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Top 40+ Best Free WordPress Themes – Based On User Reviews, Popularity, and Our General Opinion!

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You want a great WordPress theme but you don’t want to pay, huh? With other platforms, that would be nigh-on impossible. But, thanks to the generosity of WordPress developers, you can actually find a ton of great free WordPress themes.

To go along with our post on the best free WordPress plugins, we’ve collected 40-plus of the best free WordPress themes for your viewing pleasure.

You may be wondering what makes a theme one of the ‘best’ free WordPress themes? That’s the tough part about writing a post such as this — design is subjective, so it’s hard to come up with an objective way of defining something as the best.

I’m going to try to mitigate that by bringing in social proof from WordPress.org’s active install numbers and ratings. That way, you’ll know it’s not just me who thinks a theme is the best — it’s thousands of other people as well!

Beyond that, I’ve also grouped my personal favorites into the top ten or so of this list. Overall, I think the best themes for most people are contained within the top ten of this post, but you might find one you love further down, as well — so don’t be afraid to scroll!

40-Plus Best Free WordPress Themes for 2021

1. Astra

Active Installs: 1,000,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Astra theme demo

Astra is a massively popular multipurpose theme that has a focus on performance. It has the impressive distinction of being the first non-default theme to ever pass the one million active install count at WordPress.org.

With less than a 50KB file size, it’s incredibly lightweight — but it still packs tons of features, and lets you customize your site with the native WordPress Customizer.

The coolest thing is the free companion plugin, which lets you easily import hundreds of pre-built demo sites built with the WordPress editor, Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Brizy. You can find a demo site for virtually every niche imaginable, which makes Astra one of the most flexible themes out there (and explains the huge install count).

Demo | Download | Premium

2. GeneratePress

Active Installs: 300,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

GeneratePress

GeneratePress is one of the fastest-loading free WordPress themes I’ve ever used. I switched to it on my portfolio site, and it instantly cut my page load times by ~40%.

But it’s not just about speed — it’s also incredibly flexible, and its multipurpose approach means you can use it for pretty much any type of WordPress site. That is, the demo above is by no means the limit of what you can do with GeneratePress.

The downside, though, is that GeneratePress doesn’t offer importable demo sites with its free version — you only get them if you upgrade to the premium version.

Demos | Download | Premium

3. Neve

Active Installs: 200,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

Neve

Neve is a lightweight multipurpose WordPress theme that offers flexible design options and excellent performance. I’ve tested a lot of the popular free WordPress themes and Neve and GeneratePress usually rank at the top of the list when analyzing performance.

Neve also includes lots of free demo sites for different niches powered by Elementor or the WordPress editor. And if you’re willing to upgrade to the premium version, you’ll get useful features such as drag-and-drop header and footer builders, a WooCommerce builder add-on, and even more importable demo sites.

Demo | Download

4. OceanWP

Active Installs: 700,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

oceanwp

OceanWP is another lightweight, flexible multipurpose theme, which you can make to look like… Pretty much anything. Because it integrates so well, most people choose to pair OceanWP with a page builder, and, like Astra, it also allows you to import free prebuilt demo sites to quickly get started.

OceanWP isn’t quite as lightweight as the three previous themes, but it does excel when it comes to customization options and features. It’s also still more lightweight than your average WordPress theme.

Demo | Download | Premium

5. Kadence

Active Installs: 60,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Kadence theme

Kadence is a newer multipurpose WordPress theme that’s quickly grown in popularity thanks to its modern looks and flexible customization options, all of which are accessible via the real-time WordPress Customizer.

It’s been getting a lot of buzz in the WordPress space as the next “big” multipurpose theme and the importable demo sites look great, so this is definitely a good one to consider for your site.

Demo | Download | Premium

6. Hello Elementor

Active Installs: 700,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

Hello Elementor theme

Hello Elementor is a massively popular plain canvas theme from the Elementor team. It’s the most lightweight, performance-optimized theme possible, but there’s a big caveat — you need to pair it with a page builder such as Elementor if you plan to use the theme.

Essentially, Hello Elementor is just a blank canvas for your page builder designs, so the theme won’t work without one. But if you already are planning to use a page builder to design your entire site, Hello Elementor is a great way to make your site as lightweight as possible.

Download

There’s no demo link because Hello Elementor literally doesn’t have its own design.

7. Sydney

Active Installs: 100,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Sydney theme

Sydney is a popular free WordPress business theme that’s a great option for both businesses and freelancers alike. Its built-in content blocks mean you can easily customize your homepage design — even if you don’t know any code.

In 2021, Sydney got a big performance update and it’s now on par with lightweight options like GeneratePress and Astra when it comes to performance. The update also added more importable Elementor-powered websites.

Demo | Download

8. Blocksy

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Blocksy theme

Blocksy is another newly launched free WordPress theme that’s quickly growing in buzz thanks to its modern looks and coding languages, along with its detailed options in the WordPress Customizer.

When Blocksy first launched, it was viewed as kind of the “Astra killer”. It lost a little wind in its sails as the Kadence theme took over that position, but Blocksy is still a great theme with some awesome modern demo sites. It also comes with useful features, such as its own drag-and-drop header builder.

Demo | Download | Premium

9. Page Builder Framework

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Page Builder Framework

As the name suggests, Page Builder Framework is a lightweight base theme designed to pair with your favorite page builder plugin. The basic idea is that you use Page Builder Framework to control your header, footer, sidebar, blog layout, etc. and then use the page builder plugin to design your actual content.

As such, Page Builder Framework is very fast-loading and includes lots of customization options in the real-time WordPress Customizer. One downside, though, is that it doesn’t include any importable demo sites.

Download | Premium

10. Zakra

Active Installs: 60,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

Zakra theme

Zakra is another lightweight multipurpose theme in the same vein as GeneratePress and Astra. It gives you a fast-loading base, lots of customization options, and tons of importable demo sites built.

Like Astra, the demo sites are built with your choice of three different page/content builders — the regular WordPress editor, Elementor, or Brizy.

Demo | Download | Premium

11. Storefront

Active Installs: 200,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

storefront

An official theme from Automattic, Storefront is one of the best free WooCommerce themes you’ll find. Because it comes from the same team that actually develops the WooCommerce plugin, you can be sure it follows best practices — and it’s also easy to customize and extend as needed.

You can also find lots of child themes for Storefront to adjust your store’s looks — some of the child themes are also free while others are paid.

Demo | Download

12. Writee

Active Installs: 10,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

writee

Writee is a great free blogging theme that’s an especially good fit for anyone writing about food or travel (although you can use it for other topics as well). It also includes built-in related posts and social share button functionality, which eliminate the need for some external plugins.

Demo | Download

13. Mesmerize

Active Installs: 40,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

mesmerize

Mesmerize is a gorgeous multipurpose theme that helps you to build your website using live editing in the WordPress Customizer. The design quality of this one is really impressive, so it’s easy to see why it’s so highly rated.

Demo | Download

14. Hestia

Active Installs: 100,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

hestia

Hestia is a free material design WordPress theme that can be used for a wide variety of niches. It’s based on the WordPress Customizer, which means easy customizations, and you can also find a bunch of different free Hestia child themes that make it easy to switch up the theme’s looks.

Demo | Download | Premium

15. Kale

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

kale

Kale is a free WordPress theme that’s great for food, travel, fashion or lifestyle blogs. It features a minimalist design with a heavy focus on imagery, as well as lots of little customization options.

Demo | Download

16. One Page Express

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

onepage

As you can probably guess from the name, One Page Express is a free one-page WordPress theme that helps you to build your page using simple drag and drop. You can choose from lots of content sections to create your homepage, including video backgrounds, slideshows and plenty more.

Demo | Download

17. Ashe

Active Installs: 60,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

ashe

Ashe is a great free theme for lifestyle or fashion bloggers, as well as other related niches. It has a clean look with lots of spots to highlight your images and featured content, and it also makes it easy to bring in your Instagram content.

Demo | Download

18. ColorMag

Active Installs: 100,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

colormag

ColorMag is a popular free magazine WordPress theme from ThemeGrill. It features a neat multisize grid layout, and also includes prebuilt sections to house AdSense or banner ads. As a result, it’s a great option for any type of publishing site.

Demo | Download

19. Total

Active Installs: 60,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

total

Total is a free multipurpose theme that includes a detailed homepage, complete with parallax scrolling effect. It’s also WooCommerce-ready, and works great with page builders such as Elementor and Beaver Builder.

Demo | Download

20. NewsMag

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

newsmag

NewsMag is another stellar free WordPress magazine theme that makes a great option for publishers. Like ColorMag, it includes built-in slots for banner or AdSense ads, and it also offers four different blog page styles for you to choose from.

Demo | Download

21. Spacious

Active Installs: 50,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

spacious

Spacious is a free responsive WordPress theme from ThemeGrill — the same makers of the popular ColorMag theme. It’s well-suited to creating a business or portfolio site, and includes a variety of layouts and templates.

Demo | Download

22. Vantage

Active Installs: 70,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

vantage

Vantage is a free multipurpose theme from SiteOrigin, the developers behind the massively popular SiteOrigin Page Builder plugin. As you’d expect, it integrates well with the page builder, and it’s also WooCommerce-ready and integrated with Smart Slider 3.

Demo | Download

23. Customizr

Active Installs: 70,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

customizr

Customizr is a flexible, lightweight theme from Nicolas Guillaume, of Press Customizr. It offers nice parallax scrolling, and is easy to customize via the live WordPress Customizer (hence the name!).

Demo | Download

24. Primer

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

primer

Primer is a free multipurpose theme from GoDaddy (yes, that GoDaddy — they make themes now). There was some controversy when this theme was released, but it’s quickly grown in popularity, and it makes for a great base theme. GoDaddy have also released some free child themes to offer a different look.

Demo | Download

25. Hemingway

Active Installs: 20,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

hemingway

True to the name, Hemingway is a free theme that’s especially popular with bloggers and writers. It offers a clean design that really puts the focus right on your words.

Demo | Download

26. Lightning

Active Installs: 50,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

lightning nagoya

Lightning is a free Bootstrap-based WordPress theme that’s great for any type of site. One neat thing is that it’s designed to work well with custom post types and taxonomies, which makes it a good option if you’re planning to use non-standard post types.

Demo | Download

27. Olsen Light

Active Installs: 9,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

olsen light

Olsen light is a free blogging theme that works especially well for fashion and lifestyle bloggers. It includes built-in social sharing icons, as well as custom widgets and a dedicated Instagram integration.

Demo | Download

28. Hitchcock

Active Installs: 10,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

hitchcock

Hitchcock is a free portfolio theme for designers, photographers, and other visual creatives. The homepage features a great-looking image grid to showcase work, and the bold full-screen background adds a nice effect. Also, if users hover over an image in the grid, they’ll see the title and meta information.

Demo | Download

29. Travelify

Active Installs: 10,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

travelify

Travelify is a free travel blogger theme from the Colorlib family. The top features a bold post-slider, and all of the individual blog posts also have large featured images to help you to showcase your travel photography.

Demo | Download

30. Nikkon

Active Installs: 4,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

nikkon

Nikkon is a multipurpose creative theme that features a neat masonry grid on the homepage. If you want to switch things up, it also includes multiple page layouts, as well as different footer layouts.

Demo | Download

31. AccessPress Parallax

Active Installs: 9,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

accesspress parallax

As you’d expect, AccessPress Parallax’s defining feature is the built-in one-page parallax design. Beyond this, it also features a variety of sections for services, team members, portfolios, testimonials and more.

Demo | Download

32. Edge

Active Installs: 7,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

edge

Edge is a free WordPress blogging theme from Theme Freesia. It features a clean design, and uses the native WordPress Customizer for easy code-free changes. Like some of the other themes, you can also find free Edge child themes that offer a different look. For example, the Alternative child theme.

Demo | Download

33. Vertex

Active Installs: 4,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

vertex

Vertex is a responsive creative theme that makes great use of white space in its minimal look. It also offers a unique header, which sits as a vertical menu in the full-width hero image.

Demo | Download

34. Baskerville

Active Installs: 10,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

baskerville

Baskerville is a free retina-ready masonry theme that’s great for sharing all different types of media — from quotes and images to full posts. It’s lightweight, minimal and, thanks to the masonry layout, great for displaying lots of content.

Demo | Download

35. Ultra

Active Installs: 8,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

ultra

If you want something clean and lightweight for a business or portfolio website, Ultra is a solid option. It uses the free SiteOrigin Page Builder for easy layout control, as well as Smart Slider for sliders.

Demo | Download

36. xMag

Active Installs: 3,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

xmag

A free WordPress magazine theme, xMag offers a simple design for blogs or news websites. It includes built-in social follow icons, as well as eye-catching styling for each post’s category.

Demo | Download

37. Fukasawa

Active Installs: 10,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

fukasawa

Anders Norén has already made a few appearances on this list with the Hemingway, Hitchcock, and Baskerville themes, and Fukasawa is another of his popular free themes. It features a minimalist masonry grid that makes it a great option for photographers or other visual artists.

You can also embed galleries directly into the masonry grid, which is a neat effect.

Demo | Download

38. Himalayas

Active Installs: 6,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

himalayas

Himalayas is a free one-page parallax theme that’s a great option for businesses, portfolios and even travel blogs. The one-page design features a variety of sections for you to control, and the blog layout has a big featured image that’s perfect for travel photos.

Demo | Download

39. Modern

Active Installs: 4,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

modern

Modern is a free portfolio theme that’s accessibility-ready and built for readability. It gives you a bold full-width slider up top, with a filterable portfolio below to show off the different areas of your work.

Demo | Download

40. Flexia

Active Installs: 1,000-plus | Rating: 4.5 stars

Flexia theme

Flexia is a relatively new offering (at the time of writing), but it’s got a great modern design and comes with lots of customization options in the WordPress Customizer. All in all, the styling of this one is great, and it’s also WooCommerce-ready should you want to make a store.

Demo | Download

41. Pixgraphy

Active Installs: 4,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

pixgraphy

Pixgraphy is a free photography WordPress theme that’s designed to help you to display or sell your images. The homepage features a great-looking masonry grid, and it’s also WooCommerce-ready should you want to integrate photography sales into your site.

Demo | Download

42. Hueman

Active Installs: 50,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

hueman

Hueman (not human) is a popular free magazine and blog theme that comes with a ton of customization options via its free companion plugin and the WordPress Customizer. It’s also got a nice colorful look that stands out from many other magazine themes.

Demo | Download

43. Virtue

Active Installs: 40,000-plus | Rating: 5 stars

virtue

Virtue is a free multipurpose offering from Kadence Themes. It has built-in schema.org microdata to help you to get rich snippets in Google, as well as a clean Bootstrap-based design and WooCommerce capability. It’s also packed with tons of customization options if you want to switch things up.

Demo | Download

Used/using any of these themes? Any other top-notch free WordPress themes you’d like to recommend?

By Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing and WordPress. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi.
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