In a previous article, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about WP themes and what makes WordPress themes so special, then go here to read the post: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this blog post we will show you where you can browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your website or blog. 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 dealing with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another post, a theme is a special type of web design template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed to work specifically in WordPress.
Many skilled web designers and website development companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of uniquely-designed themes designed for many purposes.
Where To Find Responsive Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to fire up Google and type key phrases like the following:
- best free themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best free WordPress themes for blogs (type in whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your 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 WordPress themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a separate post. For now, please note that we will only cover themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your website.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you can find thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are listed as Premium (paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces & Theme Design Companies
There are mostly two different types of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first type of place is in theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent theme companies.
WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are large theme stores. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers shop for 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent theme development firms can also design both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme development companies.
As you will see, many commercial theme stores 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 website or blog.
Where To Find WordPress Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WordPress Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPressthemes. The reason why, 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.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also relies on a review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets their quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Repository, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WordPress dashboard with only a few mouse clicks.
Use 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 gray color design, with a 3-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” WordPress themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will work on all devices (e.g. the laptops, tablets and smartphones used by visitors to browse your information) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and bring up only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that 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 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. Most free themes ask users 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 well over a year since any changes were last made, then you should think carefully about using it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and these changes can create conflicts or errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website 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 any money on premium themes or even on custom theme design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for your site and for 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 your specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to finding paid themes.
Premium WordPress 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, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
If you’re looking for value for money and a great supportive community then take a look at Elegant Themes, their super popular theme, Divi is great for both DIYs and web design consultants a like. If DIVI isn’t too your liking they have a variety of other themes to use and depending on the level you purchase at you’ll also get access to all of the plugins that they offer.
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme designers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium WordPress themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to see all ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and activism blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for visual galleries, ebook authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about directory listings, dining out & restaurants, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, churches, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for health products, trades or professionals (plumbers, dentists, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, 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 topics related to activism, green living sites or blogs … even themes you can use if your site is still under-construction!
Browse thousands of quality premium themes in the ThemeForest theme directory here: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through thousands of 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 marketplace, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market theme marketplace here: Creative Market
Commercial WordPress Theme Shops
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to browse all themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates great premium themes and offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in WordPress 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 see more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets you quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, 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 the Genesis framework not only because it ‘s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework regularly up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that themes remain always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update your themes 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 theme framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this sounds way too technical, don’t worry about it. StudioPress themes are 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.
To round things up, here are a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free web tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a website or blog uses (including parent and child WP themes).
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a website is powered by WordPress: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Website Was Built Using WordPress Software
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 is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used and list any plugins detected.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Was My Website Built With WordPress? How To Tell
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up websites and directories 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 for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress repository, or use established and trusted sites.
If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may be infected with malware or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your WordPress theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of injected code and then presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find great WordPress free and premium responsive themes useful.
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