Which looks normal, right? Unfortunately, this encrypted code actually smuggles in some nasty backlinks like these (actual links removed):
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In both examples, it is nearly impossible to remove the pop-ups or the links. Both of them are able to regenerate until the nulled theme is removed, the database cleaned, and WordPress reinstalled (at least for me).
When can you use a free theme?
By now, you are probably convinced that nulled WordPress themes are too much trouble. But, this doesn’t mean your budget has grown or your goals have changed.
So, rather than scare you off WordPress and websites, let’s put the horror to the side and bust a few myths about legitimate free themes:
They’re too basic!
Simple and basic are the main complaints about legitimate free themes. But, when you decided to make a website on WordPress, you started with an idea. Bringing that idea to life means finding a theme that aligns your site goals with available features. Basic features might be all you need. For instance, a blog with a few pages doesn’t necessarily need advanced features.
Those same advanced features can also be a tremendous time-suck. If you want an easy-to-manage project, then you don’t need a theme that requires a Ph.D. to publish posts. For beginner projects or side-projects, the simplicity of a free theme makes it easier to build and manage your website.
You won’t stand out!
Another big complaint about free themes is that everyone uses them, which makes it hard to stand out from the pack. While this is something that you should consider, it should be weighted accordingly. If your goals make design and layout a lower priority, then a minimalist free theme should meet them.
Furthermore, a free theme like Neve comes with over 30 different starter sites to help you find an acceptable design. And, with a little skill and effort, you can make styling changes with the Block Editor, Elementor, or go old-school with CSS and HTML.
You don’t get support!
It’s true that support is limited for free WordPress themes. But maybe you don’t need it or you’re happy with the help you can find on forums.
For one, the WordPress community is incredibly large and incredibly friendly. If you opt for a theme featured in the WordPress theme directory (more on that below), then each theme has a support forum. Here you can find theme developers, support teams, and even knowledgeable volunteers working together to provide solutions.
Secondly, you might have a flair for troubleshooting. With an inquisitive nature and some CSS, HTML, and PHP skills, you might be able to support yourself.
This article was written by Chris Fitzgerald and originally published on CodeinWP.