fast WordPress website

15 Fastest WordPress Themes

WordPress is used by business owners worldwide for quick, simple website building. It’s an ideal option for platforms of all sizes, from small independent blogs to large-scale e-commerce sites. The reason so many users love WordPress is its customizable features via user-friendly themes.

However, there are over 10,000 WordPress themes—which one should you choose?  

If you’re searching for a website theme that shows off your brand identity and loads quickly for a high-quality user experience, look no further. Let’s break down everything you need to know about the 15 fastest WordPress Themes.

What to Look for In a Fast WordPress Theme

A website that doesn’t load quickly will drive users away from your site and, for businesses, ultimately have a negative impact on your bottom line. In fact, Google’s research has discovered that for mobile site visitors, page load speed is critical. When comparing load speeds between 1 second and 10 seconds, the bounce rate increased by 123%.

In short, the top quality you want to look for in a WordPress theme is speed.

Other than using the fastest WordPress hosting, the best WordPress cache plugin, and the right WordPress CDN provider, you will also have to ensure that you’re choosing the fastest WordPress theme that will perform as desired. Furthermore,  it should allow you to build an attractive site, you should look for several features, such as:

  • Rapid loading 
  • Customizable features
  • Compatibility with plugins and page builders
  • Customer support

Without these, your site is at risk for crashing, glitching, and poor user experience.

What Makes a WordPress Theme Fast?

If you’re curious as to what goes on behind the scenes to make a WordPress theme fast, there are five key speedy features:

  • Responsive design – You want your site to be usable and efficient for both mobile and desktop browsers. Remember that statistic on mobile users’ page load time? The same principle applies to desktop browsers. However, some themes require a separate code for each application. A theme with responsive design only requires one set of code, which means it’ll load much more quickly.
  • Lightweight – The more flashy features a theme has, the slower it’ll be. You want a simple theme with options to add plugins and other customizable features later. This way your site isn’t bogged down with unnecessary clutter.
  • Deferred CSS and JavaScript loading – When each script of your page loads one at a time, this slows down the site. If instead they are loaded in deferred, or asynchronous, fashion, the site will move more quickly since it’s only loading scripts on an as-needed basis. Think of a video at the bottom of a long landing page—you only need it to start playing once the user has reached this part of the site. But deferring the video load, you allow the rest of the website to operate with maximum efficiency.
  • GZIP compression – GZIP is a type of data compression that is used to compress the files on your website, enabling your site to load faster.
  • Reduced HTTP requests – Every feature you add to your site, such as font and images, requires an HTTP request. The more HTTP requests your site needs to load, the slower it will be. A theme with fewer HTTP requests will be lighter and thus faster.

When you’re narrowing down your WordPress theme options, the fastest theme will have all five of the above features.

How to Test the Speed of a WordPress Theme

Even if you’re not a tech expert, you can test the speed of a WordPress theme to ensure that it won’t bog down your site. There are three easy steps to testing the speed, including:

  1. Install and activate – When you have a theme selected that you’d like to test, install it and activate it. This works best with free themes, although you can also test free versions of premium themes to get a feel for their speed.
  1. Don’t make any changes – Once you’ve installed and activated your theme, you want to test it without any plugins, customizations, or other changes. You want to know if the theme has the characteristics of a quick theme as noted above without any adjustments.
  1. Run speed tests – There are three different speed tests that WordPress recommends. Each of the following will help you assess the speed of your theme and identify areas for improvement:
    1. GTMetrix
    2. Pingdom
    3. PageSpeed Insights

After you complete these three simple steps, you should have a solid understanding of the speed of the theme or themes you’re interested in. Remember, a simple, lightweight WordPress theme with options for customization and additional plugins is ideal for a rapidly loading result.

How Quickly Should a Website Load?

Your website should load in about 2 seconds or faster. Anything slower could mean declining customer engagement with your site. In turn, you’ll be met with lower conversion and click-through rates on your site. Another Google study indicated that 2 seconds of load time was the maximum people were willing to wait for most sites to load. 

After 2 seconds, your site loses more people with every additional second. This is true for both mobile and desktop users. As many as 40 percent of users claim that they’ll abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to open. 

A quick WordPress theme is a must to keep customers on your site.

Which WordPress Themes Are the Fastest?

There are fast WordPress themes for every budget. Some are even free to use. However, it’s important to note that the free versions of some of these theme options may not come with all of the features of the premium WordPress theme versions. 

Speedy WordPress Themes with Free Options

These fast themes are either entirely free or have a free version you can use:

  • Astra – Over 1,000,000 people have downloaded the Astra theme. It’s an easy-to-use theme with many customizable options, including WordPress plugin compatibility and excellent responsiveness. It’s also lightweight WordPress theme for quick load times. You can opt for the free version or one of the affordable upgrades.
  • Hello Elementor – The Hello theme from Elementor page builder is another popular choice due to its rapid loading speeds, seamless plugin integration, and customizable features. 
  • Ocean WP – This theme is fully customizable and has excellent plugin support. It also has options to disable some of the Java and CSS elements that can slow down your site so you can keep everything moving along quickly.
  • Neve – This WP theme is optimized for mobile device responsiveness. It comes with over 50 pre-built templates to make your page designing job a breeze. 
  • Page Builder Framework – You can use this fast theme with many of the third-party site and page builder plugins. It’s SEO optimized and is a lightweight child theme that won’t clog your WordPress website with unnecessary components. 
  • Zakra – This free theme is easy to customize and built for responsiveness. Although some of the tools are limited with the free version, there are enough available to build a simple, fast, effective site.
  • Customify – This lightweight and fully optimized WP theme is ideal for small businesses. It’s very SEO-friendly as well so your site will be fast and visible.
  • Sydney – Sydney is speedy on multiple types of devices and browsers. It’s a good choice for smaller businesses or those that don’t require a lot of dynamic content on their site.

The free versions are fast, and you can always upgrade to a premium version if you want more page speed.

Fast, Premium WordPress Themes 

These premium WordPress themes are proven to perform, even when you have extensive dynamic content on your site.

  • Hestia Pro – Hestia Pro is built with coding that optimizes website speed. It can be used with caching plugins as well. You can customize your pages and take advantage of their customer support if you run into any issues.
  • GeneratePress Premium– With over 50 importable sites, GeneratePress theme is fast to set up and has quick loading speeds. It’s an excellent choice for an online shop and comes with one year of tech support.
  • Fevr – This is one of the most visually attractive and fast themes available. The premade sites are easy to use and customize to fit your needs.
  • Airi – The premium version of Airi is faster on nonmobile devices than it is on mobile phones. However, it offers plenty of choices for layouts, customization, and plugins that help you craft the perfect site for your business.
  • Schema – The Schema theme is compatible with many third-party plugins with endless customization options. It loads quickly on all devices and comes with built-in caching options for faster loading.
  • Bimber – This Premium WordPress theme is quick and easy to customize and get up and running. Once you have your WordPress site set up, you’ll find that it loads your content rapidly. It’s an ideal choice for a blog or other marketing-based site.
  • Socially Viral – If you’re looking for one of the fastest themes for a content-driven WordPress website, then Socially Viral is an excellent choice. It allows you to have a large amount of content on your site because it utilizes a load more button. This opens content bit by bit so users can load your site faster.

Looking through these two lists, you can see that there are fast WordPress themes for every budget, business, and style.

Improve the Speed of Your WordPress Theme with WP Engine

You need your website to be fast, reliable, and easy for users to navigate. Choosing the right WordPress theme can make a huge difference in the quality of your site. It can even affect your Google ranking. 

When you need help optimizing your WordPress site, we’re here. At WP Engine, we can help fine-tune every aspect of your site so that your users can navigate it with ease. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can make your WordPress site fast and effective.

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