WordPress frameworks: a comfortable way to use the theme of your choice

As a content management system, WordPress convinces with its unlimited extension options. Besides thousands of plugins to extend the functionality of the platform, there are also pre-designed templates , which make building your website a breeze. These, called WordPress themes, allow you to set up your content in an aesthetic way and without programming knowledge. To do this, simply download the desired theme (paid or not depending on each developer), then install and activate it in a few clicks.

With the right know-how, it’s easy to create WordPress themes on your own. The WordPress framework themes, which are also the base templates of many vendors, facilitate this project while presenting superior performance to classic themes.


  1. The advantages of self-developed WordPress themes

The advantages of self-developed WordPress themes

The ability to use a theme is one of the good reasons to use WordPress, especially because the many templates allow you to separate the layout from the content. In this way, it is possible to modify one or the other at any time and independently. In addition, themes make the use of the content management system easier for inexperienced users, because they are quick to install and their use is intuitive. Without having to program yourself, you can, thanks to the templates, change the visual aspect of your site and adapt it to the content you want. Finally, the templates are quite easy to customize: for example, you can choose a different font or background color with no problem.

The use of pre-populated themes, however, has a major drawback: since the templates are made available to everyone by the developers, it is quite possible that many other users will choose the same theme as you. When you choose a template, it is, therefore, essential to know that it can quickly lose its originality, since if the templates are easy to customize, it is however impossible to completely modify them. In addition, there is no guarantee that the chosen theme will be subject to regular updates; if it has security vulnerabilities, it may pose a risk to your website.

For the above reasons, it may be interesting to develop your own WordPress theme, as long as you have the necessary knowledge in CSS, HTML and PHP. This makes it possible to take advantage of practical and technical knowledge, while retaining full control over both layout and security.

What is behind the WordPress framework themes?

To develop a new WordPress theme, there are two possibilities: either program it from scratch without using any tools or use a WordPress framework theme. These basic frameworks are also themes including standard features and basic graphic design. They may, for example, include optimization features for search engines, or for the creation of responsive websites. Since they also serve as a basis for the development of other themes, they are also called “ parent themes “. The themes which are then based on these WordPress frameworks are called “child themes”, or child themes.

The child theme uses code from the parent theme so that as a developer you don’t have to start from scratch; on the contrary, it suffices to integrate certain features or visually modify certain elements to add a personal touch. Several users of WordPress themes, such as the Tesla theme, use their own frameworks as a basis for the chosen themes, which must therefore be downloaded in order to be able to use the child themes.

Reasons to use WordPress frameworks and child themes

Compared to a classic theme, a theme based on a WordPress framework has more advantages, the main one being that WordPress frameworks are very easy to update. While some manual modifications on standard templates (without a child theme), such as layout adjustments, may be lost during an update, they are perfectly preserved when updating a framework . This is to customize only the child theme, with changes that will be saved even if the parent theme is updated. In addition, the separation of central functionalities and manual modifications guarantees that you can develop a Web project serenely without risking damage to the basic functionalities.

While an introduction to WordPress frameworks is significantly more demanding than using simple themes, it’s often worth it. It doesn’t matter if you want to use developed templates or framework-based themes, you will save a lot of programming and customization time after the learning phase is over. Before choosing a framework, it is essential to check if you really need the basic functions implemented. If the framework is too complex, it is not necessarily well suited to a simple home page, and can cause performance issues.

What types of WordPress framework themes are available?

Frameworks facilitate both the development process and the maintenance of WordPress themes, which is why they are increasingly popular. Several manufacturers offer their frameworks for sale, which offer the following possibilities:

  • Develop your own layout template

The cost of licensing frameworks varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as does the quality of customer service. While some offer lifetime support and updates for the purchase of a license, others only offer one year of renewable support. In addition, some vendors offer specialized packs, which often contain both parent and child themes.

There are also a few free WordPress frameworks that can be downloaded online. As a rule, the code for the parent theme is available for free, with updates, and child themes for a fee. The freemium model sometimes used corresponds to a limited version of the base code, available for free.

Presentation of the most interesting WordPress frameworks

The very wide choice of framework themes makes finding the perfect template for your WordPress project a delicate subject. Developers should be particularly careful in their choice of the implementation of features and customization options. The most important selection criterion is obviously to be able to work easily with a framework adapted to your project. This is not necessarily easier for users who are looking for finished child themes. The haphazard search for the perfect template, and particularly on the layout criteria, can be disappointing if the corresponding framework does not correspond to the project, requires too many resources, or even proves to be defective.

Whether it is a WordPress framework used as the basis of a self-designed template or a marketed theme, it is in all cases essential to check the license model as well as the offer of assistance offered. . This is the only way to ensure both the functionality and the safety of parent and child themes. Cost obviously plays an important role in the final decision. Investing in an expensive framework is only worthwhile if you want to create very complex themes or many templates, or even access many of the provider’s child themes.

In order to help you in your search for the right WordPress framework theme, we present to you some of the most popular and promising frameworks.

Genesis: a powerful framework for thrifty users

Genesis theme structure pleases users with its low price and high popularity. Professionals and novices alike can take advantage of the many possibilities of the premium framework theme. This WordPress framework can be, among other things, used to create responsive and optimized themes for search engines. It is also possible to use pre-populated templates to create or modify layouts according to your needs.

The main advantage of Genesis is its excellent licensing model. Unlike many other competitive products, the purchase of Genesis includes unlimited support. The user thus has access to numerous updates, detailed tutorials and assistance in the event of technical problems, without having to refresh the license after a certain time. Users who purchase a Plus subscription receive all of the manufacturer’s child themes (current and future). You can find more information about Genesis in our dedicated guide.


✔ Excellent combination of performance and features

✔ Lifetime license

✔ Responsive


✘Template creation too complicated for newbies

Gantry, the free licensed tool suitable for beginners

With Gantry, the development forge RocketTheme has combined the basic functions of the standard kits for Joomla and WordPress into a framework focused on user-friendliness. The layout manager, which makes it possible in particular to retrieve data and drag and drop elements, considerably facilitates the task for beginners. Thanks to Bootstrap, developed by Twitter, Gantry particularly convinces with a responsive grid system, thanks to which your web project is displayed correctly on all screen sizes. For more complex projects with particular colors or fonts, you will need ad-hoc CSS and HTML knowledge. Since Gantry is released under the MIT license, you can download the framework for free at the official site.


✔ Suitable for beginners

✔ Free

✔ Responsive


✘ Access to the help forum only for premium members

✘ Not well suited to original layouts

Thesis, the tool focused on optimization for search engines

With the WordPress Thesis framework, you can create themes using three key components: “boxes”, “skins” and “site tools”. Boxes allow you to integrate several features into your site, such as social media buttons or contact forms, almost like using widgets for a homepage kit. The “skins” allow you to adapt the layout of your theme: navigation menu, titles, content frames, etc. All the elements can be organized in the template editor thanks to the drag and drop functionality.

The thesis is particularly geared towards optimization for search engines: the third component, “site tools” contains a set of very powerful SEO tools that allow you to optimize the ranking of your WordPress project for the search engines. You will find more information on these tools and the type of license in our presentation of the framework.


✔ Already contains several SEO tools

✔ Good performance

✔ Responsive


✘ Interface only available in English

✘ Difficult beginnings

Whiteboard, the open-source framework

Since 2008, Whiteboard encourages programmers who have proven themselves to develop new themes. The open-source framework has thus been optimized over the years. Based on the Less framework, it, therefore, produces automatically responsive themes, for all screen sizes and resolutions, but also for all the most used browsers.

In addition, the base of the theme is compatible with HTML5, as well as with many features of WordPress and different widget areas. The developers of Whiteboard avoided the excess of features and layout options to better focus on the core characteristics of a WordPress framework, that is to say, a versatile framework suitable for many Web projects. . As the latest Whiteboard update is not recent, the free framework theme is not compatible with the current version of WordPress.


✔ The lightweight base for themes

✔ Open-source

✔ Responsive


✘ Not compatible with the current version of WordPress

✘ Not suitable for complex themes

Headway: a precise and targeted theme layout

The Headway WordPress framework theme stands out thanks to its powerful editor, whose responsive grid system makes the assembly of the different elements a breeze. This allows you to place text frames, menu bars, or headings exactly as you want. And thanks to “snapshots”, it is possible, with a single click, to revise each modification. Once all the elements are organized the way you want, you can devote your time in the separate design menu to the layout of the background, font, and effects.

The available licenses, Standard (contains a child theme of your choice) and Deluxe (contains all available child themes), are valid for one year. It is therefore essential to renew them. A full overview of features and pricing can be found on the Headway website.


✔ Clear editor focused on user-friendliness

✔ Great for landing pages

✔ Responsive


✘ The license must be renewed every year

✘ Not suitable for complex themes

Divi, the all-in-one solution

Divi is the basic theme of Elegant Themes. The heart of this template, the Divi Builder, allows you to easily use and manage more than 40 content modules. The drag-and-drop function makes it easy to order the elements as you want, and change the size, background, colors, typography, etc. with just one click . The editor offers other features, including a preview function.

The Divi interface is available in more than 30 languages, and is distinguished by its responsive themes. One special feature is the built-in A / B testing functionality, by which you can measure the success of different versions of your website. To use Divi, it is possible to take out either a one-year subscription or a lifetime subscription, which guarantees you access to all the themes developed by the manufacturer.


✔ User-friendly layout tool

✔ Integrated A / B testing function

✔ Responsive


✘ Basic functions and user customizations are not separated

✘ the base is not modifiable



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Christina Cheeseman

Christina Cheeseman


Christina Cheeseman is a Technology Strategist at Elitech Systems. She enjoys writing about Technology, marketing & industry trends.