In another post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about WP themes and what makes themes unique, then go here to read the article: An Overview of WordPress Themes
In this article, you will learn where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your 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 experiencing problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically with the WP content management system in mind.
Many professional website designers and website design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of quality WP themes covering an extensive range of uses.
- Finding Themes: Let’s Simplify Things!
- Where To Find Great Themes For Your WordPress Website Or Blog
- Premium WP Themes
- Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms
- Theme-Checking Tools
Finding Themes: Let’s Simplify Things!
Let’s say you were to fire up Google and type the following:
- best free themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best free WordPress themes for blogs (or whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the 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 WP themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you need to know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a separate article. To keep things simple, we’ll only cover 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 useful to know that there are both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WP themes are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be listed as Premium (paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces & WordPress Theme Development Firms
There are mostly 2 places where you can find WordPress themes. The first place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WordPress theme companies.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are big aggregators of themes. 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 directory.
Some of the bigger marketplaces 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 theme development firms typically develop both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of developer, to large theme design companies.
Most commercial theme design houses 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 find great WordPress themes for your website.
Where To Find Great Themes For Your WordPress Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to find free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WordPress theme directory you should use when looking for free WP 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 and 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 team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Repository, go here:
Search For Free Themes Inside Your Own 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 inside your WordPress dashboard with just a couple of clicks.
Use WP Theme Feature Filters
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 …
This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark colour design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. your computer, tablet and smartphone) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and bring up only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of built-in customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside of using free WP themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and you shouldn’t expect the theme developer to provide personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes ask users for donations to help cover costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than a year since any change was last made, then we advise you to think carefully about downloading it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog 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 a premium theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for your site and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress 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.
Premium 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, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Marketplaces
ThemeForest is one of the largest and well known theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme creators to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 15,000 premium themes to choose from (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 marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and news editorials, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for photography, writing professionals, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, classifieds, social directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready 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 retail stores, trades or professionals (repairers, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing political 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 sends you theme update notifications)
Browse lots of quality premium WP themes in the ThemeForest marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace where you can browse thousands of quality premium WP 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or Commerce themes, etc.) from 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 browse more WordPress themes at Mojo)
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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WP themes in the Mojo themes directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to browse more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs great themes for WordPress and offer a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their growing WordPress theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in 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 develops WordPress themes based on a framework that enables users to 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 prefer using the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework regularly updated to reflect best practices for coding 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 may 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 very 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.
(click on the images above to view more themes from StudioPress)
To round things up, here are some useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme a website is using (including parent and child themes).
This is a great resource if you ever 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 runs on WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a website uses WordPress: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Site And WP-Checking Tools
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 the site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WP plugins detected.
- To use the tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn more about this tool go here: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Site And WordPress-Checking Tools
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly 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 networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org theme repository, or use established and reputable theme download sites.
If you have any doubts 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. This plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and then outputs a report with the results …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great free and commercial responsive themes for WordPress useful.
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now
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