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18 Best Blank WordPress Themes in 2021

Last Updated on June 10th, 2021

Published on January 26th, 2012

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WordPress has many different styles for themes and these come in various categories. One popular choice is blank WordPress theme or sometimes called plain WordPress theme.

Simple, naked, base, blank, or whatever descriptor you choose, blank WordPress themes are a starting point from which you can build your theme. Once you have a blank WordPress theme, you can customize your website and fill it with your unique content. To do this, you will need standard WordPress PHP, HTML, and CSS codes. These are not difficult for users to find ensuring your website will be easy to build.

If you want to create a website for your online business, and need to choose a theme, consider choosing a blank WordPress theme. This way you won’t have to worry about writing the basic code for the site. A blank WordPress theme is like the framework or the skeleton for a website.

There are plenty of free blank WordPress themes out there to choose from. This is a shortlist of the best free blank WordPress themes.

Astra

Astra

Astra is a premium WordPress theme for developers. It comes with over 100 starter themes and pre-built websites to quickly launch a website.

The plain WordPress themes by Astra are designed for a wide assortment of businesses. You’ll most likely find a perfect demo site to match your requirements.

Astra stands out in the crowd because it can be used by both developers and beginners. If you are looking for an easy blank theme, then Astra is an excellent choice.

Astra plain WordPress themes are unique.  They combine fantastic ready-to-launch designs with the ability to customize. The range of starter templates available and the design quality are impressive.

For developers, the ease at which you can customize each template to suit your own needs is important. Astra themes use clean code, are compatible with these page builders:

The hard work has been done for you with Astra. All starter templates are coded to load fast. They are fully compliant, responsive, and tested to work on all browsers. What better way to start a project?

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Get Astra

GeneratePress

GeneratePress  blank WordPress theme

The GeneratePress theme prides itself on high standards of coding and accessibility. This keeps it up to date and safe, as well as ensuring that users on any device can access your site.

Key Features:

  • Includes layout controls to customize padding, margins, sidebars, and more
  • Provides access to more than 10 Elementor-optimized demos
  • Offers a head start on SEO, with high page speeds

Combining GeneratePress’s layout controls with Elementor is a plus. It enables you to customize each of your site’s desktop and mobile pages. This results in a streamlining of the process. It creates a responsive site that adapts well to whatever device it’s viewed on.

At first glance, you can see that GeneratePress boasts of its lightweight design. Its speed is well below the average theme, which will give you a great start. The big perk of this theme is how customizable it is, which is why it’s a great multipurpose option.

Using the real-time WordPress Customizer, you can personalize your site’s header, typography, colors, etc. If you’re a fan of WordPress page builders. GeneratePress is also very easy to pair with a page builder because you get a meta box for each piece of content. This will allow you to:

  • Turn off the content title or other information
  • Change width (e.g. create a full-width design with your page builder)
  • Disable header/footer to use a page builder to design the entire page
  • Generatepress page controls

If you have the budget, GeneratePress Premium adds on a lot of new customization options. It includes a variety of hooks that developers will love. All the new features are modular to preserve GeneratePress’s lightweight approach.

GeneratePress Premium also comes with a pre-made site library. These can be imported as needed.

Get GeneratePress

Ultimatum

Ultimatum blank wordpress theme

The Ultimatum theme was designed with a wide range of users in mind. From beginners to designers and developers. This is a basic template that beginners can use but the development and design of the theme could be streamlined by a professional. The ever-popular drag-and-drop builder and premium plugins can be used on this Bootstrap theme.

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Export your powerful theme as a Twitter Bootstrap or Ultimatum template. This WordPress theme builder uses drag and drop for layouts. The layout can then be full width, boxed, or give it custom attributes.

For the header and footer, you can drag and drop content into your template. If you don’t like the responsive mode in the theme you can disable it. A handy element if you want to control the look of your layout.

The page builder for the Ultimatum WordPress theme is installed similarly to other themes. Do this via your WordPress admin dashboard or your FTP upload.

When you have uploaded the page builder to your WordPress website, you can access it from the themes control panel. This is accomplished with your API key. The Ultimatum theme suggests you install a free plugin named the Ultimatum Library.

The Ultimatum Library plugin possesses the images and fonts needed for the theme. If a 404 error appears when you install the plugin continue to download it but then upload the plugin before installation.

Once the theme has been created, but before you have added your unique content, you will have a blank, fresh canvas on which to build your next amazing website.

Get Ultimatum

Nebula

Nebula  blank WordPress theme

Nebula combines a framework with a starter template. You will have everything necessary to develop your website. This theme comes with some extra features, these include:

  • Custom function
  • Filters
  • WordPress admin dashboard has custom meta boxes
  • Sass
  • Google Analytics support

With the Nebula theme, there are things you will need to learn. This will help you learn how to code and develop easily. This secure framework has support for libraries and external plugins including Twitter API and other integrations.

Get Nebula

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BlankSlate

BlankSlate blank WordPress theme

BlankSlate is one of the most minimalist, simple, boilerplate,  or blank theme available. Still, it is easier than creating a WordPress theme from the ground up. It will require more effort than using one of the big starter themes like Underscore or Roots.

BlankSlate is an unequivocal WordPress HTML5 boilerplate starter theme. It has been carefully designed to be clean and minimalist. Designers and developers use it as a foundation from which to build sites for clients. It can be used to create a quick custom theme from scratch. Some benefits of BlankSlate:

  • No programmer comments
  • SEO-friendly
  • Code is semi-minified, clean, valid, and unformatted
  • Standardized and white label
  • Cross-browser compatibility with a CSS reset
  • CSS styles aren’t intrusive visually

This is the perfect representation of a skeleton theme. Other themes can be too overcomplicated.

Get BlankSlate

JointsWP

The JointsWP template is a blank WordPress theme.  It works with Foundation 6 to produce a flexible manner in which to build a site. The combination is responsive, powerful, mobile-friendly, and accessible. It integrates properly with Sass. This provides effective design and a child theme isn’t required.

This template works well with Gulp.  You can quickly minify your JS, build your CSS, and produce efficient workflows. If your preference is to build your CSS on your own, SASS is not required.

If WordPress is new for you, JointsWP has a helpful documentation guide to get you started. Other features include:

  • A superior (to Bootstrap) grid system
  • Off-canvas navigation and other Javascript features
  • Basic styling for common elements

Get JointsWP

Roots

Roots is a good choice for an open-source WordPress starter theme. Using HTML5 Boilerplate and Bootstrap you can replace or remove at will. This theme has Grunt files that allow you to quickly compile LESS code and combine your JS and CSS files. Another handy feature of Roots is the Theme Wrapper. This will help you to avoid having to write the same code multiple times.

The Roots Gallery lets you check out the sites being built with Roots. Get started by reviewing the project’s official documents.

Get Roots

Underscores

Underscores  blank WordPress theme

Underscores (also know as “_s”) is one of the most popular starter themes for WordPress. This theme was created by Automattic, the same people that created WordPress.org, Tumblr, and the Jetpack plugin. Rest assured that this theme is up-to-date and has new features. Underscores has many features including the following:

  • HTML5 modern templates
  • Two sidebars on the left or right
  • CSS templates
  • A one-column layout with a sidebar on the left or right

The template tags are customized to keep clean code and prevent duplication. There are five layouts to choose from. There isn’t a responsive layout pre-made in Underscores so you will have to build one.

You may need help learning how to create WP themes using Underscores. There is a tutorial series created by ThemeShaper (a WordPress theme development company) that may help.

Get Underscores

Responsive

Responsive  blank WordPress theme

As far free blank themes go, Responsive has more to offer than some of the other free blank themes. While still being a basic template, there are design components included with the theme so don’t have to work from the ground up. If this isn’t a problem for you, then this theme could be a perfect choice.

Responsive is closer to Astra than the Naked theme.  It offers basic themes that can be imported and built according to your requirements. There are design functions and existing elements but you can change, remove, or add these if desired. Perhaps it could be said the designs aren’t as adaptable as with Astra. Still, they could work for you if you’re interested in a more fleshed-out theme.

Get Responsive

Sage

Sage  blank WordPress theme

Sage used to be Roots. This is an option-heavy starter theme that concentrates on providing a few different capabilities. It works with Bower/Gulp to support a contemporary development workflow.

With Sage, you can quickly compose Sass into normal CSS. Be sure to test compatibility with multiple devices as you build.

This is important so that you can spot any possible mistakes or bugs quickly. Composing and testing in real-time saves you from writing heaps of code, having problems live but not knowing the source of the problem. The JS will be minified and the CSS compiled into a single file.

Sage does template pathing in one file using theme wrappers.

Get Sage

Hello Theme

hello theme  blank WordPress theme

Hello Theme is the official stripped-down theme from Elementor. It is designed to be used with Elementor Pro’s theme-building functionality.

This free theme is completely barebones. It removes unnecessary baggage. This way, you get the most lightweight foundation possible.

This theme is a great option but only if you’re using Elementor Pro’s theme builder to build your entire site. Hello is a simple WordPress theme developed by the creators of Elementor.

It is truly a plain theme. A settings page or other options are not available in the WordPress theme customizer.

The lack of theme customization options may not suit everyone. A benefit of this plain theme is that Elementor can be used to control all aspects of your website design. It also means Hello is one of the fastest WordPress designs available today.

The theme is available free of charge from WordPress.org. If you’re looking to use Elementor to control every aspect of your website, Hello should be top of your list.

Get Hello Theme

_tk

tk  blank WordPress theme

_tk has been perfectly integrated with Bootstrap. This provides a visually appealing responsive but blank WordPress theme. Included is the wp-bootstrap-navwalker. This customized WordPress nav walker class is fully integrated with Bootstrap. The code for  _tk is modeled on Underscores.

Get _tk

Naked

Naked is a starter WordPress theme created for users who want to experiment with the design aspect of their website. This customizable blank theme allows them to design without having to develop. The theme includes:

  • WordPress site basic outline
  • Responsive styling
  • Support for comments
  • Individual pages
  • Supports custom menus
  • Written in HTML5
  • Custom options
  • A blog
  • WordPress widgets
  • Sidebars
  • Documentation
  • Tags
  • Categories

This simple WordPress theme would be great for users wanting to learn how themes can be developed.  The Naked WordPress theme has comments in-line. This means you will understand what is happening as you are building the website.  Think of this as a tutorial for WordPress and a starter theme all-in-one.

Get Naked

Thesis

The Thesis premium framework is one of the most popular themes. It has been used on over 42,700 sites. It has two licenses, the less expensive one allows use on just one website. The license for developers can be used on an infinite number of sites. There are extra license fees for use on client websites.

Thesis is a powerful theme. It has a remarkably efficient CSS + PHP+HTML framework.  The controls are easy to use and will assist you to calibrate each website page with a strategic precision not possible before. There is no need to worry about your website’s SEO, using Thesis, all you have to do is add your unique, rich content.

Get Thesis

Gantry

Gantry blank WordPress theme

Gantry is unique from other starter themes because it uses an extensive set of building blocks. These blocks enable quick design development to create a powerful website. This theme will help you develop and modify designs easily. Gantry is best known for:

  • Ease of use
  • Affordable to upgrade
  • The core product is free
  • Customer support

Get Gantry

StartWP

StartWP blank WordPress theme

StartWP has been marketed as “the most user-friendly WP theme. It allows developers to create quickly without having to customize too much at the beginning. This blank WordPress template has a clean design and superior performance. This means professionals don’t have to start at square one. This highly optimized theme pledges to be bloat-free.

Get StartWP

Bones

Bones blank WordPress theme

This free blank WordPress theme has been built on the HTML5 Boilerplate. Bones uses the highest in web standards. It is a solid foundation to use on your next WordPress project. It is highly customizable so you can remove, modify, or add as desired.

Bones is a mature product and prides itself on being smartphone-ready and minimal. It features a well-documented Sass design, ways to customize the WP dashboard, and support for custom post types.

The theme is lightweight. Junk has been removed and it has been optimized to load on mobile devices. Bones would be a great choice for anyone looking for a lean theme without the bloat. Bones is responsive, and has been developed with the Mobile First philosophy.

For a helpful tutorial, check out WPtuts+. It will help you to get started with this useful starter theme.

Get Bones

Beans

Beans blank WordPress theme

The Beans theme is an approachable WordPress starter theme. It has been designed to assist both designers and beginners. Designers will appreciate the starter and beginners will value the help to get started. Beans delivers on both fronts.

It’s an accessible starter theme that will support your responsive content. This is accomplished by using WordPress plugins and the Ulkit front-end library. Other features include:

  • Quick loading
  • SEO friendly
  • CSS3
  • LESS 
  • jQuery
  • HTML 5

Updated regularly, Beans is continuously being refined by an enthusiastic community of admirers.

Get Beans

What’s your favorite blank WordPress theme?

To conclude, blank WordPress starter themes are there to provide a faster and easier development process for your website. They will allow you to have a blank slate to build your creative website and then fill it with incredible unique content. To simplify fuss and to make your development easy, you can choose from any of the plain WordPress themes listed above. Certainly, you will increase your development results and will produce an admirable website.

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.