In an earlier article, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes themes so revolutionary in terms of website design, then go here to read our post: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this article, we will show you where to look for free and paid themes for your WP website. 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 another article, a theme is a unique kind of web template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and blogs and designed to work specifically with the WordPress CMS platform in mind.
Many individual web designers and web design agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of professional WP themes designed for many website uses.
Where To Find WP Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to launch Google and type the following:
- best free WordPress themes
- best free themes for WordPress
- best responsive WordPress themes for authors (type in whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
You are probably 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, 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 need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a separate post. For now, please note that we will only cover the topic of finding 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 WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many 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 can be sold as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs Theme Developers
There are two different types of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme houses.
Theme marketplaces and WordPress 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 visitors find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger directories 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 typically create both free and paid WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design and development companies.
As you will see, most 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find the best WP themes for your website.
Where To Find Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to download free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason for this, is because –as many free software users have learned– 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 directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your WordPress site, but it also relies on a review team to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets their quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find WordPress Themes Inside Your 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 activate it directly from inside your WordPress admin panel with only a few mouse clicks.
Use The WP Theme Filtering
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 easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a dark color design, with a 3-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display without problems across all devices (e.g. the computers, smartphones and tablets used by visitors to view your information) …
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 …
… and bring back only WordPress themes that use “responsive” design standards …
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. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of customizable features, 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 theme developer to provide personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free 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 more than 1 year since any change was made, then you should think carefully about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website is still relatively 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 premium theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to paid WordPress 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 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 directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme creators showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 15,000 premium themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse all ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and green living blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for portfolios, galleries, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about employment opportunities, buy & sell, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for fashion blogs, cafes, 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. commercial property, etc.)
- Retail – themes for beauty products, trades or professionals (electricians, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Go here to find great premium themes in the ThemeForest website:
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
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 WordPress themes in its directory, but you can easily find WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Photography themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the images above to see more themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a directory for premium 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 find themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. BuddyPress or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo theme directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Stores
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to browse all SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching WordPress themes and offers a membership option that allows you to access all themes in their growing theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront specializes in creating e-commerce themes for WordPress. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to see more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework that lets you 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many website developers like 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 it is always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you have made to your theme.
This is because themes built with the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this all sounds 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 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 above images to browse more StudioPress themes)
To round things up, here are some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WordPress theme and plugin search tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme and plugins a website uses.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme the site is using.
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 site is WordPress-driven: Is It A WordPress Website?
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 is built using the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WP plugins detected.
- To use the online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Is It A WP Blog?
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 themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A strategy that is commonly used by many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress theme directory, or use established and reputable theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may be infected with malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your WordPress theme files. The TAC plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found this information useful.
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