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 your 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 have a selection of paid themes – but they all have coding, design & security standards that you won’t find from any random theme provider. Read on!
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.
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.
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.
Elementor was one of the first makers to make a true drag and drop function for their themes, similar to builders like BoldGrid and Elegant Theme’s Divi builder.
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 – or you can search + download from inside your website by going to Appearance → Themes → Install Themes.
WordPress.com is the hosted, commercial version of WordPress.org that provides bundled features for a subscription price – like a traditional website builder. One of those features is a vetted, high-quality set of themes. Now – those are all available if you use WordPress.com…but you can also access them with a premium subscription to JetPack – a plugin that brings a lot of WordPress.com features to your self-hosted website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And if you’re trying to ensure maximum functionality on your site, here’s a guide to the best plugins for WordPress.