In today’s Siteturner roundup, we take a look at the best free WordPress startup themes available for 2015. If your startup or agency is looking to save money on design & development, any one of the themes on this list should provide a good, inexpensive (free!) starting point.
For those of you tired of questionable, mixed-bag lists (there’s way too many “best of” lists that prominently feature hideous, broken themes), know that we selected these WordPress themes by hand, and that we curate the list by hand. I (the writer of this piece) am a living human being, as opposed to a soulless, theme-shilling automaton. Our selection process is pretty straight-forward: does it look good? Does it work like it’s supposed to? Are there some cool features? Is it easy to use? Is it actually free, or is it a severely restricted “freemium” product?
Well, about that last one: some of the themes on this list do have Pro versions that offer things like more functionality and support, but the free versions are all totally functional.
Before we continue, a quick plug: if you’re still on the look out for a hosting provider, we totally recommend Bluehost. You can trust us; we’re highly skilled professionals. And if you’ve suddenly decided that free themes aren’t for you, maybe check out one of our other premium roundups, The Best Responsive WordPress Business Themes Built with Bootstrap 3.x or Fast, Mobile-Ready, and SEO Optimized: 15+ Best Corporate WordPress Themes.
Alright! Check out these awesome free business themes!
Parallax One is easily one of our favorite free WordPress startup themes available. The design is truly top-notch, tastefully combining a number of contemporary trends into one great-looking product. If you don’t believe us, check out the demo: it really sells it. The code is clean, and the performance and usability is awesome.More Info/Download
We’re pretty impressed by this one-page theme called Starter from new (to us) WordPress designers Themum. There’s more included here that you’d generally find in a free theme, like a portfolio gallery, parallax backgrounds, a carousel slider, and SEO friendly coding. There’s some neat CSS touches, too, and it seems to perform very well. (Which is, of course, essential to providing a good user experience and not frustrating/scaring away your visitors.)
Zerif Free WordPress Startup Themes
How about Zerif-Lite? It’s clean, modern, and a joy to use (for both visitors and site admins). There’s some impressive visual touches, like CSS transitions/animations, and they’re tastefully implemented, as opposed to being obtrusive and distracting. It’s clear the developers took their time to craft an engaging, great-looking, high-performance product. And then they decided to give it away for free. What nice people.
Maskitto Light from Shufflehound (cool name) is another responsive, corporate-flavored WordPress theme with some excellent premium-quality features like drag & drop page building, project galleries/portfolios, social network integration, custom widgets, and plenty of options for making adjustments and customizations. If you’ve got some time, have a look at the demo to get a feel for everything Maskitto has to offer – our screenshot doesn’t really do it justice.More Info/Download
Next, we have one of the top Bootstrap-based free WordPress startup themes. Revera looks sharp, and supports a homepage slider, portfolio, homepage widgets, and even banner advertisements to help with monetization efforts (something often overlooked in even expensive, premium products). Some useful options are provided, too.More Info/Download
A gorgeous theme from ModernThemes. This developer is relatively new to the WordPress theme scene, but we have a feeling they’ll be a major player before long. Everything is on point, from the clean code base, to the modern, sleek (and professional) aesthetics, to the features, performance & usability. Up there with Parallax One.More Info/Download
Ambition is a clean, minimalistic theme from ThemeHorse that prioritizes user experience and readability. Tasteful typography, lots of white space, and smart organization make this one a standout. It’s responsive and offers a lot of great secondary features that you usually only find in premium products, like retina-ready design and compatibility with several popular WordPress plugins (most notably, Contact Form 7 and bbPress). A featured slider is provided, and site admins can tweak and customize the theme using a back-end options panel.More Info/Download
Next up is Ample, from the team at ThemeGrill. This free, multi-purpose WordPress theme will lend itself to a variety of businesses, agencies, and startups. Branding options are built-in, allowing site owners to upload their own logo, customize accent colors, and set custom backgrounds. A homepage slider is included and Ample is translation-ready.More Info/Download
BLDR is a gorgeous free theme from those talented, up-and-coming WordPress developers at ModernThemes. With plenty of customization options, included Google font support, BLDR is a good choice for users looking for a flexible, easy to customize free WordPress startup theme. The code is clean, following best practices, and it’s SEO friendly. BLDR is easy to install, translation-ready, and well documented.More Info/Download
ClassyLite is a excellent option for creative agencies and design firms, with support for portfolios and a service section included out-of-the-box. A front-page slider is provided, and the theme is fully responsive & WPML compatible.More Info/Download
Licensed under the GPL, Elegant comes to us courtesy of WPExploer. There’s a lot of useful features packed into this one, including several business-centric custom post types: portfolio, staff, features. Elegant comes with a homepage slider, plenty of options for making adjustments, and demo XML data for a fast, painless installation & setup.More Info/Download
If you’ve been searching for a free business theme for a while, you’ve no doubt already come across the popular Vantage theme. This one has been downloaded over 500,000 times (!). It supports both Page Builder and WooCommerce. Perhaps the only draw back is its popularity – if you go with Vantage, you’re likely to stumble across a site that looks almost exactly like yours once in a while.More Info/Download
The default settings of Flat Theme provide a bit more color and vibrancy than some of the corporate flavored designs we’ve looked at so far. This responsive theme is built on top of the robust Twitter Bootstrap 3 framework, and it’s a good choice for creative agencies, providing a ready-to-go portfolio. A pretty cool slideshow (that supports video), integration with FontAwesome, and clean, easy to understand code help make this one a solid choice and earns it a spot on our list.More Info/Download
meetGavern is a pretty good match for software/app developers, and reminiscent of the type of design you’d find being used on a variety of open source websites/projects. A strong options panel is a major selling point (is it a selling point if the theme is free?), and its integration with popular social networks is handy.More Info/Download
Next we have another selection from ThemeHorse. Interface nails the corporate aesthetic, with its two-color design, smart use of white space, and clean-cut icons. ThemeHorse goes out of their way to offer premium-level features in their free WordPress themes: Interface is responsive, includes an easy to use slideshow, bbPress support, multiple layouts, and plenty of options for customizing logos, colors, and social links. Interface even supports custom headers and backgrounds. Definitely one of the most useful free WordPress startup themes.More Info/Download
Make is one of the most powerful, versatile free WordPress themes out there. It supports intuitive, drag & drop page building, and the Plus version (not free) adds even more functionality. Our short blurb can’t do it justice: we recommend clicking through to the details page for the full rundown of features.More Info/Download
aThemes has been producing free themes for WordPress for a few years now, and Moesia is one of their best. This one even has fancy-pants parallax backgrounds, if that does it for you. With Moesia, aThemes serves up custom widgets, custom headers, social icons, theme options and more. It’s carefully coded according to best practices, it’s translation-ready, and it’s well documented. Why would it be on our list otherwise?More Info/Download
SKSDEV is professional, easy to use, and offers a striking, full-screen slideshow on the homepage. One-page functionality and minimalistic, user-friendly design makes it a great fit for creative design agencies. SKSDEV provides professional design and above-average performance & usability in one lean package.More Info/Download
Alright, finally we’ve got the last of our excellent free WordPress startup themes from ThemeGrill to add: Spacious. This one has a lovely corporate/intranet look to it. There’s a ton of features baked in, including (but not limited to): a pretty sweet slider, multiple layouts to choose from, custom widget areas, a light & dark skin, lots of options, and translation-readiness.More Info/Download
And that’s a wrap for our roundup of the best free, responsive WordPress business themes (for agency, startup and corporate use). Stay tuned for our next roundup, which will be about…well…something else, I guess. Peace out!