What To Do as a Blogger Post-Pipdig Coding Scandal

Pipdig Coding Scandal

The blogging world was well and truly shook this weekend, and for most of this week really. Pipdig are essentially a service that provided blogging themes and hosting to the masses. For as long as I can remember they were the people to buy a blog theme from. Not anymore, as it turns out. A whole load of information has come to light causing widespread panic and confusion within the blogging community..

Here is the original article published by Wordfence outlining all of Pipdig’s shady moves. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it, I’ll explain it below without all the tech-jargon.

So what *exactly* happened?

1 // The kill switch. A function within Pipdig’s code revealed what is essentially a “kill switch” for your blog. Meaning at any time Pipdig had the power to delete an entire site.

2 // Password reset. Apparently Pipdig had the ability to change your password at random, therefore locking you out of your account.

3 // DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacking. This was the one which confused everyone (I think) because of the use of the term DDoS. What this means is that Pipdig were using aspects of their code to attack a competitor site. So without knowing it, blogs running Pipdig themes were attacking one of Pipdig’s competitors. This is actually an illegal practice, which is why it’s such a big deal.

What to do as a Blogger

If you’re a blogger with a Pipdig theme (as I was) don’t panic. I’m going to outline the steps you need to take in order to ensure your site is safe and sound.

*Please note: This advice is only for those who need help switching themes from Pipdig. I’m unable to advise on how to switch hosting providers if you host through them.

If you are able to purchase a new theme…

1 // Delete the Pipdig P3 plugin from your site. ***Do this before anything else or it can crash your site!

2 // Deactivate your Pipdig theme and delete all Pipdig themes from your ‘Themes’ tab. Basically just delete anything relating to them from your site completely.

3 // Backup your blog/website. A lot of people have been recommending to use Updraft, but you can go directly through your hosting provider.

4 // Find a new theme and install it on your site.

If you’re not able to purchase a new theme…

1 // Update the Pipdig P3 plugin to the latest version.

2 // Backup your blog/website using Updraft or a similar service.

Where to Find New Themes

There are several places to look for new blog themes and templates online – and some are free! So don’t worry if you haven’t got the funds to splash out on a fancy new theme right now.

You can purchase through an independent designer (like I did) or you can refer to the following websites.

Theme Forest // Lyrical Host // Etsy

If you can’t find anything you like there, then have a scroll through twitter. Since the scandal came to light there have been tons of bloggers sharing resources of where to find themes.

Pipdig Refunds

A lot of people are wandering if we can request refunds from Pipdig, given that they were using malicious and illegal practices without our knowing. Refunds directly from Pipdig are unlikely. It states on their site that they can’t issue refunds “due to the nature of their products”. Which, now you think about it, is kind of ironic considering they issued dangerous code to thousands of bloggers. But sure.

On the plus side, it may be possible to request a refund through Paypal or directly through your bank within 180 days of purchasing you theme. I followed the instructions in this Twitter thread, so fingers crossed it works out!

This is Not an Attack

Many have brushed this whole incident off as “online trolls attacking a small business”. Many refuse to even believe any of the information from reputable web developers because Pipdig provides “such good customer service”. Unfortunately, customer service doesn’t have any grounds here. A company has taken advantage of unknowing consumers and used their creative outlets for a malicious and illegal purpose.

This is not an underserved attack on a small business. 

You are more than welcome to believe what you want, I didn’t initially think it was true. However you can’t deny the facts. Yes, Pipdig issued a statement following the outbreak of the scandal, but as you can see from the article breakdown by Wordfence, their explanation was flaky at best. Not to mention they’ve been rapidly deleting code to try and cover their tracks since the scandal broke out. If that isn’t shady then I don’t know what is.

Have you been affected by the Pipdig scandal? Let me know in the comments below.

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Hello! I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for sustainable living & travel tips!

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