ThemeForest Guide For Choosing The Right WordPress Theme For Your Website

ThemeForest Guide
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ThemeForest is one of the marketplaces where you can make purchases of themes for your WordPress website. Despite its great template options, buyers need to be cautious when considering these WordPress website templates. 

Many people use ThemeForest for their WordPress site, there is every need for every ThemeForest buyer to properly crosscheck a WordPress theme whether it suits the desired site or whether it’s better to opt for another option when you have a need for creating website. This ThemeForest buyers guide will help you achieve your site goal greatly if rightly implemented.

Looking back then in 2018, certain issues were identified related to different websites in just a week regarding ThemeForest WordPress themes installation.  Though these issues were varied, the truth still remains, all had purchased themes on ThemeForest.

Going by this analogy, it became necessary that many considered it not safe to work on any websites that had a ThemeForest theme installed.  

Our expectations were that WordPress Consultants and agencies owe users the obligation to provide clean, well-coded WordPress themes. Their inability to live up to their obligation turn to hurt the deal and the trust we have in them.

Our thought here is not a condemnation of the integrity of all ThemeForest themes, it is certain that some of their themes are good though and even the ones noted here are not bad in totality.

It is quite easy to start selling on ThemeForest but it is more vulnerable to web design themes which makes it difficult for many to invest in them. Recently, the standards for selling ThemeForest on the marketplace improved greatly. Though, it is still risk-taking when purchasing one.

 Funny enough, most non-techies still find it difficult to know what to look for so as to determine whether the theme is good or bad. Our thought in this article therefore will certainly guide you on how to make a good decision in the end. 

#1. What Is ThemeForest?

ThemeForest is indeed a great marketplace where pre-made themes are sold for a variety of CMS platforms and HTML websites. Envato owed ThemeForest and it comes with several different websites under its brand like CodeCanyon, GraphicRiver, AudioJungle, etc.

It is obvious that ThemeForest leads in the marketplace since many purchase their themes unknown to the dangers associated with some of the themes that are made available on the site. 

No doubt, the WordPress theme you are looking for may look all great but trust me, behind the scenes, may be something creepy. 

There is a variety of themes to suit what you want ranging from eCommerce, businesses, and portfolios to everything you can imagine! Whatever your need, no matter what your business or niche is, there is probably a theme that may seem perfect for you.

#2. My Experience with ThemeForest

I have had many themes purchased over the years from ThemeForest and they don’t look bad anyway. Though I have never used them for website clients but for my own personal use they served me fairly for what I needed them for. 

Also, I have purchased mostly photography and blog themes, which give me an insight into what the good and the bad look like.

Most notably, 2 Dogs Media assisted several people who had ThemeForest themes with issues. Such issues mostly were due to a lack of updates and compatibility issues with plugins.

Most of those issues like eCommerce websites with the latest Woocommerce plugin version were indeed complicated to resolve.

Truth be told, there was a degree of improvement between the periods 2017-2018. Though the thought of using it for business purposes is not there except for personal use.

#3. Why is ThemeForest Popular?

ThemeForest themes are made popular due to their affordability over a custom-developed website. They also look pretty good no doubt. 

Thanks to the team for their excellent job. The theme creators have really done a great job at marketing WordPress themes by making them look gorgeous and flexible for a variety of uses (a multipurpose theme they call it), sadly, that is the genesis of their issues.

 No doubt, they are so popular because they have too many. Look at their themes for every niche with amazing features for all at a very low price in the region of $68 or so.

 Aside from these fantastic features with the little fee required, there are still doubts about them and if you really value your business consider other options other than ThemeForest.

ThemeForest Themes

#4. The Good Aspect of ThemeForest

Sure, its low price makes it necessary for many to afford, it offers them an amazing website design which is why most people aligned themselves with ThemeForest. 

You can get a killer design with all the modern features at your disposal at a fraction of the cost of a custom-designed website for you. Indeed, the designs look wonderful and are filled with great imagery and font use, and touches like moving parts that really draw you in.

Envato market also has a large global reach that can support managing, creating, and updating your theme.  For long-term business growth, I think ThemeForest is not the best option due to the following factors. 

#5. Reasons to avoid ThemeForest (THE BAD Aspect)

1. Branding Concerns

Every business or blog has its own distinctive look, target, and goals and this is applicable to a website. Therefore, using a template that bears a resemblance to other websites is indeed a bad omen on the part of the business.

A typical example is one of the big-shot sellers on ThemeForest, Avada which has more than 300K themes sold. Its customization makes most of the websites that use it wear the same look.

2. Code Bloat

Another major issue raised with many WordPress themes from ThemeForest is that virtually all of the plugins associated MUST be installed with the theme. This ranges from a page builder to a gallery not minding whether the user needs them or not.

Before now, theme developers were actually not even separating the plugins from the theme code until recently.

Even at this, some themes require a download of several plugins just to have the theme working perfectly.

Many of these plugins are from CodeCanyon and run off the theme author’s development license.  It then implies that you have to be patient with the theme creator to do all plugin updates as well as theme updates since you will not be able to access the plugins yourself.

Ella WordPress Themes

 Find some key examples:

#1. Some custom WordPress plugins of the theme developer may not often work with any other theme. This means, if your theme is altered in the future its functionality plugin may become outdated.

#2. Visual Composer is a bulky page builder plugin with a lot of memory needed to run. Several complaints were recorded due to a lack of speed and some lock-up issues.

Its plugin comes with inserts “short-codes” into your content when you use the creative layouts. Failure to remove the inserted short code at a point when you want to use the default WordPress editor will affect you by leaving you with a lot of shortcodes to remove.

#3. Themes like WooCommerce and BuddyPress will definitely not be interested in this. Remember the code exist whether you need it or not, but the disadvantage is that, it affects site speed and the number of files required.

One other notable issue associated with ThemeForest themes is common coding in custom post types. For instance, if you have a business website, then you ought to have an “employee” post type. 

In most cases, these post types are coded right in the code by the authors of themes and when the theme is changed, then these post types will disappear and you will be required to have them over on your new website.

The best thing is for you to use a plugin to create these post types like Advanced Custom Fields and also even a custom plugin with your post types that can easily move to a new website when required. 

According to Slobodan Mani, one of the WordPress specialists who has a better understanding of the WordPress Review Team guidelines has shared his worth experience here:

There’s no way around it, some of the stuff sold at ThemeForest would never, ever make it into the repository of free WordPress themes. Let me say that again: Some of the themes sold at Envato are not good enough to be given away for free”.

Hundreds of fonts are included and so are the color changers and other backend tools that just bog down your website. Use your stylesheet to give it a style without not necessarily going into an extra code of applying a push button.

Other common problems which affect different plugins that are additionally installed with the theme are JQUERY and JS scripts. Though, these are more advanced issues that many website owners could notice.

3. Lacking Of Updates

One good thing about WordPress is that it releases as many updates as possible throughout the year to ensure your website is secured, addresses bugs, and also provides new features. 

While WordPress has fulfilled its part of an update, it is expected that the ThemeForest author also needs to do an update to ensure their theme works perfectly with the latest WordPress version.

4. Difficult Setup

It beats everyone’s imagination when the ThemeForest WordPress theme doesn’t look pretty same as the sample when installed.

The complexity of the theme most often made it difficult for the theme to wear the same look as the one seen on the sales page. It is unfortunate that such secrets are not revealed beforehand.

Many web developers attest to the fact that many of the themes are indeed confusing to set up from complex page templates to scattered admin areas and widgets, it makes it so difficult that one does not know where to start.

Just imagine even the installation guide manual can’t help it due to inadequate instruction contained in it. The language also is a barrier since others could tell English was not their native language and that becomes extremely difficult to understand.

Before buying a WordPress theme from ThemeForest, always make sure it comes with great installation and setup instructions!

5. Theme Removals

This might sound funny but trust me, it is true that a theme can be removed from ThemeForest with no notice.

Many users faced challenges of their theme being removed for reasons unknown to them. That explains how items can be removed by the author or the Envato staff at their will and even if you did NOT download it right away, they owe you nothing and as such you end up losing money.

This act becomes a thing of worry, for it is possible to contact the author to see if you can get the theme sent to you and possibly DOWNLOAD the whole theme package immediately after purchase! But not everyone does and not every theme author will respond to you even if you request it.

So how does the removal of a theme affect you? Yes, this can affect you negatively, no updates and support. This means anytime you have an issue with your theme, you are required to hire someone to help you out.

Not many web developers will advise you on fixing issues on a ThemeForest theme. They will be advised and recommend other alternatives aside from ThemeForest.

6. Speed Analysis – GTMetrix

To better your understanding, we will show you using pictorials why we highly suggest you stay away from the ThemeForest and Envato market for your WordPress templates. 

It is hoped that these images with this representation are enough to help you better your understanding.

At this point, we have randomly selected some premium WordPress themes with Envato. As we rightly pointed out in our earlier submission, we are not saying every theme on ThemeForest is bad but must be traded with caution. 

This theme is better off than some we have seen and read about in terms of code and speed, but that is not to say, there are without issues.  With our vast knowledge, we knew what to look for in finding themes which is why we found one that we knew would not be too bad.

Testing details

  1. This is a new site we are running these tests off of is a brand new site – there is no content on it and no images uploaded
  2. No plugins at all are installed outside of what comes packaged with either theme tested
  3. We ran the test on GTMetrix
  4. The website being tested is hosted on a dedicated server with Liquid Web – results would probably be quite different on a shared hosting company like GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.

Theme Test 1: Genesis Framework with child theme

Load time: 1.2s (this is how quickly the site loads) Page size: 156kb (it shows how many bytes are on the content of the page) Requests: 21 (this indicates how many files, images, and scripts need to be downloaded for the site to render)

AdsTargets GTmetrix performance

Theme Test 2: ThemeForest LimoKing theme

Load time: 2.5s (this is how quickly the site loads)
Page size: 785kb  (it shows how many bytes are on the content of the page)
Requests: 41 (this shows how many files, images, and scripts need to be downloaded for the site to render)

GT Metrix Results Overview

As you can see by ONLY adding in a ThemeForest theme we are adding 1.3s to the load time and extra 20 requests for different pages of code. We have not even added any content, images, or plugins that our website may need. This is a pretty dramatic increase.  While the speed itself in this specific test is not horrible — the increase in files and page size is not a good way to start off your new website.

#6. The ugly side of ThemeForest around the Web

Though many may have rated ThemeForest so low well below where we would want to see a theme rated.  But always ensure to read the comments properly, for it’s possible some good stuff could be involved. 


ThemeForest is indeed a great marketplace where pre-made themes are sold for a variety of CMS platforms and HTML websites.

It is obvious that the ThemeForest theme comes with great template options. However, it is quite easy to start selling on ThemeForest which defines its vulnerability to web design themes, and as such makes it difficult for many to invest in them due to the distrust of WordPress Consultants and agencies not to provide clean, well-coded WordPress themes.

Despite an improvement in the standards for selling ThemeForest on the marketplace, it is still risk-taking when purchasing one especially to use it for a business purpose.

We strongly recommend you opt for another option when you have a need for creating a website. There is a variety of themes to suit what you want ranging from eCommerce, businesses, and portfolios to everything you can imagine! Whatever your need, no matter what your business or niche is, there is probably a theme that may seem perfect for you, certainly not ThemeForest.

Simon Orshi

Simon Orshi

Simon is a creative copywriter focused mainly on digital marketing and related topics. He loves sharing his expertise with our audience to help improve their blogging and traffic growth skills. He also loves reading, football and blogging.

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