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.

WordPress

In another post, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes themes unique, then make sure to check out our article: An Overview of WP Themes

In this article, you will learn where you can search for 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 ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid experiencing problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.

As we’ve explained in another article, a theme is a special type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and designed to work specifically with WordPress in mind.

Many skilled website designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community can access thousands of unique WordPress themes designed to cover a wide range of website uses.

WordPress themes are designed to cover a wide range of purposes and needs.

Finding Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?

If you were to launch Google and search for the following:

  • best free themes for WordPress
  • WordPress themes free
  • best paid WordPress themes for churches (or whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)

Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of 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 WP 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 later article. To keep things simple, please note that we will only be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.

Free vs Paid WP Themes

Next, it’s important to know that there are thousands of Free and Paid themes being made available. Free themes are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be made available to users as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

Theme Marketplaces & Theme Stores

There are two kinds of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first type of place is in WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme shops.

WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are big theme aggregators. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.

Some of the bigger directories 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 WordPress theme shops typically will develop both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme development companies.

Many commercial 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 WordPress theme directories .

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

Choosing A Responsive WP Theme For Your Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org - Themes Directory

(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)

The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as many free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can put 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 review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory complies with certain standards of quality and security.

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

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

Useful Tip

Find Themes Inside Your WP Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WordPress admin panel with a couple of mouse clicks.

Search For Free WordPress Themes Without Leaving Your Own WP Dashboard!

Use The WordPress 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 The Theme Filtering

This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark color design, with a 2-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 choosing “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. laptops, tablets and smartphones) …

Use Theme Filters

It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …

Use WP Theme Feature Filters

… and find only themes that are “responsive” …

Use The Theme Filtering

Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes

The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs you nothing 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 customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.

The downside of 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 developer to provide urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free themes ask users for donations to help cover costs of providing support and updates, bug fixes, etc..

When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been over 1 year since any change was last made, then think carefully 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 a paid theme. 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 WP themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid WP 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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

WordPress Theme Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest WP themes directory

ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known WP theme directories online.

ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 15,000 premium WordPress themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …

ThemeForest - Premium WordPress Themes

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

If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in a range of categories, such as:

  • Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and news editorials, etc.
  • Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or advertising purposes.
  • Creative – themes suitable for creative work, crafts, etc.
  • Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to employment opportunities, buy & sell, , etc.
  • eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
  • Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
  • Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, music venues, etc.
  • Mobile – e.g. responsive 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 shopping, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
  • Technology – themes related to technology, 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 political issues, green living 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)

Go here to find quality premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest website:

Creative Market

Creative Market - WP Theme Directory

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

Creative Market is another leading WP theme marketplace 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 marketplace, but you can easily browse hundreds of WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Blog or Business themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Creative Market

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

Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes - WordPress Theme Marketplace

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

Mojo is a marketplace 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 WordPress themes and search through their theme categories by selecting the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Mojo - themes for WordPress

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

Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s take a look at commercial and independent theme development firms.

Commercial Theme Vendors

SoloStream

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

Solostream Premium Themes

(click on images above to browse more SoloStream themes)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes designs stunning WP themes that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and also offer a membership option that gives you access to their entire theme portfolio.

WooThemes

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

StoreFront

StoreFront creates beautiful e-commerce themes for WordPress. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.

StoreFront

(click on the above images to view all themes from StoreFront)

StudioPress

StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for the content and unprecedented control of the framework.

Many website developers prefer using this 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 it always remains 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 all sounds way too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned 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 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 Premium Themes

(click on the images above to view all themes from StudioPress)

WP Theme-Checking Tools

To round things up, here are a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:

What WP Theme Is That – WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That? WordPress Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme a site is using.

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

Tip

Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a website uses the WP CMS platform: Does My Web Site Run On 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 a site is built using WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any plugins detected.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) – WP Plugin

Info

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

A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute modified themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use established and reputable sites.

If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme 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 WP theme files. The TAC 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 as shown in the screenshot below …

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) - Plugin

(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: WordPress.org Plugin Site)

We hope that you have found this information useful.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Where To Find The Best WordPress Themes.