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Difference Between Free and Paid WordPress Themes 2023

Before deciding whether to use free or paid WordPress themes, there is an almost overwhelming selection of themes available. While free solutions are always appealing, premium WordPress themes try to enchant us with their slick aesthetics and extensive features. Thus, you may search for hours when trying to find the right theme for your website.

It’s important to obtain the essential knowledge and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each option to have a clear route in choosing which one to utilize for your website.

We’ll discuss some of the most significant distinctions between free and premium WordPress themes in this article so you can thoroughly compare both choices before making a decision.

What Are the General Differences Between Paid and Free WordPress Themes?

Individual developers create most free themes with little support. At the same time, occasionally, high-end companies will offer free themes as an attraction for their premium products. But because they are free, their customization options can be poor, and they rarely meet the standards set by paid themes.

Premium themes are usually expensive for a reason. They should have a lot of features, be quick to respond, and have excellent customer service from the seller. However, this isn’t always the case. Nevertheless, as compared to their free counterparts, premium themes offer a superior quality overall.

This was just a brief review of their differences; for a more thorough analysis, take a look at the chart below.

A Chart of Free and Premium WordPress Themes Differences

Free WordPress ThemesPremium WordPress Themes
Free of charge, without conditions.In general, prices are fair, especially when you consider the long list of advantages below.
Themes that are downloaded from the official theme directory have been reviewed by an official.Not required to go through a formal review procedure before being released on the market. So, it may have flaws in the coding or other problems.
Will often be quicker to load because they will contain fewer features, which will speed up the loading of your website.In general, the overall build quality is much better. The ‘fast and lean’ character of free themes may even be negated by this, as a premium theme may be created with speed in mind despite having a feature-rich set of options.
Rarely come with documentation included, and support may be minimal.The provider should offer first-rate support and documentation to help you with the setup process.
Usually don’t offer extensive customization choices; to get the most out of them, you might need to know how to code.Usually includes additional features out of the box, such as more customization possibilities and third-party software integrations to increase the usefulness of your website.
Sometimes a free theme is more lightweight and keeps its fast functionality speed by having fewer features.
The truth is that free themes are considerably more accurate in presenting the entire experience of these aspects, even though some could argue that they contain inferior features.
Although having more functionality is frequently a desirable thing, some premium themes have too many functions.
These themes essentially have so many features that they slow down loading times and may provide functionality that is never fully utilized.
There may not be many updates.  This might eventually result in security flaws.To keep your theme secure, you can often rely on a much more frequent update cycle. The risk that a theme developer would stop supporting a product still exists, so you could wind up with the same long-term security flaws as with a free WordPress theme.
Given that you can access the theme directory from your WordPress dashboard, browsing and downloading free themes is made simpler.  Accessible from a variety of independent markets and theme stores.
Differences between paid and free WordPress themes. Which one is better for you?

Let’s break each point down and discuss them in much more detail.

Free WordPress Themes Benefits

First, we want to clarify that when we refer to free themes, we mean WordPress themes that are available for download from the Themes directory.

Downloading and utilizing themes from unreliable sources puts your website in danger and degrades its quality. After clarifying, let’s examine the advantages of free WordPress themes.

The Best Advantage, It’s Free!

The fact that a free WordPress theme is cost-free is its greatest advantage. It lowers the entry-level requirements for launching a blog.

However, many people get anxious when they hear the word “free.” Why would someone provide you with a free WordPress theme when others are selling pricey themes? How do the developers benefit from free products?

Free themes typically act as advertising or promotion for the developer’s work. The developer’s paid products get greater attraction the better the theme.

In contrast to the common misconception that free themes are low quality, cost-free themes should include decent features to encourage clients to check out the developer’s other works.

Free Themes Undergo a Strict Review Process

The quality bar for free WordPress themes is actually higher. Every theme in the official WordPress directory has a strict review process. Before these themes are added to the directory, they are examined and tested by members of the theme review team. The checklist for the theme review procedure is also available.

The standards-compliant code, support for common WordPress features, high-quality HTML and CSS, security, and privacy are all checked for in free WordPress themes.

As you can expect, it requires skilled programmers to create high-quality WordPress themes that are accepted in the official directory.

Free WordPress Themes Drawbacks

The drawbacks of either free or paid WordPress themes might vary widely. What some would view as a disadvantage, many others may not find to be a problem.

Let’s move on to why purchasing a premium theme would be preferable to using a free one.

Limited Support Options

Through WordPress forums, free WordPress theme creators provide assistance, but they are not obligated to respond to support questions.

Furthermore, since they weren’t paid for their theme, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t be motivated to address user problems. The theme will also infrequently get updates or have bugs corrected if any exist.

Limited Features

Although most of the core WordPress capabilities are supported by free themes, many of them don’t offer extra features like button creation, shortcode usage, landing page creation, etc.

You would still be able to add these functionalities through plugins, but you would also have to deal with plugin bugs and issues.

Used by Many Websites

Although you could assume that a theme is great if a lot of websites use it, utilizing this theme will make your website appear like a lot of others.

Thus, it won’t have any unique designs or features. Additionally, there are typically few options for free themes to alter their visual design. You couldn’t alter the appearance of your website much, even if you wanted to.

We Repeat! It’s Free

Because the theme is free, you should have realistic expectations. Free themes are given without warranties, so you are on your own if something goes wrong.

You shouldn’t give a free theme a one-star rating if it lacks a certain functionality you’re seeking for. Instead, the developers are considerably more likely to provide that feature if you ask gently or make a small gift.

Premium WordPress Themes Benefits

If you want to build a super neat and professional website, you must purchase WordPress premium themes, and many of these are pricey! A premium theme costs $57.54 on average. It is a lot if you don’t consider its benefits over free themes. What exactly are these benefits?

Almost Unlimited Customization

The benefits of a premium theme are that you receive additional features and customization possibilities. Theme shops constantly strive to provide more features at lower prices as a result of the rivalry in the premium theme market.

Themes come with options like drag-and-drop builders, shortcodes, several layouts and templates, and limitless color selections for users.

Continuous Updates and Supports

Regular updates and support are included with premium WordPress themes. Mostly because these theme shops are making money instead of offering their services for free, they have to support their products to attract more market users.

Unique Designs

Premium themes are less frequently used than free themes because they are more expensive. Not to mention that you can modify your theme using the customization options. Your website will be distinctive and stand out when you combine the two.

Premium WordPress Themes Drawbacks

Not every premium theme is excellent. They have certain advantages because they cost money, but also some disadvantages.

Here are a few typical problems that may be problematic:

  • No review process: Occasionally, you could purchase a premium theme with attractive visuals but poor coding that could prevent it from working with specific plugins, mostly because there isn’t a formal review process for these themes.
  • Bloat themes: Theme makers may include too many pointless features in their themes to sell more themes. Although you are unlikely ever to use all those functions, they are still present and slowing down your website.
  • Not compatible with theme changing: WordPress themes may occasionally include functionality not intended for them. For instance, custom post types, shortcodes, and other elements would disappear as you change themes.

What Qualities Should a Good WordPress Theme Have?

What characteristics—whether they are free or paid—should a WordPress theme have? Below, we have listed the qualities of a good and useful WordPress theme.

  • Fully functional
  • Rich customization options
  • Responsive
  • Secure
  • Receiving regular updates
  • Continuous Support
  • SEO Benefits
  • Extensive documentation

What Are Some of the Perfect Free Themes?

These ten attractive themes have people raving and are well worth a look, whether you’re looking for the finest WordPress themes for businesses, the best WordPress themes for blogs, or just a gorgeous and good value website for any purpose:

  1. Ocean WP: It can be used for any website, including membership and e-commerce sites. One of the WordPress themes with the quickest growth, it supports eCommerce and loads pages quickly. Due to OceanWP’s responsive design, websites appear fantastic on mobile and tablet displays.
Ocean wp
  1. Astra: Astra is another strong and expanding free WordPress theme. Utilizing one of the pre-built site templates can reduce the time you spend building your site with this lightning-fast theme. You can quickly change the colors or fonts without writing a single line of code to reflect your brand.
  1. Hestia: Hestia is among ThemeIsle’s most well-liked products and has received numerous 5-star evaluations. Hestia is a sleek and cutting-edge one-page theme you can use for any website. It prioritizes performance and speed so that your website loads rapidly.
  1. Neve: Because Neve by Themeisle prioritizes mobile users, it has a stunning responsive design for all platforms. The free theme also works with well-known page builders, making website creation accessible to all users. And because it comes from Themeisle, you can be sure that the updates for this simple theme will be trustworthy.
  1. Sydney: Sydney is another excellent option; it provides a mobile-responsive design that looks fantastic on all platforms. This is a great theme for artists who are starting their own enterprises. It has a portfolio structure where you can display your finest works utilizing fashionable tiles that expand into quick-view boxes so potential clients may take a closer look.
  1. Simple: Themify’s Simple is a free WordPress theme that makes it simple to integrate a Shopify store on your WordPress website. You can do this to convert your WordPress website into an eCommerce store so that users can make purchases without being sent to Shopify. Additionally customizable, you may use it for a standard blog or commercial website.
  1. SeedProd: Anyone who desires complete control over the design and functionality of their website without having to possess any specialized knowledge will find SeedProd to be the best free theme for WordPress. It is an effective drag-and-drop WordPress page builder with landing page templates. Even though it’s a plugin, you may use the templates to give your site a unique look. Additionally, SeedProd is compatible with all widely used WordPress themes, so you don’t have to switch from your current theme to use it.
  1. FoodicaLite: One of the greatest responsive WordPress themes available is Foodica Lite, which has a unique interface. It’s an excellent theme for building recipe websites and blogs about food. Additionally, it integrates with WooCommerce and features a beautiful slider.

What Are Some of the Excellent Premium Themes?

Here are some of the best WordPress themes you can utilize if you decide to purchase one.

  1. Astra Pro: A team of devoted experts is on hand to provide complete assistance for Astra, which is quick and simple to use. Astra is generous with its offerings, providing over a hundred high-quality free and premium themes. Costs for Astra range from $47 to $187 annually.
astra pro
  1. Divi: Another premium WordPress theme to consider is Divi. Additionally, it includes some fantastic designs, a collection of potent design tools, and the documentation and support you need to feel comfortable. Divi is $89 per month or $249 annually.
  1. Uncode: Uncode is a WordPress theme with many uses and demo websites in various genres. Using the WPBakery drag-and-drop page builder, they can be completely personalized and are light, bright, and appealing. $59 Plus $17.63 for a full year of support is the price of Uncode.
  1. Balance: WPZoom’s premium WordPress theme, called Balance, is super customizable. It includes a store and a typical webpage as two demos. Both provide strong examples of what the theme is capable of and stylishly display its capabilities. Costs for the Balance range from $79 annually to $159 for a lifetime license.
  1. Sydney Pro: Another customizable WordPress theme to look into is Sydney Pro. It comes with its customizer to simplify creating pages and is compatible with most WordPress plugins, including WooCommerce. It features a variety of demo websites that span most genres. Sydney Pro has prices ranging from $59 annually to $249 for a lifetime license.
Sydney Pro
  1. Extra: The creators of Divi also created Extra as a stand-alone theme. It looks and feels similar, yet it is different. It is set up in a magazine style, but with a little effort, it may be whatever kind of website you want. Extra costs $249 for a lifetime license or $89 annually.
  1. Blinder Pro: In terms of design quality, Binder Pro is a significant improvement. When you first open the demo, it will be clear that this is a premium theme. There is a style here that will work for practically every need, with various demo websites. Binder Pro is available for $129 or $389 for a lifetime license.
Binder Pro
  1. Business Pro: It has a great design and some wonderful features, making it a great business or agency theme. Although there is only one demo for this theme, it may be altered to fit practically any niche. Business Pro has an annual fee of $360 or $129.99.
  1. Generate Press: GeneratePress is a premium WordPress theme that you can use for various purposes. It’s a flexible theme that works with most WordPress plugins and has a variety of eye-catching demos, a large range of color and typography settings, and other useful features. GeneratePress costs $59 annually or $249 for a lifetime license.
generate press
  1. Hestia Pro: Hestia Pro is a well-coded theme with great performance, many customization possibilities, support for the top page builders, and a modern flat design that appeals to the target market. Hestia Pro has a price range of $93 to $270.
hestia pro

Final Thoughts

The needs of your website and the owner’s budget and aesthetic tastes will ultimately determine which WordPress theme you install. Both free and paid themes have benefits and drawbacks, as we described above in great detail. For example, the wisest decision you can make is to get a free theme if this is your first time building a website.

Recognize that it’s acceptable to begin with a free WordPress theme and upgrade as necessary in the future. There is no set method for selecting one to make your website more successful. So, isn’t that a leap of faith?

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