Think about the last time you opened a physical magazine. Has it been a while? Sure, there are still plenty of folks who subscribe to magazines, but the numbers of people who get magazines on their Kindles, or who look online for information, are growing everyday.
Heck, the last time I touched a physical magazine was while sitting in my doctor’s waiting room. That’s why online magazines are making moves, because people are transitioning to the online world to learn about celebrity fashion tips or the problems in the Middle East. Do you have what it takes to run an online magazine? To start, you’ll need a free WordPress magazine theme, giving you the proper functionality and helping you save money.
Luckily we put together a solid list of the best options, so keep reading to learn more.
The GreatMag WordPress theme is one of our favorites, as it offers a clean and modern design for larger blogs and all sorts of magazines. Looking at the demo you can see that just about any type of magazine could fit in with the theme. We like it for gaming, lifestyle, travel, sports, fashion, technology and cooking magazines. The responsive design fits onto any device, regardless of the size. Advertisements are supported in case you’d like to link up to Google Adsense or do the dirty work yourself and find advertisers that want to post banners. The bundled widgets expedite your design process and make your articles look appealing on the homepage. You also get Page Builder support to avoid all of that nasty coding.
The GreatMag theme colors and fonts can all be adjusted right in the WordPress dashboard, while you can also choose between four blog layouts. These layouts include masonry fullwidth, regular masonry, classic and list. The fonts are pretty solid by default, but you gain access to over 800 Google Fonts, significantly opening up your options for typography. Along with that, the theme is completely ready for translations, meaning if you’d like to reach out to a different language demographic, that’s completely possible. Not only will you get terrific, dedicated support, but the GreatMag WordPress theme only takes a few minutes to launch.
The Newsanchor theme is a favorite from this list because it delivers a clean and modern interface, with a responsive layout and built-in social media buttons. This is actually one of the more impressive free solutions out there, particularly if you’re trying to test the waters with a magazine website. For example, you may not have all the funds needed to start paying for a premium theme, but this gives you all the features you would expect from a paid solution. The theme is managed completely from the backend but it uses frontpage widgets, which turn your site into somewhat of a drag and drop interface. These widgets are great for displaying your posts in style. You can have lists of your most recent posts, or even popular articles, with featured image thumbnails, links and titles. You have the opportunity to change the colors for almost all of the theme elements, which comes into play when trying to achieve your branding goals.
A few page templates come along with the Newsanchor theme, such as full width and front page templates. The theme includes over 600 Google Fonts to choose from, which is a huge benefit considering most magazines need to stand out with strong text. A posts carousel is another way to grab attention and get people to stick around on your site for a longer period of time. As we talked about before, the Newsanchor theme has social media buttons. These combine well with the branding, and they work through a widget. Some other widgets incorporate spots for tags, categories, events, search bars and videos. Overall, the Newsanchor WordPress theme looks incredible, and it provides a simple enough setup for those who are just getting started.
The Fashionistas theme, from yours truly (AThemes,) is a responsive, stylish and clean WordPress theme for posting your content without ever having to worry about the site malfunctioning or your content getting covered up by all the bells and whistles. The theme is simple, with black and white components, and plenty of room between all the modules on the homescreen. It comes with several social media buttons for building your followings.
The threaded comments and featured images engage your visitors and bring them back for more. A standout feature is the favicon upload. This way you don’t need the help of a WordPress plugin just for a simple favicon. The Google Fonts and color options bring the customization features to a peak.
If you’re looking for a magazine theme that’s easy to set up, look no further than VMagazine Lite. What makes this theme stand out are the premade magazine layouts that can be imported with a single click and allow you to get your magazine up and running as quickly as possible. The theme offers several demos to choose from based on the type of magazine or online publication you want to build. Whether it’s a fashion blog, a tech or a travel magazine, there is a demo for everyone’s tastes. You’ll also find plenty of advertising space so you can easily monetize your website via ad networks or other third-party ads.
The theme uses SiteOrigin Page Builder so you can easily modify the layout, has 8 built-in widgets, and unlimited color options so you can incorporate your brand colors. If that’s not enough, keep in mind that VMagazine Lite is fully compatible with the WooCommerce plugin, fully translation ready and multilingual ready. Additionally, the theme is also responsive and supports real-time search.
The Madd Magazine WordPress theme provides a wide range of features to get your online magazine launched and ready for the big time. It offers a beautiful frontend interface, with plenty of space to fit your content, while still not looking too cluttered or overwhelming. The Madd theme has a free version for starting without any expenses, or potentially testing out to see if you like it before upgrading. The premium version adds some excellent new features, and you also get customer support, updates, and a free setup from the developers. Newspapers, blogs, and magazines all function well with this theme, seeing as how it’s completely responsive and ready to show your content with sliders, videos, and images. The left and right sidebars are must-haves for inserting widgets of all sorts, and the SEO-friendly design is meant to boost your rankings for all blog posts.
The built-in slider is responsive and supportive of high-resolution images. You can also link to certain blog posts to keep people interested in your content and make sure users stick around for a longer period of time. The custom background image can be adjusted to fit your brand, or you can go with a custom background color if the background image isn’t your style. The Madd theme comes with Google Fonts for the best typography. It also supports several slider and button colors. We enjoy the fact that Madd is compatible with all major browsers, so you won’t have any problems with people viewing your articles. It also has areas for advertisements, allowing you to make some money from your efforts. The widgets are also available in the footer, so you can add things like copyright information and small contact forms. Along with a powerful dropdown menu, social media buttons, and meta sliders, you can’t go wrong with the Madd theme.
Dynamic News Lite offers strong colors for standing out from the rest of your competition. Not to mention, you receive responsive layouts and a featured content slider to reveal the hottest stories of the week. This design looks like something you might find at a premium theme store, since it includes flat, colored social media icons, a search bar at the top and nicely organized modules for showing off new and related stories.
The trendy theme is responsive for people to view your site on the go, and the active widget area prevents you from working on any code. Feel free to generate your own submission form to receive stories from the frontend. Have people submit files, contact information and messages for you to consider.
The Hueman theme is one of our favorite free magazine WordPress themes since it’s completely responsive and provides high resolution images and layouts for the ideal magazine interface. The theme comes with unique toggle sidebars so that you can easily browse around on tablets and phones.
The customization options are endless, which is nice considering this is a completely free theme. To start, you receive unlimited widget areas, 10 post formats and unlimited colors for areas like the top bar, footer and header. All of this assists in your magazine branding, but the main reason we like the magazine theme is because it lets you feature certain stories at the top of the site. You can also choose to include a slider instead of a stagnant story image.
With Colormag, you’re given a theme that has a ton of excellent reviews. We highly recommend those with solid reviews, because you really can’t go wrong with a ton of other users and developers who have stated that it works well. If you’re interested in some of the problems people have with the theme, feel free to click on the specific reviews to see what people are talking about. This is a beautiful, responsive magazine theme, and it’s recommended for anything from gaming to lifestyle magazines. It has custom backgrounds and colors for matching up with your logo, and you even get some small spots for inserting ads. For example, you could integrate with the Google Ads, or you have the opportunity to insert your own banner ads if another company contacts you directly. The custom menu sits right underneath the header, and they both work to guide people through your site and instantly reveal what your magazine talks about.
We like the social media buttons, considering you don’t have to install another third party plugin for that. Not to mention, the featured images throughout the homepage are essential for convincing people to click through on your articles. If you’re interested in using a WordPress theme without much coding involved, this is yet another free option that makes that happen. For example, you don’t need to touch your source code because the majority of the elements are implemented with the help of widgets, sidebars and footers. As you may have noticed from the demo, several sidebars are available, and you can choose just how many you’d like to reveal. Along with translation files and threaded comments, the Colormag WordPress theme is just what you need for a magazine.
MH Magazine Lite serves as a popular WordPress magazine theme, since lots of people have downloaded and rated the theme. It makes sense, since the theme allows for you to upload a sleek background image, without any of the common stretching errors. Upload your own logo, and move around the homepage components so that your most popular content is at the top.
This is considered the free version of the MH Magazine theme, so you can always upgrade if you really like this one, but just keep in mind that the free option is a little watered down compared to the paid theme.
Metro Magazine uses modern fonts and colors, along with a responsive interface to look good on all devices. It’s a clear solution for anyone interested in building an online magazine. The good thing about the Metro Magazine theme is that you don’t necessarily need a certain niche to use it. We like it for sports, lifestyle, food, travel, publishing or any other type of magazine you can think of. The theme has a default color scheme, but you can change this to match your logo. The social media integration comes in handy for leading users to your own pages and also for getting visitors to share your blog posts on the internet.
The custom widgets work well for inserting a wide variety of tools. For example, you might want to implement a list building campaign when you collect email addresses through a widget. There’s also an author bio section after every article. This way, your writers get the credit they deserve and everyone reading the article can learn about the writers. The advertisement settings can be adjusted depending on your needs. For instance, some blogs might rather have fewer ads, while others are going to be littered with them. Along with translation tools, CSS access and a full-width template, the Metro Magazine theme has the majority of features you’ll need for a magazine.
JustWrite is a simple WordPress magazine theme, with clean lines and plenty of white space between all of its components. Honestly, there’s not much to the theme, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. It’s responsive, crisp, lightweight and powerful enough to manage your small to midsize magazine.
JustWrite also includes browse and search features to make the content discovery process a little easier for your visitors. Upload your logo, add as many widgets as you want and incorporate social buttons for building your following.
MH Newsdesk Lite is the ideal theme if you have a need for an option that highlights the hottest news stories and provides a little space for advertisements. The modern and flat design works well if you want to stand out from the average magazine, offering a vibrant layout, with a focus on the more newsworthy content, as opposed to articles that will simply annoy your readers.
You can always upgrade to the premium version of MH Newsdesk if you really like it, but the Lite version has the capabilities to manage a small to midsize magazine with ease.
The HitMag WordPress theme has a stylish design that’s ripe for a lifestyle or fashion magazine. The theme is completely free, and it comes with some wonderful features for customizing your site however you want. For example, the theme provides four different blog layouts for you to stand out from others that use the theme. In addition, these layouts include multiple color options to establish your brand. The author box details are ideal for giving credit to the people who write for you, while the related posts ensure that readers stick around your website for a longer period of time.
All of the metadata can be controlled by the admin, and HitMag even has a custom background feature for adjusting what shows up behind your content. The language support is strong for connecting with more readers outside of your language, and the threaded comments get users chatting about your posts. A full-width template is included, just in case you’d like to clear out the clutter and focus on more of a landing page layout. Along with a grid layout, right sidebar and two column support, the HitMag theme looks pretty good for most magazine types.
Check out the Poseidon WordPress theme if you’d like something that caters to a wide set of industries. Basically, this one has lots of white space, and it offers some nice social media buttons for getting the word out about your business. This is a rather elegant design, and the wide screen layout improves how people see your brand while landing on your site. The theme supports high resolution images for the header, and it provides a widget based homepage for constructing what lists you want people to see. However, the primary blog customizer is pretty simple and useful for designing anything from media to text-based posts.
The custom background and colors are ideal for combining these areas with your logo. The spacious, full image header is one of the more unique looks you can find with a free solution. Therefore, we recommend everyone try this theme out, because even if you don’t end up choosing it, it gives you a good idea of how media should look on a website. Threaded comments are solid for creating conversation on your site, and the translation files have what it takes to spread the word about your business, no matter in what language.
The Silk Lite theme is one of the more unique themes you can go with when looking for a magazine option. It looks somewhat like Pinterest, and you receive a playful, yet professional look and feel. The logo sits in the upper center part of the theme, and a menu is revealed right below that, helping people get to and from different pages on your site. After that, the majority of the homepage is taken up by a large list of your blog articles. A large featured image is presented for each one, along with descriptions and titles. The theme has a smart layout and interesting animations. The developers recommend it to fashion magazine writers, but it could really be used for anything in the lifestyle categories.
The overall design lets off a scrapbook vibe, and it has a responsive layout so people can come to your site on mobile devices. Although it may not seem like a huge deal when a theme has mobile friendly settings, you’d be surprised how many of the free solutions are lacking that feature. Along with all of these tools, the Silk Lite theme includes a custom menu and threaded comments. This means that each one of your articles includes a nice area for people to respond and discuss what they read. Choose the amount of columns and sidebars you’d like to be displayed, and utilize the translation files to expand your reach and share your ideas with the world. Overall, the Silk Lite theme is a more lighthearted option, but we like it.
With the NewsMag WordPress theme, you gain access to a clean, modern layout, with an abundance of ad space for getting money for your efforts. The slider module flips through some of your most recent blog posts, while the social media buttons reside right at the top of the header. The blog pages are delivered in four different styles. So, if you’d like to see more of a list of blog posts, that’s possible. Or you could opt for more of a gallery style. The theme is fully responsive for viewing on mobile devices, and you can add a contact form to keep in touch with your readers. The four column footer widget improves on how many modules you can have towards the bottom of your page, and the featured post banner is sure to grab attention from visitors.
The NewsMag WordPress theme includes some Font Awesome icons to break up the monotony of text. You’ll also find a widgetized sidebar for inserting items like social media buttons and About Us information. Google Fonts integrate seamlessly with the theme, allowing you to spice up your typography and bring your site to life. A slider is also packaged into the NewsMag theme, making it the perfect solution for magazines with big headlines.
The SuperMag theme is one of the hottest options out there, and it’s probably due to the fact that it delivers some creative colors, strong widget options and solid coding. We like the magazine theme for online publications that focus on sports, technology and anything that may be a little more masculine. The colors and fonts are set to give off that vibe, but you do have the opportunity to change these elements around. The ad widgets come into play once you really start to bring in money for your efforts. For example, you could sell advertising to certain businesses in your industry. Or, you could implement a bit of AdSense code on your site to achieve a more targeted marketing situation.
The majority of your content is managed with a customizer or the widgets. You can change around the header, footer, sidebar and homepage. Social media integration is a big part of the SuperMag theme, because you can get your articles more attention when people start to share the really intriguing stuff. Breaking news options are available, and the entire design is suitable for mobile devices, which comes into play for magazines quite a bit. After all, many people are going to be reading your articles directly from tablets and phones. Threaded comments come along with the theme, pushing people to talk to you after reading an article. A favorite feature is the translation setting, since most magazines eventually start getting read by people from different countries.
The Magbook theme immediately captures the attention of your visitors thanks to the header area that allows you to instantly share the most popular stories from different categories. On top of that, it has a well-organized, grid based layout that makes it easy to categorize and group your posts. The theme also has plenty of ad spaces so you can easily monetize your site.
As far as customization options, the Magbook theme comes with premade demo layouts which can be imported with a single click. Each demo features a slightly different look so you can pick and choose the one that would be the best for your site. You can also change colors, fonts, and upload your logo as well as customize other design settings in the theme. The Magbook theme is fully responsive and was designed to load fast.
The Neville theme has a combination of highly visual elements and beautiful typography. The clean design caters to those running more sophisticated magazines, but it also works nicely for those with personal blogs or online journals. It’s not your traditional online magazine layout, but that’s part of its charm. The large images link to your blog posts, so the readers see a wide variety of content the second they land on the homepage. A slider is included with the theme as well. In fact, the slider is just one of five custom-made sections you can move around on your homepage. Another one is an ad banner for connecting with AdSense or any other ad network.
We really enjoy the Instagram feed, since it allows you to connect with your Instagram account and get magazine readers to follow. The custom title design module is one of the standout features in the Neville theme. It helps with adjusting the way your titles work, since every magazine should look unique. Another reason this theme works so well for magazines is because it has sticky social sharing buttons next to all of the posts. Therefore, all visitors can stop by, read your post, then share it with their friends if they like the content.
EasyMag surely lives up to its name! This magazine theme makes it possible for you to setup a fully functional wordpress magazine website straight out the box! Included in this theme is all that you need to take your magazine site to the next level.
With ad slots, a sizeable slider and enough space to showcase tens of articles on your homepage, EasyMag is the high-powered magazine theme you need to run the expansive online magazine you dream of. This theme also displays the date, your magazine’s social media links and comes equipped with two menus.
Plus, it’s completely free so you spend more of your resources on growing your new online magazine! Awesome, right?
The Codilight Lite theme has some decent reviews, and it provides a sleek, magazine style layout for webmasters interested in developing a responsive online platform. Any type of industry magazine would work just fine with this layout, and you can change around the colors to match up with your logo. Several spots are available for placing ads on the site. In fact, most of the ads and other elements on your site are going to be managed with widgets. This is good news for those who like drag and drop interfaces, as it prevents you from having to touch any code. The custom backgrounds and colors are essential for landing on the perfect look, while the custom navigational menu delivers a solid road map for your readers when landing on your website.
A list of your blog posts is provided on the homepage, or you can opt to have a more list-oriented setup, where users see modules with your most recent or popular posts. Regardless, featured images are shown for each of your articles, and people can click on the articles or read the previews to decide if they’re interested or not. The theme has a responsive layout for people to view your content on mobile devices, and translation files are included for reaching out to people all over the world. Finally, the threaded comments are exactly what you need for generating some conversation and showing that you’re willing to chat with your readers.
The Cream Magazine theme is fully responsive and has a typical magazine layout which makes it a great choice for any online news or magazine site. The theme has a clean and modern design so your visitors can easily focus on your content. You will be able to monetize your site easily thanks to plenty of ad spaces throughout the homepage.
The Cream Magazine theme is easy to customize. You can change colors, upload your logo, use different fonts, all through the WordPress Live Customizer. This theme is also optimized for SEO and fast loading times so you can rank better in search engines and provide your readers with the best possible user experience. The Cream Magazine theme is fully responsive and translation-ready.
Portal, from MyThemeShop, is a responsive and SEO ready free magazine theme to give your website a premium look. The theme includes custom widgets for easy customization, and you receive a clean frontend interface with light colors to create a fun and exciting atmosphere.
The grid layout helps you show your most recent or relevant posts in an appealing way, and the unlimited color schemes assist with the overall branding on your site. Not to mention, you can upload an unlimited amount of backgrounds and translate your page with the localization features.
Magazine Power is a clean and minimalistic magazine theme for online news and magazine website. It features a grid-based layout so you can easily showcase featured or trending stories from various categories. The theme also comes with a sidebar so you can include widgets to follow you on social media or sign up for email updates. You will also find ad space so you can monetize your website right from the start. This theme also comes with demo content which you can import with a single click and speed up the site design process.
As far as customization goes, you can change colors, fonts, upload your own logo, images, and more. The theme is also responsive so your readers will be able to enjoy your content no matter what device they’re using. On top of that, the theme is translation-ready.
The Courage theme doesn’t have as many downloads as some of the other offerings on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying out. After all, it is free! The idea behind the Courage theme is that it’s extremely easy to use for setting up a rather large magazine site. The minimalist theme lets you upload your logos, feature large images for your articles and move around widgets in the sidebars.
The featured post slideshow helps with drawing people into your most important articles, and the flexible magazine homepage template works so that you never have to learn a thing about coding.
The NewsCard theme is a bright and modern magazine style theme that’s perfect for anyone looking to monetize their magazine with ads. For starters, there is a large ad space right below the navigation, not to mention you can easily insert ads in the sidebar or in the post. The theme also comes with a news ticker which is perfect if you publish breaking news often.
This theme also comes with a couple of demo versions which you can import with a single click and you will also find premade page templates to save you even more time during the setup process. Use the Customizer to change the colors, fonts, upload your logo image, and customize how your online magazine looks. The NewsCard theme is fully responsive, translation-ready, and compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, and others.
Looking for a magazine that’s both minimalistic and stylish? Look no further than the Hiero theme, packed with custom widgets, threaded comments and beautiful color options. The responsive design lets you include featured images for drawing people into your magazine, and the logo upload feature is always useful for staying away from site files.
This is a full-width template, meaning you get all the real estate you need. The theme options are all consolidated into one area, allowing you to modify things like typography, colors, layout and more. The theme comes with social media buttons and a custom widget that features the most relevant and popular articles for your visitors to check out.
The Rowling theme is a relatively unknown WordPress magazine option, but it’s starting to make some moves in the popularity area. The mobile responsive theme has an elegant design, clean lines and a minimalist approach to bringing magazine articles to an audience. The social menu is always a bonus, and the gallery post format support works nicely for those who want to share as many visuals as possible.
Move around widgets in the footer and sidebars, and upload your custom logo to brand your magazine in just a few steps. The custom accent color set you up to match your logo and choose a color that catches the eye.
NewsPress Lite advertises itself as a multipurpose WordPress theme, but it’s really for newspapers and magazines. We can’t imagine a better theme to manage multiple authors and post various article about the arts, celebrities, politics or food. To start, the theme is completely responsive, so anyone with a tablet or smartphone is able to view what you’ve posted on your site.
NewsPress has a powerful header and logo area, for immediately showing people what your magazine is all about. The theme supports a large slider and various featured images, letting you utilize media components, along with the written word.
Surfarama screams extreme sports, giving you a masonry-style homepage layout for sharing anything in a magazine layout. The theme is named and designed to make you think that it can only be used for sports, but that’s not true at all. If your magazine uses high resolution photos on a consistent basis, this is a nice theme for you.
Feel free to change around the background to whatever you want, upload your logo and modify the colors for the ideal branding experience.
Ribbon is (you guessed it) a responsive design with SEO ready components for moving your magazine up the search engine results. The traditional magazine layout has a dual color scheme for standing out a bit, and it comes in a full-width display for giving your readers large photos and plenty of reading space.
The theme includes an excess of white space, and the translation ready platform helps you reach out to those who aren’t speaking the same language as you. WordPress magazine themes don’t come more feature rich than this.
Rubine Lite has one thing in mind: Simplicity. The goal is to give webmasters an opportunity to push out all of the clutter you find on most premium WordPress magazine themes, and break it down to the bare essentials.
The content you publish is fully responsive, making it readable on just about every device out there, and the featured content area is ideal for posting your most recent articles.
The Oxygen theme comes optimized for mobile devices, and its sole purpose is to provide a simple and intuitive interface for online magazines. The lightweight theme has a surprising amount of features including the featured content slider, for sharing your coolest articles and photos.
The custom front page template is great for branding your site against other competitors. You also have access to five widget areas and three menus, so get started playing around!
The Great theme, although the not so creative name, provides a smooth interface for creating a responsive and clean magazine WordPress site. Use the free theme on unlimited sites, and move up the search engine rankings with its SEO and speed optimization.
The theme also provides custom widgets for you to standout and customize. Not to mention, the related posts module is a wonderful method for pushing people to other content on your website. With ad management and translation-ready features, this is one of the hidden gems in terms of magazine WordPress themes.