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 Fashionista 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 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.
10. News Portal
The News Portal WordPress theme is a great option for building a full online magazine with minimal effort. The design this theme offers is engaging and really draws visitors in. It comes jam packed with features that suit publishing well, like featured stories, colorful category tags, social media integration, header advertising, and a news ticker you can use to display “breaking” news at your discretion. It also allows you to set up sections on the homepage that fill with specific categories of your content you designate.
The theme itself is fully widgetized, so you can easily drop in content in a variety of spots on your homepage without having to manually create pages or figure out layouts. Just add content to the widgets, drag the widgets into place, and you’ll be good to go. You can make additional changes to the look of this theme using the built-in customizer, of course. Choose from a variety of color options for text, section headers, and more. Beyond the nuts and bolts of the features here, News Portal is a stylish theme that is inherently professional. However, you could easily use it for a casual publication as well as a business-related one. Your content and the images you choose will ultimately change the way this theme looks. And isn’t that how it should always work? Your content is the focal point here.
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.
12. MH Newsdesk Lite
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.
14. Magazine Hoot
Magazine Hoot is another fantastic WordPress you should consider for your online magazine. This one definitely offers a lot of information directly on the homepage but it does so in such a streamlined way that it doesn’t feel cluttered or confusing. This theme makes lovely use a wide range of colors that make it easy to distinguish between different sections of your publication at-a-glance. The colorful category tags are nice touch. You can also make use of widgets for place top stories, top categories, and stories you want to manually call out and highlight.
Other features include banner advertising and widget ads, social media icons, search, and more. Beyond this, the theme is compatible with most top plugins like Yoast, Contact Form 7, Jetpack, Google Maps, and MapPress. It also works with page builder plugins so you can further customize the layout and design using a drag-and-drop interface. I like the dropdown menus at the top of the theme that can be used to display content from within specific categories. Overall, this theme is easy on the eyes and that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when trying to get visitors interested in your content.
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.
16. Silk Lite
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.
Viral is another online magazine WordPress theme that can be used for any publication you want to launch. It’s aimed at “viral” publications, so those that center around clickbait-style content. However, that’s not all it can be used for. In fact, it’s got a simple design and layout that is perfectly suitable for corporate blogs, online magazines, and even personal blogs. Getting started with this theme is simple thanks to its drag-and-drop layout building. It also comes with three different banner layouts you can use to adjust how you present your content to visitors.
Additional features include six category section layouts, a news ticker, and a promotional headline section. It has five unique widgets built in as well that you can add to the sidebar, footer, or header. This gives you the flexibility you need to creative precisely the type of site you want. You can include banner advertising in the header, promote social media, and change what stories you feature on the homepage. It’s flexible without being overwhelming, which makes it a solid choice for those getting started with online publishing.
MagazineBook is a responsive magazine WordPress theme that offers tons of features, all for free. This would be an ideal choice for viral online publications like trendy magazines or meme-centered websites. However, it could also prove to be useful for corporate blogs, online magazines, review websites, and sites that use an editorial style, even if they’re not full-fledged magazines.
This theme works seamlessly with the Elementor page builder plugin and comes with over 20 different elements that you can use that are specific to the news or magazine industry. You can use theme in any configuration you want to create a truly unique layout that looks unlike any other website out there. It’s also SEO-friendly and supports WPML and is both translation and RTL-ready. On top of that, you can use MagazineBook with Gutenberg as well. It comes with several widgets that you can use in the sidebar and footers to further customize your site and to add extra interest. While this theme adheres to a grid layout, it also prominently allows for flexibility, which I think is a stand out feature. Each story gets its own square on the grid, but you also get the opportunity to paint a visual picture here that holds untold promise for appealing to visitors at-a-glance and beyond.
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.
20. Elegant Magazine
Looking to start a style or fashion magazine? The Elegant Magazine WordPress theme might be just the one you’re looking for. The design itself is really simple but that’s exactly what I like about it. It’s sleek and interesting without being overwhelming. Why add a bunch of extra features if you don’t have to, especially if they’d distract visitors from your content? This theme makes use of widgets so you can readily drag and drop them to create the layout you want. Likewise, as with all WordPress themes, you can use the customizer to live preview the changes you make as you make them.
This theme is SEO-friendly so it’ll be found easier in search engines. Plus, its code is written to load quickly and the theme developer offers support. This is an all-around high-quality theme that will make your content stand out (without getting in the way) and offers an easy-to-customize layout for any publication project.
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.
23. Cover News
Starting a news publication has never been easier than with the CoverNews WordPress theme. The design is straightforward but allows you to feature a lot of content straight away. This is great when you’re running a news website and you want to get people information quickly. It’s also ideal for showing the breadth of coverage you offer. Category tags are colorful and engaging. You can also list trending stories in a convenient widget. It’s easy to showcase advertising in the header banner and/or in a sidebar widget.
The theme itself is responsive and looks great on all devices, which is ideal when most people will be viewing your content from a phone. Though this theme is obviously geared toward news publications, it could be tweaked to suit fashion magazines, travel blogs, and personal blogs as well. It offers RTL support, which is great if you plan to offer your content in more than one language. It’s also compatible with WooCommerce, so if there’s an e-commerce component to your publication (a merch shop, for instance), this is a match made in heaven. Three demos are included as well, so pick your favorite, install it and get to creating.
24. Cream Magazine
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.
25. Magazine Power
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 Eximious Magazine WordPress theme is another solid option for those interested in starting an online publication of some sort. It’s well laid out when plenty of whitespace between sections. It offers colorful category tags so the type of content you’re offering is always clear. It allows you to feature ads in widgets in the header and in the sidebar. It even has a trending bar that showcases top stories.
Though aimed at magazines, this theme could feasibly be used for just about any multi-author project. It’s multipurpose it that way and can serve personal bloggers, opinion columnists, travel blogs, photographer sites, and more. It also supports a lot of widget areas, which means customizing comes down to a matter of dragging and dropping sections where you’d like them to appear. With easy setup and easy maintenance on hand, Eximious Magazine might work well for your next website.
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.
Feature fashion spreads and beauty content easily with the Editorialmag WordPress theme. This one offers a clean and grid-based design that’s easy on the eyes and easy to navigate as well. Clear section tags make it easy to see what type of content you publish. And you can structure the layout however you’d like thanks to drag-and-drop widgets. Just rearrange where you want sections to appear to suit your needs. This theme comes with nine custom widgets that you can add in the left sidebar, right sidebar or footer area. You can also add advertising into the header space or sidebars.
Additionally, this theme works with most popular plugins like Contact Form 7, Jetpack, AccessPress, Jetpack, and Social Counter. It’s also compatible with page builder plugins should you need more control over the theme’s appearance and design. A few other nice touches include a date bar as well as a headline bar that offers up the latest breaking news stories for your visitors. All around, this is a stylish choice for a news publication.
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.
32. NewsPress Lite
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.
34. Rubine Lite
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.