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Why You Should Avoid Using Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins

Everyone wants to save money, and when you run a business that’s particularly important. When setting up your website, you might look for ways to save a few pennies here and there. Using nulled WordPress themes and plugins may seem like the best option. 

The temptation to use nulled themes and plugins is usually due to reduced costs. However, while you are getting a premium product for free, there are actually a lot of reasons to avoid these particular tools.

In this article, we’ll look at what nulled WordPress themes and plugins are. We’ll then discuss the reasons you should stop using them. Let’s get started!

What Are Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins?

A nulled WordPress theme or plugin is a copy of the paid version of a product. While this is a form of pirating, there is some legal ambiguity involved. People who redistribute nulled themes and plugins often cite WordPress’ General Public License (GRL) as a defense.

This license enables anyone to distribute the software that falls under it for free. It can be argued that this also includes premium WordPress software, because it falls under the WordPress GPL. Many premium plugins also have freemium versions with their own GPL licenses, allowing them to be distributed without issues. 

While this line of reasoning is a simplification of the GPL and copyright laws, if you were to use nulled themes and plugins on your website, you probably would not face legal action. However, there are other reasons why you should avoid them. 

5 Reasons to Stop Using Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins

Nulled themes and plugins can save you money, but they can also open your website to various risks. For example, you will not have access to the support or updates needed to secure your site. To make an informed decision about nulled themes and plugins, you’ll want to consider the following.

1. You Risk Security and Privacy

When you download a nulled theme or plugin, it doesn’t come from the developer. This means that other people have had time to access the code and add malicious scripts. That’s why nulled plugins and themes are known to often carry malware.

As there is no way of knowing what is lurking in the code, using nulled plugins and themes is a security risk. They could include backdoors for hackers to access your website, or malicious code targeting your visitors. If you run an online store, hackers could access the username, password, and payment information of your clients.

As this code is now part of the theme or plugin, it can be hard to detect. Your website may continue to function as normal without you knowing that you’ve been compromised. Unless you have the knowledge to find these pieces of code, not using nulled themes and plugins is the best solution. 

2. You Won’t Have Access to Automatic Updates

WordPress themes and plugins regularly have updates to keep them secure and compatible with the core software. These updates also improve functionality, and even add new features. If you have a nulled version, however, you will not have access to any of those updates. 

You won’t have the valid license needed for the updates, which can leave you with an outdated version full of bugs and vulnerabilities. Your theme or plugin may even stop working correctly, as it becomes less and less compatible with the core WordPress software. 

If there is an update to the theme or plugin, you might be able to find a new nulled version. However, you would need to regularly check for updates manually, since you’d lose out on automatic notifications.

3. Getting Support from Developers Will Be Difficult

To properly use any WordPress theme or plugin, access to documentation and support is vital. Developers spend a lot of time drafting documentation to help users to get the most from their products. They also provide support if you have any issues with compatibility or bugs. 

With a nulled version of these products, you are generally on your own. Since you don’t have a valid license, you cannot access developer support channels. The full documentation for the product is also for paid customers only, and is not something you’ll usually receive access to with your nulled version. 

In other words, if you have any problems, you’ll have to attempt to fix them yourself. If there is a free version of the plugin or theme in the WordPress directories, you might be able to get some support there. However, this is not always possible, and not having any support is a risk that’s best to avoid. 

4. They Discourage Innovation

A WordPress theme or plugin might seem like a small piece of software. However, it still took the developer time and effort to create. When nulled versions are used, those developers lose money and some of their livelihood. 

Developers are also running businesses with overhead costs, and nulled versions of their products reduces their income. This can result in fewer new products getting made. The old products may also be left to deteriorate, because the developers don’t have the capital for support or updates. 

Using nulled versions of products can discourage developers from innovating. The new products they might have created could have helped a lot of users. Additionally, without innovation, new WordPress functionalities may take longer to come about. 

5. They Can Be Detrimental to SEO

Many website owners don’t realize that nulled WordPress themes and plugins can completely destroy your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is another result of not knowing what is in the code of these products. There could be scripts adding spam links to your website, or redirecting them to irrelevant websites. 

While you might not notice these malicious scripts, the search engines generally will. This can lead to your website being penalized. If the issue persists, the search engines could de-index your website completely, removing your website from the search rankings. 

Depending on the severity of the SEO impact, you might spend months recovering your rankings. In extreme cases, it might not be possible at all, and you’ll need to create a new website. All of this can potentially be avoided by staying away from nulled themes and plugins. 

Explore WP Engine’s Developer Resources

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can save you money. However, they rest in a legally gray area, and are generally considered unethical. Using them also leaves your website vulnerable, and without access to support from the developers. 

Paying for the premium version of a theme or plugin can often cost less than repairing the damage done by a nulled version. Of course, you’ll also want to invest in the right resources and quality web hosting!

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