One of the best and most reliable marketplaces for buying many themes online.
With over 10,000 WordPress themes to choose from, ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular theme marketplaces online today. But how easy is ThemeForest to use? How do its themes stack up in terms of quality, features, and price? This in-depth ThemeForest review will cover everything you need to know about this theme marketplace, including pros, cons, pricing, support, and how to choose the best ThemeForest themes.
What is ThemeForest? ThemeForest is a theme marketplace owned by Envato that currently offers over 10,000 premium WordPress themes for sale. It’s part of the Envato Market, which also contains several other digital asset marketplaces like TemplateMonster and CodeCanyon.
ThemeForest first launched in 2008 and has grown tremendously over the years, becoming the largest WordPress theme marketplace online today. The site allows developers to upload and sell their themes to buyers around the world. ThemeForest takes a cut of each sale, with authors earning between 50-70% depending on exclusivity and volume.
Some key facts about ThemeForest:
- Over 10,000 WordPress themes available
- Average price range of $40-$60 per theme
- All themes include 6 months support
- Many best-selling themes have 100,000+ sales
- Offers themes for other CMS platforms beyond just WordPress
ThemeForest hit a huge milestone in 2014, having paid out over $250 million total to its theme authors. And that number has surely skyrocketed since then. This helps illustrate just how popular ThemeForest has become for buying and selling themes.
Why Choose ThemeForest?
So why should you consider using ThemeForest over other theme marketplaces? Here are some of the key benefits of ThemeForest:
Massive Theme Selection With over 10,000 themes across every niche imaginable, ThemeForest likely has multiple options for any site type or design style you may want. Whether you need a theme for an online store, portfolio, blog, business website, or community – ThemeForest has you covered. This level of selection simply can’t be matched by most other theme marketplaces.
While the huge library has its downsides too (more on that soon), the selection is a big draw for many buyers. If you want lots of options and designs to choose between, ThemeForest is hard to beat.
Affordable Pricing The vast majority of themes on ThemeForest are priced between $40-$60. Considering that most include lifetime updates and at least 6 months of support, this is very affordable compared to pricing on other marketplaces. There are certainly some more premium themes priced above $100, but ThemeForest has themes to fit pretty much any budget.
You can even find quality free WordPress themes on ThemeForest if you search for them. Just don’t expect freebies to come with support or updates like the paid options do.
Strong Marketplace Features ThemeForest makes the theme browsing and buying process very smooth overall. handy features like user reviews, ratings, sales data, live previews, and detailed descriptions help you evaluate themes and make informed decisions. ThemeForest’s large community is one of its biggest assets.
Theme Bundles & Bonuses Some ThemeForest themes come bundled with bonus items like premium plugins, graphics, and more. So in addition to getting a great theme, you may get $100+ worth of bonuses included free. Things like slider plugins, form builders, and stock photos can really add value.
Cons of Using ThemeForest Of course, even with all of those benefits, ThemeForest isn’t perfect. Here are some of the most common downsides and complaints about ThemeForest among buyers:
No Unlimited Licenses One major downside is that ThemeForest themes only allow use on one website. You can’t purchase a theme once and use it on unlimited sites like some other marketplaces allow. If you want to use a ThemeForest theme on multiple websites, you’ll need to purchase additional licenses.
This can get expensive fast if you’re building sites for clients or have a lot of sites yourself. So it’s something to factor into your budget if you were hoping for an unlimited license.
Quality Control Issues With over 10,000 themes from thousands of different developers, maintaining consistent quality is a challenge. ThemeForest has certainly gotten better over the years at screening themes for quality, but there are still some clunkers.
Make sure to carefully vet themes using the methods outlined later in this review before making a purchase. Don’t assume every ThemeForest theme will be optimized for speed and security right off the bat.
Unsupported & Outdated Themes
Similar to the quality control issues, ThemeForest has a portion of themes that are no longer supported by the developers or haven’t been updated in years. There’s no guarantee a theme will continue to be maintained years after purchase.
Try to buy themes from sellers who are still active in ThemeForest, and check when the theme was last updated. Themes without recent updates should be avoided.
Theme Bloat Some popular multipurpose ThemeForest themes fall victim to trying to do too much. They are loaded with complex options, unnecessary features, and resource-intensive page builders. This theme bloat can lead to slow load times and a cluttered editing experience.
Less is often more when it comes to WordPress themes. Carefully assess how much you’ll actually use the features packed into any multipurpose theme you consider.
Theme Lock-In Using a page builder or theme-specific features can potentially “lock” your content into that theme. If you switch themes later, the next theme won’t recognize the page builder content and shortcodes.
This isn’t an issue with all themes, but it is prevalent among complex multipurposeThemeForest themes using custom page builders. Understand the risk before using exotic page builders and shortcodes.
How to Choose the Best ThemeForest Themes The key to success with ThemeForest is spending time researching themes rather than impulse buying the first one that looks nice. Follow these tips to find and select quality themes:
Search Efficiently Use ThemeForest’s tagging system, categories, and filters to narrow down the 10,000+ themes into a more reasonable list for your needs. Refine search results by price, rating, compatibility, and other factors.
Read Reviews & Ratings Don’t just browse themes superficially based on screenshots. Click through and read detailed reviews from other buyers to look for common complaints or praise for each theme. High ratings and large numbers of sales are good signs.
Preview Demos Extensively ThemeForest makes it easy to test drive themes by providing live demo sites. Make use of them! Check out demos on mobile too. Demo limitations and fake content often hide shortcomings.
Vet the Developer Factor the developer/seller into your buying decision. Do they respond to support questions? How regularly do they update their themes? How many themes have they sold? Developers with strong histories are ideal.
Avoid Outdated Themes Check when the theme was last updated before buying. Anything over 6-12 months without an update should be avoided. An outdated theme will become incompatible and insecure over time.
Assess Realistic Usage Don’t get sucked into buzzword-filled sales pages with promises of 100+ theme options. Determine the must-have features for your site and make sure they are implemented cleanly and optimized.
ThemeForest Support, Documentation & Guarantee All themes purchased on ThemeForest come with six months of support from the developer. You can contact them via the ThemeForest platform or their own website to ask questions and get help with any issues that arise using the theme.
Some common things covered by support include:
- Installation and setup help
- Troubleshooting theme issues
- Guidance using features
- Fixing bugs or conflicts
Support does not usually include requests for new features, customizations, or installation services.
You can pay extra to extend support for another 6 or 12 months if needed. This typically costs 20-30% of the theme’s purchase price.
ThemeForest also requires developers to provide complete documentation with each theme. Look for themes that go above and beyond with the documentation – including detailed setup tutorials and usage guides. Good documentation can really help avoid needing to contact support.
All themes also come with a 30-day money back guarantee. So if you have major issues getting a theme working or aren’t satisfied, you can request a refund within 30 days of purchase.
Do ThemeForest Themes Have Good Performance? Like any WordPress theme, performance varies quite a bit. But ThemeForest has made an effort in recent years to screen themes for optimal speed. All themes now must meet certain code quality rules and pass performance tests to be approved.
That said, simpler lightweight themes still tend to load faster than complex multipurpose themes on ThemeForest. Things like excessive HTTP requests, unoptimized images, and inefficient code can still slow things down.
Make sure to carefully inspect each theme’s demo site yourself. Test the mobile experience too. Themes with delays or lag when interacting are best avoided.
Top ThemeForest Theme Developers When buying from ThemeForest, the developer behind each theme is just as important as the theme itself. Their commitment to maintenance and support makes all the difference long-term. These are some of the very best theme developers actively selling themes on ThemeForest:
ThemeFusion – Creators of the popular Avada theme.
Dream-Theme – Known for multipurpose themes like The7 and Jupiter.
Muffin Group – Developers of the BeTheme responsive theme.
Kriesi – Seller of Enfold, one of the top ThemeForest themes.
Elegant Marketplace – Offers a wide range of themes and site builders.
UX-Themes – The team behind Flatsome, a top eCommerce theme.
As you browse ThemeForest, keep an eye out for themes from these sellers as they tend to be higher quality and well-supported compared to average.
ThemeForest Theme Pricing The majority of ThemeForest themes currently cost between $40-$60. However, ThemeForest has no strict pricing tiers anymore. Developers are free to price themes at any amount they like.
Here’s an overview of the pricing spread across ThemeForest:
- $20-30 – Basic and minimalist themes
- $35-50 – Standard pricing for most themes
- $55-70 – More premium themes from top developers
- $80-$100+ – High-end complex themes and suites
- $300+ – “Ultra” premium niche themes
- Free – Limited section of free themes
Considering that most themes include lifetime updates and 6 months support, pricing is very reasonable across the board. Just make sure any theme over $60 meets your needs and has stellar reviews before buying.
You can also regularly find themes discounted 20-50% off during sales. So patience can pay off if you aren’t in a rush.
ThemeForest vs Elegant Themes Elegant Themes is one of the main ThemeForest alternatives, offering a subscription model to access all of their themes. Let’s compare both choices:
- ThemeForest has a vastly larger theme selection and caters more to one-time purchases rather than subscriptions.
- Elegant Themes offers unlimited use licenses for all themes with its subscription, whereas ThemeForest limits you to one site per theme.
- Both have themes suitable for beginners and developers, but Elegant Themes includes more time-saving tools for non-coders.
- ThemeForest rates lower on support satisfaction compared to Elegant Themes.
- ThemeForest has more modern and complex multipurpose themes using page builders.
There’s room for both theme marketplaces depending on your needs. Elegant Themes is ideal for users wanting unlimited access and support. ThemeForest works better if you just need a single site license and want lots of variety.
ThemeForest Review Conclusion, Is ThemeForest right for you?
If you value having thousands of themes at your fingertips across every niche, it certainly warrants consideration. The theme selection is unmatched. And competitive pricing coupled with the supportive community help offset some of ThemeForest’s downsides related to quality control and lack of unlimited licenses.
Just be prepared to do extensive research rather than impulse buying the first theme you fall for. Treating each theme purchase like an investment into your website for the long-haul is wise.
With extra diligence, ThemeForest can be a goldmine. You just need to dig through the thousands of options carefully to uncover the gems – of which there are many.
Frequently asked questions
Is it safe to buy from ThemeForest?
Yes, ThemeForest is generally safe to purchase themes from. It’s owned by the reputable Envato Marketplaces network and has security measures in place to protect buyers. User account information and payments are encrypted. Downloaded files are scanned for malware before public distribution as well. There have been isolated incidents of vulnerabilities in the past, but overall ThemeForest takes the necessary steps to ensure a secure buying experience.
Is ThemeForest owned by Envato?
Yes, ThemeForest is owned and operated by Envato Marketplaces. Envato Marketplaces is a Melbourne, Australia based company that launched ThemeForest back in 2008. Since then, Envato has acquired a number of other digital marketplaces such as TemplateMonster, CodeCanyon, GraphicRiver, and AudioJungle. These marketplaces are now unified under the Envato umbrella, but ThemeForest remains the most popular asset marketplace in their portfolio.
How much money can you make on ThemeForest?
ThemeForest theme authors earn between 50% to 70% per sale based on exclusivity and volume tiers. Many ThemeForest developers are able to generate over $1,000 per month, and incomes in the $5,000+ range are also common. The top ThemeForest sellers earn well into the six figures from marketplace sales alone. For example, ThemeFusion (makers of Avada) has achieved over $10 million in total ThemeForest sales. So for talented theme developers, ThemeForest can be very lucrative.
What is the difference between Envato and ThemeForest?
Envato is the parent company that owns and operates ThemeForest along with several other digital asset marketplaces such as TemplateMonster. ThemeForest specifically focuses on themes and site templates for platforms like WordPress, Shopify, HTML, etc. It is the most popular marketplace owned by Envato. Envato itself is just the overarching brand and company behind these sub-marketplaces like ThemeForest. All the marketplaces share a unified user account system powered by Envato.