In another post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then make sure to check out our post: A Non-Technical User’s Guide To Understanding WP Themes
In this article, we show you where to browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WP 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 avoid dealing with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previously-mentioned article, a theme is a special kind of web template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed to work specifically for WordPress.
Many skilled website designers and website design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community can access thousands of high quality WP themes designed to cover a wide range of website uses.
- Finding WordPress Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!
- Finding WordPress Themes For Your Website Or Blog
- WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Finding WordPress Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!
If you were to go to Google and search for something like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best free WordPress themes for business (or whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the search results.
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 another post. To keep things simple, we’ll only be covering 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 Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces vs WP Theme Developers
There are 2 places where WordPress themes can be found. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme vendors.
WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are large theme aggregators. WP theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the bigger 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 typically develop both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme development companies.
Most commercial or independent theme stores 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 themes for your website or blog.
Finding WordPress Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to download WP themes for free. 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 put 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 WP site, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets certain standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Directory, go here:
Find 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 within your WP dashboard with a couple of clicks.
Use 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 Colours, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly orange colour design, with a four-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” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display correctly across all devices (e.g. your laptop, tablet and smartphone) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and display only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside to 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 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 1 year since any changes were last made, then we advise you to think twice 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, 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 may just be the thing that works for you and 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, it’s time to turn our attention to premium themes.
Paid WP 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 ongoing support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and best-known WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,500 premium themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and e-magazines, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for portfolios, crafts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, business directories, 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. responsive 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 beauty products, trades or professionals (electricians, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and 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!
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)
Browse lots of great premium WP themes in the ThemeForest directory here: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace 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 find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Wedding themes, etc.) from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market directory here: Creative Market
(click on the images above to browse more WordPress themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 WP themes, but you can easily browse hundreds of WP themes and search through their theme categories by using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great WordPress themes in the Mojo directory here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial WordPress theme vendors.
Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offer a membership option that allows members to access all themes in their growing theme collection.
(click on the above images to view all 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 images above to see all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” 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 like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that themes remain always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you have made to your theme.
This is because StudioPress themes 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 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.
(click on the above images to view more themes from StudioPress)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this article with some useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WP theme search tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a website uses.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a website is WP-driven: Is It A WP Blog?
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 built using the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WordPress plugins it detects.
- To use this tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about using this tool go here: How To Tell If Your Website Was Built Using WordPress
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A well-known tactic used by a number of hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute modified themes and plugins that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on search engine results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org directory, or use well-known and trusted theme merchants.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site could be infected with malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your 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 …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great WP free and premium themes useful.
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