There are so many lists of free WordPress themes floating around. But it seems like all of them are driven solely based off of affiliate sales, or created in a lazy and sloppy way that doesn’t provide any insightful detail.
We wanted to build a list of free WordPress themes that meet important criteria we feel make for a great WordPress theme to help give you the best shot at success:
- Speed. For two reasons– Google love fast sites, and your visitors love fast sites.
- Responsive. For the same two reasons as above. Every detail matters when it comes to ecommerce.
- No theme code tweaking necessary. This doesn’t mean you won’t need to code a little bit, it just means that you can do it without tweaking the theme files and risk losing your customization when you update theme, which should happen frequently. Plugins can fill the gaps here sometimes, but it’s easiest to look for as much native functionality from the themes as possible.
Now obviously these are free themes, so we can’t expect perfection. If you want to pay up for higher quality, check out the premium WordPress magazine themes we recommend. But these are by far the best free magazine themes we’ve found so far.
1. Zillah by ThemeIsle
Zillah isn’t a traditional magazine-style theme. It’s more of a personal blog style, or an ultra-modern publication that doesn’t want to crowd their content with marketing tools. But sometimes looking clean and sleek is a good thing. And the best part? It’s a ThemeIsle theme, a very reputable WordPress development company, so you know it will be properly maintained and updated.
ColorMag is a true WordPress magazine theme with all the functionality and design options you could want. We’ve seen issues in the past with the homepage slider not keeping images proportional, but aside from that it’s a great free theme.
3. Newsdesk Lite by MHThemes
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Newsdesk is one of the most highly rated free magazine WordPress themes for good reason– right out of the box it looks great and it’s very customizable. There is also a paid version that gives you even more flexibility as far as widgets and layout customizations, but the free version is absolutely fine.
4. Magazine Lite by MHThemes
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Magazine Lite is also created by MHThemes and therefore is very similar to Newsdesk Lite. Same great functionality, but there is also a paid upgraded version of this theme as well if you want even more customization ability.
In our opinion, MesoColumn is one of the most underrated free magazine WordPress themes available. Surprisingly good-looking out-of-the-box, very fast load times and great customization options without needing to tweak the code. It does have a slightly dated style to it, but if this style works for you, it’s a great theme to go with.
Point is a simple magazine theme. It’s not flashy, but it certainly gets the job done. If you’re not looking for flashy or stylish and just need a highly functional, highly customizable WordPress theme to work with, this is a great option from the people at MyThemeShop.
7. Garfunkel by Anders Noren
Anders has some really cool themes. They may not fall directly in the category of magazine themes, but if you take a close look at the newest “movers and shakers” in the online publishing industry, they’re all veering from the typical magazine layout and opting for themes like this. This is one of our three favorite from Anders.
8. Radcliffe by Anders Noren
This is the second of three from Anders to make this list. Radcliffe is another very, very modern, WordPress theme. Like all of Anders’ themes, they’re not standard magazine themes, but they are very much cutting edge and a lot of online publications are moving in this direction. To get this theme for free is an absolute steal.
9. Lovecraft by Anders Noren
Lovecraft is as close to “standard” as Anders will get with his themes. And even so, this theme has a very unique, clean look that’s easily navigable and fast to load.
Fullby is a high-energy theme, and it has a number of different variations to choose from. This sort of style works very well with mass-content websites that post frequently. If this is the style you’re looking for and you’re planning on really cranking out that content, this is a great option.
Hueman is another high-energy wordpress theme meant for handling a lot of constant content. It also has two sidebars, so if you need space for related articles, lead magnets and ads, this is your theme.