WordPress Frameworks Reviewed: Who’s the Winner?

A quick look at five of popular WordPress frameworks: Thesis, Genesis, Headway, Carrington, and Pagelines, including a video on how to get started with Pagelines 2.0.
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WordPress Frameworks

Frameworks in the WordPress world can be seen as starter themes or theme builders. They provide a foundation for creating your own themes. Using a WordPress framework decreases the time needed to design and code a WordPress theme. For most frameworks, the framework itself can be seen as the parent theme, the theme you create is a child theme.

Let’s take a look at five of the most popular frameworks: Thesis, Genesis, Headway, Carrington, and Pagelines. We’ll also include a demo of Pagelines most recent release.


Pagelines most recent release focuses on drag and drop functionality, making it quick and easy to create customized themes. Pagelines incorporates the use of sections to give you full layout control.  It includes 30+ drag and drop sections, built-in SEO, typography customization, and a Pagelines Store that lets you share, sell, or purchase sections, themes, and plugins. Preview this video to get started with Pagelines framework:


Price: $197-$397

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UPDATE: Check out the new Pagelines Framework 2.2, just released.


Another framework that incorporates drag and drop functionality is Headway. Headway’s visual editor and layout grid gives you complete visual design control. Headway includes a drag and drop method of creating header, footer, navigation, content, widget, and custom code areas. They make it easy to customize CSS. The framework includes built-in SEO. They also have a strong support community. This theme framework is among the most fully-featured and user-friendly available, and a strong competitor to Pagelines Framework.

Price: $68-$587

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Thesis is one of the most popular theme frameworks. Thesis allows for simple, powerful customization without having a vast knowledge of HTML and CSS. Thesis allows a ton of customization through their admin panel. The layout generator comes with 1, 2, and 3 column design options. It includes built in SEO, point-and-click design and font controls.

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Price: $87 (single license), $164 (unlimited use)


The Genesis theme framework makes customizing your site incredibly easy. The framework comes with custom widgets and layout options, built-in search engine optimization, and security. Because of the popularity of Genesis, there are many great looking turn-key designs available. The number of child themes available makes it an affordable options for those not necessarily wanting a fully customized design. Genesis also has a huge community of developers, designers, and bloggers.

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Price: $59.95 – $349.95


The Carrington framework makes it easy to create unique looks for different categories, posts and comments by creating custom templates. Carrington is a suite of starter themes including a blog theme, a mobile theme, a business theme, etc. Carrington makes it easy to create different visual styles for different areas of your sites. It is undoubtedly complex and has endless features and options.

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Price: Free to $149+

Have you tried any of these frameworks? What do you think of them?

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10 Responses

  1. I am a huge fan of PageLines and proclaim them the winner. 🙂

    In all seriousness you could be a developer built custom drag able sections right into your website or you could be a blogger that could add a feature slider on their home page in 2 mins.

    Tweet me if u have questions @mikezielonka or head over to http://iamMike.co/

      1. Not much. But if its functioning as demonstrated I have to test/buy it. There are some features which incorporated into Headway would reduce the need to write CSS to a very minimum.

  2. Carma,

    Thanks so much for including our framework, Headway Themes in your post. I would say we are in outstanding company.

    What is so great about this is that fact the WordPress community has a great selection to pick from. And they can find just the right framework to do what they want and need.

    The true winners are all of our users and the fact they do have so many great choices.

    Thanks again.

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