In an earlier article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes themes so special, then go here to read our post: A Non-Technical User’s Guide To WP Themes
In this article, we will 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 make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned post, a theme is a special type of web template used on WordPress-powered websites and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many talented web designers and web design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community enjoy access to thousands of uniquely-designed themes designed for a wide range of website uses.
- Finding WordPress Themes: How To Avoid Information Overload
- Where To Find Themes For Your Website Or Blog
- WP Theme-Checking Tools
Finding WordPress Themes: How To Avoid Information Overload
Let’s say you were to open up Google and type something like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- best paid themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes for churches (enter whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in the search results.
So, to help you save time and make your life easier, let’s just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we start, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a different post. In this article, let’s just focus on 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 Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are 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 are listed as Premium (paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces vs Commercial Theme Development Firms
There are 2 places where themes can be found. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme companies.
WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are big theme aggregators. WP theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers find 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WP theme development firms typically create both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme design companies.
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 find great themes for your website.
Where To Find Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress 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 place your computer, digital presence … 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 team of theme reviewers to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory complies with high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WP admin panel with a couple of clicks.
Use WP Theme Filtering
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 easy to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a orange color design, with a two-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another article where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display without problems across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ laptops, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and bring up only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free 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 come with 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 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. Most free themes ask users for donations to help cover support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over one year since any updates were last made, then it’s best to think twice 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 relatively 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 premium themes or even on custom theme design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for you and for converting 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 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, you can 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 marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,500 premium WP themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse more ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for portfolios, galleries, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for online shopping, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for celebrity blogs, nightlife, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive 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 shops, trades or professionals (repairers, medical practitioners, 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, 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 great themes in the ThemeForest marketplace here:
(click on the above images to view more Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace 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 marketplace, but you can easily find WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or Photography themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market theme marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WP themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial and independent theme agencies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to browse more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates great themes and offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their WordPress theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to see more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WordPress 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 more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework that allows you 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework consistently updated to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that themes remain 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 StudioPress themes 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 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 you pay 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 images above to see more StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a website or blog is using.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme is being used on the website.
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 whether or not a website uses WordPress: How To Tell If Your Website Was Built With 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 if the site is built on the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the theme being used by the site and list any WordPress plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Does My Website Run On WordPress?
We suggested this before and it’s worth repeating it again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A method that is commonly used by many hackers and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute modified themes that contain malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” 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 concerns about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site could contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of malicious code and outputs a report …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find great free and paid 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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