14 Best WordPress Starter Themes for Developers in 2021

There are many so called Best WordPress Starter Themes out in the market which promise to be your best companion while you’re trying to develop something better. But believe me; all of them are not as they pretend. However, some of them are really good and have every possible feature you might want while developing a new theme. Now, as we care for our reader very much, we have created a list of some of the really potential options for WordPress Starter Themes for the developers with the features like easy customization, faster performance, clean and minimal code and others as well so that they can do their work. So, try them out and let us know your review then.

You can easily get started in WP development via the WordPress Codex page. This is a straightforward documentation of everything about WordPress, each function has a precise description of how it works. Overall, WordPress is pretty easy to work with mainly because many functions have typical names and use. However, technically, developing a high-quality WordPress theme takes more than just practice. Most importantly, you need to learn the right way through which you can use HTML5 and CSS3 for the best results possible.

When talking about WordPress starter themes, there are different ways through which the best WP starter theme can help. First and foremost, it offers you a skeleton template that you can use to built and design almost everything. Secondly, you can use the WordPress starter framework, especially the WP framework themes that are more optimized for fast development, and mainly use a drag & drop interface. Essentially, using the drag & drop feature means you don’t need any coding knowledge, but this could be what you are looking for with regards to WordPress theme development.

Best WordPress Starter Themes


BeTheme - WordPress starter themes

BeTheme is one of the best WordPress starter themes we have listed here. At over 200,000 customers and growing, there is no doubt that the BeTheme framework is a great pick if you are a developer looking for a high-quality WordPress theme. the developers have included more than 250 premade websites into this starter theme. the good news is that these can be activated pretty fast. For instance, you can use the theme to setup a website for a copywriting agency, recipes blog, or even a restaurant. Essentially, there are hundreds of premade websites, an extensive list that we cannot list all here.

Shortcodes is another aspect where BeTheme shows dynamic functionality and versatility. You can easily add shortcodes to any WordPress section of your website, page, or post.

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BlankSlate WordPress Themes

Based on the HTML5 platform, Blankslate WordPress Starter theme could be a good option the developers. It has many features to let you perform your work and is minimalist and clean option as well. The theme is also very SEO-friendly to make sure that you get the best results from SERPs as well.

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Sage by Roots

Sage WordPress Starter Theme

Sage, which we originally over, looked on the first publication of this article. Fortunately, our readers/fellow developers quickly pointed it out. Personally I have yet to try this starter theme for WordPress development because I mainly use Underscore that you can see below.

On Root.io, the guys have stated

The best WordPress starter theme with a modern front-end development workflow.

I will leave that for you to decided. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Here are a few highlights of using Roots:

  • With the advanced workflow, you can automatically check your Javascript for error(a huge time saver!).
  • You also get synchronized browser testing to avoid any compatibility issues.
  • Sage also aid you in following the basic and hopefully the first development principle you learnt which is Don’t Repeat Yourself(DRY).
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Unyson Framework Theme

Unyson is another excellent option to consider, created by the guys at Themefuse. This frame comes packed with a lot of features out the box and with a little styling can easily be fit for your everyday user. It comes with its own drag and drop editing system that is not common on WP blank theme for developers. Across theme web, many are claiming that Unyson is the best theme to build off. If you are planning on developing premium WordPress themes, then you might want to consider Unyson because it is geared to towards easy of use and the user experience. Getting started editing Unyson couldn’t be easier with the detailed documentation they provide.

A few highlights includes:

  • Prepacked with a portfolio section that can save time.
  • Content import extension to easily import setting and much more you can also export those options.
  • Sidebar management to give the end user more control over the look and feel of their site
  • The list goes on I will be here all day if I continue to list theme.
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HTML5 Blank

HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme

Known as one of the fastest options available around the market, HTML5 WordPress Starter Theme is the choice of many developers. The theme is completely optimized for speed and has many options to let the developers work with their own thoughts. There also are many pre-loaded productivity features as well.


Responsive Free WordPress Themes

The mobile and tablets are growing like a weed and the developers need to build their website by keeping this fact in mind. Now, this Responsive WordPress Starter Theme is a handy option available on the market with 9 Page templates, 6 template layouts, 11 widget areas and 4 menu positions as well. You can even have the full control over CMS to develop whatever you want with it.


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Backbone WordPress Theme Framework

This Backbone WordPress Starter Theme is one more option available in the market for the developers to let them draw their imagination on a blank canvas. The features it has are, many page templates, single layout settings, social sharing on more than 250 networks, customization options, widget layout and much more as well.

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HeadwayWordPress Builder

Headway is a theme for many who wish to do everything on their own on a WordPress Starter theme. There are many features available with this option like you can create any layout, no coding at all, rapid change making and customization at your tips as well. The theme costs US $ 68 to buy so only serious developers should go for it.

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Warp Framework

YOOtheme Framework

Developing themes of the cross platforms could be the wish of many and for that we have this Warp Framework WordPress Starter Theme so that you can enjoy which you’re good at. The features include easy development, easy portability, fast working, light weight for the system and much more as well. It costs around US $ 150 to buy and try it out.

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Twenty Fifteen

Twenty Fifteen Theme

The default option of the 2015 WordPress Starter Theme goes by the same name Twenty Fifteen and is completely focused on the blogging based websites. The typography options are not only suitable for different screen sizes, but for different languages as well. It’s even basically developed for the mobile-first approach. Well, try it out to know more.

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Underscores Starter Theme

Well, the name may sound a bit weird, but this Underscores WordPress Starter Theme has every quality in it to be your choice with you being a developer. The options available are optimized 404 error page, handy template options, minimum CSS based code to make sure that you get the best customization options with ease and of course a lot more is to be found with below links.

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Joints WP

JointsWP Theme

Joints WP is the WordPress Starter Theme based on the Foundation 6 Framework with many options in it to make sure that it helps you develop a good theme. Right out the box you are getting a mobile first grid system to ensure the end user gets a seamless experience across all devices. The design you get as standard is also a great starting point to build from.

Now let’s look at some of the highlights of Joints WP:

  • Features include Sass or CSS based platform
  • A vast array of functions
  • Off-canvas navigation for an interactive experience thanks to Javascript
  • Joints WP is also super fast thank to the clean coding and hosting.

Although I guess, the Framework is enough to select this option.

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Hybrid Core

Hybrid Core theme framework

Hybrid Core is one the WordPress Starter Theme available which is 100% available on open source and allows you to design the way you wish. It also doesn’t cost a single penny for developers to let them do the things. There are many other features like breadcrumbs, microdata number, cleaner gallery, post templates, theme layouts and much more.

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Twenty Fourteen

Twenty Fourteen Theme

Like Twenty Fifteen, this Twenty Fourteen is also a good WordPress Starter Theme option for the developers. The features in it include three widget areas for customization, full-width page template, contributor page and much more. It is best suited for the magazine type WordPress websites that is definitely a popular niche among the bloggers.

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PageLines Free WordPress Theme

Last but not the least option here is this PageLines which is very famous for its drag-and-drop platform, based on HTML5 and CSS3 coding, hence the customization is easy, the performance is very fast and smooth as well. Also, there are many more features which might make you feel better while working on the theme and developing one for you.

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Wrap Up

The WordPress Starter Themes are the best options for the developers to build the new themes and enhance their skill set. Well, there are many such themes available which we have listed above and I guess you’ll be happy working with them. Although you can also share the other themes which you’re using for our readers and let us know about your experience while using our options, most of which are free. You can always share your issues and problems with us in the comment section below and we’ll do our best to sort them for you.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at 85ideas is a team of WordPress experts led by Brian Harris. Here to share amazing tuts, guides and collections.

  • Brian H
    Posted at 15:54h, 25 February Reply

    Hey Peter,

    Thank you for stopping by and your recommendation I have yet to try Roots, I am curious about it and will explore it further and might add it to this collection. May I see a site you have created using Roots?

  • Alberto
    Posted at 22:45h, 04 May Reply

    Hi good list. I’ve developed a new theme like starter you can see demo here:

    I also loaded on repo WordPress and it was accepted and now I’m looking forward to be published online, for now github link: https://github.com/bigbabert/altertech_s and wp track theme: https://themes.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/24439

    • Brian H
      Posted at 22:19h, 05 May Reply

      Hi Alberto,

      Thank you very much for stopping by great work with your starter theme. I will download it shortly and update this collection to include your template.

  • Jeremy Englert
    Posted at 19:29h, 22 July Reply

    Brian, thanks for mentioning JointsWP – I recently launched JointsWP 3 to include Gulp, a new file structure and a few other useful functions!

    As others have noted, Roots is also an awesome starting point for developers who use Bootstrap.

    Sidenote: JointsWP doesn’t include any shortcodes. A better term may be “functions”, as it is loaded with a few time-saving functions.

    Sidenote 2: Awesome blog.

  • David Manson
    Posted at 18:39h, 19 March Reply

    Hi ! Nice list, I’m a super fan of starter themes for my wordpress projets. I made my own recently & I would be happy to have feedbacks about it. It’s a super minimal & lightweight starter theme for gulp & sass lovers.

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