Free vs Premium WordPress Themes (Pros and Cons)


Choosing a perfect theme for your website is a challenging task because there are a lot of options or we can say number of themes are available in this theme world. Where you get Premium and free themes.

So, it is obvious that you are getting confused between Free & Paid Themes. That's why here we will discuss about the pros and cons of Free WordPress Themes vs Premium WordPress Themes that can help you to select a perfect theme for your website.

Most of the times there comes the old debate- What is the difference between free and premium paid themes? This confusion can only avoid by you because this will be totally your decision that which theme is good for your website.

And this could be done by considering the pros and cons of free vs paid themes, in order to make an informative decision.

Lets have a look on these specific points that can help you to differentiate between free and paid themes:

Difference Between Free vs Premium Paid Themes:

Free WordPress Themes

Premium Paid Themes

1. Totally free of costs without any strings.

1. Usually, reasonable price including all of the benefits which they have.

2. Free themes downloaded from the official site of WordPress.org

2. No need to go for official site, you can get these themes by any popular sites like

MyThemeShop

3. It has less features which make it leaner & quicker to load. Thus, it boosted the speed of your website.

3. It has a lot of inbuild features.

4. Documentation & support can be limited which is rarely come in bundled.

4. The vendor should provide excellent support along with documentation to guide you through the setup process.

5. It has less options of customization; you may need coding knowledge to get better results.

5. It has already greater customization options & third-party integrations to extend your functionality of website. 

6. It has few updates & it could lead the security vulnerabilities.

6. It has regular updates cycle to keep your theme secure.

7. It is easier to installing & browsing free themes which is given access to the theme directories from your WP dashboard.

7. It is available from a wide range of independent theme shops & market places.

Pros of Free WordPress Themes

First, we would like to mention that when we say free themes, we mean free WordPress themes that are listed in the official WordPress.org Themes directory.

We DO NOT recommend users to download and install any free themes that are distributed by other unreliable sources.

It’s Free

The biggest benefit of a free WordPress theme is the cost, free. It lowers the barrier of entry to starting a blog.

However hearing the word free makes many people cautious. Why would someone give you a free WordPress theme when others are selling premium themes? What’s the catch?

Often people think free themes are low quality. It’s quite the contrary.

Strict Review Process

Free WordPress themes are actually held to a higher quality standard. All themes in the official WordPress theme directory go through a strict theme review process.

There are some very talented folks in the theme review team who examine and test these themes before they are included into the directory.

You can see this checklist of the theme review process.

Free WordPress themes are tested for standard compliant code, support for standard WordPress features, quality HTML and CSS, security, privacy, etc.

As you can imagine, it takes talented developers to build a quality WordPress themes that get approved in the official directory.

But why are they giving it away for free?

There are lots of benefits of giving and sharing.

It helps theme developers sharpen their skills because during the review process, the theme review team audits their code and suggest improvements.

It also gives them a chance to make their theme available to a large user base where people can use it, give feedback, and suggest improvements.

Other advantages are building reputation as a skilled developer, building a portfolio, getting paid jobs for customization of those free themes or even develop custom theme for clients.

So while the free themes are definitely good, there are some disadvantages.

Cons of Free WordPress Themes

Disadvantages of free or premium WordPress themes can be very subjective. What one person would consider a disadvantage, may not be a cause of concern for many others.

These are some common disadvantages of using a free WordPress theme:

  1. Limited support options – Free WordPress theme developers offer support through WordPress forums, but they are not obliged to reply to support queries.
  2. Limited Features and Functionality – Even though free themes support most standard WordPress features, many of them don’t offer extra features like creating buttons, using shortcodes, create landing pages, etc.
  3. Not so Unique – Free themes are used by a lot of websites and blogs, so your website will not have a unique design. Also there are usually limited options to customize the visual appearance of free themes.
  4. No Obligation – Free themes are distributed with no warranties, so if something goes wrong, you are pretty much on your own.

    If you use a free theme, and it doesn’t have a specific functionality that you’re looking for (please don’t leave a 1 star rating). You didn’t pay anything for this theme.

    Instead if you ask nicely or make a small donation, the developers are much more likely to add that feature in.

    Pros of Premium WordPress Themes

    Unlike free themes, premium WordPress themes are available for purchase from numerous third-party WordPress theme shops and marketplaces.

    More features and customization options

      The biggest advantage of a premium theme is that you get more features and customization options.

      Due to the competition in the premium theme industry, theme shops are always trying to offer more features at lower prices.

      As a customer, you get themes that contain options like drag and drop builders, shortcodes, multiple layouts and templates, and unlimited color choices.

      Support and Updates

      Premium WordPress themes come with regular updates and support.

      Primarily because these theme shops are actually making money vs doing it for free.

      More Unique

      Because there’s a cost associated to premium themes, they’re less frequently used when compared to free themes.

      Not to mention the customization options give you the ability personalize your theme.

      Combining the two, your website will stand out and look unique.

    Cons of Premium WordPress Themes

    Not all premium themes are perfect.

    Here are some common issues that can be a disadvantage.

    1. Poor Code – Some times you may end up buying a premium theme that looks pretty but has poor coding standards which could make it incompatible with some plugins. Mainly because these themes don’t have to go through a strict review process.
    2. Too many features – In order to sell more themes, theme developers can add too many unnecessary features into their themes. You will probably never use all those features, but they are still there making your website slow.
    3. Crossing over into Plugins domain – Sometimes WordPress themes can cross over into plugins domain, offering functionality that they are not supposed to offer. For example, creating custom post types, shortcodes, and other things that would disappear as soon as you switch theme

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    Free vs Premium WordPress Themes (Pros and Cons)

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