For a few years, we’ve been commenting the best places to buy WordPress themes. In the past, we tried to make a complete list of all the selling websites. That’s no longer possible. WordPress themes are now sold by tens of thousands of sellers on thousands of websites. An article like Where can I buy the best WordPress themes in 2013 (Dutch) can no longer be rewritten; we needed a new angle.
That is why we’ve selected a couple of websites that stand out to us. Websites we personally go to when we need a theme. This means we’ve kept a few well-known theme-providers out of the picture, because we didn’t think their WordPress themes to be attractive enough. On the other hand, we’ve included a few small providers with very appealing WordPress themes.
Some links in this blog contain affiliate code.
Ten websites, thousands of WordPress themes
Read about the pros and cons and tips for using Themeforest
In the past few years, Themeforest has become one of the most popular marketplaces for WordPress themes. Themeforest is part of Envato. This Australian company launched several marketplaces for online products in 2006. Themeforest was one of them. At Themeforest, you could buy templates/themes for various CMSs, WordPress among others, but especially the sale of WordPress themes increased strongly. Now this is by far the largest source of income for all of Envato.
- Largest offer; more than 5.600 WordPress themes, so the widest range of quality themes.
- Price; themes never cost more than $60 which makes them relatively cheap.
- Flexible; many WordPress themes are sold as construction kit/framework (so-called multi-purpose themes). Themeforest themes are leading with this concept.
- Strict quality criteria for authors (theme sellers).
- Tools; Envato offers many development tools to authors. This increases the quality.
- Not user-friendly; ThemeForest WordPress themes are often very elaborate. Theme builders keep adding more functionalities to compete with other providers. These functionalities can be convenient, but they also make many WordPress themes very complicated to use. It becomes harder to learn how to use these themes and the strength of WordPress as a user-friendly CMS is under threat. It makes the themes more suitable for experienced users and less for beginners.
- Updates & support; with ThemeForest you pay a one-time fee per theme per website. After this, you get unlimited support and updates for this theme. On the short run, this looks like an attractive deal to users. On the long run, it doesn’t. What this means, is that new customers pay for the updates & support of old customers. When the demand for a certain theme decreases, providers will soon lower their budget to keep providing good maintenance & support. So, sellers have very little interest in providing long-term support for WordPress themes.
- Little consistency; every WordPress theme has a different working method, for example for configuring theme settings. This makes using WordPress themes more complicated than necessary. By the way, WordPress is working on improving this, but in our opinion Envato should show a little more initiative here.
There are thousands of sellers on ThemeForest alone. So how do you make sure you can still see the forest for the trees?
- Look at the popular WordPress themes. The sales numbers are an indication of the quality other buyers attribute to these themes. Also, the seller will have a higher budget to keep updating the theme.
- Look at WordPress themes of popular suppliers. On the seller’s pages you’ll find a Portfolio tab. This leads you to the themes of this particular supplier.
- Judge themes on: release date, last update and the number of sales. Find out what others say about the theme (under comments) and what kind of support is included.
- Don’t be misled by the number of functionalities. If it has many functionalities, this doesn’t always mean the theme is better.
Read about our experience with Elegant Themes
Nick Roach from Elegant Themes started making free WordPress themes in 2008. Due to popularity, he also started selling the WordPress themes. Now this company from San Fransisco employs over 20 people. Elegant Themes has always distinguished itself by offering the most themes at the lowest price. For $69 you can use all of their (87+) themes for a year. This way you have access to themes that allow you to make a wide range of websites.
Elegant Themes’ Flagship is their theme DIVI. DIVI is somewhat comparable to Enfold, the theme/framework that we use to develop many websites. This allows you to build your website block by block. You don’t have to be able to program to construct a very flexible website. Currently not many new themes are being published, but DIVI is continually being developed.
An interesting feature of Elegant Themes is that you can try it out. You need to buy it first, but they have a money-back guarantee. You can ask for a refund within 30 days.
Read about our experience with TemplateMonster
TemplateMonster offers several online products, among which are website templates and WordPress themes. The TemplateMonster themes are very popular, because they look good and are customized for specific audiences. The TemplateMonster themes are not market leaders when it comes to technical innovations. For example, it took TemplateMonster rather long to switch to responsive design. Now, all new themes are built on the CherryFramework. Just like Enfold and DIVI, TemplateMonster offers the possibility to work with a page builder. However, the MotoPress Drag and Drop Editor has to be purchased separately ($29).
We advise you to buy a theme from TemplateMonster when you really like the design and you don’t have the desire or the ability to do much fine-tuning. TemplateMonster offers all kinds of additional payed services, such as installing themes and adaptions to plugins and design. This makes the TemplateMonster especially suitable for beginners.
Read more about Creative Market
This new marketplace distinguishes itself from, among others, it’s older brother ThemeForest, because it allows providers to also sell their WordPress themes without restrictions on their own website. Furthermore, the WordPress themes on Creative Market are sold based on a GPL license. This means that after buying the theme, you can use it any way you want. With ThemeForest you’re only allowed to use the theme on one installation. That is why several smaller theme providers that have their own marketplace also sell their themes on this website.
Read more about the WordPress Theme Directory
Until recently, most themes from the WordPress Theme Directory were viewed as unattractive and outdated. This has changed enormously, however. More and more, we run into nice themes that can be downloaded for free from the Theme Directory. This is because of the business model that is used by many of the suppliers. The basic version of the WordPress theme is free, but if you want extra functionalities, you can buy a professional version. Especially when you need to control your budget, we recommend you first look through this Theme Directory for a suitable theme.
Read more about ThemeTrust
ThemeTrust was founded in 2010 by the internet entrepreneur Henry Jones. The company (about 4 people) offers a nice range of 20+ themes. Their setup is minimalistic and their functionality is simple, which makes them highly suitable for beginners. The ThemeTrust themes can be used for more than one purpose, but we think the look and functionality of these WordPress themes are mostly suitable for business purposes
Read more about Press75
Press75 may be one of the first premium theme suppliers. The company was founded by Jason Schuller in 2008. Jason wanted to offer minimalistic no-nonsense themes: the theme has to determine the website’s layout; the functionalities should be configured through plugins. Despite the great start his company made, he could not compete with other suppliers that overloaded their themes with functionalities. In 2014 Jason sold his website to Westwerk Design, a web agency in Minneapolis. What appeals to us most in these themes is their neat design and simplicity.
Read more about Organic Themes
Organic Themes is a company from San Diego that sells WordPress themes since the beginning of 2010. Now, Organic Themes employs four people. The company has always worked closely with WordPress.com. They have contributed greatly to the availability of quality themes on WordPress.com. Which has benefited them enormously. They claim to now have over 50.000 customers, one of which is us. What we really like about these WordPress themes is the way they combine design and simplicity.
Read more about Organized Themes
The man behind Organized Themes is Bill Robbins, originally a preacher. With this background in mind, you can understand the way these themes are set up especially for small foundations and churches. The themes are visually attractive and are limited when it comes to adjustment options. This makes them suitable for beginning users and small foundations/churches. The themes include a GPL license.
Read more about ThemeFuse
ThemeFuse was founded in 2010 by four men in Bucharest, Romania. Besides purchasing WordPress themes from ThemeFuse, they also offer customization for each theme. The company also tries to stand out by offering excellent support. We really like the original design of their themes. They’re not completely different from standard themes, but they are different from those of other suppliers. What separates their themes from the others is that they focus on a specific audience/functionality.