The Fastest WordPress Themes (and Best!) in 2020

The Fastest WordPress Website Themes

Last Updated: 20 April
Through our agency work we’ve optimized 3000+ sites since 2016 (we now have a totally separate brand that does site speed work, more further below) and get daily questions about WP themes, which is the fastest, what makes a theme fast and which is the best one to use if speed is a priority.

So, in this post we share the fastest WordPress themes we’ve found, why they’re fast and who they’re best suited for – no BS fake speed tests here, stupid lists with 50+ themes or other nonsense written by content writers who have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to speed, these are genuinely the fastest for WordPress on the web right now.

The Fastest WordPress Website Themes

If you want to skip all the detail and just want to know which themes are the fastest, it’s these:

  1. GeneratePress Lightweight Theme is a theme that’s very lightweight and built for speed. The developer of this theme specifically set out to build something that’s lightning fast.

    Part of what makes this theme so fast is the fact it doesn’t rely on Jquery (or more accurately, you can build a site without needing Jquery) which means it’s light on Javascript so it renders faster AND makes Google Pagespeed Insights very happy.

    ^^If you’re looking for the fastest WordPress theme on the market right now, this is it.
  2. WP-Astra Theme – this is another lightning-fast theme and also has some really awesome child theme options.

    Like GeneratePress, it also doesn’t rely on the Jquery javascript library – Astra is more feature heavy so it’s a tiny bit slower than GeneratePress but still lightning fast.

    ^^This is a close runner up to the number 1 spot, if you’re looking for the fastest theme but also don’t want to sacrifice design or functionality or want some awesome inbuilt demo sites, this one is the way to go.
  3. Neve by Themeisle – this is another theme that was built specifically with speed in mind, doesn’t rely on Jquery and has some beautiful pre-built templates.

    Also has some additional specialized features for Woocommerce to help boost conversion rates.

Why Does Speed Matter?

A fast website is very important. Speed impacts Google rankings, it impacts user experience and ultimately conversion rate. Bottom line, faster sites get more traffic and make more money.

People get pretty frustrated with slow websites, and as you yourself might also know, when a website is slow you’re pretty quick to click away and go elsewhere.

How Does Theme Speed Factor into Overall Site Speed?

Two words: Render speed. Getting the stuff from the web-servers is one part of speed, and the second part is how quickly the site actually renders. A fast WordPress theme both renders fast and is quick to download. Its actual file size (technically called page weight) is much smaller, so the amount of stuff to download is much smaller, and its speed of rendering is much faster. 

What Makes a Theme Fast?

Faster themes are smaller – smaller in weight, which means it has less code. It has cleaner CSS and fewer CSS files, which means there’s less to download and process on the device, and there’s less javascript so the browser doesn’t have to work as hard to display the page.

What is Jquery & Does It Impact Speed?

Jquery is a javascript library, and themes that really on it basically go slower. It’s an off the shelf library and helps cut coding time for the more fancy design elements of a theme. If you’re building a site from scratch ideally aim to use a theme that doesn’t rely on Jquery.

Testing Speed

At WPSpeedFix.com, our site speed optimization service we’ve optimized well over 3000 sites now so we have a deep understanding of what makes a theme fast or slow.

Be mindful when it comes to theme speed and what you see online. You’ve probably read a few articles on theme speed. A lot of them will have tested demo sites or demo themes and will have speed test results of themes, but they’re not a good indication of theme speed. The reason why the testing of a demo site is problematic is that you don’t know where they’re being hosted and they’re not live sites.

Typically they’re on cheap hosting providers and they’re also highly unlikely to be speed optimized so they’re worthless in terms of gauging how lightweight a theme is. 

The most important things to look for when theme shopping are:

  • jquery or no jquery
  • how much javascript the theme has in general, basically – the more features the theme has, the more javascript is required.
  • a lot of the themes in this list have a lot of features, but you can turn most of them off. Things like Google Maps integration, Vimeo and YouTube integration, things like that – they all require javascript libraries which slow down the theme. So the ability to turn them off will actually make these themes faster. 
  • how lightweight the CSS of the theme is – broadly speaking, themes that are built for speed will talk about their lightweight CSS in their marketing
  • child themes and the out of the box templates – if you’re not designing something from scratch this is probably important
  • whether or not you’re running Woocommerce – some of the themes are going to look better or function better than others with Woocommerce

If you want to do speed testing try our free speed test tool at SiteSpeedBot.com. It’s completely free and within 60 seconds you’ll have detailed recommendations on how to improve your site speed with recommendations many other tools completely miss.

The Fastest WordPress Themes in Detail:

The themes listed here are hands-down the fastest themes on the market right now, if you want “as fast as possible”, these are themes you should be looking at.

1. GeneratePress

Superb performance and super versatile. If you use its WordPress Customizer options (of which there are many), you can adapt GeneratePress to any kind of niche. Also, if you’re ready to pay for the premium version, lots of pre-built demo sites, which you’ll be able to easily import, will become available at your disposal. Definitely one of the fastest WordPress themes you’ll be able to find, no argument about that. 

The developer of this theme, Tom Usborne, has concentrated on creating a clean, lightweight code. The theme is under 30kb, doesn’t have any dependencies (that also includes jQuery), and it’s simply designed to perform really well in general. 

Click play on the video below to see a walkthrough of the theme

BEST FOR: If you want the absolute FASTEST WP theme on the web right now and/or want a serious chance at 100 score in Google Pagespeed Insights and/or SEO is a priority
BONUS POINTS:FREE version available!

Website: generatepress.com

2. Astra

WP Astra is another very popular option, similar to the GeneratePress theme. Astra also doesn’t rely on jQuery, while also being pretty lightweight at just 50kb. It’s also a very customizable them with lots of theme options – if you want, you can import one of the numerous free demo websites that are built with one of these page builders:

  • Elementor
  • Beaver Builder
  • Gutenberg (the WordPress block editor)
  • Brizy

If you wish, you can also tinker with things yourself, using tons of the options available in the real-time Customizer.

Astra has the edge over GeneratePress in the child themes and templates department, they have some seriously beautiful templates ready to use out of the box.

BEST FOR: Those who want lightning fast AND beautiful pre-built templates to choose from
BONUS POINTS: FREE & Paid versions available

Website: wpastra.com

3. Neve by Themeisle

Neve is another fantastic theme option. It’s a general purpose theme BUT also has what they call a “Woocommerce Booster” module if you’re looking for a theme that is Woocommerce friendly.

We really like that there are multiple price points available for this theme, a free download where you can try the theme without signing up for anything AND an agency plan option that gives you unlimited site support which is quite rare these days.

They also have a huge number of templates PLUS some examples of their site of real, live production sites using the theme.

BEST FOR: Agencies or those who want lightning fast, Elementor or Beaver Builder support as well as solid Woocommerce support.
BONUS POINTS: Unlimited site agency option available, Woocommerce Booster for ecommerce sites.

Here’s a summary of some of Neve’s key features at a glance:

  • Woocommerce Booster module that adds specific conversion optimization features for ecommerce site
  • Ability to download the theme straight from their site with no signup or optin
  • Agency paid plans available with UNLIMITED site support AND Whitelabel option!
  • Can run without Jquery so it’s lightning fast – it’s clear they built the theme out of the box to load fast
  • AMP support

Website: themeisle.com

4. OceanWP

Another streamlined option that has the same basic approach such as GeneratePress and Astra. It has a lightweight base theme that allows for customization of any niche that you can imagine, although it’s not as lightweight as the other two mentioned. 

The same as Astra, OceanWP is also offering demo sites which are pre-built and which you can import if you don’t plan on starting from scratch.

Website: oceanwp.org

5. Genesis 

Genesis is also among the most popular WordPress themes out there, and is often used by a number of professional bloggers on the internet. It’s a lightweight theme – less than 30kb in size, with lots of SEO-friendly features and very responsive design. It’s also Gutenberg ready and contains one-click demo import. 

It’s one of the oldest themes on the market but is still lightning fast albeit at the time of writing still required Jquery.

Website: studiopress.com

Honorable Mentions

The themes listed in this section are popular themes which are still fast but don’t fall in the category of the fastest. Some of them were the fastest themes at the time they were released but now lag behind the current generation of fastest themes.

We’ve decided to include them as well because they allow for more flexible styling and child themes since they are less constrained by the super lightweight code of the fastest themes.

Divi

Divi is without a doubt one of the most successful themes on the market – the Divi theme itself has about 500 000 users! This is a powerful and flexible theme, coming with its own page builder that’s made in the form of drag-and-drop page builder. It’s also updated very regularly, which means new features are being constantly introduced. 

This is a multi-purpose theme: it will allow you to build any kind of website you want: business sites, portfolios, blogs, online shops (it fully integrates with Woocommerce), and more. It’s a theme that’s very easy use, meant to serve different purposes; it’s also got customization options that allow for some very creative page designs which you can make at will (you’re able to control colors, fonts, and other design elements). Divi has very responsive layouts which make it work on practically any device. 

Website: elegantthemes.com

Avada

This one’s a number one seller on the ThemeForest market place, the most famous online selling spot for themes. This theme is very convenient for people that don’t have any coding or developer’s knowledge, which means it can help users of any level to build the website they want very easily. 

It’s a fully customizable theme (it’s got thousands of customization options), meant for different site purposes. You’re able to change all design elements via the user interface. It also contains hundreds of pre-made page designs. 

Website: avada.theme-fusion.com

Bridge

One of the most flexible WordPress themes, great for the more creative people behind WordPress websites who want full control of their site. The Bridge theme comes with a wide range of modules, and also premium plugins that allow for an even better customization experience. It’s got lots of customization options that are built-in and which can be accessed through the Customizer. 

Bridge is the kind of theme that contains: Slider Revolution, Visual Composer, Timetable Responsive Schedule and much more. There are over 350 demo options with which you can start building your site; this theme will also allow you to combine elements from different demos. 

It also comes with multi-purposed modules – you can use them for online shops, as well as magazines, blogs, and a lot more. 

Website: qodeinteractive.com/bridge

Optimizepress

This is a very powerful theme for creating sales pages, landing pages, membership portals, as well as blog pages and training areas. In fact, it’s one of the best themes that you can find out there for sales pages! 

It also comes with a plugin version, which also means that, if you opt for the plugin, you won’t need to change your current theme. 

With Optimizepress you can also create webinar pages, download pages; it has Overly optimizer which lets you create cool looking popups for your website. It includes integrated SEO features. 

Website: optimizepress.com

Beaver Builder

Another flexible drag and drop functioning page builder, one that works on the front end of your WordPress website. Regardless whether you’re a beginner in the IT world or an experienced professional, Beaver Builder will provide you with enough control and flexibility, as well as easy to use features and options for those that want to build a unique site of their own. 

Website: wpbeaverbuilder.com

Hestia Pro

A stylish one-page theme perfect for any type of business. Enjoy the high-performance that comes with great user experience.

Website: themeisle.com

Elementor Hello Theme

If you’re using a page builder plugin, such as Elementor, and you also want the fastest possible basis for your site, then the Elementor Hello theme could just be the right option for you. 

A mega barebones theme that gives you the necessary functionality you’ll need in order to work with your page builder, although it doesn’t include some of the more detailed customization options you’d get with another theme (since you’re supposed to use Elementor to handle that).

That being said, the Elementor Hello is not a theme you’ll use all by itself. But, as was mentioned above, if you’re already using Elementor Pro for theme building or page building, this can be a superb option that will give you the biggest performance-optimized basis possible, so it can withstand that theme building functionality.

Some Final Notes

Speed is only one element of marketing, and as long as you have one of the themes on this list, the site will run fast enough. If you want it to run as fast as humanly possible, if you’re trying to squeeze every last drop of speed out of the site, then, by all means, go with the fastest one, but keep it in mind that marketing is not just about speed. The design and the style of the site actually probably matters more than it being milliseconds faster from another theme. 

Also, keep in mind that some themes will support more customization than others (aka CSS that’s more workable than others’). And, if you’re working with a developer, some developers will be familiar with certain themes – Divi, for example, is a very, very popular theme, and they’ll probably have a lot of experience working with that theme. This means that they’re comfortable with it, they understand it, whereas if you throw them in front of a brand new theme, it might take more work to achieve the result you actually want because they’ll have to do more research. 

If you have any questions about this article, please post them in the comment section below; we’ll be happy to come back to you and elaborate, as well as provide more info on whatever you want to know on the fastest WordPress themes. Thanks for reading! 

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