WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet, powering a staggering 38% of all websites. And while WordPress offers users an incredible platform, themes are required to display your content. Themes are a simple way for users to build and design a professional website. Themes are essentially pre-built designs with a host of features, including layouts, designs, typography, ecommerce and more. They’re made up of content and data that come ready to display media, layouts, images, and design elements for users who don’t know how to write code.
Choosing the right theme is vital because it determines your design, site speed, user experience, how much control you have over each element, security as well as compatibility with WordPress versions, plugins and other 3rd party APIs. Choose the wrong theme and you’ll be frustrated, limited and potentially at risk of security and performance issues. Selecting the right theme is like buying the right car. And once you get familiar with how your favorite theme works, you’ll be able to crank out beautiful, high-performing websites in record time.
Some themes are free, while others are Premium, meaning you have to pay for it. But, you generally do get what you pay for, and all good premium themes come with multiple layouts, designs, tons of features and great support. Most also provide themes specific to an industry, like medical, ecommerce, photography, business, marketing agency and many more. The good themes offer users massive flexibility, while making it easy to learn. So, without further ado, the following are the five most popular themes on the entire Internet, according to BuiltWith:
Divi, by Elegant Themes, powers 1,651,306 websites across the planet. And for good reason. First, the theme provides users a vastly superior visual editor that both design professionals and newcomers alike can use to create spectacular designs with surprising ease and efficiency. While other themes can and do provide visual editors that are good, Divi has taken the lead by giving designers a finite power over the layout.
Unlike other editors, Divi’s editor gives users complete design control over everything while providing tools as well as 40 modules. The theme also provides 800+ pre-made designs and 100+ full website packs. They also provide brand new layouts weekly along with royalty free photos, icons, and illustrations. You also get 24/7 support and get access to an active community. And there’s a 30-day money back guarantee, if you’re not satisfied. All for a super reasonable price of $89/year.
Astra, the second most popular theme, is used by more than 800,000 websites worldwide. Like Divi, the Astra theme provides a large library of re-built websites. In fact, according to the Astra website, they have the “largest” library. And the designs are beautiful. Perhaps one advance to the Astra theme is users can download a free version and begin using it right away. If you want more features, like mobile headers, mega menus, more layout options, additional backgrounds and colors, woo commerce add ons and more integration options, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which starts at just $47.
The theme excels at a few things, namely, its super fast performance. Because of its lightweight structure, it loads faster, making it a great theme for those concerned about load times – which, quite frankly, we all should. It also provides users full and seamless integrations with various page editors, like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy and Gutenberg. Like all great themes, the company behind Astra provides great support, a huge knowledge base and a 100% No-Risk Money Back Guarantee.
It’s important to note, that of all 5 themes, Astra is the only theme still growing in popularity. Divi is holding steady with flat growth, and Avada, is actually slipping slightly, with less people using them now than a few years back.
Unlike Divi and Astra, Twenty Seventeen is completely free and the default theme for WordPress in 2017. This means when you install WordPress, it’s one of the themes that comes pre-packaged and ready to use. This is neither bad or nor good, it simply means that some people are perfectly fine with a free theme that doesn’t have the same features and power as a premium theme. For beginners and designs who don’t code, Twenty Seventeen will provide little in the way of customizations and features. It’s essentially best suited for those looking to get a blog up and running fast. And for this occasion, the theme is a great option.
Like any theme, however, Twenty Seventeen allows users to leverage the deep library of plugins available. It’s also fast, secure and lightweight. To get support, however, you’ll have to rely on the forum. For many, this isn’t a great option, as it can be time consuming and often lead users down a dead end without a person to speak to directly to get the help they need. Nonetheless, Twenty Seventeen is currently the third most popular theme in the world, powering 735,000 websites.
Some themes seem have it all, and Avada is certainly one of them. Used by almost 700,000 websites worldwide, its advantage comes from its powerful framework that allows users to change virtually anything without having to do any custom coding. While the pre-built library isn’t as expensive and large as Divi and Astra, the theme is solid, super easy to use and designed to provide users a feature set capable of doing almost anything. In fact, the theme comes with 70 design elements users can drag into place and edit visually.
Avada is GDPR compliant meaning it does not violate GDPR criteria because it does not collect any data. Moreover, Avada is translation & RTL ready, meaning the theme is 100% translation ready and coded with best practices in mind. Another nice bonus is the theme’s free updates for life. Basically, once you buy the theme, you get as many updates as you want for free – pretty cool. Finally, it comes with 6 premium plugins included while providing professional world-class support.
The theme can be purchased for $60 and comes with 6 months of support.
Like it’s older sibling Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Twenty is a free, default theme designed to take full advantage of the flexibility of the block editor. While there’s nothing really fancy or sophisticated about the theme, it’s stable, fast and easy to use. But, like Twenty Seventeen, it’s limited and not recommended for designers who want to create stunning websites (that don’t require coding).
As time passes on, Twenty Twenty continues to decline in popularity, as it just isn’t meant to be a theme users can turn to for innovation, upgrades and support.
Conclusion and More Info
The most popular WordPress themes are a moving target. While Astra continues to grow, Divi and Avada are seemingly flat, in terms of growing in popularity. It’s not surprising that the two free, default themes, Twenty Seventeen and Twenty Twenty, are both on the decline. If you’re looking for a WordPress theme, the three premium themes reviewed here are all excellent choices. If you want more information on the Top 20 WordPress Theme Usage, along with some other good nuggets of information, look no further than the graphic below, taken from BuiltWith website: