Dangers of FREE Themes for WordPress and Joomla

There is a risk attached to using Free Templates and ThemesLiterally thousands of people each week create a blog normally with the easy to use WordPress software. Nearly every one of them will go to Google and type in “Free WordPress Theme” because they don’t want to use the stock templates supplied with WordPress or the ones in the WordPress Repository.

The problem is Spammers figured this out years ago and have been offering free templates ever since. Why?

Hidden links

Hopefully you realise that Google likes links coming into a website from other sites, each link is a vote of confidence from one site owner to another. Your so called free template might have hundreds of hidden links to nefarious websites, sites you would not want to be associated with. You can’t see them but Google can, it will affect your page rank!

 

 

Hidden scripts

Scripts can be inserted that will alter your code and add links again or generate pop up adverts. Your clients will get fed up of these and you lose credibility. The most common WordPress script is Base64 which encrypts the footer so you have no idea what it does, it looks something like:

Infected wordpres php footer with Base64 Script

My WordPress Footer looks like :

<div id=”wp-footer”>

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js?ver=3.2.1′></script>

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’http://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js?ver=3.2.1′></script>

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’http://platform.linkedin.com/in.js?ver=3.2.1′></script>

<!– 16 queries. 4.087 seconds. –>

</div>

WordPress Theme Checker

I know for WordPress there is a Theme Checker at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/theme-check as of writing this article it was not compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Out of date theme

Most free themes are not updated regularly and so will not be fully compatible with the newer version of WordPress and Joomla, this also causes security issues.

 

The moral of this story is that nothing is free, the hidden cost here is your credibility and Page Rank!  If you want to use a different theme you would be far better off using a Professional Paid for Template.

 

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