WordPress is a free, extremely powerful and amazingly flexible platform for building websites, blogs, shops and more. But with that power and flexibility comes a certain amount of inevitable complexity. A complexity that has increased over the past few years. To help you choose the right WordPress theme, we present our top 8 best WordPress themes for 2021.
Before we present you with our selection of free themes for WordPress, we will show you which aspects you should pay particular attention to:
- Safety first: Make sure you choose a theme that gets regular updates and is state of the art. The easiest way to do this is to download your free WordPress theme from the official WordPress repository. If it’s in the repository, it’s already gone through a robust quality assurance process. Beyond this measure, some of the best WordPress themes even hire WordPress security experts to independently audit their themes.
- Keyword – serious further development: serious because it is also possible for less talented developers to create and maintain tools and resources such as themes and plugins. But: Not everyone who is able to create a theme can maintain and support it at a high enough level.
- Good ratings are trumps: They are the best indication that a template is of high quality. The most important aspect of this is the number of stars in the ratings, but also the number of downloads, the “last updated” date, the number of open support requests and the strength of the user community, to name a few.
- Broad browser compatibility: what’s the point if the theme is pretty, but only in one browser? If you don’t find this aspect in the description right away, it’s worth doing some browser testing before committing to a theme.
- Essential – Plugin Compatibility: The real power of WordPress comes from plugins, software designed and developed to extend the possibilities of WordPress. Make sure that any theme you consider actually works with all the plugins that are important to your site.
- Compatibility with major page builders: When a WordPress theme is in the official repository, the good news is that it’s already compatible with the most widely used page builder in the world – WordPress’ native Gutenberg. However, there are more mature and advanced builders out there. It’s a good idea to start with a theme that is compatible with all or some of the leading page builders like Divi, Elementor, Beaver Builder, etc.
- Extensive support options: For free themes, this usually means a community forum and documentation. That’s perfectly fine if the documentation is current enough to be helpful.
As you can see, this is a pretty high bar. If you are a bit overwhelmed with the criteria mentioned – no problem! Below are some excellent free WordPress themes.
WordPress Theme 1 – Twenty Twenty One
Each year, WordPress.org releases a new free theme designed to showcase the platform’s improvements and features up to the current date. It’s an excellent tradition that provides a valuable resource for the entire community while signaling where the platform as a whole is headed.
The Twenty Twenty-One theme is no different. This theme comes bundled with Gutenberg – WordPress’ native block editor. It’s an approach designed to give you maximum control over as many design elements as possible. Since this can be difficult to visualize before you’ve built something with it, Twenty Twenty-One directs users to Block Patterns, which allow you to use pre-built block editor elements with a simple click. So even beginners can create beautiful page layouts in seconds.
More information about Twenty Twenty-One & for download
WordPress Themes 2 Shapely
An incredible free theme for WordPress websites, Shapely can significantly enrich the web development process. It’s both practical and beautiful, and manages to combine high functionality with amazing graphics – responsive, of course. It also supports high-resolution Retina displays, so you can display crisp graphics, sharp text, and groundbreaking vector icons. Despite its niche character, the product remains open to all areas of activity. Your website is compatible with widely used WordPress plugins such as Contact Form 7, Google Analytics, Yoast SEO and Gravity Forms.
More information about Shapely & for download
WordPress Theme 3 – Neve
Neve by Themeisle is a feature-rich, versatile, free WordPress theme. It suits pretty much every WordPress use case, from ecommerce to blogging to small business and more. Not only is it Gutenberg ready with unique block styles, but it also works with Elementor, Brizy, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, and Divi. It should also be compatible with any well-coded WordPress plugin. The USP of the theme, however, lies in search engine optimization and page loading speed. It’s responsive and fully AMP-optimized, so every page looks great and loads fast on any device.
More information about Neve & for download
WordPress Themes 4 – Sydney
Sydney has everything a website owner needs to get started with a top notch website on the internet. With Sydney you can get started right away, because the tool is immediately available to you with all its advantages and goodies. What’s great about Sydney is that it’s completely coextensive with Elementor’s drag-and-drop page builder. This immediately gives you even more options to customize the default theme to your liking.
Great theme options, google fonts, parallax effect, slider, static image header, social integration and much more – it’s all included in Sydney. Not to mention that you can also translate this free WordPress theme into any language you want. It’s best to start right away!
More information about Sydney & for download
WordPress Theme 5 – Urbane
If you are looking for the best tool to start your own online magazine or blog, don’t miss Urbane. This free WordPress theme is packed with great features and a stunning and minimal design. Regardless of the niche, Urbane is here to make your great idea a reality without the hassle.
Some of the tool’s features are an off-canvas sidebar, masonry grid, social icons, back-to-top button, and load more button. It also includes an about page and a contact section with a functional form. Start creating a clean blog or magazine with Urbane now!
More information about Urbane & for download
WordPress Theme 6 – goodness
Take your chance and grab all the incredible options and tools that come with the free Gutenix WordPress Theme. Are you looking for the best theme compatible with modern page builders? Gutenix is made for Gutenberg, Elementor and Brizy! Choose the one that suits you and create a website with a built-in live preview customizer. You can choose from 650+ fonts, work with style and weight properties, and choose one of eight neat header styles. The theme is fully responsive and retina ready. In addition, Gutenix is 100 percent compatible with the official WooCommerce plugin. You can easily install it, as well as a ton of other additional add-ons.
More information about Gutenix & for download
WordPress Theme 7 – Digital Agency Lite
For agencies and freelancers, Digital Agency Lite that free wordpress themes. It has a very modern, creative and responsive web design to provide you with an impactful web presence. Needless to say, today you no longer need to build websites from scratch. In this case, you don’t even have to spend a penny.
Digital Agency Lite rocks tons of features and functionality. From sticky navigation and dropdown menu to sliders, animations, back-to-top button, pricing plans, testimonials, and skillbars, Digital Agency Lite has it all and much more. Digital Agency Lite also supports third-party plugins for quick and effective integration.
More information about Digital Agency Lite & the demo
WordPress Theme 8 – Brooklyn Lite
The fantastically flexible Brooklyn Lite is a free WordPress theme that follows all the trends and regulations of the modern web. Of course, it has a responsive, cross-browser compatible and retina-friendly layout. Besides all the technical aspects, Brooklyn Lite also offers a lot of great page layouts. Instead of building a professional website from scratch, just click the download button. There are a lot of features that you can use with one click. With this impressive and effective online presence, you can reach your customers even better.
More information about Brooklyn & the demo
Conclusion: These free WordPress themes for 2021 are more than just good
As you might be able to tell from our top list of free WordPress themes, multipurpose themes with extensive builder support and integrations with other major WordPress plugins dominate the WordPress theme market. Even if they don’t cost anything! Another big trend is the added value of free starter/demo sites that allow users to start their website building process. Be sure to test the templates you are interested in and choose the one that you feel best meets your website goals.
Cover motif: Image from StartupStockPhotos on Pixabay
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Jana Behr is an IT specialist editor, PR consultant and blogger from Cologne and is passionate about all things IT, telecommunications and digitization.