Great Open Source Web Design Template Sites

free web design templates

Lately, I’ve had a few people ask questions about how to create their own websites. What I’ve been recommending if you’re on the cheap is to look at some of the great open source web design template sites. These websites are awesome, and I’ve used them many times in the past, and will continue to use them in the future as long as they produce good designs and readable/editable code.

If you want to create a website and your budget is non-existent, check these websites first:


If you have a small budget (in the $50-100 range), and you’d like something more flashy than that, you could check out these great template designs as well, which has some great template web designs in it too, albeit a bit more complicated than the list provided above.

Also, if you know about more sites like these, please tell us about the site in the comments section. I’d love to compile all these types of places and repost with a much bigger list.

[tags]oswd, web design, templates, design, budget, free, cheap[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

10 Comments on "Great Open Source Web Design Template Sites"

  1. Agreed. The combination of WordPress and open designs has made it amazingly simple to create great-looking one-off sites. I used them to create Kerrigan Valentine’s author site in a few days, and the latest redesign of Global Spin was made simpler by starting from an open template.

  2. nate says:

    Yes, I almost mentioned that… WordPress has a zillion outstanding templates, but I didn’t want to talk about that specific system yet. The questions I have received were more about non-CMS/blog sites, and usually static ones.

    But, if you’re going to look into creating a site that needs to change a lot, WordPress is THE site to use in my opinion. The number of free designs for that system is ridiculous, and many of them are outstanding.

  3. Actually, the author site isn’t a blog or CMS site at all. It’s the kind of thing I ordinarily would have done as a simple, static site, but doing it in WordPress (using Pages for the site content and suppressing the blog-like features) allowed me to set it up quickly and give editorial control to the author herself. She can edit her bio, add new book pages, and update the home page with the built-in Pages editor, which means no fiddling around with HTML and FTP and such. Better yet, it means fewer calls to me. :)

    That said, I wish there was a less-blog-centric version of WordPress for static sites. Then the “suppress all blogness” step wouldn’t be necessary.

  4. nate says:

    I completely agree. I tried Drupal lately, and it’s ok because it has a lot of modules to work with, but man is it confusing to use!

    I really hope and dream of a dead simple CMS that has lots of themes and plugins available when we want them, but nothing extra except for pages in the core.

  5. Adrienne Anderson says:

    Thanks so much for the links! I’ve always wondered about “open source” design, and why it never took off …I assume it’s because no one getting paid.

    It’s still incredibly helpful for those of us who use the web frequently, and don’t have the time or need the hassle of building a site from scratch! One caveat for these sites is that you need a lot of experience with graphic editing and good editing tools, which is probably where your budget it going to go.

    Thanks again; this was extremely helpful! :)

  6. nate says:


    Thanks for the comment and welcome to my site. I’m so glad my article was helpful. If you’re looking for anything else, I’d love to know what you need. I love to be helpful.

    Yes, you’re right. Sometimes, if you need to tweak the designs (to use your own photos or graphics), it’s not going to be perfect. But, it’s cheaper than having to pay for both a graphic designer and a web developer. At least this way you can take the developer out of the picture, which is usually the more expensive of the two people (I’m a developer, so I should know).

    Anyway, thanks again for the comment Adrienne. Let me know if there’s anything else in this genre that I can help with.


  7. Sophia says:

    and if u are very computer illiterate, try a book. my first webdesigning experience is credited to those idiot and dummy books. don’t be offended, it just works.

  8. nate says:

    Thanks “Budget”, but most of those templates are pretty crappy. Not to mention the hooverwebdesign site is riddled with adsense. I wouldn’t recommend that one if I were you.

  9. osi says:

    but what happens when you need a subscription list? is there an option to add a form?
    i loved the “great templates design” site, thanks a lot!

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