In a previous post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of using WP themes and what makes WordPress themes so attractive to web site owners, then make sure to check out our post here: Understanding WP Themes – A Non-Technical User’s Guide
In this article, you will learn where to look for free and paid themes for your WP website or blog. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress 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 customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned article, a theme is a unique kind of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and designed specifically on the WP CMS platform.
Many skilled website designers and web development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community can access thousands of unique themes covering a wide-range of uses and applications.
Where To Find Responsive Responsive Themes For WordPress: Let’s Keep It Simple!
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and type the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- best paid themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes for business (enter 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 your life easier, we’ll 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 need to know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different post. For now, let’s just cover the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over your site’s web design.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be made available to users as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs Commercial Theme Design Houses
There are mostly two kinds of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme developers.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large theme stores. WordPress 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 marketplace.
Some of the larger 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 design companies can develop both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Most commercial theme shops 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 the best WordPress themes for your blog.
Where To Find The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to find free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, is because –as many free software users have learned– 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 WordPress directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also relies on a review team to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets high standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every 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 a few mouse clicks.
Use The Theme Filters
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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a dark color design, with a 4-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in an earlier article where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ PCs, smartphones and tablets) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and find only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme on your site. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of customizable options, 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. Most free themes ask users 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 well over a year since any updates were made, then think carefully about using it, as WordPress is frequently updated and these changes can result in conflicts and errors with older code.
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 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 themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium 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:
ThemeForest is one of the largest and best-known WordPress theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to view all themes on ThemeForest)
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 general blogs and administration sites, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for video galleries, ebook authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites about employment opportunities, holiday rentals, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv blogs, cafes, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive 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 (repairers, medical centers, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, 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)
Browse thousands of great premium themes in the ThemeForest themes marketplace here:
(click on the images above to see all Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse many 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 go through all of their WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Blog or Commerce themes, etc.) from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market directory here:
(click on the above images to browse more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and search through their theme categories from the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial theme agencies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Developers
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs functional themes for WordPress and offer a membership option that allows you to access all themes in their WP theme collection.
(click on the above images to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront 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.
(click on the above images to see all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework that lets users quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your 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 consistently up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that themes are 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 themes built using the Genesis framework 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, 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 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.
(click on the images above to see more themes from StudioPress)
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 online tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme and plugins a website 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 theme is being used on the website.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a site is powered by WordPress: Is It A WordPress Site?
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 is built using WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used by the site and list any WP plugins it detects.
- To use the tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Is It A WP Web Site?
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A well-known method used by many hackers and networks that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up websites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute themes that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress theme repository, or use well-known and trusted theme download sites.
If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may contain malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and then outputs a report …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great free and commercial responsive themes for WordPress 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