Your website’s traffic isn’t worth anything – if most of the people have to wait ages for it to load and then click the back button out of frustration.
You will only make money from your site if your traffic converts. Otherwise, all the time and money you spend generating traffic is a waste.
Converting doesn’t always have to mean a sale. It might mean subscribing to your email list or clicking on an advertisement. Everyone wants a high conversion rate. But here’s the shocker:
If your website’s page speed is slow 🐌 well then most of your visitors will hit the back button and never come back.
And if people don’t stay on your website, there’s no way they will ever convert. Simple as that.
As you will learn in the later section, your WordPress site’s theme makes a huge impact on your site’s speed. Choose a slow WordPress theme and your website will be slow as a snail.
So, if you want more people to stay on your website and convert (make a sale or subscribe), you will need a faster website 🚀
Here’s what you’ll learn in this post:
What is the fastest WordPress theme?
- It definitely isn’t the Avada theme. Avada is slow loading, in my test it took 8.6 seconds to load.
- The web host you use has a massive impact on the load time of your WordPress theme.
- GeneratePress (free & premium theme), Astra (free & premium theme), Schema (premium theme) and OceanWP (free & premium theme) are all loading fast.
|GeneratePress Theme||Astra Theme||Schema Theme||OceanWP Theme|
|Fully loaded time:||1.3 seconds||1 second||1.8 seconds||1.5 seconds|
|Total page size:||696KB||833KB||529KB||1.06MB|
|Number of requests:||24||52||39||15|
|Price:||$39.95 (Free theme available)||$59.00 (Free theme available)||$59.00 (Paid theme only)||$39.00 (Free theme available)|
|Read more:||GeneratePress review||Astra theme review||Schema theme review||OceanWP theme review|
Let’s start off with explaining why having a fast loading WordPress theme is so important.
Why Site Speed Matters
According to KissMetrics, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of your visitors will leave.
When people leave your website, you not only lose potential revenue but also all the money and time you spent generating traffic to your website.
And if you want to get to the first page of Google and stay there, you need a website that loads up fast.
Google’s algorithms prefer displaying websites that offer a great user experience (and site speed is a huge factor). In Google’s eyes, a website that offers good user experience generally has a lower bounce rate and loads up fast.
If your website is slow, most of your visitors will bounce back which will result in a loss in search engine rankings. Moreover, if you want to convert more visitors into customers or subscribers, your website needs to load up fast.
According to WebsiteOptimization.com, a slow website is not only perceived low-quality, it also sees a decrease in traffic by up to 20%.
The bottom line?
If you want your website to load up fast and secure the first spot in search engine results, you will need a WordPress theme that is fully optimized for speed.
The WordPress theme you use will have a massive impact on how fast your website loads.
If your theme offers every feature under the sun, is bloated with scripts and resources, and comes with lots of low-quality code, your website’s speed will suffer.
If your theme isn’t optimized for speed, whatever you do to improve your website’s speed will prove in vain.
Why most WordPress themes aren’t optimized for speed
When you search for WordPress themes on Google, you will come across dozens of themes that look professional and offer a great design.
What you can see is how responsive the theme is or how cool the design looks, but what you can’t see is the code behind the theme.
Most WordPress theme developers will shout from their rooftops that all their themes are optimized for speed.
But here’s the honest truth: Most WordPress themes aren’t optimized for speed at all.
In fact, most WordPress themes don’t even follow the WordPress Community Coding Standards. Any theme that doesn’t follow these standards can and with time will become vulnerable to hackers.
These coding standards are there to make sure themes are coded to work efficiently and aren’t vulnerable to hackers.
How to test a WordPress theme’s load time?
If haven’t already purchased the theme or you are not the developer of the theme, then the only way to find out if a theme is optimized for speed – is to test the loading speed of the WordPress theme’s demo site.
To test the speed of a WordPress theme demo site, visit GTMetrix, enter the theme demo site’s URL and click submit.
The tool will take a few seconds to test the website then it will show you the number of seconds it takes to load the site.
If the demo site takes more than 5 seconds to load, then that’s the amount of time your site will take to load using that WordPress template.
Some studies show that you might only have four seconds before a web user moves on, i.e. you have very little time to make a good first impression.
How to more accurately predict a WordPress theme’s load time?
Using the 5 seconds or less is a good benchmark, but only looking at the actual load time of a theme demo isn’t the most accurate way of checking how fast the theme actually is. Why?
Because where the demo theme is hosted and the performance of the web host’s servers matter a lot, and you will most likely use different web host than what the theme owner is using
A better way of determining a theme’s speed is to look at the total page size and the number of requests it takes for the page to load.
Here’s an example of what it would look like using Avada as an example (is the #1 selling theme on Themeforest – but it’s by no means the fastest). The Avada demo site loads very slow:
Again. If GTMetrix shows a theme demo takes more than 5 seconds to load, the theme will probably slow down your website and probably isn’t the best choice for you.
One More Thing You Need For a Fast Loading Site
The theme you use on your WordPress site will have a big impact on your site’s speed. But the web hosting service you use will probably have as big of an impact as your site’s theme.
This is the reason why web hosting is the #1 performance factor in WordPress’s official optimization guide.
If you host your website on a crappy web hosting service, you will get crappy results in terms of site speed. Most web hosting service providers offer cheap plans.
But these web hosts stuff too many accounts on a single low-quality server. This results in a slow experience for all the websites. And if one of your neighbor sites starts using too much server resources, the whole server might go down resulting in your site going down with it.
If you want your website to load fast and be up at all times, you should go with SiteGround. It’s my #1 choice when it comes to WordPress hosting services.
SiteGround offers a free migration service and their helpful and skilled support answers your queries within seconds. Other hosting features worth mentioning are:
- Free daily website backups
- Recommended by WordPress
- 1-click of the button WordPress installation
- Managed WordPress hosting on all plans
- Built-in SuperCacher caching solution
- Innovative speed technologies like SSD, HTTP/2, PHP7, NGINX
- Staging and GIT (only on GoGeek plan)
- Free SSL certificate & CloudFlare CDN
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Prices start at just $3.95/mo
Check out my honest and bs-free SiteGround review to find out why I love and trust SiteGround.
The Top 5 Fastest WordPress Themes
I know how difficult it can be to go through the thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available online and find the perfect one for your site.
What is the fastest wordpress theme?
So, below I have compiled a list of the 3 fastest loading WordPress themes in 2018. All of these are lightweight WordPress themes that comes with quality code to speed up your WordPress site.
1. GeneratePress WordPress theme
GeneratePress is a beautiful, light-weight theme for WordPress. It comes as both a free and premium version, but the paid version has lots more useful features.
GeneratePress is a multipurpose theme and is fully customizable, so you can use it to create any kind of a website. This theme has over 500 5-star ratings in the WordPress Theme Directory.
The premium version of GeneratePress ($39.95) comes with a light-weight and modular framework and allows you to disable features you don’t want to use.
There are 15 modules that let’s you leverage the functionality of the theme and you can activate/deactivate the modules you aren’t using to make sure they don’t add extra load on your site. This modular approach allows you to improve your site speed all by yourself.
While the free version of the theme comes with dozens of awesome features, the premium version of the theme comes with pretty much everything you could ask for in a WordPress theme.
For example, the premium version comes with support for WooCommerce, let’s you to make changes to the typography, styles and colors, and allows you to create custom sections in your pages. It also comes with custom hooks and function disable specific elements on certain pages and posts. The premium version comes with lifetime usage, 1 year of updates & support and a generous 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy.
What about speed? GeneratePress is a fast loading WordPress theme alright, the demo site loads in just over 1 second! Wow!
GeneratePress is hands-down the fastest loading speed I have ever tried. I have seriously considered moving over all my sites to GeneratePress (including this one).
If you want your WordPress website to load lightning fast, GeneratePress is the theme you are looking for.
- Built-in support for Schema Markup to help you achieve better rankings and a higher CTR in search engines.
- Site library of importable ready-to-use demo sites to kickstart your WordPress site
- Fully responsive design that looks great on all devices
- The theme is translation-ready, so you can easily translate it into multiple languages.
- Its lightweight framework makes your website load super fast.
- Comes with full support for WordPress Theme Customizer, so you can easily make live changes to the design of your website without writing a single line of code.
- Advanced customization that lets you disable specific elements on certain pages and posts, build unique layouts using sections inside your pages, and hooks allowing you to add in your own custom content throughout various areas in the them.
- Comes with support for page builders such as Elementor and Beaver Builder to help you achieve higher levels of customization.
- Allows you to easily customize every individual page on your website. You can choose whether or not you want to display a sidebar and on which side. You can also customize the footer widgets for every individual post and page.
Free. Premium version costs $39.95 (recommended)
GeneratePress Live Demo
New and exciting updates to GeneratePress Premium
GeneratePress Premium 1.6 biggest update is without doubt the release of GeneratePress Sites. These are ready-made, and stunning and fast loading, sites you can import to give you a head start when building a new website.
Once you have installed Premium 1.6, you can find the GeneratePress Sites in Appearance > GeneratePress > Sites. GeneratePress Sites come with all of the GeneratePress premium options and demo content.
Right now there over 20 GeneratePress Sites to choose from, but more will come and they’ll be delivered to your Dashboard automatically. One cool feature is that you can build and sell your own GeneratePress Sites, because they’re super easy to export and package up.
Read more on generatepress.com/gp-premium-1-6
2. Astra WordPress theme
Astra is a lightweight, fast, page builder friendly WordPress theme that is designed by Brainstorm Force. Astra is a serious contender to GeneratePress.
Astra is a customizable theme that is very simple to use and master which will make your life so much easier when creating your website.
Not only that – Astra is also one of the fastest loading themes out there.
Oh and I should also mention that Astra is 100% free to download! It’s free for anyone to get started with and there’s no upfront cost. But you can extend Astra with affordable add-ons that extend the customization possibilities.
If you are looking for WordPress theme that’s fast, elegant and customizable, then you can’t and shouldn’t look past Astra.
Astra WordPress theme is free but as I mentioned you can extend it with addons that gives you loads more advanced features.
The Astra Pro Addon ($59) is a plugin that extends the free Astra theme and adds more features in it. The Astra Agency package ($249) offers readymade websites and includes all plugins that are used to build those websites.
- Compatibility with page builders like Elementor, BeaverBuilder, SiteOrigin, Divi + more
- Easy to use with a clean admin interface
- Simple, yet beautiful designs for whatever type of business you are in
- Dozens of pre-designed and turnkey stunning looking starter sites that you can import
- Easy to customize without having to deal with code. You can change the design through range of options in the native WordPress customizer
- SEO friendly foundation and all the necessary Schema.org markup
- Extendible with hooks and filters that lets you customize any Astra theme
- Seamless WooCommerce integration for building online stores
- Generous 14 days money-back guarantee
Free. Premium version costs $59 (recommended)
Astra Live Demo
3. Schema WordPress theme
Schema from MyThemeShop is another lightweight WordPress theme. It offers a responsive design and is fully customizable. It is a great theme for creating any kind of a blog.
This theme comes with built-in support for reviews to help you create beautiful looking review pages. It also comes with built-in shortcodes, voting functionality and performance settings.
This theme might not be as fast as GeneratePress, but underestimating what this theme can do for you would be a mistake. This theme comes with everything you need to run a blog.
What about speed? Is Schema a fast loading WordPress theme? Yes it is.
- Fully responsive design. Easily adapts to all screen sizes.
- Comes with an Ad Management panel to help you easily manage the ads on your website.
- Translation-ready, you can use this theme to create a multilingual website.
- Support for Google Fonts allows you to choose from hundreds of Google fonts you would like to see on your website.
- Comes with built-in support for related posts. No need to install any additional plugin.
- Built-in support for breadcrumbs.
- Comes with support for rich snippets. Google will show a star rating in your Search Engine result snippet if your post is a review.
Premium version costs $59
Schema Live Demo
4. OceanWP WordPress theme
OceanWP is a 100% FREE multi-purpose WordPress theme that lets you build beautiful looking websites with WordPress. Nicolas Lecocq is the creator and you can download the theme from WordPress.org here.
OceanWP is all about user friendliness and you can import ready to use demo sites with a single click using the free import extension.
The free version comes with 7 free extensions but OceanWP also comes with 11 premium extensions that lets yo extend the theme further. You can either buy them individually starting at $9.99 each or you can get the premium bundle starting at $39 for a single site license.
- Modal Window
- Posts Slider
- Demo Import
- Custom Sidebar
- Product Sharing
- Social Sharing
- Ocean Extras
- Popup Login
- Woo Popup
- Sticky Footer
- Ocean Hooks
- Elementor Widgets
- Side Panel
- Sticky Header
- Footer Callout
What about pagespeed? Is OceanWP one of the fastest WordPress themes? Yup it sure is.
- Fully mobile responsive adjusting to any screen size
- Built-in SEO for better indexing and search rankings
- WooCommerce ecommerce ready
- Built In WordPress customizer options
- Advanced Mega Menu
- Support for all popular page builders like Elementor
- Free 1-click ready to use themes
Premium version costs $39
OceanWP Live Demo
and finally here’s another 100% free WordPress theme for you:
Unlike the other themes in this article, Skin is a completely free (and fast loading) WordPress theme.
While it might not offer as many features as the other two themes, it does come with dozens of features. It is fully responsive, so it will look great on all devices.
It comes with 3 different content layouts and 2 featured sliders to choose from. This theme is also compatible with WooCommerce, so you can use it to start an eCommerce site.
- Comes with 3 different content layout options to choose from.
- Full support for WooCommerce to help you create stunning online stores.
- Full support for WordPress Theme Customizer. Also, allows you choose the Google Fonts you would like to use on your website.
- Comes with 4 different header styles to choose from.
- Support for multisite.
- Built-in support for displaying related posts.
Visit Skin Theme
I hope this blog post helped you understand how big of an impact the theme you use can have on your WordPress site’s speed.
All of the themes I have covered here are responsive and offer dozens of customization options.
My favorite WordPress template among these three is GeneratePress. It is hands-down the fastest theme with so many features I have ever tried.
If you were to ask me the question what is the fastest WordPress theme? I would say GeneratePress without a doubt.
If you have any questions or suggestions, then let me know in the comments below.
Updated by Lisa.