Parallax scrolling is a web design trend that took off a couple of years ago and still remains popular today. It’s an interactive effect designed to catch a visitor’s attention. It uses one or more layers that move slowly as you scroll down a webpage, creating a somewhat 3D effect. Parallax WordPress themes typically feature moving backgrounds and text that appear to flow with one another as you scroll down the page.
35+ Free & Premium Parallax WordPress Themes & Plugins
The problem with parallax scrolling is the fact that it can appear clunky and bloated when implemented poorly. Your webpage loads slowly when this happens, and the scrolling effect isn’t as smooth as it could be. It’ll appear laggy and “bouncy” as your visitor scrolls down, creating an unfriendly user experience.
Unfortunately, a lot of parallax WordPress themes, free and premium, have succumbed to clunky, bloated versions of the parallax-scrolling effect. They do feature beautifully-designed homepages and demos, but this means very little when users can barely load your homepage let alone scroll down it. Fortunately, we’ve created a list filled with WordPress themes that use not-so-clunky versions of parallax-scrolling effects.
So, let’s get on with it. Here are over 35 free and premium parallax WordPress themes and plugins.
1. Zerif Lite
Zerif Lite is a free, one-page landing-page theme. It uses one of the smoothest versions of parallax scrolling you’ll find on the net, bringing your header image along with you as you scroll down the page.
Lobo is a minimalist, artistically-designed portfolio theme for creative freelancers and agencies. It uses subtle parallax-scrolling effects, only moving the background ever so slightly.
Avoc is another minimalist portfolio theme designed for creatives. It uses subtle parallax scrolling to make it appear as though your text is moving.
Latte is a simple yet highly-effective landing-page theme for portfolios. It uses a smooth, parallax-scrolling effect that moves several backgrounds throughout your page.
Verk is a multipurpose business theme that uses a clean yet fully-featured design. It uses a parallax scrolling effect in a couple of the background elements on the page.
6. Altitude Pro
Altitude Pro is a child theme of the Genesis framework. It’s a landing-page theme for freelancers and service-based businesses that uses smooth parallax-scrolling effects on its backgrounds.
Avatar is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with a variety of different demos. The multi-page Avatar demo, for example, features smooth parallax-scrolling effects.
Freelance Writer is a portfolio theme designed for freelancers. It uses parallax scrolling effects on the background images it uses.
Story is a multipurpose creative theme capable of designing a variety of different websites. Its fullwidth page demos use smooth, parallax-scrolling effects on background images.
10. Pixova Lite
Pixova Lite is a free, one-page WordPress theme that uses smooth parallax-scrolling effects. It also uses a number of different lightweight animations.
Foundry is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with a number of different demos, many of which use simple parallax-scrolling effects on background images.
Notio is a minimalist portfolio theme that uses a chic, modern style. It comes with a homepage demo called Parallax Effects, which, as you may have guessed, features parallax-scrolling effects that make it appear as though your portfolio items are moving.
13. Parallax Pro
Parallax Pro is another child theme for the Genesis framework. It’s a simple landing-page theme that comes in numerous color schemes and uses a smooth, parallax-scrolling effect for background images.
Cronus is a free blogging theme that features a header with call-to-action buttons and written content beneath that. It uses a simple, parallax-scrolling effect in the header image.
Willow is a clean, one-page business theme. It comes with two demos, one of which uses a fullscreen parallax effect for all background images.
Scroller is a one-page WordPress theme for businesses and freelancers. It uses smooth, parallax-scrolling effects on the fullscreen background images it features throughout the homepage.
Vega is a free, one-page business theme compatible with WooCommerce. It uses smooth, parallax-scrolling effects on background images and combines those with smooth animations.
Osmosis is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with a variety of different demos. It comes with a demo called Scrolling, which features several moving layers.
Port is a stylish portfolio theme that features an elegant and minimalist design. It features a smooth, parallax-scrolling effect for every background image.
Zoo is a stylish, one-page WordPress theme designed for businesses and freelancers. It features two homepage demos, both of which feature smooth and beautifully-designed parallax-scrolling effects.
Zephyr is a business theme that uses Google’s Material Design. It features animations and parallax-scrolling effects, though they aren’t as smooth as other themes’ effects.
Vigor is a multipurpose theme that uses a simple, minimalist design. It comes with a number of different homepage concepts, many of which feature smooth, parallax-scrolling effects for background elements.
Axioma is a multipurpose business theme that comes with four homepage demos. This theme uses parallax-scrolling effects for background images, though less smooth.
Morpheus is a one-page business theme designed for a variety of different businesses. It features captivating styles and uses semi-smooth, parallax-scrolling effects.
Ronneby is one of the most stylish multipurpose business themes on this list. It comes with a Scrolling Content demo, which features parallax-scrolling and animation effects.
Rhythm is a massive multipurpose theme that comes with over 50 homepage demos. Most feature simple parallax effects while others feature dedicated parallax demos for images.
Uncode is a multipurpose theme for creatives that comes with over 30 homepage demos. The parallax-scrolling effects are simple, and they’re paired with animations.
Stormyday is a one-page, landing-page theme for creatives. It uses parallax-scrolling effects on background images and pairs it with animations.
Revelance is a multipurpose WordPress themes that comes with a few homepage demos and several layouts for other types of pages. Its parallax-scrolling effects feature typical movements for backgrounds.
You is a multipurpose business theme for creatives. It uses one of the most subtle parallax-scrolling effects in this list.
Baylie is a simple portfolio theme for creative freelancers. It uses a just-as-simple parallax-scrolling effect on the header image.
Hipstech is a stylish business theme designed for the technology industry. The parallax-scrolling effects the demo uses features numerous layers, making each individual piece of tech move as you scroll.
Jkreativ is a multipurpose business theme that comes with business landing-page demos and portfolio demos. It features semi-smooth, parallax-scrolling effects.
Stardust is a multipurpose business theme. It uses parallax-scrolling effects on homepage demos, but you can also use a page built with fullwidth parallax-scrolling effects.
Corpus is a minimalist multipurpose WordPress theme designed for businesses, especially creative businesses. It uses parallax-scrolling effects on backgrounds and animations.
36. Parallax Scroll
Parallax Scroll is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to add a parallax-scrolling effect to a background image. You can even use it to add parallax-scrolling images to a post or page.
Easy WordPress Parallax Slider is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to add a slider that uses parallax effects to your site.
38. WP Fullpage
WP Fullpage is a free WordPress plugin that comes with parallax-scrolling effects. It allows you to turn a webpage into a fullscreen slider rather than a typical webpage you can scroll through.
The Parallaxer Pro is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to build your own parallax-featured elements.
Parallax WordPress themes help you captivate casual site visitors by complementing your content with aesthetically-pleasing effects, if implemented properly. All of these themes use parallax scrolling in one way or another. However, they each feature a different purpose and style.
If you’re having trouble deciding what theme to use for yourself or a client, narrow down your options to themes that best fit the purpose they’re meant to serve. For example, if you’re creating a website for a graphic designer, choose a theme that has a dedicated portfolio demo, such as Lobo or Avoc.
If you’re creating a website for a service-based business, use something like Osmosis. If you need something that does a bit of everything, use a multipurpose theme, such as Vigor.
We talked about parallax scrolling being a sustainable web design trend in an earlier post. Click the link below to check it out: