Do you want to use a nulled WordPress theme or plugin on your WordPress site? Are you looking for a way to use such pirated software and keep your website safe at the same time?
We understand how tempting it is to use nulled software as it gives you access to premium features for free. But the reality of it is that installing nulled WordPress themes and plugins on your WordPress site is extremely risky as most of them are riddled with malware.
The malware will infect your site and allow hackers to break in. Hackers will cause severe damage to your website by displaying unwanted ads, sending spam emails, and redirecting your visitors to malicious sites. The consequences become more severe if Google detects the hack blacklists your site and your web hosting provider suspends your account.
Getting hacked one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t use a nulled plugin or theme. In this article, we’ll discuss in-depth why you should never use nulled WordPress themes and plugins on your WordPress website.
TL;DR – If you have a nulled WordPress theme or plugin on your site, scan it for malware immediately. Install our WordPress security plugin MalCare to run an instant and thorough scan of your site. If the plugin or theme has infected your site, MalCare will alert you to take action to fix it.
What Are Nulled WordPress Themes And Plugins?
WordPress powers over one-third of all the websites on the world wide web, making it the most popular website-building platform. This is because WordPress made it easy and inexpensive for anyone to build a website without any coding knowledge. Plus, it has a plethora of plugins and themes that enable you to create unique websites with cool features and functions.
While the WordPress platform itself is free to use, many plugins and themes are not. Plugins and themes are created by third-party developers. Developing and managing plugins and themes is hard work and it requires investing time and money. This is the primary reason why developers charge money on the theme or plugin they have created.
However, many WordPress sites are run by small businesses, bloggers, and newbies. Since their budgets are tight, they try to avoid paying for themes and plugins. This is where demand for nulled versions of premium themes and plugins springs up.
Now, we know a nulled version is free, but how is it made free? And more importantly why?
How are WordPress Themes and Plugins Pirated?
When you purchase a premium WordPress theme or plugin, you get a license to use it. This limits the use of the theme or plugin only to one website. You won’t be able to install it on multiple sites. Developers use licenses to protect their software from being purchased once and distributed to ‘friends and family’ freely.
But there are tech-savvy people who find ways to modify the software and bypass the license in order to use it on multiple sites. This modified version is called a pirated, nulled or cracked version of the original theme or plugin.
These pirated versions are distributed on several websites where anyone can download it for free. And there’s a high demand for them too because it’s free!
So why do people crack themes and plugins and distribute them for free?
Many of those who pirate software make money out of it or use it for malicious purposes:
- They generate ad revenue on the sites they distribute them on. Also, they sell more illegal products or promote their illegal business on these sites.
- They use these ‘free versions’ to dupe people into installing malware on their sites. This enables them to hack into the site.
- They use it to collect sensitive and personal data which can later be sold or exploited maliciously.
Remember, if a premium theme or plugin is offered for free, it’s free for a reason. Now that you have a better understanding of how and why people crack premium themes and plugins, we’ll show you why you shouldn’t use it.
Four Reasons You Should NOT Use Nulled WordPress Themes Or Plugins
Using nulled versions of any software is never a good idea. Here are four major reasons why you should avoid pirated themes and plugins:
1. It could contain malware
When you download plugins and themes from trusted sources such as the WordPress repository, the developer’s official website, or marketplaces like CodeCanyon and ThemeForest, you can be sure that the software is clean and secure. This is because these platforms closely review the plugins and themes to ensure standards and guidelines are met before they list them for users to download.
When you download nulled themes and plugins from random websites, there is no guarantee that they are safe to use.
And in most cases, they are not! Since there are no regulations on these sites, hackers can easily list their nulled software which will have malicious codes or malware injected inserted into it.
The malicious code can be programmed to do all sorts of things such as:
These are just some of the things they do. The truth is there’s no telling what a nulled theme or plugin has in store for you. Even if your nulled plugin or theme is malware-free, you still have to face major issues.
2. You won’t receive updates for nulled software
As developers of the theme and plugin improve their software, they release updates from time to time. These updates can carry new features, compatibility fixes, bug fixes, and most importantly, security patches. You will receive a notification for the update in your WordPress dashboard like so:
When you choose to use a nulled version of a theme or plugin, you will be disconnected from the developer. You won’t receive a notification that an update is available. This means you won’t receive any updates. Without updates, the plugin will remain vulnerable endangering your website.
You also won’t be able to update it with just a click of a button like you do other plugins and themes.
Besides security issues, not receiving updates can cause compatibility issues. WordPress is constantly developing its software and releases new versions every now and then. Plugins and themes follow suit and upgrade their software to ensure they are compatible with the WordPress core. If you update WordPress and fail to update the nulled plugin or theme, it could cause compatibility issues. Your site can malfunction and break.
That said, the scariest part about all this is if a vulnerability is found in the software, you won’t be able to update to the new version to fix it. Your website will be vulnerable to hacks as long as your running the outdated plugin or theme on your site.
3. You won’t get any support from the developer
Many times, plugins and themes can be installed and used without any help or support. But there are also plenty of times when you need guidance. Developers of premium plugins and themes always offer support to answer customer’s questions and solve any issues they may be facing with the software.
So what happens if you face any issue with the nulled theme or plugin which only the developer can address? To state the obvious, you most certainly won’t be able to contact the developer for help.
4. It discourages further innovation
Most developers enjoy creating plugins and themes for WordPress. They spend time, energy, and money developing their software and then maintaining and improving it. Developers create some really cool stuff that makes your website better. They strive to cater to every want and to solve every problem you could possibly face with your WordPress site.
Many developers hire staff, have their own website, have a support team, create documentation to provide a great experience for customers who use their products.
Imagine after all that hard work and investment, they wake up one day to find that a pirated version of their product is being distributed for free. It’s discouraging.
Therefore, contributing to the success of nulled software can hamper innovation.
If you cannot afford the premium plugins and themes, you can opt for a free alternative. Many of the free themes and plugins are enough to create a beautiful and highly-functional site.
If you still decide to take the risk and go ahead with a nulled theme or plugin, (which we strongly suggest you don’t), there are a few measures you need to take to ensure your website remains safe.
How To Check If A WordPress Nulled Theme Or Plugin Has Malicious Code?
We understand that WordPress users want to use nulled software for different reasons. You may want to try the premium version to see if it fits your needs before you decide to buy it. Or you may want to use it only for a short period on your site and don’t want to invest in an annual plan.
There are many reasons you may still want to go ahead and take the risk of using a nulled theme or plugin. Before we proceed, again, we strongly recommend you don’t.
In case you have already installed a nulled version of a theme or plugin on your WordPress site, you need to scan it immediately for malware.
If you are planning on installing a nulled version of a plugin or theme, we recommend you use a staging site to test it. A staging site is a replica of your live site where you can experiment and make changes that will not affect your live site. We strongly advise you to never install a nulled theme or plugin directly on your live site.
You can set up a staging site through your hosting account. You can also use our sister plugin BlogVault to set up a staging site with just one click. Your staging site will be created in under a few minutes.
Why Use MalCare Security Plugin?
Next, you need to scan the site on which you’ve installed the nulled plugin or theme. We recommend using our MalCare Security Plugin. Here’s why:
- Many scanners rely on outdated methods of detecting malware. They use a technique called signature or pattern matching. In this, the scanner runs your website’s coding against a database of known malicious code. If it finds a match, it alerts you that it has found malware. This means if a hacker uses a new malicious code, the scanner cannot detect it. MalCare doesn’t rely only on pattern matching. It uses intelligent signals to detect the behavior of code. This enables it to find any malware – new or old.
- Some scanners search for malware only in particular folders and don’t search the entire site. If a hacker has placed malware outside of these specific folders, the scanner will give you a false alert that the nulled software is free of malware. MalCare will scan your entire site and its database in under a few minutes.
- It’s easy to set up and use. Plus, it’s guaranteed to give you the right results on whether your theme or plugin is infected or not.
Here’s how to use the MalCare’s malware scanner:
Step 1: Install MalCare on your WordPress site.
Step 2: Next, access the MalCare dashboard and enter your email address. Select ‘Secure Site Now’.
Step 3: You will be redirected to the MalCare dashboard where it will automatically configure security settings on your site. It will begin to run a complete scan of your site. This will take only a few minutes.
Step 4: Once the scan is complete, it will indicate whether your site is clean or hacked. If it is clean, you will see the following screen:
In case your site is hacked, MalCare will alert you that it has found malware and prompt you to clean up your website immediately.
We recommend deactivating and deleting any nulled software you’ve installed on your site. You will need to find an alternative or use the authenticate premium version.
Note: Malware removal is a complex process and requires technical expertise. With all plugins, malware removal is a premium feature. To use our malware removal service, you would need to upgrade to a premium plan.
If you need more detailed guidance on how to scan a WordPress theme or plugin, you can refer to our guide on How to Scan and Detect Malicious Code.
With that, we wrap up on advising you not to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins. The cons far outweigh any pros it may have. We’re confident you’ll make the right choice (the safer one!)
In a bid to save a few bucks, you could jeopardize your website and your business by using nulled WordPress themes and plugins. It’s best to avoid them altogether.
There are plenty of free plugins and themes that you can trust available in the WordPress repository.
Before installing any plugin or theme, we recommend activating a security plugin such as MalCare on your WordPress site first. This plugin will scan your site regularly for malware and any suspicious activity. It will also proactively defend your website against hack attempts.
Your website will be safe and secure round the clock.
Try our MalCare Security Plugin Now!