Are GPL Themes & Plugins Safe? Why You Should Avoid Them?

Are GPL themes & plugins safe or not? Let’s find out in this post.

If you are a beginner blogger & heard that you need a premium theme to make your blog fast, it is not true. I use a free theme & still my blog loads within few seconds.

While browsing the internet you may have come across various websites that provide premium WordPress themes & plugins at a very cheap cost. How?

They say that they buy the original license of the theme/plugin from the developer & since it is licensed under GPL, they are free to use it in any way, even sell them.

If you search for GPL themes on Google, you will also find websites running ads to promote their products. They sell GPL products for just $2-5. Some of them even offer a monthly subscription.

Are GPL Themes & Plugins Safe?

So, the main question arises that if these premium themes & plugins that cost a lot are being sold at a very cheap price, are they safe? Isn’t there any malicious code or malware in it?

The answer is – No. Never trust a website selling GPL products. These websites may say that they don’t edit the code or do anything with the files but no one knows.

It is better to use free themes & plugins instead of buying GPL ones. If you want to use a premium one, go buy it from the official developer. It’s no risk plus you help the developer cover the cost.

If someone is recommending a website to buy GPL products, don’t get into that trap. People recommending these websites are getting paid for promoting them. At last, all of them are working for just one thing – money.

Why You Should Avoid GPL Themes?

Here are some genuine reasons to avoid buying GPL themes & plugins –

  • They may contain malicious codes & scripts. You never know when your website gets hacked or exploited.
  • You are no helping the real developer. He has put his efforts into creating the product.
  • You will not receive automatic updates. Though GPL selling websites say they provide an update, it takes some time & has to be done manually.
  • You will not get any support from the developer. GPL selling websites don’t provide support.

By reading the above reasons, it is clear that their are a lot of demerits of using GPL products. There are another version of these products – nulled.

Nulled Themes & Plugins

Let’s talk about the nulled ones. Though GPL products are somewhat reliable, the nulled ones are the worst. They can be downloaded for free but will surely contain malicious codes.

Things that can happen if you use nulled products –

  • Your website may get hacked.
  • Pop-ads may be shown on your site.
  • Your data can be stolen.
  • Your website may break or get a lot of errors.

If you have an eCommerce site that stores customer’s information or has a big business website, using nulled products is a big risk. Don’t take the risk.

So What To Do?

A simple answer – use free themes if you can’t afford the premium version. The free ones also provide great features & functionality. You can find some of the best free WordPress themes here.

Talking about plugins, there are thousands of free plugins available on WordPress that can solve any problem & are useful in various situations. They also provide support for free.

Whether it be for SEO, security, customizations, functionality, etc, plugins are available for free for all kinds of work. The same goes for WordPress themes.


Say no to GPL products. Even if you think that the website selling them is safe, go ahead at your own risk. But it is recommended to stay away from GPL selling websites.

You can always get good premium themes & plugins on ThemeForest starting at just $10. Some great themes are available under $20 that are great for WordPress blogs.

Note – I have just written my opinion. I am not saying that all the websites are fake. Some of them provide genuine GPL themes. You can try these products on a staging site first. If you have no issues, use them on your main site.


What is GPL?

GPL or General Public License is the most commonly used free software license. This license allows the software to be freely used, modified, and redistributed by anyone.

Are GPL themes safe?

No. GPL themes are not safe. If you buy a theme from a GPL website, there is a higher chance it may contain malicious code. On the other hand, original themes (licensed under GPL) are safe.

Where can I buy safe GPL themes?

You will find a lot of websites selling GPL themes & plugins at just $3-5. But who knows they are providing the original file without any malicious code.

Are nulled themes safe?

Nulled themes are worse than GPL themes. You can download nulled themes for free but, surely, they will contain malware. Both of them are unsafe.

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