In a separate article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about WordPress themes and what makes themes so special, then go here to read the article: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this blog post, we explain where you can look for free and paid themes for your 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 support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previously-mentioned post, a theme is a unique type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and designed specifically in the WordPress platform.
Many professional website designers and web development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of exciting themes designed for a wide range of website uses.
Where To Find Responsive Responsive Themes For WordPress: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?
If you were to launch Google and type the following:
- best free WP themes
- best responsive themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes for authors (type in whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
You are probably 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, we’ll 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 both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in another article. For now, we’ll only cover 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 WP Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you can 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 are sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories & Theme Stores
There are mostly two places where themes can be found. The first type of place is in theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme stores.
WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are large theme aggregators. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger directories 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 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 designer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Most commercial or independent theme design firms 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 blog.
Finding A Theme Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to download free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free 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 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 website or blog, but it also relies on a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WordPress theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WP dashboard with a few clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Feature Filter
WordPress has a built-in 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 pink color design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another post where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will work across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ computers, tablets and smartphones) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and bring up only themes that have been built using “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress 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 customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The “cons” of using free themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the developer to provide immediate 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.
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 last made, then you should think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and this can result in conflicts and 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 premium themes or even on custom theme design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding paid themes.
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 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 theme directories online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 15,000 premium themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to browse more ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for visual galleries, cv and resume writing, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, classifieds, social directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for gossip blogs, cafes, 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for travel, trades or professionals (electricians, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, affiliate marketing, SEO, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage counselor 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!
Go here to discover quality premium WP themes in the ThemeForest theme directory: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to view more Creative Market themes)
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, mouse made design content from independent creatives around the world.”
Creative Market doesn’t just sell WP themes in its marketplace, but you can easily find WordPress themes and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Blog or Popular themes, etc.) using their drop-down “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the images above to view all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory for premium-quality 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 WP themes, but you can easily browse hundreds of themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by choosing the drop-down “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s look at commercial WordPress theme agencies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high-quality WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to browse more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes designs stunning premium themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that allows members access to all themes in their growing WP theme collection.
(click on the images above to see more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating 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 develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets you 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 this framework consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure 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 with 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 look and feel.
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 StudioPress themes is that you pay just one low price 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 more themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free web tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme and plugins a site uses.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme is being used on the website.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site uses WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a site is WP-driven: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Blog 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 whether or not the site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any WP plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn more about this tool go here: Is It A WordPress Site?
We said this before 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 WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used method employed by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute modified themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for key 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 well-known and trusted theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog 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 TAC plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of injected code and outputs a report with the results …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin Site, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found free and premium themes for WordPress useful.
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Disclaimer: We are not associated with WordPress or any of the WordPress-related products written about on this site. We may derive a financial benefit from sales of products advertised, reviewed or linked to from this site. All details used in this review have been sourced from the plugin’s own website and sites that provide Premium WordPress Services