No theme updates

Premium Themeforest 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.

You’re stealing

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.

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.