Security Risks Using Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins

People have rightfully said that “the first impression is the last impression“.

It has been found that people often judge your appearance first and then analyze your work.

As petty as this sounds, it has become a notion around the world.

This judgmental flaw doesn’t just limit itself to humans.

Surveys have found that people are more likely to click on the websites with a better presentation than the website with better content.

So, it has become mandatory for the developers to program the WordPress website with extraordinary themes.

WordPress offers a range of inbuilt themes based on its popularity.

popular wordpress themes

Many of these themes are premium. Hence, they are not usually affordable to everyone.

So, people end up getting nulled WordPress themes which are nothing but the pirated versions of paid themes distributed for free.

What is a Null Theme?

Developers are seen downloading free themes from unauthorized sources.

And such nulled WordPress themes will not only harm their website but are also an open invitation to the hackers.

null themes search query

Basically, such null themes are coded in such a way that hackers can extract sensitive information from your device.

These themes are collected from a third party which is not only unsafe but are usually not licensed or legal.

What are the Risks in Using Null Themes

As stated earlier, null themed plugins are unsafe and illegal. But apart from being unethical, these plugins have the following drawbacks:

1. Security Issues

Well, you might lose control over your website, anything could happen which you have never thought of.

Even after installing a nulled WordPress theme if you are logged out from your admin area, that not a surprise too.

Hackers could get control not only over your website logins, even at your servers too. YES, it’s that dangerous. After you have to pay the cost of so-called FREE or equal to free themes.

Data security of your website is not only important for you but also for the users.

The free theme providers often hack the premium themes by using malicious codes and then sell it for free.

  • hackers also leave a backdoor open while writing the code for the themes to get access to websites after downloading it.
  • To say directly, these themes are nothing but maneuvers to hack into your website.
  • Even the most authentic certificate for your WordPress website the SSL certificate can do nothing when you download a null theme plugin yourself.
  • WP-VCD malware is the most common malware found in these themes.

Due to illegal authorization of the themes, the risk of data theft and data distribution increases.

And thus, the chances of cybercrime increases and if found guilty legal actions will be taken against you.

This is why I always go with premium themes, for my sites and my clients. No Compromise when it comes to security.

At most, I prefer GeneratePress and Astra. These are SEO friendly, fastest loading themes. And you will be able to get the desired look. Because there are a variety of child themes that comes along with those.

2. No Support

Since the creator of the null theme plugins is unknown, they can’t provide you with the warranty or support if your website gets stuck somewhere.

Whereas if you use premium themes, the creators have long scripts of codes and can solve any technical issue you might face during the installation of your website.

The premium theme developers also provide a warranty so that you can run your website smoothly.

So, these premium themes might look expensive at first, but they will assist you throughout your website’s running process.

3. Affecting SEO

One tries best to put his website on the first page of the famous search engines like Google.

But when you use null themes for your WordPress site, Google throws it at the bottom of the page.

Due to pirated coding and harmful spams, Google detects the threat to its users and warns them to switch to another site.

Due to this, huge traffic for the website is lost.

4. No Upgrading

With new software releasing every day, WordPress upgrades regularly to ensure the security or to fix bugs or to just update the website for more traffic.

When you use pirated themes you will not be able to upgrade since the access will not be provided to you by the unknown theme developer.

So, not only you increase the risks of the insecure network but you also lose access to update your sites.

Do you need my expertise in WordPress theme recommendation?

My Favourite WordPress Themes

Well, being a web designer and a WordPress savvy, I have tried a lot of WordPress themes. My favorite ones are light-weight and SEO Friendly.

1. GeneratePress – $49 (Unlimited sites usage)

2. Astra Pro – $59 (Unlimited sites usage, lifetime deal also available at $249)

3. StudioPress – Start from $99 (Bundle pack also available – Best for web designers and agencies)

Already a user of null themed plugins?

It is common to use free stuff. And it’s okay until you know about the harmful outcomes of using these null themes.

We, any day, advise our readers against downloading such plugins.

However, if you have already installed them and got hacked, follow this WP hack removal guide to clean & safeguard your website.

I will still go ahead and mention the vital steps here as well. Find them below:

1. Detect Malware

You can tell you’ve got infected by a nulled theme, if,

  • You start to see a lot of malicious pop-ups on your website
  • Your website has been flagged by Google or other search engines
  • Your website starts redirecting to spam pages.

These are some obvious signs that inform you about a hack. You can then scan your website through a Malware scanner. You can then follow this guide to find & clean WP-VCD malware.

2. Create Backup

Before removing the malware, you will need to back up your files. Follow the following steps to back up your WordPress theme data:

  1. Create an FTP client and log into the FTP account. Navigate “wp-content/themes” on your website host.
  2. From a list of themes running on your blog, select the one you are recovering and transfer it to your computer hardware.

3. Edit and Reinstall

To ensure that you have cleared all the bugs from your website, follow the following steps:

1. Click on the “Appearance” and then “Editor” on your WordPress blog dashboard. Detect the unwanted code lines or edit them.

2. If you are unable to edit them, then the access is not given to you. In that case, you are required to troubleshoot your website.

3. Reinstall the theme and click on “Appearance” and then click “Themes” on your dashboard, and activate a different theme.

4. Click on “Delete” to remove all the files from your broken theme.

5. Click on “Install Theme” from the top page and then search for the theme name and reinstall it to your library.

Not Worth it – Your Turn

The null themes might seem attractive, even budget-friendly, at first. But given the endless risks, it is not at all recommendable.

As a security-aware blog, we advise you not to use nulled themes and plugins for your WordPress website.

Ironically, to save time and money, using the premium themes are the only choice forward.

Also, ensure that the themes or plugins have an authentic source before you go on and download them.

Having said that, if you go the extra mile in securing your website, it is always sure to repel hackers. This complete & actionable WordPress security guide will help you in filling all those security gaps in your website.

Pro tip – Using the All in one Security Plugin like GetAstra can ease the security process for you and you can be worry-free.

Are you still using WordPress nulled themes and plugins?

STOP! if you are serious about your business.

If you found this article helpful, comment below and let us know.

What others are reading!
Authored by Navin Rao

A blogger and with a go-getter attitude Navin is a web geek and loves to write about WordPress. Able to guide even a non-techie to maintain a WordPress website through his walkthrough tutorials on WordPress.

Enough right? Let's join hands on Facebook and Twitter

12 thoughts on “Security Risks Using Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins”

  1. Hi bro…. Awesome tips

    Generally, nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of paid WordPress themes and plugins distributed unethically on the internet.

    And most of newbie, easily get hacked for picking up products. The major reasons behind is ZERO price.

    While that’s true, but they could lose site data in the hack process. Not only does it cause good WordPress companies to lose money, but most importantly it compromises the website security and search rankings.

    • Yes, Harpreet is very common for a newcomer to get into that trap easily. It could be realized later when the harm is already been done. Thanks

  2. hey navin bro, its very helpful post. it is go to resource. it creates a lot of awareness.

    as a beginner we think about investing. it is better to invest in beginning or we have to invest after getting some revenue.

    we have to keep in mind that blogging is not just hobby. it is real time business. we have to treat blogging as a real time business. we have to invest in blogging for better results.

    you explained very well. helpful post. thank navin for this post.

    • Well said, Venkat!. Without any hesitation, we can consider blogging as a business. And getting a paid theme that is going to be the body of the blog and websites is a very tiny amount for.

    • Thanks, Chayan. Yes, security is the major concern for a website. Everyone should have a legit and good theme, it’s a very small price to warmup the business.

  3. Naveen,

    Glad to see you making people aware of the illness of using nulled or illegal WordPress themes and plug-ins. As you said, it is something like ditching our blog ourselves.
    There are amazing free themes available or even the least expensive premium themes for all niches. Why one should let the hackers invade into their blog by using pirated themes? Let’s say a big NO.

  4. Hey Navin,

    Completely agree with your points, my friend also download WordPress theme from a website and after few days he suffers a lot.

    His website slow down and lots of add were coming from source.

    If you are considering security feature to your website, need to avoid downloading.

    Thanks for sharing these potential points with us and these were very helpful for newbies.

    With best wishes,

    Amar Kumar

  5. Hi Navin,

    Great Post! Thank you so much for sharing this important article on security issues caused bu nulled WordPress themes. I am pretty much impressed with the article and YES! many new bloggers do such kind of mistakes. And faces a lot of issues.
    Generatepress is really a good theme.


  6. Hi Navin

    You have shared an amazing piece of content on nulled WordPress themes and plugins.

    In fact, you have a full series of posts on WordPress security and it feels so good to get some awareness on WordPress security as well.

    Thanks for sharing

  7. Hi, Navin,

    For beginners, I would advise instead of going for nulled WordPress themes for your blog design, it is better to make use of the free themes in the theme directory.

    This is safer and a better way to manage the available resources and budget than putting the blog at risk.

    I have used nulled themes in the past, but quickly learned about the danger it could expose my blog in to. Thanks to authors like you who have shared their experience with the community.

    Thanks, Navin, nice share.


Leave a Comment