“Download Free WordPress Theme” – I assume that this is the same phrase or set of keywords you’re using when you’re looking for a template or theme that you wanted to use for your website or blog site, right? You found one that really looks great and probably its the theme that you’re looking for but unaware of what the package contains – it’s infected with some kind of trojan. Little by little, without noticing it you’re loosing more and more information, especially if you’re creating and building an e-commerce website – poor you. So how do I avoid this kind of misfortune or how do I check and verify if the WordPress theme I have downloaded is trojan free?
According to some webmasters and SEO analysts, with the recent Google Panda update and if the WordPress theme you’re using is trojanised, surely you will feel the effect of it as Google will push your website back – way back from the search results. Maybe not on the couple of days but it will definitely push your website someday. Probably Google will categorize your website as malicious or low content website, who knows? This will also affect your page rank, that is if you care so much about your website’s popularity. Of course, if you’re using Google Adsense, you’ll feel also the sudden drop of revenue.
Although there are online tools that will check if a website is compromised, infected or contains malicious codes, you can actually avoid this problem before you can actually publish your website by using a WordPress plugin called TAC or Theme Authenticity Checker plugin. It checks the source codes of all the WordPress themes you installed (whether published or not) if it contains any malicious codes – usually base64 encodes and spammy links. Look at the example below of the results from TAC installed on my Dashboard. It checks the themes if they contain suspicious codes.
But NOT all of these base64 codes are really harmful, most of them are just hidden links to give credits to the author of the theme (so that you don’t remove them from the theme) and in a way it gives them free backlinks (additional source of gaining PR (page rank)). This is the least thing the author could ask from you for their hard work just to provide you a working and great looking theme.
If you feel that these codes are somehow malicious or you’re worried about them, just try contacting the author and ask them what are these codes for, especially if you bought a premium theme.
Be safe and happy blogging!