Where To Find The Best WordPress Themes

This tutorial shows you where to find many great free or premium WordPress themes for your online business, e-commerce store, website, or blog.

WordPress

In a separate article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes WordPress themes unique, then make sure to check out this article: An Introduction to WP Themes

In this blog post, we explain 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 make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poor coding.

As we’ve explained in another article, 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 content management system in mind.

Many website designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of uniquely-designed themes designed to cover many purposes.

WP themes cover an extensive range of applications.

Finding WordPress Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?

If you were to open up Google and type key phrases like this:

  • best free themes for WordPress
  • best premium WordPress themes
  • best responsive WordPress themes for artists (or whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)

Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in the search results.

So, to help you save time and make your life easier, let’s 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 both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a later post. To keep things simple, please note that we will only be covering the topic of 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 areas of your site.

Free vs Paid WordPress Themes

Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid WP themes being made available. Free WP themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

WP Theme Directories & Theme Stores

There are mostly 2 kinds of places where themes can be found. The first is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme stores.

Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large aggregators of themes. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.

Some of the bigger theme stores 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 development firms can also design both free and commercial WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design and development companies.

Many commercial or independent theme stores 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 blog.

Choosing The Best Responsive Themes For Your WP Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - Free Theme Directory

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, 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 and even your entire business at risk.

The WP theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also relies on a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets their quality and security standards.

To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:

http://www.wordpress.org/extend/themes

Tip

Look For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WordPress Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with only a couple of clicks.

Search For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WP Dashboard!

Use The 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 Colours, Layout and Features …

Use The Theme Feature Filters

This makes it easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly pink color design, with a four-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 choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed without problems on all devices (e.g. your laptop, tablet and smartphone) …

Use WP Theme Filtering

You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …

Use The WP Theme Filters

… and bring back only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …

Use The WordPress Theme Filtering

Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of built-in 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 theme developer to provide dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free 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 more than a year since any change was made, then it’s best to think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and new features can result in conflicts or errors with older code.

If you’re just getting started and your site 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 any money on paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for your site and for converting your site visitors into customers.

Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium WordPress 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:

WordPress Theme Marketplaces

ThemeForest

ThemeForest - themes for WordPress

ThemeForest is one of the biggest and most popular theme directories online.

ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,000 premium WordPress themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

(click on the above images to see more ThemeForest themes)

If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and activism blogs, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or marketing purposes.
  • Creative – themes for design, writing professionals, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, classifieds, tourism directories, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for celebrity blogs, music venues, etc.
  • Mobile – e.g. retina-ready 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, dentists, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to hosting, landing pages, 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!

Tip

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

(ThemeForest sends you theme update notifications)

Go here to browse many great WP themes in the ThemeForest directory:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WordPress Theme Marketplace

(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)

Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through 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 directory, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Commerce themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market WordPress themes marketplace

Browse through hundreds of great WP themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market themes directory here:

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WP Theme Directory

(click on the images above to see more 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 find themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Responsive or Business themes and theme frameworks, etc.) from the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo

Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo themes marketplace here:

Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial theme agencies.

Commercial And Independent Theme Shops

SoloStream

SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality premium WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.

Solostream Themes

(click on above images to browse all SoloStream themes)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes creates eye-catching WP themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and also offer a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their WordPress theme collection.

Woo Themes Premium Themes

(click on the above images to see more themes from WooThemes)

StoreFront

StoreFront Themes specializes in creating WordPress themes for e-commerce. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.

StoreFront - WordPress Themes

(click on the above images to browse more StoreFront themes)

StudioPress

StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework that enables users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides a self-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 consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that it is always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update your themes 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 all 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 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.

StudioPress Premium Themes

(click on the images above to see all themes from StudioPress)

WordPress Theme-Checking Tools

Let’s finish this article with a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:

What WordPress Theme Is That WordPress Theme Checker

What WP Theme Is That? WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme a website or blog uses.

This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme is being used on the website.

Tip

Tip: If you can’t tell if a site runs on WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site was built using WordPress: Is My Web Site 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 the site is built on WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used by the site and list any plugins detected.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) – Plugin

Important Info

A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.

A method that is commonly used by a number of hackers and networks that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up sites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org directory, or use established and reputable theme download sites.

If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog could be infected with malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin)

I hope that you have found this information useful.

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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