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Themes themes – from most to least popular (Dec. 2010 & Jan. 2011)

Stats: Dec 19 2010

A. 30.7%
(approximately 4.4 million blogs)

1. Kubrick

B. 11.5%

2. Twenty Ten

C. 3%-1% each (27.1% total)

3. Misty Look
4. Chaotic Soul
5. Coraline
6. Ocean Mist
7. Freshy
8. Black-Letterhead
9. Contempt
10. Ambiru
11. Digg 3 Column
12. Solipsus
13. Greyzed
14. Motion
15. Albeo
16. Tarski
17. Pilcrow
18. Benevolence
19. Rounded
20. iNove

D. less than 1% each (30.7% total)

21. Blix
22. Andreas 04
23. Vigilance
24. Dusk
25. Chaos Theory
26. Regulus
27. Bueno
28. Quentin
29. Andreas 09
30. Connections
31. Neat
32. Koi
33. Neo-Sapien
34. Redoable Lite
35. Modularity Lite
36. Sweet Blossoms
37. The Journalist v1.9
38. Greenery
39. Rubric
40. Hemingway
41. Thirteen
42. K2-lite
43. DePo Masthead
44. Spring Loaded
45. Sunburn
46. Fjords 04
47. Day Dream
48. Monochrome
49. Girl in Green
50. Garland
51. Sapphire
52. Structure
53. Simpla
54. Unsleepable
55. Emire
56. Banana Smoothie
57. Enterprise
58. The Journalist v1.3
59. Almost Spring
60. Dark Wood
61. Light
62. Monotone
63. Fauna
64. Notepad
65. Pool
66. Wu Wei
67. Fadtastic
68. Spectrum
69. White as Milk
70. Vostok
71. Ocadia
72. Fresh Bananas
73. Elegant Grunge
74. Treba
75. Silver is the New Black
76. Flower Power
77. Fleur de Lys
78. Titan
79. Iceburgg
80. Inuit Types
81. Andrea
82. P2
83. Grid Focus
84. Oulipo
85. Jentri
86. Vermilion Christmas
87. Neutra
88. Paperpunch
89. Fusion
90. Supposedly Clean
91. Duotone
92. Green Marinée
93. Twenty-eight Thirteen
94. DePo Square
95. Toni
96. Under the Influence
97. WordPress Classic
98. NotesIL
99. Shocking Blue Green
100. Prologue
101. Steira
102. zBench
103. Sandbox (older version)
104. Sandbox (older version)
105. Sandbox (older version)
106. Sandbox 1.6.2
107. Toolbox

Stats: Jan 29 2011

1. Kubrick

2. Twenty Ten

3. Misty Look
4. Chaotic Soul
5. Coraline
6. Ocean Mist
7. Freshy
8. Black-Letterhead
9. Contempt
10. Greyzed
11. Ambiru
12. Digg 3 Column
13. Motion
14. Solipsus
15. Pilcrow
16. iNove
17. Albeo
18. Tarski
19. Rounded
20. Benevolence

21. Blix
22. Andreas 04
23. Vigilance
24. Bueno
25. Dusk
26. Chaos Theory
27. Koi
28. Regulus
29. Quentin
30. Andreas 09
31. Modularity Lite
32. Connections
33. Neat
34. Neo-Sapien
35. Redoable Lite
36. The Journalist v1.9
37. Sweet Blossoms
38. Greenery
39. Rubric
40. Spring Loaded
41. DePo Masthead
42. Hemingway
43. Thirteen
44. K2-lite
45. Monochrome
46. Sunburn
47. Structure
48. Fjords 04
49. Day Dream
50. Girl in Green
51. Garland
52. Sapphire
53. Simpla
54. Enterprise
55. Unsleepable
56. Emire
57. Banana Smoothie
58. Dark Wood
59. Elegant Grunge
60. Spectrum
61. The Journalist v1.3
62. Almost Spring
63. Notepad
64. Monotone
65. Light
66. Fauna
67. Wu Wei
68. Vostok
69. Pool
70. Fadtastic
71. White as Milk
72. Inuit Types
73. Ocadia
74. Fresh Bananas
75. Titan
76. Oulipo
77. Treba
78. Andrea
79. Silver is the New Black
80. Fleur de Lys
81. Flower Power
82. Iceburgg
83. P2
84. Fusion
85. Grid Focus
86. Neutra
87. Paperpunch
88. Jentri
89. Duotone
90. Vermilion Christmas
91. Supposedly Clean
92. Green Marinée
93. Under the Influence
94. DePo Square
95. Twenty-eight Thirteen
96. Toni
97. NotesIL
98. zBench
99. WordPress Classic
100. Steira
101. Shocking Blue Green
102. Prologue
103. Sandbox (older version)
104. Sandbox (older version)
105. Clean Home
106. Sandbox (older version)
107. Beach
108. Sandbox 1.6.2
109. Toolbox


• The above stats are based on data from
• Kubrick was the default theme for five years, hence its extreme populariry (and undoubtedly many of those 4.4 million blogs are abandoned signups or little more than that). Same thing for Twenty Ten, the new default theme.
• A few days after I worked out the stats for column one, WP decided that they didn’t like the picture and removed the data for Kubrick (instead of adding a note to explain things). This act of unparalleled brilliance and integrity means that accurate stats are no longer possible.
• Naturally the ranking will fluctuate continuously. Some interesting themes rank very low because they’re very new.
• Coraline and Pilcrow are new, but they rank high because all Cutline and Pressrow users were forced to move to them (see here).
• Sandbox and Toolbox are understandably last on the list: they are unstyled themes, of use to CSS specialists only.
• The popularity of Misty Look and Ocean Mist must be at least partly due to their default header images.
• In my opinion Rounded is the worst designed theme: why it’s so popular is beyond me.
• Chaotic Soul and Black-Letterhead have always been very popular: possibly shows that WP should add more dark themes.

Update 14 February: Data for Kubrick miraculously back again. (My thanks to Jennifer for pointing out.)


16 thoughts on “ themes – from most to least popular (Dec. 2010 & Jan. 2011)

  1. My blog was a “gift” to me from a cousin who set it up. I’ve always been afraid to change it!

    Posted by djeddieo | January 29, 2011, 21:24
  2. Nice gift, but why be afraid to change it? If you are completely satisfied with how it looks, fine, otherwise you can find several good-looking themes that would fit your subject. The worst thing that can happen is that your widgets may drop to Inactive and you’ll have to drag them back to Sidebar.

    Posted by Panos | January 29, 2011, 21:32
  3. I ditto your opinion that should offer more dark themes.

    Posted by Netty Gritty | January 31, 2011, 06:49
  4. Yeah – enough is enough with white!

    Posted by Panos | January 31, 2011, 13:39
  5. Oh come on guys, quit griping! Quite a number of themes have a “dark” option available or the option to choose a custom background. Now there’s fodder for a new post, Panos. :)

    Posted by Jennifer | February 2, 2011, 00:15
  6. Well, actually very few themes have a dark option, and purely dark themes aren’t that many either. Also, in the majority of themes you can now add a bg color or image, but you can’t turn a light theme into a dark one this way unless you have the CSS upgrade to change the text colors too.

    Fodder for new post? I don’t think so! Just an updated old one:

    Posted by Panos | February 2, 2011, 14:40
  7. • In my opinion Rounded is the worst designed theme: why it’s so popular is beyond me.

    blog fodder: what, in your opinion, makes for a well-designed theme? I know you have stepped away from this question before, but perhaps I should re-phrase: why do you think Rounded is poorly designed? (or what is ‘bad design’ you see in other themes?)

    Posted by Tess | February 4, 2011, 02:35
  8. I had stepped away (shied away?) because I’m not a specialist in the subject, nor can I gather enough facts: I’m simply not able to give a coherent and organized reply. (Best thing I can do, if you’re curious, is tell you which themes I like.)

    To me Rounded is a botched up project of a tasteless amateur. (But you see? The moment I say something like that, I’ll also say: so what? what use is this to others?) Anyway, the main things I don’t like are: the color combination, the height of the blue top nav bar, the white blog title on whitish flowers, the flexible-width sidebar, and that smudge for the links; plus various elements in posts don’t observe the left padding (last one objectively a defect).

    And what would you say? Can you name a theme you consider worse?

    Posted by Panos | February 4, 2011, 21:21
  9. Hey Panos, thanks for the help with the CSS code. Still have a few issues, but at least the Sky Dancing Blog is coming along fine…

    Posted by Minkoff Minx | February 5, 2011, 08:07
  10. Happy Chinese New Year—judging by the parking lots at my local Asian stores it is still being celebrated… (perhaps because of the big blizzard here? or perhaps celebrations usually go on for days)

    In my opinion, as is usual with most decisions, it is easier to criticize what is wrong, then perhaps find work-a-rounds to address the problems (or to accept the deficiencies because something else makes the thing more useful), than it is to say one thing is better than another. Nothing is perfect.

    For example, z-bench is not such a great theme because it has CSS which over-rides normal table coding thus making it a nuisance to add code to eliminate the stupid borders the designers thought were attractive. It also uses images to make its distinctive blockquotes (as Digg3 uses images for other things) so it is difficult to personalize. It also makes the various “position” commands inoperable because of the way the CSS defines containers. (CSS or something else???)

    In terms of how a theme looks, w/o alterations, I’d say Banana Smoothie, Springloaded, and Green Girl are ugly. But as you say, “so what!” because others like them. I don’t have enough experience (nor do I have a desire to use them) to know if those ‘flaws’ can be overcome.

    I’m becoming stupid (or too busy) because we just bought this house: it has good bones in that it was well designed from the beginning so that one has easy and logical access to the plumbing and electrical systems, the insulation, and radon amelioration. But someone messed up the grading and drainage; nonetheless the foundation is solid even though we can’t use the room with the second fireplace due to water damage. Nothing is perfect, but the issues can be addressed.

    I’m sure each theme has its problems, like the one I use (and like this house). One has to choose what is important and what/how things can be fixed or lived with.

    So, no, and you are right, I can’t name a theme that is worse or better than another. With your wonderful blog you are already addressing the good, bad, and ugly.

    Where I work, we sell scraps from manufacturers as art supplies. A customer came in once and asked, “Where is your best stuff?” None of us could answer because ‘best’ depends on what one wants to do.

    There is still the question of what you consider ‘good design.’

    Posted by Tess | February 5, 2011, 10:15
  11. @MM: You’re welcome, but no need to thank me here. And, as my latest reply to you in the forum will show you, I occasionally help with CSS but I’m no expert: our CSS experts are devblog, hallluke and thesacredpath.

    Posted by Panos | February 5, 2011, 16:39
  12. @Tess:

    Come on, your (plural) new home is infinitely more important than Rounded (or anything WP), so spare me the bs about “becoming stupid”!

    As I said, I can’t tell you what I consider good design. For one thing, I can’t define elegance and good taste.

    Green Girl: agree, ugly as ugly can be – I’d vote it for 2nd worst after Rounded! Banana Smoothie, I wouldn’t say so; I’d just say fine if you blog about summer cocktail drinks or a couple of other subjects but useless otherwise (so I’m rather surprised it’s being used in more than fifty thousand blogs – almost as many as those using a neutral theme like Garland).

    Agree too, no theme is perfect. I told that to the theme team too when they asked me about the themes showcase: told them that for each theme I like I have a “yes, but…” to say, so I wouldn’t write “find the perfect theme for your blog”, I would write “find the theme that best suits your blog”. (But some kid there loves cheap commercialism: noticed they don’t say “108th in popularity”, they say “our 108th most popular theme”?)

    By the way, is ‘our’ Unsleepable banished for good from your Japanese Kitchen? I had grown fond of it…

    Posted by Panos | February 5, 2011, 16:52
  13. Oh, I miss Unsleepable too. We’d (you) got it to work so very well for my overly colorful blog. But I had thought I’d have time to refine my pages and links, and the custom menu with z-bench lured me. For all I know, Unsleepable may now have custom menus… It would not be difficult to resize the few posts with too bigger images in order to go back???

    That’s not bs about me becoming stupid (ok, put out of my comfort zone): I don’t have time or energy to read, or to think, or to execute any of the inspirations that occur to me—only to enjoy playing “house” and having fun with all this space. Putting things away, making stuff look nice. Well, sort of nice.

    GAK! I’m getting to worry about whether the Venetian blinds are dirty or what to do about the grease on the vent hood over the stove, the ceiling in the shower (pink bathroom) needs painting to prevent mold, insulation ($$$$), and grounded electrical outlets, especially those electric circuits which keep one safe from shocks in wet areas, and snow, and work… (and the other stuff with my father). J says he is going to hire a house-cleaning service…

    But even so, I’ve never made any money… So that is why stupid is apt.

    Could be blog topics for you would be explaining idiosyncrasies of themes even though you can’t make reccomendations. No, most people don’t try to push the boundaries of their themes so they’d not necessarily notice some of the quirks that bother me. Gosh. You already do that!

    Happy snow day (another one for us here anyway!)

    Posted by Tess | February 5, 2011, 22:04
  14. “Unsleepable may now have custom menus”.

    Yes: all themes with top nav menus have been updated to support custom menus.

    Posted by Panos | February 6, 2011, 03:16
  15. wordpress has just announced a fantastic theme named ‘duster’. though i have few queries….
    1)will the showcase feature work for flash(.swf) files with gigya code ? not yet tried…but i guess it should…..and if yes that would be fantastic. just the way i requires ;-)

    2) how to link / aside posts of more than 2 categories(posts under these categories)…e.g. i have categories a to i wish to show cat.N,G,P as links…..and cat.Q ,L, T under asides but under that particular N,G,P,Q,L,T in showcase sidebar. now if i select those post formats…they all will mix up..and the purpose won’t be served. I know it can be linked manually that way by using text/html widget. but looking for easier option ;-)

    Posted by श्रेया | February 16, 2011, 08:24
  16. 1) Depends on what you mean “showcase feature”. The showcase template is a special page that can include a) normal static content, b) the “featured post”, c) the latest post, d) the other recent posts, e) its own sidebar. Of those, a, c and e can display gigya objects, b and d cannot (because you only get an excerpt for b and titles for d).

    2) I’m afraid I got lost with all these letters: try to explain it in a different way please!

    Posted by Panos | February 16, 2011, 20:34


author's avatar panos (justpi)

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