Beginners frequently ask us how to choose between free and premium WordPress themes. What are the benefits and drawbacks? If you have the same questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will compare free vs premium WordPress themes (pros and cons).
Pros of Free WordPress Themes
First and foremost, when we say free themes, we mean free WordPress themes that are listed in the WordPress.org Themes directory.
We DO NOT RECOMMEND that users download and install any free themes distributed by other untrustworthy sources.
It is completely free.
The most significant advantage of a free WordPress theme is its low cost. It lowers the entry level for starting a blog.
Many people, however, are wary when they hear the word “free.” Why would someone provide you with a free WordPress theme when others sell premium themes? So, what’s the catch?
Many people believe that free themes are of lesser quality. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case.
Process of Strict Review
Free WordPress themes are actually held to a higher standard of quality. All themes in the official WordPress theme directory have been subjected to a rigorous theme review process.
The theme review team consists of some very talented individuals who examine and test these themes before they are included in the directory.
This checklist of the theme review process is available.
Free WordPress themes have been tested for standard compliant code, support for standard WordPress features, quality HTML and CSS, security, privacy, and other factors.
As you might expect, it takes skilled developers to create high-quality WordPress themes that are accepted into the official directory.
But why are they offering it for free?
There are numerous advantages to giving and sharing.
It assists theme developers in honing their skills because the theme review team audits their code and suggests improvements during the review process.
It also allows them to make their theme available to a large user base, where people can use it, provide feedback, and make suggestions for improvements.
Other benefits include developing a reputation as a skilled developer, creating a portfolio, and getting paid jobs for customizing free themes or even developing custom themes for clients.
So, while the free themes are unquestionably good, there are some drawbacks.
Cons of Free WordPress Themes
The disadvantages of free or premium WordPress themes can vary greatly. What one person considers a disadvantage may be of no concern to many others.
The following are some of the most common drawbacks of using a free WordPress theme:
- Limited support options – Although free WordPress theme developers provide support via WordPress forums, they are not required to respond to support inquiries.
- Limited Features and Functionality – While free themes support the majority of standard WordPress features, many of them do not include extra features such as creating buttons, using shortcodes, creating landing pages, and so on.
- Not so unique – Because free themes are used by a large number of websites and blogs, your website will not have a distinctive design. In addition, there are usually few options for customizing the visual appearance of free themes.
- No Obligation – Free themes come with no warranties, so if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
Pros of Premium WordPress Themes
Premium WordPress themes, as opposed to free themes, can be purchased from a variety of third-party WordPress theme shops and marketplaces.
More features and customization options
The main benefit of using a premium theme is that you get more features and customization options.
Due to the high level of competition in the premium theme industry, theme shops are constantly striving to provide more features at lower prices.
As a customer, you will receive themes with features such as multiple layouts and templates, and unlimited color options.
Updates and Support
Regular updates and support are included with premium WordPress themes.
Primarily because these theme parks make money rather than providing services for free.
Because premium themes are more expensive, they are used less frequently than free themes.
Not to mention the customization options, which allow you to personalize your theme.
By combining the two, your website will stand out and appear one-of-a-kind.
Cons of Premium WordPress Themes
Not every premium theme is flawless.
Here are a few examples of common disadvantages.
- Poor Code – You may end up purchasing a premium theme that looks nice but has poor coding standards, making it incompatible with some plugins. This is primarily due to the fact that these themes do not have to go through a rigorous review process.
- Too many features – In order to sell more themes, theme developers may include an excessive number of unnecessary features in their themes. You’re unlikely to use all of those features, but they’re still there, slowing down your website.
- Crossing over into the domain of plugins – WordPress themes can sometimes cross over into the domain of plugins, offering functionality that they are not supposed to offer. For example, creating custom post types, shortcodes, and other items that will vanish when you switch themes.
How do you find premium themes that are truly as good as they claim to be?
The simplest way to find a good, dependable premium theme is to purchase it from a reputable theme shop or developer.
StudioPress and Themify are two well-known premium WordPress theme stores that we recommend.
We also recommend Beaver Builder.
Know what you’re getting yourself into.
Keep in mind that when you buy a premium WordPress theme, you are not hiring the theme shop or developer to install it for you. You also do not have an exclusive license, and the theme developer provides no warranty.
Most good theme shops will provide you with access to their documentation and support forums, where you can get additional assistance if necessary. This preferential treatment is what you are paying for.
Any good theme shop should have an excellent support system, documentation, and assistance available to help you set up your theme.
I’m perplexed… How Do I Make a Decision?
When deciding on a WordPress theme for your website, you should ask yourself a few questions.
- Do you really need a lot of features, custom theme admin options, sliders, and other frills on your website?
- Can you troubleshoot WordPress issues on your own, or do you require assistance?
- Do you want a unique, professional-looking theme, or are you content with a basic layout?
On the other hand, if you are a small business, we recommend that you use a paid theme. It provides you with additional customization features and options while also providing you with the peace of mind that support is available should you require it.
How to Begin Using WordPress
If you’re new to WordPress and aren’t sure where to begin, check out our step-by-step guide on how to start a WordPress blog. It will walk you through the steps of creating your first WordPress website like a pro.
We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between free and premium WordPress themes. You might also be interested in our list of the top 24 WordPress plugins for your website.
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