In a previous post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of using WordPress themes and what makes themes unique, then make sure to check out our article: A Practical Guide To Understanding WP Themes
In this blog post, we explain where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WP site. 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 avoid experiencing problems like lack of support and poor coding.
As explained in our previous post, a theme is a special kind of web template used on WordPress-powered websites and designed to work specifically on the WP platform.
Many talented web designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of professional WordPress themes covering a wide-range of applications.
Where To Find Responsive Themes For WordPress: Let’s Keep Things Simple!
Let’s say you were to open up Google and search for key phrases like this:
- best WordPress themes
- best paid themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes for authors (enter whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your search listings.
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 WordPress themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a later post. For now, let’s just be focusing on finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your site.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are both Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes 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 vs Theme Development Firms
There are mostly two types of places where themes can be found. The first place is in WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme companies.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large 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 directory.
Some of the bigger directories 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 design companies can also develop both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of designer, to large theme design and development companies.
Most commercial theme developers 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find the best themes for your blog.
Finding Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WordPress Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to search for free WP themes. 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 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 … even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a review team to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets their standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Repository, go here:
Find Themes Inside Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org 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 WordPress admin panel with a couple of mouse clicks.
Use The WP Theme Feature Filters
WordPress provides a 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 easier to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a pink color design, with a four-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 using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will display correctly across all devices (e.g. your PC, smartphone and tablet) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and find only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme on your site. 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 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 theme developer to provide dedicated 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 and updates, bug fixes, etc..
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been over one year since any change was last made, then think carefully about downloading it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your site is still relatively 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 money on a theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for your site and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding paid WP themes.
Paid 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, 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 most popular theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,500 premium WP themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse all ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and environmental blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for video galleries, galleries, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to directory listings, dining out & restaurants, 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 entertainment blogs, restaurants, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching 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 shops, trades or professionals (electricians, engineering, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating 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 great WordPress themes in the ThemeForest directory here:
(click on the images above to browse all Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress 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 marketplace, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Popular themes, etc.) from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here:
(click on the images above to view all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 WP themes, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial WP Theme Stores
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality premium WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to browse more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching premium themes and offer a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their WP theme collection.
(click on the images above to see more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes creates gorgeous 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 browse more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets you 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 the 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 practices for coding and to ensure that themes remain always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you may 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 way 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 you pay just 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 above images to see more StudioPress themes)
Here are a couple of 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 a site is using.
This is a great resource if you ever 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 don’t know whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site uses WordPress: Is My Website Built With WordPress? Tell-Tale Signs & WordPress-Checking Tools
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 whether or not a site has been built using the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Blog Was Built Using WordPress
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A method that is commonly used by a number of hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute modified themes and plugins that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org theme directory, or use established and trusted theme download sites.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may contain malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your WordPress theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of malicious code and presents you with a report with the results …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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