The forums ran from 2008-2020 and are now closed and viewable here as an archive.

Home Forums Other WordPress: Creating Themes from scratch vs Using Starter Themes… Re: WordPress: Creating Themes from scratch vs Using Starter Themes…


On my most recent site redesign, I coded a theme from scratch just for the hell of it.

What I learned was that even though everything is built completely to my specifications, there were a few features I would’ve liked to have that, surprisingly, aren’t included with WordPress by default.

The main benefit to coding a theme from scratch is that you can write all your HTML/CSS beforehand and convert it to a theme later on (which is the only workflow I’m comfortable with). With starter themes, their HTML is law—you can edit the CSS all you want, but you’re sort of restricted when it comes to document structure, class names, etc.

I think it would be a good idea to develop your own “starter theme” that you can use for future projects. Just have a basic structure, a functions.php with some functions that you find yourself using across different sites, and a stylesheet with a simple grid system and other general styles that could come in handy.

Stuff like this can save a lot of time in the long run. I just wouldn’t really feel comfortable adapting my CSS to someone else’s HTML, so I’ll keep on awkwardly splicing together my own themes using my limited knowledge of PHP :)