Top 5 Most Recommend Theme Frameworks For WordPress

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A theme framework is a theme that is designed to be a flexible foundation that can serve as a parent theme for building child themes. The use of WordPress theme frameworks may ease theme development by reducing the volume of work which may be needed in creating a backbone for your theme (usually by using PHP and WordPress Template Tags).

Some Theme frameworks can also make theme development more accessible, removing the need for programming or design knowledge with options pages.

Here are some of the best WordPress Theme Frameworks:

1. Thesis Theme by DIYThemes

Simply put, Thesis is powerful. It has a remarkably efficient HTML + CSS + PHP framework and easy-to-use controls that you can use to fine-tune each and every page of your site with a tactical precision that has never been possible before. The days of worrying about your in-site SEO are over—with Thesis, your strategy is “just add killer content.”

WPKube is also running on Thesis Theme Framework.

Price: Thesis has two options – Personal & Developer option.

  • Personal option – You can use it for one thesis website and one localized development environment. It costs $87
  • Developer’s option – You can use thesis for as many sites as you can. Access to Client Site Options, which allow you to deploy Thesis on sites for clients. It costs $164

Thesis Theme Framework

2. Genesis Framework by StudioPress

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you’re a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Price: It starts with $59.95

Genesis Framework

3. Headway Themes

Headway’s innovative Visual Layout Editor gives you the power to rearrange your site layout without touching a line of code. Even if you’re comfortable with HTML/CSS/PHP, the Visual Layout Editor saves you time. You can sculpt your design into anything you want. You’re not restricted by someone else’s ideas about columns or content layouts. The sky is the limit.

Features:

  • Design Your Blog Visually
  • Create Any Layout Imaginable
  • Complete Control is Yours to Command
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Friendly and Helpful Support Community
  • Tutorials & Documentation in Plain English

Price: It has 3 pricing options to choose from -

  • Base – Unlimited use and installations. One year of support and updates. Price – $68
  • Standard – Unlimited use and installations. One year of support and updates + 3 Headway Child Themes. Price – $174
  • All-Access - Unlimited use and installations. One year of support and updates + Access to all Headway Child Themes released for 1 year + Exclusive developer’s webinar. Price – $378

Headway Themes

4. WooFrame by WooThemes

WooThemes is also among the top wordPress designers that offer free and paid themes. The WooFrame 2.X has been released with a lot of features that you can experience in using WordPress 3.0 especially the menu navigation drop-down effect. If you can not afford a paid child theme, you can still use WooFrame with free child themes.

WooThemes WooFramework

5. Theme Hybrid

Hybrid is more than just a WordPress theme. It’s about pushing the limits with what WordPress can do. Something you can use to build anything from the smallest family blog to a powerful site that handles thousands of visitors a day.

Features:

  • Developed with child themes in mind, so you’ll never lose your customizations.
  • SEO optimized. No need for plugins to handle this anymore.
  • Theme options that are about content/information.
  • Templates for everything.
  • 13 page templates.
  • Actively developed for WP 2.7 but backward compatible down to 2.5.
  • 15+ plugins supported within the theme.
  • Attachment handling like you’ve never experienced.
  • Advanced breadcrumbs beyond any other theme.
  • Ability to run just about any type of site.

Price: Free

Themes Hybrid

What are your thoughts on using Theme Framework for WordPress? Please let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Devesh Sharma is a WordPress fanatic and loves experimenting with WordPress themes & plugins.Get more from Devesh on  and Twitter.
14 comments… add one
  1. Dave says

    Mate, you’ve left out http://pagelines.com – its pretty amazing (And I’m a user of 4 of your 5 listed above)… Page lines is relatively new, and has grown very fast. Their social following is even over 3x that of guys like Studiopress!

    • Devesh says

      How could I miss the Pagelines framework. This is another cool theme framework for WordPress. Going to include Pagelines, in the next part of “WordPress Theme Frameworks”

      Thanks for stopping by, Dave. Enjoy your rest of the weekend.

      -Dev

  2. Stéphane Bergeron says

    Hi!

    Good post but you also left out iThemes Builder which is arguably one of the most powerful and flexible frameworks out there. I’ve used Thesis then moved to Headway exclusively for almost two years and I’ve also tried Genesis. Neither of these 3 gave me the flexibility that Builder does.

    Builder has a much more standard child themes implementation than Thesis, Headway or Genesis so if you know how to code a little PHP and have some familiarity with the WordPress templates system and the Loop, there’s no limit to the kind of layout or functionality you can achieve with Builder. Just copy a template from the parent theme to your child theme and tweak the code to achieve any result you want. This is particularly effective when using Custom Post Types which I’m starting to use more and more. When using WordPress as a pure CMS, this flexibility is key and CPTs are essential as is the ability to display them any way you need.

    For less technical users who don’t know or don’t want to learn how to code, Headway is probably the most flexible and easiest to use framework. Genesis also has a lot of nicely designed child themes to choose from and that can be great for some people. But for professional Web developers and designers who need to integrate custom designs and functionality into WordPress sites, Builder is a lot more flexible than either of them IMO. I doubt I’ll go back to Headway at this point.

    My $ 0.02

    • Devesh says

      Hi Stéphane

      Thanks for sharing your 2 cents. I couldn’t have said better myself.

      I’ve used Genesis, Thesis & headway and all of these themes works really great. I’ve heard good things about iThemes Builder, but never tried it. I think it’s the time to dive into it.

      In the end of the day, it really depends on the blog owner, which theme framework he’d like to go with, because almost all the theme framework offers the same functionality with different user interface.

      Once again, Thanks for sharing your insights. I appreciate the comment, Bergeron.

      Have a great day.

      -Dev

      • Stéphane Bergeron says

        Hi Devesh,

        It absolutely depends on the site owner! And one goes the frameworks route, it’s essential to try a few of them to see what fits you best. As your need evolve you may need to switch which I did but I’m happy I have developer licenses to 4 of the best WP theme frameworks (Builder, Headway, Genesis and Thesis) as it gives me a very flexible toolset to be able to serve my clients better.

        I really love the WordPress community as a whole and want to thank you for contributing to it. This is a great time to be working with WordPress :)

  3. Joseph says

    I’ll have to check some of these out. But as a current Headway themes client, I have to say RUN to anyone thinking of investing in headway themes.
    -They don’t offer refunds.
    -there are no child themes for version 3.0
    -3.0 has a few bugs that makes it unusable, in my opinion. glitches that undo hours of work and make it very hard to put together.
    -their support staff and owner are very defensive and non customer-oriented. I get the vibe that if people have problems making the theme work it’s their fault according to the developer.

    • Douglas says

      Joseph,

      I am thinking of purchasing Headway Themes version 3.2.4. With this new version would you still consider running away from Headway Themes? I have been investigating most of these 5 top Frameworks including Pagelines. They all have their pluses and minus. I have read bad reviews of Headway Themes but most if not all where during 2011. So I am curious to hear what you have to say about Headway’s new 3.2.4 version. Plus how often (months) does Headway introduces a new version (upgrade)?

      Thanks in advance for you reply…

    • Caps says

      Hi Douglas,

      I agree with you on HW 3x, 2x was much better. I am looking to sell my license and get on with another drag and drop framework. HW 3.x is highly stylized with little contrast between background and text.

  4. bobschecter says

    The buzzword for Builder and Headway is “beta”. They are all in such a hurry to try and get ahead of their competition that they just “throw” things out there, even if they’re not ready, and believe that calling them beta is a fair excuse. Neither platform is willing to step back and make their product stable before spitting out the next version.

    I just bought into Headway, newest version, and while they promo it with ChildThemes and Add-Ons, ooops, turns out there are no ChildThemes or Add-Ons yet for the new version. But that didn’t stop the from taking my money.

    And this was coming off of a fresh install and uninstall of Builder. Another promo saying they have 60 themes when in reality it’s about 20 and those look like they were put together for a junior high-school project. That said, and the reason I keep turning to iThemes is that they issued a full refund, while Headway keeps giving me the ‘ol one-two shuffle about how they “will” be putting out more stuff …..

    Very disappointing stuff.

  5. vinodh says

    Hi,
    I thought hybrid theme is not free.
    Is there any best responsive theme(paid or free) for website plus blogging in same child theme.
    I ask particularly because most theme are optimized for only one of them .
    I have licensed version of thesis and genesis.
    I am a programmer. so can also learn the steps required to customize.
    regards
    vinodh

    • Devesh says

      Hi Vinodh,

      If you have license for both Genesis & Thesis, I’d suggest go with Genesis and use a child theme. A child theme usually costs around $20 including support & updates.

      There are ton of responsive blogging themes, maybe I should compile a list.

      • vinodh says

        Ok. thanks. for now I have decided to buy prose theme. But waiting for your review on genesis child themes.
        regards
        vinodh

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