How To Choose And Install a WordPress Theme

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Hi there! Creating a strong online presence is crucial for every business that strives for success these days.

If you’ve decided to create a WordPress (WP) web presence, you can do this much faster with a WordPress theme. The modern global web is full of quality free and premium templates that let a web design newbie create a professional website with a modern user interface and strong functionality within a couple of days. 

In this article, I cover how to install a WordPress template. I also cover the main advantages and differences between free and premium WordPress themes. Join me on this journey, and you’ll learn how to choose a template that matches the needs of your business best!

How to Install a WordPress Theme

WP theme installation is not rocket science. The process is pretty much straight forward. 

Installing a free theme takes less time as such a theme offers you the chosen website design and only basic functionality. Paid themes are typically more feature-rich with Demo Content and additional plugins. These themes will take somewhat longer to install, but the result you see is definitely worth it!

To install a free theme, do the following:

  1. In your WP dashboard, go to “Appearance” -> “Themes”.
  2. Browse the collection of thousands of free WordPress themes available there. 
  3. Click “Install” next to the theme you like.
  4. Once the installation is over, click “Activate”.

If you have a free WP template that you’ve obtained from the web in a .zip format, follow the instructions for paid themes. 

The instructions on how to install a premium WordPress theme differ for each template provider. It’s the reason why your paid WP theme should have online or offline documentation to precisely guide you through the installation process. Below I share the general outline.

To install a premium WP theme, do the following:

  1. Go to “Appearance” -> “Themes” in your WP admin panel.
  2. Select and upload your zipped theme file.
  3. After the upload is complete, “Activate” the template.

Now, you should install Sample Data, which lets you quickly create a website out of the box. Sample Data contains all the imagery, multimedia, content, and layouts that you see on the Live Demo of your premium template. If your theme includes Sample Data, you can just make changes to the professional content presets of your template, instead of having to build your own content. 

  1. Go to “Tools” -> “Import” section of your WP dashboard. Next, you choose the Sample Data file from your PC following the instructions. Wait for it to upload.
  2. In some cases, you also upload a .sql file to your site’s database using hosting tools.

WordPress Free vs Paid Themes: Which Should You Choose?

Which themes are better – free or premium? It depends on what you need. 

Pros of free WP themes:

  • Free themes don’t cost you a dime. 
  • They can be both high and low quality, depending on who created them. Many established premium template providers offer you high-quality free WordPress themes to promote their brand and attract new clients. 
  • Free WordPress themes install fast and deliver you fast performance out of the box.

 Cons of free WP themes:

  • In general, free themes are pretty basic in terms of functionality. 
  • They offer you only standard display options.
  • No extra plugins on board.
  • In case your free theme is mediocre or bad, it may have security breaches, bugs, glitches, and other issues. And there may be no one to hold responsible for your time spent working with the low-quality free template. 
  • Free themes come with no support. 
  • Imagery is typically not included.

Pros of premium WordPress themes:

  • You get an extended pack of Sample Data, including content presets for all typical website pages, attractive modern image sliders and galleries, imagery, multimedia, etc.
  • You get trendy modern website design, enhanced with professional CSS animation, Parallax, and professional layouts.
  • Premium templates are optimized for responsiveness, SEO, speed, and conversion.
  • With a premium theme, you get strong social and lead generation options.
  • You also get a package of UI & UX boosting plugins, which make your website usable and convenient.
  • You may also get pre-made widgets, content modules, pre-sets, shortcodes and other tools to create engaging content.
  • Typically, modern paid WordPress themes are compatible with one or another popular drag-n-drop website builder, which enables even a web design newbie to build a strong online presence.
  • Paid WordPress themes are thoroughly documented. Many come with lifetime support (via Live Chat, ticketing e-mail system, or phone).
  • In case your paid WP theme fails to live up to your expectations, discuss such options as an exchange or refund with your template provider. 

Cons of premium WordPress themes:

  • A paid WordPress theme costs something from $30 to $70. This is not a disadvantage, but still, the main reason why some people opt for free WordPress themes. 
  • Premium themes have lots of assets. They weigh more than free themes. If your paid theme is not one of the best, all the additional plugins and content may slow down your website. 
  • Installing a paid WordPress theme takes a couple of steps more, like Sample Data installation, database setup, etc.

See the best free and paid WordPress themes below:

1. Imperion – Multipurpose Corporate WordPress Theme


Imperion is the best-selling premium corporate template for WordPress. It offers you 11 custom-made skins for different business niches, Revolution Slider 6, WooCommerce compatibility, etc. Imperion theme is compatible with Elementor Builder, empowering you with the most comprehensive drag-n-drop tool for website customization.

2. Imperion Free – Multipurpose Corporate Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Imperion Free is a good match to create your first corporate website. This free template incorporates one corporate website design with 6+ pages. The theme is compatible with Elementor Builder and responsive. 

3. Storycle – Multipurpose News Portal Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Fresh and relevant, 24.Storycle is a best-selling multipurpose template for news portals and blogs. The theme offers you 16+ niche demos, a powerful Post Slider, a number of engaging widgets, and Jet Plugins. You also get MegaMenu, Header and Footer Layout Builder, Gutenberg support, 10 Single Post layouts, etc. 

4. Storycle lite – Multipurpose News Portal Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

The free version of 24.Storycle template offers you the main skin of this paid template free of charge. You get four pages, including a modern Blog. To edit 24.Storycle Lite, use the pre-built Elementor Builder.

5. Monstroid2 – Multipurpose Modular Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Monstroid2 is a legendary paid WordPress theme that has become a huge hit with 14,000+ sales. This universal template offers you 76 skins to build your website with for every niche you can imagine. The theme also incorporates one of the strongest feature packs in the market, including Revolution Slider 6, Hotel & Appointment Booking, Jet Plugins, Elementor Builder, WooCommerce, MegaMenu, working forms, etc. 

6. Monstroid2 Lite – Free WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Want to start a simple and attractive website on the go? The main skin of Monstroid2 is a great match for this. This theme has a clean, distraction-free design, which lets you winningly present next to any content.

7. JohnnyGo – Multipurpose Home Services WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

This is a popular template for all sorts of home services and home repair businesses. JohnyGo incorporates 20 amazing niche demos and 30 custom pages for all purposes. This template has all the pre-built content you need to professionally showcase your services, master projects, and sell efficiently with WooCommerce. Being Elementor Builder compatible, JohnyGo theme fosters unprecedented editing ease.

8. JohnnyGo Lite – Multipurpose Home Services Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Get access to one of the basic JohnyGo skins free with Johnny Go Lite! This lightweight, responsive, and feast-performing template is WYSIWYG-ready. 

9. Tourizto – Travel Company Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Tourizto is an extra-cool paid WP theme for travel agencies and tour operators. The theme boasts of creative design and professional image integration that help your website stand out. Thanks to Jet Plugins you can create all sorts of content to effectively engage prospects and promote your services. This well-documented template is supported by a professional team 24/7 via Live Chat. 

10. Tourizto lite – Travel Company Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Get the same attractive Tourizto design, but with fewer tools and assets, with the free Tourizto Lite template. The Lite version of this theme includes 4 pages: Home, About, Blog, and Contacts. It’s a good starter package to begin with!

11. Meltony – Minimalist WordPress Theme for Any Businesses

Details | Demo

Building your online presence with the minimal Meltony template will be a true pleasure thanks to Elementor builder, Jet Plugins, additional WP Customizer options, and an extended collection of pre-made content. This best-in-class minimal WP theme for business offers you extra cool, attractive, and responsive website design, which you can customize on the go to launch a stellar online presence within a week or even less!

12. Meltony lite – Minimal Multipurpose Elementor WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Meltony Lite is a simple, fast-performing, and minimal WordPress theme, which you can obtain for free from the web. With 4 pre-built pages and Elementor builder, Meltony Lite is a quality free theme to create any kind of a website with.

Wrapping Up

Premium WordPress themes have many advantages that raise your online presence above mediocrity. These themes should be your preferred option if you’re serious about beating the competition online and making it to the top. On the contrary, if you just want to create a local website or personal blog, you may be pretty happy with a quality free WordPress theme. 

No matter, whether you choose a free or premium WordPress theme, make sure you go for a quality, responsive WP template by a well-established template provider. Use the best theme to quickly create a web presence to achieve your digital goals! 

Stay tuned!

Kai Spriestersbach

Kai Spriestersbach is owner, publisher and editor-in-chief of wpfox and works as a freelancer in the Research & Development department for eology GmbH, based in Volkach. In doing so, he concentrates on the training and further education of the employees and on holding seminars or webinars and lectures. He has a total of 15 years of experience in online marketing and web development and has specialized in user-centric search engine optimization and technical SEO since 2009. The studied Bachelor of Science in E-Commerce helps companies to build and train their own in-house teams. Kai Spriestersbach also advises start-ups on web technology and online marketing issues, works as an affiliate publisher and develops innovative SEO and analysis tools.

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