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Theme Shops or Themeforest: Where Should You Buy Your WordPress Themes from?

October 15, 2015

So you’re searching for a new WordPress theme. Chances are you’ve been frustrated by the sheer number of sites in the marketplace and the bewildering array of themes to choose from. Where to begin?

Rest easy because we’ve taken the hard work out of narrowing down your choices to help you make an educated decision on where to purchase your WordPress theme. There are many factors at play here and we’ll guide you through them all.

Worried about which marketplace or theme shop has the best customer support? Where the best prices are? Which sites specialize in industry-specific themes? We’ll cover all of this and more with our trip through the most popular marketplaces and theme shops for WordPress. Let’s get going!

Theme Marketplaces and Themeforest

Theme marketplaces such as Themeforest from Envato provide a place for theme developers to sell their wares online. With over 20,000 themes available on Theme Forest, you’ll find product offerings for every project, website format and style.

On the bright side, Envato quality checks each theme. They tell you whether future updates are included in the purchase price, and whether the theme author is actively supporting the theme online (very important for beginner to intermediate WordPress users!) Expect higher-priced themes to include substantially better support than less expensive themes.

Searching for themes is easy. The site provides a range of filters which allow you to view WordPress themes:

  • In a particular category
  • In a specific price range
  • Based on customer rating
  • Based on dollars in sales
  • and much more
Themforest Filter Options

Filter options at Theme Forest

Theme results or listings also feature a snapshot on hover, as well as a brief summary tells you if the theme is high resolution and widget ready, which browser versions it’s compatible with, and which frameworks are supported. If you’re planning on using your theme with a specific solution like Underscores, WPML, or Bootstrap, this info is pretty handy.


Some of the helpful Total Theme demos

Themeforest has also become the leader for all-in-one, multipurpose WordPress themes. Surely you’ve seen theme mentioned on one blog or another, and while these types of themes aren’t everyones cup of tea you can’t ague with the options and flexibility they provide. Just take a look at any of the top selling themes, like the Total WordPress Theme, and you’ll see that even though a multipurpose theme comes with an overwhelming number of options (which is a good thing!) they often also come with easy to use sample demos with all the options already selected for you.

Moving beyond the industry leader, other marketplaces are also useful in tracking down the perfect theme. While smaller marketplaces have fewer themes available, they make up for it a range of other appealing features. One of our top picks is Creative Market. Since authors can set their own prices on this marketplace, you can find an affordable theme for any budget. Plus they have awesome freebies every week, so don’t forget to signup for their newsletter!

StudioPress & Elegant Themes

Within the theme shops on the internet, there are perhaps two standouts that have really made a name for themselves. The first being StudioPress, creators of the Genesis framework. Ren did a great Genesis framework review, but we’ll just hit the key points here for now: fast load times, excellent support, SEO, affordability, and security are just some of them.

The Genesis framework from StudioPress.

The Genesis framework from StudioPress.

If you’re using the Genesis framework to power your WordPress site, we recommend StudioPress as they’re the leading Genesis theme provider. Why? Well, because they made Genesis. Using a Genesis child theme written by another developer could cause compatibility issues as even expert theme developers don’t always know every detail about the framework. The authors of the software have a natural advantage in this regard. Plus, their clean and professional designs are swoon-worthy.

StudioPress Themes

Cafe and Daily Dish themes from StudioPress

StudioPress also offers the Genesis Pro Framework package which gives you access to all child themes available for one low price. If you’re using Genesis, purchasing your child theme from StudioPress is a sensible choice but they’re not the only game in town – Creative Market, ZigZagPress and Web Savvy Marketing also all provide Genesis-based options.

The second theme store is Elegant Themes, which should be no surprise, since their Divi theme is a clear hit. This theme store has carved out a great spot for themselves in the WordPress market offering tons of great themes for one low bundle price.


The massively popular Divi theme

Niche Theme Shops & Bespoke Designs

If you are looking for a theme that caters to a specific industry, Templatic is a great place to start your search. They offer over 80 themes for specific industries like hotels, auto shops, restaurants, hair salons, and more. They are especially useful for directory themes for business listings. A sample of their most useful themes is below and the Templatic Showcase is also worth a look.

Templatic Themes

Themes from Templatic

Themes on offer at Templatic range anywhere from $29 to $79 and they also have a Premium Themes Club which provides you with access to all templates for $299. Whether you choose a single theme or the club option, Templatic offer unlimited support and theme updates for one year. You also gain access to theme guides and a community forum.


ThemeIsle’s top sellers

Another site worth mentioning is ThemeIsle. They created the most popular free theme on, and they have some pretty awesome premium themes too. On this site you’ll find themes perfect for business, photography, book reviews, construction and more. You could just choose one theme, or you can get access to all of them for just $99 (which includes 2 years of priority support).

And there are literally hundreds more theme stores out there – these are just a few we’ve used and trust.

Bespoke (or Custom) Themes

Bespoke theme shops tend to be thinner on the ground since most developers choose to work directly with clients on custom sites. There are some professional sites willing to accommodate totally bespoke work however if that’s an option you want to pursue. Just keep in mind that custom themes are going to cost more than templates because they are created just for you, and you are going to spend ample time with the developer so be sure to pick someone you like.

Lack of choice is not the problem when it comes to picking a WordPress theme. Even with just the few marketplaces and theme shops we’ve mentioned here, you have thousands of options available.

Every business and site is ultimately unique so we can’t pick one solution to match all needs. The theme you choose will have to be based on your preferences, your level of knowledge in working with PHP, WordPress, CSS, and other frameworks, as well as your budget. Hopefully our breakdown of the most popular theme sources will point you in the right direction. The final decision is of course yours.

We wish you well with finding the perfect theme for your site and would love to know which marketplace or theme shop you ended up choosing and why. Get in touch via the comments and let us know!

Article by WordCandy guest author
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  1. Adrita Chakraborty

    What would be the best choice for a small business owner like me Themeforest or WordPress Repository? I want a free yet lucrative theme for my eCommerce business.

    • Kyla

      Well if you want a free theme then is really your main option – however, keep in mind that free themes do not include any kind of support so you’re going to have to rely on Google or forums if you need help. Also, most free themes are loaded with upsells. Sure the base theme is free, but it’s an extra $30 a year for a portfolio custom post type or another $50 per year to have a header builder. And in some cases free themes are heavily reliant on plugins to function and to replicate the live demos you may be asked to install multiple addons for a Gutenberg block plugin, a contact form plugin, a notice bar plugin, etc. Generally I recommend free themes for bloggers or for tech savvy folks with enough coding knowledge to customize or extend a free theme themselves.

      Themeforest is in my opinion a much better choice, since when you purchase a theme it includes support from the developer and in most cases premium themes are updated more frequently than free themes. Premium themes on average also offer better built-in features, so while you may need to install 2-3 bundled/recommended plugins it’s far less than with a free theme.

      Also – since you mentioned you’re looking for a theme for your e-commerce business, what’s a $50-100 investment in a good looking and well functioning premium theme? Considering good hosting for an e-commerce site is going to run you at least $50 per month anyway, a premium theme should be reasonable addition to your startup budget.

  2. Jil Yana

    The most frustrating part of buying plugins from Themeforest is not able to communicate with the buyer. Sometimes it’s mandatory to know who is behind the creation.

    • Kyla

      Themeforest (for themes) and Codecanyon (plugins) are marketplaces, so a bunch of developers can sell their products in one place (like Amazon). Every item has a comments section as well as a support tab where you can either email the developer directly or find instructions on how to request support. Personally, we at WPExplorer do our best to provide top notch support but in the end it’s up to the developer and the level of support you might receive for each item can very. This is why it’s always a good idea to look at the item ratings and take a look at the most recent comments to see how active/involved the developer is before buying. I hope you have a better experience in the future!

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