Are you looking for the best WordPress starter theme to create your own theme from scratch?
A WordPress starter theme helps developers to start with a solid foundation. It can become the base for your theme development process and gives you a good head start.
In this article, we have handpicked some of the best WordPress starter themes for theme developers.
What Is a WordPress Starter Theme
A WordPress starter theme is a blank theme with minimum design, and a basic or absolutely no layout. These themes usually come with the most commonly used templates in a WordPress theme.
They have code to display posts, archive pages, single posts, and comments, but with minimum or no styling at all. This allows theme developers to quickly start adding their own styles and build a totally new theme, without having to code a website from scratch.
Starter themes are different from a parent theme or a theme framework.
Parent themes are fully styled WordPress themes designed to be installed and used on live websites. Theme frameworks provide a lot of hooks and filters so they can be used in child theme development.
Starter themes do not come with styling, so you are not able to use them as they are without customization, and they are not frameworks with custom hooks, filters, and template tags. However, they can be used to make a parent theme.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best starter themes for WordPress that you can use in your theme development process.
Astra is a premium WordPress theme for developers. It comes with over 180+ starter themes and ready-made websites to launch a website quickly.
The starter themes by Astra are built for different business niches, and you’ll most likely find a perfect demo site to match your requirements.
Unlike other themes on this list, Astra can be used by both developers and beginners. If you are a beginner looking for something functional to start with, then Astra will make things a lot easier for you.
Genesis is a WordPress theme framework by StudioPress. It comes with a 1-click theme setup with tons of useful resources, demo content, plugins, and custom Gutenberg blocks.
With many theme features, you can take advantage of the 6 layout designs, featured content widgets, custom page templates, and powerful theme options panel. It’s easy to customize your website with a few clicks.
Underscores is probably the most popular of all WordPress starter themes. It is maintained by Automattic, the company behind the WordPress.com blog hosting service.
It is a minimalist starter theme written in HTML5 and CSS. The clean code is meant to get out of your way and help you quickly build a standard compliant WordPress theme.
Sage is a modern WordPress starter theme based on Gulp, Bootstrap, and Bower. It uses a Theme Wrapper which helps you avoid repeating the same code in every template.
It is actively maintained and has a strong following among WordPress front-end developers.
UnderStrap is a WordPress starter theme based on Underscores and Bootstrap 4. It comes with a mobile responsive design and grid framework making it super easy to customize.
6. WP Rig
WP Rig is a WordPress starter theme and development kit that helps you build WordPress themes that are highly optimized for performance. It comes with a build process that lints, optimizes, and minifies your code for better performance.
7. Catch Starter
Catch Starter is a dark-colored WordPress starter theme for developers. It comes with a set of features including a content slider, portfolio, services, and testimonials.
The theme is perfect to kickstart your development with WordPress. It also supports translations to create multilingual websites.
Highstarter is a lightweight starter theme without libraries or frameworks. It offers many customization options for the header image and supports nested drop-down submenus, pagination, and breadcrumbs.
Beans is an innovative WordPress starter theme for developers. It is highly flexible with responsive content and adaptive images.
The theme is SEO friendly and built with an ultimate frontend library to set up and customize your website.
JointsWP is a rock-solid WordPress starter theme. It is based on the Foundation 6 framework and comes in CSS or Sass flavors.
Quark is easy to customize WordPress starter theme. It is based on the Underscores and Twenty Twelve WordPress themes.
It uses Normalize to make sure that browsers render all elements more consistently, and Mordernizr for detecting HTML5 and CSS3 browser capabilities.
Nebula is an advanced WordPress starter theme that is more like a framework. It has custom functionality like a recommendation engine for 404 and no-search-result pages, autocomplete search and more.
HTML5Blank is a classic WordPress starter theme. It is based on clean HTML5 and CSS3 templates with ready-to-use code and template tags for you to utilize during your theme development.
Generic is a minimal WordPress starter theme. This theme is ideal to build custom websites for your customers or use as a base to create a new theme.
Cornerstone is a modern starter theme for WordPress developers. It is based on the popular Foundation framework and comes ready with a custom header, a sidebar, widgets, and navigation menus.
Blankslate is a simple and extremely flexible WordPress starter theme. It is designed with developers in mind.
While it is simple, it comes with a powerful foundation for your themes to rely on. The theme offers custom CSS styles and SEO optimization.
Gantry is a powerful WordPress theme framework for developers. It allows you to create CMS-friendly themes quickly.
It is open-source software with a lot to offer, including mega menu support, layout manager, theme inheritance, user-friendly interface, and more.
18. WP Bootstrap Starter
WP Bootstrap Starter is a WordPress starter theme based on Underscores and Bootstrap. It includes Font Awesome, full-width page templates, right and left sidebar templates, blank page templates, and more.
Air-Light is a minimalist WordPress starter theme based on Underscores. It is a functional WordPress theme with minimal design options leaving room for developers to add their own styles to create a new theme.
We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress starter theme for developers. You may also want to learn how to add dummy content for theme development in WordPress or see our list of common WordPress errors and how to fix them.
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FoundationPress is also dead from this list. RIP. Been using it for years, and thought it was one of the best… now I need to find the next super versatile lightweight starting point for all my WP builds.
WPBeginner Support says
Thank you for letting us know, we’ll be sure to take a look for alternatives
It looks like Components is being retired. The link in the article leads to a post saying they’re going to incorporate some of what they learned from it into Underscores.
WPBeginner Support says
Thank you for letting us know about this
It seems that Bones is also not available anymore, eddiemachato is now on 0 repositories. And bones disappeared
WPBeginner Support says
Thank you for letting us know, we’ll be sure to take a look into this.
Pierre-Leon Simard says
Very useful! I just wanted to point out that BootStrap Four might not be supported anymore by now…
“This theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.”
Ryan Rahman Setiawan says
Thanks, great list!… Keep up-to-date nice
I found this post very useful. Thank you!
Aksam Zarook says
Any seo friendly starter themes?