to keep building. Premium items of all types are their way to get a return on their investments. Using pirated software robs them of these returns.
For example, if you’re spending countless hours making music and you find out that your album is being sold for free on a pirating site, you would generally feel demotivated to continue putting in all the hard work.
A similar case can be applied with pirated plugins and themes. Developers work hard to ensure a quality product. Seeing their energy go to waste can prove extremely demotivating for them.
Conclusion: Why Using Nulled Themes and Plugins is a Bad Idea
This article talks about the various dangers and repercussions of using a pirated/nulled theme or plugin. Using them can prove to be a huge security headache for your website. To avoid such headaches, you have two alternatives:
- Purchase the premium theme or plugin. There are plenty of internet resources that can help you select the perfect theme. Not only does it ensure security, but it also makes you eligible for developer support and ensures that the developers keep making better projects. If your budget allows you, then purchase it.
- Use a legally free version of the theme or plugin. Using this would keep things updated and secure for as long as you use them.
Both of these are healthy alternatives to using a nulled theme or plugin. All in all, security should be your top priority and should not be sacrificed in pursuit of premium themes.