WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. As of January 2024, WordPress powers more than 43% of all websites and 63% of all known cms. WordPress became so huge because it is free, open-source and easy to use. The demand for WordPress websites is rising and so is the ecosystem behind WordPress. There are around more than 11,000 free themes to choose from in the WordPress repository and nearly 12,000 premium themes available at Theme Forest. Needless to say, it is hard to choose between such a huge number of themes, because one simply does not have the time to check all of them. In the WordPress world, the site’s theme is extremely important, because it defines the website’s look and feel. At the same time, most blog posts that rank WordPress themes are just repeating themeselves by listing the most popular WordPress themes (the ones that have the most installations).
I am sure that before checking this tutorial, you have already filled your head with lots of tutorials that does not really answer the question you probably asked yourself before doing the Google search: “How to make my website stand out? How to make it unique?”
Let me tell you the truth. By installing a theme template that has been already installed more than 100,000 times, you will not make your site unique. Not without doing a lot of custom work from your side, e.g. changing colors, sections, fonts, etc. Needless to say, you will most probably deal with a bloated theme that offers all-in-one solution for every problem, which you never really had in the first place and.. lets just say it: “this theme is so slow that I can’t stand it!“
Do not get me wrong, I am not against popular themes. It is true that mainstream themes have a huge community and you will probably be able to find help quickly. But what if you want to experience something that not many other people have experienced? What if you try searching for beauty in the most unexpected places – start looking into themes that actually have relatively low number of installations but offer unprecedented quality? “Do such themes even exist?”, you might ask. Let me tell you something. Underrated but beautiful WordPress themes are like hidden gems. They are extremely hard to find, but once you find them, it feels like a blessing from above. Being a theme developer and a WordPress addict myself, I have closely followed the new trends in web development. I am checking the WordPress theme repository every now and then, searching for such gems – lightweight, beautiful themes that can make your site truly unique. Here is my list of the top ten most underrated (yet stunning) WordPress themes to consider in 2020. I hope you will find this list useful.
Are you looking for a lightweight and minimalist e-commerce theme that loads fast? Then you are at the right place. Estera is one of the fastest free themes I have tried. Real data A/B tests showed that it scores more than 80% on google page speed insights even with the WooComerce plugin installed. Estera does not use any additional frontend libraries or frameworks, just core WordPress functions, vanilla js and css to provide the best possible user experience. The theme is fully customizable, it has an awesome documentation and a friendly support team.
Grandmart is a stylish WordPress theme that is specially built for an e-commerce website. It is fast, light-weight, search engine friendly and very easy to use. The theme comes with cross-browser compatibility, mobile friendly design and responsive features. There are a lot of customization options to choose from, even in its free version. What I really like about this theme are the loading spinner options in the customizer. You can choose between five different types of spinners or disable the loader completely.
For me, this theme is a role model how a theme should be composed. It is very well-coded, provides a lot of free functionality and depicts an unique design. It features a beautiful header slider on the homepage. This underrated theme (has only 200+ active installations) is a clear example how an overlooked free theme can put in its pocket most of the premium themes out there. It has not been updated in an year but still works flowlessly. This theme has everything you need to make a unique and beautiful blog. It even has a built-in Recent Posts widget with thumbnails to make your content stand out!
Nasio is a completely free theme that is designed to help the bloggers and the WordPress community as a whole. Nasio is an extremely lightweight theme without any frameworks, SEO-optimized and extremely fast. It is specifically made for blogs. It is suitable for bloggers, travelers, dreamers, artists and adventurers. The theme has a built-in option that allows readers to switch between light and dark theme mode, similar to the night mode of Apple 11, which more and more applications are starting to use (including Messanger, Viber and the latest version of Facebook Desktop). This is especially practical during night time, when there is less light and the eyes are tired after spending a whole day on the PC.
Wisnia is a simple and elegant starter theme built on HTML5 & CSS3. It is an elegant and artistic theme that offers plenty of options in the theme customizer. It has an unique typography, colors and styles. It has support for WordPress Post Formats and the retina friendly Font Awesome icon font. Wisnia is WooCommerce compatible, Multilingual Ready (WPML) and translated into Spanish, German and French. Moreover, the theme is compatible with all popular page builders such as Gutenberg, Elementor, Divi Builder, Beaver Builder, the SiteOrigin Page Builder and Visual Composer.
Parity is a stylish an colorful WordPress theme. You are simply going to love it. It is a child theme of the Polite theme. However, it never got the spotlight it deserves. The blog post archive page can be displayed in a beautiful masonry layout. You can set up post excerpt length or even exclude some categories from the blog listing page. It also features beautiful social icons, so your visitors can find you and connect with you more easlily.
Preslav is a gorgeous WordPress theme with surprisingly generous options for a free theme. It is ideal for portfolio websites, small and medium businesses and perfect for digital agencies. It scales and adapts to any design thanks to its extensive and user-friendly theme options. No coding skills needed to set up the digital agency website of your dreams. In fact, Preslav provides 14 ready to use block patterns for an easier start with the theme. It is also highly optimized for speed and SEO-friendly. In fact, it does not use any external js libraries like jQuery to slow you down, only clean HTML5 templates, vanilla css and js. it has been measured to perform extremely well with different page speed measuring tools including Google lighthouse. The theme is built with the main intention to make your website converts. It has 7 pre-built demo templates for an easier start with the theme. Easy to use, fast, versatile and reliable, this is Preslav.
Lanzo is an underrated premium Woocommerce theme. It has less than 50 sales on Theme Forest, yet it offers a beautiful, minimalist design and a lot of customization options. What I really like about this theme is that it has a demo built with the native WordPress editor – the Gutenberg Editor. You can use it for a lot of e-commerce website such as furniture, fashion store, shoes, etc
Braga is another option to consider when you need an e-commerce website. It has three unique demos to set up your site really quick. It uses the Revolution Slider plugin and Visual Composer to help you create the e-commerce store yopu have always wanted. Although for some users it might seem that this theme uses too much third-party resources, it is a good options for those who are searching for an all-in-one solution for decent quality.
All Colors is one of my personal favourites. It lets you change the colors of every single section of the website. It is fully customizable and highly extensible. The development team is very friendly and helpful.