In this post, I chose templates based on seven themes including Personal Blog, Photo Gallery or Portfolio, Online Store, Technology, Games, Environment and News/Magazines. The templates provided are under GNU/GPL license. All Joomla! providers mentioned in this article have good reputation in the Joomla! market.
I downloaded them all, tested on server to check their quality and usability. Let’s have a look at my reviews below:
Table of comparison performance
1. Personal BlogProvider: JM-Expert
JM Creative is a product of JM-expert - A well-known template provider with a large number of free Joomla! templates. This bright template is suitable for weblog or personal portfolio.
However, using JM Creative is not at all easy. No documentation or guidelines, and its module position names in the backend and its IDs in HTML code are different. There are IDs such as “banner” or “bottom” when inspecting elements by Firebug, but in the back end there are just “Position 0”, “Position 1” and so on. I got confused using JM Creative.
2. Photo Gallery/ PortfolioProvider: JoomlaShine
Artistic and stylish, JSN Tendo is especially designed for photographers and designers to showcase their portfolio. Using JSN Tendo might be more enjoyable than your expectation of a free Joomla! template.
It is not easy for me to point out which feature I like most in JSN Tendo. Certainly I like its flexible design with 41 module positions. But I also like Sample Data which allows me to create a dummy website which looks like its demo with just few clicks. Besides, its documentation is written very carefully so I could configure and customize the template quickly.
You should choose JSN Tendo Free Edition if you want to build a nice template with ease.
3. Online StoreProvider: ProWebCreative
LaptopPWC is suitable for Online Store or IT Service websites. It comes with a clean professional design - two columns: content on the right and sidebar on the left; no stunning effects and special features.
Prowebcreative doesn’t provide users with documentation, but building a website with LaptopPWC is quite easy since module positions are pointed out clearly on its demo. This template ran fast and stable so I had no problems when testing it. To me, this is a good free template.
4. TechnologyProvider: JoomlaThemes
As the heading implies, this template is most suited for Technology related websites. You will get a clean and neat design with Technology template. Its 18 modules are collapsible which means you can present your website in two or three or without columns. You have many choices when working with the template layout. There is no documentation but Joomlatheme provides you with an infographic that shows all module position for users.
5. GamesProvider: LernVid
You will love World of Warcraft 3 if you love playing games. It is designed for Gaming websites, featured with dark background and striking flash elements. This template, which is for Joomla! 1.6 version 5.0, is HTML optimized, further adapted CSS and XML.
World of Warcraft 3 just offers you basic features. So you don’t have many options for your website customization. However, it ran stable in my testing process. That is, building a simple website is easy and not stressful at all.
6. EnvironmentProvider: ThemeGoat
Go Green template can be used for eco friendly and natural environment related websites. The green banner and clean design of the template tells us that.
Go Green just allows you to present your content in a small number of module positions – eight. I tried it, and could use just six module positions, except copyright and tguser position. It offers us limited values when comparing with other free Joomla! 1.6 templates. Additionally, there is no documentation that goes along with the template, just one instruction about general layout on their website and it couldn’t help much.
7. News/ MagazinesProvider: JoomlaPraise
Genesis should be set as one of the highest priorities if you want to create a News or Magazines portal website. The former version for Joomla! 1.5 of this template was submitted for the Joomla! 1.5 contest last year. From my point of view, the version for Joomla! 1.6 is one of the best free Joomla! 1.6 templates with very clean design in the front end and a lot of features in the backend.
I got familiar with Genesis quickly since its documentation is available right on demo. You can even customize font color, heading color, link color or link hover color using Hexadecimal color codes.
There is just one thing annoys me a little bit: its module position names in the backend are not the same as the Layout shown in the documentation.
The bottom line
In general, free Joomla! templates provide you with limited built-in features and simple design. With them, you don’t have many options to customize your website. Moreover, you might not get support from providers. That is, you should choose free templates when your website content is simple and doesn’t require to be updated much.
We hope that you have chosen a suitable free Joomla! 1.6 template for your own need. If you have, we’d like to know your feedback or comments on it. Thank you!