Mar 302012

What is the Fastest WordPress Theme?

I’ve been searching for the Fastest WordPress theme.

If like me, your site loads a little slowly, you need to consider either faster hosting, or a lighter and faster WordPress theme.  Ideally both.

Being a tightwad I don’t want to pay top-end hosting rates so it’s on to investigate fast themes.

WordPress Themes Tested

  1. Suffusion (the theme I use for this site)
  2. SwiftThemes
  3. vCandy
  4. WP Simpy
  5. After Burner
  6. TwentyEleven
  7. ClickBump
  8. Magnolia
  9. The Arialist
  10. Business Lite

How to Test

I am running each theme through three tests, all using the same page:  Banking Glossary.  The reason I chose that is that its a fairly standard site.  Some plugins but not too many, and nothing non standard.  It contains a mixture of text and images.

I tested using:

  • Pingdom tools page load test
  • Yahoo Yslow page score


All sites were tested using the same page, the Banking Glossary homepage.

For the Pingdom tests I ran it 3 times, once from Dallas, Texas, once Amsterdam, and once New York.  I averaged the three results to get the score.

Speed results are:


WordPress Theme
YSlow speed
Google PageSpeed
Pingdom tools
C – 79
My favourite for ease of use. A bit slow though.
SwiftThemes Basic
C – 79
Fast. Free version
SwiftThemes Full
C – 75
Very Fast, especially on Google Pagespeed.
WP Simpy
B – 82
Fast. Simple
After Burner
B – 82
Fast. Looks slightly dated, but professional
B – 82
Very fast. Looks quite generic
Broken theme
The Arialist
B – 82
Very fast. Minimal look and feel
Business Lite
C – 73
Complicated. Not free


Overall, the results vary significantly, from my existing theme’s 2.19 seconds, load time right down to just 1.38 seconds with The Arialist.

I made sure the tests were fair, using the same page.  However, the themes vary hugely in their functionality.  Overall, I still prefer Suffusion to all the others for its adaptability.  However, perhaps that is just because I know it so well.  In terms of pure Speed, The Arialist takes it.  However, I wouldn’t use that for my sites as it is just too minimal and lacks the types of widgets like Feedburner email and RSS buttons which visitors expect.

For the best combination of speed and functionality SwiftThemes takes the prize.  The free version actually performed less well than the paid version, which is odd.  Overall the speed score of 97 on Google PageSpeed is incredible, and much higher than even the developer claimed for it.  I ran it several times, on different PCs to convince myself it was right.


How else can I speed up my WordPress site?

Other things you should consider for speeding up you websites include adding a caching plug-in.  See the article on 5 SEO tips you must follow in WordPress for more details.


Which theme do you use?  Do you have any other advice to share on the best wordpress themes for speed?


 Posted by at 9:10 am

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