If you’d like to get yourself a fresh and beautiful theme for your WordPress website for 2023, then this roundup is for you! You don’t need to research anything and type queries into your search engine for hours. We got you covered. These are the most popular and best free WordPress themes on the market. And we really do mean it! 🤩
Here’s how this list came to be:
First, we went to the official theme directory at WordPress.org and looked through the top 20-30 themes from the “popular” tab.
We removed all themes that had less than 100 reviews.
The remaining themes we installed on a test site, where we added some demo content and tested the performance via Pingdom Tools. Everything with “less than stellar” results got scratched from the list.
What we ended up with – and what you can see in the following list – are only the very best free WordPress themes on the market (in order of popularity).
👉 Shortcut: see our top 3 theme recommendations here.
These are the top 10+ most popular and best free WordPress themes you can get in 2023:
10+ best free WordPress themes for 2023
Neve is a great WordPress theme to try out if you want to get your site online quickly, and use an out-the-box design that you can import with a couple of clicks.
It also happens to be one of our very own themes, and despite being newer than some of our other creations, it has grown to become our flagship theme. That’s partially because of how quickly it exploded in popularity on the themes scene. Within a few months of its release, it made its way onto the popular tab at WordPress.org, and it has managed to stay there until today.
The design is modern, optimized for mobile devices, the theme loads fast, and doesn’t take a lot of your web server’s resources. It also offers 20+ free starter sites, and even more of them if you decide to upgrade from lite to the premium theme.
While other themes on this list offer starter sites as well (in the form of various page templates), Neve does a better job of inviting the user to pick one right after installing the theme. This makes it a great solution to build a landing page with. That way, you’re not stuck with the site looking unrefined.
Total downloads: 4,296,247
Rating: 96 / 100 (1154 reviews)
Performance grade: B 90
Page size: 125 KB
Oh yes, indeed. Sorry if this seems obvious, but Twenty Seventeen really has proven to stand the test of time. It’s the default WordPress theme from “six themes ago,” but it’s still quite appreciated by the WordPress community, being the most highly-rated default theme to date. It’s also the only default theme other than Twenty Twelve to amass more than 100 reviews, with the vast majority being five stars.
What we like particularly about this theme is that it delivers a simple presentation, while also letting you implement some basic branding via the header image. The typography is very good, too, making it an excellent blog theme for beginners (but not only) or a business project.
Total downloads: 11,131,035
Rating: 88 / 100 (120 reviews)
Performance grade: B 87
Page size: 507.1 KB
Astra is one of the most popular and also one of the fastest-growing WordPress themes of today.
What sets it apart is that it’s a performance-oriented minimal theme that only gives you very basic features out the box, albeit in a very functional wrapper. You can pick which modules you need and activate/deactivate them accordingly.
Another advantage of Astra’s is that it’s compatible with the most popular page builders on the market (Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy), and, of course, the Gutenberg editor. There are also starter sites available for each of the builders. All this means that you can build a website with Astra quickly, and then customize it to fit your needs 100% with unlimited color options and so on. However, the out-the-box design of the theme isn’t much until you import a starter site on top of it.
Total downloads: 10,952,404
Rating: 98 / 100 (5418 reviews)
Performance grade: B 89
Page size: 172.3 KB
OceanWP is in many ways similar to Astra – the way the theme delivers its features is similar, and the focus on minimalism and performance is also similar.
You use this theme by selecting which features you need and then fine-tune the individual aspects of your site. The degree of possible customization is also similar to that of Astra’s.
Above that, OceanWP is very good when it comes to ecommerce-related features and settings. You can look into this if you’re planning to launch an ecommerce store as it has a WooCommerce integration.
The theme is also compatible with page builder plugins. However, again, the out-the-box design doesn’t look like much.
Total downloads: 6,863,222
Rating: 98 / 100 (5522 reviews)
Performance grade: B 87
Page size: 395.3 KB
Slick, clean, and modern – these are the main qualities of Hestia. This theme has been a member of the popular tab at WordPress.org for quite a few years now. You’ll notice that this is actually another in-house theme that our very own engineers built. We’re proud that it has stood the test of time and continues to get a steady stream of new downloads every day.
The theme offers users a level of simplicity that’s hard to find in other free themes on the market. There’s full integration with the live customizer, and you also get a selection of starter sites – those cover different niches and styles of websites. Plus, the design of this responsive WordPress theme remains evergreen with attractive blocks and cool parallax effects.
Hestia was built to work with page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Divi Builder, and the native block editor in WordPress.
This theme will work great for a business site, app, online store, or agency.
Total downloads: 3,825,898
Rating: 96 / 100 (535 reviews)
Performance grade: B 86
Page size: 403.8 KB
This is the official WooCommerce theme. It comes with all the basic theme features and customizations you might need, but not much more than that.
The design is clean and works well with page builders. Also, since this theme is the official WooCommerce theme, you can depend on it working with the platform with no weird glitches. And, you can of course count on WooCommerce support if you need any help.
If you want to build your online shop with Storefront, you’ll likely have to create a child theme to make your customizations, though.
Total downloads: 7,264,276
Rating: 90 / 100 (146 reviews)
Performance grade: B 87
Page size: 448 KB
This is another WordPress theme that’s similar in principle to Astra and OceanWP. Once again, you get an extended customization interface with a lot of dials and knobs.
You can tune up your typography, color scheme, layout options, post formats and other fine details.
However, this theme is a bit more geared toward delivering its most useful features in the premium version. The theme options available in the free version are a little under par compared to what’s in Astra or OceanWP. And, like with all themes of this kind, the out-the-box design isn’t much.
Total downloads: 5,409,499
Rating: 100 / 100 (1399 reviews)
Performance grade: B 88
Page size: 338.4 KB
Sydney has been a mainstay in the popular tab of the WordPress.org theme directory for a while now. And it’s not hard to see why. This WordPress theme delivers a modern design that gets updated regularly, and it’s also one of the themes officially recommended by the Elementor page builder team.
This great theme has responsive design options, there’s deep WordPress Customizer integration, Google Fonts, and even custom Elementor blocks.
Overall, this is a good multipurpose WordPress theme, suited for a business website, agency, or professional portfolio. In simple terms, if you need a good-looking business theme, this might be the one for you.
Total downloads: 4,110,585
Rating: 98 / 100 (702 reviews)
Performance grade: B 87
Page size: 599.2 KB
ColorMag is the only theme on this list of best WordPress themes for free that’s been purpose-built for magazine and news-style sites, so if you don’t have such type of website, ColorMag is not for you.
Not only that, but there are also a handful of different page layouts and configurations available, so everyone can find something that fits their niche.
The design itself is optimized to handle a big volume of content – multiple posts being published every day. If your WordPress site doesn’t produce this much content, you might want to consider a different theme.
Feature-wise, this magazine theme is compatible with WooCommerce, gives you good color selection options, has advanced typography, has more than 15 widget areas, and offers many more interesting features under the hood.
Total downloads: 3,712,136
Rating: 98 / 100 (1496 reviews)
Performance grade: B 88
Page size: 311.4 KB
OnePress delivers a fresh, modern spin on flat design principles. It offers good typography, good whitespace use, and makes sure that your content gets the spotlight it deserves.
As the name indicates, this is a “one page” theme. While you can create more sub-pages if you want to, the core of your website structure will revolve around a single, content-rich homepage.
The design offers a fully responsive layout, there are custom content blocks to choose from, custom widgets, and you get advanced theme customization options in the WordPress Customizer.
Total downloads: 2,153,654
Rating: 92 / 100 (154 reviews)
Performance grade: B 87
Page size: 451.5 KB
Bonus Theme: Raft
We chose to add Raft to this list because it is currently – and by a large margin – the most popular block theme, and one of the best free WordPress themes that supports full site editing (FSE) in the WordPress repository.
Although its active installation number and number of downloads is dwarfed by the more established WordPress themes on this list, that has to be taken in context. The context being that the WordPress community has only relatively recently started creating block themes. In other words, all of the block themes that are available are dwarfed by the more classic themes.
However, the fact that WordPress itself has made a special “block themes” category, not to mention the time and effort put into both the block editor and full site editing, it’s clear that this is the direction we’re heading in. And when you look at who’s leading the block theme pack, it’s Raft by a long shot. Check it out for yourself and you’ll quickly appreciate why so many WordPress users are falling in love with it.
Total downloads: 105,776
Rating: 100 / 100 (25 reviews)
As Raft is an add-on to this list, we did not run the performance test on it. However, being a block theme, it is very lightweight.
How to pick your ideal free WordPress theme?
Hint: you can probably narrow it down to just three
Okay, so we’ve covered
ten eleven awesome examples of the best free WordPress themes that the market has to offer, and each of them delivers some cool features, designs, and customization options.
So, how to pick the best one for your site?
For us, it comes down to three scenarios based on your needs and the type of user you are:
Scenario A 🎛️
If you like to have your finger on the pulse and be able to tune up and customize every little detail of your site, its design, and theme functionality, choose Astra.
This theme is your ultimate DIY dream and provides you with every option imaginable.
Scenario B 🎨
If you want to get a theme that’s easy to get started with out the box, but also provides good customizability and ready-made designs that you can install in a couple of clicks, get Neve.
This WordPress theme comes with over 100 starter sites that cover all of the popular niches like business, photography, portfolio, ecommerce, agency, WordPress blogs, food, lifestyle, and more.
Scenario C ✍️ If you’re a beginning blogger or one of the small businesses that are just starting out and want to launch a basic site, and you don’t care much about design variety, go with the previous default WordPress theme, Twenty Seventeen.
Yes, this still is a great solution for users who value clear and minimalist designs.
Got your favorite one among these best free WordPress themes? Or maybe you’ve used one or more of these themes and want to share your testimonials? Write in the comments below.