Great design and SEO optimization
Free WordPress themes
WordPress is the world’s most popular platform for building your own customizable website. First released in 2003, today it supports more than 60 million websites and is totally free to use.
WordPress provides a ton of free advice and instructions on setting up your website, and if you lack design skills, that’s not a problem either. Countless designers have created free WordPress themes (which are essentially templates) that you can use to give your site a smart, professional and attractive look.
A good theme should also help your website rank well in search engines, and many are even free to download. These are our pick of the best sources of free WordPress themes.
You can only use these themes if you’re using the software from WordPress.org – WordPress.com has its own directory containing hundreds of themes, but doesn’t support extras from third-party sites. If you need help to choose yours plugins it’s here.
1. WordPress.org Theme Directory
Hundreds of free themes with the official WordPress seal of approval
As you might expect, the most popular place to find free WordPress themes is the official WordPress.org Theme Directory, which you can access straight from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress.org has a volunteer theme review team who review and approve all submissions, and only those that meet quality and security requirements make it through.
With a current total of 4,486 themes to choose from, there are a number of ways to drill down to the specific theme you’re looking for. The Featured, Popular and Latest tabs at the top of the page are self-explanatory, while the Feature Filter button allows you to specify what kind of layout, subject and/or functionality you’re looking for in a theme. Or you can just enter appropriate keywords into the search box on the top right.
Over 2,000 themes, reviewed and ranked by WordPress users like you
What sets ThemeGrade apart from other sources of free WordPress themes is summed up in its tagline: “We grade WordPress Themes so you don’t have to”.
Launched in 2009, this site offers comprehensive review of WordPress themes, both for their visual design and their SEO value.
There are currently 1,628 free themes and 925 paid themes on the site, which have all been ranked Gold, Silver or Bronze by the team of reviewers. There are also detailed editor reviews of more than 40 WordPress theme providers.
To find what you’re looking for quickly, you can either use the search bar or the Friendly Theme Search, which helps you drill down by layout, subject category and ranking.
The easy way to find lightweight, well designed themes for your site
JustFreeThemes currently has 623 free WordPress themes to choose from, which are rated out of 10 for design, speed, support, code quality and customisation. The site’s owners say they limit the ones they include to “well-coded and lightweight themes that can have a good visibility on the web”.
Click the Best Themes menu option to see the 10 most popular free WordPress themes of the year. You can also search for themes in the (slightly difficult to see) search box in the top right, and sign up for a free email service that notifies you once a week of last week’s best free themes.
Well designed free WordPress themes, guaranteed junk-free
Many sites are good at curating good-looking free WordPress themes, but FabThemes makes a point of only including themes that are also technically well made, and won’t end up causing nasty surprises down the line.
Promising no junk code, FabThemes promises that “Unlike other free themes spawning out there, we do not encrypt our theme footer files. We keep it clean and transparent so that you can use our themes with the confidence that your site will be safe.”
You can see themes arranged by popularity or date added. There are specially curated collections of wedding and photography-related themes, and you can search by subject and/or colour. Ratings are attached to each theme based on user reviews, and users can leave comments on the page too.
Artisan WordPress themes that are free for personal or commercial use
ColorLib is a team of experienced WordPress developers based in Latvia who have created a small number of free WordPress themes (eight at time of writing) that are free to download, even for commercial use.
Each of these free WordPress themes is highly customisable and has a premium look and feel. Although there’s no charge for using them, the team would really appreciate if you would leave a link back to their website in return. Which seems like a fair deal to us.