“Lean” WordPress Themes for Cheap Hosting

Am I too cheap?

There is really nothing wrong with having cheap hosting, it is totally understandable and most of the time logical. If a website doesn’t require too much resources, shared (cheap/value) hosting will do the job, pretty straightforward. The other option is when you’re running on a low-budget or you just don’t want to spend purposefully.

Generally speaking, for a website with static content shared hosting is fine. Static content meaning that the amount of the articles and other elements are not growing with time. So for example a business website where you share information about your company profile. Smaller blogs can get away with it too. But what if the content is growing quite rapidly?

Webhostingsworld.com is the perfect example of a site which uses shared hosting, we have a decent amount of content and we publish new articles every week, so we know what the long-term tendency looks like. You can do it too! Again, there is no need to overspend on too advanced hosting services, especially in the beginning of a project.


A lot of people are afraid that their website is going to be slow if they have only shared hosting. Wrong!

First of all, with a decent web host, a medium-sized blog should work smooth, and on the other hand, there are always techniques to speed up your site. This can be done by either increasing performance or decreasing the amount of data and queries that happen in the browser.

Of course, as the title says it, one way of doing this is to choose “lean” themes, that are not too heavy on design, their code is not bloated, so they can be loaded faster. Here I’m talking about WordPress themes, but of course it applies to any platform, it doesn’t matter.

Free vs. paid themes

There are thousands of free WordPress themes out there, however, many of these is not recommended. If you use a free WordPress theme, try to use it from the WP repository, if not, make sure you go through the code, because there might be spam links or other unwanted lines in there. If you’re a beginner, use the repository or you can buy a premium theme.

There are some great free themes out there, but most of these are not high quality, neither design wise, nor code wise. So if you have the chance, get a premium theme. If you can’t, below some are decent looking, well coded, fast loading free WP themes.

 Free Solutions

Hybrid | Official Website | WordPress repository

hybrid-core-theme-frameworkThe Hybrid framework is a free WP theme framework which basically gives you all the features that for example a premium theme like Genesis or Thesis would give you. It has Schema.org markup, just like the previously mentioned two popular paid frameworks and there are many child themes to use for free.

This was the first theme framework that I ever used and with time I moved on back when certain features were not included but they have made it up later, so now it’s awesome. Refined code and minimalism makes it fast loading, resulting in less load on your server.

Flato | Demo | WP repository | Developer Site

flato-themeI came across this theme accidentally and I instantly fell in love with it. You know, it’s the kinda theme that inspires you to start a website just to be able to use it. Strange ha? 🙂 Anyways, this theme has a really great design, clean and the colors just harmonize. It is minimal, fast loading, so for shared hosting it’s awesome.

Omega | Wp repository Demo

omega-frameworkA simple yet great framework with several minimal child themes. It has Schema.org markup so you can benefit from it SEO wise and it really loads fast. As I said in the case of Hybrid, with this theme too, you almost get features that are only available in premium themes.

Twentytwelve | Info & Demo

twentytwelve-themeTwentytwelve is probably the most popular default WordPress theme that ever came out. It has a really clean typography and the minimalism that it has it’s pretty attractive. There some free child themes for it that speed it up even more by not importing Google fonts for example. There are also some paid child themes for it, if you want just google it.

Reverie | Developer Site

reverie-foundationReverie is an interesting HTML5 theme because it is built on Zurb Foundation, which is an authority place in responsive design. The parent theme looks awesome, clean and minimal, loads pretty fast, so it can be a good pick.

Conclusion & Paid Themes

Ok so, all these themes can be good, especially if you know what you are doing or you have/hire someone who knows. I’m saying this because if you are a beginner, and you want to create a decent web presence, so that you don’t look amateur – like you want to add a logo image and thing like this, you need a paid theme. Make no mistake, you can add logo to the free themes too, but it is not that simple, you will have to get your hands dirty with some code.

So, I’d recommend two paid solutions. One is Genesis and the other is Thesis. Both frameworks are awesome, they have state of the art code, SEO friendly, have Schema.org markup and they are fast loading, which is the most important factor for us now.The both have auto updates and there are child themes that you can buy, but you can use the default themes too.

Which one is better?

Well, this is a tough question. Both are great as I said, but there are features that I can mention which makes one of the themes more attractive to some individuals.

Thesis is not responsive fundamentally, while Genesis is. So with Thesis you must have a responsive child theme to have a mobile friendly website, which they give you when you buy the framework.

Thesis allows you to select from different fonts, customize site color and some content without touching code. On the other hand, they don’t have a lot of child themes to choose from, while the selection for Genesis child themes is huge.

So as you can see, we can go back and forth and it will never end. Look up both themes and try to make a smart decision, however you decide, it’s smart. I don’t recommend themes from sources like Themeforest for example, because those themes usually have a hundred options, so they are more bloated, and load slower, so if you want to use them on shared hosting, you can, but then you should use some hard caching and minimize the number of plugins on it too to compensate. That’s all, I hope it helps folks.

If you are looking for shared hosting, check out our recommended shared hosts.

In Category: Blog

Frank Rankowitz

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