Genesis is the most widely recommended framework in this collection. Even if you’ve never seriously considered buying a framework before, you’ve probably heard of it. This is because it strikes perhaps the best balance between affordability and power. What many consider the industry standard of frameworks, unlimited updates, support and sites – all for a one-time payment of $59.95.

The framework itself is lean, secure, SEO friendly, future proof and highly customizable. It is designed to always be used with a child theme – it is up to you whether you use one of the many offered by StudioPress or create your own. Some of the top-selling child themes include EpikMagazine and Agency.

The Genesis framework is more for intermediate and advanced developers, although keen hobbyists can become proficient relatively quickly. Complete beginners can use it, but will probably want to stick to an off-the-shelf child theme. The most beginner-friendly option is Prose, which has a point and click design that allows you to control the theme’s design without going anywhere near the code. For the majority of the time, at least.

We would recommend the Genesis framework to intermediate and advanced developers who want a trusted platform on which they can build new child themes and sell them or churn out new client sites. It is the only framework here that offers so much in terms of features and support for such a reasonable one-off fee. The community aspect (forum, developer blogs, Google+ group, and so on) will be a big part of any purchase.

Price: $59.95 Genesis Framework; $399.95 Pro Plus All-Theme Package
Demo | Purchase



Headway is a dream come true for designers and those who don’t know how to code. It’s a drag and drop framework that allows you to control almost every element of a theme’s design, such as layout, colors and fonts, by pointing and clicking.

The Headway Grid empowers you to create any kind of layout you want – one column, two column, three column, a mix.

Once your layout is complete, you can style your site with the Design Editor, which allows you to select any element on the page and style it in a number of ways.

Headway is up to date with the latest standards in coding, HTML5 and CSS3. And the Responsive Grid means your designs will be automatically responsive.

Headway isn’t just for non-coders. Developers can take advantage of the live CSS editor, build child themes for Headway and create custom Bock types. They can even sell their custom Blocks in the Headway Marketplace.

Blocks are a way of extending the functionality of Headway. There are the core blocks that come with Headway Base, then there are the extra blocks that can be added via Headway Extend. One of the most popular core blocks allows you to add WooCommerce compatibility to your site, for example.

If you’re a web designer and you want full control over your sites but would prefer not to have to learn how to code, Headway was built for you. It will enable you to quickly create custom websites for your clients that can be as simple or complex as you need.

Price: $87 Base; $174 Developer
Demo | Purchase

Elegant Themes


Elegant Themes is widely considered to offer the most bang for your buck among premium theme frameworks. For $39 a year, you get access to 85+ quality themes, a small but growing library of useful plugins and a support forum where you can expect responses in hours, not days.

Unlike some other frameworks (such as Genesis), you don’t get access to the framework as such – you get access to the themes, all of which are built on top of the same framework. So you will have to use, or at least start from, an Elegant Theme, rather than create your own from scratch. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it means you will have options that you can show clients out of the box and you can swap themes as much as you like.

The options panel is fairly intuitive, easy to get to grips with and almost the same on every theme. So once you’ve used the backend on one you’ll know how to use it on them all, more or less.

The plugins aren’t just compatible with Elegant Themes. They can be used with any WordPress theme. For some customers access to the plugins alone justifies the cost of membership.

To sum up, with Elegant Themes you don’t get a blank canvas to work from. Instead, the idea is that you pick the Elegant Theme that most closely matches your design and customize it. This makes the framework more suited for beginners.

Price: $69
 | Purchase

Dynamik Website Builder


If you want all the advantages of the popular Genesis framework, such as its high levels of security, fast loading code, and SEO friendliness, but just can’t find a child theme to match your vision, and you don’t have the coding skills required to create your own designs, Dynamik is the tool for you.

The Dynamik Website Builder is a visual editor for WordPress and the Genesis framework that allows you to change almost every aspect of the appearance of your website, without directly editing any code. From changing the fonts used for specific page elements, to creating your own custom layouts that can then be applied to your entire site, or at an individual page and post level, Dynamik lets you do it all.

Despite having all this control over how your WordPress site looks, you aren’t dropped in at the deep end. Dynamik comes with a large number of pre-set configurations that can be used as is or customised to give your site an even more personalised look. It’s also worth pointing out that this tool isn’t just for beginners either. As well as giving you vast amounts of control over your site’s design without the need to edit any code, should you decide that you’d like to start delving into the CSS and PHP of your theme, then Dynamik supports you in doing that too.

Price: $79.95
 | Purchase


Tesla Themes Framework

Like Elegant Themes, the WordPress themes from the TeslaThemes club are all built on a custom-made framework. By joining the club, you get access to all the existing themes and future releases.

With TeslaThemes, the framework is part of the themes themselves, so there is only one set of files to upload, as opposed to the parent child relationship that is used by products like the Genesis Framework. As these themes are all built on top of the same framework it means that whichever theme you use from Tesla, it will have the same control panel and options for customisation.

For the end user, the only direct interaction most will have with the Tesla Framework is through the theme control panel. From there, users can find an easy way to change some of the settings of their theme, these include:

  • Upload a logo image and set the header text
  • Add a favicon
  • Set the default colour of the site
  • Upload a background image
  • Configure the social icons
  • Add contact information
  • Easily append code to the footer
  • Add custom CSS

The framework control panel also includes handy links to the documentation section on the TeslaThemes website, the support forum, and the company blog.

While this framework doesn’t give you too many options for configuring the appearance of your chosen theme, it is easy to use and find your way around.

Price: $35 per theme or $45 for all themes

Demo | Purchase

Thesis 2.0



While not quite as popular as Genesis, Thesis is still one of the most well known WordPress frameworks. It used to be known mainly for its focus on SEO. The relatively recent release of Thesis 2.0, however, has seen its feature set expand considerably and as a result it is attracting more novices and DIYers who want more than just a beautiful site: they want something they can make their own, too.

Thesis 2.0 is primarily about three features: boxes, skins and site tools.

Skins are great-looking designs that you can add to Thesis. You can tweak them using the visual template editor, which gives you point-and-click control.


Boxes are like widgets in that they allow you to add functionality (email signup forms, social sharing buttons, etc) to your Thesis site. Using the visual template editor, you can drag and drop boxes into your template wherever you want – no coding required.

Lastly, site tools enable you to optimize your site for Google by doing things like adding Google authorship and markup schema with the click of a button.

The best of the first iteration of Thesis has been retained: Thesis 2.0 is still SEO-conscious and still comes with an active community and a well-staffed support forum.

We would recommend Thesis to anyone with an interest in SEO and performance, as well as those looking for customizability without the code. Thesis 2.0 has a passionate following, made up of both developers and amateurs, and while its unique interface and features may take some getting used to, once you do, you’ll have a powerful set of tools at your disposal to create any kind of site you want.

Price: $87 Thesis Basic; $164 Thesis Basic Plus; $197 Thesis Professional;
Demo | Purchase



Builder is another framework that doesn’t require the user to know code to build powerful sites. It is made up of the Builder Core Theme, child themes (the exact number will depend on which package you go for), the Style Manager plugin and a year of support and updates.

Builder is a responsive framework that includes a Layout Editor, which allows you to create a layout by pointing and clicking. You choose the modules, such as header, navigation bar and footer, and insert them in the order you want on the page. There is no coding involved.

The Style Manager plugin enables you to customize your site’s style – changing the background color, for example – without writing any code.

There are 80 Builder themes to choose from, which should be enough of a range for you to use one as a starting point for most projects. You can then add your layouts and style the design elements just the way you want.

Like Headway, Builder makes use of Blocks to add niche-specific functionality. The Restaurant Block, for example, allows you to add menu items and location details to your site.

Builder is one of the better supported frameworks, with support staff, a comprehensive codex as well as video tutorials and walkthroughs.

The bottom line is that Builder enables anyone to build a great website fast.

Price: $80 Foundation Pack; $150 Developer Pack; $197 All Access Pass
Demo | Purchase


pagelines dms

PageLines is a drag and drop Design Management System (DMS) that allows you to create responsive websites without editing any code.

It works by allowing you to drag and drop modules – the layout and design elements that make up a website – such as navigation bars, columns and sliders onto the page. You can place them wherever you want, so you can create just about any kind of layout or design you desire. Those who have no interest in learning to code will appreciate the ability to control the modules from the front end. So, actually, will developers, who will be able to create mock ups faster than ever before.

Price: $8/mo Personal; $16/mo Business; $24/mo Developer
Demo | Purchase



Ultimatum includes everything you need to build your own custom theme using WordPress. The tool comes with a powerful form builder, a range of sliders for creating post and image slideshows, is fully WooCommerce compatible, and comes bundled with the powerful Visual Composer drag and drop page builder plugin. This last inclusion means that creating custom layouts for individual posts and pages is very straightforward and produces some great results.

This theme builder also gives you a few options for working with templates, allowing you to create your own or import any existing ones. When creating the template for the basis of your theme, you can opt to use the popular Twitter Bootstrap to create a fully responsive layout, as well as having the option to use a mobile web app template.

More advanced features of Ultimatum include the Custom Post Type creator which allows you to create your own post types and custom taxonomies for organising your content more effectively. The tool also comes with optional integration with Google Fonts and a large selection of icons for giving your designs greater visual appeal.

If you are looking for a blank canvas to build your design upon and would like access to a wide range of drag and drop page elements and configurable settings then Ultimatum is a good choice.

Price: $65 Starter License; $125 Pro License
Demo | Purchase



MySiteMyWay, like ElegantThemes, don’t allow you access to the base framework to create your own themes. However, with their highly customizable themes, you should be able to create pretty much whatever it is you have in mind. Every purchase comes with free updates, unlimited support, layered Photoshop files and a 30 day money back guarantee.

Price: $35 Single Theme; $149 Theme Bundle
Demo | Purchase



The turbocharged engine behind all Woo WordPress themes.



A powerful theme framework with infinite customization possibilities. Backbone features numerous child themes, built-in page templates, a powerful theme panel and more.

Price: $59 Single Pack; $129 Framework Bundle
Demo | Purchase

Ashford Pro


Ashford Pro is a CMS framework that professionals and coders trust to build remarkable WordPress websites and blogs.

Price: $49
Demo | Purchase

YA Framework


Theme Features

  • Built for WordPress 3.5 and updated continuously
  • Compatible with IE8+, Firefox 4+, Netscape, Safari, Opera 9.5 and Chrome
  • Responsive layout for all devices from PCs to smaller tablets and mobiles
  • Ability to set site title, tagline, logo and Analytics ID
  • Support RTL/LTR language and auto detection
  • Support menu with dropdown or mega style
  • Support primary menu location and 8 widget sidebars
  • Preset color styles: blue, black and green
  • Custom font with Google Web Fonts
  • Social networks integration
  • HTML5 validation
  • CSS3 table-less design
  • LESS for advanced development
  • Custom styles with 6 layouts and built-in shortcode
  • Integration with Contact Form 7 plugin and SEO plugins

Demo | Purchase



xScape is an advanced WordPress theme framework that brings SEO options, powerful customization, layout manager, menu designer, extend modules (bbPress integration, Google web fonts, contact form…), more than 15 widgets, loading optimizations and much more.

Demo | Purchase



Reverie Framework is an extremely versatile HTML5 WordPress framework based on ZURB’s Foundation, a powerful tool for building prototypes on any kind of devices.

Demo | Download

Warp Framework


A fast and slick theme framework which provides a rich tool set to develop cross-platform (including Joomla and WordPress) themes.

Demo | Download

Hybrid Core


Hybrid Core is a WordPress theme development framework for creating solid parent themes. It allows theme developers to forget about all the complex functionality and dive straight into coding their theme’s HTMLCSS, and JavaScript.

Demo | Download



Gantry is a comprehensive set of building blocks to enable the rapid development and realization of a design into a flexible and powerful web platform theme.

Demo | Download



Whiteboard is not like most other WordPress Frameworks out there. While most other WordPress Frameworks include a mess of styles, functions, and content areas that have to be cleaned out for nearly every project, Whiteboard remains a true WordPress Framework. Whiteboard includes only the core WordPress structure and does not get fancy with unnecessary functions. While Whiteboard does include Less Framework and a minimal theme, these can be easily removed with the exclusion of a line of HTML each.

Demo | Download



The ultimate in SEO-ready themes, Thematic is a highly extensible, WordPress theme framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, drop-down menus, grid-based layout samples, plugin integration, shortcodes for your footer, & a whole lot more. Perfect for any blog and the starting point for theme development.

Demo | Download

Ashford CMS


Ashford is a free WordPress CMS framework. It is a simple to use and modify.

Demo | Download


*original article at http://athemes.com/collections/best-wordpress-theme-frameworks/