For a while now I’ve been using a mixture of GeneratePress Premium and Astra Pro on most of my sites. The reason I’ve been using these two is that they’re widely known as two of the most lightweight WordPress themes on the market.
I’d say that only the Hello theme is more lightweight – but it doesn’t have a sidebar, which is a dealbreaker for me.
Since I’ve spent recent months obsessed with site speed, I decided to put these two themes to the test to determine which one is actually better for site speed.
**And as always, I’m an affiliate marketer and this post contains affiliate links, meaning I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
The Speed Test
To run this test, I used Page Speed Insights, Pingdom, and GTMetrix. What I was really interested in seeing was the difference in page load time and the difference in page size for the tested website/web page.
I used one of my existing sites for this test. The site was already running Astra Pro, so I tested it as it was, and then I changed the theme to GeneratePress, installed GeneratePress Premium and set it all up the same way.
The results speak for themselves.
First up, the Astra Pro results on GTMetrix.
As you can see, the load time for this theme was a decent enough 2.2 seconds. The web page that I used for this test was just a normal blog post with a single featured image.
You might be thinking that this 2.2 seconds load time is awesome. I did too.
Until I switched out the theme.
Here’s the GeneratePress Premium results on GTMetrix.
Your eyes do not deceive you. For the exact same web page on the exact same website, I got a load time of only 0.7 seconds when I switched from Astro Pro to GeneratePress Premium.
I’m not really a super technical person, but I think the difference in page size might be why the GeneratePress Premium theme ends up loading in considerably less time. Though I don’t know why the number of requests is higher.
Honestly, I don’t need to know the “why” behind it because I only care about the results.
Differences Between GeneratePress Premium vs Astra Pro
If you’ve been considering switching to one of these themes, then you might be wondering what other differences you can expect from GeneratePress Premium.
For me, the most noticeable difference is that with Astra Pro there are author boxes that you can enable after each blog post. I need this on some of my sites due to multiple authors/writers.
With GeneratePress Premium you either use a plugin, like Star Box, or code it in with hooks or code snippets. Of course, if you use a plugin like Star Box, then it slows your load time, so going with the more lightweight option is better.
I’ve also seen people saying that Astra Pro is better for Woo Commerce, but that’s not something that I need so I honestly have no idea if that’s true.
Support is another noticeable difference between these two themes. Anyone who has used both of these themes can tell you that GeneratePress offers more customer support than you get from the Astra team.
The GeneratePress forum is really great and the team is super responsive. And with so many posts already on the forum, I often find the answer to my questions without having to ask.
Both of these themes are also available in free versions, though you miss out on a lot of functionality by not upgrading to the paid version. Luckily, they’re both really cheap for what you get.
And, you can use the premium version of the theme on an unlimited number of websites.
Here’s the pricing:
One important thing to note is that the fee is for one year of support and updates. If you want to continue getting support and updates after that first year, then you’ll have to renew your license.
There’s probably other differences as well that just don’t know about, so you may want to do your own research.
These two themes are very similar to each other, but there is one clear winner based on my test.
I’ve already started switching out the themes on my sites running Astra Pro since running this speed test.
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