19 Best WordPress Starter Themes for Developers in 2024

19 Best WordPress Starter Themes for Developers in 2024

Are you looking for the best WordPress starter theme for developers?

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

In this article, we have handpicked some of the best WordPress starter themes that developers can use to create their theme from scratch.

What Is a WordPress Starter Theme?

A WordPress starter theme is a blank theme with minimal design elements 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, and comments, but with minimal or no styling. This allows theme developers to quickly start adding their own styles and build a new theme, without having to code a website from scratch.


You must remember that starter themes do not come with styling, so you are not able to use them as they are without customization. However, they can be used as a parent theme.

Using a Starter Theme for Developers in WordPress

You can easily use a starter theme to build your own theme with WordPress. It is the best website builder on the market and is used by over 43% of sites on the internet.

WordPress is a self-hosted and open-source platform that gives you complete creative freedom to build a website according to your liking.

To get started, you will need a hosting account where all your website files will be stored. After that, you must get a domain name, which will be your website’s address on the web like wpbeginner.com or www.example.com.

We recommend opting for Bluehost for hosting because they are one of the largest web hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Bluehost website

Plus, they are offering a HUGE discount to WPBeginner readers with a free domain name and SSL certificate.

Once you have purchased a hosting plan, you can move on to installing WordPress. Then, you can check our step-by-step guide on how to make a WordPress website.

Now, it’s time for you to select a starter theme that you can build upon. You can select any theme from our expert picks below. If you need help installing them, then you can see our tutorial on how to install a WordPress theme.

Why Trust WPBeginner?

At WPBeginner, we have a dedicated team of people with over 16 years of WordPress experience under our belt.

Our WordPress experts thoroughly review each theme featured in our showcases and test it on demo websites. To learn more, see our complete editorial process.

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

1. Astra

Astra Site

Astra is a premium WordPress theme for developers. It comes with numerous starter themes and templates 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. Plus, the theme is optimized for code and offers powerful design options, Google Fonts, and button presets.

Astra even has built-in dropdown carts, grid settings, gallery options, and an off-canvas sidebar for WooCommerce. These features can be helpful if you are building a starter theme for an online store.

If you are a beginner looking for something functional to start with, then Astra will make things a lot easier for you.

2. SeedProd

SeedProd starter theme

SeedProd is the best WordPress theme builder on the market, and it comes with a drag-and-drop builder and 300+ premade templates. It offers a specific starter theme template that developers can use to create their own theme from scratch.

It allows a single-click import for any template that you can then customize with its builder and use features like custom sections, global styles, and advanced layout options.

Additionally, SeedProd can also integrate with email marketing services, making it the best choice for building a starter theme without any coding.

3. Genesis

Genesis by StudioPress

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

You can take advantage of the 6 layout designs, featured content widgets, custom page templates, and powerful theme options panel. Plus, it focuses on code quality and performance, making it an ideal choice for developers who want to build an SEO-friendly site.

StudioPress is now a part of WP Engine, the most popular managed WordPress hosting company. You can get this framework along with all 35+ StudioPress themes when you sign up for WP Engine hosting to create a website.

Bonus: WPBeginner users also get an additional 20% OFF. Get started with WP Engine today!

4. Underscores


Underscores is probably the most popular of all the WordPress starter themes. It comes with a minimalist design and is super lightweight, with only essential theme files and functionalities.

This starter theme is written in HTML5 and CSS and is completely free. The clean code is meant to get out of your way and help you quickly build a standard-compliant WordPress theme. It also offers template tags, actions, and hooks to further help developers.

Additionally, Underscores has an active community and extensive documentation, making it super easy to build a theme.

5. 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 also comes with Tailwind CSS integration to allow developers to build layouts quickly. Plus, Sage offers template tags, actions and hooks, and block editor support.

It is actively maintained and has a strong following among WordPress front-end developers.

6. Understrap


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

Additionally, it has a lightweight foundation and offers a Sass (CSS pre-processor) integration to create more organized stylesheets.

UnderStrap is also fully compatible with WooCommerce, which makes it a great choice for an online store.

7. WP Rig

WP Rig

WP Rig is another WordPress starter theme and development kit that helps you build themes that are highly optimized for performance.

It comes with a build process that lints, optimizes, and minifies your code for better performance. WP Rig also lazy loads your images until they are in the user view to boost page load time.

The theme can even integrate with Gulp to automate repetitive tasks in your development process, such as compiling Sass and minifying JavaScript and CSS.

8. Catch Starter

Catch Starter

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

Plus, it offers a theme options panel, custom widgets support, and favicons, making it perfect to kickstart your development with WordPress.

Catch Starter is also super beginner-friendly and translation-ready. We recommend using this theme if you want to create a multilingual website.

9. Highstarter

Highstarter Theme

Highstarter is a lightweight starter theme without libraries or frameworks. It offers many customization options for the header image and supports nested drop-down submenus, pagination, and breadcrumbs.

The theme has a mobile responsive design, RTL language support, and hooks and filters to help developers.

Overall, it is a great starter theme if you want to create a minimalist theme that prioritizes code quality and performance.

10. Beans

Beans starter theme

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. Instead of pre-built layouts, Beans offers reusable components like content sections, sidebars, and headers.

It also lets you create custom post types and add new functionalities to your website using shortcodes.

11. JointsWP


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

The theme also has an options panel, custom widgets, and child theme support. Plus, it can integrate with Gulp to automate development tasks.

12. Nebula


Nebula is an advanced WordPress starter theme that is more like a theme framework. It has custom functionality like a recommendation engine for 404 and no-search-result pages, autocomplete search, and more.

Its’ simple syntax code can also serve as a learning source for new developers.

13. Generic


Generic is a minimal WordPress starter theme. This theme is ideal for building custom websites for your customers or using it as a base to create a new theme.

It is super SEO-friendly and comes with its own lightweight CSS grid, making it a great choice for all kinds of websites.

14. BlankSlate


BlankSlate is a simple and extremely flexible WordPress starter theme that is designed with developers in mind.

While it is simple, it comes with a powerful foundation for your themes to rely on. It uses semantic HTML code and also offers custom CSS styles and SEO optimization.

15. Gantry


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

It is an open-source software with a lot to offer, including mega menu support, a layout manager, theme inheritance, a user-friendly interface, and more. Plus, it comes with a visual menu editor and unlimited undo/redo feature, making it a super powerful theme.

16. Air-Light


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

Additionally, the plugin is fully compatible with custom post types, the block editor, and plugins like Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) that can help you build custom fields for your website.

17. Responsive


Responsive is a free starter theme that offers 100+ Elementor and WordPress block templates.

It can also help with search engine rankings because it is fully optimized for SEO and supports schema markup. Plus, the theme can integrate with popular plugins like BuddyPress, WooCommerce, and LearnDash to build any kind of website you want.

18. Tonik


Tonik is an amazing starter theme that comes with the Sass and CSS frameworks to simplify styling for you. It also uses Webpack to manage, compile, and optimize theme files.

Tonik also offers enhanced templating and PHP namespaces. Plus, it lets you build child themes, making it a great starting point for developers.

19. Blockbase


Blockbase is a popular starter theme by Automattic that supports full site editing. It uses block templates to define your website structure, including header, footers, navigation menu, and more.

It also comes with global styles and PHP integration, making it a great block theme for developers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Starter Themes

Here are some questions that are frequently asked by our readers about WordPress starter themes.

1. Who should use starter WordPress themes?

Ideally, a starter theme should be used by developers and web designers who have a good understanding of development and want to create a custom theme.

These themes are not a good choice for users with no coding knowledge because they primarily offer minimal styling where you have to add customization with coding.

If you are a beginner looking for a website theme, then you can look at our expert picks for the most popular WordPress themes.

2. Do these themes come with support or documentation?

Some of the more popular and premium starter themes offer extensive documentation and support to help set up the theme on your website.

However, if you are going for one of the free starter themes, then you must keep in mind that support and documentation will be limited and may even be unavailable in some cases.

3. Can developers fully customize these themes?

WordPress starter themes are built for full customization. They come with a minimalistic layout and offer complete creative freedom to developers to build their own themes.

We hope this article has helped you find the best WordPress starter themes for developers. You may also want to check out our other WordPress guides for starter themes and business sites.

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