When it comes to choosing the right theme & plugin for your website, you either have a choice of going for nulled/cracked theme or plugin or buy a premium one. If you decide to go for a nulled plugin or theme you might put your website at a major risk. Ideally, nulled themes might work for small-scale and simple websites, they would be a complete disaster for performance-driven projects. As a decision-maker, it is necessary for you to assess the risks of choosing nulled/cracked themes and plugins. Here is all that would help you make the right decision.
What are nulled plugins and themes?
Plugins and themes ensure the user experience on your website. There are three types of WordPress themes and plugins available – web, free, paid, and freemium.
A nulled theme or plugin refers to the pirated version of a premium WordPress product. As it is a pirated version, the product may harm your website in many ways. It may hinder the user experience and also cause major security issues.
So are WordPress Nulled themes and plugins illegal?
Even though it causes some major harm to the sites, indulging and redistributing the nulled plugins and themes cannot be stopped. People indulging in this activity claim that they can use the WordPress plugin or theme as the derivative works too. It is fine to copy and redistribute.
Nulled plugins and themes are not necessarily illegal. They have a General Public License and the license allows the free distribution of these themes and plugins. The free availability of the themes and plugins attracts people and thus they choose the nulled products instead of going with the premium ones.
To use a nulled plugin and theme you would have to attach a piece of GPL licensed software up for download. You would not break any laws or rules because GPL clearly allows distributing the GPL code.
Why you must not use free and nulled themes and plugins?
WordPress nulled themes and plugins cost you significantly less. However, they keep you open to security and integrity issues. Meanwhile, you would be able to save some small amount of money by not investing in the paid, free, freemium, themes you could risk your business and brand image majorly.
WordPress themes and plugins are hacked and contain malicious code. They are designed by third-party websites. They are not developed by the creators to collect private information and original authors. You don’t need a license key and therefore, you can use them just by downloading them.
Top reasons to avoid nulled plugins and themes
1. Denied Access to Updates
Updates are very important as they help you fix bugs, add new features, close security loopholes, etc. The WordPress plugins and themes by good companies provide regular updates. And Usually, the nulled plugins and themes can improve website security. Without that, your website security can even worsen.
These issues may be even prominent in the site that is performance-driven and big. Instant support will not be available and this would cause some major issues. Also, your website will have no access to the updates as nulled plugins have no valid license. Issues such as these would be even harder to tackle in the CMS. WordPress blogs used by you would be insecure and obsolete versions.
2. Restricted Documentation Access
Documentation is very important as it allows you to learn about the plugin or the theme that you are going to use. This gives you a kickstart in using these tools efficiently and meeting your business needs. Even when you are an experienced WordPress user/developer, documentation helps you in gaining a deeper understanding of the tools. They can use it to create more value and optimize the experience of the website.
The WordPress plugins and theme providers spend their resources on creating the documentation. Support and documentation are highly necessary for the developers to make optimal use of the tools and create value for the project.
On using a nulled plugin or theme you would not enjoy these benefits and the work would be completely on you. You are denied access to the documentation and tutorials as they are only provided to the paying customers.
3. Access to new features
WordPress themes and plugins are maintained by the service providers and they provide many new features. Using a nulled WordPress plugin or theme will not give you access to these features and updates. The themes and plugins would not automatically update and you will be also unable to update the version of WordPress. WordPress does not provide any support for them and in addition to this, the performance of the web application is not ensured either.
The new features help you in improving the experience of your website and give you an opportunity to retail your users faster. New features come with added benefits such as improved engagement, better experience, and increased sales.
4. Legal Problems
Although WordPress plugins and themes are open-source not all the themes are as liberating. To know that, you must check if the part of the code is under copyright protection and using a nulled plugin or theme provides you the permission or not.
Pirated themes and plugins are more prone to data theft, data loss, and the distribution of illegal material. In case of any legal issue related to this, you might get into trouble and pay a huge sum of money to fight the lawsuit.
5. SEO might hurt
Nulled plugins and themes may add a spam link to your website and hurt your SEO. Furthermore, it is difficult to detect these spam links as they are deep hidden in the code.
As difficult as it is for you to detect these spam links, search engines are very efficient in finding them and thus your website rankings start to drop. This reflects negatively on your user experience. You would ruin all the hard work you have been putting into your SEO practices. It hurts SEO ranking, and also business revenue.
6. Security is not ensured
Nulled plugins and themes are not maintained and carry malware. This malicious code hidden inside your website makes you more vulnerable to be hacked. Malicious code is hidden in the code and it can grow and hide in different files. It is hard to detect and thus would be a pain if it affects your website.
The chances of losing your website data increase significantly. Sometimes the site might not get re-indexed from search engines since it contains malware. You can use a nulled WordPress theme and plugins you are putting your website to exploitation. If you are using a nulled plugin you might not even be able to go through the code, it’s better to go with paid themes and plugins.
7. There is no privacy
Code quality is very important to consider as it helps you in ensuring the quality of the website – be it user experience, security, privacy, etc. The code has the ability to steal information from your website, this includes email address, password, etc. The world of the internet is deemed as an unsafe space. People are not engaging with brands and businesses that do not respect their privacy.
Since the code can steal your recorded data, reliability issues may arise and this becomes more difficult for you to convince people to engage with your business. Also, since the experience on nulled themes and plugins is subpar, the website might not function normally. It is advisable for businesses to use the themes and plugins from the original authors.
8. Advertisements and backlinks
The exploiters will display advertisements on your website and that would have backlinks to the third-party website to reduce your website traffic. The visitors would see what they do not want to see and the ads would deteriorate the experience on the website. It hurts engagement, trust, SEO ranking, and eventually sales.
9. Stunted innovation
There are many reasons a person may opt for nulled themes and plugins, one being the budget of the project. However, in the long run, a nulled theme or plugin is only going to harm your project. It is important to understand that revenue generation is hard using nulled WordPress plugins and themes.
Apart from going forward buying a theme or plugin, you can choose to go for custom plugin and theme development services. It would give you a lot of scopes to innovate and stand as a differentiator in the market.
We all love things that are free. However, we must always evaluate what we would be risking and where we would lag. While going for a WordPress nulled theme or plugin you must do the same thing. A premium version of the plugins and themes provides you unmatched business benefits. They are regularly maintained to give you a quality experience and new updates to keep you in line with the trends.
In the end, keep an eye on what you would lose by using a WordPress nulled plugin and theme. Try to engage with the right companies that can also offer you custom solutions.