Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Setting up the perfect WordPress websites takes ages, and the gruesome task is even more time-consuming for beginners who aren’t always immune to making mistakes that cost them heavily later on. Many even get demotivated enough to stop their website-building journey rather abruptly. The task of theme development plays a big role in this daunting task, but theme frameworks act as a loophole to lessen the effort needed to carry on such a task.  Another confusion that people frequently face is when choosing the most appropriate framework for their website. Thus, to help you all out, we are here to introduce some of the all-time best Open source WordPress theme frameworks moving on in our article. So keep reading! 

What is an Open Source WordPress Theme Framework?

But, before going on any further, we all must come to a level understanding of what a Framework is. WordPress theme frameworks are a bundle of files that help develop WordPress themes. They act as the skeletons for your theme and let you carry out basic theme functionalities tailored according to your needs.  

You do not need extensive programming knowledge to work with theme frameworks as they come with source codes, and so they save you a whole lot of time and effort. That said, an Open Source WordPress framework is free of charge other than the license cost, which does not need accreditation for its author.

Top 11 Open-Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

So, now that we know what a WP framework is, let’s take a look at a list of the 11 top WordPress theme frameworks right below that we will be talking more about further on.

  1.  Hybrid core
  2. Gantry
  3. PressWork
  4. Cherry
  5. Wonderflux
  6. Unyson
  7. Runway
  8. Underscores
  9. Reverie
  10. Themerex
  11. VafPress


Hybrid Core

Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Hybrid Core by Theme Hybrid is one of the best theme frameworks claimed by the vast majority of its users. It helps you harness a superior amount of control over your web design and lets you build a feature-rich theme environment. The Hybrid Core framework was built around giving developers the smoothest user experience while working with the framework. Moreover, it comes with a wide variety of developer-friendly features that every user is sure to fall in love with. 

Key features: 

  • Custom-built media grabber.
  • Layouts API system for handling layout options.
  • Font Loader that provides built-in support for both Google Fonts and fonts bundled with the theme.
  • Works with any HTML attribute on any HTML element.
  • Comes with a template system, media meta, and utility functions.
  • Schema Standards are compatible, so more SEO friendly.
  • Breadcrumb Trail- the most advanced WordPress breadcrumb script.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

The RocketTheme development team tailored the Gantry framework aiming to merge functionalities within the themes through a single versatile framework. The framework is great for beginners due to its highly user-friendly and powerful layout manager, which can help you configure anything and everything. 

Moreover, the framework’s explicitly responsive grid system supports LESS, CSS, and even SCSS. The framework can really bring the best out of your website and can also help you broaden your horizon in CMS platforms even outside of WordPress, such as Joomla and Grav.

Key features: 

  • Fast, Lightweight, and highly efficient.
  • Comes with a configurable visual menu editor.
  • Supports both full width and drop-down mega menu styles.
  • Includes drag and drop layout manager.
  • Built-in Ajax Admin saves a lot of time.
  • Unlimited undo and redo options as well as many more sophisticated built-in fields.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

PressWork is another high on demand WordPress Theme that can be used by designers, developers, and publishers alike. It is a free, open source theme framework that can support all your theme development needs by giving you the power to customize the framework completely. 

It is exclusively built for WordPress 3.3 using HTML and CSS3 and comes with many alluring features that are super effective and easy to use for anybody. Also, the framework comes with lifetime support and an updates guarantee that can be accessed from the member profile page.

Key features: 

  • Bundled with a BriefCase suite for plugins.
  • Media queries help make your theme mobile-friendly.
  • Includes PSD file.
  • Zero coding knowledge is needed.
  • Integrated with Google fonts and HTML5 attributes.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Featured by Bootstrap, the Cherry open source WordPress framework has to be one of the most popular ones out there, licensed under GPLv3 and available on Github. It is a clean solution to your theme development needs that is highly feature-rich, all the while focusing on not making users feel overwhelmed due to them. 

Its shortcode technology helps you add any kind of diverse content you want on your website with the minimum amount of effort required. That said, the cherry framework is very beginner-friendly as well as responsive.

Key features: 

  • Independent module structure that allows usage of cherry components as standalone tools.
  • Comes with CSS minifier, Backup Option, and Multiple plugin integrations.
  • Compatible with third-party tools.
  • WPML ready.
  • Has a shortcode template editor with multiple shortcode variations.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Built similarly to WordPress itself, Wonderflux has been a hit with users all over the world. Alongside being an open source WordPress framework, one can also deem Wonderflux as a parent theme that can be used to build completely customizable child themes. It is a well-coded solution that effectively saves time without hindering the quality of its functions. 

The wonderflux framework is also available for usage in plugin environments such as BuddyPress and is completely responsive, meaning that it’ll work smoothly and adjust to any screen size without aberrations or distortions, widening your scope to get a larger user base.

Key features: 

  • Comes with a CSS layout system.
  • Has flexible layout options.
  • It can allow embedding of any kind of content with its 100+ built-in hooks.
  • Has simple admin options and plugin compatibility.
  • Comes with a valid markup that makes your website more favorable in terms of SEO.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Themefuse created Unyson with the goal of giving ease to developers to build WordPress themes quickly and outstandingly. The framework supports WordPress version 4.4 or greater, PHP version 5.2.4 or more, and MySQL version 5.0 or greater. Also, one can easily install the open source WordPress framework from the plugins menu manually. 

Not only that, but Unyson also inherits its license from GPL from WordPress, meaning that you can rest assured that the framework will work smoothly without any glitches, and your website will also be free of any security threats due to the framework.

Key features: 

  • Comes with a full-fledged drag and drop page builder.
  • Has a pre-built content demo install an extension.
  • Has unlimited sidebar customization options.
  • Integrated with a mega menu and automatic backup option.
  • Has easy to implement sliders.
  • Advanced SEO options let users fulfill their SEO needs without needing to install any external plugins.
  • Breadcrumbs navigation lets you navigate your website faster and easier.


Those who are familiar with Parallelus know the unmatched quality of their products, and the Runway framework is one of them. The Runway was built around the idea of classic WordPress theme frameworks for developers around the globe. 

It is a drop-in code library that can be used to develop themes of any nature as well as a stand-alone or starter theme. It can be integrated with another theme or be used as a parent theme template. Moreover, Runway is also a theme Development environment that is loved by the thousands of people who use it religiously.

Key features: 

  • The runway has a child theme generator that can build, customize and duplicate themes of any kind.
  • The theme option builder helps create and generate custom input types for specific functions and has a drag and drop feature.
  • The modular structure provides support for extensions.
  • Has a customizable layout manager.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Underscores can ace the criteria for both a theme framework and a starter theme. Regardless, it can do more than enough when it comes to fulfilling your theme development needs. When you go to the official underscores website, you can see right away how unique the framework is in all its aspects. 

Starting from its color palette to even how the framework has been documented, it gives off the idea of how perfectly it has been built by its elite team of developers. Also, its ultra-minimal CSS is great for beginners who get overwhelmed by seeing a large code cluster, meaning that it is highly user-friendly.

Key features: 

  • Sample custom header implementation option.
  • Fully customizable template tags to prevent duplication and to inspire organization.
  • Menu to toggle dropdown features for mobile devices.
  • Two CSS sample layouts with sidebar variations.
  • Well-organized CSS to facilitate the process of theme building.
  • A predefined 404 template to further save time.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Reverie by ThemeFortress packs a bucketful of features that come extremely in handy for developing themes that can be used for blog sites, CMS platforms such as WordPress, and much more. Other than being a theme framework, it can also be used as a starter or parent theme. 

Reverie is powered by the ZURB Foundation, from where it also inherits all of its excellent features. It is a highly versatile open source WordPress framework that is licensed under MIT and offers its users premium support without needing to pay a single dime.

Key features: 

  • Minimalistic framework interface with two default menus and widgets areas.
  • Powered by HTML5 and hNews microformat to optimize structure and readability.
  • Has a child theme generator.
  • Supports CSS, SCSS, and SASS.
  • Fully responsive and SEO optimized.


Best Open Source WordPress Theme Frameworks

Created by the same team of developers as its name, the ThemeRex framework is licensed as open source and has gone through an impressive journey of evolution to what it is today. Users around the globe have tried out this amazing framework and have come up with jaw-dropping results. 

The framework itself is great for users of any learning curve including beginners and has been built specifically keeping developers in mind. It saves a whole lot of time for users who dread coding everything from scratch and is full of exciting features that are easy to use and navigate through.

Key features: 

  • Basic theme options with inheritance systems for layout, color, widget area, and typography customization variations.
  • Plugin integrations with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, bbPress, Slider Revolution, MailChimp, and many more.
  • Customizable post templates for services, team members, testimonials, etc.
  • Integrated with Google Maps, social media and is translation ready.
  • Has a Demo content installer as well as a visual composer.
  • New SiteOrigin panels support.
  • Comes with native support for the LESS compiler and has SASS integration.
  • GDPR ready and Gutenberg compatible.


Lastly, we have VafPress, an open source WordPress theme framework built exclusively keeping beginners in mind. The framework is geared to be simple to read and easy to use, so you do not need to have any coding knowledge whatsoever. It is enriched with dynamic features that make theme development a piece of cake.

Also, it saves effort and time for those who are constantly crushed under a hectic schedule. The VafPress framework development team is constantly working around the clock to give VIP-like support to any of its users and to also improvise the technology to make it better than it already is.

Key features: 

  • Theme Options Builder and shortcode generator.
  • Metaboxes builder for writing meta boxes in PHP Array.
  • Script for load management to prevent your website from slowing down.
  • Field variations for the text area, multi-select function, check box, toggle sorter, and many more.
  • Grouping repeating fields for defining them with arbitrary amounts of occurrences.

How to choose the correct framework for your open source WordPress themes?

There are over 31k themes available on WordPress and the most popular and tasteful ones have had over 450k sales. Surely, you want your website to display the same uniqueness as the idea you have for your website. 

WordPress theme frameworks exist solely for that purpose. But, now that we have introduced you to the top-rated frameworks out there, you might be questioning which is the best WordPress theme framework for your website. 

Unfortunately, we cannot exactly tell you the answer to that question since only you can determine best what your website exactly needs. So look deeper into your website and research for some time to get a better idea, there are tons of resources to help you out online.

That is all for today, I hope you found our article informative and helpful. Have a good day!


  September 25, 2021   Explore WordPress Theme Frameworks Stay Informed with WordPress Insights

Themeies is an online marketplace where can you can buy various types of ready-made web development tools from world-class developers and designers....

Line Icons
The Ultimate Line Icons Resource: Design, Download, and Delight by in Design Insights

In today's digital world, captivating content is essential. ...

27 Oct, 2023 31   Liked

Serverless Architecture
The Power of Serverless Architecture in Modern Web Development by in Web Development Insights

In today's fast-paced digital world, web developers continua ...

19 Oct, 2023 37   Liked

Boost Business Impact: The Power of Website Redesign
Boost Business Impact: The Power of Website Redesign by in Web Strategy & Optimization

A Simple Guide to Website Redesign In today's digital world ...

12 Oct, 2023 39   Liked

Secure online payment
Secure Payment
Secure online payment
Money Back
Free and friendly support
Dedicated Support