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9 Best WordPress Community Plugins To Boost Your Engagement in 2023



9 Best WordPress Community Plugins To Boost Your Engagement in 2023

If you want to improve your website’s engagement rate, why not download the best community plugin for WordPress?

Improving engagement correlates to better user experience, traffic, search rankings, and revenue. More importantly, it also helps build a sense of community and leads to a more loyal audience.

To achieve all these, you must use a community plugin that suits the needs of your WordPress website.

Thankfully, this article will discuss the best community plugins for WordPress. We’ll discuss what makes them great community plugins relative to their features and plans. 

This way, you can get your hands on the right plugin to help improve your engagement rate with your community.

9 Best WordPress Community Plugins

Here is our curated list of WordPress plugins to use when building an online community.

Hope you find what you’re looking for!


MemberPress is a popular choice for the best community plugin for WordPress. It’s for those looking to create a membership website on WordPress. It’s easy to use and comes with a robust feature set.

With MemberPress, you can restrict access to content on your site to paid members only. You can also create subscription plans and discount codes. Plus, you can manage your members through an intuitive dashboard. 

The plugin also works with many popular payment gateways. The list includes PayPal and Stripe. As a result, it’s easy for you to set up a secure and reliable way to accept payments from your members. 


  • Subscription plans – It lets you create and manage subscription plans for your members. And these come with options for different pricing tiers and recurring billing.
  • Content access controls – MemberPress includes tools for controlling content. It also restricts access to specific pages, posts, and categories.
  • User profiles – It features user profiles. As a result, it lets users share information about themselves and communicate with other users.
  • Reporting and analytics – MemberPress includes many reporting and analytics tools. And it lets you track your membership site.
  • Integration with WordPress – It works seamlessly with the rest of your WordPress site. And you can customize it with WordPress themes and plugins.


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Basic ($179.50 per year) is ideal for beginners starting and exploring the perks of building their membership site. 

If you already know your way around membership sites, consider upgrading to Plus ($299.50 per year).

 And if you want to take things to the next level, the Pro plan ($399.50/yr) is ideal.


bbpress - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

bbPress allows you to add a forum to your WordPress site.

What makes it one of the best WordPress community plugins? It’s a lightweight tool with a simple and clean interface! It’s also easy to use and customize.

To use bbPress, install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site. Then, you can create and manage discussion forums. You can also moderate content and manage member accounts. 

It includes tools for integrating with other WordPress plugins and themes. You can also use it to manage forum data.


  • Forum creation and management – bbPress allows you to create and manage discussion forums on your WordPress site. You can create multiple forums and sub-forums. In addition, you can organize them into categories.
  • User profiles – It lets users create and manage profiles.
  • Private messaging – bbPress includes a private messaging system. And because of it, users can send personal messages to each other.
  • Subscription options – It lets members of the online community subscribe to forums or threads to receive notifications when new content is up.
  • Integration with WordPress – bbPress works well with the rest of your WordPress site and can be customized using WordPress themes and plugins.


bbPress is a free WordPress forum plugin. You can download and install it like any other WordPress plugin.


buddyboss - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

BuddyBoss is another best community plugin for WordPress that manages an e-learning website’s social functions. It focuses on bringing people together.

With it, you can strengthen your brand. You can connect members with like-minded people and get insightful comments. You can also inspire the community to share knowledge.

BuddyBoss enables your members to join in group discussions and receive incentives for their engagement. Additionally, selling access to your neighborhood can bring in money for your company.


  • Member profiles – It helps members customize their profiles and share the best details about themselves.
  • Social networking features – It lets people organize themselves into like-minded groups.
  • Private messaging – Because of this feature, BuddyBoss community members can communicate with one another.
  • Album and media – It lets you help individuals and brands be more creative. You can do that by letting anyone upload photos and other media files.
  • Monetization capabilities – It includes membership plugin integrations and one-time purchases. You can also use it for your WooCommerce store and sell memberships.


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The BuddyBoss web subscription costs $228 for one site, $288 for five sites, and $388 for ten sites.

Meanwhile, the BuddyBoss App will be ready in February 2023 and comes in three plans:

  • Standard at $219 per month
  • Done For You at $219 per month (with a $1,999 one-time payment)
  • Developer at $318 per month (with a $299 one-time fee)

It’s available as a web and app subscription.

A subscription to a web service typically refers to a service accessed over the internet through a web browser. Meanwhile, an app subscription typically refers to a service accessed through a mobile or desktop app.


peepso - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

PeepSo is a social networking plugin. It allows you to create your private community on your WordPress site. 

It’s easy to use and customize. It is also a fully responsive and highly flexible plugin. As a result, it will work well on desktop and mobile devices.

To use PeepSo, install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site. Once it is activated, you can start building your social network by adding users, creating groups, and setting up user profiles and activity streams. 

You can also customize the look and feel of your social network by using the built-in theme customization options.


  • User profiles – PeepSo includes user profiles. As a result, it allows users to share information about themselves and communicate with other users.
  • Activity streams – It features activity streams. And it lets users see what their friends are doing and post their updates.
  • Groups – PeepSo includes group functionality. With it, people can create and join groups based on shared interests.
  • Private messaging – It has a private messaging system that allows users to send messages to each other privately.
  • Integration with WordPress – PeepSo works with the rest of your WordPress site. You can also customize it using WordPress themes and plugins.


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PeepSo is available in three plans:

  • Monthly Bundle (at $19)
  • Ultimate Bundle (at $180) – 1 year
  • PeepSo Ultimate Bundle (at $540)  – 5 years


peerboard - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

PeerBoard lets you create and manage online communities for your business, organization, or personal use – things that the best community plugin for WordPress does.

To use PeerBoard, create an account and set up your community on the PeerBoard website. Once your community is ready, you can invite users to join, create, and manage discussion forums. You can also use it to moderate content.

In addition, it comes with advanced features for managing member accounts and events. You can also analyze community data with it.


  • Discussion forums – It has discussion forums. And it lets users post messages and replies and take part in discussions.
  • Polls – PeerBoard includes a poll feature. It allows users to create and participate in polls.
  • Events – It allows you to create and manage events (like calendar syncing and RSVP tracking).
  • Moderation tools – It features tools for moderating content. And it lets you delete or edit posts and threads. You can ban users, too.
  • Integration with other tools – PeerBoard works well with other tools and platforms (like email marketing platforms, project management programs, and customer relationship management systems).
  • Analytics and reporting – PeerBoard includes analytics and reporting tools. As a result, it lets you know what’s going on with your community. In addition, it helps you make data-driven decisions.


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PeerBoard is available in four plans:

  • Free
  • Starter (at $23/mo)
  • Professional (at $63/mo)
  • Growth (at $239/mo)

Profile Builder Pro

profile builder pro - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

Profile Builder Pro allows you to create and manage user profiles on your site. It isn’t a community plugin per se.

However, it helps readers set up the profile pages of their site members. Plus, it works with other community plugins.

Install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site to use Profile Builder Pro. Once it is activated, you can create user profiles and set up registration forms and user groups. You can also use it to manage user permissions.

In addition, it comes with tools for managing user accounts and analyzing user data. You can also use it well with other WordPress plugins and themes.


  • Custom fields – Profile Builder Pro lets you create custom fields for your user profiles. This way, you can collect any information you need from your users.
  • Registration forms – It comes with tools for creating custom registration forms. And it lets you gather data during registration.
  • User permissions – Profile Builder Pro includes tools for managing user permissions. As a result, it lets you control what users can and can’t do on your site.
  • Integration with other plugins – It works with many WordPress plugins (like WooCommerce, BuddyPress plugin, and Gravity Forms).
  • Customization options – Profile Builder Pro includes many customization options. As a result, it lets you control the look and feel of the plugin on your site.


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Profile Builder Pro is available in Basic for €69 for use on one site. 

It also offers a PRO version for €149 for use on unlimited sites. This version is ideal for advanced users.


profilegrid - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

ProfileGrid is another one of the most popular community plugins out there, if not the best community plugin for WordPress.

It lets you create and manage user profiles on your site. And letting users work on their profiles is one of the best ways to build your own online community.

To use ProfileGrid, install and activate the plugin. Once it’s ready, you can create user profiles. You can also set up registration forms and user groups from there.

Do you also want to manage user permissions? Good news: the plugin lets you do it, too.

In addition, it includes tools for analyzing user data. And you can use it with other WordPress plugins and themes.


  • Custom fields – It lets you create custom fields. Because of that, you can get any information you want from users.
  • Registration forms – ProfileGrid includes tools for creating custom registration forms. And because of it, you can also collect information from users during the registration process.
  • User groups – ProfileGrid allows you to create and manage user groups. And it lets you organize users into different categories.
  • User permissions – Among its notable features are the tools for managing user permissions. As a result, you have a say in what users can and can’t do on your site.
  • Integration with other plugins – You can use it with many WordPress plugins like Gravity Forms and WooCommerce.
  • Customization options – It includes many customization options. Because of these options, you can manage the look and feel of the plugin on your site.
  • Multisite support – ProfileGrid supports WordPress multisite, so you can use it on multiple sites within a single WordPress installation.


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ProfileGrid is available in three packages:

  • Core (free version)
  • Premium (at $79)
  • Premium + (at $139) - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

wpForo allows you to add a forum to your WordPress site.

To use wpForo, install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site. Once it’s ready, you can create and customize your forum. You can also create and manage discussion forums and moderate content.

In addition, wpForo includes tools for managing member accounts and analyzing forum data.


  • Customization – You can customize the look and feel of your forum. You can also fix the layout and structure of your forum to suit your needs.
  • User profiles – wpForo allows you to create user profiles for your forum members. Members can upload an avatar and add a signature. They can also fill out a profile page with contact information and social media links.
  • Notifications – It includes a notification system. As a result, it alerts members to new replies and topics. It can also bring the public’s attention to events and private messages.
  • Moderation – wpForo includes tools to help moderate the forum. It allows you to move and split topics. It also lets moderators delete posts and ban users.
  • Access control – You can control who can access different parts of the forum and set up user groups with different permissions.


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wpForo is one of the most popular free WordPress community plugins.

It’s free. However, it has premium add-ons. And you may want to buy them to double up on the plugin features for a better online community.

Below are some of the best wpForo add-ons.

  • Private Messages – This feature allows community members to talk to each other.
  • User Custom Fields – It lets you add form builder tools that match your layout – Account Settings form, Registration form, and more. 
  • Topic Custom Fields – You want this add-on if you need to create forms for different user groups and forums.

In addition, wpForo comes with Addon Bundles for unlimited sites. It’s best to get this if you plan to purchase add-ons for several sites.

  • Addons Basic Bundle (for $190) – It features the above add-ons. And it includes wpForo Emoticons, wpForo Polls, and wpForo Topic Prefix & Tag Manager.
  • Addons Full Bundle (for $290) – It includes extra add-ons like wpForo Blog Cross-Posting, wpForo Giphy Integration, and wpForo WooCommerce Memberships Integration.


youzify - Best Community Plugin for WordPress

Youzify is a popular WordPress user profile plugin. It’s a feature-rich and advanced community plugin.

Many people use it as a user profile management solution and allow others to tweak their profiles.

What makes the public love it? It can deliver a one-of-a-kind brand experience!


  • User profiles – It includes 14 header styles and 20+ profile widgets. If you have a verified account, you can also use the unlimited ads widget.
  • Community social functions – Friend connection and private messaging features can strengthen community members’ bonds.
  • Membership features – Youzify includes Social Login, captcha systems, and front-end settings.
  • Directory – It lets you feature a global news feed. You can also show a group directory.


Secure a regular license for Youzify at $49. The deal covers future updates and six months of support (KaineLabs).

So What’s The Best Community Plugin for WordPress for You?

The answer will depend on each user. And it should be one that can take your site to another level – from ordinary to extraordinary.

Personally, Memberpress’s extensive features for building a WordPress community website and its reasonable pricing make it hard to top.

With it, you can engage with users and create a community website for developing lasting relationships. It also builds trust and improves customer satisfaction.

Aside from helping you with your site’s engagement rate, it should also help you collect information. And it should let you gather user feedback and support (to those who decided to be part of your community). 

If you’re looking for a free community plugin, bbPress is for you. It’s as simple and straightforward as it gets, but you can get it at no cost to you.

Again, these are just my recommendations. It ultimately depends on your needs, wants, and budget.

This is why we narrowed the list above to help you find the best WordPress community plugin. Happy hunting!

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Five Takeaways from WordCamp Europe 2024 (From a First-Time WordCamp Attendee) – News




Five Takeaways from WordCamp Europe 2024 (From a First-Time WordCamp Attendee) – News

This year’s WordCamp Europe was held in Torino, Italy, the capital city of the Piedmont region in northern Italy. Torino is known for its rich automotive history, beautiful architecture, and, of course, incredible food.

From June 13-15, 2024, over 2,500 folks from the WordPress community, including many of us from the team, came together to learn, connect, and give back to the WordPress project that powers over 43% of the entire internet.

I joined the team back in January of this year, so WordCamp Europe 2024 was my first WordCamp experience. In today’s post, I thought it might be interesting to hear about the conference from a first-timer, especially if you’re considering attending a WordCamp or WordPress meetup in the future. 

Here are my top five takeaways from my very first WordCamp:

1. In-person connection is powerful.

If your typical workday looks similar to mine––sitting at a desk at your house all day by yourself––going to a conference as large as WordCamp Europe may be a wee bit out of your comfort zone. It certainly was out of mine.

That said, I’ve recently found myself craving in-person connection after the pandemic and working almost exclusively from home for over eight years. Not only did attending this conference just get me out of my normal routine, it allowed me to connect with folks who love the tool I’ve used personally and professionally for over a decade: WordPress.

I staffed the booth, so I had a ton of opportunities to chat with other business owners, developers, creators, and makers over the course of the conference. I actually talked with a few fellow self-taught women developers like me, and I walked away feeling inspired, motivated, and just really thankful to be a part of this community.

But the best conversations happened in places I wouldn’t have expected: over spritzes, grabbing a cafe at the venue, or just walking around the city.

Embracing connection was a big focus of Matt’s final keynote speech during the event, and I couldn’t agree more. Events like WordCamps allow for swapping ideas, collaborating and troubleshooting, and experiencing a sense of community that you just don’t get while sitting behind a computer. 

That said, if large-scale conferences like a flagship WordCamp just aren’t for you, try checking out a local WordPress meetup to connect with other like-minded folks in your community.

2. It takes a ton of people to make WordCamps great.

One of the most moving parts of WordCamp Europe was at the very end when all of the volunteers and organizers were called to the stage; it’s truly amazing just how many people need to be involved to make an event like WordCamp actually happen.

People in black tshirts on a stage with a blue background and other people sitting in chairs facing the stage
Screenshot from the WordCamp Europe 2024 livestream on YouTube

Everything was smooth and well-organized, and the volunteers and organizers could not have been more helpful. Their enthusiasm about the event, WordPress, and community in general throughout the conference was infectious.

WordCamps and local WordPress meetups are always looking for volunteers; donating your time and expertise for events and meetups like this are a great way to give back to the WordPress project and community.

And if you’re an organizer of your local WordPress meetup, check out this post for information on how you can get a free website for your local meetup.

3. Contributor Day isn’t intimidating for a first-timer.

I’ve never contributed to WordPress core, but it was one of my goals for this year. That’s why I was so excited to participate in Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe.

If you’re unfamiliar with Contributor Day, it’s an event that usually kicks off a WordCamp. Teams focus on contributing to the WordPress open source project, with groups focused on code, support, translations, sustainability, inclusion, and more.

After listening to all of the team presentations, I decided to join the Accessibility team. Accessibility is something that has always interested me, but it’s also something I don’t have a ton of experience with.

That said, my inexperience wasn’t just accepted, it was actively welcomed.

people sitting around circular tables and #wceu on a wall

Once I got to the Accessibility team table, I was immediately greeted and welcomed. Then I paired with a fellow contributor, Marco Acato from Acato Digital Agency, to test the accessibility of a new theme for the WordPress theme repository.

I learned so much, asked a ton of questions, and felt surprisingly accomplished after just a few hours of testing this theme. We were actually able to publish feedback for the theme developer at the end of the day as well. 

Contributor Day gave me an even deeper appreciation for the entire community that supports the WordPress project every single day. So much work and effort goes into maintaining and improving this tool that millions of websites across the world rely on to run their businesses, amplify their messages, and stay in touch with others. I felt so grateful to have been a part of it during Contributor Day and would encourage any other first-timers to attend a Contributor Day in the future as well.

Luckily, WordPress core is always looking for volunteers and contributors; check out this guide or the new Contributor Mentorship Program if you’re interested in becoming a contributor yourself.

4. Torino was a great host city, and the WordCamp team made navigating a new city easy.

Between attending Contributor Day and sessions, to checking out sponsor booths and attending side events, I didn’t think we’d have a ton of time to actually see the city or Torino.

I actually had plenty of time to explore with my coworkers, eat pizza every single day, and scope out the best gelato spots outside of conference hours. 

a gelato cup filled with two different colors of gelato with a spoon sticking out of it

The WordCamp Europe team did a great job preparing attendees to make the most of our time in the city as well; their travel guides helped me feel confident navigating the city and finding some of the foods that come from this area in Italy.

As a first-timer in Torino, I really appreciated the extra work that the WordCamp team did to ensure everyone had a chance to explore and experience the city.

5. Pizza really is poetry.

I would be remiss to not mention the food that we ate during our time in our host city! While we like to say that “Code is poetry” around here, so is pizza. 

One of my very favorite memories from the event was the branding. The design team for WordCamp Europe 2024 added subtle nods to our host country throughout the venue, which was incredibly clever and well-done.

a sign that says 'Code is Poetry (...but so is pizza)' and #wceu

And while pizza is indeed poetry, it’s even better when shared amongst coworkers, friends, and people who get excited about the same things that excite you.

five people sitting at a table with three large pizzas on top

Wrapping up

I loved my time at WordCamp Europe, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I can connect face-to-face with the WordPress community. 

Were you at WordCamp Europe this year? Leave a comment with your favorite memory from the event below.

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Inside’s World-Class Security Features – News




Inside’s World-Class Security Features – News

You can rest easy knowing that you have the web’s best security guards working on your behalf.

It’s never been easier to create a website—especially with—but keeping that site secure can be challenging. When you host with, though, we do the heavy lifting for you and let you focus on the fun of creating your dream website. Whether you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, or hobbyist, our top-notch security features safeguard your site day and night so that you don’t need to stress. 

Whether you’ve known about it or not, we’ve long been scanning and monitoring your site’s files to catch and remove threats. Let’s dig in just a bit more. 

Built-in protection at your fingertips

Scan history is available on higher-tier plans

Using Automattic’s homegrown Jetpack software, every site is scanned on a daily basis for dangerous plugins, themes, malware, and other vulnerabilities. Once weaknesses are spotted, our security team swiftly resolves the issues, updating or reverting files as needed depending on the problem. 

Perhaps the best part is that we offer this peace of mind for free, on every plan. This certainly isn’t the case everywhere. Many WordPress hosts charge for the type of protection that offers on all of our website plans.  

Plus, you don’t have to do a thing to activate or maintain these security features. Our scanning tools are up and running as soon as your site is created. You can rest easy knowing that you have the web’s best security guards working on your behalf.

Why does website security even matter? 

It’s possible you’ve never before thought of the importance of website security. The reality of the modern web, however, is that bad actors are out there looking to take advantage of you and your site’s visitors. 

If your site is hacked, it’s liable to cause serious damage to your reputation and your livelihood (not to mention your emotional well-being). Hackers can manipulate your website’s data, steal information from you or your users (including passwords), install and execute malicious code, and even distribute the malicious code to your visitors, infecting their sites and machines. It’s not an insignificant problem or threat, that’s for sure. 

Jetpack’s web application firewall (WAF) monitors every request to your site and blocks requests from anything malicious. Our team of security experts continually updates the web application firewall’s rules to ensure you are protected against the most up‑to‑date threats. You don’t have time for downtime. 

Even more robust security tools are available 

1718839563 143 Inside WordPresscoms World Class Security Features – WordPresscom News

On our higher-tier plans you also have access to the scan history, which shows a record of all previous threats on your site. Additionally, you’ll have access to real-time backups, real-time security scans, malware removal, spam protection, and vulnerability notifications for core code and plugins.

Set it and forget it 

At, we want you dreaming big rather than spending your energy worrying about your website’s security. This is why we provide automatically-installed best-in-class monitoring with no extra charge, on every single plan. 

And our security features will grow right alongside you; whether your dream is to blog about your adorable cats, highlight your stunning landscape photography, or build a home base for your budding technology startup, we have your back. Learn more about all our security features or get started building right now:

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WordPress Themes 101: Free vs. Premium and Everything in Between




WordPress Themes 101: Free vs. Premium and Everything in Between

Do you want to learn about WordPress themes and how they can take your website to the next level? If so, you’re in the right place! 

There’s no question that choosing the right WordPress theme is vital for building a website that not only looks great but also offers your customers the best experience possible. 

But as a beginner or someone looking for a change, this process can be overwhelming, after all, there are thousands of themes to choose from!

We believe that by understanding themes and the important factors around them, you’ll be better prepared to choose one that aligns with your goals. Today, we will give you the full rundown on WordPress themes. Keep reading, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about finding the perfect theme for your site.

Let’s begin!  

Understanding WordPress themes

At its core, WordPress themes are a collection of files that define the appearance and functionality of a WordPress website. Themes control everything from the layout and color scheme to the typography and navigation menus. They are the visual and structural foundation that dictates how content is presented to visitors.

Not only do themes determine the look of your site, but they have a direct impact on performance and your overall user experience (UX).

Choosing the best WordPress themes can enhance the overall branding, improve readability, and provide a seamless browsing experience across different devices. But a quick look at the ecosystem will show you that the possibilities are quite endless. You can find sleek and minimalist themes as well as incredibly in-depth, feature-rich options and everything in between. 

One way to start exploring your options is to see what themes your favorite websites use. There are various tools and resources available that can help you with your research. A popular option is “What WordPress Theme Is That?,” which allows users to enter a website URL and quickly discover the active theme. Additionally, “WordPress Theme Detector” can automatically detect and display the theme information for any WordPress site you visit.

WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between
Adobe Stock

Choosing the right theme

Now that you know a bit more about themes, let’s talk about some of the major factors you need to know when choosing one for your website. 

  1. Responsive Design: Did you know there are over 5.48 billion mobile users? This statistic highlights why it’s essential to choose a theme that offers a responsive design that looks great and works perfectly across all devices and screen sizes.
  2. SEO Optimized: You’ll want to find a WordPress theme that can help with search engine optimization (SEO). For example, some themes come with a schema markup alongside the theme.  This feature can give your website a competitive edge in search engine rankings and lead to more traffic.
  3. Customizable Design: Depending on your needs, you may want to choose a theme that allows for easy and flexible customization, whether through theme options, page builders, or the ability to modify the code directly. This feature can help you add some personal flair and style to your site. 
  4. Compatibility with WordPress plugins: WordPress plugins can add powerful functionality to your website, so it’s crucial to choose a theme that is compatible with the plugins you plan to use or might need in the future. Trust us, you don’t want to buy a theme that isn’t compatible with what you’re currently using. 
  5. Loading Times: Research shows that 53% of people will leave a website if it takes too long to load. So, this means a fast-loading website is crucial for boosting engagement, sales, and your search visibility. When looking for a theme that can help, choose one with optimized code and a lightweight design.

Free vs. premium themes

When it comes to choosing the best WordPress themes for your site, you’ll need to balance the factors above with the decision to use a free or premium option. Both have their advantages and drawbacks that you should know.

Here’s a quick overview of each, as well as when you should use them on your site: 

Free WordPress Themes:

  • Cost-effective solution, which can be helpful for people on a tight budget.
  • A wide range of free themes are available in the official WordPress directory and third-party repositories. This means you’ll have options, even if you decide to take the free route.
  • Ideal for basic websites or those with limited customization needs.
  • Free themes are usually not updated as often, which can pose security risks if not maintained properly.
  • There are limited support options, so you’ll need to check out forums if you get stuck. 

When to choose a free theme:

  • You’re on a tight budget and have basic website design needs
  • You’re comfortable with limited customization options, or don’t need advanced customization
  • You’re willing to take precautions to keep your site safe and maintained due to the lack of support and updates

Premium WordPress themes:

  • Typically come with more advanced features, which means you can tweak your site in a way that perfectly matches your needs. 
  • Outside of standard page building, these themes are often highly customizable with various built-in options and integrations.
  • Provide access to dedicated support and step-by-step guides when you have a specific problem. 
  • It can be more expensive, ranging from one-time fees to recurring subscriptions.

When to choose a premium theme:

  • You require advanced features and functionality.
  • You value regular updates, support, and maintenance.
  • You need a highly customizable and unique design.
  • Your website handles a lot of sensitive information or traffic. 

Ultimately, the decision between a free or premium WordPress theme will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the level of customization and support you require for your website. Both have a place in the community. 

Now that you know a little more about themes and how they work, let’s have a look at some of the best themes and how they can help you take your website to the next level.


WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in BetweenWordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between

Price: Free + $59 per year

Astra theme is a multipurpose and lightweight theme that has become extremely popular among WordPress users due to its performance, customizability and compatibility with popular page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder etc. 

The free version of the theme offers basic yet important features such as responsive layout, typography controls, different layouts etc. The premium version of Astra, Astra Pro, offers advanced features such as custom layouts, header builder, footer builder, typography options etc. Weighing less than 100KB, this theme is one of the fastest WordPress themes and is suitable for any type of website.


1718603778 829 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between1718603778 829 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between

Price: Free + $59 per year

Another modern and popular theme, GeneratePress, is known for its speed and ease of use. The free version already has an integrated layout builder, typography options, and basic pages such as services, portfolio, and contact.

GeneratePress is also an ideal WordPress theme for website layout because of its visual page builder in the premium version. Some of the premium features of this theme include a site library, custom layouts, sections, headers, typography, pricing tables, WooCommerce support, and advanced theme settings. If you’re looking for WordPress eCommerce themes, this is an excellent option.


1718603778 139 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between1718603778 139 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between

Price: Free + $44 per year, $176 for life

A multipurpose theme with strong eCommerce and online store capabilities, OceanWP offers a range of pre-built website demos in the free version, as well as WooCommerce integration and all the customization options you’d expect from a popular WordPress theme. 

Further premium features include a pop-up builder, sticky headers, content slider, icon box, feature grid, table of contents and more. The theme also includes premium add-ons for integrating with some of the most popular plugins such as MonsterInsights, WP Rocket, and AIOSEO. Overall, OceanWP is a powerful theme suitable for business websites and online stores.


1718603778 287 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between1718603778 287 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between

Price: Premium $69 per year

Avada is a top-selling theme on ThemeForest. It is a fully packed, highly functional, responsive, and versatile premium WordPress theme with a visual page builder, dozens of pre-built website layouts, tons of custom options, header builder, footer builder, and e-commerce shopping cart options. 

Out of the box, Avada comes with lots of layout possibilities and you can create any type of website from business and corporate sites to e-commerce stores, restaurants, cafes, product showcases, portfolio sites, travel and wedding sites, medical and law firms, SEO and marketing agencies, and any type of responsive website.

We like the Visual Pagebuilder, which allows users complete creative freedom to build stunning and highly effective web pages. In addition to that, it offers Header Builder and Footer Builder as well. Avada is a complete theme which will fulfill all your requirements.


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Price: 30-day free trial, $89 per year

Divi is a bestselling premium WordPress theme by ElegantThemes which comes with a great drag-and-drop page builder. This enables complete control over your website’s design along with remarkable layout choices. 

The user-friendly visual builder helps create personalized layouts, incorporate animations, and take advantage of the pre-designed layouts and modules. Other advanced options that Divi offers are split testing, custom CSS controls, and robust theme options. All these make Divi a versatile choice for agency websites, designers, and for everyone looking for a totally customizable web solution.

Thrive Themes

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Price: $149 per year

Thrive Themes offers a great theme builder that can help you create stunning, high-performing websites. It comes with a list of designer-made and tested themes that can be installed with a click. Set global website branding effortlessly, including smart brand colors, global font sets and pairings, and dark/light brand logos.

With Thrive Themes, you can visually edit all your theme template files, including blog posts, headers, footers, sidebars, 404 pages, and more. The theme builder allows you to edit and style blog lists with ease and make sweeping changes across your entire website or fine-tune each pixel.

Ideal for marketers and eCommerce business owners, Thrive Themes provides the flexibility and power to create engaging, conversion-optimized websites. It integrates seamlessly with other popular WordPress plugins, making it a great choice for both new and established businesses.


1718603779 394 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between1718603779 394 WordPress Themes 101 Free vs Premium and Everything in Between

Price: Free + $149 per year

Specialized WordPress themes

WordPress themes are very versatile, but sometimes you need something more targeted – a specialized WordPress theme just for your site and its unique purpose.

With that thought in mind, let’s look at some of the top theme choices for some of the most common website types, including blog, e-commerce, and business themes.

WordPress blog templates

Perhaps your #1 priority is to create a successful blog. In that case, you need a WordPress theme that’s optimized for writing and blogging. Here are some of the top WordPress blog themes featuring user-friendly elements that bloggers will love:

  • Design elements that encourage readability and content discovery
  • Built-in featured posts, related posts, and popular posts widgets
  • Integration with social networks for sharing
  • Easy customization of author boxes
  • Integrated email/newsletter signup forms

Some of the most popular WordPress blog templates include Editorial, Novelty, and Poseidon. Many of the best blog themes emphasize clean design and minimal distractions for readers while still offering plenty of customization and tools.

WordPress Ecommerce templates

If you’re ready to create an online store, you’ll need an eCommerce WordPress theme. All of the best WordPress eCommerce templates are optimized for shopping and include integration with the popular WooCommerce plugin and other shopping cart systems.

Other features include:

  • Product catalogs and shopping carts
  • Secure checkouts
  • Advanced product filters and search
  • Cross- and upselling
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Astra Pro, OceanWP, and Divi all offer strong eCommerce support, while dedicated eCommerce templates like Shoptimizer and GrooveKart are specifically designed for this.

When choosing an eCommerce WordPress theme, consider the size of your product catalog, the payment options you need, and any other functionality like memberships or subscriptions.

WordPress business and corporate templates

Whether you’re a business, agency, or professional, your WordPress theme can make or break your credibility and trust with clients and customers.

Many of the best WordPress themes for business and corporate sites feature professional designs and useful business tools, including:

  • Clean, corporate layouts
  • Staff profile pages
  • Team portfolio and case studies
  • Testimonials and client logo sliders
  • Advanced contact forms and map integrations

Neve, Customizr, and the Divi theme are all popular choices for business templates. The latter offers a whole suite of professional layouts and designs for many types of industries.

When selecting a business WordPress theme, consider your industry niche, whether you need eCommerce, and your branding and design style. All of this information will help you determine the right theme for your site. 

Ultimately, picking the right template can help you start your website strong, whatever it may be. We suggest doing some additional research and looking for themes targeting your specific niche – it will be worth your time, and your visitors will appreciate the fact that your site is optimized for them. 

Theme selection based on content needs

Apart from special use cases like blogs or e-commerce websites, you can also consider the type of content you’ll publish and choose the theme that best fits your needs.

Let’s consider some good themes for posts/comments and visual content like portfolios and galleries.

Best themes for posts and comments

Do you think user comments and community engagement will be a major part of your workflow? If so, you should pick a theme that prioritizes posts and comments.

The best themes for posts and comments WordPress provides customizations like blog layouts, commenting, social sharing, related feature tabs, and customizable user profiles.

Some well-known themes in this category include Editorial, Zine, and Suffice. These themes will give you a blank slate for long-form content to go alongside engagement via comments, sharing buttons, and related posts.

Best themes for visual content

On the other hand, if your website is going to contain a lot of visual elements like photography, designs, or graphics, you need a theme that helps in showcasing this type of content.

The themes that are best for websites with lots of visual content usually come with the following features: gallery and portfolio project system, lightbox, grid options, distraction-free modes, and slider integrations.

Some of the well-known themes for websites with lots of visual content include Divi, Neve, Astra, and specialized portfolio themes like Accountor and Imprint. Many of them make use of WordPress’ native media handling while adding better visual layouts and display features.

When selecting a theme that focuses on visual content, consider the type of media you’ll be displaying (images, videos, 3D models, etc.), whether you need proofing areas for clients, and whether print/download options will be needed.

Regardless of the type of content you’ll be publishing, investing time in identifying a theme well-suited to managing how you organize and present that content can lead to a much better user experience for your target audience.

Affordable options

Creating a website needn’t be expensive. There are high-quality, cheap WordPress themes available that ensure your website looks professionally crafted without compromising on performance or usability.

Startups, small enterprises, and people with limited budgets need cost-effective solutions when it comes to choosing WordPress themes. Here are some guidelines on how to find cheap, responsive WordPress themes:

Visit free theme repositories

The official theme repository is the first place you should consider. There are thousands of free themes available there. Free doesn’t necessarily mean the theme is of low quality. There are well-coded, responsive, and regularly maintained themes in the repository if you’re willing to look and be aware of ones that haven’t been updated in a while.

Check for developer/student discounts

Most premium theme providers give attractive discounts to developers, agencies, students, and beginners. Ask if there are special discounts available even if you don’t see any listed.

Freemium themes

There are WordPress theme companies which provide themes based on a freemium model. Kandance from our list above is one such option. You can start with the free version and upgrade to premium features as and when your resources permit.

Watch out for sales and bundles

If you have a flexible deadline, you can wait for the next sale or bundle offer from prominent theme providers. Many of them offer attractive discounts (as much as 30-70%) around various festive seasons like Black Friday and so on.

Wrapping it up

Choosing the very best WordPress theme for your website is a key part of the design process. Not only does your theme determine the appearance of your site but it also determines the experience you build with visitors.

Whether you are creating a blog, an online store, a business website, or a portfolio that is heavy on images, choosing the right WordPress theme from the start will make all the difference to the success of your site.

In this article, we’ve covered the different types of WordPress themes available, some of the popular choices, specialist themes, and even some free alternatives.

So, take the time to research, experiment, and use the advice and resources we shared today. With the right WordPress theme in hand, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving website that resonates with your audience.

Additional resources

Theme libraries

  1. Theme Directory: The official WordPress theme repository with thousands of free themes.
  2. ThemeForest: A vast marketplace for premium WordPress themes across various categories.
  3. Elegant Themes: Home to the popular Divi theme and other premium themes and plugins.

Tools for detecting themes

  1. What WordPress Theme Is That?: A free online tool to detect the theme and plugins used by a WordPress site.
  2. WPThemeDetector: Another tool for identifying the theme and plugins on a WordPress site.

Theme comparison and review sites

  1. WPBeginner: Offers reviews and comparisons of various WordPress themes and plugins.
  2. SeedProd: Provides curated lists and reviews of free and premium WordPress themes.
  3. IsItWP: Helps you find the best WordPress themes and provides in-depth reviews.


What is a WordPress theme?

A: A WordPress theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress-powered website.

How do I install a WordPress theme?

A: To install a theme, go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes, click “Add New,” search for a theme, and click “Install.” Once installed, click “Activate” to apply the theme to your site.

What is the difference between free and premium WordPress themes?

A: Free themes are available at no cost and offer basic features and customization options. Premium themes come with advanced features, dedicated support, and regular updates but require a purchase.

Can I customize my WordPress theme?

A: Yes, most WordPress themes offer customization options through the WordPress Customizer or theme-specific settings. You can change colors, fonts, layouts, and more.

What should I consider when choosing a WordPress theme?

A: Consider factors like design, responsiveness, customization options, compatibility with plugins, SEO friendliness, speed, and support.

How can I find out which theme a website is using?

A: You can use online tools like “What WordPress Theme Is That?” or “WPThemeDetector” to identify the theme and plugins used by a WordPress site.

Can I use multiple themes on my WordPress site?

A: Typically, you can only activate one theme at a time for your entire WordPress site. However, you can use different themes for different sections of your site with plugins or custom coding.

Guest AuthorSyed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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