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 an earlier article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using themes and what makes themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then make sure to check out our article: An Overview of WP Themes

In this article, you will learn where you can explore loads of professional free and paid themes for your WP 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 product support and poor coding.

As explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web design template used on WordPress-driven websites and designed to work specifically for WordPress.

Many individual website designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community can access thousands of quality WP themes covering a wide-range of uses.

Themes are designed to cover a wide range of website uses.

Finding Great Great Themes For WordPress: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?

If you were to browse over to Google and search for something like the following:

  • best WP themes
  • best premium themes for WordPress
  • best paid WordPress themes for artists (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 the search listings.

So, to help you save time and make things easier, let’s just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes simple.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes

Before we start, 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. To keep things simple, please note that we will only be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your site’s web design.

Free vs Paid Themes

Next, it’s useful to know that there are both Free and Paid WP themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs Commercial Theme Development Firms

There are mostly two different types of places where themes can be found. The first type of place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme houses.

WP theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are big aggregators of themes. WP theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.

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 design companies typically design both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme design companies.

As you will see, most commercial or independent theme companies 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 search for great themes for your website.

Where To Find The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - WordPress Themes Directory

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to search for WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as some 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.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme in the directory meets their standards of quality and security.

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

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

Useful Tip

Look For Free WP Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP admin panel with only a couple of mouse clicks.

Find Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WordPress Dashboard!

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 …

Use The Theme Filtering

This makes it easier to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.

Note: in another post where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display without problems across all devices (e.g. the computers, tablets and smartphones used by visitors to browse your web content) …

Use The WordPress Theme Feature Filters

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

Use The WordPress Theme Filters

… and bring up only WP themes that have been built using “responsive” design standards …

Use WP Theme Filtering

Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. 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 of using free WordPress 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 dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed themes ask users for donations 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 more than a year since any changes were last made, then it’s best to think carefully 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, 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 a paid theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what 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.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to paid themes.

Premium WP 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 Marketplaces

ThemeForest

ThemeForest WordPress themes marketplace

ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known WP theme directories online.

ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,500 premium themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

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

If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites and advertising purposes.
  • Creative – themes for design, freelancers, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, business 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 celebrity blogs, dining out, etc.
  • Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching 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 health products, trades or professionals (repairers, medical centers, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to software, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
  • Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding 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!

Tip

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

(ThemeForest sends you theme update notifications)

Go here to browse many great premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest marketplace:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WordPress Theme Directory

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

Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can search through 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 directory, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market - directory of WP themes

Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes directory here:

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WP Theme Marketplace

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

Mojo is a directory for premium 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 WP themes, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo - marketplace of WP themes

Visit the site to find great WordPress themes in the Mojo themes directory here:

Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s look at commercial and independent theme vendors.

Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Development Firms

SoloStream

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

Solostream - WP Themes

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

Woo Themes

Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing theme portfolio.

Woo Themes

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

StoreFront

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.

StoreFront Themes

(click on the images above to view more themes from StoreFront)

StudioPress

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 an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.

Many website developers like 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 WordPress version, 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 themes built with the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique design.

If this all sounds way 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 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 themes from StudioPress)

WordPress Theme-Checking Tools

Let’s finish this post with a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:

What WordPress Theme Is That.com

What WordPress Theme Is That WordPress Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That is a free WP theme search tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a site uses (including parent and child WordPress themes).

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 site.

Tip

Tip: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a site is powered by WordPress: Is Your Website Powered By 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 not only confirm whether or not the site is built using WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used on the site and list any plugins it detects.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) – Plugin

Disclaimer

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

A tactic that is commonly used by a number of hackers and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use established and trusted sites.

If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog could contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)

We hope that you have found this information useful.

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.