In a previous post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes WordPress themes so attractive to website owners, then make sure to check out the article here: Understanding WP Themes – A Guide For New WordPress Users
In this blog post, you will learn where to find many excellent free and paid themes for your site. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid experiencing problems like lack of product support and poor coding.
As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned article, a WordPress theme is a special type of web design template used on WordPress-powered sites and designed to work specifically in the WP content management system.
Many skilled web designers and website development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community can access thousands of quality WP themes designed for a wide range of website uses.
Finding Great WP Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to open up Google and type the following:
- best free WordPress themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for writers (or whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in the search listings.
So, to help you save time and make things easier, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WP themes simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you need to know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in another article. In this article, let’s just cover themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your site’s web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you can find thousands of Free and Paid WordPress themes being made available. Free WP themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WP Theme Directories Commercial And Independent WP Theme Stores
There are mostly two types of places where you can find themes. The first type of place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme houses.
Theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are big theme stores. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
Some of the bigger marketplaces don’t just sell WordPress themes. They can also sell WP plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent theme vendors typically develop both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design and development companies.
Many commercial theme developers sell their themes exclusively on their own web sites, but some will also list their themes in marketplaces and directories, or even create a free or “lite” version of their themes for free directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for the best WP themes for your website.
Finding A Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason why, is because –as some free software users have learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can contain malicious code and put your computer, digital presence … even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also uses a review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:
Find WordPress Themes Inside Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WP dashboard with a few clicks.
Use The Theme Feature Filters
WordPress has a built-in filtering function inside the dashboard area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a pink colour design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article mentioned earlier where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ computers, smartphones and tablets) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and display only WP themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” to using free WordPress themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the theme developer to provide immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed themes ask for donations to help cover their support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over 1 year since any changes were last made, then you should think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software changes quite often and these changes can create conflicts or errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog is still relatively new, there is nothing wrong with using a free theme until you have a better idea of the kind of site design that would work best for your site before spending money on a theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for your site and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to premium WordPress themes.
If you are looking for themes with stunning web design, or professional quality yet highly affordable WordPress web design themes with a distinctive look, unique customizable options and ongoing support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,500 premium WP themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to browse all ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and activism blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for visual galleries, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to directory listings, classifieds, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv blogs, cafes, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, churches, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for health products, trades or professionals (electricians, engineering, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to software, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, green living sites or blogs … even themes you can use if your site is still under-construction!
When you purchase WordPress themes from ThemeForest, you will receive email notifications when a new update is available for your theme …
(ThemeForest sends you theme update notifications)
Go here to discover great WordPress themes in the ThemeForest site:
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse many quality premium WordPress themes from independent theme creators.
As stated on their website …
“Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.”
Creative Market doesn’t just sell WP themes in its directory, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Business themes, etc.) from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the above images to see more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory for premium WordPress themes where theme vendors are strongly encouraged to provide customers with lifetime support and upgrades.
According to their website …
“Mojo is a marketplace where anyone can find, rate and buy quality themes & templates in one trusted place.”
Like Envato and Creative Market, Mojo doesn’t focus exclusively on WP themes, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and narrow your search with theme categories using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo themes directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s take a look at commercial theme design houses.
Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to browse all SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing theme portfolio.
(click on the above images to browse more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes creates gorgeous e-commerce themes for WordPress. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to view all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework that allows you to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers prefer using this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework regularly updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that themes are always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you have made to your theme.
This is because StudioPress themes use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this sounds too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned about it. StudioPress themes are easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing StudioPress themes is that one low price entitles you to receive unlimited support and updates, and you can install your themes on unlimited domains.
For more details, click here: StudioPress.
(click on the images above to view all StudioPress themes)
To round things up, here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WordPress theme search tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a site is using.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme is being used on the site.
Tip: If you don’t know if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site is powered by WordPress: How Can I Tell If A Site Was Built Using WordPress?
Using this tool is very simple. Just enter the site’s domain name into the field and click the search icon or hit “Enter.” The tool will then not only confirm if the site has been built on the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WP theme being used on the site and list any WP plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Site And WordPress-Checking Tools
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating it again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A well-known strategy used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute modified themes and plugins that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress theme directory, or use well-known and reputable sites.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may contain malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and outputs a report …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find great WP free and commercial responsive themes useful.
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