Currently, there are over 7500 themes available in the WordPress theme directory. Some of them are free, some are paid for. Most of them are highly functional and absolutely gorgeous! A few of them not so much.
The point is that, finding the best WordPress theme can be draining and time-consuming. But don’t worry, we are here to make your life easier! Welcome to part three of our WordPress miniseries, dedicated to the top most popular WordPress themes in 2020. If you missed part two where we discussed the most popular plugins, don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. So read on and when you’re done, go back and catch up with that topic too. For now, let’s not waste any more time, and dive right into it.
1. Twenty Twenty by WordPress
WordPress comes with its own default theme that people use when they install the tech. Every year, the team at WP releases a new and improved version of the default theme, as part of what we know as the “Twenty” series. The first such theme, the Twenty Ten, was a cute but very limited theme, which allowed only six “widgetized” blocks. This was significantly minimizing the amount of customization one was able to do on their WP site. But the twenty series has come a long, long way since then. And this year the team released the beautiful and elegant, Twenty Twenty. This theme, aside from its good looks, is also highly functional and has a ton of cool features and unlimited customization possibilities.
Twenty Twenty is a great starter theme not only because it’s pre-installed and completely free. But it also gives users incredible freedom to create dynamic pages and explore their creativity. Among many others, Twenty Twenty supports sticky posts, a customizable widget for the footer, different theme options, and custom styles and typography and is translation ready. On top of that, Twenty Twenty is accessibility ready and has RTL (right-to-left) language support.
More importantly, Twenty Twenty benefits from the full support of the WordPress team behind it. The only downside we see with Twenty Twenty is that it’s not compatible with page builders like Elementor. And since page builders are so popular today, this could prove to be a problem.
2. Astra by Brainstorm Force
Astra is a beloved all-purpose WordPress theme with over 4000 5-star reviews from its users. This theme is suitable for anything from a simple blog or personal website, to professional business landing pages. And, it supports WooCommerce, making it a perfect choice for any online shop too.
The team supporting Astra – Brainstorm Force – built the theme with mobile-first and SEO in mind as it comes with both Native AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Schema.org code. Astra is highly customizable yet lightweight, which means it’s also very fast. Even better, the theme is compatible with many page builders, including – but not limited to – Elementor and SiteOrigin. And, like Twenty Twenty, Astra is translation ready, with RTL language support.
All of the above is part of the free version of Astra. But for an enhanced experience and even more features, the theme also provides premium options. Some examples are sticky menus, more control over typography and color stylings, and different page headers. The good news is that Astra’s Pro plans are quite affordable and, with the Pro plans also comes the one-to-one support, which cuts the waiting time when reporting an issue in the support forum.
3. OceanWP by oceanwp
Not far behind Astra and Twenty Twenty, is OceanWP with over six hundred thousand active installations today. Over time, OceanWP has touched the hearts of almost four thousand users who rated the theme with 5 stars! Like Astra, OceanWP is a great theme for any project you have in mind as it is page-builder compatible, making it a fierce competitor.
But more than anything, it is an amazing theme for online shops, as it is one of the most WooCommerce-oriented independent themes available. Their mission is to simplify WooCommerce and WooCommerce integrations, so users set up their shop faster and easier.
With the free version, OceanWP brings crucial UX features like native cart popups, off-canvas filters, and product quick view. These are already built into the codebase, no plugins, or extra coding necessary.
The Pro version brings both priority support and a plethora of simple solutions that enhance user experiences, Among others, we find elements like cookies notifications, a “stick anything” feature that allows you to make anything on your website sticky, posts slider, whitelist solutions, and more.
4. Neve by ThemeIsle
Neve is the most popular WP theme from ThemeIsle’s portfolio. As all modern themes, Neve is built with mobile-first in mind and is AMP and page-builders compatible. The team behind Neve also boasts it as “featherweight”, so it’s light and fast, and it’s fully customizable.
The free version of Neve provides an SEO friendly markup and is accessibility ready, translation ready, and has RTL language support. Brainstorm Force also provides fast support for any ticket raised about the theme.
However, one-to-one support and updates are only part of the premium packages, along with many extra features, like scroll to up, Elementor booster, and custom layouts. But the most interesting part of the pro versions is how Neve handles support and updates. Most themes provide different packages like Pro, Personal, and so on. Then they limit the support to one site, then three-or-so, and then unlimited, according to each package. Neve, on the other hand, offers support and updates for unlimited sites with all three of their packages.
5. Hestia by ThemeIsle
The second most popular ThemeIsle theme is Hestia. The easiest way to describe this theme is if you think of Neve as Ying and Hesta as Yang. They don’t compete with each other, rather they complement one another. Ying&Yang, the perfect balance. Where Neve is minimalistic and slick, Hestia is elegant and creative, perfect for sites like portfolios, modern online shops, and restaurants. But because it’s lightweight and high functionality, Hestia is also great for big projects.
Just like its sibling, Hestia is built for performance and responsiveness and is compatible with WooCommerce as well as most page-builders. Hestia is also easily editable directly from within the WordPress customizer.
When it comes to free features, Hestia is very similar to Neve. The only one different extra is the Mega Menu. This feature is highly customizable and responsive and allows users to easily manage both the menus and submenus.
On the other hand, the premium plans differ quite a lot. While Neve offers support for unlimited sites, Hestia’s support and updates change according to each plan. The Personal pack only covers one site and only the Agency plan covers unlimited sites.
6. GeneratePress by Tom
From what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that lightweight, speed, and flexibility are the three of the most important characteristics in a theme. And GeneratePress checks all of the boxes, along with page-builder and WooCommerce compatibility.
Actively used by more than 200.000 sites, GeneratePress is accessibility-ready, SEO oriented, and fully responsive. Among its free features, we get nine customizable widget areas, five different sidebar layouts, microdata integration, dropdown menus, and more.
These perks are further enhanced by the GeneratePress premium package which brings more freedom for creativity. Some examples are advanced color and typography styling, more customizable elements, and menus, secondary navigation options, an in-built tiny page builder, and more. Notice we said “package”, as in one package. This is because GeneratePress doesn’t differentiate between personal and business. They only offer one simple price for all your needs, with support and updates for unlimited sites at a very affordable price.
7. Storefront by Automattic
Compared to OceanWP, which is an independent theme, Storefront is built and maintained by WooCommerce. In other words, Storefront is a WooCommerce exclusive theme. And, there is no other theme more compatible with WooCommerce than one built for it, right? Also the developers updating and maintaining Storefront are the same ones at the core of WooCommerce.
Storefront’s free features include WooCommerce integration, including many of their extensions, and “just enough display options”. Storefront users also get an e-commerce focused landing page and a free expansion for contact forms. Needless to say that the theme is also accessibility ready and fully responsive.
For an enhanced experience, Storefront offers two packages, the extensions bundle, and the powerpack. On the UX side, the extensions bundle unlocks all WooCommerce extensions for Storefront. On the UI side, the powerpack opens all avenues towards a fully customized webshop, without any coding involved.
8. Sydney by aThemes
Aside from that, Sydney comes with free support and different theme options, Parallax effect, slider or static options for headers, and more. Sydney also supports many Google Fonts and is translation ready.
The Pro version, as aThemes describes it, takes the free features and supercharges them all for a very low price. Included in this package are WooCommerce integration, extra page templates, video headers, footer contact form integration, even more customization options, and many other cool features.
9. Shapely by Silkalns
Shapely is a one-page WordPress theme, developed and maintain by Silkalns and powered by Colorlib. The team behind the theme promises a pixel perfect design on top of outstanding functionality. And the reality is, Shapely is a special theme. Shapely is absolutely free and supports WooCommerce, as well as powerful plugins like Jetpack, Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO and GA.
Naturally, Shapely is fully responsive and both translation and retina ready. The team provides great and fast support via the support forum and full documentation on the theme. Moreover, Shapely has a Font Awesome support built in the code base and it allows unlimited color customization. Did we mention it is also completely free?
10. Rife Free by apollo13themes
Rife Free, as the name suggests, is indeed a mostly free WordPress theme. Mainly focused on photography and portfolio websites, Rife Free comes with 7 ready-to-use template layouts. But don’t be fooled, Rife Free is a great choice for businesses, blogs, and e-shops as well.
Rife Free is compatible with WooCommerce, and has Schema.org integrated for better SEO. Aside from that, the theme comes with a ton of cool features like responsive sliders, post grid, and writing effects. Rife Free is also compatible with Elementor and WPBakery Page Builder and it’s translation ready with RTL support.
The Pro version unlocks over 40 design templates and premium support. It also supports SVG logos, menu overlays and vertical headers with different color variations. The Pro pack is affordable and, seeing how many extra features it brings, quite tempting.
From so many available choices, it’s hard to choose the 10 “best themes”. The reality is that there is no real best theme since each website and each business is unique. We chose the ten themes presented in this article by the love they get from the community as well as their free features. But remember that the WordPress theme directory holds over 7.500 themes, free and paid for, so there might be some we missed.
If you have a favorite one that we didn’t mention and you would want us to look into in the future, reach out to us on social media and tell us all about it. We would love to give it a try.