Themes are one of the most important components to consider while creating a WordPress site. WordPress themes not only determine how your website will look and function but also plays a very important role in your website security and performance.
When it comes to choosing a free WordPress theme there are thousands of options to choose from. To make it easier I have handpicked some of the best free responsive WordPress themes for you.
What makes a good theme?
Before choosing any theme let’s see what are the ingredients of a good theme.
Your requirement: The first parameter is your requirement itself, what type of website you want, choose themes accordingly. Some themes are made for a specific type of niche or website like Single page website.
Features: While choosing a theme you must consider what features the theme has, like can it be converted to an e-commerce store or can be converted to multilingual etc.
Ease of customization: The theme should be easy to customize, you will rarely find a theme 100% matching to your requirement especially the free ones. You have to customize it according to your requirement.
Plugin Support: Plugins can easily add new features to your website, but you need to check with your theme if it supports the plugins of your choice. For this, you can check with the theme documentation or can contact with theme author. To help you out in choosing the right plugins I have created a list of essential plugins for you.
Speed: Website load speed is a crucial factor in determining websites success. If your theme loads too slowly it will hurt your websites speed as well. Luckily you can check the speed of any theme with GTmatrix or Pingdom for free, just enter the themes demo URL and it will display the performance matrix.
Security: Before choosing any theme look at the customer reviews and feedback to check if the theme has any security issue or not and also check the update status to find if it’s maintained or not.
With this information out of the way, it’s time to check some of the best free WordPress themes.
To make it easy, I have created a table of content to help you navigate through easily.
- Best Themes for Small Business
- Best Themes for Bloggers (and Personal Websites)
- Best Themes for Portfolios and Photographers
- Best Themes for E-commerce or Online Store
Disclosure: Some of the links here are referral/affiliate links that means if you decide to buy through those links I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This is how I keep Designtheway.com up and running.
Best Themes for Small Business
Sydney is one of the most popular free themes in the WordPress library, it’s a simple yet powerful business theme. This theme has many customization possibilities such as layout control, logo upload, sticky navigation, full-screen slider, access to google fonts and many more. It provides building blocks for the front page and fully supports Elementor for rapid website building.
Shapely is another very versatile free theme with pixel perfect design and great functionality. It’s one of the most advanced free themes with loads of customization options such as several homepage widgets for creating testimonials, parallax sections, service information, call to action section etc.
With over 70k download and 4.5 star rating (at the time of writing) Onepress is another popular choice. It’s a modern looking theme with nice animation effects, perfect for creating single page websites. The theme is built on Bootstrap 4 for providing great user experience across different devices.
Spacious is a wonderful multipurpose translation ready free WordPress theme, it provides a great number of customization options ranging from different display layouts for blog, pages, to multiple color schemes.
You can use a handful of custom widgets and place them in different areas to customize further. You can also control the primary colors and use sliders as well.
Bento is a fairly new theme in the market but its gradually getting popular because of its robust customization options. The theme offers an extensive level of customization through WP Customizer as well as in built-in page level. You can create unique pages from the page level customization. The theme allows unlimited color combinations with 500+ icons and google fonts.
Best Themes for Bloggers (and Personal Websites)
Hueman is one of the highest rated blog themes in WordPress library, it’s a perfect theme for someone looking to create an elegant looking blog especially magazine type blog. The theme allows you to customize layouts, colors, menu, header and footer.
The theme has its own SEO optimization settings for minifying CSS, lazy load etc, it also has its own plugin for social sharing and additional shortcodes.
Writee is a great looking theme best suited for any lifestyle, food or personal blogging website. The theme comes in a few different languages such as Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Chines, Italian, Russian etc. You can also set up your online store with writee theme.
Ashe is another free blog theme you can try, it has an elegant design with decent customization options. There are multiple layout options like left-sidebar, right-sidebar, no sidebar, full-width, box layout etc. Ashe is a translation ready theme ideal for a multilingual blog.
Illdy is an elegant looking multipurpose theme which means it can be used for any purpose be it a business or personal website and even a blog. It has a beautiful full-screen banner which makes it ideal for any personal or business website.
The theme is built on Bootstrap framework which makes it perfectly responsive to any device and screen size.
Llorix one lite is a single page WordPress theme much like illdy this too has a beautiful big hero image with a smooth scrolling effect. The theme supports popular plugins like Contact form 7, Meta Slider, SiteOrigin Page Builder, JetPack, WooCommerce, WPML, bbPress etc.
The theme is ideal for any personal or freelance business website.
Best Themes for Portfolios and Photographers
Portfolio gallery, a perfect theme for image-rich portfolio website such as photography, art etc. The home page itself shows items in a gallery style with responsive lightbox. It’s a retina-ready theme which makes your images look great even on high-resolution screens. There are some customizations settings that allow you to change the layout, background color etc.
Portfolio press is a basic portfolio theme ideal for any personal portfolio website. Unlike portfolio gallery theme it doesn’t have any lightbox option that might be less preferable for a photography or art based portfolio. The theme gives some basic customization options for layout control.
This is a great looking theme for any photo related portfolio website. The theme has a beautiful fullscreen hero image with a content overlay. It has a masonry style layout in the home page which is ideal for showcasing high-quality images. The theme also supports WooCommerce which is great in case you want to sell your images.
If you are a fan of minimal designs this could be the theme you might like to choose for your portfolio website. Fotografie uses minimal design to show your content in a very aesthetic way. It has a beautiful blog layout with big thumbnails and good typography. Like pixgraphy it also has a nice looking masonry image gallery with a lightbox slider.
Fukasawa is another theme which encourages minimal design, it’s a very elegant looking WordPress theme for showcasing image based portfolio. It allows you to load all post in a single page and displays them in an elegant masonry grid layout. This theme is ideal for any portfolio site but more likely so for photography or art.
Best Themes for E-commerce or Online Store
Oceanwp is one of the most downloaded free themes in the WordPress library, it’s a highly flexible and extendable theme. This is a multipurpose theme so any type of website can be made and is perfectly compatible with most popular page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Visual Composer, Divi, SiteOrigin etc.
When it comes to choosing a free theme for your WooCommerce store oceanwp is a great option, it has some additional features for WooCommerce to make your online store look great. It has its own mega menu settings which is great for an online store. You can do a lot of customization with oceanwp, it also has many free plugins to extend the features of your website.
Much like oceanwp another extremely popular choice is astra, this theme too has many customization possibilities and is very lightweight. The theme is SEO friendly and extremely well maintained by regular updates.
The theme can be used for creating any type of website and supports most page builders but more so Elementor and Beaver Builder. They have their own set of plugins (free and paid) for both page builders. You can get started quickly using Astra Starter Sites plugin to import pre-designed templates and it has some good templates for WooCommerce websites as well.
Generatepress is less of a theme and more of a framework, it doesn’t have any eye-catching design or templates like many other themes mentioned here but you can customize a lot with native the WordPress customization section.
The theme supports most popular page builders and is extremely lightweight. So if you are someone who doesn’t want a heavy feature loaded theme but instead want a strong framework you would love Generatepress. There are many hooks and filters you can use for further customization and development.
Hestia is a beautiful single page multipurpose theme suited for any type of websites including personal, business, portfolio or online store. It has a pre-designed front page which you can use and customize easily. Apart from that, there are many more customization settings you can use to tweak the design but you may need to install some of their recommend plugins to take full advantage of the theme features.
Hestia also has a good looking shop page and fully compatible with Elementor page builder.
Zerif lite is another free theme from the house of themeisle, is very similar to hestia in terms of features and functionality but presents a different design. It’s a WooCommerce, WPML, RTL, Retina-Ready, SEO Friendly parallax theme, built on Bootstrap framework.
Bonus: Best premium theme (Divi)
Free themes are a great starting point and you can get some very good features depending on themes, but with premium themes, you don’t get features only you get support as well which is very important for a business.
Divi from Elegant themes is the most popular multipurpose premium theme in the market, it’s not just a theme but a framework to build any type of website. Divi has its own visual page builder and elements for almost every purpose.
It has 20+ stunning pre-designed templates to get you off the ground quickly and there is a community where you can share your template and get others template as well. It supports 32 languages and is RTL ready. Divi is a Sucuri certified theme so you can trust the security standards confidently.
With Divi, you also get some marketing tools for A/B split testing, lead generation etc. which is very unique and not available with most premium themes.
As you can see you can get some very good features even with free themes, so if you don’t have a budget for a premium theme especially when starting out go for a free theme. I have listed some of the best free responsive WordPress themes in the market for you and hope it helps you in choosing the correct one based on your requirement.
Do you have any other favorite free WordPress theme? Do mention it in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Modern web design concept with flat design