It’s possible to have a fully customizable WordPress website. You just need to know what theme frameworks you can use. But before that, let’s answer the question, ˝What is a Framework?˝ A framework (or WordPress Theme Framework) is a set of standards for theme developers to create a customized theme.


In other words, the themes that offer more than just changing texts, backgrounds or color schemes is a theme framework. As mentioned in WordPress’ codex, this is how frameworks work:

  • Frameworks come packaged within a single folder.
  • Developers drop the framework folder into a new parent theme and load the framework.
  • Users create a child theme based on the parent theme to house their customizations, allowing both the framework and parent theme to be updated.

Parent and child themes were mentioned on the definition of the frameworks. Basically, the parent theme is the main theme design while the child theme is the result of your customization of the parent theme.

So what should you use for your WordPress Theme Framework? Here are 17 of the recommended frameworks from Colorlib, aThemes, wpmudev, TopNotchThemes and Hongkiat.

17. Avada – recommended by Colorlib and TopNotchThemes


Avada is a paid framework you can download from their website. Even though there are only two blog sites to recommend Avada, it is still one of the most popular frameworks available for WordPress. It’s a versatile framework which means that you can use it for any kind of website without the need to purchase an additional theme just to get the layout you want. It’s not a bad investment if you maintain more than, say, 10 websites. With Avada, you can choose from 18 free themes to use for your website. From there, you can go on and change the look of your website without needing to go anywhere else.

16. Enfold – recommended by Colorlib and TopNotchThemes

One of the most distinct features of Enfold is support for retina display. Enfold has a lot of designs for blogs either for work or for personal blogging. You can also customize this by some shortcodes or use the theme packs included in the theme package. There’s also a feature made by Enfold to use the demo theme and design your website from the demo to fully developing your WordPress website.

15. Themify – recommended by Colorlib and aThemes

Themify and all of their themes include the Themify Builder which allows you to customize the page layouts through drag and drop. All features that Themify have are fully responsive for mobile viewing. This framework includes some styling panel where the drag and drop is done. With the styling panel, you have the control of the appearance of your theme without needing to know any code. They also have a live preview available for developers to see the changes they make real-time. Themify also has numerous templates available for use — this includes a pre-defined design of the layout that you can use as-is or change according to your needs.

14. Canvas – recommended by Colorlib and Hongkiat

Canvas is a starter theme made by WooThemes, who created the well known e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. This theme allows you to easily modify your the layout and other elements of your design on the options panel. There’s also a set of theme templates you can use so that you don’t have start from scratch. You can customize the layout with ease through the Options panel. This theme is highly compatible with WooCommerce (as one would expect).

13. Seed – recommended by Colorlib and TopNotchThemes

Seed has a multiple option for customization within the Theme Options. You can also add some custom CSS for you to personalize your website a little more. CSS can be used if you know it but it’s not necessary to build your website. There are also templates you can use as your initial guide and customize as needed. Seed is also one of the most organized themes you can find out there.

12. TeslaThemes– recommended by aThemes and TopNotchThemes

TeslaTheme is a premium theme framework for WordPress that doesn’t use a parent-child theme relationship. This means that no matter how much you change your website’s theme, it will still show the same control panel. Without the parent-child theme relationship, you’re able to update your site without jeopardizing your old layout. TeslaThemes’ framework is also custom-made, so all themes are integrated in one set to upload the theme.

11. Dynamik Website Builder – recommended by aThemes and TopNotchThemes

Dynamik Website Builder has an array of tools you can use to design your website. You can also use the available tools to manage your website but if you ever change your theme, you’ll need to rebuild from scratch.

10. Ultimatum – recommended by aThemes and Hongkiat

Ultimatum has the feature of drag-and-drop as well. They also have a live preview to every update or change that you do on a post or page. This live preview also shows the custom CSS designs so it’ll be easier to see how your customization will look like while you’re still customizing it. if you’re only about to start using this framework, you’ll also be able to use a template and import your previous design with no issues.

9. Cherry – recommended by wpmudev and Hongkiat

Surprisingly, Cherry was only recommended by two WordPress blog sites even though this framework is one of the most popular frameworks out. Cherry is a free framework that you can use with premium child themes available for sale. There’s an area builder where you can arrange static elements of your website (banners, logos, etc.) This framework will be attractive to those who do not know any custom CSS since this is not part of the framework’s advancement.

8. WPZoom – recommended by Colorlib and aThemes


WPZoom has an easy-to-use panel that you cannot go wrong with. It’s a framework made by the theme developers of WordPress. There’s a demo content installation which allows you to configure your website using the layout and design you have on your previous theme. Once you finished with the demo, you may now use the themes available in WPZoom and save your work.

7. Divi – recommended by Colorlib, aThemes and TopNotchThemes (TopNotchThemes recommended this under the name Elegant Themes)


Divi is created by Elegant Themes and is one of the flagship themes. There are plenty of features of Divi including a drag-and-drop feature on creating posts and pages. With Divi, you have three options for the subscription. They do not limit it to a yearly subscription but if they do, there’ll be no problem as they have the Lifetime Access where you can download all their available themes. There’s also the option to add a custom CSS on any page or post and have the complete control to personalize your WordPress website.

6. PageLines DMS – recommended by Colorlib, aThemes and TopNotchThemes

PageLines DMS also has a drag-and-drop feature for easy customization and layout. It’s made to be compatible with mobile devices, whether on a smartphone or a tablet. You have complete control of the modules available for PageLines without needing to learn how to code.

5. iThemes Builder – recommended by Colorlib, wpmudev and aThemes (aThemes recommended this under the name Builder)

iThemes Builder is a framework that is easy to use without any knowledge of coding. This has a core theme and includes a different child theme packages depending on the subscription plan you go for. You also have the option to download the plugin called the Style Manager available from iThemes to customize the looks of your WordPress.

4. Gantry – recommended by aThemes, wpmudev and Hongkiat

Gantry is a free WordPress framework that was released by the developer RocketTheme to the public. They have both a theme and a plugin that must both be installed. With both the theme and plugin active, you’ll see the features of the Gantry’s page builder. A custom CSS is also available for this framework by switching to the maintenance mode.

3. Thesis 2.0 – recommended by Colorlib, aThemes, wpmudev, TopNotchThemes and Hongkiat

Thesis 2.0 is focused on SEO which allows your website to be optimized on search engines. This framework allows you to create a WordPress website with ease using templates. This design is within the Dashboard of your website to be more effective on getting the layout you need.

2. Headway – recommended by Colorlib, aThemes, wpmudev, TopNotchThemes and Hongkiat

Headway is a drag-and-drop framework for easy customization for people who don’t know any form of coding. You can design your layout and set up the style without needing to know how to code. But advanced users also have the option to add custom CSS on the design. There are also blocks to extend the functionality of Headway which the base already includes but you can add more blocks through Headway Extend which adds more features and basically act as an extension of the framework.

1. Genesis – recommended by Colorlib, aThemes, wpmudev, TopNotchThemes and Hongkiat

Genesis is one of the most popular frameworks for WordPress. It’s secure, future-proof and highly customizable. This framework however is more for intermediate and advanced users but enthusiasts can learn it easily. There are child themes available for purchase but you can opt to customize your own.


Source: Colorlib (April 2016), aThemes (June 2016), wpmudev (November 2014), TopNotchThemes (September 2016) and Hongkiat

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