19 Best WordPress Starter Themes for Developers in 2020

Are you looking for the best WordPress starter theme to create your own theme from scratch?

A WordPress starter theme helps developers to start with a solid foundation. It can become the base for your theme development process and gives you a good head start.

In this article, we have handpicked some of the best WordPress starter themes for theme developers.

Best WordPress Starter Themes for Developers

What is a WordPress Starter Theme

A WordPress starter theme is a blank theme with minimum design, and a basic or absolutely no layout. These themes usually come with the most commonly used templates in a WordPress theme.

They have code to display posts, archive pages, single posts, comments, but with minimum or no styling at all. This allows theme developers to quickly start adding their own styles and build a totally new theme.

Starter themes are different from a parent theme or a theme framework.

Parent themes are fully styled WordPress themes designed to be installed and used on live websites. Theme frameworks provide a lot of hooks and filters for usage in child theme development.

Starter themes do not come with styling, you are not supposed to use them as it is, and they are not frameworks with custom hooks, filters, and template tags. However, they can be used to make a parent theme.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best starter themes for WordPress that you can use in your theme development process.

1. Astra

Astra Theme

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

The starter themes by Astra are built for different business niches, and you’ll most likely find a perfect demo site to match your requirements.

Unlike other thmes on this list, Astra can be used by both developers and beginners. If you are a beginner looking for something functional to start with, then Astra would make things a lot easier for you.

2. Genesis

Genesis by StudioPress

Genesis is a WordPress theme framework by StudioPress. It comes with a 1-click theme setup with tons of useful resources, demo content, plugins, and custom Gutenberg blocks.

With many theme features, you can take advantage of the 6 layout designs, featured content widgets, custom page templates, and powerful theme options panel. It’s easy to customize your website with a few clicks.

3. Underscores

Underscores

Underscores is probably the most popular of all WordPress starter themes. It is maintained by Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com blog hosting service).

It is a minimalist starter theme written in HTML5 and CSS. The clean code is meant to get out of your way and help you quickly build a standard compliant WordPress theme.

4. Sage

Sage

Sage is a modern WordPress starter theme based on Gulp, Bootstrap, and Bower. It uses a Theme Wrapper which helps you avoid repeating the same code in every template.

It is actively maintained and has a strong following among WordPress frontend developers.

5. UnderStrap

UnderStrap

UnderStrap is a WordPress starter theme based on Underscores and Bootstrap 4. It comes with a mobile responsive deisgn and grid framework making it super easy to customize.

6. WP Rig

WP Rig

WP Rig is a WordPress starter theme and development kit that helps you build WordPress themes that are highly optimized for performance. It comes with a build process that lints, optimizes, and minifies your code for better performance.

7. Catch Starter

Catch Starter

Catch Starter is a dark-colored WordPress starter theme for developers. It comes with a set of features including content slider, portfolio, services, and testimonials.

The theme is perfect to kickstart your development with WordPress. It also supports translations to create multilingual websites.

8. Start

Start

Start is based on the Underscores starter theme and Bootstrap framework. It inherits all the code of Underscores and adds Bootstrap magic for rapid frontend development.

9. Beans

Beans

Beans is an innovative WordPress starter theme for developers. It is highly flexible with responsive content and adaptive images.

The theme is SEO friendly and built with an ultimate frontend library to set up and customize your website.

10. JointsWP

JointsWP

JointsWP is a rock-solid WordPress starter theme. It is based on the Foundation 6 framework and comes in CSS or Sass flavors.

11. Quark

Quark

Quark is easy to customize WordPress starter theme. It is based on Underscores and Twenty Twelve WordPress theme.

It uses Normalize to make sure that browsers render all elements more consistently, and Mordernizr for detecting HTML5 and CSS3 browser capabilities.

12. Nebula

Nebula

Nebula is an advanced WordPress starter theme that is more like a framework. It comes with custom functionality like a recommendation engine for 404 and no-search-result pages, Autocomplete Search, etc.

13. HTML5Blank

HTML5Blank

HTML5Blank is classic WordPress starter theme. It is based on clean HTML5 and CSS3 templates with ready to use code and template tags for you to utilize during your theme development.

14. Generic

Generic

Generic is a minimal WordPress starter theme. The theme is ideal to built custom websites for your customers or use it as a base to create a new theme.

15. Cornerstone

Cornerstone

Cornerstone is a modern starter theme for WordPress developers. It is based on the popular Foundation framework and comes ready with a custom header, a sidebar, widgets, and navigation menus.

16. BlankSlate

Blankslate

Blankslate is a simple and extremely flexible WordPress starter theme. It is designed with developers in mind.

It is simple yet comes with a powerful foundation for your themes to rely on. The theme offers custom CSS styles and SEO optimization.

17. Gantry

Gantry

Gantry is a powerful WordPress theme framework for developers. It allows you to create CMS friendly themes quickly.

It is an opensource software with a lot to offer, including mega menu support, layout manager, theme inheritance, user-friendly interface, and more.

18. WP Bootstrap Starter

WP Bootstrap Starter

WP Bootstrap Starter is a WordPress starter theme based on Underscores and Bootstrap. It includes Font Awesome, full-width page template, right and left sidebar templates, blank page template, and more.

19. Air-Light

Air

Air-Light is a minimalist WordPress starter theme based on Underscores. It is a functional WordPress theme with minimal design options leaving room for developers to extend add their own styles to create a new theme.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress starter theme for developers. You may also want to see our guide on how to add dummy content for theme development in WordPress.

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