Oftentimes free WordPress themes are able to keep up with their competition from the premium department, but just as often, they can’t. The free theme ionMag can take on any other theme.
ionMag is Not Modest, but it Delivers
When I first stumbled across ionMag, I was skeptical. After all, I’ve been moving through the WordPress universe for over a decade. In this time, I’ve heard way too many superlatives. So when someone claims to have created “the most amazing” thing ever, I automatically shift down to gears and coast slowly. However, I have to admit that this reflex, which is correct most of the time, was unjustified in the case of the free magazine theme ionMag. I probably wouldn’t use the term “most amazing,” but ionMag definitely is one of the best magazine themes I’ve seen so far, in both the free and the premium section.
ionMag is a theme from the Romanian theme provider tagDiv. You may already know tagDiv as the developers of the well-known themes Newspaper and Newsmag, which have a total of 40,000+ buyers. With ionMag they deliver a freebie that is of very high quality and has no strings attached.
ionMag is based on tagDiv’s “wp_booster” framework and comes with a page builder that is designed as a frontend tool. This tool is conceived as a plugin and has to be installed after the installation of the about 10 MB large theme package. With the frontend page builder, visually adjusting the entire layout using a graphical interface is possible without any issues. Code knowledge is not required to do so.
This, admittedly swift presentation gives you an insight on this:
ionMag Installed: More of an Application Than a Theme
ionMag is not just installed as a theme. It comes with its own main navigation entry, to display the wide performance range appropriately. Within the own sub-menu structure, ionMag takes care of plugins that are suitable or required for the theme, shows the status of your WordPress installation, and grants access to different support offers, although all of them are currently placed under “Coming Soon.”
Via “Install Demos,” you have the option to install a fully functional demo with content. This makes it a lot easier to learn how to handle the eerily huge theme using real content, without having to fear to blow up your page. A rollback to the original content is possible at any time.
Theme Panel, the Heart of ionMag
The most interesting, and most important element in the ionMag menu, however, is the theme panel.
You can already tell by viewing the screenshot. The theme panel gives you full power over even the smallest detail of the theme. Aside from the usual customization options for header, footer, background, and colors, which you’ll find in pretty much every halfway decent theme, ionMag includes several options for web font integration, as well as the management of custom post types, and taxonomies.
ionMag already comes with 18 different languages by default. However, you can also translate it directly within the theme panel, using the form, or adjust the existing translation to your needs.
ionMag is fully responsive. However, it is not fluid but uses three breakpoints. Regarding its purpose as a magazine theme, this seems like a successful tradeoff to me.
Conclusion: Get ionMag!
The very detailed ionMag documentation deserves a special mention, as it basically doesn’t leave ay questions unanswered. It does require you to know English, as it is not available in other translations.
Due to the truly wide array of configuration options, ionMag is not the type of theme that you install, and activate on the go. You should definitely consider a good amount of induction time, which will certainly be necessary. Nonetheless, the reward will be a flexibility that you probably have not seen on the market of free themes yet.
ionMag is available for free use under the GPL V3. If you want to participate in the development, that’s possible. The development is coordinated via Github. The framework that ionMag is based on is also available under the GPL V3 on Github. If you’re running a magazine-like blog, and if you’ve been thinking about a relaunch for a while now, you should definitely check out ionMag. I’m sure you’ll be surprised when you see the amount of options in comparison to other free themes. The live demo can be found here.