Tags – ,

What Are WordPress Themes And Where To Get New Ones?

If you’re trying to navigate the world of WordPress, you’ve probably already hit a point where you feel like nothing makes sense at least once.

I get it.

And let me guess: now you have to decipher the baffling world of WordPress Themes. Are you wondering what they are, what they do, and where to find new ones? If so, read on — we’ve got you covered.

Let’s get right to it, starting with the most confusing part.

WordPress and WordPress Themes are not the same thing!

This is one of the things about WordPress that trips people up straight away.

‘WordPress’ is the term used to describe the software (technically known as a ‘content management system’) that runs a WordPress-powered website, whereas ‘WordPress themes’ are interchangeable designs within the website that dictate the look and feel of the site’s front end (i.e. the part of the website that visitors see and interact with).

Here’s how the official WordPress Codex defines a WordPress theme:

A WordPress theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. ~ Source

…which, let’s face it, isn’t the most dynamic or easy-to-understand description.

Let’s try a simple analogy instead.

WordPress Is Like a Restaurant

Let me walk you through this.

Even if you’ve never worked in the food industry, you likely already know that restaurants and cafes have two parts to their business:

  1. The front of the house
  2. The back of the house

Though these are separate areas within the business, you can’t have one without the other.

In a restaurant, the back of the house is where all the yummy stuff gets made. People who eat at the restaurant don’t see this part, but if it didn’t exist, there would be no way for them to receive their food.

The front of the house, on the other hand, is where customers experience and appreciate the restaurant.

Atmosphere + good food and service = happy customers!

So, WordPress itself is the back of the house, and the WordPress theme is the front of the house.

WordPress (the back of the house), is where you will spend your time creating and crafting your content for your website or blog — however, no one but you and the people you give access to will be able to see this part of the site.

The WordPress theme you use (the front of the house) sets the tone of the part of your website where visitors see and interact with the content you’ve created in the back of the house.

Just like in a restaurant, you need both the front end (WordPress Themes) and the back end (WordPress) to have a viable, functional website. So, even though they are different, you can’t have one without the other.

Thankfully, you’re not stuck with the same look (i.e. theme) that everyone else has on their site — there are thousands of WordPress themes (both free and premium) to choose from.

Where to Find WordPress Themes

As it stands, there are essentially just three places from which to obtain decent WordPress Themes:

The official WordPress Theme Directory is, of course, the best place to find all kinds of free themes — if you’re on a budget, you’ll likely want to look no further.

For online endeavours with even a small budget, though, there’s also the world of premium themes. The upsides to choosing a premium theme are significant, and will often include such things as more features, much better support, and more frequent updates.

For the best, most reliable and established theme shops around, check out our extensive list.

By Ariel Rule

Ariel is a the lead blogger at WP Arsenal and a freelance blogger for hire. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee, eating too many cookies and strumming on her guitar. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
More in Basics, Themes
25+ Live Examples of Total – WPExplorer’s Top-Selling WordPress Theme – in Action

Following on from our previous post (in which we took WPExplorer's most-popular WordPress theme, Total, for a spin), we figured a logical continuation would be...

Close