No doubt, getting free items can feel like scooping the lottery jackpot. It’s understandable when people try to look for giveaways such as free trial membership, a sale voucher, or simply a free lip balm. Who doesn’t love using products without paying anything?
The same thing goes for WordPress plugins and themes. It’s delightful that the WordPress directory enables you to download thousands of plugins and themes to add any new features to your site for free.
As a matter of fact, while some of them are completely zero-cost, others provide premium versions. While the free versions are not powerful enough, the premium ones will provide a real feast of features. However, they might take hundreds of dollars.
That’s why people tend to look for nulled plugins and themes for their WordPress site. Although this type of software is not always illegal, it’s not recommended to use them due to many reasons. You lack support and auto-updates as well as facing serious security threats on your site. If you’ve already had them installed on your site, how can you deal with malicious code and malware?
This article will answer this question by providing you with tools to find out vulnerability holes created by nulled plugins and themes. Before that, we will quickly define what nulled plugins and themes are as well as how they can damage your business permanently.
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Let’s dive in!
- What Are WordPress Nulled Plugins and Themes?
- Why Shouldn’t You Use Nulled Plugins and Themes?
- How to Detect Malicious Code in Nulled Plugins and Themes?
What Are Nulled WordPress Plugins and Themes?
In general, when buying a premium WordPress theme or plugin, you receive a license key via your email. You have to enter it into plugins or themes’ setting pages to activate them.
Nulled WordPress plugins and themes, on the other hand, refer to pirated copies of the paid versions. Some individuals or third-party companies try to crack or hack them and give them out for a lower price or even for free. This problem often occurs with well-known, wisely-used, and expensive tools.
Since these obtainable plugins and themes can work without a license key, users just need to download, bypass the license, and use them instead of paying anything.
Who Likes Nulled Plugins and Themes?
Small businesses or new bloggers often argue that the budget spent on creating as well as maintaining their sites already takes them a lot. Not to mention the fee they pay for additional solutions. With nulled plugins and themes, they can not only avoid extended costs but also add powerful features to their sites.
For site developers, it’s not necessary to buy an expensive theme just for building a sample website. What if clients don’t approve? They can waste a big expense.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Nulled Plugins and Themes?
Plugin and theme providers definitely hate the idea of people using their tools for free. You might think they’re afraid of losing money. It’s possibly true. Who wants the effort of the whole team, from developers to QA testers and documentation writers to be taken advantage of?
However, it’s just a part of the truth. Not only plugin and theme developers but also users are both affected. There’s always a price to pay for free things. These pirated solutions are often riddled with malware which can break your WordPress site in seconds. Besides that, you won’t receive any updates or supports when issues arise.
- Site Security
Using nulled plugins and themes means you’re risking your site security to somebody you can’t trust. They try to hack others’ plugins, why don’t they do the same bad thing with your site?
Pirated tools often come ridden with malicious code, malware, or even spammy links. Once injected, they will literally open doors for hackers to grant access to your site. They will then steal your information, hijack your customer data for ransom, delete all pages, and permanently shut the site down.
- No Supports
Since you’re disconnected from the developers, you can’t contact them to help you solve problems related to these plugins. You have to figure it out yourself which takes a lot of time and effort.
- No Necessary Updates
Apart from introducing new features, updates also allow developers to fix bugs and create a better version of their plugins and themes. While official users have the right to auto-get the latest version of these premium tools, you’re not able to install them.
- Legal Issues
In most cases, it’s not illegal to use nulled plugins and themes. The GPL gives nulled plugin creators the right to copy and re-offer premium plugins if they put a piece of GPL-licensed software up for download.
However, you should notice that some certain code is still protected by copyright laws. You might get into trouble with the law when using them.
How to Detect Malicious Code in Nulled Plugins And Themes?
There are multiple solutions for you to scan nulled WordPress plugins and themes. You can do this before installation or for installed plugins and themes. Some are used for plugins or themes only while others can be applied for both.
Use MalCare Plugin
Among the crowd of security plugins, MalCare, without a doubt, stands out to be an experienced veteran in detecting malware in nulled plugins and themes. It uses intelligent signals to detect the behavior of code so you don’t have to worry about pattern matching. Plus, the tool proves really easy to set up and use. Follow the below guide to get started:
Firstly, go to Plugins → Add New → types “malcare security” in the keyword box. Then, install and activate the MalCare Security plugin on your WordPress site.
The next step is accessing the MalCare dashboard to enter your email address and hit the “Secure Site Now” button.
Now a scan is run automatically which will take place in a few minutes. Once the process completes and there are security issues on your site, it will pop up promptly letting you know what’s happening to your site.
Simply click the AUTO-CLEAN button to clean up your site. You can also delete all nulled WordPress themes and plugins on your site.
In case you don’t see any security threats, you can consider keeping these nulled plugins and themes. However, we recommend not using them for a long time since we’re not sure when third-party companies will send malicious bots to your site.
Use Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)
You might not notice but nulled themes can come with bad backlinks. Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) will handle this problem within seconds. This is how to use the plugin to find exploited themes.
In your WordPress admin dashboard, open the Appearance section then click the TAC option. It will show you a list of your installed themes and their authenticity result. You’ll be provided a warning if there is any encrypted link found.
Remove Nulled WordPress Plugins and Themes, Now or Never!
We can’t deny that premium WordPress themes and plugins are sometimes costly. However, it shouldn’t be taken as the reason to use nulled versions. You even have to pay more to fix or recover things when troubles happen.
You won’t receive any supports or notifications when there are updates. Additionally, you might be connected to legal issues when using protected copyright plugins and themes.
To reduce the chances of malware and malicious code being injected into your site, you need help from MalCare or Theme Authenticity Checker plugin. The former allows you to find out security alerts from plugins. The latter, meanwhile, helps check bad backlinks in themes.
Although we can avoid and clean vulnerabilities using supporting tools, we advise you to make wise choices.
What do you think about nulled WordPress themes and plugins? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below to let us know.