Frameworks & Starter Themes for WordPress Developers

When building a WordPress website, there are two ways to do it. One would be to use a premium theme from the vast offerings of numerous theme houses or a free theme available on And if need be, you can add all the necessary code for customisation purposes and edit the appearance of the website, that you're building. Or the other option would be to utilise a starter theme or a WordPress framework.

Why should you use a framework WordPress starter theme?

Frameworks save enormous amount of time, otherwise spent on building themes from the ground up. In addition, in the past, WordPress admins and developers spent hours trying to replicate custom changes while updating their version of WordPress.

WordPress frameworks have developed web communities and extensive documentation, should you feel the necessity to refer to them. Frameworks are generally built in accordance with the highest standards, thus ensuring a high level of security, fast load speeds and search engine optimisation. Frameworks offered flexibility and more importantly acted as a boilerplate for the development of secure and awesome looking websites.

11 Frameworks and Starter Themes for WordPress Developers

Here are a few of the better frameworks and starter themes to get you started.

1. Genesis


While good content and marketing strategies are essential to developing better audiences and search engine page results, a website with clean and optimized code is equally important in achieving good search results. Genesis provides professionality to your website and a ton of beautiful features for your content, built on HTML5.

If you purchase the framework, then you also receive unlimited support, updates and use it on any number of domains.   So if you're a developer with multiple projects, Genesis can be used for all of them at no extra charge.  Wordpress websites are generally safe from infiltration by malicious elements on the internet but when such events do occur, it's normally because WordPress hasn't been updated.  People are a bit hesitant to update, as it may undo the solution to many a problem that a developer has worked hard to fix. But with Genesis, updates is a breeze as things have already been thoroughly tested.

Genesis framework also offers extensive customisability with widgets including sidebars, social media sharing buttons, opt-in forms, and much more. The framework offers a great comment functionality for best visitor experience. Genesis is advertisement ready and works with Google AdSense, Azoogle Ads and Clicksor. They provide auto sized featured images and WordPress tutorials, if you're a WordPress newbie.

How do you get the Framework?


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2. GantryWhat Is Gantry (1)

Gantry was created as a framework for all their WordPress and Joomla themes by RocketTheme Development team. The theme was designed to be flexible enough so as not to stifle creativity. It is the solid base on which any new theme or template could be be built on.

You can use the Gantry Framework in any number of your projects free of cost. RocketTheme have also taken the effort to create video screencasts and online documentation to help you make the most of Gantry.

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3. Thesis 2

DIYthemes — Run a Killer Website with the Thesis WordPress Theme

Thesis 2.0 framework is straightforward and simplistic. Purchase of their professional plan which will set you back $197, includes Thesis 2.0 framework, a classic responsive skin,  404 pages, host unlimited domains, a lifetime of updates & email support, Mailchimp & AWeber optin boxes, access to member-only forums, social media sharing boxes, the developer toolbox and more. You can use Mark Schema to make your website to get better search results. Also the framework has been search engine optimized.

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4. WhiteBoard

Whiteboard Framework for WordPress

Whiteboard framework is well noted for clean code. This framework has been helping WordPress developers save time since 2008. Whiteboard helps save time on code common to all WordPress themes including intrusive and nonintrusive code that improves overall theme and website performance in many ways – including SEO, speed, usability, mobile support, and multi-lingual support.

Whilst many frameworks include a melange of styles and functions, Whiteboard refrains from adding any such extra features. This framework is probably the only one that contains just the core WordPress structure without the extra appendages.

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5. Tesla Themes Framework


All themes produced by Tesla Themes use this custom built framework. The framework is built into the themes unlike parent-child versions used in Genesis Framework. The framework isn't loaded with far to many options and is easy to use.

Use a theme from Tesla Themes and add favicons, custom logos, set default colors and background images. The framework has extensive documentation and a lively thriving support forum. Tesla themes provides a great framework for a newbie WordPress developer.

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6. Hybrid Core

Hybrid Core WordPress theme framework

An open source free framework with loads of developer tools. Features of this framework include breadcrumbs and cleaner gallery. Media grabber allows you to take media from anywhere on a post and use it in a variety of ways.

Hybrid Core offers support for micro's micro data standards thus making your website richer to search engines. Create custom post templates and multiple theme layouts. The framework is also translation friendly.

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7. Thematic

Theme Preview Previewing Another WordPress Blog

The description on seemed better than anything I could provide, so I decided to use it- “Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it. It’s perfect for beginner bloggers and WordPress development professionals.”

This theme can be used as is or as a foundation to build your own WordPress theme.

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8. Underscores

Underscores A Starter Theme for WordPress

Nothing more than the core structure of WordPress, this framework provides very little clutter and it's an awesome place to start building your WordPress theme. There is very minimal CSS work in this theme and much needed space is provided for a developer to work in. There is a very vibrant support community on GitHub.

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9. Backbone

Backbone WordPress Theme Framework ColorLabs Company

Backbone is an ultra clean powerful framework with an array of customisation options. You can change layouts, add features and ensure best possible SEO optimization. Backbone offers speed and flexibility without compromising on performance. It is advertised as a theme for WordPress veterans.

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10. Responsive


A fluid theme and ideal choice for a starter theme. Responsive features 9 Page Templates, 11 Widget Areas, 6 Template Layouts, 4 Menu Positions and more. This theme is WooCommerce Compatible and comes with Multilingual Ready (WPML) and RTL-Language Support. The theme is Retina-Ready,  Search Engine Friendly and currently translated into 45 languages.

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11. Roots

HTML5 WordPress Starter Theme Roots

Roots is another starter theme designed to help you make better WordPress themes with HTML5 Boilerplate, Bootstrap, Grunt, and Bower. The theme features minimal, accessible markup based off HTML5 Boilerplate along with ARIA roles and microformats. WordPress markup is additionally cleaned up with Soil.

Template markup is controlled by theme wrapper. The theme offers Theme activation jump start and clean URLs.

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Other Frameworks to consider


That's it folks! I've exhausted my list of WordPress frameworks and starter themes. It doesn't matter whether you are a WordPress newbie or an expert developer, you can always do with a sturdy framework to get you started.

If you like my post, do share and if you think I've missed out a great framework or starter theme, do let me know in the comments section.

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Article by Vishnu