Choosing a Free WordPress Themes
So you’ve chosen WordPress as the platform for your website, and you’re excited to get started. Where to find the best free WordPress themes? We’ve got a roundup of the best sites with free self-hosted WordPress themes that are mobile responsive, secure, and beautifully designed!
1. Free StudioPress WordPress Themes on WP Engine
We use WP Engine hosting, and can’t say enough about their fantastic customer service, but they recently sweetened the deal by adding StudioPress themes to all of their hosting plans.
With a WP Engine hosting plan starting at just $35 a month, you’ll get complimentary access to their suite of themes all built on the versatile Genesis framework that allows for seamless switching between themes. This is a pretty great deal, as StudioPress used to charge $100+ for a single theme.
All 37 themes are secure, mobile responsive (extra important now that Google has implemented mobile-first indexing), and SEO optimized. There’s a nice variety of themes as well, covering everything from blogging, news, startups and digital marketing, education, restaurants, and even a theme focused on e-mail list building.
2. Free Themes on WordPress.org
Those who already have a self-hosted WordPress website set up might have noticed a couple simple themes pre-installed by their host, and assumed that was the extent of the free themes available through WordPress.
The good news is, there’s actually quite a few free themes available at WordPress.org, and they’re worth taking a look at if you’re on a tight budget. However, much like WordPress plugins, these themes are not developed by WordPress itself. They’re created by individual developers, and vary in quality, so you do need to be wary and read reviews, look carefully at the features (a mobile responsive theme is a must!), and make sure that the developers are still regularly updating the theme for security.
3. Color Lib Free WordPress Themes
Color Lib offers both free and paid WordPress themes, and it’s worth checking out their modest selection of free themes. They boast some attractively designed themes with mobile-friendly, responsive design and the capability for ecommerce integration.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all of their themes have been recently updated, and a couple just say “coming soon.”
4. Graph Paper Press Free WordPress Themes
If you’re looking for a theme for an art or photography portfolio site, Graph Paper Press has a handful of lovely options. Scattered among their premium themes are some beautifully designed free options that will showcase your work. They’re mobile responsive, customizable, and worth checking out.
5. aThemes Free WordPress Themes
aThemes has an interesting setup, where they offer a number of themes for free, some of which have the option of additional features like eCommerce integration if you pay to upgrade. The free versions are still robust and regularly updated, and we’re loving the variety of stylish themes available.
Self-hosted doesn’t mean you’re doing all the technical work of hosting your website, it just means that you’re paying a web host like WP Engine or GoDaddy to host your website with your personalized domain name (like our choosytraveler.com).
With WordPress.com, they host your blog for you, but your domain name will end in “wordpress.com.” This is ok for casual blogs, but not suitable for anyone looking to build a business and a brand through their blog or website. WordPress.com hosted sites also have less design flexibility than self-hosted sites.
You’ll find free themes available for both, but they are not interchangeable. You cannot use a WordPress.com theme on a self-hosted WordPress site.
Because they’re not the same, and because self-hosted WordPress sites are much more flexible and professional, we’ve only included WordPress themes for self-hosted sites in this list.
There are absolutely free WordPress themes out there that are wonderful, so don’t be deterred! But when choosing a free theme, be sure to look at more than just the attractive design.
Here’s some questions to ask: Was the theme created by a reputable developer? Does it have any reviews from other users? Is the theme mobile friendly? Is the theme updated regularly so that it’s secure and works well with the most current version of WordPress? Is the theme highly customizable, or will it look just like everyone else’s site? And finally, Is the theme truly free, or will you need to purchase expensive add-ons for it to work correctly?