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Free vs Premium WordPress Themes: What Should You Choose

Released - April 15th, 2017

Are you going to start your new website but confused whether you should choose a free or a premium WordPress theme? If you are, don’t you think you’re the only one who is worrying about Free vs Premium WordPress Themes: What Should You Choose. There are thousands of others out there who are going through the same dilemma as you are! The concern is pretty much justified at the primary stage of launching a website. But as you go along the following discussion, you will grow more confident to take a side and hopefully will be able to make a decision for yourself.


The Never Ending Conflict – Free Theme Or Premium Theme

There has always been discussion, in fact dispute to be honest, over the issue that a free WordPress theme is preferable to a premium one, or vice versa. The inclination to a WordPress theme type i.e. free or premium is often grounded with strong arguments. No doubt, this discussion will go on and we are not going to see one side win for good beating the other till the days WordPress exists. There is nothing wrong with the dispute over Free Theme vs Premium Theme as long as they are constructive, thought-provoking and directive for the better, yet not manipulative, idealizing or misleading.

But, the critical moment is when you have to decide on a type of WordPress theme for yourself! Especially with the availability of a wide range of high quality cost-free themes in the midst of rich-featured tempting premium ones, you end up even more indecisive.


Free vs Premium WordPress Themes: General Features Compared

Now, we would like to compare a few common features of free themes with those of premium. With this, you will get an idea how they essentially differ in terms of Price, Quality, Theme Features, Web Standard, Functionality, Plugin Compatibility, Update and Security.

  1. Price:

# Free WordPress Themes: What is great about Free WordPress Themes is you can get them completely free of cost. In some cases, you might be required to free register or subscribe to the theme vendors at best. However, the best and most secure place to download your free WordPress theme is WordPress.Org. A few examples of best quality free themes on WordPress.Org are Twenty Seventeen, SuperMag, MH TravelMag. EcoNews is another free premium quality WordPress Theme.

# Premium WordPress Themes: Definitely, you have to spend some bucks to enjoy those exciting features of Premium WordPress Themes. The cost price can start from 10-15 dollars and go to a few hundred dollars at best. However, the premium WordPress themes are very reasonably priced; even the great themes can cost you a low budget (thanks to the selling competition and especially to the very tendency of digital products that the same items are sold multiple of times, resulting in a reasonably low price for them). One of the popular best quality WordPress Theme suppliers is A few examples of premium themes on the market are Avada, X |The Theme, Enfold, Newspaper. RxApps is another best quality premium item by EcologyTheme on Themeforest.Net.

  1. Quality:

# Free WordPress Themes: The free themes are often accused of low quality design. The modern design trend is often ignored while crafting these themes. Yet a whole bunch of stylish, quality themes can still be found, especially those offered by renowned WordPress Theme Producers. They usually give away these premium quality free themes for the promotion of their brand identity.

# Premium WordPress Themes: High design quality is maintained while crafting premium WordPress themes. Website created with a premium theme offers the best user-experience with trending design elements, diverse webpage layouts, eye-catching UI with transition and animation effects and other unique style-sets.

  1. Theme Features and Functionality

# Free WordPress Themes: The free WordPress themes are often lacking the compelling theme features offered by their premium counterparts. They are not always functional according to your requirement. However, your free theme features and functionalities can be extended with the integration of some WordPress utilities or customization plugins.

# Premium WordPress Themes: Premium Themes come with a wide range of theme features to develop your website according to your requirement. The themes thrive in advanced functionalities to accomplish complex task in the back-end. Some themes might come bundled with additional design and color variation as well as with some useful premium plugins integrated for free.

  1. Web Standard

# Free WordPress Themes: WordPress.Org theme directory holds the free themes that are crafted retaining standard WordPress development principles. Before they get approved for distribution from the repository, the themes go through a strict review process run by WordPress expert officials to ensure the maximum web standard.

# Premium WordPress Themes: The premium themes often lack web standard in terms of composing components. The producers tend to ignore conventional WordPress principles as they do not have to go through official review process. But, they can make that up fixing issues if anything goes wrong with promised support and updates. However, some marketplace may require their theme authors to maintain their own set of principles while developing WordPress themes.

  1. Plugin Compatibility, Update, Security and Support

# Free WordPress Themes: The free WordPress.Org themes tend to be more plugin compatible than their premium counterparts, perhaps as they are standardized with WordPress development principles.

However, free themes are not updated with newer versions. Thus, your free WordPress themes might not be compatible with the next updated version of WordPress.

Free themes from WordPress.Org directory are expected to be secure to use; whereas, free themes from other unreliable sources are convicted by industry experts to be utterly malicious.

Free themes comes with no support, so you are all on your own if anything goes wrong with your website.

# Premium WordPress Themes: Many advanced featured premium themes are not compatible with third party WordPress plugins due to their poor coding standard. However, in many cases you wouldn’t require additional plugins as there are the own advanced features and functionality of the premium themes to serve your purpose.

Moreover, the themes are periodically updated to cope up with the latest release of the WordPress. The newer or updated version also occasionally comes with more features and functionality. However, these additional features might at times, not so often, cost you some extra bucks to avail.

The privacy and security is ensured to the maximum level with premium WordPress themes. The theme producers are liable for any breach of security.

Premium themes producers offer strong customer support to their users, building a strong professional relation with them. However, there have been some instances where producers suddenly stopped continuing to support a product.


How to Choose Between a Free and a Premium WordPress Theme

With the above general features discussed, however, it will not be difficult to make a choice once you get to know the factors that drive your decision the most. With a bit of analysis, we came up with the following factors or catalysts that people rely greatly upon to choose a WordPress theme.

  1. Cost: This is the first and foremost thing to consider when you are going to choose a WordPress Theme. Provided that you are well equipped with other tools and resources to launch your website, if you have no budget for the moment or are not willing to spend for a theme, then a free WordPress Theme is obviously the one-way destination.


  1. Intent: The next thing to consider is what your website is going to deal with. If you are just happy with some kind of blogging or web publishing ( which sometimes might involve some income generation through advertisement or reviews) and are not much into real online business with any kind of services or products, you might want to stick to free WordPress themes. However, this does not necessarily mean to limit you, because you might also grow aspirant and want to experiment your concern with premium theme features. On the contrary, if you are an ambitious start-up, or established agency or company, you might like to settle things that are less likely to go wrong in the long run and therefore decide on a premium WordPress theme. Again, this is not to stereotype  you, especially when there is an ever-growing good number of high quality, well-featured, popular free themes out there.


  1. Audience Taste: You will also have to consider taste of the target audience of your website. For your website to grow, you definitely need to ensure, in comparison to your competitors, the better user experience for your audience in terms of usability and accessibility. Therefore, it is crucially important for you to understand your audience interests and taste, and design your website thereby. That’s when you will know if your website is better off with a minimally resourced free theme or a gorgeously featured premium one.


So, hopefully, by the time, you have been filled up with a lot of information regarding WordPress themes as well as provided with a clear idea that should help you decide which one ( a free or a premium WP theme) you are going to use in your website.