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 haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes WP themes so special, then make sure to check out our post: An Overview of WP Themes

In this article, we will show you where to search for free and paid themes for your website. 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 dealing with problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.

As explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web template used on WordPress-powered sites and designed specifically with the WP content management system in mind.

Many individual web designers and website development companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community enjoy access to thousands of uniquely-designed WP themes designed for many purposes and needs.

WP themes are designed for many purposes.

Where To Find Responsive WordPress Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!

If you were to open up Google and search for the following:

  • best free WP themes
  • WordPress themes free
  • best responsive WordPress themes for writers (type in whatever your business, area of interest 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, let’s 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 different article. In this article, let’s just be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.

Free vs Paid WP Themes

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

WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories & WordPress Theme Stores

There are 2 places where WordPress themes can be found. The first place is in WP theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WP theme developers.

WP theme marketplaces and theme directories are large aggregators of themes. 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 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 WP theme agencies can create both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme development companies.

Most commercial 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 search for the best WordPress themes for your blog.

Choosing The Best Responsive Themes For Your WordPress Website

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - Themes Directory

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to search for free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP 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 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 website or blog, but it also relies on a review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with their quality and security standards.

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

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

Tip

Look For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WordPress Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WordPress dashboard with only a couple of mouse clicks.

Look For Free Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard!

Use WordPress 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 Colors, Layout and Features …

Use The Theme Feature Filter

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

Note: in an earlier article where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will work on all devices (e.g. the computers, smartphones and tablets used by visitors to browse your site) …

Use The Theme Filtering

You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …

Use WP Theme Filtering

… and find only themes that are “responsive” …

Use The Theme Feature Filters

Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free 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 built-in 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 you shouldn’t expect the theme developer to provide urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free 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 more than a year since any updates were made, then you should think twice about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.

If you’re just getting started and your site 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 paid themes or even on custom theme design. 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 WP 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 finding 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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

Theme Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest - themes for WordPress

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

ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

(click on the images above to view more ThemeForest themes)

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

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and green living blogs, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and advertising purposes.
  • Creative – themes for video galleries, galleries, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites about travel, classifieds, community resources, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for film & tv blogs, restaurants, 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. commercial property, etc.)
  • Retail – themes for stores, trades or professionals (electricians, legal practitioners, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to apps, landing pages, etc.
  • Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant 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!

Useful 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 sends you theme update notifications)

Go here to discover great WP themes in the ThemeForest themes directory:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WP Theme Directory

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

Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme directory where you can search through many 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 WP themes in its directory, but you can easily browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or Photography themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market - directory premium WordPress themes

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

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WordPress Theme Marketplace

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

Mojo is a directory 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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Blog or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo

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

Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent theme vendors.

Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Stores

SoloStream

SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality premium WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.

Solostream Themes

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

Woo Themes

Woo Themes creates great WordPress themes that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and also offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WP theme collection.

WooThemes Premium WordPress Themes

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

StoreFront

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.

StoreFront - WordPress Themes

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

StudioPress

StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” 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 designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.

Many web developers prefer using the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework frequently up-to-date 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 using 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 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 Themes

(click on the above images to view more StudioPress themes)

Theme-Checking Tools

Let’s finish this post with some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:

What WP Theme Is That – WP Theme And Plugin Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That? - WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins 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 uses.

Useful 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 site is powered by WordPress: How To Tell If Your Website 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 then not only confirm whether or not the site was built using the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used by the site and list any WP plugins it detects.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

Note

We suggested this earlier and it’s worth repeating again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.

A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hackers and syndicates that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and then distribute themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and reputable theme download sites.

If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may be infected with malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WordPress theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin Page, WordPress.org)

I hope that you have found this information useful.

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Where To Find The Best WordPress Themes.