One of the biggest dilemmas WordPress users face is the question of whether to use a Free or a Premium WordPress theme. This is especially evident for website owners that represent a business or a company. While Premium themes, in general, provide services that are far above what free themes provide, they can be quite expensive with some costing above 60$. Similarly, there are some spectacular free themes out there as well as niche based Free WordPress themes that serve you quite well for free. At the same time finding a free WordPress theme comparable to a Premium theme is difficult.
However, let’s consider what’s best for you. What should you go considering your budget and what purpose the WordPress theme will serve? There are multiple factors when it comes to making a choice between Free WordPress themes and Premium WordPress themes.
We highly recommend our users to consider the points we will make in this article as it might serve you a lot. Premium WordPress themes have unmatchable customization and sports tons of cool elements and page builder add-ons that can help you make a spectacular theme. However, if you can’t make use of these features that can be quite a loss for your wallet. Similarly, Free WordPress themes might be limited in some avenues but some of them provide you with an absurd amount of customization options. They can fit your demands perfectly if you know what you are doing. So let’s see what factors you can consider when making the right choice between Free vs Premium WordPress themes.
Free WordPress Themes:
There are plenty of choices when it comes to Free WordPress themes no matter what niche you are looking for. Be it blogs, business, portfolio or more. But before you decide to get it for your website let’s talk about what most of the Free WordPress Themes usually offer. We’ll be comparing the main pros and cons of Free WordPress themes and in order to dictate the points well we’ll be using one of our Free WordPress themes for this exact purpose.
Pros of using Free WordPress Themes:
1. Free of Cost
Naturally, Free WordPress themes are available for no price at all. No signing up for further services, no linking credit cards. Most free WordPress Themes can be downloaded straight from the WordPress.org and with barely any difficulty. The existence of this huge marketplace with completely free WordPress themes leaves you with a wide range of choices.
Choose a theme that fits you and if you don’t like it, you can change it instantly. The lack of actual cost for using the Themes means you can change WordPress themes whenever fit( however we wouldn’t recommend doing so in order to not infuriate your viewer base.) A lot of free themes also serve as demos and trials so you can check out how a theme would fit your website. As a general solution, it’s not a bad idea to consider checking out a theme’s free version just to get a better feel for it before buying the premium version.
2. WordPress.Org’s Rigorous Review process
There’s a certain notion that free WordPress themes have bad quality control or are generally lacking in terms of usability and security. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Free WordPress themes go through a rigorous review process in order to be listed in the official WordPress theme listing. These themes are well tested and examined to make sure there’s nothing wrong with them and that they cover all the WordPress theme guidelines. These themes are checked for security, privacy, standard compliant code, quality HTML and CSS coding and more. This post on WordPress.org highlights all the important steps that go into their strict theme review process.
3. Trial and Effort Counts
The biggest question asked when considering Free themes is “why do so many developers make free themes if they don’t make a profit?” But the answer is simple, they do but not in the way you think they do. Most developers build free themes to build up their repertoire. To create an impressive portfolio to impress possible customers, companies and colleagues. In order to do so, many developers build accessible WordPress themes for both niche based websites and broad purposed ones.
However, this also leads to the major cons of using WordPress themes. In a lot of ways, these themes aren’t built to be sold or be profited from. This means that a developer might not put as much effort into making them as they would into Premium WordPress themes. So, let’s check out some of the major cons of using Free WordPress themes:
Cons of using Free WordPress Themes:
1. Limited features
A lot of free WordPress themes might be limited in some area that users may require. This liability is used as a way to motivate users into buying Premium versions. Generally, Free WordPress themes will be lacking in terms of quality, customization and features related to Premium WordPress themes. For a comparison to get you an idea, here is a list of features from the Free and Pro version of the theme: ColorMag.
Fewer Demos to import, limited customization options, lack of accompanying 3rd party plugins and such issues are common in Free WordPress themes but are by no means something you should expect from them. There are gems hidden in the rough but these are harder to come by and should not be used as a representative to the Free WordPress themes market.
2. Limited support
Free WordPress themes developers provide support forum access but generally put Premium themes users on a priority list. It might take longer for users to have their queries surveyed but this generally depends on the quality of the company as well. However, unlike premium WordPress themes, free themes come with no warranty or assurance of service. This means that if something breaks in the theme, the developers aren’t necessarily obliged to help you fix it.
3. Lack of customization options and custom elements
Tons of Free WordPress themes limit the extent to which you can customize them. Some limit background and primary colours, while other limit typography options. Free WordPress themes tend to also contain a lesser number of custom elements such as portfolios, parallax effects and more. Premium WordPress themes also come with tons of custom page templates and designs as well as a wide range of demo import options in comparison to free themes.
This at times makes theme designs repetitive and using Free themes can decrease the uniqueness of your website as the lack of customization means that another website using the same theme as yours could be visually similar to yours.
Premium WordPress Themes:
Premium Themes are the crème of the crop in the WordPress markets. The amount of effort and creativity developers put into them certainly makes them worth their high price. The amount of customization, web elements, visual effects and additional plugins is absurd in comparison to regular free WordPress themes. Some of the major pros of using Premium Themes can be :
Pros of Using Premium WordPress Themes:
You can generally expect a Premium WordPress theme to be a lot better than free WordPress terms in pure terms of functionality. They come with more shortcodes, web element, typography elements, custom icons, design and page templates and more. It is also common to see premium Drag and Drop visual builders to be bundled alongside specific WordPress plugins to provide users with all the tools they might require. These themes are highly customizable and provide you with tons of tools to customize the visual factor of your website. This in turns lets you create a unique WordPress design with a custom colour template that is harder to replicate.
2. Better support and frequent updates
WordPress devs regularly highlight how they prioritize support tickets for Premium theme users. This means that if you run into an issue or require detailed instructions to use any Premium theme, you will be prioritized over Free WordPress theme users. Premium WordPress themes are also frequently updated and developers ensure that their premium WordPress themes meet the current theme standards at all times.
3. Pre-built Demos and Templates
Generally, Premium themes come with pre-built designs and One-click Demo import designs in a wider variety compared to free WordPress themes. Some of them even come with dozens and dozens of them! It isn’t uncommon to see Premium themes come with demos for niche website templates or with amazing layout and design choices made to create amazing viewer impressions. A wide range of page layouts and design choices are also fairly common in Premium themes.
4. Higher website security and assurance of performance
Premium themes put a lot of emphasis on data security as they understand premium users look for themes with higher security standards. Most of the Premium WordPress themes come with a guarantee to work and developers provide detailed instructions to help you use the wide range of tools and features they come with. These themes are also highly optimized and made to be compatible with mobile platforms to an absurd degree.
5. More widgets and accompanying plugins
Premium WordPress themes are usually bundled with a wide range of premium plugins as well. This usually includes a dedicated Page builder, font icon packages, form builders, security plugins and more. Furthermore, companies provide premium users with a wider range of widget areas and custom widgets made to serve a wide range of purposes.
While Premium WordPress themes seem highly lucrative to most users, they certainly have their own fair share of cons. Some of them can be:
Cons of Using Premium WordPress theme
1.High expensive and Initial cost
Premium WordPress themes can ramp up your website expenses easily. Some of the best WordPress themes are not only extremely expensive with initial cost over 60$, but most require yearly licensing for it. It’s hard for a new user or a user without enough financial backing to keep up with the cost of using a Premium WordPress theme.
2. A higher number of unused features
Premium WordPress themes are packed to brim with a wide range of tools and features. However, using this huge list of features can be convoluted at times and some of them are really not required for most users. From needless UI elements to web elements, Premium WordPress themes can fill up your website easily and even ruin your viewer’s user experience. Using some of these features can also be difficult and might confuse you if you aren’t provided with enough detailed information.
3. Lack of detailed reviews
Unlike free WordPress themes, premium WordPress themes aren’t listed on the official WordPress.org listing. Instead, they use third-party theme sites such as ThemeForest. As a result, you might end up buying a WordPress theme with coding issues and bugs, compatibility issues and more. Often it depends on the buyer to check for user reviews and non-evident details to make sure that the Premium WordPress theme is fit for their purposes or not.
Free vs Premium WordPress themes: Which is better?
Now that we’ve listed out the pros and cons of each side, let’s see if we can answer this age-old question. Simply put, we’d consider answering this question based on who the asking party is. If you are looking to run a simple blog, make a project portfolio or personal websites made to market amateur products, we’d recommend using Free WordPress themes. However, large companies who want to ensure that their website well represents them or professionals looking to make large-scale eCommerce platforms, maybe a Premium WordPress theme would serve them better.
And this sums up our overall comparison of what free vs premium WordPress themes usually offer. If you liked this article, here are a few more of our WordPress tips and trick posts that you might found interesting.
- A Simplified Guide to Display WordPress Images in Rows and Columns.
- How to Add Images to the WordPress Sidebar?
- Beginner’s Guide to Page Builder and create a professional site!