I just wanted to pass along a word of warning to anyone using any of the free WordPress templates floating around the net. As a disclaimer, I'm not saying ALL free templates are bad, nor am I saying don't use a free template. The overall theme of this post is "be careful."
About a month or two ago, I did a web search looking for a free wordpress template that had a casino/gambling/poker theme to utilize on one of my sites. I found one that was to my liking, and uploaded it. I was in a hurry, so I didn't go through the template with a fine tooth comb, like I'd normally be inclined to do.
Earlier this week, I was reviewing my logs, and discovered I was getting search traffic for some off the wall search terms. Let's just say that these search terms were not within the scope of what I write about on my site.
I start looking at the pages and posts within my site and see no evidence of writing anything remotely resembling these terms. Additionally, I checked for links that might trigger any sort of ranking for the terms in question. Again, I come up empty handed. Checked all my plug-ins, as I do use some off the wall wordpress plug-ins for "experimentation" purposes from time to time. Again, zero.
I finally decide to go through the template files. Bingo! While I didn't manage to go through each and every file, I found that when I decoded the footer, which the template had an encoded footer to prevent people from modifying the links giving credit to the author/sponsors, there was an additional present included! This present came in the form of an iframe, which blended in nicely to the background so that it could not be seen. The iframe served up some of the links and text in question. I'm sure I'd have continued to be surprised had I continued looking through file by file. Instead, I just removed the template completely from WordPress.
My point in this post - be careful when choosing a free WordPress theme. Make sure you know what you're uploading before doing so. I'd suggest a file by file review of the template PRIOR to uploading it to prevent such a thing.
I'm not sure if it was the theme host's fault or if it was the fault of the individual who developed the theme. I'm giving neither of them reference in this post. The bottom line is that I and I alone am accountable for what I choose to upload to my site. And I should have been more careful.