Think about the last time you opened a physical magazine. Has it been awhile? 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.
This theme, IsleMag is exactly the modern magazine theme that you’re looking for. The boxed layout of this theme gives it a more authentic magazine feel, and the modern fonts make it perfect for any kind of magazine, especially a fashion or social issue magazine.
The social icons are nestled in the header, right above the space for your magazine’s logo and advertising space that can be used to help you earn extra money with your magazine website. The menu makes allowances for the different categories that would comprise your magazine site, as well as a modern slider that showcases three articles at a time.
IsleMag also has multiple advertising slots throughout the homepage, as well as sections to showcase your magazine’s Instagram feed – seamlessly integrating your social media presence with your website.
Need a spiffy, modern, free magazine theme? IsleMag is the perfect choice!
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
In terms of design, Resolution stands out quite well, including multiple columns and interesting color highlights and borders throughout the entire theme. Choose to change the layout options for every unique page on your site, and build a magazine that reveals links to dozens of different articles on a single page.
The theme includes various custom widgets, and you can define unlimited sidebar widget areas. In short, flexibility and ease of use are the goal with the Resolution theme, bringing together some unusual designs, while keeping all of the settings in one area.
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.
Gadgetry reminds us of the TechCrunch layout, so it’s clear that the theme is designed for tech magazines, offering large product images, a full slider for bringing up popular articles and clear social media buttons. The slider includes an option to type in dates for upcoming product launches and events. Users can filter all of the magazine articles based on popularity, comments and more.
Use a simple color picker to choose and modify your website shades, and give your readers the chance to look at your magazine with a tablet or phone, since the design is completely responsive. The admin interface looks rather easy to navigate, and the theme comes with demo content so you never have to start with a blank slate.
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 Semicolon theme is one of the cleanest WordPress magazine themes on this list, and possibly on the entire market. The design elements are somewhat limiting, but that’s somewhat of the point, since you don’t have to worry about clunky backgrounds or included plugins, considering you are trying to write and publish your content within one fluid swoop.
Upload your logo, and move around the various widgets in your footer, sidebar or header. These widgets allow for a nice showcase of your most relevant content, and the overall theme is a web designer’s dream, giving access to a blank slate for you to make tweaks when needed. That’s if you know how to code a little bit.
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.
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.
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.
The Magazine theme offers a clean and versatile layout, adding enough space to put an emphasis on stories, and providing the right features to help you upload your logo, move around components on your homepage and expand your magazine to multiple stream lists. This all helps turn your website into a publication like the Huffington Post.
The basic blog layout works for most webmasters, but the theme has a premium twist that you don’t receive from most other free themes. For example, it has several included plugins for displaying popular stories, featuring certain news and more.
ComboMag provides a stunning full-width magazine layout, with social media buttons, custom widgets and large featured images to bring readers in. The theme includes features for quickly uploaded your logo and favorite icons, and the over 600 Google Fonts allow for the ultimate branding experience. Choose from unlimited color options to further your customization.
Consider monetizing your site with the six banner ad placement areas. You can use Google Adsense or any other embed-able advertisement code for this. The theme is localization-ready for reaching out to other language speakers, and the features article slider scans through all of the most important articles in your magazine.
The Unique magazine WordPress theme is a mobile responsive theme with six dynamic layouts and three menu locations so you can make your own modifications to style your magazine to meet your own standards. A standout feature is the support for multi-author sites, working wonderfully for the editorial team you’ll be working with.
User navigation on your site is easier than ever with the Unique WordPress theme, since it includes breadcrumbs and numbered pagination. Straight out of the box the theme looks somewhat simple, but it offers something for everyone to customize. It may take a bit to fill up the site with content, since it looks quite bare at first, but it shouldn’t take long.
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 News Mix Light WordPress template looks powerful and credible right out of the box. It allows header customization and the ability to change around your logo if needed. The WordPress magazine theme includes a header slider area for featuring your favorite articles at the time.
The theme provides several custom widgets, one of which is the Trending Now widget, leading people to the hottest items in the news right now. An interesting feature is that you can define an unlimited number of sidebars, to bring in more widgets and modify the overall look of your site.
The Avante theme is a free WordPress theme that looks similar to an option you may have to pay $40 for. The template doesn’t come out the box working just for magazines, but you can make it look right for any type of business, including your online publication or magazine.
The theme options include social icons, background changes and slider customizations. Choose to update or move around your entire navigational menu, and consider downloading the plugin suggestion on the download page (Lazy Load and Popular Posts) to get the most out of your purchase.
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.
The Top Mag theme is a nice choice if you’re looking for a premium-looking WordPress theme for free. The theme includes several customization options for uploading your logo and changing around the colors for branding purposes. The fully responsive interface is perfect for people to view your website on tablets and phones.
The touch friendly sliders are one of the standout features, since they ensure you have a pleasant swiping experience when using a device like the iPad.
The BresponZive theme isn’t the highest rated option, but it works well for small and simple blogs that don’t require much more than a platform for publishing magazine-style blog posts. The theme is fully responsive for viewing on all devices, and it’s easy to customize, since you only have to worry about two columns and the social icons widget ensures you don’t require a plugin.
The three different blog styles are fun to choose from, but I would assume that since you’re reading a blog post about magazine themes, you would choose the magazine style blog style.
Forceful Lite has one of the more unique designs on the list, with several modules to move around and consolidate so that all of your content fits in a single screen. Connect your top social media accounts with the stylish buttons, feature a few of your favorite articles at the top of the homepage and even incorporate weather information and ads for helping out your visitors and monetizing the site.
Assist your visitors with the movable search field, and consider placing one of the many custom widgets in your sidebar or footer areas.
The zeeFlow theme includes support for uploading your own logo, and you can incorporate several high resolution photos in your header slider. This is unique because it also lets you create buttons and text areas that push people to your most important content.
The neat and clean theme works as an example for some of the those designers out there who go a little crazy with the bells and whistles. The fully responsive design works well for magazines that need to brand the site and customize, since the theme has eight color schemes to choose from.
Expound is one of the most popular free magazine-style WordPress themes on the market. The responsive layout brings your magazine to the fingertips of readers all over the world, and the featured posts area sends your customers to the most recent or breaking news.
The theme offers post thumbnail support for coaxing your visitors into clicking more links, thus leading to longer page views and higher search engine rankings. Expound doesn’t look like much out of the box, but this is part of its charm. You can modify so many areas, or just stick to the pure simplicity of the standard design.