Free vs Paid WordPress Themes : Which Are Better For Your Blog

Free vs paid WordPress themes

Most of the WordPress users get confused with free vs paid WordPress themes. Are you also thinking about installing a WordPress theme to your new or existing blog?

Well, this is a kind of complicated situation to many. There are thousands of WordPress themes available in the market.

Which is perfect for you and why do people invest if they can get many themes for free in the WordPress theme repository?

In this article, you will know the merits and demerits of both the free and premium WordPress themes.

Advantages of the Free WordPress Themes

Free themes mean the WordPress themes available in its official theme directory. You can visit WordPress themes either directly or you can search the name of the theme from your WordPress admin panel.

Go to Appearance>>Themes>>Add New and you will see many beautiful looking WordPress themes.

If you already have known the name of a theme then you can directly search it from this section and install it.

I hope you know how to install a WordPress theme.

Let me mention some pros of these themes.

#1. Free, Free, and Free

The best thing is that you don’t need to spend a single penny on the design of your new website. You can directly install any theme.

Many WordPress beginners don’t want to spend money and this is the perfect deal for them. They can search for a better theme according to their niche and use it.

#2. Officially Approved

Before submitting any theme in the WordPress directory, it goes under strict review. First of all, the automated WordPress plugin will check all the coding standards and the default WordPress classes.

It will show an error if something appears which is not compatible with the WordPress coding standard.

why premium themes

Once it passes this first phase, the theme will be reviewed manually by the WordPress theme developers. If they find it good enough to distribute only then they will approve it.

There are thousands of theme developers who are good at this but not everyone submits his/her themes to WordPress directory.

#3. Easy To Configure

Free WordPress themes aren’t hard to configure. Even newbies can easily start a WordPress blog with a free theme within a few minutes.

Not everyone is techie enough to handle the complicated theme configuration. But if you have the basic knowledge of WordPress then you can do the proper settings easily.

But Why are People not Using These Themes: Disadvantages of Free Themes

Apart from being free and gone under strict review, these WordPress themes aren’t recommended to use. What are the reasons?

Why do people spend so much money on having a premium design for their WordPress websites?

#1. Limited Features

Free WordPress themes don’t have many features as people expect. You will get just a simple theme with a few widgets.

No extra functionality like shortcodes, landing pages are included. In this era of marketing, people are focusing on the CPA which is not possible with a free theme.

#2. Obsolete Design

Most of the free WordPress themes have the same and outdated design. You don’t get something unique which can attract your readers.

It’s believed that a greater percentage of people see the design of a website as the major source to judge its authority. Free themes can’t build that.

#3. No Official Support

After installing a free theme, you wouldn’t get any official support from WordPress. Each theme has a different developer and it’s not possible to contact any of them.

If something goes wrong with the design, either you have to do it your own or hire a professional to solve it.

#4. Poor Page Loading Time

free vs premium wordpress themes

No doubt that the page loading time of a website plays a vital role. It’s always recommended to have a fast loading website.

But a few theme can’t do that. Even though free themes go through a review process but their size is considered as one of the cons.

It would be hard to boost your WordPress website speed using a free theme.

#5. No Warranty

If you think that you get the themes from the official WordPress repository so it would be reliable with some kind of warranty.

Well, you’re wrong. When a theme gets submitted to the WordPress directory, only the user is responsible for any further issue.

Advantages of Paid WordPress Themes

You may have gone through many websites which sell WordPress themes. Have you ever thought why do people buy those themes when they can get many free themes?

I am going to mention some benefits of having a premium WordPress theme.

#1. Unique Design

Unlike free themes, you can find many unique designs in the collection of paid WordPress themes. Depending on the niche of your blog, you can choose your theme.

Most of the WordPress theme providers update their design with the time. One design can’t stand forever.

You can find a perfect theme for your blog based on technical niche, photography, e-commerce online store, news and more.

#2. Official Support

This is a big plus point. You can get the official support for your premium theme. Though it’s for a limited period but still, you can have it.

The biggest problem occurs when you start using WordPress. Once you get along, you wouldn’t really need any support. But most of the theme providers are available for one year support.

#3. More Customization Options

This is what all makes the difference. People want more options to change the design according to them. Premium themes have the options built-in.

Unlike the simple WordPress customization, most of the paid themes have their separate theme customizer. This is one of the biggest points for free vs paid WordPress themes.

#4. Regular Updates

free vs paid wordpress themes

If you’re spending some money then you should expect to keep everything updated. As it’s always recommended to keep your WordPress core, plugins and themes updated.

Premium WordPress themes get updated on the regular interval of the time. If you use a child theme, you wouldn’t even lose the design change.

#5. Shortcodes Enabled

There are many shortcodes which can be used to activate some extra features for your website. Premium WordPress themes support those shortcodes.

And the biggest thing is that beginners can have the drag and builders to build their websites according to their own choice.

A Few Disadvantages of These Themes

Nothing is perfect. Even these premium WordPress themes have some cons.

#1. Coding Maybe Poor

There is no official review process so it is possible that the theme you buy can be poorly coded which may affect the speed of your website.

Even the coding standard can conflict with any WordPress plugin. Every web developer has his/her own coding style which may not be as good as you think.

#2. Can be Confusing

Yes, the more features you have, the more you can get confused. There may be many customization options which are seldom used.

For beginners, these features can be brainstorming.

#3. Problem While Changing The Theme

There are many custom posts types which can get disappeared when you change such themes. Maybe the next theme you choose doesn’t have such feature.

That’s why it’s always recommended to know the things to do before changing your WordPress theme.

Where Can You Buy Premium WordPress Themes

Unlike free WordPress themes, there is no one directory where you can find premium themes.

There are many WordPress theme sellers on their individual websites. You have to do a little bit of research. Let me mention some reputed websites.

You can find the theme of your choice on these websites.

There is no fixed price, you will find the different price tag for every premium them on the different websites. You have to compare the features and the design your own.

I Hope You Can Have Some Idea About Free Vs Paid WordPress Themes

People have different choices and it’s up to you whether you want to go with the better design or just keep going with the existing theme.

A paid theme means more features, an elegant design, support for a year and more. There are many people who don’t need more features but want a unique design.

Some WordPress users like to have a basic theme with a simple design, no extra markup. The concept of free vs paid WordPress themes is simple if you’re clear about what you want.

I have always considered a custom WordPress theme the best. Whether you can have someone to design it for you or you can try your own. If you still have any doubt, feel free to drop a comment.

You can also connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

by Ravi Chahar

A WordPress Professional and the LinkedIn Influencer. A coder by passion and a blogger by choice. WordPress theme development is his forte. He is your WordPress guy who will teach you how to solve WordPress errors, WordPress security issues, design issues and what not.

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  1. Hey Ravi,

    Very admirable analysis on free and paid WordPress theme. There are hundred of free themes in WordPress, some of which looks very attractive and delightful. To design WordPress website free and paid both the themes are awesome, the only differences comes due to investing money on paid WordPress theme otherwise I think nothing, both are equal in it’s place. Free themes are easy to customize and best for newbies.

    Paid themes are perfect you need to invest much money on it, if you are going purchase in your medium budget price then it may be equal to some free WordPress themes works like pro. Very good to know the online theme store, elegant Themes, Mythemeshop and studio press.
    Thanks for comparative information on free vs paid WordPress theme. Learned many things comes in paid theme.
    – Ravi.

    1. Hey Ravi,

      People have their own choices and it’s up to them whether they want to see the cons or pros of the free themes. I would never recommend anyone to use a free WordPress theme.

      It’s not only about the customization options, it’s about the page loading time and the design.
      Though I develop my own themes but still, it’s always good to experience.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hey Ravi,

    I’ve used both free and paid themes. I found that the free ones aren’t updated as much as the paid ones which in my case my blog became prey to malware.

    Also I found the both free and paid conflict with some plugins. I usually will have to disable, wait for an update for the plugin, or just uninstall the plugin entirely to fix the problem.

    Thanks for sharing this. This was a great explanation on the difference between free and paid themes.

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