In another post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using themes and what makes WordPress themes so attractive to website owners, then make sure to check out our post: A Beginner’s Guide To WordPress Themes
In this article, you will learn where you can search for free and paid themes for your WP 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 avoid dealing with problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a unique type of web design template used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically for the WP content management system.
Many talented website designers and web design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users enjoy access to thousands of professional WordPress themes designed to cover many purposes.
- Finding Great Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!
- Choosing The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
- WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Finding Great Themes: Let’s Keep It Simple!
If you were to browse over to Google and search for a key phrase like this:
- best free themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for musicians (type in whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your 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.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we start, you need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different article. In this article, please note that we will only be covering 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 aspects of your website.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that typically, you’ll find both Free and Paid WordPress themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be made available to users as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces & WordPress Theme Developers
There are mostly two kinds of places where you can find WP themes. The first is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WordPress theme developers.
Theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are big aggregators of themes. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and visitors 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 shops can also design both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design and development companies.
Most commercial theme stores 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 find the best WP themes for your website.
Choosing The Best Responsive Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to find WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason for this, is because –as some free software users have learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can contain malicious code and put 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, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and code-savvy volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Look For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use The Theme Filters
WordPress provides a 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 dark colour design, with a 4-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in an earlier article 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) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and bring back only WordPress themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free 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 options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free 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 more than a year since any change was made, then we advise you to think carefully about downloading it, as WordPress changes quite often and this can create conflicts or errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog 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 paid theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for you and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium WP themes.
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 great support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Marketplaces
ThemeForest is one of the largest and well known WordPress theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 15,000 premium themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for design, ebook authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to employment opportunities, holiday rentals, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for photo gallery blogs, dining out, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, dentists, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, 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, 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 sends you theme update notifications)
Browse lots of quality premium WP themes in the ThemeForest theme directory here: ThemeForest
(click on the above images to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can search through many quality premium WP 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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market themes directory here: Creative Market
(click on the images above to view all themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a marketplace 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 browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories by selecting the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo marketplace here: Mojo
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme agencies.
Commercial Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to browse all themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates functional themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offers a membership option that gives you access to their entire theme collection.
(click on the above images to browse more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront specializes in creating WP themes for e-commerce. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to see more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows users 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 website developers like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework consistently updated to reflect best coding practices and to ensure that it is 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 themes built using the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this all sounds 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 browse more themes from StudioPress)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this article with some useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free WP theme and plugin search 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 or blog uses.
Tip: If you don’t know if a site uses WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that helps you tell if a site was built using WordPress: Does My Blog 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 whether or not a site was built on WordPress, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use this online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Does My Web Site Run On WordPress?
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating it again: 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 commonly-used tactic employed by many hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute modified themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use well-known and reputable theme merchants.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog could be infected with malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your WordPress theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and outputs a report …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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