11 Free Development Ready WordPress Themes Ready For Customization

Possibly one of the best things about WordPress is the ability to customize layouts to appear however you want. In this post I cover 11 totally free WordPress themes that are a prime target for your development creative juices. I haven’t tested them all, so if you want to vouch for one in particular go ahead. I currently use The Buffet Framework which is flexible enough and suits the needs of this site.

Wrapping custom themes around the WordPress core can really take the worry out of coding websites and what takes even more load of you is if you have a good grounding framework to start coding from. If you know a some basic PHP (just a rough idea about how the language works and some basic syntax is enough) and are intermediate at CSS then customizing a basic theme to suit your needs is a great alternative to forking out the coin for a ready made one (or having a theme designed for you).

Here are some excellent themes that could make up the bones of your next website:

1. Magazine Basic

Magazine Basic
Magazine Basic

A strong two or three column layout that would not require a lot of work up front to customize to any color scheme. Can be almost used as is.

 

 

2. Thematic

Thematic
Thematic

Described as the ultimate in SEO ready themes. Thematic features grid based layout and would be a fantastic starting point for any blog. A nice raw base to start development on.

 

 

3. Vigilance

Vigilance
Vigilance

A SEO friendly basic theme that can be used as is, or seriously customized for best effect. Highly customizable directly from the admin console and is a bloody good alternative to the ever popular Thesis theme if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty in code sometimes.

 

4. WP-Framework

WP-Framework
WP-Framework

A strong standards based basic layout to begin authoring your own custom theme.

 

 

5. Clean Home

Clean Home
Clean Home

A minimalist looking theme ready for a basic blog or website. You probably couldn’t do a lot here because it’s designed to be very basic. I wouldn’t overload this theme, probably the weakest out of the 11, but it has it’s purposes. Self help minimalist types will love it.

 

6. The Buffet Framework

The Buffet Framework
The Buffet Framework

This is the theme that I am currently using and can recommend it. Supports child themes, is SEO friendly with clean code that is easy to understand and customize. Alot of customization can be done directly from the admin console, but sometimes it is necessary to get into the PHP includes files to make changes to achieve certain things. I like it so far, and it will do until I design my own framework.

7. Prime Press

Prime Press
Prime Press

This one was on my shortlist. It looks great as is featuring a nice banner and two column layout but also allows for some room for improvement. Good if you’re looking to get started now and make incremental improvements as you go.

 

8. Maga Theme

Maga Theme
Maga Theme

Magazine style basic 3 column layout. Another one that made it into my shortlist when I was deciding on a theme to customize. The theme is already quite advanced and would require little coding to get it ready for a fast deployment on a new blog.

 

9. Plainscape

Plainscape
Plainscape

As the name suggests, a very plain looking two column layout that complies to standards. Ready to go or customize to your liking.

 

 

10. Blass2

Blass2
Blass2

A very basic two column layout theme designed to be heavily reliant on CSS. This is good because it makes the customization easy and most changes can be done from the admin console.

 

 

11. Sandbox

Sandbox
Sandbox

This one has been stripped totally bare. It’s devoid of all styles allowing you to completely code your own. Almost like starting from scratch, but they’ve done the hard parts of the theme framework for you.

 

 

So there we go! I’ve barely scratched the surface I know, but this should give any budding theme designer a good platform to start from. Did I leave out your favourite theme you use for development? Or are you looking for a theme that is a little more ready-to-go? Tell us about it in the comments!


Josh Kohlbach

Josh is a software entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. He spends most of his time helping e-commerce store owners. This is his personal blog where he shares his thoughts and other tidbits on online business and life in general.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. thanks, the themes are good for customization.I’v submitted a link of this article to our website WebmasterClip in order to share it with more webmasters.

  2. hey this is a very interesting article!

  3. @Edward.H & KeHoeff: Thanks guys, I appreciate the compliments 🙂

    1. Thanks, this list if a little dated now, but it’s still got a couple of good ones.

  4. All of them are white and simple. It would be great for my blog about stories. Great list

    1. Hi Erica, they’re white and simple because they’re stripped right back ready for customization with CSS and the like.

  5. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing?
    I’m having some minor security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more secure.
    Do you have any suggestions?

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