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A Guide to Discovering the Best WordPress Themes

Written by Amanda Nadhir on
Man with beard wearing white shirt sitting on floor in front of couch using laptop

Finding a WordPress theme isn’t difficult. Finding the best WordPress themes is a bit more challenging.

There are seemingly endless options for WordPress themes, but not all of them are worthy of consideration. To expedite your search, we put together this guide on how to find the best WordPress themes, including what to look for, where to find them, and our top WordPress theme picks.

What to Look for in a WordPress Theme

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to picking a WordPress theme, aesthetics are just one consideration.

Yes, the design is important. You need to pick a WordPress theme that matches your brand. You want a modern design that represents your business well. Look for a design that gives your site professional and modern appeal. There are reputable theme development companies that create attractive WordPress themes that also have the correct technical requirements.

Other factors to consider when choosing the best WordPress theme:

  • Customizations. Look for a theme that offers easy customizations, such as changing colors or typography.
  • Simplicity. Simple and lightweight themes provide superior performance. Simpler themes load less JavaScript and CSS, decreasing the render-blocking resources for page loads.
  • Compatibility. Make sure the theme is compatible with any plugins you use. If you use a page builder, pick a theme that supports that page builder. You’ll need a block-compatible theme if you want to use some of the new full-site editing features. See our guides on full site editing and what to expect in 6.0 for more about blocks.
  • Support and Documentation. Check to see what documentation or support resources the theme developer provides. If you run into problems using the theme, you need to know what help is available.
  • Mobile Optimization. You need a responsive theme that adapts to the device size from mobile to tablet or desktop. Most web traffic is mobile now. The best WordPress websites have a theme that lays out nicely on mobile devices and loads fast.

Finding the Best WordPress Theme

Knowing what to look for is only half of what you need to know about finding the best WordPress themes. In addition to identifying your website’s needs and the basic elements of a great theme, you should take these steps to ensure you’re picking the right theme.

Read the Reviews

See what other people are saying about the theme. Do the reviews mention any issues? How do current users rank the support provided by the developers? Are there any problems with custom widgets?

Test It Out

Check out a demo site with the theme to see how it works. You also could consider setting up a staging site (a free Pressable feature) on your server to test the theme yourself. Learn more about how to take advantage of this perk in our post on how to create a staging site for WordPress.

Check the Updates

You need a theme that’s up-to-date and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Before installing a theme, check to see how regularly the developer releases updates. And if you are choosing a free WordPress theme, ensure someone is making these updates.

Consider the Costs

Fortunately for the budget-conscious website builder, several great free WordPress themes exist. But if you’re using a premium theme, you’ll want to budget for the costs. Also, check to see if the license is a one-time fee or if you’ll need to keep paying to receive theme updates. Some WordPress themes come with a lifetime license, there are options for every budget.

Ensure Quality

In addition to reading the reviews, you’ll want to do some baseline quality checks on your theme. Use the Theme Check plugin to see if the theme complies with the latest WordPress standards. Don’t just choose a popular WordPress theme because others have. Make sure it is the quality you want.

Where to Find WordPress Themes

A quick internet search for WordPress themes returns an overwhelming number of results. Start with a reputable source. Our favorite places to find the best WordPress themes include the WordPress repository and Themisle.

WordPress Repository

The official WordPress theme directory is a great source of free themes. Many of the themes also offer a freemium version where you can try out the theme and then pay to upgrade and unlock additional features.

SuperbThemes

With more than four million users, SuperbThemes is widely adored and for good reason. Lightweight with plenty of powerful features, a single price gets you access to every one of their themes. Browse SuperbThemes

ThemeIsle

ThemeIsle includes some great paid themes and a collection of free WordPress themes. You can see examples of several different types of sites and industries. Browse ThemeIsle

WordPress Themes We Love

Still not sure what theme is best for your site? Try one of our favorites. These themes offer a ton of flexibility and work for various businesses and sites.

  • Divi. As one of the most popular WordPress themes in the world, you can use this page-builder style theme to customize your site. Download Divi
  • Kadence. Kadence is a fast, lightweight theme that offers a ton of flexibility. The starter themes make it easy to create one of the best WordPress sites. Download Kadence
  • OceanWP. This theme includes a ton of options for customization, even in its free version. Download OceanWP
  • Hestia. We love all the ThemeIsle themes, but this one is our favorite. You can use it with your choice of page builder. Download Hestia
  • Hello Elementor. Elementor users should download this theme. With this theme as the starting point, you can use Elementor to essentially build your own site theme. Download Hello Elementor

Many of these themes support ecommerce, but for more ecommerce specific theme recommendations, see our picks for the best WooCommerce themes.

Pressable Makes the Best WordPress Themes Even Better

Regardless of what theme you choose, you want your WordPress site to be fast. Pressable’s managed WordPress hosting ensures your site always runs at top speed.

We also offer free staging sites so you can test out themes before activating them on your site. Pick a WordPress hosting plan and start building your site today.

Amanda Nadhir

Amanda serves as the Head of Sales and Enablement for Pressable. She's worked in the tech space for well over a decade and has spent the majority of that time building/training/leading teams. She loves travel and adventure and when she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, lounging pool/beach-side, playing tennis, working out, and meeting people/making friends all along the way!