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Are you on a tight budget but need your website up and running for your company or blog? Most web designers charge an arm and a leg for professional looking website designs, but did you that know you can actually get a number of website templates for free? In fact, there are so many free website templates available online that it’s difficult to weed through them all. So, we’ve done it for you! We have done our research to identify your go-to sources for the most polished and professional free website templates for the top web platforms and languages.
Important Note: Free often equates to a generic look with limited functionality and customizations so be sure you understand what you want your site to do and what is actually possible with the free template you select before you get started. For more website template options available for purchase (many are low price), check out our Best Website Templates review to see what may be a better fit for any budget that is greater than zero.
To jump straight to a specific CMS (Content Management System) click on a link below.
What Exactly Are Free Website Templates?
Website templates, often called themes, are pre-designed web pages that only need cosmetic changes and the addition of personal/business content to create your own website. There are a wide variety of free website templates available— some only allow you to add your personal content and customize colors, fonts, etc. Others give you more customization options to make your website as unique and functional as possible. Keep in mind — many free website templates don’t offer the level of customization you’d get for a paid template. But if you just don’t have the budget to purchase a more customizable and functional template, there are some solid options out there.
What Should You Consider?
Finding a free website template can save you a ton of money, but you’ll still need to secure your own website domain and find a hosting service if you don’t already have those in place. Typically, this will require a fee, but there are some good, inexpensive options available. Check out our Best Web Hosting Services comparison article for our top choices.
There are a number of factors you should consider when choosing free themes.
- What platform will you use? WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.?
- How much customization do you want?
- How much web development experience do you have? Some free templates are HTML or CSS based.
- Do you want a responsive design, which automatically looks good on any device?
- Are you looking for an ecommerce template for an online store?
The following video from Volusion gives you some additional things to consider when choosing a free website template, particularly in terms of your marketing and branding goals.
Best Free Website Templates
Based on our research, we recommend the following free website template sites. We’ve arranged them in categories, based on platform, so it’s easier for you to find the right template for your specific needs. Factors we considered include the quality of template designs (i.e. how professional and polished they look), the variety of templates, the level of customization available, the ease of customization, the technical resources and support available, and more.
WordPress is the most popular CMS platform, compared to similar platforms like Joomla and Drupal. Here are our recommended sources for the best free WordPress themes.
WordPress.org is one of the best resources for WordPress-only templates you’ll find, and they have a huge variety to choose from, with more than 2,100 themes. You’ll definitely be able to find a professional quality template here for anything from an online storefront to a sophisticated blog. And WordPress.org has excellent feature search filters, which allow you to narrow down your theme choices based on color, layout, functional features and more. WordPress.org is a must to visit if you’re using the WordPress platform.
- 2,100+ WordPress themes
- More than 1,400 responsive design themes
- 70+ ecommerce themes
- A variety of customization levels
- More than 40,000 free plug-ins
- Plugin developer tools and detailed handbook
- Great site resources — public forum, documentation section, tutorials, etc.
If you find WordPress.org overwhelming for its number of options, another great source for free WordPress templates is JustFreeThemes. They offer more than 450 themes (350 are responsive design) and their website is minimalist yet easy to use. While you can find many of JustFreeThemes’ templates at WordPress.org, JustFreeThemes does have a good number of original themes. And they offer a good variety: business templates, blogs, storefront, etc. The downside with Just Free Themes is their lack of resources on their website to help you get started. Their search feature is also limited to the type of theme you’re looking for. But there is an email form where you can submit questions — and they say they’ll get back to you within 48 hours.
FabThemes is more of a niche website that largely provides original WordPress themes for bloggers. While they don’t have as many themes to choose from, the 140 free themes they offer are high quality designs. Their search tools are decent for a free service — you can browse themes based on colors and theme type (i.e. food, magazine, responsive, Tumblog, etc). FabThemes’ site resources are limited — they offer an email ticket form for queries and a link to another website for WordPress tutorials and resources. But they do have helpful five-star user ratings for each theme, so you can gauge customer feedback. Fab Themes is worth looking into if you want an easy, free WordPress template.
Check out this video to see even more places to get the best free WordPress themes
WordPress isn’t the only CMS out there! Drupal has its devout followers, and after researching where you can find the best free Drupal themes online, Drupal.org is the go-to site, hands down.
Drupal.org is an excellent resource for all things Drupal. You can find nearly 2,200 free Drupal themes here, and many templates feature pretty slick designs. And like WordPress.org, Drupal.org has excellent search and support tools. The site layout is a bit cumbersome, but Drupal.org gives you all the information you’ll need to get started. If you’re using the Drupal CMS, this is an excellent place to start.
- Nearly 2,200 Drupal themes
- 250+ responsive design themes
- 70+ ecommerce themes
- Good variety of customization levels
- More than 32,000 free modules (plug-ins in Drupal language)
- API developer section
- Excellent site resources — articles, tutorials, public forums, documentation, etc.
There are a lot of Joomla fans out there, but it’s not nearly as popular as fellow CMS platforms WordPress and Drupal. It’s harder to find a repository of free, professional looking Joomla website templates, but here are our recommendations to get you started.
JoomlaShine has nearly 35 free Joomla website templates and a handful of free extensions for download. While you don’t have a ton of templates to choose from, the ones they offer are very high quality and polished. There’s a good variety, from business templates, ecommerce, blogs, education and more. Joomla Shine also has a free e-book for download that’s an excellent how-to guide for Joomla newbies.
FreshJoomla Templates Review
FreshJoomla Templates is a straight forward website that features 45 free Joomla website templates for download. The designs aren’t anything that will blow you away, but it’s a solid source for polished looking web templates. And they have a decent number of free responsive Joomla templates. FreshJoomla Templates lacks search tools, so you’ll end up having to browse through their list, but they display decent sized screenshots of each template, as well as live demos for each. They also have a good video tutorial about downloading their templates. Fresh Joomla is a solid place to start your free Joomla template search.
What exactly are HTML and CSS? The World Wide Web Consortium explains the relationship between CSS and HTML as, “two of the core technologies for building Web pages. HTML provides the structure of the page, CSS the (visual and aural) layout, for a variety of devices. Along with graphics and scripting, HTML and CSS are the basis of building Web pages and Web Applications.” There are tons of websites out there where you can download free CSS templates, and we’ve weeded through the pack to find some of the best sources. CSS templates generally take more of a learning curve to use than CMS based templates, but they’re useful for beginners who want to understand how to build a website from scratch.
Open Designs Review
Open Designs has more then 2,000 free, open source web design templates and good search tools, including search by colors, layout, functionality and more (but they don’t have a search by responsive design or ecommerce tool). All of Open Designs’ templates are created using valid, W3C-compliant HTML and CSS code by a host of designers. Many of their themes are professional quality. But take note — these templates are static files, and they can’t be used with a CMS like WordPress.
Templated has 850 impressive free CSS and HTML5 web templates for a variety of industries, including business, blog, online store and more. Templated offers a fair number of free responsive design templates; however, their site lacks decent search tools, so you end up having to scroll through hundreds of templates. Be aware when you’re browsing around Templated — it’s powered by web builder service Wix.com, and some of the navigation buttons will take you to Wix’s website.
Why Pay When You Can Get it For Free?
That’s the age-old question, right? With free website templates, as with most things that are entirely free, you’re not going to get the best of the best. You’ll be somewhat limited in the level of customization, choice of designs, color schemes, etc. Why does this matter? Your website is the face of your company, and you want your company’s branding to be as original as possible. But if you’re just starting out and don’t have the means to hire a web designer or to purchase a more customizable template, the free website templates we’ve featured in this article are very solid options. If you want to check out our recommendations for website templates for purchase (some are available for a reasonable price), read our article Best Website Templates to see if you want to budget it in.
Which free website templates do you recommend?