WordPress

Free High-Quality Gutenberg-Ready WordPress Themes

Choosing a theme in real life.

The Gutenberg editor has already been around for a while! Yet you still can’t be sure that the WordPress theme you found is Gutenberg-ready. The choice is still limited compared to the past when you could use any theme.

Here are some WordPress themes for different purposes that are both high quality and work with the new editor. Most importantly they are free!

Whether you want to run a simple website, a blog, a portfolio website or a full-fledged online store, we’ve got you covered.

Why These WordPress Themes?

Why did we select these themes? Of course the professional design was key but also some other common factors:

  • All of the themes are Gutenberg ready and have been updated after Gutenberg became part of WordPress.
  • All of themes have overwhelmingly positive reviews on WordPress.org.
  • All of the themes are free or freemium (those offer a paid “premium” version with additional features and support).

There are different use cases for those themes, which are: 

  1. Website themes
  2. Portfolio themes
  3. Blogging themes
  4. Photography themes
  5. E-commerce themes 

Many of these themes are “multipurpose,” meaning you can use them for different kinds of websites. WordPress is by no means just for blogs  anymore. That was true 10, or rather 15, years ago.

All of the themes can by found on WordPress.org and on the websites of theme designers or publishers. Although some of them are immensely popular now,  others are still hidden gems and haven’t been too overused yet.

Are These Themes Really Free? How Come?

Why are these high-quality WordPress themes free? This is a great question. Of course you need to be wary of things that are free for no apparent reason as sometimes the people behind them make money in less obvious ways that may harm you. 

In the past, there have been cases where rogue theme publishers have taken advantage of free downloads and spied on users or manipulated their websites. 

As mentioned above many of these themes are not free but freemium. What does this mean, exactly? Advanced features are reserved for paying customers. For many people they are perfectly enough. Business users might want to upgrade for better service.

It’s always good to know and understand the business model of a theme maker. Some sell premium features to businesses or those who are willing to pay more to get more features in general.

Others offer some themes for free to get publicity and links to their website where they also sell premium themes and plugins.

Some designers offer themes for free and sell design services they promote that way. 

In any case, there are sound business models behind most free themes when you check them out.

In the early days, many theme makers had to give up because they couldn’t make “free” work for them but by now, those who are still left have made it one way or another. Rest assured that free is not a scheme to rip you off down the road or behind the scenes.

Introducing the Themes

These themes are well-designed, free, and Gutenberg-ready. Most of them are clean and minimalist but also offer a variety of useful features. 

All of the themes are responsive – that is, they work on mobile screens by adjusting the size and place of the content accordingly. 

After the screenshot of each theme there is a short description where you can find out more about them.

Sydney by athemes

While Sydney looks very simple and minimalist on the outside, it’s feature-rich and highly customizable. It’s a classic business website theme that follows all of the design best practices. 

A highlight here is that it’s translation-ready so that even when you don’t publish in English, you won’t have to touch the code to translate some terms that are part of the layout. 

The makers of Elementor, one of the most popular WordPress page builders, recommend it. It supports custom Elementor blocks right off the bat.

Sydney also includes a classic blog with all the standard elements like archives and comments. Even though social media icons are also included, you will have to add sharing buttons yourself.

The central call-to-action button on the homepage makes it perfect for business users who want to get subscribers, sell services or get contacted by prospects as the main purpose of their website.

Check out the Sydney demo on the athemes website.

Neve by Themeisle

Neve is also a business website theme but it’s also a so-called multipurpose theme (including e-commerce). You can use it for various types of websites including online stores. It supports Woocommerce out of the box.

Like Sydney, it’s also translation-ready so that you don’t have to meddle with PHP and HTML to display everything in the correct language of your audience, which is a common issue with English-only themes.

Neve also offers two prominent call-to-action buttons on top but they are rather in the header section, letting you still see some content below it. It also features a website search input on top that’s a must for content-heavier websites.

Shapely by Silkalns

Shapely is a super clean and professional-looking portfolio and/or photography theme. Like Sydney it shows a full-size background “hero” image but here’s it’s part of the overall concept as the idea is to show off visual works,not just decorate. 

The call-to-action buttons in the middle of the layout are perfect for freelancers who offer services or want to generate sign ups.

Shapely is optimized for search engines like Google by default with it crawler-friendly website structure. It’s also optimized for large Retina-type screens like the ones modern Apple products usually use.

Check out the Shapely demo site over at Colorlib!

Fukasawa by Anders Norén

WordPress developer Anders Norén is quite well-known in the WordPress community for his by now 20 free WordPress themes! He has created the Fukusawa theme a few years ago already but the theme has been updated for Gutenberg. It has almost exclusively five star reviews despite the long time it’s online.

Fukusawa is a “Pinterest-style” photography theme with a clear focus on showing as many images as possible while making headlines and body-text less obvious.

As you would expect from a highly-visual theme, Fukusawa supports high-resolution Retina screens and also posts formats for image galleries and videos. 

Do you want to create a minimalist photoblog? Fukusawa by Anders Norén is your best friend! The best thing about it is that it’s still a bit of a dark horse despite being online since 2014. With only 10k+ active installations globally you won’t find blogs looking like yours every day.

Check out the Fukusawa theme demo on Anders’ website or download it right away.

Blover by Patryk Kachel

Even though Blover from Patryk Kachel sounds eerily similar to “blogger” (or short for “blog lover” it’s actually a multipurpose theme for all kinds of websites including online stores. In its description, he lists numerous examples of what Blover could be used for:

“If you are [a] blogger, photographer, traveler, illustrator, food lover, salesman, and you have something important to tell, Blover is perfect for you.”

Patryk works together with Monika as web designers and WordPress developers. You can hire them. They show off their expertise by creating free WordPress themes. It works! 

They have already created 6 free WordPress themes. “All of them are published under the GNU General Public License.”

The themes are very nicely designed with a good eye for imagery and typography. Further down, there’s another theme by Patryk listed. 

If you’re looking for a clean but elegant WordPress theme for your magazine type website that is still unique, Blover may be the right option as it’s still running on just a few hundred websites.

Blover has been updated in 2019 and it works with Gutenberg. Check out the Blover theme yourself on their dedicated demo website.

Astra by Brainstorm Force

Astra is a versatile multipurpose theme for: 

  • Websites
  • Blogs 
  • Online stores 

Astra also offers native WooCommerce support. It has over 300,000 active installations and a large number of ready-made websites or templates you can choose from. The default screenshot above of just one of many example websites you can use right away.

One specific difference compared to other themes is that Atrsa does not use JQuery, a very common scripting library, that can cause additional load on your website. JQuery is great for additional features but when you optimize for speed many of the integrated scripts can be redundant.

Astra focuses on website speed in general, not just by dropping JQuery. They claim to have just 50 kilobytes of weight by default. The thousands of reviews on WordPress.org are overwhelmingly positive. Even the world-renowned CSS-Tricks blog recommends Astra by saying:

“Astra is a free, fast, and flexible theme that has been designed to work with page builders.” – Joe Casabona

The quote stems from the “styling the Gutenberg columns block” post that got published even before the official launch of the editor.

Envy Blog by Precise Themes

Envy Blog is, as the name already suggests, a blogging theme and already one of five by Precise Themes. 

Envy even has its own support forums on the Precise Themes website where the developers answer user questions readily.

It’s super clean and minimalist in its design so that there is plenty of room for your visual and textual content with no unnecessary distractions.

Envy Blog is a bit similar to Fukusawa but has even fewer elements and lacks a sidebar on the homepage for even more focus. Once you click through you see a classic blog layout on the actual posts, however, with a sidebar on the right.

Check out the Envy Blog theme demo on the Precise Themes website. It’s really enjoyable to look at. It’s still a hidden gem with 2,000 installations and it has predominantly positive reviews.

The pro version of Envy Blog has additional layouts, especially for the header and full page “hero” images among other additional features like the sticky sidebar (adapting its position when you scroll) and Google Fonts support.

Blogito by Patryk Kachel

As mentioned above we featured two themes by the talented Patryk Kachel. Here, the blogging them is Blogito

As you can see, Blogito is also very social media focused with icons to follow on the top right and another set in the sidebar on the right. So if you’re looking to become an influencer with your blog, this one might be the perfect choice for you. 

You can test run the Blogito theme demo on Patryk’s website. It’s still a rarity with just about 300 installations but already has all positive reviews. 

You will notice that the demo setup is already customized for a female audience but most design aspects are minimalist and clean despite the fancy header fonts and images.

Hamilton by Anders Norén

Anders Norén, the prolific free WordPress theme designer, also has two themes in this list and it’s very well-deserved. 

Hamilton is a clean and simple portfolio theme that highlights your work instead of distracting with gimmicks. 

Artiest, designers, fashionistas, foodies, photographers will rejoice and display their work with large images. The way Hamilton shows related content below each post also helps showing off your photos.

You can see the Hamilton theme demo on Anders’ website as well.

GeneratePress by Tom Usborne

It always looks a bit “too good to be true” when a product has only 5-star reviews. Even after 200,000 installations GeneratePress has 850+ positive reviews and only 2 negative ones. 

Luckily two trusted experts also recommended it, Marko Saric of HowToMakeMyBlog.com and Deborah Edwards-Onoro from our blogging superheroes list.

GeneratePress “take(s) full advantage of the new block editor (Gutenberg), which gives you more control over creating your content.” It also works well with other page editors you can use as plugins.

Sadly the theme has no demo and it looks a bit bland in the default “Lorem Ipsum” filled screenshot but it features a whole website library with many well-designed templates like Arctic e.g.

More Gutenberg-optimized WordPress Themes to Choose From

Still not enough choices? In case you haven’t found the perfect Gutenberg-optimized theme yet make sure to also look up this list by renowned WordPress expert Birgit Pauli-Haack: 12 Gutenberg-friendly free WordPress themes.

What’s your favorite Gutenberg-supported WordPress theme that is both free and high-quality? Share your suggestions with us in the comment section below the post or on Twitter: @easywp.

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