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18 Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

WordPress theme frameworks are starter themes with basic design and a lot of features ( few of them had integrated theme options panel ) that will help you in your theme coding process, seriously reducing your development time.

If you want to spend more time in designing Wodpress themes, for sure you’ll need a framework to eliminate some of the repetitive code. Most of the frameworks presented here are HTML5 and use responsive design so my recommendation is to try these first. The best part of using a framework is the support that you can have via communities built around, also the optimization for HTML, CSS, PHP and mobile devices (not all of them). Don’t waste time and give a shot to these amazing open source frameworks and transform your website into something fantastic.

In this article you’ll find some of the best WordPress frameworks and started themes that will ease your work process. Try a few of them, I recommend the responsive ones because they’ll be a standard in the near future, and then decide which one will choose for your future projects.

Free WordPress Theme Frameworks



PressWork is a free, open source WordPress theme framework built for modern browsers using HTML5 and CSS3. Features include a drag & drop front-end editor for easy customization, the top 20 most popular Google Fonts and a responsive design using media queries.



Whiteboard is a true WordPress framework, designed to speed up development time without the need to write or remove any excess code. With the Whiteboard Framework for WordPress, it is no longer necessary to rewrite the same code and WordPress functions, mobile versions, dynamic classes and divs, or improve SEO. Whiteboard’s strong, widely-used, and well-established structure takes care of all that and more. The Whiteboard framework has a responsive web design so the website will be resized to the device you are using.



Bones is a WordPress theme for developers built around the HTML5 Boilerplate and tries to be as minimalistic as possible. Bones isn’t a framework so it’s meant to be used as a per-project template. Bones is responsive and you can use it as a starting point for designing on various devices.



The Constellation theme is the perfect starting point for any WordPress project. It gives you the flexibility to provide bespoke styles for different devices, totally up-to-date HTML5 code which is fantastic for SEO, a flexible grid system on top of all the other goodness bundled in to the HTML5 boiler plate.



Gantry is an excellent free WordPress theme framework that is available both for WordPress and Joomla. Gantry has a flexible grid layout system for unparalleled control over block sizes, a stunning administrator interface and custom theme support for iPhone and iPod Touch.



Toolbox is a blank, HTML5, WordPress starter theme, very minimal, fluid, em-based CSS layout. It’s free to use for commercial and public projects.



Reverie is a HTML5 Responsive WordPress Framework based on the Power of Foundation. It’s extremely easy to create your personal website, portfolio or blog with Reverie.



Roots is a starting WordPress theme based on HTML5 Boilerplate & Bootstrap from Twitter. All static theme assets are rewritten to the website root.

HTML5 WordPress shell


HTML5 WordPress shell is a quick starting point for creating WordPress Themes using HTML5. It’s responsive and works well for majority of devices, has a clean commented code to make it easy for customization.



Suffusion is built on HTML 5. Supports a number of customized layout options: mega menus, custom post types, featured sliders, built-in widgets.



Skeleton is a responsive WordPress theme, easy to use right out of the box, but it also has some nice improvements for power users. Skeleton has a several handy built-in shortcodes available: columns, buttons. tabs. toggle panels.



Starkers is a bare-bones WordPress theme created to act as a starting point for the theme designer. Free of all style, presentational elements, and non-semantic markup, Starkers is the perfect ‘blank slate’ for all your WordPress projects.



The Meerkats Theme is built to respond to different platforms and devices. It is a simple and basic WordPress theme built by Gregor McKelvie. There’s no need to click on demo or preview as what you are looking at is the Meerkats Theme.

HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme


HTML5 Reset is a very basic starting-point for building WordPress themes. It has a widget-ready sidebar and built-in jQuery, Modernizr and Analytics.

Simon WP Framework


Simon is a great basic framework for creating simple websites. This Theme is simple to understand, scalable, flexible and clean.



Ashford is a free WordPress CMS framework. It is a simple to use and modify. It is loaded with lot features.



Hybrid is a user-friendly, search-engine optimized parent theme, featuring several custom page templates and multiple widget-ready areas, allowing you to create any type of site you want.

UpThemes Framework


Integrate the UpThemes Framework into your own themes in 5 minutes and have control to an amazing theme options panel inside WordPress dashboard.

Which of these frameworks have you used or you’ll use? Tell us about in the comments section.

Author: Alin

Passionate about web and graphic design, photography and climbing. Follow me at Twitter , Facebook and Google+