In an earlier post, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about themes and what makes themes unique, then make sure to check out our article here: Understanding WP Themes – A Guide For Newbies
In this blog post, we explain where to look for free and paid themes for your WP 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 support and poor theme coding.
As explained in another post, a WordPress theme is a special type of web template used on WordPress-driven sites and designed to work specifically with the WP platform in mind.
Many web designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community can access thousands of excellent WordPress themes designed to cover a wide range of purposes and needs.
Where To Find Responsive WordPress Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!
Let’s say you were to fire up Google and type something like the following:
- best responsive themes for WordPress
- best premium WordPress themes
- best paid WordPress themes for blogs (type in whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in the 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 WordPress 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 explain these differences in another article. In this post, let’s just cover the topic of 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 the design of your blog.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid WordPress themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Directories vs Commercial WP Theme Design Houses
There are 2 places where you can find themes. The first place is in WP theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme developers.
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 visitors search for 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 WordPress theme design houses typically design both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme development companies.
Most 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 themes for your website.
Choosing Great Themes For Your WordPress Website
(WordPress.org – WP Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to find free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, 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 … even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, 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 specific quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WordPress dashboard with a few clicks.
Use The Theme Filtering
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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a orange colour design, with a three-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” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display correctly across all devices (e.g. your laptop, smartphone and tablet) …
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 display only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of built-in customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside of using free WordPress 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation to help cover their 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 well over 1 year since any changes were 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 website is still relatively 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 any money on a premium theme. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for you and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium 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, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 15,000 premium WP themes to choose from (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 directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and e-magazines, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for design, kindle book authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about employment opportunities, buy & sell, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for photo gallery 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. commercial property, etc.)
- Retail – themes for shops, trades or professionals (repairers, dentists, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, newsletters, 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 find quality premium themes in the ThemeForest theme directory:
(click on the images above to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through many 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 marketplace, but you can easily browse hundreds of WP themes and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market themes directory here:
(click on the above images to browse more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily find WP themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) from the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WordPress themes in the Mojo themes directory here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent theme vendors.
Commercial WordPress Theme Vendors
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates great themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing theme collection.
(click on the above images to see all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront creates gorgeous e-commerce themes for WordPress. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to see all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your 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 this framework consistently 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 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 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 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 images above to browse all StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are some useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WP theme and plugin-checking tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme a site uses (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 is being used on the site.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site was built using WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a site is WP-driven: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Web Site And WP-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 a site is powered by WordPress software, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Is My Website Built Using WordPress? How To Tell
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known method used by many hackers and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress theme repository, or use established and reputable sites.
If you are concerned 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 scan your WP theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and then outputs a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found this information useful.
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