Advantages and Disadvantages of Free WordPress Themes

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    Advantages of Free WordPress Themes


    What’s not to like about something that’s absolutely free? There are many advantages to using a free theme:


    Free Themes Are Free!


    FreeThe awesome thing about free WordPress themes is that they’re FREE!

    Free themes aren’t going to burn a hole in your pocket. You can simply download the theme you want and starting using it. Premium themes can be expensive and if you buy a theme and later decide you don’t want it, or discover that it doesn’t work well with plugins you really need, it can be difficult to get your money back. Also, why hire a designer and developer to create a site for you when you can simply download one for free?


    Community Support


    While free themes often come without support, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started with a free theme you’ve just downloaded or with any advanced customizations you may want to make. The WordPress Support Forums are the first port of call. We’ve also got a rocking support team at WPMU DEV.


    Experimentation


    If you’re like me, you quickly spot a theme you like, download and activate it and then decide it’s totally wrong for you site. Rinse and repeat. This can get pretty expensive if you’re buying premium themes at $45 a pop. With free WordPress themes, since you don’t have to pay for them you can download as many as you like without compromising your budget. You can experiment with as many themes as you like until you find the right one that suits your needs.


    Disadvantages of Free WordPress


    While there are many good reasons to download free themes, they do have their limitations and disadvantages.


    Not Unique


    There are a plethora of blogs out there (including ours) that regularly publish lists of the best free themes, so the best ones are quickly picked up and promoted. The best free themes can be download hundreds, if not thousands, of times, ensuring your site is about as unique as a banana.


    Poorly Coded


    Many free themes are put together by amateurs who have poor coding skills, leaving your site open to security vulnerabilities if you decide to use the theme. Poorly coded best free WordPress themes are also less likely to be localization-ready if you want to translate your site into another language, or SEO-optimized to help your site load faster and perform well in search rankings. Free themes usually offer very basic features. The premium theme market is an incredibly competitive place – just look at Theme Forest. Themes need to offer responsive design and dozens of customizations to get ahead of competitors. Free themes more than not have a very limited number of features.


    Rarely Updated


    Malicious codeFree themes are notorius for containing nasty code and other bugs.

    WordPress is constantly being updated. In fact, the latest version of WordPress, 3.8, was released just two months after WordPress 3.7. It’s important your themes are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. When you use a premium theme, the onus is on the developer to release timely updates. But when you’re using a free theme, you could wait months for an upgrade or not even see one at all. There are themes in the WordPress Theme Repository that haven’t been updated in more than two years. Also read


    Malicious Code and Encrypted Footer Links


    Free themes are notorious for being a conduit for malicious code, encrypted spammy links and link injections for malware or whatever else. Since the Google Penguin update, Google has cracked down on sites that have spammy and encrypted links. Hell, we were even unfairly penalised for it.