10 Best Starter WordPress Themes

10 Best Starter WordPress Themes

Are you getting started with WordPress or WordPress theme development? WordPress starter themes are great to start with learning WordPress, as they help in building a strong base. With a starter theme, you can learn the technical side of WordPress, develop and even theme deployment.

What is a Starter WordPress Theme?

A Starter WordPress theme is a theme with a basic layout and minimal design. This theme comprises all the essential WordPress files, including hooks and filters. Some of the major starter themes also come with HTML, CSS, and WordPress templates.

These themes offer the functional base code from where you can kick-start your website or theme development projects. As discussed, Starter themes showcase minimal design and are mostly blank. This makes it easier for developers to customize these themes, adding their own style and design, to create websites or themes.

Parent and Child Themes

However, the Starter themes only include the basic structural code, unlike the Standard themes. But you can add your own functionalities to these themes to enhance these further. Besides developing a website, you can use Starter themes to create a new theme.

If you want to modify the existing Starter theme or add new features to it while retaining its existing functionalities, you can create a child theme. This child theme would inherit the functionalities and styling of the parent theme. Also, to develop themes, a good working knowledge of CSS3 and HTML5 is required.

A number of factors need to be considered when choosing a theme for powering your website or creating child themes, as no theme is perfect. We decided to help you choose a theme that fits into your needs by listing out some of the best Starter WordPress themes available:

Sage

Sage

This theme is a feature-rich starter theme and it is also known as roots. The Sage theme comes with Bower tool (package manager for client-side libraries), which helps in automating and enhancing your workflows. With these features combined, Sage allows to quickly compile Sass into normal CSS.

Recommended reading: What Are Responsive WordPress Themes

Moreover, when using Sage, you can check or test the compatibility of your child theme or website (developed using this starter theme) across multiple browsers, whenever you make amends. When you are using Sage, you need not worry about errors or bugs, as you can spot these early in the process. You don’t need to spend hours writing and compiling the code, only to realize your site is breaking during the final testing phase.

Some of its features include:

  • Blade as templating engine.
  • Sass for stylesheets.
  • Modern JavaScript.
  • Controller to pass data to Blade template.
  • Browsersync to enable synchronized browser testing.
  • Webpack to compile assets, optimize images, and minify files.

It is Bootstrap-powered and has an active community back up. If you are familiar with WordPress development fundamentals, then this starter theme is apt for you. However, it might not be recommended if you are just starting to learn WordPress.

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JointsWP

JointsWP

Based on the Foundation framework, JointsWP is one of the most commonly used starter themes. Though it exhibits some of the features of Foundation Press, the base design is entirely different.

Are you unfamiliar with Sass or just starting to learn it? Then, you can download this theme with only normal CSS. It powers you with the flexibility to develop complex and mobile-friendly websites. Using a few commands, you can compile Sass files, minify JS files, and much more.

Some of its features include:

  • Foundation navigation options
  • Custom-grid templates for archives
  • Bower tool, motion-UI
  • Translation-ready files

Download

Bones

Bones

This WordPress starter theme has enjoyed a high demand for a long time. It is mobile-ready and comes with HTML5 templates. And it would be applicable for modern themes worldwide until the latest version of HTML is launched.

It supports responsiveness, making it easy to display your site across different devices, irrespective of the screen size. There is no compromise over the quality of your site.

In fact, when poor internet connections make it difficult for heavy websites to load quickly, Bones still keeps up with its promise of not losing quality (no matter the size of the site). It helps to save bandwidth by speeding up load times. It is available for free.

Some of its features include:

  • Bare and minimal design
  • Mobile-ready and responsive
  • Loaded with Sass
  • Custom Post types
  • Custom dashboard functions

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UnderStrap

UnderStrap

Developed by Holger Koenemann, Understrap is a combination of another starter theme, Underscores, and the Bootstrap 4 framework. It offers a wide range of modern styling features. Since it is backed by Bootstrap 4, it offers your website with a modern feel and appearance. Also, it is easier to go on with your website development process from scratch.

Also Read: How to improve the Speed of a Bootstrap Website

The structure of UnderStrap is a collation of Underscore’s PHP and JavaScript files along with Bootstrap’s static files. It combines all CSS calls into a single file, which is further compiled to offer great performance across the web. By integrating Font Awesome, you can add a number of font icons, which can be styled using CSS.

Some of its features include:

  • Options Panel
  • Jetpack-ready
  • Child Theme-ready
  • Translation-ready
  • Build-in slider
  • Contact Form 7 support
  • WooCommerce support

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DIYthemes

DIYthemes

One of the most popular starter WordPress themes is the Thesis theme from DIYthemes. The process of coding is not easy and needs a lot of expertise. But with this theme, you will have a more creative way of dealing with coding concerns. The core of the Thesis theme has been transitioned recently with an extension of Skins.

These Skins comprise built-in layouts, which can be customized to meet your website’s needs. The Thesis theme comes with a visual template editor. This editor is waiting for patent approval. With the visual editor, the power of controlling what is displayed across in your designs rests in your hands. Also, if you have not found a web developer to help you with developing your website, then it is ok. You can work on it yourself as it is well-documented and well-commented!

Another interesting feature of Skins is ‘Boxes’. This Box system is a streamlined method, which can be used to add sidebar content to your site, with no compromise over your site’s performance. This theme’s Box system comes with built-in extensions and widgets that can be used across your site. You can easily add functionality anywhere in your theme just by dragging a Box from the “Skin” editor.

Other interesting features of the Thesis theme include:

  • Clean code
  • Minimal design
  • Search engine friendly
  • Can be streamlined with custom child themes
  • Easy theme customizations

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Unyson

Unyson

This starter theme has an active user base of around 70,000 active installations, of which, there is a total of 450,000 downloads. It powers over 200 active themes. You can, in fact, create premium themes using Unyson. A number of WordPress premium themes have their back-ends powered using the Unyson framework.

Some of its features include:

  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Three built-in sliders
  • User-friendly drop-down menus
  • Sidebars
  • Contact Forms
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Calendar and Map shortcodes
  • Portfolio layouts

For more details on the type of themes that you can build using Unyson, visit ThemeForest and look for themes tagged with Unyson. It comes with a wide range of features, customized functionalities, and options, which you can customize according to your site’s requirements. Most of these requirements are fulfilled by Unyson using extensions.

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PageLines

PageLines

PageLines is a premium theme framework, which has excellent community support and will help you to develop an amazing website. It is incredibly fast and has an intuitive interface. Regardless of whether you are an amateur or experienced in programming, this theme is a great choice.

Some of the features that it offers include:

  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Developer-friendly environment
  • Mobile-readiness
  • Performance optimization
  • Search engine friendly
  • Fully widgetized
  • Custom colors and image support

For further details on PageLines, click here.

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 X The Theme

X themes

X theme is one of the best choices for developing your website. It is also one of the best-selling themes on Theme Forest. According to developers, with X theme, you can finally create a design that you have always wanted. X theme has its own page-builder, which is referred to as Cornerstone.

Some of its features include:

  • Flat design
  • Shortcodes
  • Custom backgrounds
  • Unlimited sidebars
  • Clean code
  • Translation-ready
  • Retina-ready
  • Responsive design

This front-end page building tool allows you to modify your website’s design without having to redo the entire site from scratch. Since all functionalities of an IDE are integrated into your browser screen, it makes it easy to edit stylesheets, allowing you to view the changes in real time. It receives constant updates and is well-maintained. The X theme offers certain premium plugins, including email forms, ACF Pro, Uber Menu, Woo Checkout Editor and Snippets.

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Bridge

Bridge

This starter theme has a customer base of around 100,000 approximately. This theme is constantly updated based on user inputs and the latest market trends. The Bridge theme comes with more than 200 unique demo layouts, for business websites, e-commerce websites, and blogs. These demos are extensible and can be customized as required.

Here are some of its features:

  • Fully customizable
  • Interactive elements
  • User-friendly
  • Custom options
  • Retina-ready
  • Amazing portfolio layouts
  • SEO-ready
  • Speed-optimized

It is well-documented. Whenever a new version is released, Bridge automatically gets updated. It also comes with video tutorials that guide you through the installation and setup of this theme step-by-step. It is fully responsive and search engine optimized.

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FoundationPress

FoundationPress

FoundationPress has Foundation 6 as its back-end. This framework is considered to be one of the most flexible starter themes. It gives you access to numerous tools, which makes your website development process easy. Since it is open source, the community members constantly keep on contributing to the enhancement of Foundation Press.

Some of its features include:

  • Responsive
  • Mobile-readiness
  • Extensive documentation
  • Theme options panel
  • Shortcode generator
  • Contact page
  • Portfolio page
  • Blog page

It comes with a wide range of tools and plugins. This is based on node.js and implements the Sass pre-processor for managing stylesheets. Sass needs a library known as ‘libsass’ for compilation. So, ensure that you have GCC installed on your machine.

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Making theme development and website development easy

You can use the above-listed starter themes to either develop child themes or for website creation. It might not be easy to create a theme or website from scratch, but with these themes, it would not be a difficult task.