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 post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WP themes and what makes themes unique, then make sure to check out our article here: An Overview of WP Themes

In this article, we show you where you can discover many great free and paid themes for your WP site. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid experiencing problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.

As explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a special type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.

Many talented web designers and web development companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community enjoy access to thousands of great themes designed to cover a wide range of purposes.

Themes are designed to cover many purposes.

Finding Themes: Let’s Keep Things Simple!

If you were to browse over to Google and search for a key phrase like this:

  • best premium themes for WordPress
  • WordPress themes free
  • best paid WordPress themes for authors (type in whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)

Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your search listings.

So, to help you save time and make things 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 get started, you should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a later post. To keep things simple, 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 the design areas of your website.

Free vs Paid WordPress Themes

Next, it’s useful to know that there are both Free and Paid themes made available. Free WP themes are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be made available to users as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

Theme Directories vs WordPress Theme Stores

There are two places where themes can be found. The first is in WP theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme development firms.

Theme marketplaces and WP 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 directory.

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

Many commercial or independent 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 WP theme directories .

Let’s now show you where to find great WP themes for your blog.

Where To Find WP Themes For Your Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - WP Themes Directory

(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)

The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WP 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 contain malicious code and place your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.

The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also relies on a theme review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets specific quality and security standards.

To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:

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

Tip

You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress 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 a few mouse clicks.

Find Free Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard!

Use The WordPress Theme Feature Filter

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

Use WordPress Theme Feature Filters

This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a orange color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.

Note: in another post where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. your PC, smartphone and tablet) …

Use WP Theme Filters

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

Use Theme Filters

… and display only WordPress themes that are “responsive” …

Use The WP Theme Filtering

Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme. Additionally, 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” to using free WP themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the developer to provide dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed 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 well over a year since any updates were made, then we advise you to think carefully about downloading it, as the WordPress software changes quite often and these changes can create conflicts and errors with older code.

If you’re just getting started and your website 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 a paid theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for your site and for your business.

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 your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid WP themes.

Paid 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:

WordPress Theme Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest

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

ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,500 premium themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

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

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

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and marketing purposes.
  • Creative – themes for portfolios, ebook authors, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to directory listings, dining out & restaurants, community resources, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for celebrity blogs, music venues, 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 health products, trades or professionals (plumbers, engineering, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to hosting, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
  • Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding advice blogs
  • Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing environmental issues, 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 find quality premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest themes directory:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WP Theme Directory

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

Creative Market is another leading WordPress 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 directory, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market

Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market theme marketplace here:

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WP Themes Marketplace

(click on the images above to view more WP themes at Mojo)

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 WP themes, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories by choosing the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo

Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo themes directory here:

Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s look at commercial WordPress theme developers.

Commercial Theme Vendors

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 Themes For WordPress

(click on above images to browse all SoloStream themes)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes designs great themes and offer a membership option that lets you access their entire WordPress theme collection.

WooThemes For WordPress

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

StoreFront

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

StoreFront Themes

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

StudioPress

StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a 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 site 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 the framework frequently updated to reflect best coding practices and to ensure that themes remain always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you 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 framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.

If this all sounds way too technical, don’t worry about it. StudioPress themes are 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.

StudioPress Themes

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

Theme-Checking Tools

To round things up, here are some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:

What WordPress Theme Is That.com

What WP Theme Is That - WP Theme Search Tool

What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WordPress theme-checking tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins 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 WordPress theme the site uses.

Useful Tip

Tip: If you can’t tell if a site runs on WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site is powered by WordPress: How Can I Tell If A Site Was Built Using 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 if a site has been built on WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used by the site and list any plugins detected.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

Important Info

A word of warning: When choosing 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 many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress 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 for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free WordPress themes from the official WordPress.org theme repository, or use well-known and trusted sites.

If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog could contain malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and then presents you with a report with the results …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: WordPress.org Plugin Site)

I hope that you have found this information useful.

***

"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com

***