In a previous article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes WP themes so attractive to web site owners, then make sure to check out this article: A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where you can browse hundreds of 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 dealing with problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previously-mentioned article, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web design template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically in the WP CMS platform.
Many skilled website designers and website development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of unique themes covering an extensive range of uses and applications.
Finding Great Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to go to Google and search for a key phrase like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- best free themes for WordPress
- best responsive WordPress themes for musicians (enter whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in your search results.
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 really 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 another article. To keep things simple, please note that we will only be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your blog.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs Commercial Theme Design Houses
There are two kinds of places where you can find WP themes. The first type of place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme houses.
WP 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 customers shop 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WP theme stores typically will develop both free and paid WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme development companies.
Many commercial theme shops 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 search for great WP themes for your website.
Choosing A Responsive WordPress Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress 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 some free software users have learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can 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 WP site, but it also uses a theme review team comprised of dedicated and code-savvy volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets their standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find WP Themes Inside Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WordPress admin panel with only a few mouse clicks.
Use The Theme Filtering
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 pink color design, with a 4-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ laptops, smartphones and tablets) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you do just that …
… and bring up only themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” of 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation 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 over one year since any updates were made, then you should think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and this can result in conflicts or errors with older code.
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 any 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 your site and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to premium WP 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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the largest and well known theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 15,000 premium WP themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse more ThemeForest themes)
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 bloggers and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for visual galleries, writers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about employment opportunities, holiday rentals, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv blogs, nightlife, 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. commercial property, etc.)
- Retail – themes for shops, trades or professionals (electricians, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to software, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, 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 sends you theme update notifications)
Browse lots of quality premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest directory here:
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse many quality premium WordPress 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 themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Commerce themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes directory here:
(click on the above images to see more 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 (e.g. Magazine or Business themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by choosing the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great WP themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial WordPress theme stores.
Commercial Theme Design Companies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates functional WordPress themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and also offers a membership option that allows you access to all themes in their theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to browse all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating 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 all themes from StoreFront)
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 an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework consistently up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to ensure that it always remains compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you 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 all 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 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 above images to see all themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme a website is using.
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 uses.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a web site is powered by WordPress: Is Your Website 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 then not only confirm if a site is powered by the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WP plugins detected.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Does My Blog Run On WordPress?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A well-known strategy used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute modified themes 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 WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and reputable theme download sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site could contain malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and then presents you with a report …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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