How expensive can a WordPress theme be? » straightvisions GmbH

At some point, the term “premium themes” became established, although they only refer to themes that cost money. So where does the premium term come from?

Premium themes should offer buyers a special added value – why else would you spend 30-60 $ when there are also completely free themes?

license right

Similar to the paid addons of the free themes, with premium themes you only pay for access to the software and manufacturer support – someone from your circle of acquaintances is already using your desired premium theme? Then he can send you a copy completely legally and morally beyond any doubt – that’s how open source works according to the GPL license.

In any case, it would be ideal not only to compare several themes, but also to test them before you decide on one – if you give in to this impulse, the comparison will quickly cost you several hundred euros in “access costs”.

Too cheap to be true?

Nevertheless, there are platform providers who give you heavily discounted access to copies of premium themes and plugins – they simply buy access to the top 1000 premium plugins and themes, upload them and the updates regularly to their own portal, They offer them at a greatly reduced price without support – the completely legal, but parasitic business model is complete – not very trustworthy and possibly still equipped with malicious code.

Most premium themes are overweight

Now, with Premium Themes, you’re buying a pig in a poke – so the theme authors have to find something convincing without the possibility of a free basic version so that you pull out your credit card.

Multi-purpose themes in particular, such as the best-selling Avada, have grown historically over the years and should be suitable for every purpose without exception, regardless of whether you want to implement a one-pager, artist website, corporate presence or online shop – multi-purpose themes want to do justice to all of this .

Countless functions that would be better off in plugins usually only have to be deactivated when you don’t need them – instead of leaving them deactivated by default. Unfortunately, unlike our SV100 theme, only very few WordPress themes are fully modular.

This means that even if you deactivate features that are not required in Avada, some of them will still be loaded – on the one hand in the backend, which slows down WordPress overall, and on the other hand also in the frontend, which makes PageSpeed ​​a major challenge. It is not without reason that Avada scored by far the worst in our PageSpeed ​​theme comparison.

Just don’t look under the hood

At the programming level, we developers usually experience a jungle of spaghetti code when making adjustments, so that our own adjustments to the theme – even with all the child theme functionality and filters, tend to end up in a dead end.

Even if premium themes like to advertise with SEO and PageSpeed ​​optimization, the reality is different: The focus is not on technical excellence, but on mapping as many functions as possible. 5 new functions read better for the inexperienced than 10% optimized and saved code ballast.

Multi purpose

Due to the large number of functions, they usually have to be kept alive for years – updates are supposed to work on thousands of websites. While in case of doubt we can completely rewrite an outdated function for our theme and thus ensure that the best implementation always prevails, premium themes have to provide a basis for countless installations – but even then there are often crashes with updates.

Functionally everything is offered – technically the lowest common denominator is chosen. In the end, with most Kauf themes, you end up with a piecemeal of different components that do everything but nothing right.

single purpose

One solution would be to consciously opt for a single-purpose premium theme – after all, there are themes that have been specially developed for specific areas of application or industries – for example online shops for fashion, designs for photographers or websites for hairdressing salons.

Be sure to pay attention to the amount of purchases or installations – if the theme author is not particularly successful, further development and maintenance is not worthwhile for him – in the worst case you will not receive any updates after a short time and your theme will be with the next one WordPress update no longer compatible.

Now it can get expensive as you either have to hire a developer to fix the problems you are encountering or you have to do a website relaunch after all.


Don’t fall for advertising promises – a premium theme sells through numbers. When it comes to creating a working prototype for a website with an appealing design, premium themes are indeed the price/performance winners. For smaller problems there is support and often quite good documentation.

However, do not expect that you will get a better theme quality with a premium theme – on the contrary: the sale of premium themes relies on features: the more, the better. Sounds great at first, but is a huge burden in the long run.

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