June 22 2022

WordPress Nulled Themes and Plugins: 10 Reasons to Avoid Them

Have you ever been tempted to buy pirated themes or plugins or download them from Warez sites? This is why you should never do this.

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WordPress is the most popular open source CMS right now and one of the reasons is widely available themes and plugins.

You can download free plugins and themes from the directory or get a premium one. However, the premium ones are expensive. Many people try to cut costs by downloading Nulled WordPress plugins and themes.

In this article, I'll show you why it's a bad idea to use Nulled themes or plugins in WordPress.

What are Nulled Themes and Plugins?

Nulled Themes and Plugins are the modified version of premium plugins and themes with no paywall or license restrictions.

Since most WordPress plugins and themes are open source, anyone can read and modify the code. Some developers remove licensing requirements from theme and plugin files.

Nulled plugins and themes are pirated versions of the premium version.

However, the premium software works with a licensed key that you need to purchase, while the Nulled software works without any key because the code has been removed.

10 reasons why you should avoid Nulled WordPress themes and plugins are:

  1. Legal Matters
  2. Safety
  3. Privacy
  4. Web Hosting
  5. SEO
  6. No update
  7. No new features
  8. Get no support
  9. Don't give support
  10. Free alternatives

Legal problems

Legal Illegal

Most WordPress themes and plugins are licensed under the GPL. GPL (General Public License) allows anyone to freely distribute GPL licensed products.

It is not illegal to buy or sell GPL licensed products through third parties. Most WordPress themes and plugins are licensed under the GPL because it is a condition of being listed in the WordPress.org directory.

Developers often create two versions of their product. One is free and available in the WordPress directory and a premium version. Developers also block more features in the free version, and users need to obtain a license to unlock them.

However, using Nulled WordPress plugins and themes is not entirely legal. Some plugins and themes are sold under mixed licenses. If the code is not licensed under the GPL, it means that you are using it without permission.

Because if it is true that the code could also be derived from the GPL, it is also true that trademarks, logos, and anything else that is not just PHP code can be covered by copyright and licensed for use only upon purchase of the license of use itself.

This is the main reason why, for example, many Linux distributions derived from commercial Linux distributions, in deriving the Free distribution take care to remove the logos protected by copyright.

But no one will sue you for using their software on your website. However, the main issue is not the legality of themes and plugins, but security and privacy.

Safety

The WordPress Nulled plugin and themes have changed the code. You don't know what code was added to the original file to break the reward barrier.

The person who is selling the Nulled themes and plugins is certainly adding code to these files. How difficult could it be to add malicious code to damage the websites it is installed on?

There are some “trusted” Nulled theme providers, but it just means that the person is well versed in their work and hasn't been caught yet.

Any code added to core theme files and plug-ins may masquerade as system code, and basic scanners will not detect it.

Privacy

Another key concern is privacy. Hacking to steal information is a common practice.

Hackers want information about the user, such as name, address, contact numbers, login information, IP addresses, credit card history - all of this information stored on any eCommerce store.

As soon as the Nulled plugin is activated on the website, it will steal all the information and send it to its server. So, technically, all of your data history is stolen in minutes.

You won't be able to see any signs of hacking, as the website will work normally. The hack won't even show up in scanners.

Using Nulled plugins and themes may be legal, but GDPR compliance is a serious issue. You can be fined a large sum if it turns out that you have risked your customers' information for free software.

Web Hosting

For many web hosting companies (including Managed Server), using pirated software is a violation of the terms and services.

The malicious code would activate firewalls and antivirus technologies used by web hosting companies and could quarantine the nulled plug-in, rendering it useless.

If the plugins go under the radar and the developers report the website, the hosting providers will suspend the deal. All invoices and payments will not be eligible for a refund.

Nulled WordPress plugins and themes aren't just bad for the website; they can also affect the server if the hosting provider does not take appropriate measures.

Managed Server guarantees free hacking of WordPress hosting and we do not allow the use of pirated software on our server.

SEO

Giving away the embedded software with a link to the main website for free is an elegant marketing strategy followed by many SAAS vendors. For example: RevolverMaps.

With Nulled WordPress plugins and themes, they don't need permission to view the link on the website or redirect the entire website to a new URL.

You will not guess that something is wrong because for registered users it will work perfectly.

Search engines will be able to see SEO spam and block the domain from search.

Unfortunately, it will hurt your domain reputation and organic traffic.

No update

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins do not ship with any updates.

The developers will distribute the updates and upgrades, but you cannot download them because without a valid license.

To get the updated theme and plugin, you need to purchase the latest version of the nulled theme / plugin. Or keep using the outdated themes and plugins.

Outdated plugins are the main reason behind hacked WordPress websites. That's why plugin developers release updates so frequently. Whenever there is a bug or problem, they fix it and release the new version.

The WordPress platform receives consistent updates and upgrades. Theme and plugin developers update their products to make them compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Without quick and regular updates, it will be difficult to stay safe on WordPress.

No new features

In addition to fixing bugs and fixing problems with the code, the developers have also introduced new features via updates.

You will be left in the dark about the new feature unless you get the latest version of the theme or plugin.

This new feature could be game-changing for your website or just a new solution to improve your workflow a bit. Either way, you'll miss it.

You won't get support

In the world of open source software, you don't pay for software; you pay for support.

Few people are software experts (developers, longtime users) and know a lot about that particular software.

For WordPress themes and plugins, developers help you if you have any issues with themes and plugins. You can contact them, raise a ticket or have a live chat.

But without any valid license, you cannot contact them if your website goes down or if any function fails. In many cases, you don't even have access to the documentation.

You are on your own and need to research the issue yourself in the community forums.

You will not give support

You are not receiving any support from developers or theme vendors, and you are not providing any developer support.

In some ways, this is a moot topic.

If you're not paying for software for a large business, then that might be fine. Since the developer is already paid, you are technically not stealing from him but the company. But then there are independent developers and small businesses with small projects. Not paying for plugins and themes would be considered a steal from them.

It's a question of morality and you have to decide for yourself. If stealing from a large organization is the same as stealing from a small independent developer?

Free alternatives

The reason that made WordPress so popular is the availability of free resources.

Be it themes, plug-ins, help, guides, code, or whatever; everyone has a free alternative available.

You can run a full-fledged business using free WordPress themes and plugins without any hindrance. Of course, when you need to scale, you have to take the paid one. But increasing is a sign that your business is doing well and can afford what your website deserves.

Go to Google and search for “Free - with your plug-in functions -” and you will find many articles explaining which plug-in is suitable for which functions.

There's no need to get Nulled plugins and themes when free alternatives are readily available and do a great job.

And your reputation doesn't matter?

Last but not least is the corporate reputation. It takes years to build credibility and moments to lose it on the Internet. 

What do you think will happen if your website is hacked; your customers and users find that it happened due to a pirated plugin you used.

Even if the website is not hacked, but users find that you are using pirated software to run your business, it will affect your reputation.

Most users don't know much about WordPress technology, and it's hard to explain to everyone that nulled GPL licensed products aren't illegal to use.

Online reputation is essential for having an online business. It is your responsibility to take care of it.

FAQ

Are Nulled Themes Illegal?

No, Nulled themes are not entirely illegal. WordPress themes are covered by GPL licenses which allow everyone to edit and redistribute WordPress themes.

However, using Nulled WordPress plugins and themes is not entirely legal. Some plugins and themes are sold under mixed licenses. If the code is not licensed under the GPL, it means that you are using it without permission.

Because if it is true that the code could also be derived from the GPL, it is also true that trademarks, logos, and anything else that is not just PHP code can be covered by copyright and licensed for use only upon purchase of the license of use itself.

How do I get Nulled themes?

Some many unknown websites and vendors can provide you with nulled themes. However, social media groups and forums are favorable places. Please review the sellers properly before closing any deals.

Is it useful to use Nulled plug-ins?

It is not good to use nulled WordPress plugins as they are dangerous for your website. Malware and malicious code are commonly found in nulled plug-ins that can harm your websites. Furthermore, they are disguised and encrypted to stay under the radar.

Can I update a nulled theme?

You can't update nulled themes because you don't have a valid license key. You need to purchase the latest nulled version to get the updated theme version.

How can I get a free premium WordPress theme?

Premium WordPress themes aren't free, but they have separate free versions with limited functionality. Most theme developers provide a free version, which is often more than enough for small businesses.

How do I scan nulled plugins?

There are several free nulled plug-in scanners available online. But you can never be sure as the code could be efficiently hidden. The code would be a part of the file and would be safe from scanners.

Conclusions

You have to avoid nulled plugins and themes or end up spending hundreds of hours cleaning up coded WP plugins and themes due to this type of malware.

Getting premium plugins at no cost sounds great, but it's not worth it.

WordPress.org has over 55.000 plugins and themes, all of which are free to download and use.

Do you have doubts? Not sure where to start? Contact us


We have all the answers to your questions to help you make the right choice.

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