In another article, 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 attractive to website owners, then go here to read the post: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this blog post, we show you where to search for free and paid themes for your WordPress website or blog. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web design template that is used on WordPress-powered blogs and designed to work specifically for WordPress.
Many talented web designers and website development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community can access thousands of high quality WordPress themes designed for many purposes and needs.
- 1 Finding Great Responsive Themes For WordPress: How To Avoid Information Overload
- 2 Finding A Theme For Your Website Or Blog
- 2.1 Paid Themes
- 2.2 Commercial Theme Stores
- 3 Theme-Checking Tools
Finding Great Responsive Themes For WordPress: How To Avoid Information Overload
Let’s say you were to go to Google and search for the following:
- best free themes for WordPress
- best free themes for WordPress
- best paid WordPress themes for blogs (enter whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in your search listings.
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 get started, you should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in another post. In this post, please note that we will only 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 site’s web design.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are listed as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs WordPress Theme Design Companies
There are two different types of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme vendors.
WP theme marketplaces and theme directories are big theme aggregators. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers find 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WP theme vendors can create both free and paid WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
As you will see, many commercial theme design houses 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 WordPress theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find the best WordPress themes for your website or blog.
Finding A Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason for this, is because –as many free software users have learned– 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 theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also relies on a theme review team to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with high standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Repository, go here:
Find WordPress Themes Inside Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress.org 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 admin panel with only a few mouse clicks.
Use The Theme 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 a light color design, with a two-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” WordPress themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display correctly on all devices (e.g. computers, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and display only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs you nothing 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 built-in 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. Most free themes will ask you for a donation 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 1 year since any change was 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 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 money on premium themes. 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 WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to premium 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:
WP Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium WordPress themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse more ThemeForest themes)
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 bloggers and e-magazines, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for design, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites about travel, dining out & restaurants, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for online shopping, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for celebrity blogs, nightlife, 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for shops, trades or professionals (repairers, dentists, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, green living 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)
Go here to find great premium WP themes in the ThemeForest themes website: 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 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 find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market theme directory here: Creative Market
(click on the images above to browse more WordPress themes at Mojo)
Mojo is a directory for premium-quality WP 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by choosing the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo marketplace here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent WordPress theme agencies.
Commercial Theme Stores
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 above images to see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs stunning premium themes and offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their growing WordPress theme collection.
(click on the images above to see more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WP themes for e-commerce. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to view more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that enables users 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 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 make sure that it always remains compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework 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 framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this all sounds too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned 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 all StudioPress themes)
Here are a few more useful WordPress 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 and plugins a site uses (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 WP theme the website or blog uses.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site uses WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a website uses the WordPress CMS platform: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Blog Was Built Using WordPress 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 whether or not a site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins detected.
- To use this online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn how to use this tool go here: How Can I Check If My Web Site Was Built With WordPress?
We said this before and it’s worth repeating again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A method that is commonly used by many hackers and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress repository, or use well-known and trusted theme vendors.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may be infected with potentially malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and then outputs a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WP free and paid responsive themes useful.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group
Disclaimer: WordPress and its related trademarks are registered trademarks of Automattic, Inc. This site and the products and services offered on this site are not associated, affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored by WordPress, nor have they been tested, reviewed, or certified by WordPress. The owner, contributors and/or advertisers may derive financial benefit from sales of items advertised, reviewed, or linked to this site.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share this information with others who could benefit from learning about WordPress using the social links below.