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.

For the most up-to-date version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.

WordPress

In an earlier post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes WordPress themes unique, then go here to read the post: A Non-Technical User’s Guide To WP Themes

In this article, you will learn where you can look for free and paid themes for your website. 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 having to deal with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.

As we’ve explained in our previously-mentioned post, a WordPress theme is a special type of web template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and blogs and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.

Many individual web designers and web development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of professional WordPress themes designed to cover many purposes.

WordPress themes cover an extensive range of uses and applications.

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

Let’s say you were to open up Google and type the following:

  • best free WP themes
  • best responsive themes for WordPress
  • best responsive WordPress themes for writers (or 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 the search results.

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

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes

Before we get started, you need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different article. To keep things simple, we’ll only cover the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your website.

Free vs Paid Themes

Next, it’s useful to know that you can find thousands of Free and Paid themes being 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 licensed for use as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

Theme Marketplaces And Directories Commercial And Independent Theme Stores

There are mostly two places where WP themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme vendors.

Theme marketplaces and WordPress 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 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 WP plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)

Commercial and independent WordPress theme development firms can create both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of designer, to large theme design and development companies.

Many commercial or independent theme companies 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 directories .

Let’s now show you where to search for the best WP themes for your website or blog.

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

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - WP Themes Directory

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, is because –as many free software users have discovered– 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 WP theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also uses a review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and ensure that each theme listed in the directory meets their quality and security standards.

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

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

Tip

Find Themes Inside Your Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP 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 WordPress dashboard with just a few mouse clicks.

Find Free WordPress Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard!

Use Theme Feature Filter

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 Theme Filtering

This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly blue color design, with a four-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.

Note: in another article where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ laptops, tablets and smartphones) …

Use The Theme Filters

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

Use WP Theme Feature Filter

… and find only WP themes that are “responsive” …

Use WordPress Theme Filters

Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of customizable features, 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 immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free themes ask users for donations to help cover their support costs.

When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than 1 year since any changes 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 site 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 a 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 WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid themes.

Premium 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 ongoing support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest WP themes marketplace

ThemeForest is one of the largest and well known theme marketplaces online.

ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 15,000 premium themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

(click on the images above to view all 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 general blogs and green living blogs, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or advertising purposes.
  • Creative – themes suitable for video galleries, cv and resume writing, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about travel, buy & sell, community resources, etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for fashion blogs, restaurants, etc.
  • Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching themes.
  • NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
  • Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
  • Retail – themes for specialty stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, legal practitioners, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to apps, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
  • Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and 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!

Useful 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 emails you theme update notifications)

Browse lots of great WP themes in the ThemeForest themes directory here:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WP Theme Directory

(click on the above images to see more themes on Creative Market)

Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can search through thousands of 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 find WP themes and narrow your search using theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market - directory of WP themes

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

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WordPress Theme Marketplace

(click on the above images to browse all Mojo themes)

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 find WordPress themes and narrow your search with theme categories using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo WordPress themes directory

Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:

Now that we have looked at WordPress theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial and independent theme vendors.

Commercial Theme Design Companies

SoloStream

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

Solostream Themes

(click on above images to browse all SoloStream themes)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes designs functional premium themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their growing theme collection.

Woo Themes Premium Themes

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

StoreFront

StoreFront Themes specializes in creating e-commerce themes for WordPress. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.

StoreFront - WordPress Themes

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

StudioPress

StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets you 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 the 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 this framework regularly up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that themes remain always 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 StudioPress themes use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.

If this 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 themes from StudioPress 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.

StudioPress Themes

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

WordPress Theme-Checking Tools

Let’s finish this article with a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:

What WordPress Theme Is That – WP Theme And Plugin Search Tool

What WordPress Theme Is That.com

What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme and plugins a website or blog uses.

This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme the website or blog uses.

Useful 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 uses the WP CMS platform: How Can I Tell If A 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 whether or not a site was built using the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any plugins it detects.

Theme Authenticity Checker - Plugin

Disclaimer

A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the approved WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.

A method that is commonly used by many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes and plugins 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 repository, or use established and reputable theme merchants.

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

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin, WordPress.org)

We hope that you have found the information on how to find the best free and commercial responsive themes for WordPress useful.

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"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya

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For the most up-to-date version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.
Originally published as Where To Find The Best WordPress Themes.