There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but fortunately for WordPress users, there are several good options for free WordPress themes.
In this ultimate guide to free WordPress themes, we cover:
- Why free WordPress themes are great
- What to look for in a theme
- When to (and when not to) use a free theme
- FAQ about Free WordPress Themes
Best Qualities of Free WordPress Themes
WordPress is the most popular website content management system in the world. In the 19 years since WordPress launched, the WordPress community has grown considerably. This growth has led to the development of high-quality plugins and themes for WordPress.
Reasons we love free WordPress themes include:
- High WordPress Approval Standards. When you select a free theme from the official WordPress repository, you can trust it meets WordPress’s approval criteria. WordPress vets the themes to ensure they’re safe and technically sound.
- Diverse Options. No matter what type of site you’re trying to build, you can find a theme to suit your needs. From blogs to business sites and eCommerce stores, WordPress offers free themes for any business or personal website.
- User-Friendly. WordPress itself is already user-friendly. Free theme developers focus on delivering quality and easy-to-use themes. Free themes often have a more intuitive learning curve than premium paid themes.
- Robust Network for Problem Solving. If you get stuck trying to customize your free theme, don’t worry. The WordPress community is one of the best at helping one another. Check the support forums for your theme. Either someone has already asked your question, or someone can probably help you figure it out.
What to Look for in a Free WordPress Theme
Because there are so many choices for free WordPress themes, people can get overwhelmed trying to select the right one. When selecting a WordPress theme, look for compatibility, security, and support.
Look for themes that work well with the plugins you use on your website. You also want a theme that allows you to customize the site as you need. Many free themes are actually freemium themes where you can use the basic features for free but have to pay to unlock all the options. When testing out themes, don’t get duped into thinking all the cool customizations are available in the free version. You need a theme that’s compatible with your site’s plugins and layout.
Make sure the theme is safe and secure. One of the best ways to ensure you’re installing a safe theme is to only use themes from the official WordPress.org theme directory. All the themes listed here have undergone vetting by WordPress. You also can install the Theme Check plugin to test any potential themes.
What support options are available from the theme developer? Does the theme offer thorough documentation to show you how to implement and customize the theme? You want to ensure you have the support you need to get the most from the theme.
When Should You Use a Free WordPress Theme?
Free themes work great when you’re getting started. You can build a site quickly and easily without paying for a theme. Free themes work best for blogs and tend to be more difficult to tweak for more complex sites.
You might want to avoid a free theme if you need more design or functionality from your site. Also, if you’re trying to have a unique-looking website, some of the most popular WordPress themes are instantly recognizable. A premium theme will be easier to customize to your branding.
FAQ About Free WordPress Themes
Free themes are awesome and now that you know when to use them, let’s address some other common questions about free themes.
Where Can I Find a Quality Free Theme?
Search the official WordPress theme directory to find quality themes approved by WordPress.
Are Free Themes Customizable?
Yes, many free themes offer customization. But, theme developers often limit the customization options in the free version and require upgrading to unlock full customization.
Does it Matter How Old the Theme Is?
The age of the theme doesn’t matter as much as when it was last updated. Developers should update themes regularly to keep up with security enhancements and bug fixes in the WordPress core software. If no one has updated a theme in the last six months, you should probably look for a different one.
How Do I Get Support for a Free Theme?
Check with the developer to see what support is available. Many developers may have a community support forum for free themes and only offer email support to paying customers.
Can I Update a Free Theme?
Yes, you can and should. Keeping your theme up to date is one of the most important WordPress security best practices.
Why Do Developers Offer Free Themes?
Developers offer free themes as a way for people to try their themes before upgrading to a paid version. Some developers also offer free themes for the benefit of the WordPress community.
What Other Theme Options are Available?
The options for WordPress themes are nearly unlimited.
Popular marketplaces for premium WordPress themes include:
You could also consider using one of our favorite WordPress theme builders to design your own site.
Should I Use a Premium Theme I Found Free Online?
While there are many premium products built for WordPress that are made freely available to anyone who finds them, they are often risky to use. It’s not unusual to find that these themes look fine on the surface, only to realize someone has added unsafe code to them. We recommend purchasing premium themes from the source or using a free theme made to be free.
The Best Hosts for WordPress
You’ll need a fast and secure hosting service to ensure your site runs smoothly no matter what theme you choose. Pressable specializes in managed WordPress hosting. Our managed hosting service includes automatic updates, so your WordPress core and theme files stay updated and secure without you having to remember to check for updates after every release. Select a WordPress hosting plan and start building your site today.
Jessica serves as the Director of Operations for Pressable and is dedicated to creating the best managed WordPress hosting experience possible. She's been using WordPress since 2008 and has been serving in WordPress-focused roles since 2010. When she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, serving in her community, watching hilarious dog videos online, or brewing a pitcher of iced tea.