Top 7 Best Free WordPress Magazine Themes for 2020

Ben Sibley

“These themes are hand-picked for their outstanding design quality, features, and customer reviews.”

Want a cheap start?

It’s tough to rationalize a fancy premium theme when you’re just getting started.

The thing is, you don’t have to settle for a sub-par site design just because you’re choosing a free theme.

The magazine themes curated in this collection all have beautiful designs and are fully responsive. That means they perform just as well on mobile devices as widescreen monitors.

Furthermore, you may be surprised how feature-rich these themes are.

If you want to check out some paid options, explore our list of premium magazine WordPress themes for additional templates.

WordPress magazine themes

Every theme in this list has glowing reviews from its users. They also have plenty of live installs so you can be sure they’ll work well for your site too.

Here are my top picks for best free magazine WordPress themes for 2020.
  • 1. Mission News by Compete Themes

    Mission News

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    Mission News has been made for news websites and can be used for an online magazine just as easily. Its strength is its clean, readable design and ability to feature large amounts of content.

    As a magazine editor, it’s extremely important that your readers can easily find a wealth of content on your site. The three column design and Recent Posts Extended widget that comes bundled in Mission News provides you with a stylish way to list tons of articles on every page. Even better, it adapts fluidly to different screen sizes so your site will look fantastic on smartphones and tablets alike.

    Mission News includes a huge amount of layout options allowing you to quickly change sidebar layouts across parts of the site or individual posts where you see fit. You include a search bar in the header with the click of a button an add linked social icons to more than 50+ different social sites.

    Learn more

  • 2. Refined Magazine by Candid Themes

    Refined Magazine

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    Refined Magazine is a free WordPress magazine theme. This theme is very simple and easy to use. It is suitable for any type of news or blog site. It has an amazing header, multiple logo position, breaking news, featured slider, post tabs, 9+ custom widgets, color options, footer widgets, and many more. In addition to that, this theme comes with multiple free demos to make an amazing website in few minutes.

    Furthermore, Refined Magazine has multiple blog page layouts, related posts, featured image options, sidebar layouts, copyright text, go to the top, etc. Thousands of users are actively using this theme and gave 5 out of 5-star ratings.

    For professional looking websites, use the Refined Magazine theme and you’ll get free support and updates just for downloading.

    Learn more

  • 3. Intimate by Template Sell

    Intimate Theme

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    Intimate is a free WordPress magazine theme. This theme is suitable for a news site like food, technology, fashion, politics, etc. It is simple and easy to use. Intimate comes with trending news, logo options, header image, and featured slider sections.

    Furthermore, it has custom widgets, primary color options, sidebar options, and copyright options. If you are looking for a simple and lightweight theme, Intimate is best. It comes with demo data and video documentation to set up the theme. It has an awesome home page and a 3 column blog page layout. Related posts, breadcrumb, go to the top, featured image option, are the added features. Download this theme now and start making a news website.

    Learn more

  • 4. Elegant Magazine by AF Themes

    Elegant Magazine

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    The Elegant Magazine theme has a clean and modern design. You’ll love the variety available in the homepage design and crisp, sans-serif fonts.

    There is a primary menu that is featured below the full-width header background image, and a mobile menu icon on the left side that opens a secondary menu. This is a cool way to keep the header clean while still providing access to less important pages like the About or Contact pages.

    The widgets that come bundled let you add post sliders and carousels to any widget area on your site. You can recreate the homepage found on the demo site or create an entirely custom design with all the widgets and widget areas available. Use the sidebar to feature even more content to keep visitors reading when they finish a post.

    Elegant Magazine’s modern flourish makes it appropriate for virtually any industry. It’s also translation-ready so you can use this magazine theme for a website in any language.

    Learn more

  • 5. MH Magazine Lite by MH Themes

    MH Magazine Lite

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    MH Magazine Lite was one of the first excellent free magazine themes ever made. It’s been a popular choice amongst publishers for a long time and is an extremely reliable choice.

    MH Magazine Lite uses widgets to create the diverse layout found on the homepage in the screenshot above. There are a handful of widgets that come included which you can distribute amongst the available widget areas. The widget system provides a lot of flexibility and control over the content you choose to feature.

    Stylistically, this magazine theme is pretty simple. It isn’t especially modern but it still looks good and works very well across different browsers and screen sizes. Overall, MH Magazine Lite is a dynamic theme for magazines and can be used for any niche from sports, fashion, business, travel, or even the latest tech gadgets.

    Learn more

  • 6. VMagazine Lite by Access Keys

    VMagazine Lite theme

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    VMagazine Lite has an ultra-modern, high-contrast style. Pure black backgrounds help make the primary and secondary menus in the header pop. You can easily include your social icons, logo, and a search bar to further upgrade the header design.

    You’ll appreciate the recent news ticker that sits below the menu. It’s a nice way to highlight additional stories and the animation makes the site feel more alive. The homepage features an innovative post slider which allows you to showcase five posts per slide. Each homepage widget has a card-style design that makes it stand out against the gray background.

    VMagazine Lite was built to work with the SiteOrigin Page Builder which utilizes widgets for page construction. It allows you to set completely custom layouts which you can then fill in with whatever widgets you want. This free WordPress theme includes 8 custom widgets that are fully compatible with the drag-and-drop page builder.

    Learn more

  • 7. Magazine 7 by AF Themes

    Magazine 7

    View theme now Get hosting

    Theme Description

    Magazine 7 is another extremely versatile choice for a magazine website. It has tons of layout options for building a homepage that will engage your visitors.

    There are some nice touches that lend a premium feel to this free theme. For instance, there is a smooth loading animation when navigating between posts, and the dropdown menus have smooth animations. While mainly minimalistic, there are some splashes of color throughout the template which add visual interest.

    Magazine 7 includes plenty of customization options available in the Live Customizer where you can watch your changes take place as you make them. Built with SEO-friendly code, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting found by the search engines either. Use this theme to build a news portal, fashion magazine, or active blog on any subject you can imagine.

    Learn more

Want to save a few bucks?

Themeforest always has popular themes on sale.

See the sale
Themes on sale

Visit the best premium WordPress themes collection for more great options or our list of the best free WordPress themes for free alternatives.

Which magazine theme is best for you?

Mission News is extremely adaptable and an excellent choice for news and magazine websites.

That said, Mission News has a very traditional style. You should check out Elegant Magazine if you want something more modern.

If you have a question about any of the free magazine WordPress themes featured here, post a comment below.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.

“I used Bluehost to host my first WordPress site back in 2010 and I still recommend them today."

Bluehost auto-creates your WordPress site for you and lets you register your first domain for free.

If you want to try Bluehost for your site, use the button below to get our special partner discount.

Ben Sibley, Compete Themes founder

Get the discount X

Take our 7-day Email Course for FREE

You'll learn how to make your WordPress site look better, load faster, and make more money.

Invalid email address
You'll get one email a day for the next 7 days

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing a product through one of these links generates a commission for us at no additional expense to you.