Looking for great-looking WordPress magazine themes? Want to build your own news or magazine website? Want to be the next Verge, CNN or BBC? It’s an ambitious goal but one that is accessible to anyone with some determination and plenty of time on their hands.
There is a lot involved in building a news or magazine website but we are going to help with the toughest part. Making it look good.
Appearance is only part of the equation but goes a long way to help build a readership and keep them coming back for more!
What Is a WordPress Magazine Theme?
A WordPress magazine theme differs from standard themes as they typically contain a lot of dynamic content on the front page. Where many design templates will be largely static, a magazine website is likely to have diverse, constantly changing content that needs to be displayed in an organized way.
Many WordPress magazine themes are designed with category sections to help with this organization. You can then set up categories for the content featured on the page and it will be dynamically updated whenever new content is published.
Magazine websites and news websites are largely the same thing so rather than bore you by saying ‘magazine websites and news websites’ all the time, we will just refer to them as magazine sites from now on.
We have tried and tested dozens of WordPress magazine themes to build this list and came up with what we think are the 20 best WordPress magazine themes in 2020.
Summary of the Best WordPress Magazine Themes
|Magazine theme name||Price||Ease of use|
|Astra||$47 per year up to $249 per year||4.5/5|
|Divi||$89 per year or $249 for lifetime licence.||4.5/5|
|Magazine Pro||$99.95 per year||4/5|
|Hestia Pro||£69 per year up to £199 per year||3.5/5|
|Newspaper||$59 for a single site licence||3.5/5|
|News Pro||$99.95 per year||4/5|
|Pixwell||$33 for a single licence||4/5|
|Independent||$49 for a single licence||4/5|
|Gillion||$55 for a single site licence||3.5/5|
|Soledad||$59 for a single licence||3.5/5|
|Smartmag||$52 for a single site licence||3/5|
|Colormag||$69 or $99 per year||4/5|
|The Issue||$59 for a single site licence||4/5|
|MH Magazine||$49 per year||4/5|
|Magplus||$59 for a single website licence||3/5|
|Uncode||$59 for a single site licence||3/5|
|Opinion||$69 for a single site licence||4/5|
|TheGem||$59 for a single site licence||3.5/5|
|WonderWall||$59 per year for a single site licence or $89 per year for unlimited||4/5|
|REHub – themeforest||$59 for a single site licence||3/5|
The 20 Best WordPress Magazine Themes
We began with a list of over a hundred magazine WordPress themes and ended up with just twenty. We think these are definitely the best options out there right now. Whatever type of news you want to share, one of these themes can help you do it!
Astra is a superb WordPress theme with a wide range of free and premium templates designed for websites of all types. The theme is light, loads quickly and uses WordPress customizer, Elementor, Beaver Builder or Brizy to help build pages. It is one of the most flexible themes out there in terms of customization and personalization.
Astra’s Starter Templates cover every type of website going. There are dozens of existing starter templates to choose from or you could build your page from scratch using the page builders. Whichever way you go, Astra makes it easy.
Pros of Astra:
- Works with WordPress customizer, Elementor, Beaver Builder or Brizy page builders
- No jQuery so pages load fast
- Even large, image-heavy pages load quickly
- Huge range of layout and customization options
- Great documentation covering every aspect of the theme
Cons of Astra:
- The sheer number of features may initially be daunting
- Access to premium starter templates locked out of cheapest premium option
Astra is a premium theme but there is a free version with access to some free starter templates. The pro version costs from $47 per year up to $249 per year.
Opinion of Astra
As long as you spend a few minutes finding out where everything is in Astra, creating a website is genuinely simple. The opportunity to use your page builder of choice makes a huge difference to that experience and those starter templates are all top quality.
Divi is one of the most popular WordPress themes out there after Astra. It has a huge selection of demo templates, has been designed to offer maximum flexibility and can be customized to suit any type of website.
Divi has a range of styles but the Extra theme is designed specifically for magazine websites. It includes a drag and drop page builder, a solid demo to begin building, a category builder for the main page, responsive design and very straightforward user navigation.
Pros of Divi:
- Designed to load pages fast
- Drag and drop page builder
- Category builder specifically for magazine websites
- Fully responsive and SEO-friendly
Cons of Divi:
Divi is a fantastic product but you do pay for the privilege. It costs $89 per year or $249 for a lifetime licence.
Opinion of Divi
The Divi Extra theme is excellent and includes all the tools you need to build your magazine website. The price puts it out of reach of many though. If you can pay the price, there are few better options for WordPress.
3. Magazine Pro
Magazine Pro is another superb WordPress magazine theme worth considering. It is built using the powerful Genesis Framework which underpins a wide range of websites. It is responsive, has a premium aesthetic and can be customized almost infinitely to suit any type of magazine website.
The default demo is fairly plain with either black, blue, green or orange accent colors but you can customize the look and feel of the page easily. The page editor is simple to get to grips with and makes short work of colors, fonts, imagery and any other changes you might want to make.
Pros of Magazine Pro:
- Built on the very stable and powerful Genesis Framework
- Includes Gutenberg support
- Includes a theme customizer to manage every aspect of design
- Responsive and SEO-friendly
Cons of Magazine Pro:
- Not as initially as attractive as Astra or Newspaper
- More suitable for some website types than others
Magazine Pro Pricing
Magazine Pro costs $99.95 per year which includes access to the Genesis Framework. This is an ambitious price but offers a lot in return.
Opinion of Magazine Pro
Magazine Pro is stable, reliable and flexible. While not as visually impressive as some others in this list, it still has the potential to be something special with some work.
4. Hestia Pro
Hestia Pro is another very popular WordPress theme. Like Astra or Divi, it has been designed to make beautiful websites that work quickly with the minimum of fuss. Designs are modern, flat and with good use of colour and could be ideal for the modern audience.
Hestia Pro doesn’t have a magazine demo but the page builder and inherent customizability mean you can build one with very little effort. The theme is compatible with the Elementor page builder, is designed to be responsive, load quickly and be all those things you want a magazine WordPress theme to be.
Pros of Hestia Pro:
- Flat, material design is very contemporary
- Great use of colour, fonts and page blocks
- Comes with Elementor page builder
- Demo sites are of a very high quality
Cons of Hestia Pro:
- No pre-made magazine theme
Hestia Pro Pricing
Hestia Pro costs from £69 per year up to £199 per year for a single licence up to unlimited licences. There is a free version of Hestia available too.
Opinion of Hestia Pro
Hestia Pro is very easy to work with. Despite not having a magazine demo, the theme makes short work of building a page to your exact needs. The contemporary design and plentiful features make it worth checking out.
Newspaper is a best-selling WordPress magazine theme from ThemeForest. It is a dedicated WordPress magazine theme with dozens of demos covering all types of designs and site types.
The theme works well, comes with its own tagDiv page builder and a huge range of page elements. It also includes lots of magazine features such as content blocks, ad blocks and image blocks. These give you the ability to customize every part of the page and change individual colours, fonts and a whole lot more.
Pros of Newspaper:
- Designed specifically for magazine websites
- The tagDiv page builder is very flexible
- Huge selection of page elements to choose from
- Default demo sites are professional quality
Cons of Newspaper:
- Requires some WordPress knowledge to get the best out of it
- tagDiv page builder will need getting used to
Newspaper costs $59 for a single site licence. As this is a Themeforest theme, that’s all you pay.
Opinion of Newspaper
Newspaper is an excellent WordPress magazine theme with dozens of layouts to suit most website types. The tagDiv page builder is very good but as it isn’t as well known as Elementor or Beaver Builder, there is a slight learning curve. Other than that, there is nothing to criticize about this theme.
6. News Pro
News Pro is another magazine WordPress theme from StudioPress. This design is a little more restrained than Magazine Pro and is more suitable for a newspaper or more formal magazine with its monochrome aesthetic. It still has lots of character though!
News Pro is also built on the Genesis Framework so is stable and easy to use. While the demo is monochrome, you can add colour, change fonts, add imagery and customize the theme to your heart’s content. There is very little you cannot do with this theme.
Pros of News Pro:
- The stability and reliability of the Genesis Framework
- Ease of use and of customization
- Powerful theme customization options offer plenty of scope
- Responsive and ecommerce compatible
Cons of News Pro:
- The monochrome design limits the appeal
- Not the cheapest option here
News Pro Pricing
News Pro costs $99.95 per year and includes the Genesis Framework. It isn’t the cheapest here but you do get a lot for your money.
Opinion of News Pro
News Pro is simple and to the point and that works in its favour. For some types of news websites, this would be perfect. It can also be customized with added flair for other magazine sites too with a little work.
Pixwell is another magazine WordPress theme from ThemeForest. It’s a top performer in terms of sales and has a wide range of demo layouts that could appeal to the widest audience. Each uses colour, font and white space exceptionally well while injecting a little originality.
Pixwell uses the Ruby Composer as a page builder which is user friendly and uses drag and drop. It is also compatible with Elementor if you prefer. There are lots of options for page elements, social media, SEO and lazy loading for page performance. Just some of the reasons it appears in this list of best WordPress magazine themes.
Pros of Pixwell:
- Attractive designs with unique features
- Uses Ruby Composer or Elementor page builder
- Pages load quickly
- Lots of social features to add engagement
Cons of Pixwell:
- Support can be sporadic with ThemeForest themes
Pixwell costs just $33 for a single licence making this exceptional value considering what’s on offer.
Opinion of Pixwell
Pixwell is a very likeable theme. Demos are colourful, have real character and great page balance. If you know a little about WordPress and can figure things out on your own, this could make a great magazine theme.
Independent is another standout WordPress magazine theme. The theme comes with a range of demos covering everything from news to food, gaming to sports and would make decent websites with no customization at all.
As Independent comes with the WPBakery page builder plugin, you can customize every element of every page. You can add page elements, remove them, restyle them, change colours, fonts, change headers, change blocks, add banners and do whatever you like with your pages. It’s all very straightforward.
Pros of Independent:
- Characterful demos that are ready to go
- Massive opportunity for customization
- Huge range of page elements to use
- Supports ecommerce and is RTL-ready
Cons of Independent:
- Some issues with WPBakery compatibility reported
Independent costs $49 for a single licence that includes 6 months support.
Opinion of Independent
Independent is a great looking WordPress magazine theme with some distinct demos. If you’re looking for a theme that really stands out without having to do much, this could be one to try.
Gillion is a simple WordPress magazine theme but in a good way. It isn’t quite minimalist but it uses white space, colour blocks and strong fonts to great effect while also staying out of the way of the content. That’s a hard balance to strike but this theme does it well.
Gillion is a magazine style theme but could also be used as a blog or something else. As it uses WPBakery, customization is very straightforward. The theme is WooCommerce compatible, has a ton of social integrations, is responsive and designed to be quick and easy to set up. All things we like in a WordPress theme!
Pros of Gillion:
- Designed to be easy to set up and use
- Uses WPBakery page builder
- Lots of page elements for you to use.
- Generous integration including WooCommerce
Cons of Gillion:
- Sheer number of features may increase the learning curve a little
Gillion costs $55 for a single site licence and 6 month’s support. It’s a good price for a feature-rich magazine WordPress theme.
Opinion of Gillion
Gillion is both a standout and the opposite. Attractive yet low key and is one of those websites that users will either notice the design of or won’t. Either way, it delivers a solid theme that could be ideal for all kinds of websites.
Soledad has a similar aesthetic to Hestia Pro. Colourful with good use of white space, flat design and subtle background elements that makes a page easy to read. The theme comes with a wide range of demos covering many topics, so could potentially require very little work to get up and running.
Soledad supports AMP, Woocommerce, BBPress, BuddyPress, Elementor, WPBakery, Slider Revolution, Gutenberg blocks and most plugins and addons you would likely need.
Pros of Soledad:
- Demo websites are excellent and cover most genres
- Works with Elementor, WPBakery and Gutenberg blocks
- Compatible with a huge range of WordPress plugins
- Fast loading pages for SEO performance
Cons of Soledad:
- There really is a lot to get to grips with here
Soledad costs $59 for a single licence and six months of support.
Opinion of Soledad
Soledad is a standout magazine WordPress theme, both in terms of aesthetics and features. Be prepared for a learning curve to get to grips with it all though. But, with a little patience and perseverance, you could have a great looking website in no time.
Smartmag is a dedicated magazine theme for WordPress that really delivers. Demos are more restrained than some others in this list but still work exceptionally well. They are predominantly black with blocks of colour and images but can be customized to almost any design you like.
Smartmag comes with its own page builder and five demos. Each demo provides a solid framework from which to build your own content with its own personality. The inclusion of Mega Menus, Slider Revolution, bbPress, WooCommerce and other plugins provides all the scope you need to deliver the site you want to deliver.
Pros of Smartmag:
- Solid demos that provide the backbone of a multitude of designs
- Comes with its own page builder
- Compatible with WooCommerce, Mega Menu, Slider Revolution, bbPress and other plugins
- Pages load quickly
Cons of Smartmag:
- Smartmag will likely require more work than some of these other WordPress magazine themes to make your own.
- Support mainly via user forum
Smartmag costs $52 for a single site licence and 6 month’s support.
Opinion of Smartmag
Smartmag is a great theme with a lot of potential but isn’t as out-of-the-box ready for use as some. It will take some customization to make the theme truly yours but makes it very easy to do just that.
Colormag is both a free and a premium WordPress magazine theme. The free version offers a lot of scope but it isn’t until you get premium that the theme comes alive. You get access to a range of demo sites that can be installed and customized in minutes and even left as default for some sites!
Colormag demos use classic magazine design with great aesthetics to provide a basis for personalization. There are a ton of page options, opportunities to add colour, change fonts, add or remove images and really make the theme your own. For those reasons alone Colormag is worth its place in our best WordPress magazine themes list.
Pros of Colormag:
- Great looking demos
- Free version so you can try before you buy
- Compatible with Beaver Builder, Brizy, Gutenberg, Elementor and SiteOrigin page builders
- Fast loading pages
- Good documentation
Cons of Colormag:
- You really will need to buy premium to get the best out of the theme.
Colormag has a free version and a premium version at $69 per year. It’s good value but if you pay $99, you get access to another 15 themes for extra flexibility.
Opinion of Colormag
Colormag is a good looking theme with a lot of potential. As it’s compatible with most leading page builders, it won’t take too much effort to realize that potential.
13. The Issue
The Issue is a very competent theme with a selection of layout types to choose from. Some manage to combine minimalism with magazine layouts while others are more colourful or feature-packed. All of them load quickly, look good and can make a compelling web page.
The Issue provides clean designs that let your content shine. This would work exceptionally well for some magazine sites. The theme also supports most WordPress plugin types and includes social elements, ads, custom widgets, Lightbox and a host of other features too.
Pros of The Issue:
- Wide range of clean templates for a wide range of uses
- Lots of customization options
- Support for different headers, layouts, styles and article types
Cons of The Issue:
- The clean minimalist look isn’t for everyone
The Issue Pricing
The Issue costs $59 for a single site licence with support for six months.
Opinion of The Issue
The Issue is excellent. Pages load quickly, they have great balance and pages can be built to your specific needs. The clean modernist look may not be for everyone though.
14. MH Magazine
MH Magazine is another WordPress magazine theme with a free and a premium version. It is also another where the theme only really comes alive when you pay for it. The design is solid even if it doesn’t offer anything new and delivers an excellent platform from which you can customize it fully.
MH Magazine is a modular theme so you can add, remove or change most of the page elements. You can also modify headers, footers, sliders and include other WordPress plugins for extra functionality. It’s a solid theme that delivers more in features than perhaps it does in aesthetics.
Pros of MH Magazine:
- Solid, reliable theme with clean code
- Pages load quickly
- Modular design makes building pages simple
Cons of MH Magazine:
- There are more attractive themes out there
MH Magazine Pricing
MH Magazine costs just $49 per year for a single site licence. That’s good value considering what you get.
Opinion of MH Magazine
MH Magazine is not as aesthetically impressive as some of the best WordPress magazine themes here. What it does deliver is a fast website with clean code that forms the foundations from which you can add your own personality.
Magplus is a highly rated WordPress magazine theme on ThemeForest. It’s a very contemporary design with clean lines, good use of colours and fonts, distinct content blocks and the tools you need to build a website with real appeal.
The demos for Magplus are superb and include designs that cover all genres. This is a strong showing and there should be a theme here that suits your site with minimal customization. If you do want to customize it, the template is compatible with Elementor or WPBakery page builders so it won’t take long!
Pros of Magplus:
- Strong demo templates that cover most subjects
- Compatible with Elementor or WPBakery page builders
- Over 150 page elements covering most of what you could need
- Some premium plugins included in the price
Cons of Magplus:
- There is a learning curve unless you know how web pages are put together
Magplus costs $59 for a single website licence and six months’ support.
Opinion of Magplus
Magplus is another magazine WordPress theme that covers all bases. There is a demo theme for every conceivable use plus the tools to customize it further. No more need be said really.
Uncode is a multipurpose theme with magazine demos. It’s an excellent template with more tools than many others in this list of best WordPress magazine themes. Designs are clean, modern and include strong fonts, great page balance and those content blocks that are all important on magazine websites.
Uncode has its own drag and drop page builder, 410 wireframe layout options, flexible content blocks, compatibility with WooCommerce, WPBakery, Layer Slider, Revolution Slider, Lightbox and more.
Pros of Uncode:
- Very attractive suite of demo sites ready to go
- Competent drag and drop page builder
- Wide plugin compatibility including WooCommerce
- Fast loading pages
- Huge range of page tools for you to use
Cons of Uncode:
- Includes a learning curve for the features and page builder
Uncode costs $59 for a single site licence and six months’ support.
Opinion of Uncode
Uncode is a very powerful WordPress magazine theme that comes complete with lots of features. It will take you a little while to get to grips with exactly what’s on offer but once you do, the options are limitless.
Opinion is a single magazine theme that is very nice to look at. It’s a very contemporary theme with flat design, strong fonts and content blocks, great flow down the page and a very attractive aesthetic. If it suits your brand, this is a no-brainer.
Opinion comes complete with customization tools for colours, fonts, layout, menus and everything you might want to change. It is also fully compatible with WooCommerce, JetPack, Yoast SEO, WP Forms, Mailchimp and other WordPress plugins too.
Pros of Opinion:
- Opinion has a very attractive default design
- Includes lots of customization options
- Compatible with most WordPress plugins
- Designed to perform with fast-loading pages
- Responsive design
Cons of Opinion:
- Single design offers limited scope
Opinion costs $69 for a single site licence and six months’ support. It’s slightly more expensive than some but seems worth it.
Thoughts on Opinion
Unlike other WordPress magazine themes in this list, Opinion is built around a single demo. This may be limiting but if that demo suits your brand, this is definitely a template worth checking out.
TheGem is a very popular multipurpose WordPress template with a number of magazine demos. Each demo is very strong and covers different design aesthetics that should cover every genre or taste out there.
TheGem is compatible with Elementor and WPBakery page builders and includes a multitude of page elements, skins, extensions and customizations. Pages load quickly and are designed with SEO and responsiveness in mind. No stone has been left unturned, making TheGem well worth its slot in our list of the best WordPress magazine themes for 2020.
Pros of TheGem:
- Includes over 400 demo templates
- Compatible with Elementor and WPBakery page builders
- Compatible with WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Yoast and other plugins
- Good customer support and documentation
Cons of TheGem:
- Sheer weight of options may be initially off-putting
TheGem costs $59 for a single site licence and six months of support. Considering how much is here, that’s a great price.
Opinion of TheGem
TheGem is about as feature-rich as it gets but with that comes a learning curve. It will take a while to get to grips with how everything works and where everything is but after that, the sky’s the limit!
WonderWall is a single template that can be customized almost infinitely. It’s a classic magazine style with white background, strong black font, multiple menus, strong image header and content blocks. It’s a very appealing design in the right hands.
WonderWall has 9 layout options, a newsletter widget, social media integration, ad placement and is built for speed. It uses the WordPress Customizer for live editing which should be familiar to most users, lowering the learning curve.
Pros of WonderWall:
- Very attractive demo with 9 layouts
- Classic design with good use of white space
- Flexible WordPress Customizer page editor
- Social media compatibility
Cons of WonderWall:
- Single design may be limiting for some
WonderWall costs $59 per year for a single site licence or $89 per year for unlimited websites.
Opinion of WonderWall
WonderWall is an excellent addition to our list of best WordPress magazine themes. While it doesn’t offer the number of demos of some of these others, the quality of what you get makes it undeniably good value.
REHub is a multipurpose WordPress theme that includes a magazine demo. It’s one of the most colourful and characterful demos out there and would work exceptionally well for some websites. It includes strong colours and fonts, a great header image element and very flexible pages.
REHub uses the Elementor page builder but is also fully compatible with Gutenberg blocks. It has social elements, business directory tools, price and ecommerce tools, review and comparison tools and a wide range of page elements for total design freedom.
Pros of REHub:
- Flexible WordPress theme with high quality demos
- Plentiful features including social and ecommerce
- Compatible with Elementor and Gutenberg blocks
- Supremely flexible design that could suit many website types
Cons of REHub:
- Not designed specifically for magazine websites
- Will require work to fully utilize all features
REHub costs $59 for a single site licence and six months’ support.
Opinion of REHub
REHub is an excellent addition to our list of best WordPress magazine themes. It may not be dedicated to magazine styles but the demo is of such high quality that we would be remiss to not include it!
Installing a WordPress Magazine Theme
If you’re new to building websites, installing a WordPress magazine theme is a breeze. The hardest part is selecting one of the many top class themes out there. The actual installation process can be done in under two minutes!
- Purchase a WordPress magazine theme from the list above or download the theme you already have.
- Extract the theme on your computer so you have the ‘themename.zip’ file ready.
- Log into your WordPress installation.
- Select Appearance from the left menu of your WordPress dashboard.
- Select Themes from the submenu and Add New from the new window.
- Select the Upload Theme button at the top of the page.
- Select Choose File and select the ‘themename.zip’ file you prepared.
- Select Install Now.
- Select Activate when the button becomes available.
Most WordPress themes will add their own menu item to the left menu in your WordPress dashboard. From there you can add your purchase code to unlock the theme and begin setting it up.
Using Demo Data to Build Your Site
Some themes come with demo data that you can install so your website looks exactly like the demo pages you saw. Different themes handle this in different ways.
For example, Astra uses its own Starter Templates plugin for free templates and the Premium Starter Template plugin for premium themes. The Premium Starter Templates plugin is available from your account page on the Astra website.
To install a premium theme from Astra, do the following:
- Download the appropriate plugin for the theme you want to install.
- Select Appearance from the left menu of your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the Start Template submenu item.
- Select your page builder from the top right dropdown menu.
- Browser the list of templates for the one you want to use.
- Select Preview Site from within the template to make sure it’s the right one for your needs.
- Select Import Complete Site from the template main page.
- Select to delete previous sites, install and activate or import widgets, content or plugins from the list.
- Select Import and wait for the process to complete.
- Select View Site to begin customization!
You should now have a website that looks exactly like the demo that made you purchase it. What you do from here is entirely up to you!
Summary of WordPress Magazine Themes
There are hundreds of high quality WordPress magazine themes out there. We had to look very hard at those available to be able to come up with just 20 exceptional ones.
What you see in the 20 best WordPress magazine themes for 2020 is, in our opinion, the best of the best. Themes that deliver beautiful aesthetics, powerful features, fast loading and more importantly, ease of use.
Which WordPress Magazine Theme Should You Choose?
We worked tirelessly to filter those hundreds of WordPress magazine themes down to just 20 and we think each represents great value combined with powerful designs, plenty of features and the opportunity to customize each page exactly as you need.
If we had to pick two that we would use ourselves, we would pick Astra and Newspaper.
Astra because of its ease of use, compatibility with drag and drop page builders, page speed and almost limitless customization options. There are also a lot of great quality free templates and some pretty spectacular premium ones. While there aren’t dedicated magazine themes, Astra makes it so easy to build one from scratch.
We would select Newspaper for its accessibility, price and range of magazine themes. While the tagDiv page builder has a slight learning curve, the sheer weight of features makes it worth trying. As does the wide range of dedicated magazine designs available with the package.
Whichever website theme you choose, if it’s from this list, you can rest assured you’re getting the best that money can buy!