All WordPress themes have a footer link that displayed at the bottom of the theme. it looks like “powered by WordPress”. it helps for hackers to easily find out a WP site. That’s why you must have to remove or hide this link to protect your website from Black Hat Hackers.
Is it legal to remove powered by WordPress links?
Yes, WordPress is totally free and under license of GPL, the gives us an opportunity to utilize, adjust, modify, and even redistribute WordPress.  You can download WP themes and plugins directly from the official and you have full rights to remove powered by WordPress or anything else that you want to do so.

There are two methods to remove “proudly powered by WordPress” link

Method 1: Hide the footer link from Style.css ( not recommended)
You need to login to your website and go to Appearance > Editor then open the Style.css file at the bottom of Templates section. Paste this code into “style.css” file at the end of code and don’t forget to update your file

.site-info {
display : none;

Let’s take a look”:

how to remove powered by wordpress

Now go to your website and check that “proudly powered by WordPress” message has been removed.

Method 2: Hide footer link from footer.php (recommended)

The first method will just hide footer link and actual link is still there in the php file. If you want to permanently remove powered by WordPress you need to edit “footer.php file” and for example, if you are using “twenty fourteen” theme then remove below code from your “footer.php” file located in template section. find and remove it then update your file

<div class="site-info">
<?php do_action( 'twentyfourteen_credits' ); ?>
<a href="<?php echo esc_url( __( '', 'twentyfourteen' ) ); ?>">
<?php printf( __( 'Proudly powered by %s', 'twentyfourteen' ), 'WordPress' ); ?></a>
</div><!-- .site-info —>

Adding your custom footer message:

To add your own custom link and message like “copyright to my website” then copy below code and paste where you remove above code from “footer.php” file then update your file and check your website,

<div class="site-info">
<?php do_action( 'twentyfourteen_credits' ); ?>
<a href="<?php echo esc_url( __( '<strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"></span></strong>', 'twentyfourteen' ) ); ?>">
<?php printf( __( '<strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">Copyright ©</span></strong> %s', 'twentyfourteen' ), '<strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">mywebsite</span></strong>' ); ?></a>
</div><!-- .site-info -->

Note: Avoid hiding code method 1 because spammers use this code #site-info {display: none}   to hide some links and google do not like this so it can affect your SEO ranking in google search engine.

If your are using another theme and having trouble to locate “powered by WordPress” then read our guide How to locate and remove powered by WordPress footer link.