ThemeFurance is a bundle of premium WordPress themes from Oliver Dale, the man behind the company known as Kooc Media.
Kooc is a web company that’s responsible for some well-known WordPress & web development brands. Amongst others, these brands include WP Lift, a WordPress blog like WP Kube, and Designers Talk, a highly popular forum for all sorts of designers (website, graphic, animation, flash designers, etc.). Designers Talk has even amassed nearly a million messages on its forum thus far.
With credentials like these, I had very high expectations for ThemeFurnace right from the beginning when I started testing their themes.
I’m very happy to report that overall, I wasn’t disappointed.
But, no doubt, you’re reading this post to learn the details and not just a general opinion, so details I shall give.
ThemeFurnace’s Theme Offerings
ThemeFurnace’s current package includes 17 themes “amazing quality premium WordPress themes” (their words, not mine).
New themes are constantly being developed and added to the bundle; ThemeFurnace has existed for just about 47 months (the domain was registered in September 2011 and Oliver started working on themes then), which averages out to one new theme ever 2-3 months.
Here’s a complete list of the 17 offered themes + their primary niche(s) and tagline (click on the name to view the demo).
- Mediaphase — multipurpose business & eCommerce theme
- Stacker — column-based portfolio theme
- Artifact — grid-based photography theme
- OneCart — clean eCommerce theme
- Exposition — blog (for writers/photographers)
- Single Page — business landing page/one page theme
- CleanPort — clean business portfolio theme
- Blogly — flat-design personal blog theme
- Classique — elegant portfolio theme
- Gridster — grid-based portfolio theme
- Flatpack — business portfolio theme
- CleanBold — clean & simple portfolio theme
- Elesoft — bold business showcase theme
- Themesoft — business theme
- Whiteside — modern business theme
- Busine — business brochure & portfolio theme
- Capiton — clean grid-based portfolio theme
As you can see, most of the themes are in the portfolio, business, or eCommerce niche. There’s less of a focus on multipurpose, magazine, or blog themes (just 1-2 in those respective areas), so you might want to look elsewhere if your website is in one of the latter niches.
ThemeFurnace is pretty popular; its themes have been downloaded over 250,000 times and the company has had just under 7,000 customers so far. Thus, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s a solid WordPress company that has been around for a while and will continue to stay open.
Overall, ThemeFurnace’s themes are pretty stripped of any extra features. The main highlights here are five custom widgets and eight built-in post formats.
The custom widgets are as follows:
- Advertisement (easily display ad banners)
- Flickr (show the photostream from a specific Flickr ID)
- Recent Images (display the most recently uploaded images)
- Social Profiles (display links to 14 social profiles in the form of icons)
- Dribble (display Dribble shots)
The most useful widgets here are Advertisment and Social Profiles; I doubt that most non-photography oriented websites would find much use for the other ones.
The eight post formats included are standard, aside, link, gallery, audio, video, quote, and image.
That aside, there are very few features built into the ThemeFurnace themes. The priority here is undoubtedly form over function.
If your installation is blank with no content (as mine was), Mediaphase will automatically upload some demo content for the home page. Here’s a quick glance at what that looks like.
Here’s also an overall look at the Mediaphase customizer. There are new tabs for home page setup, site ribbons, extended header/footer options, typography (choose from the entire Google Fonts library), and more. Note that in Stacker and apparently most of the other themes, the options are slightly more limited. But, you still get the typography and home page setup.
It’s important to note that in Mediaphase you can’t create the home page in the post editor; that you’ll have to setup in the customizer. For me, that was one major drawback for the theme; the customizer isn’t very suited to this sort of work. I would have preferred some sort of specialized content builder.
The home page options, though, are pretty well-featured. You get a hero banner, site ribbons, “feature” modules, about the team widgets, customer logos, and much more.
Some of these functions, however, are limited to Mediaphase. The rest of the themes are much more bare-bones in their approach.
If there’s one place that ThemeFurnace truly excels, it’s in the design.
Just look at the demos: each one looks and feels exquisite. Across the board, the themes are structured and very well-proportioned. There’s a big emphasis on white space, which gives the content on the themes a lot of breathing room.
You rarely feel as if there’s anything cluttered or out of place. The designs are quite minimal.
ThemeFurnace offers two mediums of customer support: a members-only forum, and a priority ticketing system (you pay more for access to the latter, but more on that later).
I didn’t have access to the members-only forum, but Oli has commented that it’s quite busy and regularly updated. The priority ticketing system is much the same. In my communications with Oliver while testing the themes, he responded within 5 hours or less.
Any WordPress user worth his salt will tell you that page load speeds are important to the success of your website — really important.
According to KISSmetrics, for every additional second your page takes to load, your conversion rate reduces by 7%. So, if you run an eCommerce website that brings in ~$5000/month that takes two seconds rather than one to load, you could lose out on $4200 in conversions (nearly a whole month of revenue) over the course of a year.
Luckily, WordPress makes it easy to increase page load speeds. One way to do that is to select the right plugins (lightweight plugins are typically best) and to deactivate and delete the plugins you don’t use.
The other way is to select the right theme. Aside from your hosting service, your theme is probably the biggest deciding factor in your website speed, so it’s imperative to your website’s success that you choose a well-coded theme with high page load speeds.
Are ThemeFurnace’s offerings optimized for speed? I did a few speed tests to find out.
The following were the conditions under which the speed tests were run:
- shared hosting plan on HostGator
- blank WordPress installation (no extraneous posts/pages or anything else to clutter my database)
- only three plugins installed (Akismet, Jetpack, and WP Super Cache), and only WP Super Cache was activated
- only five themes installed (Automattic’s own Twenty Fifteen, Fourteen, & Thirteen, Mediaphase, and Stacker)
First, I tested the speed of the website with Automattic’s own Twenty Fifteen theme. I tested several times from multiple locations. Below is a the results that’s somewhat indicative of an average (503 ms load time).
Then, I activated Mediaphase and tested the speed. I tested several times, and below is a sample result (680 ms load time).
Finally, I activated Stacker on the test installation and tested several times. Below is a sample result (454 ms load time).
As you can see, the page load times are quite respectable. Twenty Fifteen is a very lightweight and well-coded theme, so it makes for an excellent benchmark. Mediaphase only added ~200 ms to the load time, which is understandable for a theme of its design. Stacker (a relatively lighter theme compared to Mediaphase) boasted a load time that was even slightly below Twenty Fifteen’s — very good results.
ThemeFurnace’s pricing is surprisingly affordable. The starter plan (named Theme Club) gives you access to the whole bundle, 1 year of theme updates, 1 year of new theme releases, and forum support (which we’ve talked about), for just $49.
The Developer Club plan gets you everything from Theme Club, but instead of forum support you become eligible for the priority ticket system (email support). This plan will set you back $99.
Finally, there’s Lifetime Club, which gives you everything from Developer Club; but instead of paying a yearly fee of $99 for updates and new releases, you pay a one-time fee of $199 for all future updates and releases.
To be honest, this is a very, very good deal. I was actually quite surprised when I learned that the minimum buy-in was less than $50. Consider that there are many single themes of similar quality on ThemeForest that cost $50+, and ThemeFurnace’s pricing structure becomes a very nice surprise.
Note: 5 of ThemeFurnace’s themes are available for free download at WordPress.org (Exposition, Stacker, CleanPort, Blogly, and Gridster). However, they come with restricted functionality (like no custom widgets) and no support; you’ll have to pay to get the full version + support.
As a WP Kube reader, you can also get a 20% discount on a ThemeFurnace plan by using the special coupon provided on this page, which brings the minimum buy-in down to just $39 (an even better deal!).
As you could see in the details of the review above, the themes offered in the ThemeFurnace bundle are relatively stripped of features. Mediaphase was the most functional theme I tested in the bundle. And while it does have some great features for your home page, it still can’t close to holding a candle against the functionality of products like Divi, a similarly multipurpose theme from Elegant Themes. Moreover, most of the other themes are much less functional than Mediaphase.
But you know what?
The main purpose of these themes isn’t to blow your socks off with incredible functionality. I feel that the main purpose is simply to supply premium design (not function: get third-party plugins for that) at a very affordable price to the masses of WordPress users.
In other words: If you’re here looking for awesome functionality, keep moving along. If you’re here for a stunning design at an inexpensive price point, then stay put.
Have you ever used a ThemeFurnace theme to power your website? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts about the product in the comments below.