5 Fastest & SEO-Ready WordPress Themes for 2022 (Detailed Comparison)

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There are literally hundreds of themes available for WordPress.

This means that you have a huge list to choose from when starting a new blog.

The problem is that not all of them are equally good when it comes to performance of your website.

In April 2021, Searchmetrics research showed that over 90% of sites fail to meet Google’s three Core Web Vitals usability thresholds.

Core Web Vitals Usability Thresholds

I personally tested many different WordPress themes to bring you the best of them that you can use with confidence.

In this article, I will show you 5 fastest & SEO-ready themes that will help you improve your Google rankings.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links for products I use and love. This means if you click on such a link and take action (like subscribe, or make a purchase), I may receive some coffee money at no extra cost to you. This helps me create more content free of charge for you. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!

How I Tested the Fastest WordPress Themes for 2022?

To make it to my list, all themes I tested had to meet these three most important criteria:

  1. Created by trusted professionals: A theme must be coded by seasoned programmers who follow the highest coding standards and use the latest technologies.
  2. Lightweight by design: Every theme from this list implements each of its feature very carefully to stay lightweight with minimal size.
  3. SEO-first approach: All themes must be perfectly optimized for search engine rankings.
Always start with a simple theme with minimal number of features. This ensures that it will load fast. Click To Tweet

I followed these exact steps for each theme to make the results fair and comparable:

  1. Static snapshots: I generated a static version of each theme and put it on Netlify CDN to eliminate differences between web hosting services.
  2. Vanilla versions: I installed each theme on a fresh Local WordPress installation. I used only Simply Static plugin to make a static snapshot, nothing else.
  3. Speed tests: I ran four most popular speed tests (PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom and Byte Check) to measure load times.
  4. Stress test: I simulated the peak performance with 50 virtual users to see how each theme works under the pressure.

How Fast Should Your WordPress Website Load?

According to Time Magazine, we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.

Since the year 2000, it dropped from 12 to only 8 seconds.

Our attention span dropped from 12 to 8 seconds since year 2000.

This means that your audience expects immediate response and every additional second means a potential loss of traffic.

Your website should never load longer than 3 seconds. It’s not a typo!

After 3 seconds, users will leave and never come back.

What Are the Fastest WordPress Themes for 2022?

I’m glad you asked! Here is the result of my thorough testing.

  1. Blocksy
  2. Astra
  3. GeneratePress
  4. Magazine Pro
  5. Avada

Detailed Performance Comparison

First, let’s take a look at the overview tables with detailed comparison.

PageSpeed Insights Results

Blocksy theme has the best overall results in Google’s PageSpeed Insights test for mobile devices. The second place belongs to GeneratePress theme.

PageSpeed Insights Mobile Blocksy Astra GeneratePress Magazine Pro Avada
Overall Performance 100 97 100 92 84
First Contentful Paint 1.1 s 1.1 s 1.1 s 2.5 s 2.5 s
Speed Index 1.3 s 1.6 s 1.6 s 3.1 s 3.7 s
Largest Contentful Paint 1.1 s 1.1 s 1.1 s 2.8 s 3.6 s
Time to Interactive 1.1 s 1.1 s 1.1 s 2.5 s 3.7 s
Total Blocking Time 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms 50 ms
Cumulative Layout Shift 0 0.146 0 0 0.049

In desktop test, GeneratePress theme wins with Blocksy and Astra at the second place.

PageSpeed Insights Desktop Blocksy Astra GeneratePress Magazine Pro Avada
Overall Performance 100 100 100 99 99
First Contentful Paint 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.8 s 0.7 s
Speed Index 0.7 s 0.7 s 0.6 s 1.1 s 0.8 s
Largest Contentful Paint 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.8 s 0.7 s
Time to Interactive 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.8 s 0.7 s
Total Blocking Time 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms
Cumulative Layout Shift 0 0 0 0 0

GTmetrix Results

GeneratePress theme is the overall winner in GTmetrix test with the lowest times in all metrics. It has a superb First Contentful Paint (384 ms) and Fully Loaded Time (502 ms).

GTmetrix Blocksy Astra GeneratePress Magazine Pro Avada
Overall Grade A A A A A
Performance 100% 100% 100% 100% 99%
Structure 99% 99% 99% 97% 96%
First Contentful Paint 560 ms 401 ms 384 ms 510 ms 654 ms
Largest Contentful Paint 560 ms 401 ms 384 ms 547 ms 763 ms
Time to Interactive 560 ms 441 ms 384 ms 510 ms 740 ms
Onload Time 607 ms 443 ms 359 ms 522 ms 788 ms
Fully Loaded Time 721 ms 555 ms 502 ms 801 ms 903 ms

Pingdom Results

GeneratePress theme wins Pingdom test as well with the smallest page size of only 26.2 KB and the lowest number of requests.

Pingdom Website Speed Test Blocksy Astra GeneratePress Magazine Pro Avada
Performance grade B (86) B (90) B (90) C (75) B (83)
Load time 833 ms 700 ms 678 ms 634 ms 1.24 s
Page size 45.2 KB 38.4 KB 26.2 KB 240.1 KB 426.4 KB
Requests 7 6 6 20 12

1. Blocksy

Blocksy is a free theme that offers fully responsive design and works perfectly with default WordPress customizer.

Blocksy Theme Size

Blocksy Performance Overview

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 100 out of 100
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 100 out of 100
  • GTmetrix Performance Test: 99%
  • GTmetrix Structure Test: 98%
  • Pingdom Performance Grade: 84 out of 100
  • Pingdom Load Time: 487 ms
  • Byte Check TTFB: 162 ms
  • ByteCheck Total Time: 268 ms

Blocksy PageSpeed Insights Results

Blocksy PageSpeed Insights Results

Blocksy GTmetrix Results

Blocksy GTmetrix Results

Blocksy Pingdom Results

Blocksy Pingdom Results

Blocksy K6 Stress Test Results

Blocksy K6 Stress Test Results

2. Astra

Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes due to its integration with modern site builders including Elementor and BeaverBuilder.

Astra Theme Size

Astra Performance Overview

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 92 out of 100
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 100 out of 100
  • GTmetrix Performance Test: 100%
  • GTmetrix Structure Test: 99%
  • Pingdom Performance Grade: 90 out of 100
  • Pingdom Load Time: 133 ms
  • Byte Check TTFB: 194 ms
  • ByteCheck Total Time: 483 ms

Astra PageSpeed Insights Results

Astra PageSpeed Insights Results

Astra GTmetrix Results

Astra GTmetrix Results

Astra Pingdom Results

Astra Pingdom Results

Astra K6 Stress Test Results

Astra K6 Stress Test Results

3. GeneratePress

Regularly recommended by Kinsta and Flywheel, this is the lightest WordPress theme with focus on speed, stability and performance of your website.

GeneratePress Theme Size

GeneratePress Performance Overview

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 98 out of 100
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 100 out of 100
  • GTmetrix Performance Test: 97%
  • GTmetrix Structure Test: 98%
  • Pingdom Performance Grade: 93 out of 100
  • Pingdom Load Time: 478 ms
  • Byte Check TTFB: 144 ms
  • ByteCheck Total Time: 170 ms

GeneratePress PageSpeed Insights Results

GeneratePress PageSpeed Insights Results

GeneratePress GTmetrix Results

GeneratePress GTmetrix Results

GeneratePress Pingdom Results

GeneratePress Pingdom Results

GeneratePress K6 Stress Test Results

GeneratePress K6 Stress Test Results

4. Magazine Pro

Based on Genesis Framework, this theme brings fast-loading code and focus on SEO with great Gutenberg integration.

Magazine Pro Theme Size

Magazine Pro Performance Overview

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 88 out of 100
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 93 out of 100
  • GTmetrix Performance Test: 79%
  • GTmetrix Structure Test: 83%
  • Pingdom Performance Grade: 82 out of 100
  • Pingdom Load Time: 778 ms
  • Byte Check TTFB: 112 ms
  • ByteCheck Total Time: 370 ms

Magazine Pro PageSpeed Insights Results

Magazine Pro PageSpeed Insights Results

Magazine Pro GTmetrix Results

Magazine Pro GTmetrix Results

Magazine Pro Pingdom Results

Magazine Pro Pingdom Results

Magazine Pro K6 Stress Test Results

Magazine Pro K6 Stress Test Results

5. Avada

One of the most popular Evanto themes, Avada comes with a powerful drag and drop website builder and big variety of pre-made designs.

Avada Theme Size

Avada Performance Overview

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 89 out of 100
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 99 out of 100
  • GTmetrix Performance Test: 97%
  • GTmetrix Structure Test: 95%
  • Pingdom Performance Grade: 87 out of 100
  • Pingdom Load Time: 2.25 ms
  • Byte Check TTFB: 90 ms
  • ByteCheck Total Time: 307 ms

Avada PageSpeed Insights Results

Avada PageSpeed Insights Results

Avada GTmetrix Results

Avada GTmetrix Results

Avada Pingdom Results

Avada Pingdom Results

Avada K6 Stress Test Results

Avada K6 Stress Test Results

Conclusion

The test results speak for themselves.

GeneratePress is the most peformant WordPress theme I tested and it’s one of the best WordPress themes you should consider when speed and SEO is your top priority (as it should be).

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Jan Zavrel
Jan Zavrel is an author, teacher, online entrepreneur and Evernote Certified Consultant who runs multiple projects focused on productivity, fitness, web development and passive income. He is also active as an instructor on Udemy and Skillshare. His books are available via Amazon.