In a previous post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WP themes and what makes WP themes unique, then make sure to check out the article here: Understanding WP Themes – A Newbies’ Guide
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 make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of product support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in our previous article, a theme is a unique kind of web template that is used on WordPress-driven sites and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many skilled website designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WP community can access thousands of high quality WordPress themes designed for a wide range of purposes and needs.
Finding WP Themes: So Many Choices … Where To Begin?
Let’s say you were to go to Google and type a key phrase like the following:
- best free themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes
- best responsive WordPress themes for authors
(type in whatever your business, search topic or blog is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in your search listings.
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 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 cover these differences in another article. For now, let’s just 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 your site’s web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you can find thousands of Free and Paid themes made available. Free themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories Commercial And Independent WP Theme Vendors
There are 2 kinds of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme vendors.
WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are large theme aggregators. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers find these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
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 vendors typically develop both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme stores 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 search for the best WP themes for your website.
Choosing A Great Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, is because –as many free software users have learned– 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.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also relies on a team of theme reviewers to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory complies with certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, 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.org theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WordPress dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Filters
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 pink color design, with a 4-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article mentioned earlier where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. your computer, tablet and smartphone) …
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 bring back only WordPress themes that have been built using “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. Additionally, 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” 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 urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation to help cover support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been over 1 year since any updates were last made, then you should think twice about downloading it, as WordPress changes quite frequently and new features 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 any money on a paid theme. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free could be exactly what works for your site and for converting your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid themes.
Premium WP Responsive 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, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme designers 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 images above to view more themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for video galleries, crafts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, buy & sell, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, restaurants, 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. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for shops, trades or professionals (repairers, medical centers, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant 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 discover great themes in the ThemeForest website: ThemeForest
(click on the images above to browse more themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can browse many quality premium WordPress 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 search through their theme categories from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the above images to see all Mojo themes)
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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by choosing the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo directory here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s look at commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial And Independent WP Theme Design Houses
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality 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 great premium themes and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their theme collection.
(click on the images above to view all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating e-commerce themes for WordPress. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to browse more themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key site 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 frequently updated to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that themes are 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 StudioPress themes use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the theme 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 easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing StudioPress themes is that one low price entitles 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 view more themes from StudioPress)
Here are a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WordPress theme and plugin-checking tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme 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 WordPress theme is being used on the website.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site was built using WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a website is powered by WordPress: Is My Site 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 whether or not a site was built using the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins detected.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn how to use this tool go here: Is It A WP Site?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A commonly-used tactic employed by a number of hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and distribute modified themes and plugins containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org directory, or use established and reputable theme merchants.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme 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 WP theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WP responsive themes useful.
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