top free wordpress themes 2022

A year ago I took a look at the WordPress theme directory and identified the nine most popular themes based on having 100,000 or more active installs. I reran the numbers and today there are twelve themes in the WordPress theme directory that meet that threshold. In this article I’ll take a quick look to see how today’s list compares with the one from last year.

Wait, there are 61 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory with more than a million active installs. 100,000 installs of a theme doesn’t seem like very many. Remember, however, that a single WordPress site might have from 10 to 60 plugins activated, but only one theme, so plugin numbers are always higher. Another note, core themes that ship with WordPress were not included.

Free Themes With More Than 100,000 Active Installs

May 30, 2021June 5, 2022
1Astra 1+ MillionAstra 1+ Million
2OceanWP 700,000+Hello Elementor 1+ Million
3Hello Elementor 700,000+OceanWP 700,000+
4GeneratePress 300,000+GeneratePress 400,000+
5Neve 200,000+Neve 300,000+
6Storefront 200,000+Storefront 200,000+
7ColorMag 100,000+ColorMag 100,000+
8Sydney 100,000+Sydney 100,000+
9Hestia 100,000+Hestia 100,000+
10Kadence 100,000+
11OnePress 100,000+
12PopularFX 100,000+

Astra has maintained its number one position. It hit a million active installs almost 2 years ago, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t closing in on 2 million. Astra is page builder friendly and a frequent choice for Elementor and Beaver Builder users. After a long hiatus the developers are updating and expanding their Gutenberg blocks plugin, so expect the Gutenberg support to improve. Astra has been in the theme directory for 4 years.

Hello Elementor is a bit of a surprise. It is a blank slate theme intended for use with Elementor Pro’s theme builder. Its active install base grew rapidly by 300,000. Hello Elementor is three years old.

OceanWP held on to its active install base. It works with all page builders but targets Elementor and WooCommerce. OceanWP is four years old.

GeneratePress and Neve both took a step up the ladder adding another 100,000 to their numbers. GeneratePress is 8 years old, but was totally rewritten a couple of years ago. GeneratePress is page builder friendly but was rewritten and new has good support for Gutenberg. Neve is also page builder friendly but seems to be used mostly with Elementor. Neve is three years old.

Storefront is a popular WooCommerce theme. It has been in the theme directory for 8 years.

Although it is page builder friendly, Kadence is a newer theme targeting Gutenberg. PopularFX is another newish theme. It is intended to be used with its accompanying template library and the PageLayer page builder. It looks as if it might be installed on some hosting plans. Both Kadence and PopularFX have been in the WordPress theme directory for 22 months.

ColorMag, Sydney, Hestia, and OnePress are older themes that are showing their age.

Most of the themes are page builder friendly and many of them have free and premium predesigned templates.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will still pay the same amount so there is no extra cost to you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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