Definitive guide

Free vs. Paid

Free vs. Paid Website Templates: Which One is Better?

I know that all of us still want to save money, even if we are building our businesses for the public. We try to give the best service and high-quality products without ripping off our wallets; so we try to save as much as possible. In this article, we will discuss the difference between a free website template and a paid one, comparing them to see which is better.

As a beginner in business, some people have this mental debate about choosing between a free website template and getting the paid one already. Some business people have the idea that if a free website template works perfectly, then they will settle for it.

But if you have the budget and want to go extravagant with your website, why not go for the paid one already and attract your customers with the premium feel of your website template? I know that people always look at the design first rather than the content, so giving them what they want is one way to get them to come back for more.

Despite the differences between the two, it will still boil down to your decision on which to choose since both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

wix website templates

Free vs. paid website templates: which one is better?

To further understand the battle between the two, let us discuss the pros and cons of each one to help you decide which one will be the best option for your brand.

Free website templates

We all know that you can get free website templates anywhere. Even if they are free, they still have aesthetically pleasing designs that will, for sure, match your brand well. Most free website templates are always on trend and easy to work with, which is why many people still choose this option for their website.

Why are they free?

Here are some factors that explain why a free website template is free. These factors can also be seen as the cons of using a free website template, but of course, it’s still up to you if you can handle everything and make the most of the free website template.

Features

Free website templates do not have many features, unlike paid ones. They only have certain features you can get and work with, but if you are resourceful enough, you can still make it work as if you were using a paid website template.

A free website template only has limited features and functionality, like visual builders that allow anybody to build a website. They are not also equipped with the necessary plug-ins, so you need to get them separately, but of course, that means more money to spend.

License

Free website templates have limited licensing, and that is one common rule. This means you cannot use them on prestigious websites, such as online stores. They commonly use free website templates on blogs or portfolios.

So if you are planning on using them for an online store, you might as well think twice before doing so because you will have a hard time getting a license for all access and it will cost you more money, which can get you a paid website template instead.

Documentation

Most free website templates do not have documentation once you get them, which means you are on your own and have to figure things out. But of course, with enough knowledge and skills in coding and websites, this will be easy for you.

But also remember that website templates were made to make it easier for non-technical people to create their own websites. With the help of research, I know you will be able to figure everything out.

Customization

We’ve mentioned this a lot of times already in our different articles, but again, free website templates only have limited elements that you can customize. Some of the advanced features cannot be used since you have to pay for them if you really want to use them.

But of course, you can try to be creative and make the most of the elements that you can alter in order to still match your branding using the free website template. Minimalist and simple design will never go out of style.Β 

Update

A fair number of free website templates rarely get updated, which results in them not being compatible with the latest update of the CMS that you are using. This can also lead to security problems on your website and make it look more enticing to hackers.

Uniqueness

Free website templates are extensively used online. There will be a time that you will encounter a blog or website that has the same design as yours. This is why taking advantage of the elements that you can alter will help you stand out among your competitors.

Warranty

Most free website templates are given no warranty, so if you download one and something goes wrong, the creator does not have the obligation to fix the problem for you. But despite that idea, most creators still give the best they can when making a free website template, so you do not really have to worry.

Pros of free website templates

Despite having cons, we still have pros that, for sure, will make you love using a free website template. Here are some reasons why you should choose them:

Free

Well, first of all, it is free. Using a free website template will save you more money and help you cut some costs. Most free website templates are used by beginners in business who are still in the stage of experimenting and want a change every now and then.

Easy

A free website template, or just a website template in general, is very easy to use. They are built to save people the hassle of coding and rotting their brains trying to think of a design that will make them stand out.Β 

Loading time

Since free website templates have fewer features than paid website templates, this speeds up the loading time of your website. Well, we all know that people have a short span of patience, so giving them a quick loading time will definitely make them like your website.

Strict review process

Did you know that the quality bar for free website templates is actually high? Well, every free website template has a very strict review process before being released to the public. They need to pass certain standards of the review theme in order to be launched online.

Now that we are done discussing free website templates, let us jump to the pros and cons of paid website templates.

Why is a paid website template better?

Even though paid website templates are more expensive, they have more features and functionality than free website templates. This is why you can definitely say that you got what you paid for.

Features

The features of premium themes are obviously more extensive than those of free themes. These themes have drag-and-drop builders, e-commerce tools, and a ton of other amazing features that will help you make an appealing and useful website, in addition to plug-ins.

License

Paid website templates are appropriate when used on commercial-profit websites like online shops. Minor license restrictions could exist, but they shouldn’t impact the functionality of your website.

Documentation

All premium themes have comprehensive and easy-to-follow documentation. As a result, it will be easy for you to understand how to use your theme and how to resolve any potential problems. Qualified support staff will also be available for queries and issues.

Customization

You gain access to more features and customization options when you use a paid website template. The competition in the premium theme market drives theme sellers to continually offer more features at reduced costs.

Themes have features like drag-and-drop builders, shortcodes, various layouts and templates, and the user’s ability to choose from an infinite number of colors.

Update

Paid website templates feature ongoing updates and support. The main reason these theme stores encourage their products to draw more customers to the market is that they are making money rather than providing their services for free.

Paid website templates frequently have a security focus when being built, receive frequent updates to fix vulnerabilities, and have greater compatibility with security plugins.

Uniqueness

Due to their higher price, paid website templates are less popular than free themes. Not to mention that the customization options allow you to change your theme. When you combine the two, your website will be distinctive and stand out.

This can help companies build a strong brand identity, project credibility, and make a good impression on customers.Β 

Performance

Paid website templates frequently place a higher priority on performance optimization, which leads to quicker page loads and improved overall website performance. This may have a major impact on the user experience and customer loyalty.Β 

SEO optimization

Paid templates usually have built-in SEO capabilities or work well with well-known SEO plugins, which helps businesses increase their visibility and search engine rankings. This may be essential for generating organic traffic and expanding a business’s online presence.

Cons of paid website templates

Review process

There isn’t a systematic review procedure for these themes, so occasionally you could buy a premium theme with appealing looks but poor coding that might prevent it from working with particular plugins.

Large features

In an effort to sell more themes, theme developers sometimes add too much unnecessary functionality to their themes. All those features are still there and are slowing down your website, even though it’s doubtful that you’ll ever utilize them.

Where can I find free and paid website templates?

Here are some websites that you can visit if you want to check out some website templates for your website. These are both free and paid website templates.

  1. My Codeless Website
  2. Bootstrapmade
  3. Canva
  4. Themeforest
  5. Wix

Final thoughts

Be extra cautious while selecting a theme to ensure that you receive one you can utilize without spending an excessive amount of money. This is why it can be difficult to choose between a free and a premium template. Everything depends on the kind of website you’re launching.

Choosing which website template to install ultimately comes down to your website’s requirements, budget, and aesthetic tastes. Both free and premium website templates have benefits and drawbacks.

FAQs

Are there any additional fees for using free website templates?

The primary benefit of using free website templates is that you are not paying for them financially. But some charges arise when the website template is not working properly, such as when purchasing plugins or features to fix the design.

Is it possible to subsequently switch from a free to a premium website template?

Of course, you can. Most people who are still beginning in business use free website templates to save money but eventually switch to a paid one later on, so they add more interesting features to their website that can entice their target market more.

How can I figure out whether a paid website template is worth it?

This is definitely for you to decide since you will be the one maximizing the website template. I know that you won’t be choosing a website template that is not worth it. Everything is still up to you in the end.

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Ralph de Groot – My Codeless Website

My name is Ralph de Groot. I'm the founder and author at My Codeless Website. Wake me up for a great web design. I love writing about website examples, too!

PS: Want to know my favorite tools for building a website? πŸ‘‡