Sydney WordPress Theme Review (Updated 2022)

The Sydney WordPress theme is one of the most popular free WordPress themes on the market and it’s created by aThemes, a very experienced and well known theme provider. But is it really any good?

Review Summary

Sydney is one of the best all in one WordPress themes on the market. Both the free and premium versions are very good.
  • Ease of use: 4 stars
    Really easy to set up but there will be an Elementor learning curve to get the most out of the theme.
  • Design: 5 stars
    The free starter sites look great, and the pro ones are even better.
  • Support: 4 stars
    Lots of support online but pro version will be needed for priority support.
  • Features: 5 stars
    An impressive list of features, even on the free version.
  • Overall: 4 stars
    One of the best WordPress themes on the market. You won't be disappointed.

Table of Contents

    When I first reviewed the Sydney WordPress theme aThemes had a wide collection of great WordPress themes including plenty of free options. Their Sydney WordPress theme stood out as being one of the best. At the time it had over 200,000 active installs from WordPress users around the world! Amazing.

    Today aThemes have completely changed their theme collection. They now put all of their focus on two themes – Sydney and Botiga. They have completely changed the Sydney theme from a good, but generic freemium theme to one of the best theme solutions on the market with quality that would rival any other theme.

    Lets take a look at what makes the Sydney theme so good.

    Sydney is a powerful business theme that provides a fast way for companies or freelancers to create an awesome online presence. Sydney brings plenty of customization possibilities like access to all Google Fonts, full-color control, layout control, logo upload, full-screen slider, header image, sticky navigation and much more. Also, Sydney provides all the construction blocks you need to rapidly create an engaging front page.aThemes

    Installing the Sydney WordPress Theme

    When you install Sydney you will notice a new menu item under the Appearance menu.

    This item is called Theme Dashboard and it gives you access to all kinds of very useful features to help you set up the Syndey theme.

    The Sydney Theme Dashboard

    The dashboard is beautifully designed and it gives you easy access to the places where you can tweak fonts, colours, the log and more.

    You can also access support from here and access the all-important starter sites upload page where you can choose from some amazing pre-built websites to get you started.

    When you choose a starter site, you also get to choose which plugins you want to install along with it such as Elementor and the Sydney toolbox. This is a great feature and the user experience is fantastic. aThemes have done a great job of making it very easy to get started with Sydney.

    Sydney and Elementor

    Elementor is a very popular page builder plugin for WordPress and the Sydney WordPress theme works perfectly with Elementor.

    The theme even has some custom Elementor blocks included with it to make it easier to set up your website if you choose to use Elementor.

    In the free version, you get 6 custom Elementor widgets – a testimonial carousel, a slider widget, an employee carousel widget, a gallery, a portfolio, and a latest posts block. The premium version has many more advanced widgets such as a timeline widget, pricing tables, and a contact form 7 widget.

    The Sydney theme works so well with Elementor that the theme is officially recommended by Elementor.

    It is very quick and easy to get up and running with Elementor – especially if you choose to install it along with your starter site.

    As soon as the site has finished importing (which only takes a few seconds), Elementor is ready to use. You will notice a new Elementor menu item in the main menu and when you go to your posts or pages, you will see an Edit With Elementor button that takes you to the visual builder.

    The Elementor visual builder and the Sydney WordPress theme

    Sydney Theme Options

    Sydney has a top-notch theme options panel built into the WordPress customizer.

    You can change everything that you would expect – even in the free version.

    Header styles, fonts, colours and typography can all be easily changed.

    The design of the theme options screen is great too. It looks very professional and slick.

    Another thing I like about the Sydney theme options screen is that you don’t get any annoying pop-ups or messages asking you to upgrade to Sydney Pro. There are a couple of buttons that let you know that there is a premium version of the theme but that’s it.

    Sydney Theme Free or Pro Version

    As I’ve mentioned, there is a pro version of the Sydney theme, but is it worth upgrading?

    The pro version of Sydney gives you quite a few great features. You’ll get extra blocks for Elementor such as pricing tables, you’ll get extra page templates to choose from, some great starter sites, more options in the customizer and advanced WooCommerce compatibility.

    I think these extra options are certainly worth the price tag of $69 for a single theme. You can see the full list of differences between the Sydney theme pro and free versions here.

    When deciding to upgrade or not, keep in mind that if you need Elementor support then Elementor has a free and pro version too. To fully unlock advanced features and allow a high level of customisation you will need pro version of both.

    As the pro version of Elementor costs $49 per year for a single site and $199 per year for up to 25 sites, the costs can really add up.

    Not only that, but you theme will need to load a lot of resources such as CSS and JavaScript files from both Sydney and Elementor which can really slow your site down.

    If you do go down this route, then be ready to spend lots of time learning about speeding up your website and tweaking the settings in a cache plugin such as W3 Total Cache. Alternatively, you could use WP Rocket which is by far the best caching plugin for WordPress and lets you speed up your website dramatically without much know-how.

    How Good is the Design?

    When I first reviewed Sydney a few years ago, the design was fairly generic and unremarkable. But not today.

    aThemes have done an amazing job recently of modernising the theme and paying lots of attention to the designs of the pre-built layouts.

    You can see the designs for the starter sites in the free version below. All three are good quality, nice looking themes that would be ideal for many businesses.

    Sydney WordPress theme starter sites
    Sydney starter sites on the free version

    The free Sydney theme has 3 stater sites to choose from and the pro version currently has 17. If any of these starter sites are suitable for you then you can get up and running with Sydney pretty quickly.

    If the starter sites are not suitable for you, you need to change them significantly, or you want a more premium feel then that means that you will need to upgrade to the pro version, or use Elementor which will make the set up process longer and more complicated.

    The design quality in the starter sites included with the pro version is fantastic, as you would expect. They rival anything I’ve seen in other premium themes on the market.

    One thing I would say though is that I’d like to see more thought put into the blog pages. In some of the designs, you can see that the homepage has had a lot of time and effort spent on it whilst the blog pages still look quite boring and generic.

    You should also bear in mind that the pro versions use Elementor and you will need to be prepared to use it too if you want to choose one of the pro designs.

    You’ll find pre-built layouts for agencies, cafes, apps, resumes, e-commerce and more.

    Here are some samples of the current starter templates in the pro version of Sydney:

    Sydney Theme Documentation

    The amount of help available online for the Sydney theme should make it easy for anyone to solve any issues they come across when setting up the theme. aThemes also provide plenty of online documentation so you can see exactly what is involved in setting up the theme before you decide to buy – very handy!

    Sydney WordPress Theme Support

    I’ve not had to use any support for the Sydney WordPress theme myself but aThemes are a well-known company that has been around in the WordPress industry for a long time so I would imagine their support is very good. There are also thousands of other users all over the world sharing solutions in the support forum on the Sydney theme page.


    The Sydney WordPress theme is definitely one of the better free WordPress themes available due to its simplicity, high-quality designs, Elementor support and high-quality admin interface.

    It is a very solid choice for a powerful, all in one theme and you won’t be disappointed if you decide to try it. You can check out Sydney here.

    Premium WordPress Theme Alternatives

    If you are looking for something like Sydney but don’t want to use Elementor then I’d recommend checking out Divi. Divi is still the best WordPress site builder on the market in my opinion. They also have thousands of 5-star reviews on Trustpilot and the value for money you get with Divi is amazing.

    Divi only costs $89 per year too. The pro version of Sydney along with Elementor Pro would cost a minimum of $118 per year on the cheapest Elementor plan.

    Check Out Sydney

    Sydney WordPress Theme Questions and Answers

    There is a free version of Sydney which has limited features. There is also a pro version which costs $69 each year.

    Yes. Both the free and pro versions can be used on an unlimited number of websites.

    Both themes are extremely good and choosing one would mainly come down to if you preferred to use Elementor or the Divi builder. Personally, I prefer the Divi builder and Divi remains my number one choice for an all in one theme.

    You can edit Sydney in a number of ways. You can use the customizer in WordPress, the default Gutenberg editor or Elementor. The most likely way you will need to customize the theme is with Elementor as the pre-built layouts will use Elementor.


    1. Thanks for the write up. Do you think Sydney and Elementor would be able to make a website just as well as something like Divi could?

    2. Hi Ben. Yeah Sydney and Elementor could work just as well. Divi has some great pre-made layouts so it can be very quick to get a great looking site if you dont change those layouts much. Sydney and Elementor would take a bit more work to set up a great looking site but they would still be a great option.

    3. Sydney Theme just broke my web site when I attempted to upgrade to WordPress 6.0. Apparently aTheme does not keep up. I noticed a similar recent comment on a WordPress Forum and there is no formal response. Are they simply slow to keep up or do I need to rewrite the entire web site using another theme? Thanks.

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