In a previous post, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WP themes and what makes WP themes so attractive to web site owners, then go here to read the post: An Overview of WP Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where to search for free and paid themes for your WordPress website or blog. 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 how to avoid having to deal with problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web template used on WordPress-powered sites and designed to work specifically in WordPress.
Many skilled web designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of great WP themes covering a wide-range of uses.
Where To Find WP Themes: Let’s Keep Things Simple!
Let’s say you were to launch Google and search for something like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- best responsive WordPress themes
- best free WordPress themes for authors (enter whatever your business, search topic or website 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, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes 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 another post. To keep things simple, let’s just cover themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over the design areas of your website.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that typically, you’ll find both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
Theme Directories Commercial And Independent Theme Design Houses
There are 2 kinds of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme development firms.
WP theme marketplaces and theme directories are large theme aggregators. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors find 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 WP theme design companies typically create both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme development companies.
Most commercial or independent theme stores 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great themes for your website or blog.
Finding The Best Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress 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 and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also relies on a review team to review and ensure that each theme in the directory meets specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Directory, go here:
Find Free Themes Inside Your Own 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 activate it directly from inside your WP admin panel with a few mouse clicks.
Use The WordPress Theme 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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly light color design, with a 4-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” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will work on all devices (e.g. your computer, smartphone and tablet) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you do just that …
… and display only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme on your site. 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 to using free themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and you shouldn’t expect the developer to provide immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes ask for donations to help cover their 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 it’s best to think twice about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
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 premium themes or even on custom web design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for you and for converting your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, let’s 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 responsive support, you can 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 lets many professional WP theme creators showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 15,000 premium WP themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to see all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for photography, galleries, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, classifieds, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for gossip blogs, nightlife, 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 travel, trades or professionals (repairers, legal practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding 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)
Go here to find quality premium WP themes in the ThemeForest themes directory:
(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme directory where you can search through many quality premium WP 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 Business themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium 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 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Responsive or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WordPress themes in the Mojo theme directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s take a look at commercial WordPress theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Design Houses
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to see more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs eye-catching themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their growing WP theme portfolio.
(click on the above images to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront 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 images above to view more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets users 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers prefer using the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that themes are 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 themes built using the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the 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 see more StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this post with some useful WP 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 website or blog uses (including parent and child WordPress 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 the website is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site is powered by WordPress: How Can I Tell If A Website 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 has been built using the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any plugins detected.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn more about this tool go here: Is My Website Built Using WordPress? How To Tell
We suggested this before and it’s worth repeating again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute themes and plugins that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress directory, or use established and trusted theme download sites.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site could be infected with potentially malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan 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 then presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Source: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find great WordPress useful.
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