In a previous article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes WP themes so attractive to web site owners, then make sure to check out this article: An Introduction to WP Themes
In this blog post, we explain where to explore many fantastic free and paid themes for your WordPress website. 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 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 theme is a unique type of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many individual web designers and website development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community enjoy access to thousands of quality themes covering a wide-range of uses.
Let’s say you were to launch Google and search for something like this:
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the search listings.
So, to help you save time and make things easier, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes really simple.
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 later post. In this article, we’ll only be focusing 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 site’s web design.
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid WordPress themes being made available. Free WP themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
There are mostly two kinds of places where WP themes can be found. The first place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme vendors.
WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
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 theme agencies typically will design both free and paid WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme design firms 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 find great themes for your website.
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to download free WP 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 many free software users have learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can place your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and code-savvy volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory complies with their quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
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 activate it directly from within your WordPress dashboard with just a few mouse clicks.
WordPress provides a 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 what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a pink color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. computers, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and find only WP themes that are “responsive” …
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress 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 provide a number of built-in customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” 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 immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes ask 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 more than a year since any change was made, then we advise you to think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and these changes can result in conflicts and errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website 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 paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded 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 WP themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to 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 great support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular WP theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
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 themes in the ThemeForest website:
(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace 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 WP themes in its directory, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or Wedding themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market theme directory here:
(click on the above images to see more Mojo themes)
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 WordPress themes, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and search through their theme categories by using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo themes marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent WordPress theme design companies.
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs stunning WP themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and also offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their growing theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WordPress 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 all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets users quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, 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 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 practices for coding and to ensure that it is always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework 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 framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this sounds way 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 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 images above to view all themes from StudioPress)
Let’s finish this post with a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme a site 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 is being used on the website.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site uses WordPress: Was My Website Built With WordPress? Tell-Tale Signs & WordPress-Checking Tools
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 was built on the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any WP plugins it detects.
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used tactic employed by many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” WordPress themes 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’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress theme repository, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may be infected with malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and presents you with a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WordPress free and commercial themes useful.
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