Fastest free WordPress themes of 2018
by: Gijs Hovens
You already know that a fast theme is important. Speed ensures better rankings on Google, better rankings in the Facebook Newsfeed and better conversion! We have evaluated the fastest free WordPress themes of 2018 for you.
Top 30 themes tested on speed
These themes all come from the WordPress.org theme repository and have thus already been checked in respect of coding quality and security. We tested the 30 most popular WordPress themes and evaluated them for you. Number 1 is the fastest and number 30 is the slowest theme on the list.
|Theme name||URL||TTFB (caching off)||Fully Loaded Time (caching off)||TTFB (caching on)||Fully loaded (caching on)||Google PageSpeed Mobiel Score (caching on)||Google PageSpeed Desktop Score|
|One Page Express||https://wordpress.org/themes/one-page-express/||0.981||2.885||0.275||1.984||70||86|
Which WordPress themes are the fastest?
It is striking that virtually every theme scores the same for Time To First Byte. However, a few themes fall short here. If speed is your most important requirement, you can forget about the Activation, Magazine Point and Kale themes.
If we look at the Fully Loaded Time, we see starker differences. Fully Loaded Time correlates with the scores of Google PageSpeed Insights. The old default themes of Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven perform well, as do Astra, OceanWP and Writee. Shapely and Magazine Point perform particularly well on the Google PageSpeed Insights score for mobile.
What is also clear is the great advantage of speed that is achieved if one no longer actively switches off Savvii full-page caching. Time To First Byte is then 3x as fast!
How did we test the themes?
All themes were tested with the webpagetest.org and Google PageSpeed Insights tools. Those provide a good insight into a website’s load time and areas for improvement in that regard. Would you like to test your website’s load time? Then read our blog about measuring website speed.
To obtain the most reliable data, each test was repeated nine times with webpagetest.org. We used the median score in the analysis.
To obtain the best insight into the theme’s impact in terms of load time and Time To First Byte, we switched off our server-side caching at webpagetest.org by setting a no-cache header. To see how much faster the site became with this caching, we also repeated the test with Savvii full-page caching switched on. The Google PageSpeed Score was calculated without server-side caching.
All themes were tested in the same WordPress installation. This is a WordPress 4.8.1 website with 100 messages and 10 pages. The website is equipped with Yoast SEO & Akismet plug-ins. The site operates on a Shared One package from Savvii Managed WordPress Hosting.
We tested the homepage, this page showed 1 post.
How do you select the best theme?
Naturally, speed is an important factor in selecting a theme, but certainly not the only one. Design, responsiveness, functionalities, accessibility and quality of code and support are important. We explain how take those factors into account in your choice in a whitepaper on selecting the right theme. Download the whitepaper for free!