Removing Encrypted Footer Links from WP Theme

eval base64 _ decode gzuncompress base64 _ decode

I got interested in a particular wordpress theme that I plan on using for a possible future site I’d be creating. This one’s a free wordress theme and it has encrypted footer links which can not be removed via my superficial PHP knowledge.

I don’t mind footer links that link back to the author’s site which deals with wordpress themes. But I don’t agree with footer links that link back, to, say, sistosomiasis dot com, or to a car spare parts site.

I also know that inasmuch as I’m using a theme that someone else spent time and effort to create and allowed it to be used freely, the author deserves some form of credit and the user should at least leave these footer links unchanged. I’ve done just that to most of my wp sites, it being the least I could do to thank the theme authors.

There are times however where you just don’t want any links in the footer and you want to remove it by deleting that from the footer file. As far as I know, it isn’t illegal or against GPL licensing restrictions. Encrypting these footer codes just makes it difficult to remove, but it can be removed without damage to the theme.

The theme I editted did not put the footer links in the footer.php file. Clever, eh? It instead put it in the functions.php file. Then, the author encrypted the whole functions.php file in some kind of base64 encoding scheme.

Thus, the functions file looked like so…

< ? php $TEQR51RDA5BVCYFTC477J437F77880VC2="eJnNyAdkBsQSISCtB0bQd n0DQERAlNyAdkBABzxyEsQSISCttCK//r37GZwzeQe7qsutGJJ1r3UtDP Lb83...and a lot moreJgibberish...P/ABzxyEM=";eval(base64 _decode(gzuncompress(base64_decode($TEQR51RDA5BVCYFTC477J 437F77880VC2)))) ; ? >

And if you just deleted all those gibberish, it would mess up the theme and render it unusable.

So, to make a long story short, I found this site that helps decode these gibberish into something more familiar and thus edittable.


Usually, the files are encrypted not just once but several times. That’s what I found in the theme I used above. After running it through the decoder, its output was still an encrypted form of the file. Thus, I had to run it several times before the final human-readable version came out.

Yuhooo! But of course, I felt kinda awful and felt like I’ve cheated on the author who, like I’ve said earlier, had spent time and effort in creating a theme and given it away for anyone to use. Well, there’s the author’s link in the innards of the theme (the one where you see the theme name, the author, the author’s link, tags, etc.) and these are read by the spiders anyway. So, I think the least I could do is to keep that as is.

To avoid carrying the author’s links altogether, the only other option (besides buying a theme, maybe) is to learn to create your own wp theme. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do it.


  1. Thanks for sharing this method! I usually didn’t pay attention to the footer links but sometimes authors put a lot of them so I prefer to remove a few links.

  2. This is useful. But I just want to mention that you (and people in general) should be very careful with free themes like these. Many free themes have some kind of hidden virus or links. If they are encrypting links, it is even more possible to have a virus somewhere too. So be very careful with free themes that are not from the official WP database. Scan them with antivirus software, search in the folder files for phases like eval( or base64_decode. Also scan with this online antivirus, I have heard many people find viruses with it, so I guess it is good. Regards.
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