Before we dive into the best premium WordPress theme providers, here’s a quick reminder of what Themes are in WordPress.
Themes in WordPress control how your website looks and contributes some (but not all) toward the functionality of your website. For a more detailed description, check out this Introduction to Themes.
While technically it is possible to build you own theme, the fastest and easiest way to create a stunning, beautiful, functional site is to get a pre-built theme. The longer route would mean building one with the assistance of a Theme Framework (check out some great providers here) or writing your own code.
There are literally thousands of free WordPress themes – and thousands of paid, or “premium” themes on the Internet. Some of them are amazing…but most are plainly speaking, horrible. (Is that too harsh?)
The fact is, a theme isn’t just a template. It can introduce security issues, bugs or just create nuisances into your site (like lack of updates or compatibility with other services). Additionally, the WordPress license requires that you use a theme whose PHP code is licensed under the GPL.
In other words, not all theme providers are the same – and it certainly pays to find a quality theme to build your site around. So, here is a list of reputable, high-quality premium WordPress themes that qualify as “best” in my opinion.
Some have free themes; most all have a selection of paid themes – but they all have coding, design & security standards that you won’t find from any Joe Schmoe theme provider. Read on!
Disclosure – this website receives customer referral fees from companies and products mentioned on this website. All data & opinions are based on ShivarWeb staff’s independent research and professional judgement.
Most Popular Providers
WordPress.org maintains a huge directory with secure, recommended themes. They are all free and scrutinized by the community for vulnerabilities. You can browse the directory here – or you can search + download from inside your website by going to Appearance → Themes → Install Themes.
WooThemes was one of the first premium theme providers. All of their themes are high- quality and pair perfectly with their eCommerce plugin. They also have several free themes that may do the trick for you. Check out WooThemes here.
StudioPress is one of the highest quality theme providers on this list. They have several premium and free themes to choose from – and all of them are updated regularly. Check out StudioPress here.
ThemeForest is the largest theme marketplace on the web. They don’t develop themes themselves, but rather provide a place for freelance designers to post their themes to make money. They enforce very high quality guidelines, so you can expect a well-priced, excellent theme. And did I mention their directory is huge? See ThemeForest themes here.
Not only does ThemeForest offer excellent themes, but they are also a powerhouse of amazing designer/developers – like ThemeNectar. ThemeNectar is one of their top sellers, and they produce some amazing stuff. You wouldn’t be disappointed with their themes. Check out ThemeNectar here.
TemplateMonster has an excellent selection of themes – whether you’re looking for a multi-purpose design or something more specific. Their designers are quite experienced, so you know you’ll land a great product. Plus, their customer service is pretty amazing. See TemplateMonster here.
MOJO is a theme marketplace with design guidelines like Themeforest. They have tons and tons of great choices that work well for just about any site you can imagine. Check out MOJO Themes here.
WPMUdev is a specialist in premium plugins and themes that utilize BuddyPress (social networking) and bbPress (forums). Also, they have several great multi-site themes. All of them are high quality and unique. Check out WPMUdev here.
Elegant Themes’ specialty is exactly what you’d guess – elegant designs. Their themes are beautiful and have lots of built-in functionality. They can be used for a great variety of websites and projects. See Elegant Themes here.
One of the best options in the Elegant Theme selection is Divi. A lot of themes boast about their drag and drop editors, which are great, but Divi is really a step above. The WYSIWYG editor allows you to really create some master designs that are unique and spot on. It’s really worth checking out if you lean more toward the design side. See Divi by Elegant Themes here.
Avada is one of the top selling themes of all time – and for good reason! It’s beautiful and well-coded, plus its creators developed it as a multipurpose theme. That means that the theme with all the demos acts as a theme marketplace itself. You would be amazed at all of the options it has. Check out Avada here.
Kriesi.at has been in the theme business for a while, and the quality of their work is a strong testament to their experience. One of their most popular choices is Enfold, a multipurpose theme. All of their themes are powerful and beautifully designed. See Kriesi.at Themes here.
Proteus Themes is a rapidly growing theme maker. They maintain a selection of versatile, well-coded, compatible themes. See Proteus Themes here.
Rocket Theme has been around for a long time – they were one of the first premium designers out there. They focus on exciting, detailed designed rather than the minimalist look. Check out Rocket Theme here.
upThemes is a very easy group to work with. Almost all of their designs are responsive (they automatically adjust according to device type). Plus, they have exceptional pricing. See more on upThemes here.
Themes Kingdom is a fairly recent newcomer to the theme world – but that doesn’t mean they are less of a choice! They offer lots of fun designs that could be perfect for your project or business. Check out Themes Kingdom here.
SoloStream has some beautiful themes that are clean and powerful. They occasionally have some great deals running, and you can also become a member with some great benefits. See SoloStream here.
ThemeZilla certainly gives the other companies great competition. Stunning theme designs at a reasonable price, plus you can become a member and have all of their themes at your disposal. It’s a great choice if you have multiple projects running at once. Check out ThemeZilla here.
Theme Junkie has been around for quite awhile. They have a diverse selection of themes and work really well for a publisher or a site that has a ton of content to display. See Theme Junkie here.
mysitemyway is mainly a drag and drop theme framework, so you can really do a lot with it. They also have a lot of pre-built themes with a variety of design styles. See mysitemyway here.
Theme Trust offers themes on 2 price tiers – Mega and Standard. So whether you want tons of options and control or you just want a packaged themes, they can help you out. Check out Theme Trust here.
ThemeFuse has a really diverse selection of themes and designs. Their primary focus is on services and product websites, but you can do so much with any of their designs. Check out ThemeFuse here.
Obox has a huge userbase, which is usually a good indicator of reliability and user-friendliness. Their collection of themes work well with for blogs, projects and businesses alike – and they come in a range of affordable price points. See more on Obox here.
iThemes was also in the first wave of premium theme providers – and they provide everything from plugins to theme frameworks and more for WordPress. They have a great selection of pre-built themes that offer tons of functionality. See iThemes here.
If you’re looking for minimalist, creative and artistic designs, Graph Paper Press may be your best bet. They are a reputable company with great themes and designs. Check out Graph Paper Press here.
Press75 advertises their choices as “WordPress Themes with Purpose” – and they all certainly do allow you to do that with your space on the web. They are professional, clean & well-coded…overall a great choice! Check out Press75 here.
WPzoom has a lot of great options when it comes to themes, especially if you’re looking for a business-related theme! Their pricing is pretty much unbeatable. See WPzoom here.
Chimera Themes is another great choice if you’re looking for business-related themes (though they really have all kinds of options). Their designs also tend to have lots of built-in functionality. See Chimera Themes here.
Organic Themes was established fairly recently – but they bring unique and fresh designs to the table. They are beautifully designed and easy to use (for you and your visitors). Check out Organic Themes here.
Viva Themes focuses on designer-looking themes – and honestly, the attention to detail is amazing! You won’t be disappointed if you go with them. Check out Viva Themes here.
There you have it – with these theme providers, you should be well on your way to creating an amazing WordPress site from scratch.
If you’re looking for a more specific list of themes, be sure to check out our favorite WordPress themes here. And if you’re trying to ensure maximum functionality on your site, here’s a guide to Must Have Plugins for WordPress.
Got more recommendations for the best premium WordPress theme providers? Let me know in the comments! And good luck!