14 Best Free WordPress Themes
2019 January 7th at 3:59
There are millions of WordPress websites all over the world - but you want yours to be the best and most beautiful one.
That can be done by choosing a good website template. However, some of the best WordPress themes often come with a hefty price tag.
But don't worry - there's a solid collection of free WordPress themes that can work just as well as a premium one.
And this is a collection that I have assembled - this right here is the list of 14 of the best free WordPress themes currently available:
- JustWrite (great for magazines and written content)
- Flash (multi-purpose and beginner-friendly)
- OceanWP (multi-purpose, very easy to set up)
- Talon (great for freelancers and corporate projects)
- Sungit Lite (well suited for musicians and other artists)
- Zakra (made for professional services and web tools)
- Magnus (suited for displaying visual content)
- Cenote (a great blogging theme)
- Sydney (a good one-page design option)
- Themx (suited for creative arts and services)
- Auberge (best for hospitality websites)
- Enlighten (amazing for academic websites)
- Gridsby (amazing for showcasing photography)
- Sold (made for eCommerce websites)
Recommended for: Content writers, magazines etc.
JustWrite is a magazine/newspaper-style theme by Alexandru Cosmin that comes complete with a widgetized footer (allowing to add custom information into 4 sections of widgets), theme-specific fonts, and custom widgetized sections.
It's also prepped and ready for any ads you may want to display, which is super helpful for many web projects looking for monetization options. The ad-ready design enables you to add responsive banner ads simply by pasting the ad code into the relevant field.
Recommended for: WordPress beginners
Created by ThemeGrill, Flash is one of the best themes for anyone who is just starting out and doesn't yet feel confident in their WordPress abilities.
With a drag-and-drop builder and neutral design, Flash was constructed to be a multi-purpose theme that is easy to use. It did both of these things very well, and over 20,000 sites currently use it.
Beginners are going to love the fact Flash comes with some of the best free WordPress templates. These are pre-built layouts that you can choose from within Flash, meaning you can skip a chunk of the building process if you find one that you like. Then, you'd just replace the placeholder content with your own - and you're good to go.
And while you only get customer support via a forum, you can upgrade to the Pro version for $69 to get email/ticket support as well as many other add-on features.
Recommended for: Anyone who needs a quick installation
It's genuinely tough to display a universal example image for OceanWP - it's just so darn versatile.
There are tons of great demos/templates to choose from, and you can literally install each of them at the click of a button. You can then take the demo as it comes and configure it to your specific needs.
With demos covering anything from education platforms and fashion stores to gyms and travel blogs, there is pretty much something for everyone. Go here to see if there is a demo that would suit your site.
Other highlighted features include built-in SEO, and eCommerce optimization - and over 900,000 sites put their trust in the OceanWP theme.
Recommended for: Freelancers & corporate projects
Powered by PageBuilder for easy editing and built with businesses in mind, Talon provides a perfect example of just how high-end a WordPress site can look without it costing you a penny. It's sleek, lean and works like a charm if you're a fan of pre-loaded fonts and icons.
Other highlighted features include a full-screen slider, wigitized footer, multiple blogging layouts, and full-color customization.
Also, if you've got some web dev skills up your sleeve and prefer a more hands-on approach, Talon comes 100% translation ready so you don't have to worry about which language it's programmed in.
5. Sungit Lite
Recommended for: Musicians/bands, events etc.
Designed with perfect harmony between ease of use and a niche feature set, Sungit Lite offers a great free theme for the music industry.
Whether for an artist, event page or record label, Sungit Lite provides a wide range of unique features specifically created for its target user. However, a lot of these features (such as ticket sales, event creation, and iTunes links) are only available in the Pro edition, which you must pay $59 for.
But either way, users of the free version still benefits from a straightforward setup, a music player tool, and multiple pre-built templates.
The free full-screen slider and animated icons are also nice touches.
Recommended for: Professional services or web tools
Another highly flexible and quick-to-install theme, Zakra makes this list due to its beautiful frontend design, a lot of demonstration page templates and plenty of useful tools.
The theme offers built-in SEO tools, GDPR compliancy, sidebar layouts, responsive design, and it's translation ready.
But with its functionality as a versatile theme being comparable to OceanWP (no. 3 on this list), deciding between the two will largely come down to which one has the demo you prefer the most.
There aren't as many demos as you get with OceanWP (11 in Zakra yet 40 in OceanWP), but it's worth noting that Zakra's demos are all free, while a lot of OceanWP's demos aren't available without upgrading to its Pro plan.
Recommended for: Photobloggers
With a focus on full-screen, high-res feature images, Magnus is an elegantly designed free WordPress theme best suited to anyone looking to run a blog that focuses on visual content.
Magnus also pays special attention to attractive typography, meaning every aspect of your photoblogs can look as good as the rest. So, if your priority is to showcase your images, Magnus is a super option. Plus, there is no premium plan available, meaning everything you see in the demo is what you get with the free download.
It's a theme that fits the everyday minimalist perfectly.
Recommended for: Bloggers
While Cenote can be configured to suit any genre of blog, it comes bundled with 6 pre-built templates, 3 of which are specific to particular niches. There is a fashion blog template (free), tech blog template (free), and an interior design blog template (premium).
And adding the demos is made simple with the help of the ThemeGrill Demo Importer plugin.
But as there are both a free version and Pro version available, you won't get every access to every feature with the free version...
The free plan, however, still packs a punch. It contains built-in SEO, a post slider, all-device-and-major-browser responsiveness, and regular updates for speed optimization. If that's not enough, an upgrade to the Pro plan ($69) gets you an extra 3 premium templates, additional customization options, and over 800 Google fonts to choose from.
With that said, the demo that Cenote displays for its promotion is a free template. This means everything you see in the advertised demo is possible with the free version, and to be honest, it looks great.
Recommended for: Businesses, self-employed etc.
For those looking to make an impressive first impression on their clients, Sydney offers a free business WordPress theme that's hard to beat in terms of the value it offers.
It comes shipped with sliding headers and over 600 Google fonts, as well as eye-catching parallax backgrounds and full color customization options.
The parallax backgrounds are a major highlight: Cenote gives you the option to place images in interactive parallax boxes so that they come to life when you scroll through the page. View the demo for an example of how this looks. It's super sleek and will leave a terrific impression on your visitors.
And if that wasn't enough...
Sydney also comes bundled with well-designed icons and other graphical features that cater perfectly to countless different business fields.
Recommended for: Graphic designers, photographers and other creatives
Aimed at the creative arts, Themx is a fun-and-free WordPress theme that uses unique text animation and striking interactive features to dazzle its visitors.
It boasts full-color customization, universal responsiveness, a drag-and-drop builder and a range of one-click-install templates.
Its primary highlight is the interactiveness. As an example, in the demo, you may scroll down to the 'Ready to talk' section, and race your mouse over it. Here's what happens:
This one-of-a-kind free theme earned itself a spot on the list.
Quick tip: Themx is not available from the official WordPress repository. Instead, you download it from Themx's author, HelloXpart. You will then need to upload it to your site by clicking Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload and selecting the Themx.zip file from the destination you downloaded it to.
Recommended for: Restaurants, bars, cafes etc.
Providing custom widgets, well-presented menu layouts, and niche-specific icons, Auberge delivers everything the hospitality industry needs.
Whether you're running a restaurant, a bar, a cafe, or a similar business, Auberge offers a clean-cut WordPress theme with a zero-dollar price tag. Everything displayed is ready for 4K screens, as well as being responsive throughout all devices.
And while it's free to download, there is also a paid version available that costs $33 and bags you additional page templates, recipe blog layouts, and compatibility with the Restaurant Reservations plugin, which enables a table-booking feature.
A piece of advice: always try free versions first to see if you feel it'd be worth upgrading.
Recommended for: Schools, colleges, universities etc.
A responsive free WordPress theme well suited to academic institutions, Enlighten gets an A+ for its flexibility and beautifully-designed widget features.
It's a very fitting theme to upload plenty of information and text content, as the proposed site structure makes it easy to manage and access multiple pages.
It includes a carousel portfolio, numerous menu options, and a vast selection of bundled icons.
The scrolling animations are nice touch too, as they can bring an extra sense of care and quality to your site.
Enlighten is a good example that websites built with free WordPress themes don't have to simple, minimalist one-page solutions.
You can create big complete solutions without once opening your wallet.
If you open the demo and take a look around, you'll see exactly what I mean.
Recommended for: Photography portfolios
As a photographer, you want a website that looks just as picturesque as your subjects. Gridsby offers exactly that.
With a masonry grid layout and minimalist aesthetic, it's a mighty choice for photographers seeking a clean-feel portfolio to showcase their work.
It has a Pinterest-style look to it and provides a killer set of features: Google fonts, full color control, pre-built templates, cross-browser & cross-device responsiveness, and much more.
Furthermore, the animated transitions that take you from one page to another are stunning. When you click onto an image, an animation takes you from the home page to a page that displays the photo.
Recommended for: eCommerce stores
Solid is everything an online store theme should be. It's clean-cut, smoothly mobile responsive, and enriched with eCommerce features.
And with Solid being purposely built for the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress, everything is ready to go as soon as you install it.
And if you do need any assistance, support is available every weekday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.
Note: Sold is another theme that isn't available from the WordPress repository. You'll need to download it from Dessign.net and upload it yourself to your WordPress site. Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New in your WordPress dashboard.
Why did I choose these 14 WordPress themes?
If you think 14 is a big list, well - it's nothing compared to the one I started with.
I came to my conclusion of the top 14 following rigorous testing and reviewing copious amounts of customer feedback. I tested 150 themes in total over the course of 60 days and eventually narrowed my selection to 14 of the top free themes on the market.
For example - one of the criteria was how often the themes were getting updates to support the newest versions of WordPress. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise you, but some of them weren't even compatible with the 5.0 version of it!
All 14 in this list, however, should be just fine. And actually, I may not be done yet.
I still have a few extra themes to show you:
Initially, my list was of 20 themes, but I narrowed it further to produce a final list that contained only the strongest free themes for some of the most popular WordPress niches in existence. One for each use case.
But here are a few more - let's call them "honorable mentions". Each one is responsive, well-designed, and is a viable choice for its specified use case.
- Airi (Agencies/Corporate)
- NewsMag (Magazine/Newspaper)
- ShopIsle (Online Store/eCommerce)
- Regina Lite (Medical)
- True North (Portfolio)
- Belise Lite (Restaurant/Bar)
Or maybe it's better to pay for your themes?
By now, after checking out your options, you definitely know - you can get good WordPress themes without paying. And yet, many users still choose to pay and pick the premium ones. Why? Is it pure ignorance - or lack of research?
Well, not really.
Truth is, the free themes can be slightly limited in what they offer. Many of them, including some on the list, are only demo versions of paid ones.
Which means that some of the best free WordPress themes will give a taste of the really good stuff and then ask you to pay extra to get it. Like our #9 of the list - Sydney theme - which has an even more brilliant Pro version.
You really could say that free WordPress themes will serve as a safe way to find out if you are willing to upgrade to a paid version.
However, not all WordPress themes are freemium like that.
There are plenty of other examples, too - where a WordPress theme has no additional paid option and is free with no questions asked. Those themes tend to have fewer features and sometimes look less modern than their premium counterparts. However, they are good enough for most small businesses and personal blogs.
At the end of the day, the choice is entirely yours.
If you want your website to look amazing and do great things, paying is the way to go. And a freemium theme can be a good taste of what's possible.
But if you want a simple, no-hassle theme, pick the one that won't put up a paywall in order to access additional features.
And if your favorite theme isn't here - or you still haven't found anything you loved by looking at my list, - let me know in the comments below. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!