Are you looking for a new theme to use for your WordPress sites?
Well, you have landed at the right place, for in this post, I’m going to share a multipurpose theme that you can use irrespective of the type of site you’re building.
GeneratePress is a popular free WordPress theme that’s especially favored by professionals who build WordPress sites for clients.
In this GeneratePress review, I will explain when it’s a good idea to use a theme like GeneratePress. Then, I’ll also share some of the specific features that help make GeneratePress so popular and well-rated.
GeneratePress Review: A Quick Introduction
GeneratePress is a multipurpose WordPress theme, which means that you can adapt it to any website niche.
According to WordPress.org, GeneratePress is active on over 100,000 sites and has also managed to maintain an incredible 5-star rating on over 692 reviews.
The core GeneratePress theme is 100% free. And then there’s also a GeneratePress Premium version. GeneratePress Premium is technically a plugin that you install alongside the free theme. It extends the theme with even more functionality.
What GeneratePress Is Good For…
GeneratePress is the perfect option for performance-focused users who want to be able to customize and control exactly how their site looks.
You can make GeneratePress do pretty much anything. And because GeneratePress has a focus on performance, the site that you build will have a great foundation to make it load fast.
Because of that, people who build WordPress sites for a living love GeneratePress. They’ll typically pair it with a WordPress page builder and use it for literally any type of site.
For example, GeneratePress can look like this:
Or it can look like this:
Or maybe even this:
Yes – all three of those sites use GeneratePress.
But GeneratePress Might Not Be A Good Fit If…
…you want something that will instantly look perfect out of the box.
For example, if you know you want to create a fashion blog, you might be happier choosing a niche theme that’s developed exclusively for fashion bloggers.
While GeneratePress has gotten a lot easier to use, thanks to its pre-built Site Library, GeneratePress still looks very barebones when you first install it.
For example, here’s what a 100% fresh install from WordPress.org looks like – you’ll notice it looks nothing like the three GeneratePress examples I gave you above:
So to make GeneratePress look how you want it to, you’ll almost certainly need to go in and customize things. And while the significant benefit of GeneratePress is how customizable it is, some users, especially casual users, don’t like having to make those changes themselves.
5 GeneratePress Features That Make It Unique
Here are some of the specific features that explain why GeneratePress is so popular.
1. Optimized Performance And Fast Page Load Times
Across all of its features, GeneratePress always has a focus on excellent performance and clean code. The entire theme is less than 30 kB, which is about as small as you’ll ever find for a WordPress theme. Even most other optimized WordPress themes are still 200+ kB. And some poorly coded themes can even exceed 1 MB!
GeneratePress also has no code dependencies, which helps you avoid the render blocking error that Google Pagespeed Insights often mentions.
Put that together, and you get a superfast-loading theme. How fast? To give you an idea, I ran a little test.
First, I set up an empty site using a random popular WordPress.org theme (Envo Magazine). After testing its performance with Pingdom, it:
- Had a performance grade of 77
- Loaded in 1.05 seconds
- Had a page size of 243.9 kB
- Had 15 requests
That’s not bad at all! But GeneratePress can do better.
Next, I activated GeneratePress on the same test site without changing anything else. Here’s how GeneratePress did:
- Had a performance grade of 87, 10 points better
- Loaded in 666 ms, ~37% faster
- Had a page size of 26.8 kB, ~90% smaller
- Had 9 requests, ~40% fewer
If you perform that same test with other themes, you’ll continue to see that GeneratePress is one of the fastest-loading WordPress themes in existence.
2. Lots Of Customization Options In The Real-Time WordPress Customizer
Beyond performance, another area where GeneratePress does well is its customization options.
GeneratePress uses the WordPress Customizer for customization, which is convenient because you’ll be able to see all the changes that you make in real time.
The free version of GeneratePress gives you decent options, but if you have GeneratePress Premium, you’ll be able to customize pretty much everything about your site.
For example, if you go into the Layout area, you can configure detailed settings for your:
- Header – you can move your header around and change its styling
- Navigation – GeneratePress gives you two different navigation options, including sticky menus
- Sidebar layout – you can use one or two sidebars
- Blog post layout – like featured image size, metadata, etc.
- Footer layout – like how many widgets to include
Similarly, the Typography area lets you control the font for every single element on your site, including buttons:
And you also get a detailed area to control the color of every single element on your site.
All in all, GeneratePress will give you a lot more customization options in the WordPress Customizer than most other themes. This level of detail might be a little overwhelming if you’re a beginner. But once you understand how the settings come together, you’ll have full control over how your site looks.
3. Page-Level Settings Give You Detailed Control Over Each Piece Of Content
With most themes, each post and page will use the same settings for the most part. You might have some custom templates or formats – but you don’t have very much control beyond that.
GeneratePress changes that by giving you a new Layout meta box for every single post and page:
You can use this meta box to:
- Change how many sidebars your site uses, or the sidebar orientation (like changing the sidebar from right to left)
- Choose how many footer widgets to use
- Disable certain elements, like your header, navigation menu, post featured image, post title, or footer
- Create a special “container” for your page builder
Where these controls are the most helpful is if you’re using a WordPress page builder.
By disabling certain elements, you’re able to create the proper baseline for your page builder design, which makes it easy to create custom content as needed.
4. Pre-Made Starter Sites Make It Easier To Design Your Site
In the past, you had to build GeneratePress sites from a blank canvas no matter what, which made the theme difficult for casual users to set up.
Earlier in 2018, though, the developer added a new Site Library feature for GeneratePress Premium users that lets you easily import any one of the 25+ pre-built demo sites.
You can import them right from your WordPress dashboard:
And after the import process, your site will look exactly like the demo:
Yes – this site still uses GeneratePress! All I did was click a few buttons to import a demo site.
5. Other Helpful Premium Extensions, Plus A Modular Approach
Beyond giving you more style controls in the WordPress Customizer, GeneratePress Premium also comes with a lot of other helpful features like:
- Elements – a unique feature that lets you create custom hooks, page headers, or layout templates.
- Page Header – lets you create a unique page header on a per-page basis.
- Sections – this is kind of like lightweight page building. It lets you create separate “sections” on a page, each with their own layout and column settings.
To stay lightweight, GeneratePress also gives you a modular interface where you can pick and choose exactly which features you want to activate:
That way, you don’t need to slow your site down for a feature that you’ll never use.
GeneratePress Pricing: Affordable And Works On Unlimited Sites
The core GeneratePress theme is available for free at WordPress.org.
That said, if you’re serious about using GeneratePress, I feel you should purchase the GeneratePress Premium plugin, as that’s what makes the theme so flexible. The free version doesn’t give you nearly as many settings in the WordPress Customizer. And you’ll also miss out on the premade Site Library.
GeneratePress Premium is also still quite affordable. It costs just $39.95, and that gives you use on unlimited sites. You’ll also get a 40% discount if you want to renew to continue receiving support and updates after the first year (you can, of course, keep using GeneratePress after the first year without renewing – you just won’t get any more updates).
When you consider that the typical premium WordPress theme will usually cost around $60, GeneratePress offers a great value.
Final Thoughts On The GeneratePress Theme
As I said, I don’t think GeneratePress is for everyone.
If you want a niche-specific theme, you can probably save time by buying a theme that fits your requirements for your niche from day one.
But if you’re willing to spend some time changing settings, GeneratePress’ style controls give you the flexibility to turn it into any type of WordPress site. Or, you might even be able to find a starter site that fits your needs to save some time.
Additionally, it’s one of the fastest-loading WordPress themes that you will find. So if you’re looking for the best performance possible, using GeneratePress as your WordPress site’s foundation is a great decision.
If you combine it with fast-loading hosting, you should have no problem making your site load in under one second.
To get started, you can download GeneratePress from WordPress.org and then purchase and install the GeneratePress Premium plugin.
Have you ever tried the GeneratePress WordPress theme?
Did you like it? Why or why not?
Let me know in the comments below.