In another post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes themes so attractive to website owners, then go here to read our article: An Overview of WordPress Themes
In this blog post, we show you where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WP website or blog. 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 having to deal with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previously-mentioned post, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web design template used on WordPress-driven websites and designed to work specifically in the WordPress content management system.
Many web designers and web design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community enjoy access to thousands of unique themes covering an extensive range of uses.
Finding WP Themes: Let’s Keep Things Simple!
If you were to open up Google and type the following:
- best free WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best free WordPress themes for churches (enter whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your search results.
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 WP 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 cover these differences in another 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 of your blog.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will find 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 are made available to users as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces & WordPress Theme Stores
There are mostly two kinds of places where you can find themes. The first type of place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme companies.
Theme marketplaces and WP 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 visitors find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the bigger 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 theme development firms typically will develop both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme design companies.
Many commercial theme developers 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 WordPress theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find the best WP themes for your website or blog.
Where To Find A Responsive Theme Themes For Your WP Website
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to search for WP 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 put your computer, digital presence … even your entire business at risk.
The WP theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also uses a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory meets certain standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:
Look For Free Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WordPress admin panel with only a few clicks.
Use The Theme Feature Filter
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 …
This makes it easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a dark color design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WP themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. computers, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you do just that …
… and bring back only themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that 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” 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. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation to help cover costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over a year since any changes were made, then think twice about using it, as WordPress is frequently updated and new features can result in conflicts and errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog 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 a theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding paid 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 great 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 well known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,000 premium WordPress themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view 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 general blogs and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, cv and resume writing, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to travel, classifieds, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv 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 beauty products, trades or professionals (plumbers, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage consellor 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)
Go here to find great premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest website:
(click on the above images to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory 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 marketplace, but you can easily browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or Commerce themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse all WP themes at Mojo.com)
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 browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) from the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s look at commercial and independent WP theme vendors.
Commercial Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to view all SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs great premium themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offer a membership option that allows members access to all themes in their WP theme collection.
(click on the above images to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WordPress themes for e-commerce. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to browse all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows users to 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 the framework regularly up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that it always remains compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you may have made to your theme.
This is because themes built with the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the 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 StudioPress themes is that one low price allows 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 all themes from StudioPress)
Here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WP theme and plugin search tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme a site uses.
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 uses.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a site uses WordPress: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Blog Runs On The WP CMS Platform
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 whether or not the site has been built using the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about this tool go here: Was My Website Built With WordPress? Tell-Tale Signs & WP-Checking Tools
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known method used by many hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute modified themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use well-known and trusted theme merchants.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may be infected with malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your WordPress theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and then outputs a report …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group