In another article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress themes and what makes themes unique, then go here to read the post: A Non-Technical User’s Guide To Understanding WP Themes
In this article, you will learn where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WordPress site. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid experiencing problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.
As explained in our previously-mentioned article, a theme is a special kind of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed specifically in the WP platform.
Many skilled website designers and web development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users enjoy access to thousands of unique WordPress themes covering an extensive range of applications.
Finding Great WP Themes: Let’s Keep Things Simple!
If you were to browse over to Google and search for something like this:
- best premium WordPress themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for blogs (enter whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the search listings.
So, to help you save time and make things easier, let’s 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 a different article. In this post, let’s just be covering 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 the design of your site.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are both Free and Paid WordPress themes being made available. Free themes for WordPress are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are listed as Premium (paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces vs Theme Developers
There are mostly two types of places where you can find themes. The first place is in WP theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme companies.
Theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are big aggregators of themes. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger 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 stores can also create both free and commercial WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme design companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme design firms 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 directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great themes for your website or blog.
Finding Great Themes For Your WP Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to find free WordPress themes. 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 many 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 … even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also uses a review team to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory complies with specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Repository, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress 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 within your WordPress dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use The Theme Feature Filter
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 easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a dark color design, with a 2-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” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will work across all devices (e.g. PCs, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring back only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of built-in customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside of using free WP themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the developer to provide immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation 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 one 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, 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 any money on paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded 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 your specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to premium WP 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:
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and best-known WordPress theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view all ThemeForest themes)
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 general blogs and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for video galleries, arts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to employment opportunities, holiday rentals, 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, 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 retail stores, trades or professionals (electricians, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, 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 discover great WP themes in the ThemeForest directory:
(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace where you can search through 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 WP themes in its marketplace, but you can easily find WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market directory here:
(click on the images above to see all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory for premium-quality WP 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 WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Responsive or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WordPress themes in the Mojo themes marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s look at commercial and independent theme shops.
Commercial Theme Developers
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates functional themes and offer a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their theme collection.
(click on the above images to see more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront specializes in e-commerce themes for WordPress. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to view more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, 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 updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that themes remain 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 themes built with the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the framework and gives your site its unique design.
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 StudioPress themes is that you pay one low price 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 see more StudioPress themes)
Let’s finish this post with a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme a website uses (including parent and child themes).
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 don’t know if a site uses WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell if a website is powered by WordPress: How To Check If Your Web 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 is powered by WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used by the site and list any plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about using this tool go here: How To Tell If A Site Was Built With WordPress
We suggested this before and it’s worth repeating it again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used strategy employed by many hacking groups and syndicates that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites and directories 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 search engine results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and reputable theme merchants.
If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog could contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and then outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)