Finding the fastest WordPress theme feels like a fool’s errand. Are you to test every theme you’re interested in and compare the differences in millisecond load times? How do you account for changes in hosting speeds from the developers and their online demos? What if the testing tools produce conflicting results?
That’s why we did the work for you.
Using four speed tests, a new installation for each theme, and the same server for each theme’s speed testing, we were able to narrow down the fastest WordPress themes to a shortlist.
In addition, we compared the best of the best to show which of them perform well in different situations and which of them have the highest performance scores and fastest speeds.
Make sure to check out our guide on how to run speed tests if you’d like to run some tests on your own as well.
Let’s get cracking!
How We Tested the Fastest WordPress Theme Candidates
Our search began with themes we’ve encountered in the past, along with popular and trending WordPress themes that have many downloads and quality reviews.
We added to our list of candidates by going through the WordPress Repository to identify hidden gems, newer themes, and highly-rated options that we may have missed from the previous collection.
The speed testing process went like this:
- Install and activate the theme on a blank WordPress sandbox installation. This allows for standardization in hosting and no complications with other plugins or site files.
- Leave the theme as-is, with no media, menus, pages, or posts added. We also want to leave out any demo content and not assign a homepage for a level starting point.
- Run the website with the theme through the GTMetrix Speed Test.
- Run the theme through the Pingdom Speed Test.
- Run the theme through the PageSpeed Insights Test to evaluate mobile speed.
- Run the theme through the Byte Check TTFB (time to first byte) Test.
Each testing tool has its own benefits. To better understand the evaluation, we’ve outlined what our metrics mean and why they’re important.
As for why we used four tools, each of them has varying standards and results, so we want to ensure one tool isn’t giving better or worse results than another. In addition, a few of the tools focus on specifics like mobile speed, page size, or the speed in which the first website element appears.
Here’s a short summary of the testing tools we used.
Speed optimization is a tough game you can’t win with a slow theme. Check out how the fastest WordPress themes stack against each other! ??Click to Tweet
GTMetrix takes a website and breaks down its speed and optimization. It’s a nice tool for checking on performance issues and if a theme
This article was written by Matteo Duò and originally published on Blog – Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.