Ahoy there me hearties. So, you’ve found a really good looking WordPress theme on themeforest and you want it, but whilst searching around you find a site offering the same theme for free? They’ll probably offer you a download link from a dodgy site like nowdownload.ch, tusfiles.net or mirrorcreater.net. I know it’s really tempting to save yourself about £50 on a theme and download a pirated copy for free, but think again. It may cost you more than you think in the long run.
No theme updates
Premium themes are updated all the time with new features, security fixes and functionality updates to keep them up-to-date with the latest wordpress version. If you’ve not paid for your theme, then you’re going to have a hard time finding updates. The last thing you want to be doing is running a site on a pirated theme on an old version of wordpress with a publicly disclosed security hole.
It could be infected with a virus
You don’t know what’s in the zip file you download to your computer. It’s come from a dodgy site not a reputable and trusted theme author. It could be a virus, it could be a keylogger.. it could be anything. You hope it’s a theme.
Hidden script injections
So, you’ve downloaded the theme, unpacked it and uploaded it to your wordpress theme folder. Did you check through all the files for script injections? You could be running a theme that’s pre-loaded with a drive-by injection script designed specifically to attack users that visit your site. Good luck getting that site ranked in Google.
Hidden spam links
Make sure you check in the footer include of the theme. I’ve seen loads of free and pirated themes where the author has modified the footer code to include a bunch of spam links. They sometimes even use base64 encoding to encode the last few lines of HTML in the footer to hide the links. If you delete the encoded string it breaks your site, but if you leave it there it’s full of spam links.
Let’s face it, you’re stealing. Someone somewhere has put a a lot of time, effort and money into designing and developing a theme and then you come along and naff it for free.
You wouldn’t steal a policeman’s helmet and go to the toilet in it… would you?
This quote is from the Piracy Warning episode of IT Crowd (Video here)
No support from the developer
The best part about buying a wordpress theme for me is being able to hassle the developers. Not in a nasty way, just in a curious school kid kind of way. How can I get the theme to do this? When are going to update to include this feature? This could have been done better by doing this. If you steal the theme, you don’t get that chance. You’re stuck with the theme and you’re lucky if you get an instruction manual to set the site up correctly.
There’s loads of really good free legal themes
There’s a chuff load of completely free legal wordpress themes available on the WordPress theme directory. Before you go nicking someone else’s work and putting a big fat security risk on your server have a look through the directory. Some of the themes are just as good as some premium ones you can buy.