In a previous article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress themes and what makes WordPress themes so special, then make sure to check out the post here: Understanding WordPress Themes – A Non-Technical User’s Guide
In this blog post we will show you where to browse hundrerds of free and paid themes for your WordPress site. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid having to deal with problems like lack of customer support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web design template used on WordPress-powered blogs and designed to work specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many skilled web designers and web design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users enjoy access to thousands of quality WordPress themes designed for many purposes.
Finding Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and type a key phrase like the following:
- best responsive themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for churches (or whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the search results.
So, to help you save time and make your life easier, let’s just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes 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 another article. In this post, we’ll only be focusing on finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over the design aspects of your site.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are both Free and Paid WordPress themes made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces & Theme Developers
There are mostly 2 kinds of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme shops.
WP theme marketplaces and 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 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 agencies typically will create both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
As you will see, many 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 WordPress theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great themes for your website.
Where To Find Great Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes 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 why, 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 directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your site, but it also uses a team of theme reviewers to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Repository, go here:
Find WP Themes Inside Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress 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 couple of mouse clicks.
Use The 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 Colours, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly blue colour design, with a two-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another article where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will display without problems on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ PCs, tablets and smartphones) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and display only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme. 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 downside 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 theme developer to provide dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free themes ask for donations to help cover support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than 1 year since any changes were last made, then it’s best to think twice about downloading it, as the WordPress software changes quite frequently and these changes can create conflicts or errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog is still relatively new, there is nothing wrong with using 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 theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded 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 theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to finding premium 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:
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP 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 above images to see more ThemeForest themes)
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 personal blogs and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for creative work, kindle book authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, classifieds, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, cafes, 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 retail stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, legal firms, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage counselling 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!
Go here to find great premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest website: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to see all Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can browse thousands of 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 directory, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or Business themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market themes marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the above images to see all 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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WP themes in the Mojo directory here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s turn our attention to commercial theme agencies.
Commercial And Independent Theme Design Houses
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium 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 designs eye-catching premium themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that allows you access to their entire WordPress theme portfolio.
StoreFront Themes creates gorgeous WP themes for e-commerce. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to see more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you 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 the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like this 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 remain 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 using 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 design.
If this 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 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 images above to browse more themes from StudioPress)
To round things up, here are a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WP theme and plugin search tool that allows you to easily detect what WP 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 is being used on the website.
Tip: If you don’t know if a site uses WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a web site is WP-driven: How Can I Check If A Site Was Built With 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 a site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used and list any WordPress plugins it detects.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Is Your Web Site Built With WordPress?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used method employed by many hackers and cyber criminals is to put up sites offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and trusted sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog could be infected with potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. The TAC plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Source: WordPress.org Plugin Page)
I hope that you have found free and commercial responsive themes for WordPress useful.
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Disclaimer: This site is not associated with WordPress or any of the WP-related products reviewed on this site. We may derive a financial benefit from sales of products advertised, reviewed or linked to from this site. The product images and information used in this review have been supplied from the plugin’s own website and/or from websites that provide Premium WordPress Services