In another post, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WP themes and what makes WP themes so attractive to website owners, then make sure to check out the article here: An Overview of WP Themes
In this article, you will learn where to look for free and paid themes for your WordPress site. 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 experiencing problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.
As explained in our previously-mentioned post, a theme is a unique type of web template used on WordPress-powered blogs and designed specifically on WordPress.
Many skilled website designers and web development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of professional themes designed to cover a wide range of purposes and needs.
Finding Responsive Themes For WordPress: Too Much Information … Where To Begin?
If you were to go to Google and type key phrases like this:
- best WordPress themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for business (type in whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
Chances are that you are 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, 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 start, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a later post. To keep things simple, let’s just focus on finding 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 web design.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WP themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be licensed for use as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs WordPress Theme Vendors
There are 2 kinds of places where themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme shops.
WP theme marketplaces and theme directories are big aggregators of themes. 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 directory.
Some of the bigger theme stores 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 developers can also design both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme development companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme shops 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great themes for your blog.
Where To Find A Responsive WordPress Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as some free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can contain malicious code and put your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WP theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking 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 theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WordPress dashboard with just a couple of mouse clicks.
Use The Theme Feature 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 Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly gray colour design, with a 4-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 using “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed correctly across all devices (e.g. your computer, tablet and smartphone) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and find only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of built-in customizable options, 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 you shouldn’t expect the theme developer to provide urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free themes ask users for donations to help cover their costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than a year since any change was last made, then we advise you to think carefully about using it, as the WordPress software changes quite often and this can create conflicts and errors with older code.
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 any money on paid themes. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to premium themes.
Premium WordPress 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:
WordPress Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and best-known WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,500 premium WP themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to view more ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes suitable for sites related to travel, dining out & restaurants, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for photo gallery blogs, dining out, 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. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for stores, trades or professionals (repairers, legal firms, 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 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Go here to discover great premium WP themes in the ThemeForest site:
(click on the images above to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme directory where you can browse thousands of 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 WordPress themes in its marketplace, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market theme directory here:
(click on the images above to browse all 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 WP themes, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by selecting the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial and independent theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent WordPress Theme Design Companies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to browse more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs eye-catching WP themes and offers a membership option that gives you access to their entire theme collection.
(click on the above images to browse all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront creates stunning 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 above images to see more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework that enables users 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many website developers like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure 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 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.
(click on the above images to view more themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this article with some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free web tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website is using (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 theme the site uses.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site uses WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a website uses the WordPress CMS platform: How Can I Tell If My Site 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 not only confirm whether or not the site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn how to use this tool go here: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Web Site Runs On WordPress
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating it again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hackers and syndicates that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress theme directory, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site could be infected with malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your WP theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and then outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found this information useful.
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