In a previous post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about WordPress themes and what makes themes so special, then make sure to check out the article here: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this article, we show you where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your site. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid dealing with problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in another article, a theme is a special type of web template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed specifically in the WordPress platform.
Many talented website designers and website design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of professional themes covering an extensive range of uses and applications.
Finding Themes: Let’s Simplify Things!
If you were to browse over to Google and search for the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for churches (enter 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 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 cover these differences in a separate article. For now, let’s just cover the topic of finding 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 site’s web design.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Directories Commercial And Independent WP Theme Shops
There are two kinds of places where you can find WP themes. The first place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme companies.
WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are big theme stores. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger marketplaces 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 vendors can also design both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme development companies.
Most commercial 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great WordPress themes for your blog.
Where To Find Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WordPress 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 WP themes. The reason why, is because –as some free software users have learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can put your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WP directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your WordPress site, but it also relies on a theme review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WordPress admin panel with just a few clicks.
Use The WP Theme Filtering
WordPress provides a filtering function inside the admin area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easy to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a pink color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article mentioned earlier where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will work across all devices (e.g. your laptop, smartphone and tablet) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and find only themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme on your site. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and offer 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 you shouldn’t expect the 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 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 a year since any changes were made, then think twice about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog 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 paid theme. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for you and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding paid 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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,000 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 directory, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and environmental blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for business sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for design, writers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to employment opportunities, buy & sell, social directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, 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 beauty products, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant 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 sends you theme update notifications)
Browse thousands of great premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest theme marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse all Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through many 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 WP themes in its directory, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Commerce themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market directory here:
(click on the images above to view more WP themes at Mojo)
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 WP themes, but you can easily browse hundreds of WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Responsive or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial WordPress Theme Design Houses
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs functional themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and offers a membership option that allows you to access all themes in their growing WP theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to browse all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WP themes for e-commerce. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to browse all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers prefer using this 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 make sure that it is always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update your themes 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 design.
If this all sounds way 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 StudioPress themes is that you pay just one low price 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 all themes from StudioPress)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WP theme-checking tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme a site uses.
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: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a web site is powered by WordPress: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Website Was Built Using WP Software
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 powered by WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Does My Blog Run On WordPress?
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A strategy that is commonly used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” WordPress themes 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’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.org directory, or use established and trusted theme download sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may contain malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. The TAC plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and then presents you with a report …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WP useful.
"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