Reasons to Avoid Nulled Themes and Plugins

Using nulled plugins and themes can be tempting because they are often available for free or at a greatly reduced cost. And who doesn’t want to save money? It’s human nature, but without knowing the disadvantages of nulled themes and plugins, it will be a great gamble, and you might lose more money than you save in the long run. Using nulled themes and plugins might seem a prudent idea initially, but believe me; it’s not.

One of the greatest dangers to the WordPress ecosystem is malware being spread via pirated and nulled themes and plugins, according to the 2020 Threat Report.

So, in this article, I will discuss the prime disadvantages of using nulled themes and plugins and the reasons to avoid them.

What are Nulled Themes and Plugins

 Nulled themes and plugins for WordPress refer to versions of the software that have been cracked or pirated and made available for download without paying for a license. These nulled versions can be distributed through various channels, such as torrent or file-sharing websites, or by individuals. These versions of the software are often modified or tampered with. And as a result, they pose serious risks to your website’s security, functionality and performance.

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Are Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins illegal?

To Know whether it is illegal, we first must know about GPL (General Public License).

What’s a GPL License

The General Public License, sometimes known as the GPL, is a license for free software. It gives the final user the right to run, study, share, and change the software in any way they see fit. And because WordPress is constructed according to the GPL, most of the plugins or themes created will likewise be subject to the GPL.

Now coming to the point whether nulled themes and plugins are illegal.

Now, in order to make a profit, some individuals buy premium products from developers. The General Public License (GPL) allows users to modify and share their work, so these individuals insert some of their code into the product either to crack the product or present it as their work before uploading it to a variety of online channels.

WordPress products that have been cracked are technically legal as long as they do not contain any copyrighted material.

So, using Nulled themes and plugins is not illegal

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If they are not Illegal, then what’s wrong with using them

The fact that something is within the law and free of charge does not automatically make it excellent or recommendable for use. Although no one will ever take legal action against you for using nulled versions of WordPress products, you probably won’t want to take the risk of using outdated or otherwise compromised software.

Nulled Plugins and Themes may include outdated codes and eventually stop working with newer releases of WordPress. As a result, you’ll need to remove the nulled plugin or theme and replace it with a new installation every time WordPress releases an update.

This will only increase your workload and using them is unethical from a moral standpoint.

Moreover, there are many disadvantages of using nulled themes and plugins and why you should not use them. I am going to discuss them in detail below.

Reasons to Avoid Nulled Themes and Plugins

Security Issues

In regards to nulled software, security is the primary concern. Nulled software may include malware or other harmful code that could be used to steal personal information, disable essential features of a website, or cause other damage. Many of these plugins are malicious and inject malware into your site, giving hackers a backdoor. Your site may be taken down, altered without your knowledge, or redirected to a new URL if someone gains access to your site in this way.

In addition to the problems with security and functionality, outdated code can cause problems. A nulled plugin is highly likely to have outdated code, even if it contains no malware. You won’t know when critical updates are needed if you don’t keep track of your plugin or theme’s version. If you cannot regularly update your plugins and themes, hackers can exploit security holes in your website.

Finding the issue, repairing the code, and restoring your site may be time-consuming, exhausting, and costly. If a hacker breaks into your site, you may need to restore a backup of your site. And If you don’t have a database backup, then getting rid of the injected malicious code would be tedious.

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Privacy Issues

It’s hard to know what kinds of malicious code are hiding in the files of a nulled plugin or theme. If you care about the privacy of your data, you should never use a nulled product.

There may be malicious malware in these files that will take sensitive data from your website and distribute it around the dark web. Among the sensitive data that may be compromised are:

  • The site’s usernames (including the admin username)
  • Website passwords (including the admin password)
  • Email addresses

Additionally, if you are operating an online store or membership website, using a nulled product will put your clients’ private information in danger. This can include credit card numbers, bank account numbers, phone numbers, and physical addresses.

As a conscientious business owner, you know it’s not worth putting your client’s personal information in danger by using free nulled alternatives to paid plugins and themes.

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No Updates

As every WordPress user will attest, updates are a necessary measure. To fix software issues, strengthen security, and offer new functionality, plugin and theme creators regularly roll out updates. Getting a nulled version of a plugin or theme means you won’t receive any updates.

Getting updates is crucial. Outdated WordPress software is not acceptable for a few reasons. The first problem is that you will not be able to take advantage of tools that could enhance your site’s functionality. Once you download a nulled product, you’re stuck with the current features. Second, an extremely prevalent WordPress security risk is using an out-of-date theme or plugin. Developers keep track of security issues and the fixes they implement in public changelogs. A malicious actor can use these logs to seek and attack websites running vulnerable software.

WordPress Compatibility Issue

There will be incompatibility issues if you use an out-of-date plugin or theme with a new version of WordPress. Why? It’s because whenever a new version of a WordPress plugin or theme is released, its compatibility with the most recent version of WordPress is checked. And sometimes, updates are published so that the plugin or theme works with the most recent version of WordPress.

Users who install nulled WordPress softwares should be aware that they will not be able to get future updates. Because of this, your site will be incompatible with future releases of WordPress and will eventually crash.

Compatibility Issues with the Theme or Other Plugins

Not only WordPress, but individual developers also issue updates to make their themes compatible with plugins. And developers of plugins also release updates to make their plugins compatible with themes and other plugins. There are several plugins whose purpose is to enhance the functionality of other plugins or themes.

Therefore, if you are not getting the update, which is almost certain if you are using nulled products, means there will be incompatibilities, which could cause the website to malfunction or possibly be compromised. In the latter scenario, there is no way to compensate for your loss.

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No Support

Nulled themes and plugins developers may replicate the functionality of the original product. Still, even if they succeed in doing so, they will never provide the same degree of support as an official team does. Because you are purchasing the product at a reduced or zero cost, there is no financial motivation for the developers of nulled products to assist you. On the other hand, official developers commit a large amount of time and money to provide product support or, at the very least, comprehensive documentation.

This indicates that you are solely responsible for resolving any problems with a nulled product, whether a small technical glitch or a bug. You might come across some useful materials on the internet, but a dedicated support team can solve your issues in a significantly shorter amount of time.

Bad for SEO

A website’s SEO health needs to be built up gradually using the appropriate plan and laborious, persistent labour. However, the results of your hard work can be negated in a matter of days by using a single nulled plugin or theme. These nulled products typically come bundled with spam links and obscure outbound links that direct users to dubious websites.

The crawler bots used by Google can track such sudden changes across the website. It will undoubtedly affect the ranking of your website and badly harm its SEO health. Even Google may deindex your website entirely if it is redirected to a malicious website or if you unintentionally send links to harmful websites via the nulled plugins.

In addition, nulled plugins and themes run many scripts in the background. When an excessive number of scripts are running on a website, the loading time increases. A slow website is terrible for search engine optimization.

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Effects User Experience

Some nulled plugins and themes flood your site with unwanted advertising and pop-ups. Your site visitors only care about finding the information they came for. Ads like these effect their overall user experience. Furthermore, they may slow down the website. No one will stick around on a sluggish website.

It Discourages Development

WordPress developers put a lot of time, effort, and money into creating themes and plugins because they care deeply about them.

Having their hard work stolen in the form of nulled WordPress themes and plugins is disheartening for developers. They are deprived of revenue that is properly theirs.

How can you identify Nulled Themes and Plugins?

Making sure you aren’t installing a nulled version of a plugin or theme on your website requires a lit bit of inspection.

These are some of the tell-tale signs of a nulled plugin and themes:

  • Premium plugins or themes created by different developers are sold together as a bulk package at a discount. But remember that some themes come with legal licenses for extra plugins.
  • Paid plugins or themes are advertised for free or at a steep discount in online classified ads or on social networking sites.
  • Websites offering downloads with the words “nulled” or “null” in the domain name.
  • Websites cluttered with irrelevant advertisements for other websites, such as “download” buttons for the software redirecting you elsewhere.
  • Price of the product is cheaper than on the developer’s website.

 Nulled Plugins will always be without a license key. A license key must accompany the premium version. So, you can assume that a nulled version of the software is being given if it can be downloaded for free and does not require a license key.

Time to wrap up

Well, nulled themes and plugins are really light on the pocket initially. But they might burn a hole in your pocket in the long run. It is not that you will just have to deal with financial loss; your whole website and reputation is put at stake if you use Nulled products. Moreover, having to deal with technical issues all by yourself will only increase your workload and disturb your mental peace.

So, I would suggest that if you are tight on budget, then look for free themes and plugins. Although you won’t be able to get the functionalities of paid ones. WordPress has a lot of free themes and plugins, and some of them might able to assist you in what you need.

Using nulled themes and plugins is bad for you and affects the whole WordPress ecosystem. So, please don’t fall into the trap of cheap nulled products because they do more harm than good.

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