In an earlier article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes WordPress themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then go here to read our post: A Useful Guide To Understanding WP Themes
In this article, you will learn where to browse hundreds of 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 ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid experiencing problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a special type of web design template used on WordPress-driven websites and designed specifically on WordPress.
Many individual web designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community can access thousands of exciting themes covering an extensive range of uses and applications.
- Finding WordPress Themes: How To Avoid Information Overload
- Finding A Great Theme For Your Website Or Blog
- WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
Finding WordPress Themes: How To Avoid Information Overload
If you were to fire up Google and type the following:
- best free WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for churches (type in whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your search listings.
So, to help you save time and make your life easier, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress 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 article. To keep things simple, let’s just be covering themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your site’s web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs Commercial Theme Shops
There are 2 kinds of places where WP themes can be found. The first is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme houses.
WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are large aggregators of themes. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers search 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WordPress theme stores typically develop both free and premium WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme design companies.
Most commercial or independent theme design firms 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 the best themes for your website or blog.
Finding A Great Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the largest and best place to search for WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WordPress theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, 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 place 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 WP site, but it also relies on a review team to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find Themes Inside Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WP dashboard with only a couple of 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 what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a orange 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 using “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ computers, tablets and smartphones) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and find 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. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and provide a number of built-in 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 you shouldn’t expect the developer to provide personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free themes ask for donations to help cover their costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over one year since any updates were last made, then think carefully about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website 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 your site and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid WP 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, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and most popular 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 WP themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to see all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and blog magazines, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for business sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, crafts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about directory listings, dining out & restaurants, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for fashion blogs, nightlife, 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing political 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Go here to discover great themes in the ThemeForest marketplace:
(click on the above images to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace 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 WordPress themes in its directory, but you can easily browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market themes directory here:
(click on the above images to view more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a marketplace for premium 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories by choosing the 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 directories, let’s look at commercial and independent theme agencies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Design Houses
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 see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs eye-catching premium themes and offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WP theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to see all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes creates amazing 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 above images to see all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework that enables 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 your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework regularly updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that themes are always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, 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 themes built using the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this all sounds way 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 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 above images to browse more themes from StudioPress)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free web tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme and plugins a site is using.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme the site uses.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site runs on WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a website 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 if a site was built using the WP CMS platform, but it will also list the WP theme being used on the site and list any plugins detected.
- To use this tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Is My Website Built With WordPress? Tell-Tale Signs & WP-Checking Tools
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known method used 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 then distribute themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free themes from the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of malicious code and then outputs a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
I hope that you have found this information useful.
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