The best thing about using CSS navigation menus on your website is that they are compatible with nearly any web-building platform. This includes content management systems like Joomla and WordPress, and even sites built using HTML. If you’re considering using a CSS dropdown navigation menu, there are plenty of open-source options for you, to save you money and time. These 18 open source CSS dropdown navigation menus are free to use, easy to install, and will give your site a professional look.
Table of Contents
1. Tabbed Navigation Menu
If you’re going to make a website where users with more than four or five menu options, then you should find a navigation menu with dropdown, submenu features. This tabbed navigation menu uses CSS to do just that. It has a simple yet elegant design, utilizing two colors without shading or excessive animation, so it loads fast. It’s tabbed in appearance, giving it a neat web-browser aesthetic.
2. Animated Responsive Menu
This menu works great for any responsive website. It shrinks or enlarges depending on the user’s screen size, and has a condensed vertical-style built-in for narrow mobile displays.
3. Menu with Notification Badges
This free CSS navigation menu is unique because it allows you to show notifications to logged-in users. This instantly gives your site a more powerful and complete appearance. This menu will work well for any site or blog that incorporates social media or in-site conversations.
4. Bootstrap Mega Menu
If you’re looking for something more versatile and dynamic, and lots of submenus, take a look at the Bootstrap Mega Menu. It has image blocks under each main menu button so you can easily use a menu icon set. It also contains dozens of customizable menu links for each drop-down section you install.
5. Navigation with Hover Effects
This CSS dropdown navigation menu is great if you want to make a website with animations and visual effects. It has animations built-in for hover and click functions, and contains a scrollable horizontal menu.
6. Simple Toggle Menu
Websites that need simple features, quick loading times, and basic color schemes will benefit from this free CSS menu. It has toggle-style dropdown submenus and comes in grey and white by default.
7. Bubble Style Menu
Bubbled menu boxes look great on nearly any site, especially e-Commerce and blogging websites. This dropdown navigation menu is free and easy to customize. Stack two of these on your site for a unique and highly interactive user experience.
The Pale Social bar is a navigation menu that uses CSS to give you a clean, minimalist menu reminiscent of Facebook or other early social media pages. This menu looks great on informative sites, news and blog sites, or business pages. The buttons are silver with shading to give a 3D appearance.
9. Lava Lamp Navigation
This menu has a stunning slider that follows your mouse to each menu button you hover over. That makes it a great choice for tech or art websites. The default color scheme matches any site with black borders or backgrounds.
This CSS3 menu is free and extremely simple. Use it on sites where you don’t want your navigation to draw focus away from your content. This would be great for news, charities, and fashion sites, where the media is the main attraction.
11. Horizontal Navigation Bar
The Horizontal navigation bar looks best when displayed at the main top of your site. This is a good idea for mobile sites and sites with large image sliders on the home page. This CSS menu displays an arrow on menu buttons that have dropdown options, giving users a clear direction on how to use your site.
12. Flexbox Dropdown Menu
If you want to have captions under your menu buttons for creative or practical purposes, this is the best way to go. Use the Flexbox Dropdown menu for any site in the service or hospitality sectors, or anywhere you want to add an artistic touch to connect with visitors on a more personal level. The menu comes in light blue by default but can easily be changed using HTML color codes.
13. Responsive CSS3 Menu
This menu is different than most because it’s a vertical style menu. Use this on websites where your content needs more room in the center or right, vertically. Each button on this menu is a vibrant color and animates upon hover. This would go well on any tech site, or even retail and shopping websites.
14. Infinite Multi-Level
The Infinite multilevel CSS navigation menu is best for websites that have massive amounts of content, or plenty of links and subpages. Typically educational, news, blogs, and product information sites need this kind of flexibility.
This is an advanced CSS menu that can really show off your tech skills. It’s easy to install but very impressive, as its animations include a whole-page transition effect when switching between pages on your website. Use this in your web design portfolio to let clients know you keep up with web standards and are capable of presenting modern animations.
If you want a menu that has a social media feel, look no further. This menu was inspired by the blue and white, concentrated drop-down menus found on Facebook itself. It uses CSS only and has a white arrow pointing to the submenu options so users know that your menu buttons are expandable.
This CSS menu is not only free but it’s high tech to boot. The menu utilizes CSS transitions and transforms and is fully responsive. It looks great in the default blue and black color scheme but is easy to customize. It’s been well tested and works on mobile devices too.7
The Unfolding Dropdown menu is unique and creative and will pair nicely with nearly any website or blog. It has a flip effect, displayed upon mouse clicks, and also has an animated hover feature. Use this to fit lots of menu links in a small space.
CSS navigation menus work with practically any web hosting, website building system, and display well on desktop and mobile devices. They are a great option to give your users an easy-to-use navigation bar for getting around your website or blog.