If you have a WordPress theme with footer links to various websites it can look spammy and can even harm your search engine rankings. If the theme is released under the GPL, then you are well within your rights to remove these links, no matter what the theme provider says. The GPL is a type of license that says you are free to modify the source code of a particular piece of software, you are free to distribute it - you are even free to sell it if you wanted to. If the theme does not include a GPL license, then its more of a grey area so I would recommend you look elsewhere for a theme. With that in mind, in this article Im going to show you how to decode the footer links and remove them.
Locating the Encoded Links
The links are usually in your theme's footer area, so in your theme's folder open up the file footer.php in a text editing program like notepad. Look for some garbled text like this :
$str = 'SGVyZSBpcyBzb21lIHNuZWFreSB0ZXh0LCB1c3VhbGx5IHdpdGggbGlua3MgPGEgaHJlZj0iaHR0
There will often be a lot more than than that as some people endode parts of the theme itself, not just the sponsor links. The piece you want to copy is all the capital letters and numbers :
Decoding the Links
This type of encryption is called Base64, there are a number of sites which can decode this online. Here is a good example. Paste your code into the top box and press the decode button, the decoded text will appear below :
In this example, the encoded string is just text and links - you can just delete the whole encoded part from your theme and save your footer.php file. Sometimes part of your site design is included, which if deleted will break your design. In that case you would just remove the links and copy the other part of the code back in.