Website owners often download pirated plugins without understanding the risks associated with this unethical practice. Pirated plugins can create issues for you, but they also affect developers and customers. Keep reading to find out why you should avoid pirated plugins when you customize your website.

Malware Exposure

Many WordPress site owners hear horror stories about Trojan horses and worms destroying sites, but mistakenly assume malware is unlikely to attack their content. Unfortunately, internet crime, which includes personal data breaches and phishing scams, costs victims a combined total of $1.42 billion per year. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Report, millions of people around the globe experienced cyber attacks in 2017.

If you find those statistics scary, then pirated plugins are not ideal for your site. Pirated plugins often have backdoor scripts that fail to block malicious code, so it’s easy for the cyber bad guys to hack your site. What’s worse is that some pirated plugins contain malware before you even download them, so your site never has a chance to avoid viruses or adware.

Manual Updates

Official WordPress plugins update automatically, so code issues are addressed before cyber attackers discover them. Pirated plugins require manual updates, and sometimes you have to reinstall or even repurchase the pirated software multiple times.

That’s time-consuming, but it’s also dangerous. An outdated plugin is like an open wound; instead of treating it, you let it get infected by malware and hackers. This makes it easy for virtual lawbreakers to render your site inoperable or steal private information from clients. They can even transmit malware from your site to your visitor’s computers.

Ethical Issues

How would you feel if a co-worker stole your finished project and then got a generous bonus from your boss? That’s probably how developers feel, except they experience financial loss each time someone buys a pirated plugin.

When you download a pirated plugin, you take away money from the original creator and pay a digital thief instead. This isn’t always illegal, but it’s definitely unfair to the person who worked hard to make a safe, effective plugin for website owners like you.

The Solution

Avoid pirated plugins by doing some research before you download anything for your website. offers an extensive selection of plugins, and you can read reviews there before you make a purchase. Another option is to visit the official website for a specific plugin developer, such as Akismet, that interests you.

Ensure you buy plugins with automatic updates so your site has a defense against malware attacks. You should also review each company’s user agreement to make sure you’re protected if an issue does end up arising. Avoid downloading plugins without warranties or rebate options, and steer clear of spammy-looking sites that instruct you to download anything other than the plugin itself.

Don’t gamble with your website’s safety in hopes of saving a few bucks. Purchase your plugins from a trusted developer that sells original software so you can protect your website and its visitors.