Which WordPress theme is the best? Objectively, this question cannot be answered. Nevertheless, I’ll try. Because it is impossible to compare all themes, I have limited myself to my three favorites.
Theme comparison table
Before I dissect each theme, I want to present you a clear table. So you already have all the important data in mind.
Of course I will draw my conclusion at the end and choose the best WP Theme.
|Free Theme available
|Price / year
|Page Builder Support
|Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder
|Elementor, Beaver Builder
|Page load time
|Page size in KB
Agencies with many pages
In 2016 I switched bloggerpilot.com to a rather unknown WordPress framework called Beans. The reason was the simplicity and speed of the theme. I want to stay true to these two principles.
But what the Beans framework can’t offer is a rosy future. The last update came in mid 2018 and the two developers are hardly heard from either.
Astra vs GeneratePress vs Divi
I have been using Divi for many years on my own sites and client projects. The package from Elegant Themes is simply unbeatable. I can actually recommend all products from this web forge without reservation.
Since I would like to try something new here on bloggerpilot.com, I have included Astra and GeneratePress in the selection.
Google Trends speaks a clear language. Divi is of course on everyone’s lips and has been advertising for many years. Astra is relatively new, but has already overtaken GeneratePress.
The pure search queries cannot be directly transferred to the quality of a product. However, a quick look at the trends is part of every product decision.
Below I would like to introduce you to the three themes that made the shortlist for me. Since there is no free version of Divi available, I also compare Astra and GeneratePress because of the premium version.
Many web designers talk about the combination of Astra theme and Elementor as if it were the holy grail of website creation. I personally don’t think much of page builders (but more on that later). But I think Astra is really good, too.
WPAstra or Astra can be installed in the basic version for free and automatically in WordPress. For many simple sites this scope of services is sufficient.
For $ 59.00 you get the Astra Pro version. The Growth Bundle costs $249.00 and comes with additional premium starter sites and with a vivid collection ad plugins. The theme can be used on as many sites as you want. Annual renewal is required for updates and support.
If you are sure about your theme, you can also purchase the lifetime licenses. This is then $ 299.00 for the smallest Pro variant.
2. Features and extensions
After purchasing the Pro version you have to install an additional plugin, which then unlocks more features and modules.
Each of these modules can be activated according to your needs.
Currently available modules are: Nav Menu, White Label, Blog Layouts, Site Layouts, WooCommerce, Sticky Header, Page Headers, More Color Controls, Better Typography, Custom Layouts, Scroll to Top Link, Footer Widget, Header Sections, More Header Designs and Spacing Control.
Astra Pro really leaves nothing to be desired. Especially with the Growth Bundle the following premium plugins are added:
- WP Portfolio Plugin
- Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder
- Ultimate Addons for Elementor
- Spectra Pro
- Convert Pro Plugin
- Schema Pro Plugin
This way you can implement all your ideas without having to do much programming.
At the time of this writing, there are about 240 Starter Sites available.
3. Setup and operation
To install the Astra Pro theme, you need to download two files: the theme itself and the Astra Pro Addon plugin. This plugin is the first to unlock the Pro features.
But in order to enjoy the Astra Premium Starter Sites, the plugin of the same name will be installed as well. With it you have all the possibilities of an appealing website at your disposal.
If you, like me, bought the full Growth Bundle, there are more plugins available in the members area. I would not install them all at once, but only gradually, depending on your needs.
Once everything is installed, you will find the most important settings and levers in the WordPress Customizer. The Pro modules you have to activate individually under Design > Astra Options > Available Astra Pro Modules. This is well solved. So no unnecessary ballast is dragged along.
4. Speed – Loading times
For testing the loading times I used a new test installation – without plugins and other interfering factors. All three themes were tested on the same subpage with one image and some standard HTML tags.
Overall, I would see Astra as the winner in page load time, both felt and from the numbers determined.
I attach the screenshots from all three test platforms. I’m only going into gtmetrix.com here, though, so I won’t bug you too much with numbers.
The page size is only 51.2 KB. The page was loaded in 1.8 seconds with only 12 requests.
- PageSpeed Score: 99
- YSlow Score: 76
This is already excellent for such a powerful theme. With caching plugin and optimizations it will be even faster of course.
GP Premium is the only one of our three test candidates that is not available as a lifetime version.
But the licensing model is super simple. There is only GP Premium for $ 59.00. If you want to continue receiving updates and support, you have to renew annually with a 40% discount. A lifetime deal is also available for a one-time $249.00.
You may also install Generate Press on unlimited websites.
2. Features and Extensions
GeneratePress Premium also gets a lot of additional features with the upgrade: Site Library, Colors, Typography, Elements, WooCommerce, Menu Plus, Spacing, Blog, Secondary Nav, Backgrounds, Sections, Disable Elements, Copyright and Import/Export.
Overall, GP comes with a little less options. Everyone has to see for themselves what they want or need.
With the 100 themes included, you don’t have to start from scratch.
3. Setup and handling
With GeneratePress Premium, you also have to download the theme and a plugin and install them in your WP instance.
The advanced premium features can be activated individually before use. This is very similar to the Astra setup. I wonder who copied it?
By the way, the site library is only available for premium users.
I find the finished layouts visually very successful. You can definitely build on that. Before importing a new layout and demo content, you can export the current WordPress Customizer settings.
4. Speed – loading times
GeneratePress is hardly inferior to Astra in terms of speed. The values are slightly worse across the board, but this is not relevant for practical use.
The page size of 42.5 KB is loaded in 2.1 seconds with 14 requests.
- PageSpeed Score: 99
- YSlow Score: 74
So GP Premium is a very fast theme.
Divi is only available as part of the Elegant Themes membership. With it you get many more flawless WordPress themes and plugins. Especially the plugins cover many needs.
For $ 89.00 you always get one year of updates and support. Or you can pay $249.00 once and enjoy all ElegantThemes plugins and themes for life. The latter is probably the better deal.
2. Features and Extensions
When it comes to features, functions and plugins, Divi is way ahead of the game. As mentioned above, you buy with the membership not only a theme, but a rich selection of themes and plugins.
Extra is for example also a very successful theme from Elegant Themes.
But the three plugins make the bundle even more interesting:
With Divi, the page builder Divi Builder is already included in the theme. So you have all the design possibilities you can think of, even without being a HTML and CSS pro.
The more than 320 templates guarantee a suitable layout for every niche. New themes are added almost weekly.
3. Setup and handling
You download the theme from the Elegent Themes member area. The installation in WordPress is done as usual. There are no special plugins for pro features or a page builder. Everything is already included in the theme.
Divi comes with its own menu item with more options besides the customizer. There you will find all the basic settings for your new WordPress site.
With Divi you can choose a separate layout for each page and subpage. This is done practically in the Divi Builder. Currently there are 114 layout packs and 852 layouts to choose from. This is really perfect if you want to work on a small niche, or if you are an agency always working on different themes.
Divi also offers a special feature with the page builder. You have the option to use the more modern frontend editor or the backend editor called Classic Editor. Both have advantages and disadvantages. However, the choice is mostly based on taste.
4. Speed – loading times
Divi has to load much more CSS and JS because it comes with a page builder. Especially here, however, much can be optimized later with caching.
All in all Divi is a bit slower. The page size is 387 KB and loads in 3.3 seconds with 23 requests.
- PageSpeed Score: 95
- YSlow Score: 73
For a multipurpose WordPress theme, the values are okay. Divi’s strengths lie elsewhere.
The topic Page-Builder is getting bigger and bigger. Everybody wants to visually enhance their pages with them. However, these helpers also have disadvantages. If the page builder is deactivated, the beautiful design is also gone.
That’s why the rule is:
Use page-builder only for the start page and loading pages!Jochen Gererstorfer
Have a look at my comparison of the best pager builders.
Divi comes with its own Divi Builder. It is in a class of its own. So Divi is certainly a perfect theme if you want a simple visual editor.
Astra and GeneratePress come without a visual page builder. However, both themes are designed 100 for third-party builders.
Whether it’s Beaver Builder, Elementor or Brizy, Astra and GeneratePress are ready for it. Astra even comes with some starter sites for Brizy.
Then there’s Gutenberg. The new default editor of WordPress. You can use Gutenberg with any theme. Maybe Gutenberg is not yet as powerful as the other page builders, but for my needs it is enough, which is why I do without an additional one.
Which theme is right for you?
Astra is fast and expandable.
- Big pages
If you want to get everything out of your site, Astra is the WordPress theme for you.
Use a child theme!
GP is fast and has structured code.
GeneratePress is not much different from Astra.
The code is cleaner and the theme is a bit lighter.
Divi is the perfect all-rounder.
Divi is great for all beginners and laymen. But also for agencies and web designers who master many, not so big, projects.
Astra – My personal choice
I have been using Divi for a long time. But now I want something completely new.
So there was only Astra and GeneratePress left. At the beginning of my research, I was more for GP. But at some point I subconsciously decided for Astra Pro.
For me, I have already answered the question Astra vs GeneratePress vs Divi.
The perfect WordPress theme does not exist. Also not the right one. Ultimately, it depends to a large extent on the requirements of the project and on the very subjective feeling.
If you ask yourself the question: Astra or GeneratePress or Divi, you have all the necessary information for your decision in this review and comparison.
The next article will deal with the preparations for switching to the new theme.
If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments.