What are Your Favorite Themes?

November 15th, 2010
Best of WordPress

Not too long ago, we asked about your top 5 plugins and got some interesting results.

Well, I’m sure you could have guessed that this was coming next, so without further ado, we’d love to know what your favorite WordPress themes are and why they rank #1 out of the thousands available.




  1. Ingebjørg (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite WordPress theme is Atahualpa by BytesForAll for us that are not very into programming :-)

    Ingebjørg J;_)))

    • TheTick (2 comments.) says:

      I’ll second that, use that theme with custom headers I made for 2 sites.

  2. Ömer Taylan Tu?ut (3 comments.) says:

    Mine ise twenty ten. It’s highly customisable on my taste, stable, fast enough..

  3. Eric (2 comments.) says:

    I recently came across the themes of WP-Shower. Free clean, simplified themes. I am gonna run one soon for my new site. Really nice.

  4. Artful Dodger (1 comments.) says:

    I love using TwentyTen because it’s so customisable and easy to use and since it’s an official WordPress theme you know you can’t go wrong with it.

  5. EtherealMind (1 comments.) says:

    Studiopress Prose is my current favourite. Doesn’t require a lot of IT skills, works in all browsers, has great support, SEO optimised and fast. Relies on the Genesis framework but has great widget support.

    My current favourite.

  6. S.K (1 comments.) says:

    My vote is for Hybrid ( and its children!

    Nothing to beat Theme Hybrid for being perfectly-coded, standards-complaint, innately SEO-optimized and immensely customizable. Besides you are being hand-held by Justin Tadlock, the Guru!

    You can’t ask for anything more, can you!


  7. Edwin (3 comments.) says:

    I’m using Comfy from

    It’s a magazine/CMS based theme, looking great.

  8. Jon Donley (1 comments.) says:

    By volume, my current favorite theme is Studio Press’s Streamline, which predated Genesis, but is now vastly improved as a child theme. It’s a good starting place for customized CMS web sites. But if a customer wants something really off the wall, I normally still start with the old iThemes Charlie, which was one of the first fully widgetized home pages.

  9. Roland (1 comments.) says:

    I’m going to call ComicPress as the best theme out there – it has basically become the standard for all webcomics based on wordpress. It’s so flexible!

  10. Steve @ 2010 Taxes (1 comments.) says:

    The Copyblogger theme is alright, although I prefer a theme with 2 columns on the right like Magazine Basic.

  11. Patrick D. (9 comments.) says:

    I have used White As Milk for ages and love its simple decision. It puts the focus nicely on the content. There have been some variants, but I still prefer the original.

  12. Clive Hetherington (1 comments.) says:

    I actually bought headway but then stumbled across a theme called Atom and started using this instead I’ve been constantly amazed me with all the options, it’s features and it’s adaptability. Worth a look;

  13. Tom Coburn (67 comments.) says:

    I miss the brothercake drag and drop javascript sidebar themes. the only one I seen even available now is itheme and thats outdated :( I liked the ability to move sidebar widgets around :(

  14. Iskwew (3 comments.) says:

    I have used Solostream themes for 3 years now. They are easy to customise, but look great out of the box. Elegant, flexible themes with great and dedicated support.

    • AQlfredo says:

      I didn’t find that to be true about Solostream, but then I don’t work for them like you do, Iskwew.

  15. Phil (1 comments.) says:

    I’m a big fan of Hybrid, especially the Hybrid News child theme…

  16. enodekciw (1 comments.) says:

    tbh, I’m really in love with my new theme for ;) tho, it’s not available for public, but still.. lovin’ it!

  17. gary saunders says:

    i really like the Transformer theme that this site uses:

  18. Anna-Maria (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite theme is probably Coraline by automattic. It’s got such a nice style and it has everything that WP 3.0 has to offer. I like the fact that you easily can change the layout and the CSS and everything else is very friendly. I’m not a big fan of hybrid or thematic. To much work for WP 3.0 if you’d like to have a custom header etc.

  19. Clarence Johnson (1 comments.) says:

    Thesis. I’ve been using it for over six months and loving it.

  20. s77 says:


    Beautiful, professional looking, and easy to customize even though the majority of the users for some reason do not choose to do so and keep the majority of it’s original features.

  21. Andrea L Paysinger (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite is Twenty Ten.

    I found it easy to upload my header and background photos.

    It is very intuitive and works so well on my Mac.

  22. Pablo (1 comments.) says:

    “Manifest” by Jim Barraud

  23. Hidden Leaf Ninja (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite free WordPress theme is Simple Balance from Blogsessive which I’ve been using it for several sites of mine.
    Regarding to premium WordPress theme, I like the design of ElegantThemes, Theme-Junkie, namely GrungeMag, eVid, FreshLife,…

  24. Chris Howard (6 comments.) says:

    Headway – Although technically not a theme, but a framework. It is a massive timesaver. Before it, I was getting down and dirty with PHP all the time, I now barely look at PHP. For example, writing page templates and loops and stuff was full on PHP. Now just drop a content leaf (or 2 or 3) on a page in Headway.

    • Craig Thomas says:

      Perhaps you should mention in your comment that you’re lead support for Headway, Chris? So might be a bit of bias there.

      • Chris Howard (6 comments.) says:

        Lol. Very true, Craig. However, this just a place to vote for your favorite theme, so we’re all going to be biased to some degree.

        But, that’s not why I like Headway, i.e. coz i work for them. I fell in love with Headway first and became very passionate about it. And then they offered me work. I’m still passionate about Headway for all the same reasons. As a designer/developer, it saves me more time and effort than any other theme or framework I’ve used or investigated.

        Now, I would not recommend it tho to people who don’t want to cut their own design. There’s zillions of fantastic precut themes from Woo and StudioPress and many, many others for those who want to hit the ground running.

  25. FutureExpat (2 comments.) says:

    My favorite free theme is Atahualpa. It’s far and away the most versatile/customizable of the free themes, and I will miss it when I upgrade shortly to a premium theme.

  26. wing_hk (1 comments.) says:

    I am using Mystique. It provide users with many handy settings. Looking forward to updates for more features.

    In fact I find many themes from “Digital Nature” is very user friendly.

  27. Andrew (7 comments.) says:

    Canvas from WooThemes. The first theme I go to for a new site.

  28. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Theme Hybrid. Very powerful framework with extremely easy to read and well documented code.

  29. Roger (1 comments.) says:

    I use viewport, free theme. Just amazing for showing your photos. Simple to use…

  30. Craig says:

    A week ago I would’ve said Atahualpa, but it stopped me on about the last 2% of customizing that I wanted to do and when I started to try to mess with the code, I found so many table tags, I thought I’d gone back to 2000.

    So I went back to the Theme Directory and discovered Suffusion by Sayontan Sinha. Incredibly flexible, it has allowed me to do more than 100% of what I wanted, including a way to kludge a non-standard layout that I didn’t think any framework would allow. I’m not going to show off what I’ve done with it yet, because I’m still playing with some other options that I never expected to have. I must say the customizing format is sometimes confusing and not so well organized, but once you find what you’re looking for, it’s worth the trouble.

    My vote: SUFFUSION

    • Dennis (2 comments.) says:

      I second that. I’ve tried many themes, but Suffusion seems to be the best so far.

      • Sociolingo (1 comments.) says:

        I agree. I used Atahualpa by BytesForAll for quite a long while, but changed to Suffusion and haven’t regretted it. I like the dark option. It does take a while to get used to the options but the amount of customisation is brilliant.

  31. James Huff (109 comments.) says:

    My favorite theme is not available to the public, but for everything else I prefer to use my own slightly modified version of Fauna.

  32. Harold Snippert (1 comments.) says:

    Am not much of a programmer so started with twenty-ten. Tried other themes but kept coming back to twenty-ten. Adjustable, stable, lots of articles available. Nice! Perhaps this election for a favorite theme will bring new ideas :-). For now, twenty-ten it is.

  33. Shahab (8 comments.) says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned K2 yet .. I’ve been using it since forever and its easily customizable ..

  34. Villa Florencia (1 comments.) says:

    Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha, gets my vote 8 times !!!
    I use this fabulous theme on multiple sites, because it is so very flexible and allows for customization, way beyond anything else I have found so far.
    Another BIG PLUS,… Sayontan is always improving and updating his theme, and it is pleasure to be working with a theme that is CURRENT, with ALL the latest features. A work of art!!
    Hats of to a great mind!!!

  35. Neeraj Kumar (1 comments.) says:

    All good minimal themes are my fav. Manifest is one i like a lot.

    And Portraiture of course, cause i created it :P

  36. Matt says:

    I have been using the Standard theme ( for a few sites and absolutely love it. Easily customizable, fantastic SEO, etc.

  37. Tim (1 comments.) says:

    Atahualpa for me – I’ve been using it for a few weeks on my blog. In my view, it treads the fine line between ease of use and the ability to customise it.

  38. Mile (1 comments.) says:

    I’m a little surprised that a lot of people mentioned Atahualpa, because of it’s the most customizable (and not for it’s design). Practically that theme is WordPress interface for changing CSS properties. From what I’ve read here, Headway is in the same situation. Is that what are you looking for in a theme? Shouldn’t the theme handle the design, and not the user? I thought that’s the purpose of a theme :)

    And if you really need to make your own styles, doing it trough a visual web interface is a bad idea. First of all you’re limited by the that interface. I doubt that these themes provide you input fields for every CSS property, and more so, lay them out in a intuitive and productive way. Secondly dynamic CSS puts more load on the server, and third, it’s very hard to keep track of your styles.

    Anyway, to answer the topic question, my vote goes for Hybrid :)
    It’s the theme (or framework) that inspired me to make my own theme framework.

  39. Anup (2 comments.) says:

    I have been using F2 by SriniG and Coraline by Automattic. While both these themes have some limitations, I have found these themes to be highly customisable.

    I have also found that some of the newer theme frameworks have been lodged at themes which provide a pretty good competition to the atahualpa theme

    Among the magazine these, I have found the magazine-basic to be a good theme.

    Definitely, the designers are having a field day with wordpress with their creativity, and the users are also getting a good diversity of options when they are using wordpress.

    Indeed it is amazing how a space, the size of monitor can be transformed with such themes

  40. Remco says:

    I like twenty ten, but then found weaver which absolutely is a good free theme!

  41. Lethe (1 comments.) says:

    My absolute favourite themes are MyBiz and The Oracle by PliablePress, great quality themes built on top of their framework, very easy to customize in every detail even with 0 coding knowledge (which is my case) a big plus are the people behind the theme/framework always present and willing to help no matter what the problem (customization, question or else) is.

    In my blog I’ve been switching a few themes, free and non, but so far none of them gave me with such a pleasant experience.

  42. Peter (1 comments.) says:

    Mine is Suffusion by Sayontan Sinha.

  43. sean65 (1 comments.) says:

    I’m using Mystique on 4 of my websites because it allows a lot of flexibility.


    Using it on:

  44. Michael Pate says:

    Some of my current favorites that I am using on various sites:

    Arras –

    DeStyle –

    Smooth –

    To me, it really depends on the focus of the site and the content of the posts. These are all pretty purpose-driven choices.

  45. Jasja ter Horst says:

    My favorite theme is the webdesign theme by HFdesign.
    It’s easy to use and modify.

  46. Portsmouth Photographers (1 comments.) says:

    I am looking to swap themes and wanted to check that when you do this, you dont lose anything of your current blog? Mine is a wordpress blog using SWIFT. Thanks Grant

  47. Terje Asphaug (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite theme is with out doubt BigFeature on Themeforest. You can do almost whatever you want with it, blog, magazine, portfolio, business… I use it on and


  48. TechStation BG (1 comments.) says:

    Mine is Thesys by DIY Themes :) It’s so well written and SEO-like that I cant thing of anything else. The modifications are also pretty simple to do.

  49. Bill Forsyth, III (1 comments.) says:

    Techozoic Fluid is wonderfully flexible ( One, two, or three columns. Different column widths, allow visitors to change font size on the fly. It’s got full color, font, and background flexibility. Plus the developer is continually adding new features. Unless a customer is paying for a custom theme, I use Techozoic Fluid 100% of the time.

  50. Rob O. (2 comments.) says:

    I’ll cast another vote for Digital Nature’s Mystique which I’m using on my 2Dolphins site. I’m not a big fan of sidebars, but Mystique’s offers functionality aplenty, making it worth giving up some screen real estate for.

  51. Ian Stewart (28 comments.) says:

    Some of my favorite themes in no particular order:

    * Hybrid
    * P2
    * Genesis
    * Duotone
    * Twenty Ten
    * Boumatic
    * ComicPress
    * Kubrick
    * Manifest
    * blog.txt

    I could go on but I thought I should stop at 10. :)

  52. Niklas Högefjord (1 comments.) says:

    Ian, you are so humble ;-) My absolute favorite is Thematic – I create child themes built on Thematic for (almost) all my client projects and I love it! But I must confess that StudioPress Genisis and Headway has caught my attention. Not used them tough.

  53. BVILORIO (1 comments.) says:

    Thesis is my favorite!!

  54. Scath (4 comments.) says:

    Lunatic Fringe by Mina (

    It’s a great theme and easy to customise. I’m using it on three different sites! =)

  55. Rahul (1 comments.) says:

    I like the SWIFT theme from http://SwiftThemes.Com

    Lite weight
    Very clean look
    Adsense ready
    One of the very few themes using sprites
    Excellent support from the developer

  56. HacK_MiNDeD (1 comments.) says:

    My vote goes to Swift by…
    Due to easy customization, extensive features, and most importantly, SEO Optimized and fast. :D

  57. Pedro says:


  58. Lindsay @ Just My Blog (1 comments.) says:

    I’m also in love with SWIFT from I had been looking into Thesis when I found it and it gave me everything I wanted without the cost of a premium theme. Super thrilled with the results.

  59. Zukny (2 comments.) says:

    I searched around for a long time mixing and matching themes trying to create the perfect one to fit my site. Finally after about a year of trying different things and tired of modifying php/html I found Swift themes. Swift has been the perfect fit for me ever since, and I don’t even have any php to edit anymore!

    I tried a lot of the other popular customizable themes, but it almost seems more complicated modifying stuff in their edit fields then it would be in the php files. Swift has very simple instructions and breaks it down very well for the users.

    its also probably the fastest theme I have used; most likely due to the lack of background images! :)

  60. Nate @ House of Annie (2 comments.) says:

    I use the Swift theme by Satish. It is very customizable and has a lot of features that I wanted, most of all it is very fast for such a complete theme.

  61. | Balu | says:

    Definitely SWIFT!

  62. Mary (1 comments.) says:

    My vote is Swift.

    Super customizable.
    Lots of color choices.
    SEO Optimized.
    Super fast.
    Excellent developer support.

    You can’t ask for a better theme.

  63. Perti says:

    There are multiple reasons to adopt this theme:
    1: The best customization which even paid theme do not have
    2: Free
    3: Regular updates and not like orphan themes
    4: Quick reply to any theme installation and configuration issue
    5: Many volunteer helpers in community
    you install it and you will know: What I Am Talkin’ About…!

    I am talking about Swift Theme here:

  64. Aleme tadesse says:

    SWIFT is easy to customise, out of the box. Elegant, flexible themes with great and dedicated support.It is super fast loading .

  65. Ashwin (1 comments.) says:

    Even my fav theme is swift using it from last 10 months and love it like anything.. and using same theme on my blog with some color modification…

  66. Anka says:

    this is a pretty pathetic way to advertise your swift theme. I’m talking about post comments with different user names…

    • Ankur says:

      I agree with you, It’s a very lame way of promoting his theme.
      Jeff, can you conform this by verifying the ip address from where the comments are posted.
      Such lame ways of promotion shouldnt be entertained here.

      • James Huff (109 comments.) says:

        I know what you mean with all these Swift votes coming in this morning. The IPs are all different, but I’m still trying to track down the source of the traffic (a blog post, forum post, etc).

        • Patrick D. (9 comments.) says:

          The author encouraged it in this tweet:

          • DoverSole says:

            I’ve used swift and spoken with Satish several times. This is a guy who went to one of the top schools in India and decided to go out on his own after graduating. I’ll vouch for him. Check my IP, it’s from Texas, and I haven’t been spamming the comments…. In fact, I believe his theme was in the top 15 of wordpress downloads at some point. I have even seen .edu’s use it.

          • James Huff (109 comments.) says:

            Excellent, thanks!

          • Ankur says:

            If they are not from the same IP, then he must be having some very satisfied users. Else, who would take time to post a comment. Also content of all the comments appears genuine

            I think that tweet is fair.

          • DoverSole says:

            Furthermore James, I actually honestly thought that this post was link bait, because if you run a “what’s the most popular theme/plugin/etc” people will promote. Which is good for you because of new visits. I had never seen your site until today and now I know that it’s a potentially valuable resource/community that I should consider subscribing to.

  67. Vulpen (1 comments.) says:

    For a dutch news site, I’ve been able to attract over 100.000 visitors within one year. That’s quiet a lot for a site run by one dude :p

    The Swift theme it runs on is outstanding. It’s not just more attractive, it’s practical in use, easy to edit, very professional build and good looking.

    I’ve seriously been thinking of hiring the builders to build me a custom made theme, because it’s so awesome.

    Also, the ads features are great and it’s very easy for search engines to go through the pages. It keeps your site attractive, interactive and somehow new… Well, for Dutchies it is.

    So my favourite is the Swift theme. It’s a keeper and it gets geeat updates every now and then :)


  68. Austin says:

    I’ve used several variations of SWIFT themes and have always liked the ability to highly customize. It’s also light and when I’ve needed help it’s easy and quick to find.

  69. Dante (3 comments.) says:

    Oh, all the SWIFT votes are definitely legit. Satish sent out an email to all his theme users asking for help in spreading the word, and this poll was linked as one of the places we could do it.

    Given the fact that swift is more robust than countless premium themes and he tirelessly offers support without any mandatory donation, I felt it was the least that I could do.

    I set up my very first site ever using SwiftTheme which you can see live at and I could never have done it without Satish personally offering help on his forums at countless points along the way. (took less than a week to get the whole thing live)

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m cutting and pasting the email that he sent out so everyone can see exactly how he appealed to his user base. I’m sure all will agree that it was entirely noble in intention and execution.

  70. Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

    I also vote for the SWIFT theme. I have been blogging probably longer than anyone else (since begin 1999).

    Although I realize that it sounds like a spam attack which I also find irritating, well for verification: see my blog or my wordpress stackexchange profile: http://wordpress.stackexchange...../edelwater

    (p.s. where the same question was asked on themes and where I also long before this message put forward the swift theme).

    Since it is a free theme contrary to paid themes I think the author has a good right to ask for promotion his site: none of use ever paid a cent so… this is the least I can do to say that im happy with it.

  71. Patrick D. (9 comments.) says:

    I think that’s crap (emailing your whole distro list). All that does is pollute this thread with repeated votes for Swift. I thought the point was to get a sample of a lot of themes, not having a stupid popularity contest to see who has the biggest mailing list/Twitter following.

    • Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

      Not if I read the post “we’d love to know what your favorite WordPress themes are and why they rank #1 out of the thousands available.”so NOT “give me a list of samples of great themes and only mention one theme once”

      • Patrick D. (9 comments.) says:

        Fine. You sift through the 25-50 votes for Swift. I’ll just unsubscribe from this thread and call it a wash.

        • Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

          grin there are more important things… I discovered your blog liked “I was prepared to write a lengthy paragraph about ” think im not that far yet grin

        • Zukny (2 comments.) says:

          I’m sure its possible that a lot of themes have tried to have their users come here and comment. The fact is, most users don’t feel that strongly about their theme.

          I’m a swift user, and i’m so happy with my theme I feel like I should express it.

    • Dante (3 comments.) says:

      The biggest mailing/twitter list in the world wouldn’t mean a thing if it wasn’t made up of passionate users who are happy to share their positive experiences. A poll, whether formal or informal is a popularity contest by definition!

      Every movie producer campaigns members of the Academy asking for their vote come Oscar season, that doesn’t mean the voting is polluted… every individual still chooses to vote or not based on their own perspective.

      I’ve used a number of themes now, but Swift is the only one I was moved to go out of my way to help spread the word about, and that in itself speaks volumes.

      Meanwhile this blog just received a flood of traffic, a good portion of which had surely never visited before, so this publisher just picked up a slew of new readers, and that’s a bad thing how?

      As for emailing an entire list asking users to help promote a freeware offering, it’s just common-sense. I constantly get asked to do exactly that from major corporations that have done little more than take my money for overpriced goods/services (dept. stores, ATT) and you’re criticizing a publisher that offers a premium-quality product without demanding anything in return for his efforts for doing the same?

      If anything is “crap” I’d say that qualifies in big steaming heaps. :)

  72. Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

    Maybe some reasons why… :

    1. I have hundreds of directories locally with themes. After I installed this one I noticed a peek in visitors, I dont know why maybe he does not know why himself but whatever. It gave me a good feeling
    2. I wanted a layout with 2 sidebars on the left to fill with widgets of information, widgets in the footer, customizable top, some way to add my own javascripts, and content on the right so that it can “flow out” if the content does not fit (im not going to reformat 10.000+ older postings…). I looked at MANY themes but this one seemed to be the one to look the best. It does this pretty well out of the box
    3. I would not mind fiddling with css to customize the layout but this one has a build in font en type editor so it gets you a long way with just playing with the color layout settings etc… without starting to css code in firefox with development toolbar for previews.
    4. I like the community and the answers I get
    5. I dont think the technical part of the theme behind it is that complicated, maybe here and there there are some gaps in wp standards or ways I would develop it differently but it since it is pretty clear to read the code it gives me the places to just change code. So I think it is a very good theme to use as basis and then just code along (and pass the author the tips of what you changed: he answers always and sometimes incorporates it in the code, see the functions.php (where the url to my site is wrong but ok…)) It makes you active as a developer maybe that’s what im trying to say here. Someone who knows how to develop themes probably will start coding after 10 minutes. Its probably why WP in general is a success.
    6. It is free as in : donate to the author once you like it

    • Strands of Space says:

      My 2c.

      Seeing the violent endorsement for Swift I decided to give the theme another try, after having given it a shot a few months back. Even in the second attempt I must say it has been nothing short of a disappointment so far.

      Out of the box:

      1. The typography is all over the place, with mismatched font-sizing, line heights etc. Most of the 100+ themes I have tried out look better out of the box. My first reaction was to almost toss the theme aside before I decided to give it a better try. The typography hasn’t changed much this time either.

      2. The theme has a very busy look and too much tends to get cramped into too little space. Again, this has a lot to do with the typography, but even if you put typography aside, it does seem like the theme could do with a major face-lift.

      3. The magazine layout that is being talked about so much is really basic – the only thing it allows is for posts to be shown in a tiled manner. Magazine/news-style themes like Arras, Magazine Basic and Hybrid News do a much more professional job. Even themes that are not purely news-style themes do a better job with magazine layouts and offer a lot more customization (e.g. Suffusion).

      Of course, you can customize things, but that is akin to saying that with a canvas and paint anybody can become Michelangelo. That brings me to my second issue. In terms of customization:

      1. What Swift offers in terms of UI-based customization has been around in themes like Atahualpa and Suffusion for a lot longer, including things like an ability to put in custom CSS/JS code that is preserved during upgrades.

      2. In terms of the sheer volume of options it falls way short of other options-based themes like Suffusion and Atahualpa (or the retired Options by Justin Tadlock). In particular Suffusion lets you control a lot of things that Swift doesn’t even start to scratch.

      3. It doesn’t support child themes. It lets you export your option set and import that as a child theme (possible in Constructor, Suffusion and Atahualpa), but if you are thinking of doing something the theme doesn’t support, you have to edit PHP files and port changes over when you upgrade. That is natural with most themes, though.

      In terms of speed/SEO it doesn’t really do anything you wouldn’t expect a decent theme to do. So I couldn’t understand what the big deal is. And most themes I have listed out have pretty good free support (Arras, Suffusion, Atahualpa).

      All in all I am not impressed. Don’t get me wrong – it is not a bad theme and is better than a lot of themes as far as customization goes. But it certainly is not the great theme that people posting here are making it out to be. It starts out with a lot of promise, but falls way short on the execution front. It is not as good as the other top customization-capable themes and it is nowhere near being a framework.

      Another complaint I have is that it seems to have been developed in bursts and without a consistent focus. Every now and then the author makes a blog post about how great the next feature of Swift is, yet the theme doesn’t show any steady development. Typically an announcement is punctuated by a release, then an extremely long pause.

      Swift doesn’t stand out on the basis of individual features or on the basis of totality of features. All the themes listed above are free and distributed through the WP site, so I am making sure that I am not comparing a free theme with a premium one.

      • Satish Gandham (5 comments.) says:

        First, My apologies for asking users to say how much they love my theme here. I dint expect the response to be so huge, that it looks spammy.

        Thank you Swiftler’s for showing your love towards the theme.

        Strands of Space,

        I appreciate you taking time to check the theme and posting an elaborate analysis of the theme. To answer you comment

        SWIFT is not a framework, It doesn’t claim to be one. It is developed for regular bloggers, not for developer/designers.

        The main objective behind SWIFT is to provide a quality plug and play theme to bloggers who can not afford to pay the price of a premium themes or buy a custom theme, but dream to have a quality and customized look.

        What it claims to do, and how it achieves that.

        Fast loading light weight theme

        • Uses Images to bare minimum, and uses sprites whereever necessary.
        • I tried to maintain a balance between file size and readability when it comes to CSS
        • Unlike other themes it doesn’t use N number of JS files to get things done, It generates one JS file based on the options selected and thus minimizing the HTTP requests.
        • Integrates commonly used plugins like wp-page navigation, social book marks so that the users don’t have to load the style sheets from those plugins. Result: Less http requests and lower page size.

        • Uses h1 tag for blog name on the home page and h2 on the inner pages. Not a hard thing to do, but how many themes do this?
        • Be it the left sidebar, right sidebar, or the centered layout. Post content always comes first. Again, not a hard thing to do.
        • When a user toggles the position of the side bars, code HTML doesn’t change. It’s achieved through CSS. Blogs with regular users can improve their CTR by toggling the sidebar position.

        Easy AD management

        How many themes you listed have this? This is one thing that every blogger needs. Whats the point in boasting about the number of options when you don’t provide what is needed.

        user friendly 404 error pages

        Check the error page in SWIFT theme and tell me which theme tried to stop a reader going away from the site because he couldn’t find what he was looking for.

        Which themes took care to give a custom look to category and archive listing?

        How many themes have useful page templates?
        Which theme provides page templates for mime types?

        Here are other things which make SWIFT special.

        1. handy post editor buttons make your posts more readable and reader friendly.
        2. Custom post types to easily post weekly/monthly roundups.
        3. 6 built in widgets.
        4. Vertical rhythm to enhance readability.
        5. Ability to place AD’s in the RSS feeds.
        6. Through user guide.

        In the end it boils down to how usable the theme is, how many use it and how many like it. I think SWIFT wins here.

        I agree with you on the comments about typography and magazine layout. I’m working on improving my knowledge of typography and colors. SWIFT will definitely have a better typography in the future.

        Again, SWIFT is developed as a plug and play theme for bloggers with minimum technical knowledge. And you shouldn’t compare it with frameworks. Though it’s not hard to develop child themes for SWIFT , It was never developed for developers.

        I have nothing against the themes you like. SWIFT is my first theme, and many themes you quoted are my inspiration. SWIFT is not like them for because I developed it for bloggers and not for the developers.

        SWIFT is a theme, that I as a blogger always wanted.

        • Strands of Space says:

          Here is the issue, Satish. You (and other posters) make it sound like Swift is the only theme out there which does all/most of this, while the truth is it isn’t. Quite a few themes offer all of this together and more.

          All your points on SEO – any theme that uses the CSS Holy Grail for its layout would have content before sidebars (and there are several such themes, though the last I checked Atahualpa wasn’t one of those). That being said, with technologies like Google Instant Preview in place today, I don’t think it will make much of a difference in the near future as to what your content positioning is. But that is a different discussion.

          Lots of other things you mentioned like single JS files, custom looks for archives, categories etc, different custom templates, custom widgets etc are all supported by quite a lot of themes. From the few I posted above, the themes that readily spring to mind are Constructor and Suffusion. I will admit about Swift being the only theme to use Sprites in totality, though in the spirit of fair comparison I will point out that the latest version of Constructor goes one up and includes image data in CSS, eliminating any HTTP requests.

          Anyway, as I said – Swift isn’t a bad theme and it is definitely more customizable than several themes. But it has a long way to go before it can be called great. It isn’t even the best among free customizable themes for beginners. But if it works for someone, well and good.

          And that is what makes this whole thread funny – the aggressive response from the users of Swift sort of buries responses about better themes, very similar to spamdexing (but obviously not the same). See this response below that I can guarantee is not from you. Your original request was legitimate and fair, and the responses are all from different users, but it must be noted that prior to your tweet and your post and your user base jumping in here there was just 1 comment regarding Swift and that user was asking if he would lose stuff if he switched themes.

      • Satish Gandham (5 comments.) says:

        This is what one user from here had to say about the theme

        Hello, I came across your swift theme in a blog post at weblog tools collection. At first I thought the comments about your theme were spam. After installing your theme on my latest blog I have to say your theme ROCKS. Am even considering installing it across my blog network.

        Keep up the good work!

      • Wallstreet says:

        I checked the Sufussion theme just out of curiosity, after reading your comment

        Comparing it with SWIFT is like insulting SWIFT. Sure it has many options, they are all added just for the sake of it.

        And coming to the looks SWIFT beats it hands down.

        SWIFT is the cleanest customizable theme I have ever seen. Typography needs some improvement, but it definitely isn’t as bad as you make it sound.

        • Sayontan (3 comments.) says:

          Sure it has many options, they are all added just for the sake of it.

          Would love to hear your thoughts (I am the author of Suffusion). Most options on the theme are a result of a year’s worth of user inputs, hence I am curious to understand what you think is there just for the sake of it.

          If you like you can contact me through the links on Suffusion’s page.

        • Strands of Space says:

          You write:

          I checked the Sufussion theme just out of curiosity, after reading your comment

          What about the others? Suffusion wasn’t the only theme in my comment – it was one among seven (Arras, Atahualpa, Hybrid News, Magazine Basic, Constructor and Options being the other six). But since you picked Suffusion, let me try and answer from its perspective.

          Comparing it with SWIFT is like insulting SWIFT. Sure it has many options, they are all added just for the sake of it.

          That’s dependent on how well you have looked at the themes. I did work with a lot of free themes including Swift and did so in great depth, as is obvious from the details in my comment. The only thing you seem to have done with Suffusion is look at the options and pass judgment that they are just there for the sake of being there.

          Almost every option that Swift has is present in Suffusion, but the reverse is certainly not true. Suffusion has some very unique concepts, like automatically tabbed sidebars. In other words, you add widgets to sidebars and they get automatically added as tabs (this is very different from static tab-boxes in Swift, which too are present in Suffusion, BTW). It also supports “drag and drop widgets” on the front end at the flip of a switch (the Brothercake script that someone else asked about).

          The theme provides you with a UI for defining custom post types, any style of sidebar layout is possible with it, it has 10 custom templates and what not. The control it gives you over navigation menus, featured content, post layout styles etc is incredible. It has 19 widget areas, 5 of which are “on demand” and can be inserted anywhere you want (Constructor provides this, too). Think of the possibilities – you get to insert widgets in a post! The theme also allows you inbuilt support for compression and minification (so do Atahualpa and Constructor, actually). Of course, you would think these options are “just for the sake of it”, and I don’t blame you because they don’t exist in Swift.

          And coming to the looks SWIFT beats it hands down.

          Entirely subjective. Out of the box I find Swift too cramped and aesthetically jarring for my taste, while quite a few of Suffusion’s 17 inbuilt skins look quite good without any customization.

          Again, my post wasn’t meant to pit Swift against Suffusion though I have no doubts as to which is better. If there is a negative against Suffusion, its features can get too rich for a beginner, as some folks commenting here have mentioned. But then the poll behind a “favorite theme” would really highlight themes with great repeat value and advanced features, and more advanced users/developers start coming into the picture, and that is where Suffusion doesn’t do badly at all.

          Having used Swift and the seven themes I have mentioned, I tried to do a comparative analysis. Swift doesn’t do a bad job as I have stated in each of my posts so far, but quite a few themes do a far better job, also for free.

          • Nate @ House of Annie (2 comments.) says:

            I compared all your mentioned themes when I was redesigning my site last year. I almost went with Suffusion but it didn’t do what I needed and it didn’t look good in my browser tests. So I went with SWIFT. It did what I wanted and more. My blog was noticeably faster with SWIFT than Suffusion.

            I agree with you about the layout and typography issues – that’s not SWIFT’s strong suit. But all in all, I’d honestly have to say SWIFT is the best theme for me, out of the dozens I’ve tried.

  73. Sayontan (3 comments.) says:

    My favorites are:

    Constructor – very nicely done options engine.
    Hybrid – great framework, even better if you are subscribed to Justin Tadlock’s site feed.
    Thematic – great framework and a very good starting point for themes.
    P2 – probably the most innovative concept implemented as a WP theme.

  74. Mario (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite themes are now coming from Themeforest, its hard to choose a favorite, I like looking at what the new wordpress designers keep coming up with. WPShower also has some great Free themes, focused more on the presentation of content visually which works great for music artists.

  75. Justin (1 comments.) says:

    There are quite a few themes I like.

    For professional paid themes I don’t think much beats Thesis which I use for myself and some clients.

    For free themes I would go with a few of your other readers who have metioned Swift. It is very impressive and is one of the top three free themes I have used.

    • Dante (3 comments.) says:

      Mind sharing what the other two free themes you favor?

      I’m using Swift for my current site and it’s ideal for the magazine style layout I need.

      My next site is not blog-centric at all, and I’m looking for a great theme that lends itself to a gallery style site. (for presenting an art or jewelry portfolio for example)

  76. Sara (1 comments.) says:

    Although I’d managed blogs before, I just built my first professional site (for a magazine) from the ground up last summer. I explored a few different options before deciding on the SWIFT theme from http://SwiftThemes.Com

    It was clean and easily customizable. I found lots of great information on the support page and forums to work through any problems I had building it. I’ve received a lot of compliments on how professional my site looks.

    I don’t have a lot of experience with other themes, but Swift has been great and I’m happy to recommend it.

  77. Al (2 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using DepoSkinny for a year or so. No sidebars, no widgets, easy for handcoding. At this moment I am trying to figure out the possibilities of Twenty Ten, since it’s the new default theme. There is an auto width code in the stylesheet overruling the widths of your pics in your posts. It’s a drag to remove that everytime Twenty One comes up with an update. I wonder why they leave that code in there, it’s not only messing up blogs but also the Installatron interface on admin panels at different hosts. I may return to DepoSkinny if it’s too much a hassle to dig into the code of Twenty Ten. Right now the code is a challenge to me.

  78. Scott Bolinger (1 comments.) says:

    Hybrid for sure. I’ve built tons of client sites with it, it’s amazingly flexible and the support/continued development is awesome!

  79. Sumardika (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite is Swift ( themes by Satish. I was looking for magazine style themes and I think Swift is all I need.

  80. Ana says:

    Despite the fact that a few of you seem to have a problem with us SWIFT fans, I’m gonna say it anyway:

    Swift is the best free theme out there. It has customization capabilities that you usually have to pay a pretty penny for. It’s easy for me to hack if I want to customize even further. And the forums are a place you can go to for support.

    When I first started using it, I was a complete WP noob and Satish was kind enough to help me. There are lots of premium themes that don’t even do that.

    It’s not cool that the first conclusion you guys jumped to was that he was some shameless self-promoter. Next time, check out the theme and the glowing comments on his site first before making judgments.

  81. Lisa (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite theme is Swift. I am new to blogging and having an e-commerce site. I tried out about 7 themes before I discovered the Swift theme. It is awesome. It is VERY, VERY customizable! It’s user-friendly, has an excellent forum and an awesome developer that is right there to help you.

    I LOVE it!

  82. DS (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite premium theme Im running is BP Social by
    My favorite free theme that I use is Swift. Yes i saw all of the comments about so many swift users.. Just goes to show that alot of people are satisfied with it.

    If I hadnt heard of it, and stumbled upon this site, Id take a look at it, so i do think its appropriate for all the comments.

    In fact Im actually scrolling down and checking out ALL of the recomended themes, and will take a look at most of them just out of curiousity. so thanks for the list of themes. :)

  83. Matthew Guay (4 comments.) says:

    Canvas from WooThemes … amazingly flexible and customizable.

  84. Satish says:

    Hi m Satish Here , I never did a spam trick . and i dont want cheap popularity from this site .

    You can delete the comments regarding the theme .

  85. Constantine (2 comments.) says:

    I have been a fan of i3theme. Installed it on every blog I created. After reading positive comments about SWIFT, I will give it a try on my new blog.

  86. (1 comments.) says:

    I read about this votation on the (no twitter, no email)
    I realy use and preffer the Swift.

    (From Brasil)

  87. man in de zorg (1 comments.) says:

    my favorite theme…. swift
    first i have thesis, a paid preminum theme free downloaded from rapidshare, now i have swift
    thesis… fast, good, seo friendly…. $87, (but free to download by rapidshare)
    swift…. fast, better and seo fiendly, free, good forum
    my favorite wordpress theme? swift!

  88. Sammy says:

    I vote for Hybrid! It’s just perfect for me.

  89. SaurabhStar (1 comments.) says:

    Swift themes is the best theme. It is free but more of premium values. I am using swift theme on more than 17 sites and since I started using swift, I have never looked to any other theme even I had tried but I revert back to swift due to its ease of use and setup as per my needs

  90. James Lo (1 comments.) says:

    My favorite is Swift ( )

    Best theme ever!I’m a first time blogger, and I found it very easy to learn and use. I’ll find it hard to switch themes just because of the many features it has.

    Plus, the tech support is superb! Satish, the developer personally gives you tips and quickly addresses your concerns about the theme. I suggest you all try it out.

  91. Gary McFeat says:

    I’m also putting in my vote for Sayontan Sinha’s superb Suffusion theme.
    Immensely customisable, great support and an active community make this, for me, a winner all round.

    For a private micro-blog used for communication between people on a specific project, I’m using P2 and loving it.

  92. Sabina (1 comments.) says:

    I immediately loved the look of Swift Theme when I found it almost a year ago and have been nothing but happy with its appearance and functionality ever since. I find the design eye catching and its features very easy to learn and work with. My Swift Themes website was my first, I knew nothing about design or back end operations, and Satish customized it for a small fee, sticking with me through the numerous changes I wanted. The result was a unique website which suits me perfectly and which I continue to be very happy with.

  93. Nurul Azis (16 comments.) says:

    I really love Almost Spring theme by Beccari. It’s simple and elegant :-)

  94. WebSys says:

    Our two favorite themes come from themeforest. Striking by Kaptinlin ( ) is brand new, but the developer releases updates virtually weekly, listens to everything his purchasers request usually adding the requested feature next update, and has a dedicated support forum to which he replies usually within hours. The theme supports incredible customization out of the box.

    The other wordpress theme we like is another popular themeforest item, and very unique – Screen – . Again this development team offers a support forum, answers questions in a zip and is constantly updating their product.

    True both these themes cost BIG MONEY – $35 each, lol, but they are worth every penny.

    We have used some of the other themes noted in the posts but Striking in particular is our current favorite for its incredible flexibility and features.

  95. Terri MacMillan (1 comments.) says:

    I’m building this ESL community site with Suffusion, and I have to say that it is an awesome, logical, well-designed theme:

    many thanks to the developer!

  96. Mike Cobb (1 comments.) says:

    I just started a blog using Weaver 2010. I like all of the different configurations (sub-themes), and design options. You can have one or two menus, and it has lots of widget areas for ads and other things. I also use it on my company blog at

  97. Beks (1 comments.) says:

    I can’t make up my mind, if I like WP-Weaver or Suffusion the best. Have tried many … countless … but it boils down to these two. Well, Constructor too. They are all free. A couple of years ago, I used Options by Justin Tadlock, and would probably have liked Hybrid now, but you have to be signed up. I’m somewhat technically challenged, so I can’t figure it out on my own.

    Weaver has this advantage that makes it very easy to save and restore, but Suffusion has other advantages so … right now it’s Suffusion. Two, equally brilliant themes.

  98. Lisa Boerum (1 comments.) says:

    Suffusion is AWESOME! TONS of customization options! I’ve used Suffusion for a couple of years now. Suffusion is the first theme that I’ve used that DIDN’T have tons of bugs.


  1. […] Two weeks ago, we asked to hear about your favorite WordPress themes. We had over 125 responses, but even with such a variety of responses, only 5 came out as the clear favorites. Without further delay, here are your top 5 themes. […]

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