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 previous 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 this article: An Introduction to WP Themes

In this article, we show you where you can look for free and paid themes for your website or blog. 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 experiencing problems like lack of support and poor coding.

As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned post, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and designed to work specifically on WordPress.

Many skilled website designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of great themes designed for many purposes.

WP themes cover an extensive range of uses and applications.

Where To Find Great WordPress Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?

If you were to open up Google and type the following:

  • best themes for WordPress
  • best free WordPress themes
  • best responsive 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 disorganized information to sort through in your search results.

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 be covering the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.

Free vs Paid WP Themes

Next, it’s important to know that typically, you’ll find both Free and Paid WP themes being made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be sold as Premium (paid) themes.

WordPress Theme Directories vs Theme Agencies

There are 2 places where you can find WP themes. The first type of place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme houses.

Theme marketplaces and theme directories are big aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.

Some of the larger directories 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 houses typically develop both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme development companies.

As you will see, many commercial or independent theme stores 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 directories .

Let’s now show you where to search for great themes for your website.

Where To Find Themes For Your Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - Free WP Theme Repository

(WordPress.org – WP Theme 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 directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, is because –as many 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 … even your entire business at risk.

The WordPress theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme listed in the directory meets their standards of quality and security.

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

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

Useful Tip

Find WP Themes Inside Your Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP 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 within your WP dashboard with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Look For Free WordPress Themes Without Leaving Your Own WP Dashboard!

Use Theme Feature Filter

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 …

Use The WordPress Theme Feature Filter

This makes it easy to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly gray colour design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.

Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ laptops, smartphones and tablets) …

Use WordPress Theme Feature Filters

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

Use WordPress Theme Filters

… and find only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …

Use The WP Theme Feature Filters

Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of customizable settings, 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 it’s unrealistic to expect the theme developer to provide urgent 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 well over a year since any changes were made, then it’s best to think twice about downloading it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.

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 any money on premium themes. 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 how to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid themes.

Paid WordPress 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 great support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

WP Theme Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest - themes

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

ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 15,000 premium WordPress themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

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

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 bloggers and blog magazines, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or advertising purposes.
  • Creative – themes for creative work, cv and resume writing, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites related to employment opportunities, holiday rentals, business directories, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, nightlife, etc.
  • Mobile – e.g. retina-ready themes.
  • NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
  • Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. home sales, etc.)
  • Retail – themes for catalogs, trades or professionals (repairers, legal 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 topics related to activism, 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 sends you theme update notifications

(ThemeForest emails you theme update notifications)

Go here to find great premium themes in the ThemeForest themes directory:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WordPress Theme Marketplace

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

Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse thousands of quality premium WordPress 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 marketplace, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Blog or Wedding themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market - marketplace premium WordPress themes

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

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WordPress Themes Marketplace

(click on the images above to see more themes at Mojo.com)

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 (e.g. Magazine or Business themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo WP themes directory

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

Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s look at commercial and independent theme developers.

Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms

SoloStream

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.

Solostream Themes

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

Woo Themes

Woo Themes designs functional themes for WordPress and offer a membership option that allows members to access all themes in their growing theme portfolio.

Woo Themes Premium Themes

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

StoreFront

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

StoreFront Premium WordPress Themes

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

StudioPress

StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework that lets users quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.

Many website developers like the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework frequently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that themes are always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you may have made to your theme.

This is because themes built with 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 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 themes from StudioPress is that one low price entitles you to receive unlimited support and updates, and you can install your themes on unlimited domains.

For more details, click here: StudioPress.

StudioPress - WordPress Themes

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

Theme-Checking Tools

Here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:

What WordPress Theme Is That?

What WordPress Theme Is That WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That is a free online tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website or blog is using (including parent and child WP 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 don’t know if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a website is WP-driven: Does My Website Run On 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 the site has been built using WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used and list any plugins detected.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) – WordPress Plugin

Note

We said this before and it’s worth repeating again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.

A well-known tactic used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute modified themes that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress directory, or use established and reputable theme download sites.

If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may contain malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)

I hope that you have found this information 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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