Why we avoid ThemeForest Themes

Are you using themeforest themes for your clients? If so, this article may be contentious, or at least entertaining.

I was asked about a lot of different themeforest themes over the years of building websites. I asked them what I was doing, of course. Usually, the answer is “What’s wrong with ThemeForest?”This post aims to respond to this with clear logic.

Okay, first of all … not all the ThemeForest themes are evil. But the proportion of bad ones is high enough that going through them and taking the risk is not worth the hassle. If you pick a theme, it’s a real gamble because you don’t know enough before you buy it.

“But what about the ratings?”

I once enjoyed the star rating system, but it has nearly perfect scores for many controversial themes. The only way I can understand it is that after a couple of months, most of the issues surface. Probably after the ratings were given Or maybe the votes come from end-users, who haven’t noticed their load speeds yet or some of the changes they’ve made on their own are completely broken on the mobile.

We have built a lot of websites and used a lot of themes in our years doing this, especially when the client has a lower budget.

started my journey thinking like (probably) most
web designers, “Wow, there’s something for everyone here. I’m just going to be able to pick one that is closer and do some changes!”.

We built a couple of sites, and for a while, things were going well.

The issues almost always turn up on the track for six months or more.

Sometimes you can see that you made a poor purchasing decision right away. You’re going to install the template, you’re going to ask for twelve plugins to go with it, five separate sliders you’re not going to use, and some awful page builder*.

Not a site builders dig, just page builders on TF. More about that early.

But other times it will all look fine until the entire site is broken an un-updatable one.

How can’t you look under the hood before you buy?

If you were buying a car, look under the hood is one of the first things you’d do. Perhaps you wouldn’t buy it if the engine was all rusted out (or had five built-in sliders).

You can’t see anything about how to set up the template, unfortunately. There are hundreds of different ways to create a home page, and each theme seems to do it differently.

It can be a big issue if you don’t want your page to look * exactly * like the demo. You can’t see how well the theme is designed (or poorly), that plugins will require you to download, or a host of other things that may spell trouble later on.

The Plugins!

I can’t remember the last theme we’ve been using that wasn’t loaded with plugins you’re not going to use. Many themes will ask for several plugins to do the same if you want to use one of them.

Plugins are also generally the root of vulnerabilities that contribute to the hacking of sites. Revolution Slider had a significant weakness a while ago. Revolution has been used in a vast number of TF themes. If you didn’t have a Revolution license, you had to buy one and upgrade it manually, hoping that everything went to plan and didn’t break your page in the process.

Poor amendments

ThemeForest itself is not so much an issue, but what happens after people buy the templates.

We took over several websites that began as ThemeForest themes but had to be changed to fit the needs of the customer. As I said, unless you need to look exactly like the model on your website, chances are you will need some substantial modifications.

Sometimes this means making modifications that are incompatible with the theme’s future versions or includes one of the plugins.

In human speaking, this means a time may come when you’re going to try to update something on your site, and it’s going to break. Visual Composer is one of the biggest killers with this. So, let’s get on with…

Page Builders

As I said, it’s not all poor page builders. Yet there are many on the ThemeForest.

Page Builders

By definition, a huge number of themes are Visual Composer. Mention these two words and watch them squirm around the most successful programmers.

We also inherited some websites where, due to some page errors, Visual Composer would no longer load. Our page is just one of them right now, and we don’t have the time to fix it. Visual Composer’s use of a theme is still one of my greatest regrets.

Many templates will include a creator of their own site, created for that theme only. Typically these come with their own array of weaknesses and issues.

Lots of Code

Lots of Code

We’ve already covered that loads of unnecessary stuff will be packed with many themes — sliders site builders like plugins, etc.

It’s Not A Good Thing. In addition to that, the template itself will usually contain a lot of unnecessary code.

If you’re trying to do everything, you need the code to do it there. Most often, the outcome is a total mess. With this needless program, efficiency, speed and scalability are increasing. It is also a hassle for repairs, so it will cost you more to get things fixed later.

The untidy Dashboard

Most templates will provide you with options for providing Testimonials, Team Members, Clients, Slides, Events, This, That, or anything you might want to add to your page.

These are all added to your WordPress dashboard’s left-hand sidebar as another menu item. It makes it incredibly difficult for you and your developer to find things.

Even as a WordPress practitioner, for one essential environment that’s in a strange place, I’ll spend far too long looking through 100 menus. On a website that only has a few pages. It doesn’t make sense.


Such menu items won’t even be used most of the time. Not only is there a bunch of more unnecessary code on your site, but finding the things you want will make it harder for you.

Maintenance Problems

Notice the common theme here?

It fits in with everything we’ve been thinking about before. But it goes beyond just the above.

I can almost guarantee you’ll want a new widget or something new on one of your site’s pages six months from now.

TF themes often make something so dull, so darn complicated. That’s typically one of the reasons given above. The complex is more expensive.

Template deleted!

This one is coming last because it only happened once to us. Templates are sometimes taken from the marketplace. If that happens, it means that you will no longer receive updates or support. You’re all alone.

So what are you going to do?

This is a problem that I feel pretty strongly about after building loads of sites and inheriting poorly built websites over the years.

But to tell you the truth, the real problem is not ThemeForest. It’s only a marketplace.

So long as people keep selling “all in one” items, they can continue to make them. And they will continue to be sold by ThemeForest.

If you are hired to create your website by a specialist, kindly ask them not to use ThemeForest.

If there’s a tight budget and you do it yourself… (I’m going to cop some flak for that)… using SquareSpace.

Really. Unless you’re planning to learn all about WordPress and become a developer, SquareSpace will quickly give you 100x less of a headache building. You’re starting a new company, and you’re spending a lot of essential things on.

Then come back and talk to a developer when you have the budget to build something awesome that will continue to work for years.

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