10 Best WordPress Theme Frameworks (2020)

WordPress theme frameworks are very popular among many WordPress users and developers. There are many great WordPress theme frameworks available today. You might even be familiar with some of these frameworks.

In this article, you’ll find the best WordPress theme frameworks you can use for your WordPress site. We’ll cover both free and paid frameworks in our collection.

But before we begin, let’s understand what a WordPress theme framework is.

What Is A WordPress Theme Framework?

There are thousands of WordPress themes out there. Some of these WordPress themes are built upon a framework.

A WordPress theme framework is basically a platform that is used as a foundation to build WordPress themes.

A framework usually contains a core code, basic functionality, and some features. This framework is then used as a base to create a final theme.

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There are mainly two different types of WordPress theme frameworks. The first type of framework is the one theme developers use to build their own themes. This kind of framework is not available commercially but is used as a base to create finished WordPress themes.

An example of this type of theme framework is TeslaThemes. They use their own theme framework to build all their WordPress themes.

The second type of theme framework is the one that is available publicly to users. These frameworks come with the bare minimum features to help developers build their own final products using the framework.

An example of this type of theme framework is Genesis or Thesis. You can use these frameworks and create your own WordPress theme.

A WordPress theme framework comes with a parent theme. To use a WordPress theme framework, you need to have the parent theme installed on your website.

To build upon or customize the parent theme, you need to create a child theme. This child theme contains all the customizations or extra features you added to the theme.

To build upon or customize the parent theme, you need to create a child theme. This child theme contains all the customizations or extra features you added to the theme.

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Why & When Should You Use A Theme Framework?

There are many reasons why you should use a theme framework. The biggest reason is the ease of updates.

Customizing a WordPress theme with no underlying framework can lead to many problems. Whenever the theme is updated, all your changes are lost.

And if you’re a developer who spent a lot of time customizing your theme, you wouldn’t want to lose all your work.

That’s why theme frameworks are very popular among WordPress developers.

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You can create a child theme on top of the framework and any updates on the parent theme will not affect your child theme.

Another reason to use a theme framework is the quality of the theme. A lot of WordPress themes out there look good on the surface.

But many of them don’t follow the best WordPress practices and aren’t well-coded. Theme frameworks, on the other hand, have a reputation for being well-coded and secure.

By opting for a theme framework, you can be assured that the child themes of the framework also follow the best practices and are well-coded.

Lastly, many popular theme frameworks have very active and communities around them. So, if you ever run into a problem, you can easily get help from the community.

That being said, not everyone should be using a theme framework. Here’s the reason why:

WordPress theme frameworks are mainly for users who want extensive customization to their themes.

If you’re someone who just wants to create a simple website or blog, a framework isn’t the ideal solution for you.

But if you’re someone who wants to create a big website and wants to make changes to your website elements regularly, then a theme framework is the right decision for you.

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Now the question is:

What’s the best theme framework?

Let’s take a look at the best WordPress theme frameworks you should consider while choosing a theme framework.

Best WordPress Theme Frameworks

There are many theme frameworks out there but I’ve only mentioned the best frameworks in terms of quality, support, and updates.

Some of these frameworks are free while others are paid. Let’s dive into the list right away.

1. Genesis

Genesis by StudioPress is the most popular WordPress theme framework around. It lets you quickly build incredible websites with its robust interface.

It is also considered as the industry standard when it comes to using theme frameworks for WordPress. This is mainly because the framework has been around for many years and provides the best features.

Genesis framework comes with a selection of pre-made templates that you can use to build your website. There are different theme options that you can use to customize your theme with just a few clicks.

Apart from the theme options menu, Genesis also has a theme customizer menu that allows you to change the theme colors, settings, layout, and more.

The framework also comes with featured widgets that you can use to build your website. There is also a customizable header that comes with the framework.

What’s great about Genesis is that it has a one-click theme setup option that lets you define the theme options and settings and get your website up and running in a few minutes.

The framework itself is very robust, secure, SEO friendly, responsive, and highly customizable. You can create a child theme using the Genesis framework with ease.

But there won’t be a need for that as StudioPress has an awesome collection of Genesis child themes.

Although the Genesis framework is for everyone including beginners, intermediate, and advanced users, the customization of the theme can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.

If you’re a beginner, you’d be better of if you use one of the Genesis child themes offered by StudioPress.

But if you’re an intermediate or advanced WordPress user, then Genesis is probably the best framework for you in terms of customization and flexibility.

Here’s a quick overview of the different features offered in Genesis framework:

  • Gutenberg Ready
  • Easy to use
  • SEO friendly
  • Responsive
  • Lots of Genesis child themes and tools in the market
  • Lots of customization features
  • Active developer community

Let’s take a look at the pricing of the Genesis framework:

The Genesis framework package costs $59.95 for unlimited sites and updates. This plan comes with 1 year of support and access to all detailed tutorials to help you get started with Genesis.

StudioPress also comes with a pro membership plan that costs $499.95 and comes with all the StudioPress themes and the future themes they will make.


2. Gantry

Gantry is a free and open-source WordPress theme framework by RocketThemes. It is a lightweight and easy-to-use framework that lets you build your website quickly.

The framework comes with some pre-built styles that you can use while building your website. You can pick your style and layout using their layout manager.

Gantry also offers a visual menu editor that lets you create and structure your menu. It also provides support for mega menus so that you can create drop-down menus with a breeze.

There different fields such as an icon picker, font picker, color picker, and more to help you create your website with speed.

The framework provides powerful inheritance and customization capabilities to help you extend the theme and create your own child theme.

Here are some features of Gantry theme framework:

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Open Source
  • Active community
  • Visual editor
  • SCSS / LESS Support
  • Theme inheritance
  • Twig-based Templating

If you’re looking for a free WordPress theme framework, then Gantry is the best framework out there.


3. Divi

Divi is a multi-purpose WordPress theme made by Elegant Themes. This theme features a drag-and-drop visual builder that lets you design websites with ease.

What makes Divi so great is that their visual builder is so intuitive and jam-packed with features that you won’t ever look back once you start using it.

Divi comes with over 800 pre-built templates that look stunning. Moreover, you can create your own designs and themes using Divi as it’s very easy to use.

Even if you’re a beginner who never used a visual builder before, you’ll have no problems with using Divi.

Divi can be used as a framework for various website projects. It’s not just for big websites. Whether you want to build your own blog or a simple website, Divi can help you do that in a very efficient manner. You don’t need to have any coding knowledge to use Divi.

The visual builder of Divi has a lot of modules that you can use when building your page. Modules such as a text, image, video, can be easily dropped onto your page. There are even complex modules such as pricing tables, contact forms, testimonials, and more.

Because of Divi’s popularity and its active community, there are over 100 Divi extensions you can use alongside Divi to get even more out of this builder.

Everything you build on Divi happens on the front end so that you can see the changes live as you make them.

Here’s a short overview of the different features of Divi:

  • Drag-and-drop building
  • Visual editor
  • Responsive editing
  • Save and manage designs
  • Constant updates
  • Active community
  • Secure

Let’s take a look at the pricing of Divi:

Divi costs $89 / year with access to Divi and other Elegant Themes products. You can use it on unlimited websites and get a year of updates and support.

You can also get a lifetime license that costs $249 with lifetime updates and support.


4. TeslaThemes

The TeslaThemes framework is another great WordPress theme framework that you can use to create beautiful websites.

There are a total of 68 WordPress themes in their collection and all the themes come with a flat design UI kit that you can use to customize your website.

The downside is that the Tesla framework is exclusive to only their themes. So, you’ll have to purchase one of their themes to use the Tesla framework.

Speaking of their themes, all of them are optimized for speed and come with a lot of design options to aid with customization.

Here are some of the features of TeslaThemes:

  • Premium support
  • Regularly updated
  • Responsive
  • Simple installation
  • Easy to use

Here’s the pricing of TeslaThemes:

The Starter plan costs $58 / year for a single theme. You can use it on unlimited websites and get regular updates.

To get access to all the 68 themes, you can go for the developer plan that costs $99 / year. The lifetime plan costs $299 and includes all themes and unlimited updates.


5. Themify

Themify is a WordPress theme framework that comes with a drag-and-drop builder. With this builder, you can build your theme completely.

Using the builder is a walk in the park as it’s very fast and easy to use. The builder comes with templates to help you take complete control over the design of the website.

There are templates for header, footer, homepage, archives, custom post types, and more.

You can also take advantage of dynamic content to turn simple static pages into complex ones having dynamic content.

To speed up your design process, Themify offers a bunch of pre-designed templates that you can import with a single click.

Here are some features of Themify:

  • Responsive
  • SEO friendly
  • Works with any theme
  • Global styling options
  • Easy to use

When it comes to pricing, you can either get the Themify builder by purchasing one of their themes. The pricing is as shown below:

A single theme by Themify costs $59 and comes with one year of updates and support. All their themes include the Themify builder.

You can also just get the Themify builder directly for $69.


6. WPZOOM

WPZoom provides premium WordPress themes and uses its WPZoom framework to power all their WordPress themes.

This framework is responsive and features a powerful theme options panel that lets you make changes to the theme with ease.

They also have a live customizer that lets you customize the website visually. You can make changes to the layout, color, typography, and more using their live customizer.

Sometimes you want to use demo content when creating your website. WPZoom offers a 1-click demo import functionality to import demo content within seconds.

The themes by WPZoom are regularly updated to ensure they follow the latest development practices and are secure.

Here are some features of WPZoom framework:

  • Simple & easy installation process
  • 1-click demo content importer
  • Easy customization
  • SEO friendly
  • Translation ready
  • Regular updates

All the themes by WPZoom have different prices but you can get their all themes package to get access to the themes made by WPZoom. This package is priced as shown below:

You can get the 1-3 sites license plan for $99 / year if you intend to use their themes for personal websites.

If you’re a freelancer who manages clients, you can get the basic or the pro package depending on the number of websites you want to run the themes on.


7. PageLines

PageLines is a design management system that lets you create beautiful and responsive websites without writing code.

It comes with a visual builder that lets you drag and drop elements onto your page. PageLines is mostly for professionals and freelancers who work with clients.

Using this framework, you can build websites faster without the need to write code.

What’s even great about PageLines is their Platform 5 plugin that you can use on top of other frameworks to have more control over the look and design of your website.

Here’s a quick overview of the different features available in this plugi

  • Responsive
  • SEO friendly
  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Works with other frameworks

PageLines is no doubt an impressive WordPress theme framework. Let’s take a look at its pricing:

The single-site license of PageLines costs $99 / year. You can also get the 3 site or unlimited sites license for $199 / year and $499 / year respectively.


8. Avada

Avada is the top-selling WordPress theme of ThemeForest. But it’s more than just a WordPress theme.

It comes with its very own Fusion Builder that makes live editing on this theme possible. With the Fusion Builder, you can create your website visually.

There are a bunch of theme options as well that come with the theme. These theme options let you make design and layout changes to the theme.

Avada also has a ton of options to let you control your pages and posts. You can create local or global options using the theme.

There are dynamic content options to help you add dynamic content to your pages.

The Fusion Builder features over 60 design elements you can use while designing pages. Avada also offers 80+ pre-built websites you can import with a single click.

Here are the features of Avada:

  • Responsive
  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • SEO friendly
  • Lightning fast
  • Theme options
  • Global styling options
  • Dynamic content
  • One-click demo importer

The theme costs $60 for a single-site license and $2950 for the extended license.


9. Thesis 2.0

Thesis is one of the oldest WordPress theme frameworks. Like other theme frameworks, Thesis also offers a visual editor interface that allows you to customize your website.

This visual editor makes creating your website very easy and speeds up the entire design process.

But unlike other theme frameworks that offer a lot of modules and elements to aid with visual design, Thesis keeps is very simple.

With Thesis, you can add blocks to your pages but they are not as advanced as the blocks and modules of other frameworks.

Still, the Thesis framework is designed with the best WordPress practices and is optimized for speed and SEO.

To use the Thesis framework, you’ll have to use the Focus WordPress theme offered by DIYThemes.

Here are some features of the Thesis framework:

  • Optimized for speed
  • Robust
  • SEO friendly
  • Comes with SCSS editor
  • Responsive

Let’s take a look at the pricing of the Focus blog theme that comes with the Thesis framework:

As shown above, the single-site license of the Focus theme costs $87 / year. The 5 site and 20 site licenses cost $187 / year and $297 / year respectively.


10. iThemes Builder

iThemes Builder is a responsive builder that lets you create website layouts for your WordPress site.

This builder comes with a layout editor that lets you choose the building blocks of your pages. You can insert different modules, widget areas, footer, and more to your pages using this layout editor.

You can also choose from over 100 themes made by iThemes that are built upon the iThemes builder.

There is also a style manager that comes with iThemes Builder. With this manager, you can control the style and looks of your website.

Here’s a quick rundown of the features of iThemes Builder:

  • Responsive
  • Visual builder
  • Style manager
  • SEO friendly
  • Lightweight

Let’s take a look at the pricing of iThemes Builder:

The Foundation Pack plan costs $80 and comes with 1 year of updates and support. This plan includes the core builder theme along with 5 foundation themes that you can use with the builder.


Conclusion

So, these were the best WordPress theme frameworks that you can use to build your website. The ideal framework for you depends on your requirements and your skillset.

If you’re a beginner, you should choose a framework that features a drag-and-drop builder so that you can quickly build your website.

But if you’re an intermediate or advanced WordPress user, you can choose a framework that is more advanced and has complex features that you can make use of.

If you have any questions regarding the frameworks mentioned in this list, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Also, share with us in the comments which framework you will be using for your website.

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