Getting hacked is every website owner’s nightmare. Now imagine finding out that a plugin you installed is what led to your site being compromised. Sigh. It’s kind of like leaving your keys in the front door without realizing you had done so! A recent risk report revealed that one of the largest threats WordPress users currently face comes from counterfeit plugins. Is your site at risk due to nulled WordPress plugins? Here is what you need to know to ensure the integrity of your website.
What are Nulled WordPress Plugins?
Basically, a nulled plugin is a pirated version of a legitimate plugin. An unscrupulous seller will rewrite a premium plugin to appear unlocked with a license key, even though it is not. These nulled plugins are sold as part of a “bundle” or as a “discounted” license for premium features. They will look like the full unlocked version, and even have the same brand name and logo as the original plugin. The nulled plugins don’t have all the premium features, however, and come with many, many, many risks. In this case, a buck saved is a headache earned.
If you’re lucky, the worst thing that might happen when you purchase a nulled plugin is that the plugin doesn’t work or doesn’t have the features promised, and you lost the money you paid for the “discounted” version. Many times these nulled plugins are a money-making scam. The bad actors make off with your cash and leave you empty-handed. Unfortunately, things could get much worse.
It is very common for nulled plugins to contain malware. Installing the bogus plugin opens a backdoor where malware creeps in to attack your site, steal information, redirect visitors to other sites, and ruin your website reputation. It takes a lot of effort and expense to undo the effects of this kind of attack.
Even when the nulled plugin doesn’t contain malware, it often presents other problems. Sites with nulled plugins are more likely to have infections and other performance-affecting issues on their sites. There really is no benefit to risking your website just to save a few bucks.
Pay close attention to who you are purchasing a plugin from! The safest option is to only choose plugins from the WordPress plugin directory. These resources have been vetted and the vast majority are free. When you opt to purchase a premium plugin, only buy from the actual source. When you purchase the original plugin you also gain access to customer service features and support.
If you’re building a site from scratch and hire someone, keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. A low-cost site builder who promises premium features is probably going to install nulled plugins. Make sure that anyone who is building your site only uses legitimate, licensed plugins and themes.
Your website is your online storefront. Treat it with the same care you give your physical business building. Cutting corners on web design is not a great way to build your online presence, so it’s important to invest in premium themes, plugins, and website design.
Do you know if the plugins on your site are nulled? Not sure how to check? We can assess that for you, as well as provide solutions to the issues we identify in our WordPress Technical Audit!