Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: Which One is Best?
When it comes to choosing WordPress themes, you might be overwhelmed with the sheer number of available choices out there. There are thousands of available WordPress themes to choose from, but you can begin by simply choosing between free and premium WordPress themes.
Free WordPress themes might seem like the obvious choice because, well, they’re free! However, a glance at the available Premium choices, and you might be hard-pressed to choose just one even if they are paid themes.
To avoid the confusion and settle on the best WordPress theme for your website, here are some of the pros and cons of each type of theme.
Free WordPress Themes
Free WordPress themes are typically made by independent developers, although you can occasionally find a free theme made by known WordPress makers. These free themes from WordPress makers are generally used as a “sample” so that you can have an idea of their premium offerings.
Since free WordPress themes are made by developers with little to no financial support and development team, these themes are generally basic in appearance, and the quality can vary greatly. They have no strings attached, and you can download and use them for your website without any further obligation to the developers.
However, you won’t have to worry about the quality of free WordPress themes if you download them from the official WordPress website. These themes are still vetted and will have undergone an official review process by the WordPress team to ensure that they have the standards for WordPress themes.
Free WordPress themes are generally “leaner” because they have a minimal number of features, which means that they load faster on your website. They are also generally easier to integrate into an existing WordPress dashboard.
The drawback to using free WordPress themes is that they can have limited support from the developers, and some don’t have support at all. What’s more, updates can be rare and this can lead to problems with user security and safety. Finally, you will need some basic coding experience if you want to further customize free WordPress themes.
· Quick to load
· Easy to integrate
· Basic appearance
· Needs coding experience for customization
· Little to no support from developers
· Little to no updates
· Security issues
Premium WordPress Themes
Premium WordPress themes are those that cost money, and for good reason. They have customized (usually to a particular niche or business), responsive, full of features, and are supported by the developer’s staff. They also have regular updates in terms of both features and security, so you won’t have to worry about safety vulnerabilities. Premium WordPress themes also come with troubleshooting options, which means that you can contact the developer staff if you run into any issues with the theme’s coding.
However, there are some drawbacks to using premium WordPress themes. First, they are generally not reviewed by the WordPress staff before they are put on the market. Generally, their quality and security are guaranteed by the development companies that create them so you need to make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable WordPress theme development company. Second, some themes can suffer from “theme bloat”, meaning that they are so loaded with functions and features that it slows down the theme’s loading speed significantly. Finally, there is always a danger that a developer can discontinue their premium theme support at any time, and you could end up with the same update and security issues that you would have with a free theme.
· Professionally created
· Customized for a certain business, niche, or purpose
· Support from developers
· Regular updates
· Price can vary greatly
· No quality guarantee from WordPress
· Theme bloat – slower loading times
· Developers can discontinue support at any time
A Look into Free vs. Premium Themes
Let’s look into a theme that is available in both free and premium versions: the Blog Kit from WPCharms.com.
For the free version, you have Blog Kit, while for the premium version, you have the Blog Kit Pro. What are the differences?
First, let’s look at the theme itself. Blog Kit is a theme that’s designed for bloggers in any niche, whether you want to create a fashion, travel, food, or sports blog. It can also be used for business, corporate, law, medical, or education blogs. This minimalist blog theme is compatible with the Elementor page builder, and it is fast and easy to use. It is speed optimized (rated at 95% GTMetrix Pagespeed Score), and it is 100% responsive which means that all the features included in the theme can be usable. It has left and right side bar options, pagination options, and a footer widget area.
All of those features are included in the free version of the Blog Kit.
But what about the Premium version?
If you choose the Blog Kit Pro version, you will be able to avail of other features such as multiple and single post blog layouts. You can choose between two different styles of layouts to create your blogs. You can also choose to show or hide your meta data, such as published data, author, comments, and tags for all your blog posts.
With the Pro version, you can even customize the font type, font size, and font color for both the headings and the body of your blog.
Which One is Best for ME?
When it comes to choosing the best option between free and premium WordPress themes, the choice will ultimately be up to YOU! There is no “best option” across the board – it will depend on your needs, your preferences, your desired outcome, and of course, your budget.
If you are truly strapped for cash, you can opt for a free WordPress theme, but you need to balance out the need to save money with the possible problems with customization, support, and security down the line. What’s more, buying a premium WordPress theme means that you are supporting the WordPress developer community so that better options – both free and premium- can be created in the future!
The bottom line is this: unless you have no choice, the better option is to purchase a premium WordPress theme so that you can have a theme that’s better-tailored to your particular website needs.