In a separate article, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress themes and what makes themes so attractive to web site owners, then go here to read the post: About WP Themes – A Handy Guide
In this article, you will learn where you can find many fantastic free and paid themes for your WP site. You will also learn about the different types of WP 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 poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another post, a theme is a unique type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and blogs and designed to work specifically in WordPress.
Many professional website designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of professional-quality WordPress themes designed for many purposes and needs.
- Where To Find Great Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?
- Choosing A Great WordPress Theme For Your Website Or Blog
- WP Theme-Checking Tools
Where To Find Great Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and search for a key phrase like the following:
- best WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for writers (or 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 your 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 WordPress themes really 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 cover these differences in a separate article. For now, let’s just focus on 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 areas of your website.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are both Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be licensed for use as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs Theme Design Companies
There are two places where themes can be found. The first is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme shops.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WP theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers 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 theme developers typically design both free and paid WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme designer, to large 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 find great themes for your website.
Choosing A Great WordPress Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason why, 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.org 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 make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find WP Themes Inside Your Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress.org 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 a few clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Filtering
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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly gray 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” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ PCs, smartphones and tablets) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and find only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” to using free WP 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most 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 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 quite new, there is nothing wrong with using 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 premium 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 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 paid 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 ongoing support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and most popular WordPress theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 15,000 premium WP themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to see more themes on ThemeForest)
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 bloggers and news editorials, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, arts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, music venues, 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, dentists, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing environmental issues, green living 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 browse many great themes in the ThemeForest website: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse 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 WordPress 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. Landing Page or Business themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the above images to view all themes at Mojo)
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 WP themes, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories from the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme directory here: Mojo
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s look at commercial and independent WP theme design houses.
Commercial Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view all themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching WordPress themes and offers a membership option that allows you to access all themes in their growing WordPress theme collection.
(click on the images above to browse more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront 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 develops 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 this 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 ensure that themes remain always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you may have made to your theme.
This is because themes built using 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 look and feel.
If this all 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.
(click on the above images to browse more themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this post with some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme and plugins a site 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 WP theme the website uses.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a web site is powered by WordPress: Is My Website Built Using 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 then not only confirm whether or not the site has been built using WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use the tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn more about using this tool go here: How Can I Tell If A Website Was Built With WordPress?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WordPress 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 distribute modified themes and plugins containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress.org directory, or use well-known and reputable sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may be infected with malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and then presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WP useful.
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