Top WordPress.org Themes based on active installs

If you are a WordPress theme developer, with themes uploaded and available on WordPress.org, then tracking how popular your theme is, can be super-addictive.

Seeing it on the first few rows of the popular themes page on WordPress.org’s popular themes section can give you a real high. The algorithm that determines where you rank on the popularity chart though, is not just directly related to the number of active installs – it factors in the age of your theme too.
Which is why even though CyberChimps’ Responsive Theme has 90k+ active installs, it shows up below themes with much fewer installs.

Up until the end of 2015, the theme directory used to mention the number of downloads for each theme. In November 2015, the download count was replaced with the number of active installs. ‘Active Installs’ are beyond doubt a valid and credible way to measure the popularity of a WordPress theme. Because quite often, users may download a whole bunch of themes to try them out, but may end up activating / selecting only one.
There was a lot of debate and discussion when this was rolled out, but I believe this is a very robust metric – that keeps theme developers like us on our toes – and keeps it ‘real’.

While doing some research around the most popular free themes – I made this list of the ones that have the highest number of active installs, for my own reference, but though it might be interesting to share it with everyone. I have excluded the 201* themes (TwentyFourteen, TwentyFifteen, etc…) from this list, because I was more curious about the themes developed by other theme developers.

Please note though that this list is NOT the same as the top most popular ones on WordPress.org’s popular themes section. I have only listed the themes with the highest number of active installs – irrespective of the theme age.

Here are a couple of interesting observations about the 25 themes that made it to this list

  • All of these WordPress themes have over 30K active installs
  • Only 14 have over 50K active installs
  • Of these top 25 – Four themes are One Page themes ( this one was a surprise to me at least )
  • Authors who have more than one theme, -Nicolas Guillame (2 themes), CryoutCreations (2 themes), ThemeGrill (2 themes)


THE LIST

So, here’s the list of the top 25 Free WordPress Themes with most active installs –

  1. SYDNEY BY ATHEMES
  2. Business WordPress Theme. 100K+ Active Installs. Rating 5

    Sydney WordPress Theme

  3. CUSTOMIZR BY NICOLAS GUILLAUME
  4. Professional WordPress Theme. 100K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    Customizr WordPress theme

  5. VANTAGE BY GREG PRIDAY
  6. Multipurpose WordPress Theme. 100K+ Active Installs.  Rating – 4.5
    Vantage WordPress Theme
  7. ZERIF LITE BY THEMEISLE
  8. One Page WordPress Theme.  100K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Zerif Lite WordPress Theme

  9. STOREFRONT BY WOOTHEMES
  10. WooCommerce Theme. 100K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Storefront WordPress Theme

  11. RESPONSIVE BY CYBERCHIMPS
  12. Free Responsive WordPress Theme. 90K+ Active Installs. Rating 4.5

    CyberChimps' Responsive WordPress theme

  13. HUEMAN BY NICOLAS GUILLAUME
  14. Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme. 80K+ Active Installs.  Rating – 5

    Hueman WordPress Theme

  15. COLOR MAG BY THEMEGRILL
  16. Magazine WordPress Theme.  80K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    Color Mag WordPress Theme

  17. GENERATEPRESS BY TOM
  18. Device-friendly WordPress Theme. 70K+ Active installs. Rating -5

    GeneratePress WordPRess

  19. VIRTUE BY KADENCE THEMES
  20. ECommerce WordPress WordPress Theme. 70K+ Active installs. Rating -5

    Virtue WordPress theme

  21. SPACIOUS BY THEMEGRILL
  22. Multipurpose WordPress Theme. 70K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    Spacious WordPress theme

  23. SPARKLING BY SILKALNS
  24. Responsive WordPress Theme. 60K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    Sparkling WordPress Theme

  25. TOTAL BY HASH THEMES
    Parallax Theme. 60K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    total WordPress Theme

  26. ONEPRESS BY FAME THEMES
  27. One Page WordPress Theme. 50K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    OnePress WordPress theme

  28. MH MAGAZINE LITE BY MH THEMES
  29. Magazine WordPress Theme. 40K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    MH Magazine Lite WordPress Theme

  30. GRAPHENE BY SILVERKS
  31. Blogging WordPress Theme. 40K+ Active Installs. Rating – 5

    Graphene WordPress Theme

  32. HEMINGWAY BY ANDERS NOR?N
  33. Blogging WordPress Theme. 40K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Hemingway WordPress Theme

  34. ICONIC ONE BY THEMONIC
  35. Responsive WordPress Theme. 40K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Iconic One WordPress Theme

  36. ONETONE BY MAGEEWP
  37. One Page Business WordPress Theme.  40K+ Active Installs. Rating – 3.5

    One Tone WordPress Theme

  38. E-SHOP BY THEMES4WP
  39. WooCommerce WordPress theme.  30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 3.5

    E-Shop WordPress Theme

  40. TEMPERA BY CRYOUTCREATIONS
  41. Responsive WordPress Theme. 30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Tempera WordPress Theme

  42. SHOP ISLE BY CODEINWP
  43. One Page Business WordPress Theme. 30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Shop Isle WordPress Theme

  44. POSEIDON BY THEMEZEE
  45. Magazine WordPress Theme. 30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Poseidon WordPress Theme

  46. MANTRA BY CRYOUTCREATIONS
  47. Blogging/ Magazine WordPress Theme. 30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Mantra WordPress Theme

  48. ENIGMA BY WEBLIZAR
  49. Multipurpose WordPress Theme. 30K+ Active Installs. Rating – 4.5

    Enigma WordPress Theme

 

So that’s the hallowed list of themes – did I miss any themes? Any interesting observations that you have to share? Do let me know

About the Author

Susmita is an engineer, a writer and a dancer – not necessarily in that order ! Ever since she discovered WordPress, she has not ceased to be amazed by how this community-driven platform brings people together – in more ways than one.
And yes, she loves binge-watching movies !

2 Comments
  • Jakob Boman says:

    What a great list! It is probably the best list over free wordpress themes I have seen as it is not made with the purpose of pushing a certain theme or developer.
    It is added to my bookmarks!
    Thanks for sharing.

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