In another post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes themes so attractive to web site owners, then go here to read our article: A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes
In this article, you will learn where you can look for free and paid themes for your website. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid having to deal with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned post, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web design template used on WordPress-driven sites and designed specifically on the WordPress platform.
Many professional web designers and website development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community enjoy access to thousands of uniquely-designed themes designed for many purposes.
Where To Find Great WP Themes: Let’s Keep Things Simple!
Let’s say you were to go to Google and type the following:
- best free WP themes
- best responsive WordPress themes
- best paid WordPress themes for blogs (or whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in your search results.
So, to help you save time and make your life 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 start, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a later post. To keep things simple, we’ll only be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid WP themes being made available. Free WP themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be made available to users as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs WP Theme Shops
There are mostly 2 kinds of places where WP themes can be found. The first type of place is in WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme vendors.
WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are big theme aggregators. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
Some of the larger directories don’t just sell WordPress themes. They can also sell WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent theme shops typically design both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme design companies.
Most commercial or independent theme design houses 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 great themes for your website.
Where To Find The Best Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free 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 place your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also relies on a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WP dashboard with only a few mouse clicks.
Use WP Theme Feature Filter
WordPress has a built-in filtering function inside the admin area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colours, Layout and Features …
This makes it easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a light colour design, with a two-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 ensure that your theme will display without problems across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ PCs, smartphones and tablets) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring up only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of built-in customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” to using free 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 dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free themes ask users for donations to help cover costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over 1 year since any updates were made, then think twice about using it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and new features can result in conflicts and errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog is still quite 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 paid themes or even on custom theme design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for your site and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium WordPress themes.
If you are looking for themes with stunning design, or professional quality yet highly affordable WordPress web design themes with a distinctive look, unique customizable options and great support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,500 premium WP themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view more themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and environmental blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for visual galleries, writing professionals, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to travel, classifieds, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for fashion blogs, dining out, 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. commercial property, etc.)
- Retail – themes for retail stores, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing political issues, 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Browse lots of quality premium themes in the ThemeForest directory here:
(click on the images above to see more Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse thousands of quality premium 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 WordPress themes in its marketplace, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or Wedding themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory for premium-quality 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great WP themes in the Mojo theme directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s take a look at commercial and independent theme development firms.
Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Design Companies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes for WordPress and offer a membership option that lets you access their entire theme collection.
(click on the images above to browse all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes creates amazing WP themes for e-commerce. 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 provides WordPress themes based on a framework that lets you quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many website developers prefer using the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework consistently up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to ensure that it always remains compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you may have made to your theme.
This is because StudioPress themes use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this sounds way too technical, don’t worry about it. StudioPress themes are easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing themes from StudioPress is that one low price allows 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 browse all StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free web tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a site is using (including parent and child themes).
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site runs on WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a website was built using WordPress: How Can I Tell If My Website Was Built With 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 not only confirm whether or not a site is powered by the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used and list any plugins detected.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: How Can I Tell If A Website Was Built Using WordPress?
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A well-known strategy used by a number of hackers and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and then distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress.org directory, or use established and reputable theme download sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and then outputs a report with the results …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: WordPress.org Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great WP free and premium themes useful.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group