In this article, I explain where to search for free and paid themes for your WordPress 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 how to avoid experiencing problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As I’ve explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a special type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven blogs and designed specifically in the WordPress CMS platform.
Many talented website designers and web development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of unique WordPress themes covering an extensive range of applications.
Finding Great Great Themes For WordPress: Your Time-Saving Guide
Let’s say you were to open up Google and search for key phrases like this:
- best WP themes
- best responsive themes for WordPress
- best responsive WordPress themes for artists (or 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 WP themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different post. To keep things simple, let’s just focus on finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your site.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid WordPress themes being made available. Free WP themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License or they will be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
Theme Directories vs WP Theme Agencies
There are two different types of places where themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme companies.
WordPress 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 visitors find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
Some of the bigger 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 WordPress theme vendors can create both free and paid WP themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of designer, to large web and theme development companies.
Many commercial theme design houses 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.
Finding Great 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 WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WordPress theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. 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 WP site, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets high standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Find Themes Inside Your Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WP dashboard with a few clicks.
Use The WP 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 easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a light color design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and display only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and offer 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 themes is 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 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 a year since any updates were made, then it’s best to think twice about using it, as the WordPress software changes quite often and new features can create conflicts or errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your site 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 paid themes. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, let’s 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, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,000 premium themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view all ThemeForest themes)
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 personal blogs and green living blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for visual galleries, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites related to directory listings, dining out & restaurants, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for fashion blogs, dining out, 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, chiropractors, 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 writing or discussing environmental issues, parenting sites or blogs … even themes you can use if your site is still under-construction!
Browse lots of quality premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest theme directory here: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to see more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP 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 find WP themes and search through their theme categories using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market theme marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the above images to view all themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a directory 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 WP themes, but you can easily find WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WP themes in the Mojo marketplace here: Mojo
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s look at commercial and independent theme developers.
Commercial And Independent Theme Stores
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality 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 stunning themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that allows members to access their entire WP theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes 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 view all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your 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 the framework regularly up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to make sure 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 StudioPress themes 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 sounds 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.
(click on the above images to view all themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Here are 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 lets you easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a site is using (including parent and child WP themes).
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.
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 the site has been built on the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use the tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating again: 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 well-known tactic used by a number of hackers and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” WP themes 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 Google for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org directory, or use established and trusted sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may 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 theme you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and presents you with a report …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: WordPress.org Plugin Site)
I hope that you have found this information useful.
Has this article helped you gain a better understanding of WordPress? Did I leave something important out? Please comment below and share this post with your friends.
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