There are a lot of great WordPress themes available for free, but you’ll need to be careful about where you get them from. Bad themes with malicious code can bring down your server, alter links on your website, and cause other unsavory problems.
Free themes from reputable sources can be terrific though. Here’s some of the places I’d check first, with a few example themes from each.
The theme repository on WordPress.org is the largest source of free WordPress themes. All themes go through a detailed code review and safe to use on your site. You can browse the featured themes, popular themes, and newest themes.
Several commercial theme companies also have few themes available for download. You can trust the code from these companies- even if the themes might be a bit dated.
Companies listed on WordPress.org tend to be the most reputable. Below are some commercial theme companies that offer free themes as well as commercial themes.
WooThemes was one of the first commercial theme companies for WordPress and still puts out some of the most innovative products. Recently they retired a number of their older themes, which you can now download for free.
Graph Paper Press
Graph Paper Press makes excellent themes for artists and photographers.
DevPress has a variety of well-built WordPress themes. You can download of them for only $40 and get support- but there are also a number of great freebies.
You can view all the themes at DevPress.
Mike Mcalister has been killing it with his recent work at Okay Themes– they’re all really beautiful responsive themes. But if you’re trying to find something on the cheap, you can also get eight of his “vintage” themes for free.
Alien WP is a smaller theme shop and I love the minimalistic style of their work. All the themes are built of Hybrid Core, which is a well maintained theme framework.
Theme Hybrid, run by Justin Tadlock, has a number of free themes built on the excellent Hybrid Core theme framework.
Is a free theme right for you?
If you’re new to WordPress, it might actually be worth it to purchase a theme for a company that offers great support. Free themes won’t have a staff behind them to help you set everything up and troubleshoot bugs. You’ll have to rely on volunteers in the WordPress support forums.
If I missed any great resources, please drop them in the comments. Happy hunting!