8 Best Free WordPress Themes for 2024 Compared

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  • Jan 31, 2024
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8 Best Free WordPress Themes for 2024 Compared

Surprisingly or not, some free multipurpose WordPress themes indeed help you create a full-fledged modern website without going too deep into development.

More to say, as many free responsive WordPress themes have improved significantly over the past few years, they can rightfully compete with many premium counterparts. A few great examples of such themes are GeneratePress, Arc Fse, Kadence, and Blocksy. They are well-designed & responsive while offering top-notch performance.

We took the time to browse WordPress templates & themes and chose a few most popular options. And while all of the reviewed items are free to use, each one offers users a chance to switch to the premium version.

Important note: it’s very preferable to download free multipurpose WordPress themes from the official repository. This way you know that the theme is designed according to the standards. That’s why our next list of free WP themes contains links to the official WordPress directory only.

Top 8 Free Themes for WordPress – Let’s Compare!

For easier comparison, each review will be divided into the next blocks:

  1. Main Features & Design
  2. Speed Performance
  3. Page Builders Compatibility
  4. Premium Version (if any)

Gutenix Free Multipurpose WordPress Theme

Picture of Gutenix, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides outstanding customization.

Let me introduce you to the Gutenix Multipurpose Theme – one of the best solutions providing ready-to-go site designs for top WordPress page builders. 

To view demos of the Gutenix starter sites, scroll down the homepage.

  • Main Features & Design

All Gutenix starter site designs look like great & free multipurpose WordPress themes. They are modernized, which justifies their minimalistic and clean layouts. Eye-catching homepage content and the absence of extra elements form the right focus and prolong the average time spent on your site.

For each page builder, the Gutenix theme prepared a special set of built-in eye-catching templates. Overall, the free version offers 6 starter sites – 3 Elementor themes & 3 Brizy templates (plus, one Gutenix optimized starter site is on its way) vs 47+ designs in the Pro version:

Image of Gutenix free themes that allow you to build a responsive and ready-made website using any layout.

In every Gutenix skin, you can choose among 5 blog post layouts (Standard Post; Video Post; Gallery Post; Quote Post; Link Post; Audio Post), and select one of 8 header layouts.

Whether free or pro, Gutenix provides a Live Customizer for easier styling customization (650+ fonts & unlimited color and design). Every starter theme is SEO-friendly and comes WooCommerce- & translation-ready.

  • Speed Performance

“Fast as lightning” – specified the Gutenix developers, and they are more than correct. The Google Speed Insights shows an A96% rank, the YSlow – A91%, and the Pingdom grade reaches 100%!

  • Compatibility With Page Builders

Initially developed as the Gutenberg block-first free multipurpose WordPress theme, Gutenix is transformed to be the universal multipurpose starter themes solution with starter themes supporting Gutenberg, Elementor, and Brizy. Gutenberg themes come with Getwid and AI block.

  • Premium Version (if any)

The annual subscription for the premium Gutenix version (47+ starter themes, premium ZeGuten plugin, priority support) is $69/year. The lifetime plan will cost you 174$ as a one-time fee.

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Gutenix5.01,000+

Astra WordPress Theme (FREE)

Illustration of Astra, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides creative designs.

And here comes the WordPress Astra theme with over 1m+ active downloads. Powered with all the needed tools to help you create stylish and creative designs, one’s strongest benefit rather remains its excellent performance. 

Just like all other free multipurpose WordPress themes on our list, Astra is an attractive solution for both non-coders and developers.

View Astra Demo.

  • Main Features & Design

Overall, Astra offers 70+ professionally-built designs for a variety of different websites and business niches: from blogs to online portfolios to eCommerce stores and business pages

Out of 70 designs, 35+ of them come in the Astra free version:

Snapshot of Astra free themes, a selection of layouts providing pre-designed solutions for any website.

The free starter sites will become available once you install the Starter Templates plugin.

All templates (no matter whether they are free or premium) can be modified in both beginner’s and developer’s manner. Namely, you can customize layouts using drag-and-drop functions in your preferred page builder without touching a single line of code. Or you could use custom post types, hooks, and filters for deep-level customization.

Also, Astra offers seamless integration with WooCommerce and all other extra plugins & addons you decide to add.

  • Speed Performance

Astra claims to be an extremely lightweight & free multipurpose WordPress theme (under 50KB) with no jQuery render, which may be harmful to the site’s performance. By using the JavaScript code, Astra-based websites can upload in less than 0.5 seconds.

  • Compatibility With Page Builders

Astra theme WordPress works perfectly with all commonly used page builders: Beaver Builder, Elementor, SiteOrigin, Visual Composer, Divi, etc. 

Free Astra templates go for Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, and the Gutenberg block editor

  • Premium Version (if any)

Astra PRO provides advanced customization, 20+ free starter site templates, unlimited website usage, one-to-one support, and more functionality depending on the plan.

There are 3 premium plans with different pricing for annual & lifetime subscriptions: Astra Pro ($49/year or $199/one time), Essential Toolkit ($79/year or $399/one time), and Business Toolkit ($149/year or $599/one time).

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Brainstorm Force5.01+ million

OceanWP Theme for WordPress (FREE)

Depiction of OceanWP, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that delivers great flexibility.

OceanWP is the next free multipurpose WordPress theme with plenty of high-quality website templates. Developers will love the flexibility of this beautiful and professional solution, while non-professionals will be surprised by the simplicity of customization via all popular drag-and-drop page builders. From the time of release in 2017, the free version of OceanWP has already gained a community of 600k+ happy WordPress users!

Check the OceanWP demo.

  • Main Features & Design

One of the eye-catching features of the Ocean WordPress theme is a great focus on styling. And you can track this from several aspects.

The first one is a variety of demo designs. If you look at demo starter sites offered by OceanWP, you should notice the difference in their design and layout from one template to another. This is a great benefit over Astra where most of one’s starter themes look very similar:

Artwork of OceanWP free themes and eye-catching demo sites included with the mentioned multipurpose theme for WordPress.

For the one-click demo import, you’ll need to install and activate the Ocean Demo Import WordPress plugin.

The second aspect is the availability of the Core Extensions Bundle – a set of plugins to help you facilitate the installation and customization processes. They would come as one free bundle if you purchase one of the OceanWP premium plans.

Finally, OceanWP also provides an impressive range of customizable elements, including 7 header styles, 15 widgets, and 5 starting layouts.

Last but not least: OceanWP provides users with extremely easy WooCommerce integration for building a powerful eCommerce store with great sales. The theme is already integrated with the modern WooCommerce functionality, so users don’t need to install additional plugins to get started.

  • Speed Performance

One of the interesting performance-based features of this solution compared to other free multipurpose WordPress themes is the ability to disable all unused (or not so necessary) scripts and styles. This ensures visitors will no longer wait for ‘unused’ JavaScript or CSS files to upload on your website before it opens.

The overall OceanWP performance shows good results. But compared to Gutenix or Astra, we may not call the loading speed of the given theme excellent.

  • Compatibility With Page Builders

When it comes to choosing your favorite page builder, OceanWP seems like the most flexible option of all. Overall, users have 9 options to choose from: Gutenberg, Elementor, Brizy, Visual Composer, Divi, Thrive Architect, Beaver Builder, Kind Composer, and SiteOrigin.

  • Premium Version (if any)

The PRO version of the Ocean WP theme provides you with 20+ free & premium extensions, 73+ starter site designs, and free updates & support. The number of websites for one license depends on the chosen plan.

OceanWP offers 4 plans with the price, which depends on whether the subscription is annual or lifetime: Starter ($35/year or $141/one time), Personal ($43/year or $178/one time), Business ($71/year or $285/one time), and Agency ($127/year or $509/one time).

DeveloperRatingInstallations
OceanWP5.0700,000+

Neve Theme for WordPress (FREE)

Illustration of Neve, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides a variety of available layouts.

One more WordPress giant on our list is Neve from Themeisle. With 300k+ active installs, Neve free multipurpose WordPress theme established itself as a multipurpose and highly customizable theme with beautiful and modern starter site designs. It’s perfect for food blogs, small businesses, startups, agencies, firms, and eCommerce stores, as well as personal portfolio sites, and literally, all types of online projects.

Check the Neve demo.

  • Main Features & Design

Currently, Neve provides 32+ free starter site designs intended for a bunch of different directions:

Image of Neve free themes, customizable and ready-made sites suitable for any modern online presence.

They can be installed with a single click, and give you an easy starting point for building sites in various niches. You’ll find lots of handy options in the Customizer as well, helping you tweak your headers, menus, typography, colors, and more. 

Neve includes features that aid in WooCommerce integration, as well as blog-specific setup options. Not to say, it features the ability to create and use custom layouts for complex professionally-made layouts.

  • Speed Performance

We can rightfully call Neve one of the fastest & free multipurpose WordPress themes out of all on our list – the theme scores the 100 grade while tested for performance in PageSpeed Insights

The Neve developers claim Neve to load in 0.6s, which is equal to the Astra theme page loading time. However, the default WordPress theme file tends to be lighter than one of Astra –  as tiny as 28KB.

  • Compatibility With Page Builders

Neve is well-integrated with such WordPress page builders as Elementor, Brizy, Beaver Builder, Divi, SiteOrigin, and Visual Composer, plus the default WordPress editor.

  • Premium Version (if any)

The PRO version of the Ocean WP theme includes header & blog booster, unlimited site usage, custom layouts, scroll to the top, and Elementor booster. Other features are included in the particular plan.

As you may guess, Neve offers 3 paid plans, with prices also being different: Personal (€69/year), Business (€149/year), and Agency (€259/year).

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Themeisle5.0300,000+

GeneratePress

Picture of GeneratePress, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides outstanding responsiveness.

GeneratePress is a performance-first & free multipurpose WordPress theme built to help you establish a fully optimized and highly responsive website without excessive investments of both time and money. Compatible with all major WordPress solutions and being highly customizable, this theme provides a great start for any website, from eCommerce-oriented to personal blogs, and corporate online presences.

View the GeneratePress theme demos.

  • Main Features & Design

As a top-notch and affordable multipurpose WordPress theme, GeneratePress comes with a library of 100 pre-designed templates that are divided into 3 categories: Business, Blog, and eCommerce.

Rendering of GeneratePress free themes that provide a diverse selection of color options and typography settings.

Any of them can be installed without any additional payments once you purchase the premium version of the theme. Aside from them, you get a diverse selection of features with the theme. For example, the GeneratePress theme includes advanced styling controls, a mobile header, and sticky navigation. Additionally, you can set up your online store with the full support of the WooCommerce plugin available with this theme.

  • Speed Performance

Performance is one of the primary purposes of this WordPress solution, even for its free option. GeneratePress WordPress theme provides 100% PageSpeed scores that show how lightweight and optimized this theme is. With a page size of less than 8 kb, the theme helps any WordPress enthusiast to develop an outstanding website without any hassle.

  • Compatibility with Page Builders

As one of the fully customizable & free multipurpose WordPress themes, GeneratePress delivers full compatibility with visual editing experience for the #1 CMS. This is made possible due to the theme’s very own block-based builder that doesn’t require any coding knowledge. The included Dynamic Block Elements and GenerateBlocks plugin offer you complete freedom in terms of design and customization.

  • Premium Version (if any)

GeneratePress comes in two versions – free and premium. The free one provides the essentials, such as an open-source, lightweight, and fully optimized theme to help you establish a memorable website. The Premium option delivers an extensive library of templates ready to be installed and a wide selection of features to make your future website an impressive online version of your business or organization (for example, a school website).

It is available as a yearly subscription of $59 per year or a single payment of $249 for a lifetime license. Both paid options provide regular updates, access to the site library, various premium features, permission to use on up to 500 websites, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

DeveloperRatingInstallations
EDGE22 Studios LTD.5.0600,000+

Kadence

Illustration of Kadence, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes packed with cutting-edge features.

The next free multipurpose WordPress theme on our list is Kadence. As a lightweight solution, it offers outstanding performance combined with a clean and catchy design. Besides, this solution is filled with modern features and multiple WordPress plugin integrations. As a result, any user of Kadence gets a fully-featured theme to quickly get started with WordPress website development.

Check out the Kadence starter sites.

  • Main Features & Design

As one of the popular WordPress themes for web developers and casual users, Kadence allows you to choose any starter template from the supplied collection. From out of 14 categories of pre-designed sites, you can easily select anything that fits your idea of a website, be it something personal (such as a makeup artist website) or suitable for business.

Snapshot of Kadence free themes, a collection of top-notch sites built to meet your requirements.

In addition to pre-designed ones, Kadence also offers AI-powered starter templates to help you get started with content creation at once. Moreover, all of these ready-made solutions and layouts contain dozens of features and options for your future website. From pre-configured color palettes to professional fonts, headers, and icons, there’s a lot this theme offers right from the start.

  • Speed Performance

Designed as a lightweight theme, Kadence provides fast performance without overloading your website with unnecessary plugins. In addition to that, this solution follows all required WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards. With keyboard navigation, inline SVG icons, and impressive performance scores, the provided theme can help you create not just a unique but also a fast website that will impress your visitors.

  • Compatibility with Page Builders

Kadence comes with a bunch of integrations, making it one of the best free multipurpose WordPress themes if you prefer to use first-class page builders for WordPress, such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Gutenberg. Thus, you get not just a visually impressive and feature-rich WordPress theme. You also get full control over its content without ever touching a line of code. All you have to do is to install your favorite page builder and enjoy the experience.

  • Premium Version (if any)

Like any modern WordPress theme, Kadence comes in two versions, free and premium. The free one is available on the WordPress theme catalog provides the essential features and is fully optimized for developing your website instantly. The premium version of this theme comes in 3 diverse options, with all of them offering unlimited sites and one year of support.

Kadence WP offers you a standard package of top features (WooCommerce addon, custom fonts, hooked elements, etc.) with Kadence Theme Pro for $79 per year. The Essential Bundle provides the theme itself along with several other solutions from the same developer to boost your web development experience for $149 per year. Lastly, there is a Full Bundle, an option that includes all features, fonts, and templates as well as access to all future products for $219 per year.

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Kadence WP5.0300,000+

Blocksy

Depiction of Blocksy, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides well-optimized performance.

Blocksy is a reliable, advanced, and free multipurpose WordPress theme loaded with great features and optimized for top-notch performance. Built with the latest web technologies, this WordPress block theme offers high compatibility with top plugins. It is also lightweight and fast. As evident from its name, Blocksy supports the Gutenberg block editing standards, which makes this theme one of the best solutions for website customization.

Take a look at the Blocksy theme ready-made sites.

  • Main Features & Design

Similar to many themes listed above, the Blocksy WordPress theme comes with a wide choice of layouts, homepages, and pre-built templates. With over 30 of them already available for use with both free and paid theme options, Blocksy is a suitable choice for both simple and complex sites.

Artwork of Blocksy free themes, a set of multipurpose layouts built to impress your website visitors.

As for features, this WordPress theme provides diverse color & typography options as well as an SEO-optimized and GDPR-compliant site layout. Besides, it comes with diverse header variations as well as WooCommerce integration and multiple widget areas.

  • Speed Performance

When it comes to performance, Blocksy shows some of the best results. For example, it ranks up to 95% in the Google PageSpeed test. The GTmetrix YSlow score of this theme shows an astonishing result of 88% and 92% in the Pingdom Performance Grade. Built not only to impress but also to perform, the WordPress Blocksy theme combines well-designed layouts with lightweight pages developed with the help of the latest web technologies.

  • Compatibility with Page Builders

Being oriented towards visual customization, this theme provides full support for WordPress’s best builders, such as Elementor or Brizy. Additionally, as we mentioned earlier it is designed for full compatibility with Gutenberg. This results in one of the easiest-to-edit & free multipurpose WordPress themes to help you establish your websites in minutes.

  • Premium Version (if any)

If you’re interested in getting Blocksy, you can start by trying its free version, which provides all the basic functionality. Additionally, the developers offer three paid packagesPersonal for $69/year, Professional for $99/year, and Agency for $149/year. They define three recommended usage purposes for this theme. These plans differ in the number of site licenses and some advanced features.

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Creative Themes5.0100,000+

Arc Fse

Illustration of Arc Fse, one of the free multipurpose WordPress themes that provides a full-site editing experience.

Arc Fse is a full-site editing free multipurpose WordPress theme that was created to allow any WordPress user to build a website according to their preferences. It adheres to the FSE standards that were recently introduced as a part of a huge WordPress update. Aside from being block-based and well-optimized, this solution also comes with a bunch of pre-made templates and dozens of awesome features to power up your website.

View the Arc Fse theme demo.

  • Main Features & Design

With over 20 diverse site demos built for traditional & full-site editing experience, Arc Fse combines the best from regular and block-based customization. The pre-developed layouts and websites range from portfolio and corporate to medical and multipurpose. Such a wide variety of designs allows a user with any level of WordPress knowledge to choose what they prefer.

Image of Arc Fse layouts, created to help you build lightweight and easy-to-customize websites.

In addition to diverse layouts, this theme also provides a wide choice of features. For example, Advance slider blocks help you to attract your website visitors’ attention, while also providing useful information or content. Additionally, you can also use various Premium blocks to spice up any page of the website you’re working on.

  • Speed Performance

Like many FSE & free multipurpose WordPress themes, this WordPress solution comes with a top-notch level of optimization and performance. Developed to load and display the page layout almost instantly, Arc Fse delivers your content quickly and efficiently. With its SEO-friendly pages and security-first updates released regularly, you can always expect the best from this theme and its developers.

  • Compatibility with Page Builders

Being a block-based theme made for full-site editing, the presented solution is fully compatible with both Gutenberg and a new Site Editor that is included with WordPress. Due to its module structure, Arc Fse doesn’t require any extra coding and can be fully customized with these two abovementioned tools.

  • Premium Version (if any)

Arc Fse comes in two options – free and premium. The first one is available for free download on the WordPress website alongside many other free FSE themes. It provides a basic set of features, blocks, and a limited selection of pre-made sites. A premium option comes with all features unlocked, more blocks, and all demo sites available and ready for installation. Depending on the number of sites you plan to apply it to, the Premium version of Arc Fse offers three pricing options – $59.99/year for a Single Site, $109.99/year for 3 Sites, and $389.99/year for Unlimited Sites.

DeveloperRatingInstallations
Olive Themes4,51,000+

Conclusion: Which Free WordPress Theme is Best for What?

We know how important it is to examine each option individually, especially when it comes to free multipurpose WordPress themes. Not to mention the fact that a few of the popular options seem very identical at first sight.

There will never be a definite answer in the OceanWP vs Blocksy vs Neve competition. Nor would they be an exact answer to the “What is the best free WordPress theme?” type of question.

One thing you need to remember: the choice depends on your needs and priorities.

To recap, here is what I can say about each WP theme individually: 

  • Gutenix – one of the most lightweight (fastest) multipurpose solutions with stylish starter themes and seamless customization (including with the Brizy builder). Try it if you are looking for something less mainstream than Astra, OceanWP, etc.
  • Astra – the one with excellent performance, and compatibility with all popular page builders (although free Astra templates are supported by Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, and Gutenberg only).
  • OceanWP – features a strong focus on beautiful designs and the largest number of free (35+) templates to take advantage of!
  • Neve – a well-balanced theme able to cover all the basics. Smooth and superfast performance, plenty of demos and customization options, and more.
  • GeneratePress – a perfect choice for a stable and optimized website that also has a modern look and lots of functional advantages. With diverse starter sites and high accessibility, this WordPress theme provides everything necessary for websites of any complexity.
  • Kadence – another great solution created to help WordPress users easily craft responsive and well-designed WordPress websites. It comes with diverse modern features and starter templates in multiple topics to make the web development process simple and creative.
  • Blocksy – one of the top-rated and highly popular multipurpose WordPress themes built for effective and fast website development without any coding.
  • Arc Fse – designed for a full-site editing experience, this theme provides a wide selection of patterns and blocks to help you get started with the WordPress native customization tools.

Let me know if any of these free WordPress themes become your favorite!

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