In another post, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about WordPress themes and what makes themes so special, then go here to read the article: A Newbies’ Guide To WP Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where to search for free and paid themes for your website. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned post, a WordPress theme is a special type of web design template used on WordPress-powered blogs and designed to work specifically on WordPress.
Many individual website designers and website design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of great WP themes designed to cover many purposes.
Finding Great WordPress Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and type key phrases like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for business (or whatever your business, search topic 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 post, let’s just be covering the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you can find thousands of Free and Paid WordPress themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Directories & Theme Development Firms
There are 2 kinds of places where themes can be found. The first type of place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme companies.
WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are big theme stores. WP theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the bigger 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 developers can design both free and commercial WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme design houses sell 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 WordPress theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great WP themes for your blog.
Where To Find The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Theme 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 directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as many free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can put your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WP directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Repository, go here:
Find Free WordPress Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WP admin panel with a couple of clicks.
Use The WP Theme Filtering
WordPress has a built-in filtering function inside the admin area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark colour design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another article where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ computers, smartphones and tablets) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you do just that …
… and find only WP themes that have been built using “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside of 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 dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed themes ask users 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 made, then you should think carefully about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your site is still quite new, it’s a good idea to start with a free theme until you have a better idea of the kind of site design that would work best for your site before spending any money on paid themes. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for your site and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid 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 ongoing support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known WP theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,500 premium WordPress themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and administration sites, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for design, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about travel, buy & sell, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for photo gallery blogs, nightlife, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for retail stores, trades or professionals (electricians, medical centers, 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, parenting 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 browse many great themes in the ThemeForest directory:
(click on the images above to browse all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace where you can browse many 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 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. Landing Page or Commerce themes, etc.) from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WordPress themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here:
(click on the images above to view more WordPress themes at Mojo)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by choosing the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great WP themes in the Mojo themes marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s turn our attention to commercial theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Design Companies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to view more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs great premium themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that lets you access their entire WP theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to browse more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront specializes in 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 above images to browse more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework that enables users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides an auto-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 this framework regularly updated to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that themes remain always compatible with the latest WordPress version, 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 “skins” that sit on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this all sounds too technical, don’t worry about it. StudioPress themes are very easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing themes from StudioPress 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 some useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a site uses.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme is being used on the website.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site runs on 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 My 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 a site was built on WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any WP plugins it detects.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn more about this tool go here: How Can I Tell If A Website Was Built With WordPress?
We said this before and it’s worth repeating again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known strategy used by many hackers and syndicates that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up sites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute modified themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use well-known and trusted theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog could contain malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. The TAC plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great WP useful.
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