In another article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes themes so revolutionary in terms of website design, then go here to read the post: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this article, you will learn where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your site. 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 avoid having to deal with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another post, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and blogs and designed specifically with the WordPress platform in mind.
Many web designers and web design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of professional WordPress themes covering an extensive range of uses.
Finding Great Themes: Too Much Information … Where To Begin?
If you were to launch Google and search for a key phrase like this:
- best paid WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for business (enter whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
You are probably 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 should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in another post. For now, please note that we will only cover 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 website.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WP Theme Directories & WP Theme Vendors
There are mostly two types of places where themes can be found. The first type of place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme development firms.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers 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 WP plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent theme developers typically will design both free and premium WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme design companies.
As you will see, 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 directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for the best WordPress themes for your blog.
Choosing Responsive Themes For Your WordPress Website
(WordPress.org – Free WP Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download WordPress themes for free. 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 discovered– 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 WP directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find WordPress Themes Inside Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WordPress dashboard with just a couple of mouse clicks.
Use The WordPress 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 easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark color design, with a 4-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” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will work on all devices (e.g. the PCs, tablets and smartphones used by visitors to view your information) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring back only WP themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme on your site. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of built-in customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” of using free WordPress 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 dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free 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 more than 1 year since any change was 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 website 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 premium themes or even on custom theme design. 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.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to paid WP themes.
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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and most popular WordPress theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 15,000 premium themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to view all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and environmental blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for design, kindle book authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to employment opportunities, buy & sell, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for celebrity 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for specialty stores, trades or professionals (repairers, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, 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 environmental 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 find quality premium themes in the ThemeForest themes site:
(click on the above images to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can search through thousands of 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 directory, but you can easily browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WP themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market theme marketplace here:
(click on the above images to view all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a marketplace for premium-quality 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 go through all of their WP themes and search through their theme categories using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme shops.
Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality premium WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to see all SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs eye-catching premium themes and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing theme collection.
(click on the images above to view 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 browse all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like 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 coding practices 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 design.
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 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 browse all StudioPress themes)
Let’s finish this article with a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a website is using.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme is being used on the site.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site uses WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a website was built using 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 not only confirm if the site was built on the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WordPress plugins it detects.
- To use this tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn more about this tool go here: How Can I Check If A Website Was Built Using WordPress?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A strategy that is commonly used by many hackers 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 containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress.org directory, or use established and reputable theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site may contain malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and outputs a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: WordPress.org Plugin)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WP free and commercial responsive themes useful.
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