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Free vs Premium WordPress Theme: Which is best (Analysed – 2023)

Free or premium WordPress theme, which is best for beginners. What should we need to choose?

There are plenty of premium and free WordPress themes available across multiple theme shops. 

Free vs premium WordPress themes

But choosing the best WordPress themes that are suitable for our website is important.

Most of the time as a beginner, we should need to try at least a couple of themes before choosing one. It is because everyone’s need and necessity is different.

If you are a developer, then choosing a developer-friendly theme framework can be better. On another side, if you are a non-techy, then choosing the more beginner-friendly themes like Divi and Astra is important. 

These types of themes give you a high level of features and customization without touching a single line of coding.

Choosing the Free vs Premium WordPress themes 

Once you buy a domain and hosting to start a blog, then having the right WordPress themes will make the architecture of your website much better.

As a beginner, you have invested some money in getting good WordPress hosting. So, we should not invest more in themes. It is a good idea to think.

Whether it may be free or premium WordPress themes, picking SEO-friendly themes is more important.

Pros of free WordPress themes

Free themes don’t mean it is low quality. There are hundreds of free themes available in the WordPress theme directory that are developed by professional developers.

WordPress directory has over 8000 themes available under a free license.

Free themes from WordPress directory

You can easily run a professional website with a free theme. In many scenarios, you can’t find the website by looking, whether it is designed by a free or premium WordPress theme.

But getting a theme from an unknown website is not recommended. Uploading and installing a WordPress theme from unknown websites can cause severe problems to your websites.

So getting a free theme from trusted theme shops and developers is important.

Okay, let’s see the pros of free WordPress themes.

1. Wide variety of themes to choose

When it comes to free themes, there is a better variety of themes to choose from. With over 8000 themes in the WordPress directory, you can try as much as a theme until satisfied.

You can also filter the themes based on the niche subject and features you need.

Finding the WordPress themes with filter

If you are just creating a demo site or professional website, there is a lot to learn. The premium themes like Astra and GeneratePress also have their free version with most features.

Their free theme version is much better but only lacks limited features. But you can use it, if you like it then you can upgrade to the premium version later.

It makes you try and test the free themes from well-known developers.

I suggest everyone go with freemium themes from popular theme developers. So once you like it, then you can upgrade to the premium version.

2. It’s completely free

The well-designed themes that come free of cost are one of the biggest benefits. So it makes it easy for a beginner to start a blogging site.

If you are thinking that free themes are low quality, then it is not true. There are many themes developing stores that are giving free themes with better quality.

3. Better tested and approved

The themes in the WordPress directory are highly tested and reviewed. It is not that, everyone can upload their themes to the WordPress directories.

Certified free themes

The themes are gone through some serious theme verification processes before getting approved by WordPress. There is a team of volunteers, who will check the themes in many different aspects before approving it. It makes the wordpress directory filled with better themes.

So you can install the themes from the WordPress theme directory with confidence. If you don’t like it, you can easily change it to another theme.

Cons of Free WordPress themes

There are no high dominant disadvantages on the free WordPress themes. But as a free theme, it also has some cons. This doesn’t affect every type of business and website, but some.

1. Less customization

Sometimes, it lacks some important features. It comes with limited content layout designs and footers layouts.

Some of the free themes come with minimal features, that too very basic. Sometimes for adding extra features you need to install many plugins for more customization. But it makes your website heavy. 

If you are making a normal blogging site, a free WP theme is ok. But if you are creating any niche-specific sites, then it lacks many features. 

Choosing the theme with page builder compatibility is also important. Check the theme, how it works with important page builders like Elementor or Beaver builder.

2. Takes time to set up

The free themes don’t come with any extra site template or starter sites. These pre-built templates are very useful for creating quick landing pages, that are only available on premium themes.

The free themes also lack some individual page customizations and extra add-ons.

3. Lack of support

Generally, you can’t expect direct support from the developer team for the free themes. But you can expect any knowledge base and better documentation of the theme. This documentation has answers to all your important queries related to the theme.

In some scenarios, you can’t get this documentation or tutorials from many free themes. That makes it difficult for you if you are stuck anywhere.

So, you should choose any well-known free theme to get proper tutorials about the theme and to get started.

4. Fewer Updates

You don’t get any updates on the free WordPress themes. It is really common sense to think, that you are not paying anything then why do they need to spend time on updating and fixing regular bugs.

5. Security vulnerabilities

Security problems in free themes

Mostly the themes from WordPress directories are safe. But if you are getting any free themes from third-party websites, then you should be careful. 

Sometimes, the free themes from unknown websites are included with malicious codes. So get your free themes only from well-known developers like CSS igniters and aThemes.

In many free WordPress themes, you will have links to the developer sites on the footer area. It highly affects your website SEO and link structure. It is also giving a backlink from your site, which highly affects sites SEO

Pros of Premium WordPress themes

The word premium gives you maximum flexibility of the product. Likewise, here also the premium themes that maximize your productivity.

You will not find the premium themes on the WordPress directories. These themes are available on their official sites or from commercial digital stores and marketplaces.

When we are spending money to get the product, then it should give better benefits. So let’s look at the Pros and cons of premium WordPress themes.

1. Better SEO optimized

The premium themes are more SEO-friendly and also optimized for better performance. The Premium themes are very lightweight, because of their clean coding by professionals. So it makes the website load ultra fast.

The themes like GeneratePress are very lightweight and offer better performance. It is one of the fastest-growing themes in the WordPress industry.

Here you can also remove your footer links and completely design the layouts, unlike in free themes.

2. More functionalities and features

You will get more advanced functionalities on the premium WordPress themes. The themes developers are giving more features to become more competitive.

You will get many starter templates, extra site libraries, multiple content layouts, footer layouts, navigation menu, stick headers, and many others. 

You will also get better integrations with Woocommerce and much other software to improve your business.

3. High support and Regular Updates

Better WordPress premium themes support

Premium themes are regularly updated. When every time WordPress releases a major update, then the themes are also updated by the developers. 

Your theme will regularly get bug fixes and extensive support from them. If you are choosing any popular themes like Astra, you will get lots of solutions around the web. 

Usually, the premium theme companies will also have proper step-by-step tutorials with documentation and a knowledge base.

4. Unique designs

If you are the one who loves more creativity and customizes every bit of your website, then premium themes are the best solution.

The premium theme offers more unique designs and it is neatly coded.

Cons of premium WordPress themes

There are not many disadvantages in premium WordPress, but some little things you need to consider.

1. Price

Sometimes the price of your suitable themes is high. So for choosing the best themes you need money. Normally the average cost of premium themes will be around $30 to $80 for one year of updates.

From most premium themes, you will get an offer when buying for the first time. But when renewing you should pay the regular price.

Sometimes, buying lifetime deals is better, but it is costlier than the normal theme cost.

Some theme companies also not giving a money-back guarantee. In this case, if the theme you bought is not suitable, then it is a waste of money.

2. Poor theme selection

Not all the premium themes are good. Selecting a popular and well-known theme is important.

If you just bought a theme because of its attractive design, then you may end up buying a bloat or a complex coded theme, which has slow loading. Irresponsive themes will higher up your bounce rate.

So don’t think that all the premium themes are made with better quality. Not all the premium themes have tutorials and documentation to clear your doubts. So make sure it is too.

3. More features

Some creative themes will come up with more features and functionalities that you don’t need. Having these extra functionalities in the theme could also slow down your website.

Sometimes the beginners also find it more difficult with using these more features.

If you are using any special features in the current theme and if you change the theme, then it highly affects the structure and rankings of your website.

Final Verdict – free vs Premium WordPress themes

As we see above, the free themes are not bad and harmful. But picking the right theme is only important.

If you are starting a website for learning and DIY, then you can go with a free theme. Some beginners also don’t want to invest money in buying themes. In this case, you can get free WordPress themes.

If you are creating a business website or creating a professional website for making money, then the premium can be the best.

How to choose the best free WordPress themes?

If you are choosing the free themes, then go with freemium themes. The freemium themes are the one, which has both free and premium plans. With these types of themes, you will get a chance to try their theme and also upgrade to advanced functionalities in the future.

But if you are thinking, now I can use any theme and buy any other new theme in the future. Then changing themes with loads of content, will highly affect your website’s structure, content formatting, and SEO as well.

How to choose the best Premium WordPress themes?

Not all the premium themes are good. So choose the themes that are popular in the WordPress industry. So you will get more support content around the web.

Choose the theme based on your website needs. If you are not sure of the type of theme you need, then go with the multipurpose themes.

But choosing SEO-friendly themes is more important, which is highly optimized for performance.

Buying the premium themes from popular developers like aThemes, Themify, and CSS igniter is much better. You can also buy themes from developers, who will have a powerful multipurpose theme like OceanWP and DIVI.


Are you still confused?

Whether to choose a free or premium WordPress theme.

If you are starting a personal or blogging website, check out these free WordPress blog themes that suit you better.

Starting a website with a free theme is fine. But once your website starts getting more traffic and income, buying a premium theme is important. 

Your selected themes should be more responsive with page builders like Elementor and Beaver builder. It helps to create quick landing pages for better conversions.

I hope this article helps you to choose between free and premium WordPress themes. If you find this article useful, then kindly share it with others.

Do you still have any questions about the free vs Premium WordPress theme? Comment below, I can answer your questions.

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