Free or premium: Which website theme to choose

When it comes to making a website for your company, launching a blog, or creating a portfolio site, many people (both web developers and the rest of us) prefer using web templates. And why not? Using a template like a WordPress theme has many advantages.

First of all, it saves you a lot of time since you don’t have to build a site from scratch. Second, these themes are super easy to use, which means that people who don’t know how to code can still create a website. Finally, this is a pretty affordable option. In fact, there’s a wide selection of free themes, and you can easily find the one you need from marketplaces like MasterBundles.

So if there are a lot of decent free themes, why do people still spend their money on premium ones? Is there a difference between these two types of templates?

Free themes: Why are they free?

You can get free web templates from sites like These themes are nice, designed according to the latest trends, and easy to work with. Why would you spend $80 on something you can get for free? Well, it’s more complicated than that.


Even though most of these free templates are great, they obviously aren’t as fancy and functional as premium ones. In other words, they don’t have as many useful features, such as visual builders that enable anybody to build a website.

And unlike premium themes, they might not be equipped with must-have plug-ins. You can get those plug-ins separately, but some of them are rather expensive, which means you could end up spending more money than you would if you’d used a premium theme.


Another concern is licensing. As a rule, free templates have limited licenses, which means you can’t use them for commercial websites like online stores. But if you’re launching a blog or portfolio website, this won’t be a problem.


Free templates rarely come with documentation, so you have to figure out everything on your own. If you’re a developer or just fond of coding and web design, this shouldn’t be tough.


These themes might be hard to customize since most of them don’t have many customization options. Anything you want to customize will require some coding skills.

If you don’t have those skills, you’ll have to settle for a simple layout or color scheme. Minimalism and simplicity are trendy right now, though, so you might not need to create elaborate layouts or use unusual color schemes.


Let’s face it, free themes either have very few updates or no updates at all. This might lead to security problems for your website, and you definitely don’t need that.

Premium themes: Why are they better?

Premium themes have a cost attached, but these templates usually have way more features than free themes. They also come with visual builders and a lot of premium plug-ins.

Apart from that, each premium theme has a unique design that guarantees your website will be unique. On average, these themes cost about $30 to $100, which is pretty affordable for all the features you get.


Naturally, premium themes have more features than free ones. In addition to plug-ins, these themes come with drag-and-drop builders, e-commerce features, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff that will help you create a unique and functional website.


These themes can be used for commercial sites, such as online stores. There might be some minor licensing restrictions, but they shouldn’t affect your website’s functionality.


All premium themes come with accurate and easy-to-understand documentation. This means you’ll be able to easily figure out how to work with your theme as well as how to deal with any possible issues. You’ll also be able to contact a professional support team for questions or problems.


Premium templates are much easier to customize to your needs than free ones.


Finally, most premium themes provide lifetime updates. In other words, your site will look stunning and perform flawlessly forever, or for as long as you need it. This is a huge advantage.

Premium vs free: Which one should you choose?

Both types of themes have their advantages and disadvantages. The one you should use depends on the kind of website you need. If you want to create a web portfolio or personal blog, go ahead and use a free theme. If you need a theme for an online shop, a corporate website, or any other commercial project, a premium theme is the way to go.

The following chart summarizes the differences between these types of web templates.

FeaturesBasicWide list, including plug-ins and visual editors
DocumentationNoClear documentation & support
Customization processChallengingEasy
UpdatesRare or no updates at allRegular lifetime updates

Final word

When it comes to choosing a theme, be super careful so that you get one you can actually use without spending too much money. This is why deciding between a free and a premium template can be so tough. It all depends on the type of website you’re going to launch. If you still need some help, take a look at these fancy themes and find the one that will win your heart.

Alla is a marketing manager at TemplateMonster. She will gladly help you update unique content for your website and establish a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership.

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