Love it or loathe it, Wordpress is the engine behind over 25 million web sites. That's a lot of blogging. The beauty of the platform is the way that it separates layout from content.

Using standard HTML, JavaScript and CSS you can make a Wordpress site look any way you like. But there's no need to do all that coding from scratch when there are so many ready to use themes available for free.

And, to make it even easier, we've picked out 20 of the very best WordPress themes around.

1. Extreme Typewriter

Edgy, unusual and contemporary, Extreme Typewriter is a simple, eminently hackable theme that looks good and works well from installation onwards. There are few frills, but a tabbed menu for fixed pages is very welcome.

Extreme typewriter

2. VeryPlainTxt

This clean, plain theme pays homage to hipster lit repository McSweeney's. VeryPlainTxt is a great theme for customisation - and it'll need it. Not because it doesn't look good, but because it's so popular.

VeryPlainTxt

3. Handgloves

Tastefully designed, Handgloves combines modular navigation tools with social media integration. By default, the text is styled using Helvetica - which of course only works if the user has Helvetica installed...

Handgloves

4. The Morning After

WooThemes is home to an extensive premium Wordpress design catalogue and The Morning After is one of their freebies. It's not a cut-down, commercial theme though. It's a fully featured magazine-style layout, well worth the download.

Morning after

5. Vector Flower

EZwpthemes specialise in graphically striking layouts with colourful backgrounds. We're a fan of the site's more illustrative templates. Vector Flower's a popular choice - ideal for arty bloggers.

Vector flower

6. ClearPress

Fully widgetised, with three newspaper style columns and a dynamic dropdown menu for navigation, ClearPress is a good choice for news sites. Pages can still be quickly and readily accessed above the fold links.

Clear press

7. Charlene

If you like your blog to be clean and readable, Charlene could be the template for you. With chunky headlines and clean sans text, it gives you a basic two column layout for straightforward blogging.

Charlene

8. WPESP Portfolio

WPESP uses its two columns in a different way to traditional blog layouts, with the sidebar reserved for images rather than navigation. Ace for designers, photographers and cartoonists.

Wpesp

9. theSevenFive

Fancy using Wordpress like FriendFeed - but with complete control over the look and layout? theSevenFive theme's what you're looking for, with built in support for Flickr, Vimeo, Twitter and more.

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