Best Free WordPress Themes for 2024 Compared


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  • Dec 03, 2020
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Best Free WordPress Themes for 2024 Compared

Surprisingly or not, some free 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.

We took the time to browse free 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 themes from the official WordPress 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 4 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

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 the homepage.

  • Main Features & Design

All Gutenix starter site designs look 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:

Gutenix free WordPress theme

In every Gutenix skin, you are able to 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 the A96% rank, the YSlow – A91%, and the Pingdom grade reaches 100%!

  • Compatibility With Page Builders

Initially developed as the Gutenberg block-first 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.

Astra WordPress Theme (FREE)

Astra free WordPress theme

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 mobile-friendly 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:

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 or developer’s manner. Namely, you can customize layouts using drag-and-drop functions in your preferable page builder without touching a single line of code. Or you would 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 WP theme (under 50KB) with no jQuery render, which may be harmful to the site’s performance. By using the JavaScript code, Astra-based websites are able to 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, more functionality depending on the plan.

There are 3 premium plans with different pricing for annual & lifetime subscriptions: Astra Pro ($59/year or $174/one time), Mini Agency Bundle ($169/year or $349/one time), and Agency Bundle ($249/year or $419/one time).

OceanWP Theme for WordPress (FREE)

OceanWP free WordPress theme

OceanWP is the next multipurpose theme with plenty of high-quality website templates WordPress can offer. Developers will love the flexibility of this beautiful and professional solution, while non-professionals would 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:

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 the particular theme is the ability to disable all unused (or not so necessary) scripts and style. 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.

Similar to Astra, OceanWP offers 3 plans with the price, which depends on whether the subscription is annual or lifetime: Personal ($39/year or $159/one time), Business ($79/year or $319/one time), and Agency ($129/year or $519/one time).

Neve Theme for WordPress (FREE)

Neve free WordPress theme

One more WordPress giant on our list is Neve from Theme Isle. With the 100k+ active installs, Neve established itself as a multipurpose and highly customizable theme with beautiful and modern starter site designs. It’s perfect for blogs, small businesses, startups, agencies, firms, 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:

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. 

Obviously, 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 solutions 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 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, Elementor booster. Other features are included in the particular plan.

As you may guess, Neve offers 3 paid plans, so depending on whether the payment is annual or one time (lifetime), the price is also different: Personal ($86/year or $274/one time), Business ($144/year or $523/one time), and Agency ($231/year or $724/one time).

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 WordPress themes. Not to mention the fact that a few of the popular options seem very identical at first sight.

In fact, there will never be a definite answer in the OceanWP vs Astra 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. Try it if you are looking for something less ‘pops-y’ 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 bases. Smooth and superfast performance, plenty of demos and customization options, and more.

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

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