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 another post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes themes so special, then make sure to check out the post here: An Introduction to WordPress Themes

In this blog post, you will learn where to discover loads of excellent 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 how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poor coding.

As we’ve explained in another article, a theme is a special type of web template that is used on WordPress-powered sites and designed specifically with the WordPress platform in mind.

Many web designers and web design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community enjoy access to thousands of professional-quality themes designed for many purposes.

WP themes are designed to cover many purposes.

Where To Find Great WP Themes: How To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed

Let’s say you were to launch Google and type something like this:

  • best free themes for WordPress
  • best paid themes for WordPress
  • best responsive WordPress themes for business (enter whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)

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

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 users 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 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 aspects of your blog.

Free vs Paid WP Themes

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

WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories & Theme Developers

There are 2 places where you can find WP themes. The first is in WP theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WordPress 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 customers shop for 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 WP theme design companies typically will create both free and commercial WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme design companies.

Many commercial theme design houses 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 website or blog.

Finding Great Themes For Your WordPress Website

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - WordPress Theme Directory

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to find free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP 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 place your computer, digital presence … even your entire business at risk.

The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also relies on a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme listed in the directory complies with specific standards of quality and security.

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

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

Useful Tip

Find Themes Inside Your WP Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WordPress admin panel with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Look For Free WP Themes Inside Your Own WP Dashboard!

Use The Theme Feature Filters

WordPress provides a filtering function inside the dashboard area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colours, Layout and Features …

Use The WP Theme Filtering

This makes it easy to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly gray colour design, with a 4-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 choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed without problems on all devices (e.g. the laptops, smartphones and tablets used by visitors to view your site) …

Use WP Theme Filtering

It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …

Use The Theme Filters

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

Use WP Theme Feature Filter

Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide 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 WP 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 freely distributed themes ask users for donations to help cover costs of providing support and updates, bug fixes, etc..

When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been over a year since any changes were last made, then you should think twice about using it, as WordPress is frequently updated and these changes can create 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 money on paid themes. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for you and for your business.

Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding paid WordPress themes.

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 responsive support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

WordPress Theme Marketplaces

ThemeForest

ThemeForest

ThemeForest is one of the biggest and best-known theme marketplaces online.

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

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

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

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

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and e-magazines, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and marketing purposes.
  • Creative – themes for visual galleries, writing professionals, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites about directory listings, classifieds, tourism directories, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for online shopping, membership sites, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for photo gallery blogs, cafes, 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. home sales, etc.)
  • Retail – themes for health products, trades or professionals (repairers, dentists, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to technology, 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!

Tip

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

(ThemeForest sends you theme update notifications)

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

Creative Market

Creative Market - WP Theme Directory

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

Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market theme directory

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

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WP Themes Marketplace

(click on the images above to browse all WordPress themes at Mojo.com)

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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Blog or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by choosing the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo WordPress themes directory

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

Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s look at commercial and independent WP theme design companies.

Commercial WordPress Theme Design Houses

SoloStream

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

Solostream Premium Themes

(click on above images to see more themes from SoloStream)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes and offer a membership option that allows members to access all themes in their WP theme portfolio.

WooThemes - WP Themes

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

StoreFront

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

StoreFront

(click on the images above to view all StoreFront themes)

StudioPress

StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” 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 this 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 make sure that themes remain 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 “skins” that sit on top of the framework and gives your site its unique design.

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 themes from StudioPress 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.

StudioPress Themes For WordPress

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

Theme-Checking Tools

Here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:

What WP Theme Is That? WordPress Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme and plugins a website is using (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 theme is being used on the website.

Tip

Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site was built using WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a web site uses WordPress: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Web Site And WordPress-Checking Tools

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 WordPress theme being used and list any WordPress plugins it detects.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

Useful Info

We suggested this earlier and it’s worth repeating again: 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 well-known strategy used by many hackers 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 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.org theme directory, or use well-known 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, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WordPress theme files. The TAC plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) - Plugin

(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)

We hope that you have found the information on how to find the best free and paid themes for WordPress useful.

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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