Finding a WordPress Theme Was a Broken Process… Until Now

Lots of WordPress developers tell us that off-the-shelf WordPress themes are becoming an increasingly popular choice in comparison to bespoke, from-scratch themes. But finding a good theme that will work for your project is still a difficult and often frustrating process.’s new WordPress Theme Explorer offers a unique way to take some of the pain away.

“it’s easy to end up with a theme that simply doesn’t look as good in real life as it did in the demo”

I’ve been building WordPress sites for over four years now and have always found finding a theme to be a bit of a broken process:

  1. Search through a range of theme providers for suitable themes;
  2. Look at the reviews, ratings, number of downloads and comments to see if a theme’s any good;
  3. Comb through the demo site to imagine how it might look without the glossy demo content;
  4. Pay, download, install and cross fingers

Even with due diligence, it’s easy to end up with a theme that simply doesn’t look as good in real life as it did in the demo with the perfect word-count and beautiful photography.

What makes this theme tool different? connects themes with real-world sites that are actually running them. You should re-read that last sentence: we think it’s profound.

Here’s how the ‘find a theme process’ looks when you use

  1. Search themes from top theme providers like Themeforest, WooThemes, Mojo Themes, Rocket Theme and more using instant filters;
  2. Sort the themes that match your requirements by popularity, price, page speed* or score* (* of sites running that theme);
  3. Click on a theme to see more info and to see screenshots of sites using this theme in the real world;
  4. Click through to buy the theme, more certain you’ve chosen a theme that will perform well for your project
An example theme view page

An example theme view page

Yep, you read that right folks: no longer do you need to imagine how a theme will look in the real world nor guess how it will perform in terms of page speed or adaptability. You can see for yourself:

We also think the theme filtering and sorting interface for the explorer homepage is the slickest out there, using Backbone.js, Mosaic and Isotope for instant reaction to your selections without loading new pages. You know, just in case the rest of it wasn’t exciting enough.

We’d love to hear what you think, please do sound off in the comments!

About connects WordPress sites, themes, users, professionals and industry benchmarks to create a unique database and network that maps the real, live world of WordPress.’s crawlers scan hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites, analyse and report on each one and then use the data connections between them to provide brand new insights into the WordPress ecosystem. offers:

  • a free WordPress site scanner
  • a dashboard to track and monitor your WordPress sites
  • a directory of WordPress professionals
  • a unique theme directory

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David Lockie

About David Lockie

David Lockie's a Brighton & Hove-based WordPress developer. Founder of, Pragmatic Web Limited, David is active in the local WordPress community and co-organised WP-Brighton.

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