In another post, we have written 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 revolutionary in terms of website design, then make sure to check out the article here: A Useful Guide To WP Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where to search for free and paid themes for your website. 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 how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another article, a theme is a special kind of web template that is used on WordPress-powered sites and designed specifically for the WP platform.
Many website designers and website design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of uniquely-designed WP themes covering a wide-range of uses and applications.
- Where To Find WP Themes: Too Much Information … Where To Begin?
- Where To Find The Best Themes For Your Website Or Blog
- WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Where To Find WP Themes: Too Much Information … Where To Begin?
If you were to browse over to Google and search for a key phrase like this:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for artists (enter whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the 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 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 a separate post. To keep things simple, let’s just cover the topic of finding 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 WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free themes for WordPress are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs WP Theme Design Companies
There are 2 kinds of places where you can find themes. The first is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WP theme stores.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are big aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger theme stores 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 develop both free and commercial WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Most commercial or independent theme developers 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 WP themes for your website.
Where To Find The Best Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WordPress Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to search for WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme 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 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 theme review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory complies with their standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Filtering
WordPress provides a filtering function inside the admin 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 predominantly blue color design, with a 4-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another article where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. laptops, 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 bring back only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme. Additionally, 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 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 dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation 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 more than a year since any changes were made, then you should think carefully about using it, as WordPress changes quite frequently and this can create conflicts and errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog is still quite 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 money on a premium theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for you and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to paid WordPress 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, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme 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 17,000 premium WordPress themes listed (you can find great themes 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:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about directory listings, holiday rentals, , 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, nightlife, 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for retail stores, trades or professionals (repairers, medical centers, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to software, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing environmental issues, parenting 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 thousands of great themes in the ThemeForest themes directory here:
(click on the images above to see all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse many 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 marketplace, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse all WordPress themes at Mojo.com)
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 WP themes, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Blog or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by choosing the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great WP themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent theme design houses.
Commercial And Independent Theme Stores
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium WP 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 themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and also offer a membership option that gives you access to their entire WP theme collection.
(click on the images above to view more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront creates stunning 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 view more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you 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 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 the framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to ensure that it is always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you have made to your theme.
This is because themes built with 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 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 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 see all StudioPress themes)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a website or blog is using.
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 website.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a web site is WP-driven: How Can I Tell If A Site Was Built Using 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 then not only confirm if the site was built on WordPress software, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use this online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: How Can I Check If My Web Site Was Built With WordPress?
We said this before and it’s worth repeating it again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used method employed by a number of hackers and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up sites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes 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 themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress theme repository, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may be infected with potentially 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 scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and presents you with a report …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find great WordPress free and paid responsive themes useful.
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