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 :

$str = 'SGVyZSBpcyBzb21lIHNuZWFreSB0ZXh0LCB1c3VhbGx5IHdpdGggbGlua3MgPGEgaHJlZj0iaHR0
echo base64_decode($str);

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.


Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!

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  1. Lkjh

    Easier than that:

    Add a START and END comment into the footer.php then view the site in a browser.
    See where your tags are and remove any spurious code between the comments.
    Better still, don’t use any themes that include base64 or download any free themes NOT from reputable sources.
    If nothing else, read this:http://wpmu.org/why-you-should-never-search-for-free-wordpress-themes-in-google-or-anywhere-else/

  2. Your First Blog on Earth

    Can you teach us how to check that which themes are embeded by affiliate link? I got that many time when i use free theme

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