WordPress can offer a free and convenient alternative to conventional web design solutions for out of the box content management systems, with very many free and often quality theme designs available to help you customise your site. If you don’t know or trust the source of the themes you’re downloading, here are a few tools to help you ensure that the themes is clean and free of anything suspect;
Useful Plugins to check for malware
Useful Decoders for checking WP themes for malicious code
A great site which details some of the examples of how to use the above decoders and plugins can be found here, and give you an idea of just how bad this problem is within the free wordpress theme communities;
Now for our personal recommendations for excellent sources of quality wordpress themes;
WooThemes has been producing great quality WordPress themes for a number of years. However, you don’t have to join their WooTHemes WordPress Theme Club to reap the benefits of their work. They’ve released a number of free themes that can be downloaded directly from their website.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 10
ThemeLab is run by Leland Fiegel who runs it one-handed and still has time to produce a large collection of free WordPress Themes. I reviewed his Green Tea theme recently and it’s been one of those themes that really stuck in my head.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 118
Dynamic WP are a group of developers based in Indonesia who have produced some really striking WordPress themes. Their latest offering is a super-charged version of TwentyTen, called TwentyEleven. These guys have got some great free themes in their portfolio and it’s definitely worth taking a look.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 34
If you want somewhere to get some of the most stylish photoblogging and vlogging themes then the first place you should look is Graph Paper Press. I’m sure I’ve said before that I’m a fangirl, but I probably can’t say that quite enough. Among their portfolio they have a number of free themes which are as good as any commercial ones.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 9
WP Shower make some really beautiful minimalist WordPress themes – all for free! They are a way for you to clean your blog (geddit?) The portfolio at WP Shower is small but this is the type of place where you get quality over quantity. It’s a must-see for any free WordPress theme hunters.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 7
If you’re not familiar with Smashing Magazine, where have you been? It’s one of my favorite places for design news, tips and releases. They regularly commission guest designers to produce beautiful, top quality WordPress themes.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 24
Theme Hybrid is the home of the Hybrid and Prototype WordPress themes, and all of their lovely children. Parent Themes (or theme frameworks) are great to use, especially if you are learning about theme development. You can build your own CSS files to to flex your creative muscles.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 17
ThemeShaper is another site that has a comprehensive theme framework as well as a playground full of child themes. I often builder sites on top of Thematic – it’s easy to use and to customize and there are loads of great child themes out there.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 20 child + 1 thematic
Templatic announced on 1st January 2011 that they were going GPL. This is great news for the WordPress community. Only launched in 2008, they have a portfolio packed full of themes with some great free ones that anyone can download.
Number of free WordPress Themes: 9
We hope you enjoy this post and get some value out of it!