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 special, then go here to read the post: Understanding WordPress Themes – A Useful Guide For Beginners
In this article, we show you where you can look for 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 make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid having to deal with problems like lack of support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in our previous article, a theme is a special type of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed to work specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many skilled website designers and website design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of high quality WordPress themes covering an extensive range of uses and applications.
Finding Great Responsive Themes For WordPress: Your Time-Saving Guide
Let’s say you were to open up Google and search for something like this:
- best free themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- 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 information to sort through in the search listings.
So, to help you save time and make things easier, let’s just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes 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 post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over the design aspects of your site.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are thousands of Free and Paid WordPress themes made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be listed as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Directories vs Theme Development Firms
There are mostly two kinds of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first type of place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme houses.
Theme marketplaces and 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 buyers search 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 WP plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WP theme development firms can also create both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Many 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find great themes for your website.
Finding The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest 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 WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as many free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can put your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also uses a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme listed in the directory complies with their quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Search For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WP dashboard with a few clicks.
Use The WP Theme Filters
WordPress provides a 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 what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a gray colour design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in an earlier post where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display 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 find only WordPress themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that there is no cost 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 features, 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 immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation to help cover their support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than 1 year since any updates were last made, then think carefully about downloading it, as the WordPress software 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, 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. 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 WP themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid 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, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the largest and best-known WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme creators showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium themes listed (some starting 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 a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites related to employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, restaurants, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, churches, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for beauty products, trades or professionals (plumbers, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to software, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing political 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)
Browse thousands of great WordPress themes in the ThemeForest directory here:
(click on the above images to see more Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse thousands of quality premium 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 narrow your search using theme categories using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here:
(click on the images above to view more WP themes at Mojo)
Mojo is a directory for premium 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 WP themes, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. BuddyPress or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) from the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial WP theme shops.
Commercial Theme Vendors
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 images above to view all themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs functional themes and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WP theme collection.
(click on the images above to view all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating 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 images above to view more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets users 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 prefer using this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework frequently updated to reflect best coding practices 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 may 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 theme framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this all sounds way too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned 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 images above to view more StudioPress themes)
To round things up, here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WP theme search tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a site uses (including parent and child WordPress themes).
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme is being used on the site.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site runs on WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a web site uses WordPress: Is My Website 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 whether or not the site was built on WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WP plugins detected.
- To use this online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Is My Website Built Using WordPress? Tell-Tale Signs & WordPress-Checking Tools
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used method employed by many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org repository, or use well-known and reputable theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may be infected with malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and then outputs a report …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great free and paid themes for WordPress useful.
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