The Top 50 Free WordPress Themes For Your Site

The Top 50 Free WordPress Themes For Your SiteIf you’re looking for a free theme for your site, you have just hit the jackpot. I have spent the last couple of weeks sorting and compiling the following list, which features 50 highly rated themes currently available at no charge in the WordPress themes directory.

Before We Begin…

If you just want to get straight onto the list, feel free to skip the following.

*Assumes a defensive stance*

I’ll address the elephant in the room before we begin. In recent months I have occasionally taken it upon myself to produce lists. Two lists in particular – the WPMU 100 and the Top 100 WordPress Plugins. I produce them because they are the kind of lists that I would like to see. Since I am an avid WordPress enthusiast, I figure that others may well like to see them too.

For the most part, feedback from these lists has been very positive. People are delighted to find a resource that consolidates most of the best options into one place. I will be the first to admit that things are missed – no list is perfect. But it isn’t about producing a perfect list – it’s about producing a useful one.

Constructive criticism and suggestions as to themes that you think deserve to be on the following list are heartily welcomed in the comments section. If you are tempted to simply state that the list is terrible and offer no recommendations for its improvement, please take your opinion elsewhere.

Ranking Criteria

Right! With that out of the way, let’s get on with the subject of today’s post – the top 50 WordPress themes for your site. If you have no interest in understanding how the themes have been ranked, feel free to skip straight to the list.

Compiling this list presented its own unique set of challenges. First of all, compatibility was a priority. I decided to only include themes that have been released or updated since 4th July 2011 – which was the day that WordPress 3.2 was released. Whilst this isn’t a perfect solution, this step should ensure that the themes on offer are compatible with the current version of WordPress.

The alternative solution – installing each of the 50 themes and putting them through full testing – would have taken an enormous amount of time. If you believe that any of the themes on offer incompatible with the WordPress 3.3, please let me know.

There were two other issues that I faced. Firstly, there simply aren’t as many themes available as there are plugins. Secondly, people apparently aren’t all that generous in their propensity to actually rate the themes they download.

Having obtained a full list of all themes available in the WordPress themes directory (thanks to a tame WPMU DEV genius – thanks Ve!), it became clear that a top 100 list would be impractical – whilst a huge number of themes have been released since 4th July 2011, the number of ratings per theme was down to around 10 by the time you got to the 50th most rated. In my opinion, any lesser number of ratings would possibly produce some undesirable results, so I decided to keep the list to 50.

Given the low number of ratings, I had to give some thought as to how to rank the themes. In the end I decided to place a far higher weighting to the number of ratings. Whilst a high star rating is certainly taken into account, a higher number of ratings is seen as far more valuable. I think this accurately reflects the quality of a theme – getting a small number of 5 star ratings is easily done, but getting a higher number of ratings is a little more challenging.

The List

Here it is folks – the top 50 free WordPress themes for your site. As I mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your comments, suggestions and constructive criticism in the comments section. Enjoy!

# Name Author Last Updated
1 Suffusion sayontan 22/04/2012
2 Atahualpa BytesForAll 22/04/2012
3 Hybrid greenshady 18/09/2011
4 Weaver wpweaver 07/03/2012
5 Mystique digitalnature 09/04/2012
6 Twenty Ten wordpressdotorg 12/12/2011
7 P2 noel 09/04/2012
8 News devpress 18/09/2011
9 Graphene silverks 24/04/2012
10 Prototype greenshady 18/09/2011
11 Constructor AntonShevchuk 28/01/2012
12 Duster automattic 05/10/2011
13 Toolbox automattic 07/01/2012
14 Fastfood tbcrew 19/12/2011
15 Weaver II wpweaver 20/04/2012
16 Greener Side Adazing 27/03/2012
17 Boilerplate aarontgrogg 19/03/2012
18 rtPanel rtcamp 20/12/2011
19 dkret3 kretzschmar 29/09/2011
20 Platform arpowers 25/01/2012
21 Magazine Basic tinkerpriest 23/01/2012
22 Portfolio Press downstairsdev 09/02/2012
23 Twenty Eleven wordpressdotorg 12/12/2011
24 Arjuna X sebastianrs 25/08/2011
25 WP-Creativix IWEBIX 23/01/2012
26 Tarski ionfish 01/09/2011
27 Responsive emiluzelac 24/04/2012
28 Matala matt 26/07/2011
29 Coraline automattic 09/01/2012
30 Yoko elmastudio 25/08/2011
31 Oenology chipbennett 17/12/2011
32 Techozoic Fluid jeremyclark13 17/04/2012
33 simpleX nhuja 05/02/2012
34 zBench zwwooooo 07/04/2012
35 Witcher Mind gotic 04/08/2011
36 Witcher World gotic 13/07/2011
37 Wu Wei jeff_ngan 03/01/2012
38 Desk Mess Mirrored cais 01/03/2012
39 Custom Community svenl77 03/01/2012
40 The Erudite mattwiebe 23/01/2012
41 iStudio Theme xuhel 12/12/2011
42 Fresh Ink Magazine Adazing 09/04/2012
43 Morning Coffee Adazing 18/09/2011
44 Minimal Georgia kovshenin 06/07/2011
45 Retro-fitted greenshady 18/09/2011
46 Ghostbird mfields 23/01/2012
47 EvoLve Romik84 22/04/2012
48 Zombie Apocalypse Cryout Creations 28/01/2012
49 PageLines arpowers 23/04/2012
50 Clear Line vatuma 01/09/2011

Comments (14)

  1. Great List of themes, Tom. :)
    I love the design of your website. May I know what theme you are using?

    And one more question. Do you think it’s worth investing in Thesis? There is so much of hype given for Thesis, do you think it’s really worth it?

    • Hi Venkatesh,

      No problem :-)

      If you mean my personal blog, I’m running a rather heavily customized version of Canvas by WooThemes.

      As for Thesis – personally, I tried it and didn’t get along with it. But a lot of people swear by it…perhaps you should give it a go and see? I believe they have a solid refund policy.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  2. Hi guys,

    If I may add another, hopefully good FREE photography theme. Just released ELANDEL THEME today.

    FEATURES

    – Clean, strong design, with Light and Dark variations
    – Built on Bootstrap 3.2 responsive engine
    – Sticky menu with dropdown and mobile support
    – Smooth AJAX page transition
    – Fullscreen custom gallery with touch / swipe and mobile ready
    – Smooth scrolling and slick, elegant CSS3 animations
    – Optimized for speed +85 with Google Page Speed test, and 99 for Mobile User Experience
    – Theme structured with Portfolio Post Type plugin, allowing you to change themes without losing content
    – FREE forever

    Find out more at http://zenphotothemes.net/elandel

    Thank you and Happy Holiday!

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