The WordPress admin area got somewhat of a makeover in version 3.8, but – at least for me and maybe others who were using MP6 long before it was merged into core – the novelty has already worn off.
It’s easy enough to add new themes and plugins to customize the front-end of our sites, but what about the backend?
Customizing the backend of WordPress with an admin theme is a simple way to give your install a fresh look and is also handy for developers who are creating WordPress sites for clients and want to simplify the backend.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the free and premium WordPress admin themes available. If you haven’t used an admin theme before, you’ll be interested to know they actually come as plugins.
Do you use an admin theme? If so, which one? Tell us in the comments below.
Forest – Premium
Forest, released earlier this year, offers a relaxing forest-inspired admin design complete with a flat retina layout.
If you’re not too keen on the existing background, you can upload your own custom background. You can also adjust the darkness level and play with unlimited colours.
Forest also allows you to change the login background and logo and use custom Google fonts.
Micropanel 2 – Premium
Micropanel 2 is a clean, minimalistic and classy admin theme. This is the second version of this theme and includes optimization improvements.
This theme is responsive and Multisite compatible. There are basic theme customization settings that allow you to change the theme’s main logo and also update the login page logo.
Flaty – Premium
Flatty is a colorful, flat and minimalistic admin theme. It comes with nine predefined colors for the navigation bar, sidebar and boxes.
This basic theme also allows you to customize the logo on the login page.
Retina Press – Premium
This Multisite-compatible theme allows you to offer your users a customized dashboard look.
Retina Press features a clean design and a jQuery animated accordion menu, along with retina support. You can also replace the login logo with your own for re-brand your site.
Blue Press – Premium
Blue Press is a “social style” admin theme with a Facebook-inspired look and responsive design.
It features six color schemes – blue, turquoise, yellow/green, dark/orange, violet and firebrick.
Cream6 – Free
Cream6 is a basic admin theme with a responsive design (as far as CSS can manage on the core).
It comes with a flat design and a simple, dark color scheme.
WP Quick – Premium
The WP Quick admin theme is feature-packed and promises everything you need to make the admin area “fresh.” Essentially, this plugin allows you to rebrand the WordPress backend.
The theme includes many options, such as the ability to customize colors and fonts, and remove update notifications and other backend distractions. You can also upload your own admin log and default avatar.
Like other admin themes, you can also customize the login page with your own logo. Plus, this theme is Multisite compatible.
EZ WordPress Dashboard Skin – Premium
This simple plugin allows you to style the admin area with your own customized look. EZ WordPress comes with two color options – light and dark – and you can also add an accent color.
Bootstrap Admin – Free
Bootstrap Admin is a clean, minimalistic admin theme based on Twitter’s Bootstrap, and created by our very own support crew member Aristeides Stathopoulos.
This theme was built for the magazi.org network of stores and is Multisite compatible.
It features general styling of the admin area, admin menu sub-menus as bootstrap popovers, bootstrap icons, and buttons thumbing.
It also includes optimizations for WPMU DEV’s Pro Sites and MarketPress plugins.
Easy Blogging – Premium
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning WPMU DEV’s Easy Blogging plugin.
Easy Blogging allows you to completely customize the look and feel of the admin area. This plugin is ideal for developers who are creating client sites and want to simplify the WordPress backend.
Once installed, activate “Easy Mode” for a more user-friendly experience with new icons and tooltips. The plugin also has a fantastic wizard for walking the user through common actions. You can even customize you own wizard mode walkthrough and add help links via drag and drop.
This plugin is Multisite compatible and great for networks hosting WordPress newbies.