Free and Premium WordPress Themes – Whats the difference?
Wordpress Themes are a key part of building your Wrdorpess Website. There are currently tens of thousands of excellent themes built specifically for WordPress but now there is a fierce debate on whether theme and plugin developers can charge for their work and restrict the usage license. Since WordPress is released under an open source license any work derived from WordPress (ie. Themes and plugins) should also be open source.
We take a look at the 6 key differences between free and paid WordPress themes.
The quality of the design is likely to be much higher. Free themes tend to be simple and clean in their layout whereas Premium themes tend to be more graphical and focus on the visual appeal of the design.
Premium themes are often at the cutting edge of WordPress development and are among the first to incorporate new features. Many Premium themes let you do a huge amount of customization in the Theme Options page where you can change everything from the layout to the header graphics. You can even customize the menu options and set different options for different pages. Free themes tend to have a simple one size fits all option.
Free themes are designed and released because the developer is interested in coding, not running a business. There is no incentive for them to support the theme and answer questions because they are not being paid to do so and they don’t have any business reputation on the line. By contrast a premium theme will often have a forum or help desk where you can ask questions and get your problems resolved.
Similar to the support, the developer of a free WordPress theme is under no obligation to update their theme to the latest version of WordPress whereas a premium theme developer needs to ensure they are always up to date otherwise they will lose out on customers and money. Updates are particularly relevant when it comes to security measures.
Free theme developers often make their themes available for free because it contains a backlink to their website in the footer of the site which gives their own site a boost in search engines and helps increase their Pagerank. This has seen a rise in ‘Freemium’ themes that have the characteristics of a premium theme but are released for free with backlinks to other websites in the footer. The links are often encrypted or the theme is disabled if removed. The premium themes generally do not have the requirement for you to link back to the developers site.
This relates back to how often the theme is updated because new vulnerabilities are discovered all the time and if the theme is out of date it could compromise your site. However, scammers and hackers can also make use of free WordPress themes to inject malicious code like hidden spam links in to your site without you even knowing it. If a developer of premium themes did this they’d be out of business pretty quickly once word got around about their dirty tactics.
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The 3-60 Hosting Team