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GeneratePress Review – Is it Really the Best WordPress Theme?

What is GeneratePress?

GeneratePress is a multipurpose WordPress theme created by Tom Usborne. It’s known for having clean HTML code aiding in fast render times. The theme is available for free and can be upgraded to a Premium version which includes several additional features which make customization quick and easy. 

The Premium upgrade is a mere $59 upgrade for use on 500 websites (basically unlimited), meaning you get all the Premium features, updates and support for a year. If you’re sold on GeneratePress like we are, they now offer a $249 one-time fee with the same benefits (all the Premium benefits, just no annual payment).

TLDR; We recommend GeneratePress Premium. In fact, Zuziko.com runs on the GeneratePress Theme with the Premium upgrade on Rocket.net WordPress Hosting. We also build our client and marketing sites taking advantage of GeneratePress Premium’s generous 500 website install limit.

How is GeneratePress so fast?

The GeneratePress template code is compact and minimalist, using coding best practices and a minimalist design that reduces overhead. In fact, the entire theme is only 30kb when installed, significantly smaller than the average WordPress theme. GeneratePress has a rating on wordpress.org with over 3,000,000 downloads, 300,000 active websites and 70,000 happy customers. This is one of the fastest and most highly rated multipurpose themes available for WordPress.

In this GeneratePress review, I will explain why I was so impressed with this theme. Then, I’ll also share some of the key things that make GeneratePress stand out from the competition.

GeneratePress

What Makes GeneratePress so Great?

Extremely Fast

Thanks to it’s size, this theme is one of the fastest.

Clean Code

GeneratePress uses the most stable coding standards.

Vanilla JS

Clean, vanilla javascript. No more render blocking.

Feather Light

The default WordPress install is less than 30kb.

Accessibility

Uses WCAG 2.0 standards so no one is left out.

SEO

Schema structured data and very fast load times.

Key Features

The free version of GeneratePress is pretty basic. Not to say that it’s not good, it just does not offer a whole lot of features. If you want to get full use of the theme you will have to install the basic theme and purchase a premium plugin. This will greatly extend the functionality of the theme. Below I will go over some of the features that come with the premium version.

Premium GeneratePress Modules

Modules are only accessible if you purchase the premium GeneratePress plugin. These modules can be turned on or off depending on what you may need. Below I go over what each one does…

  • Backgrounds – Add background images and options throughout your site elements.
  • Blog – Featured image controls, columns & masonry, infinite scroll & more.
  • Colors – Take control of your site colors using over 60 color options.
  • Copyright – Replace the copyright message at the bottom of your site.
  • Disable Elements – Turn off various theme elements on specific pages throughout.
  • Elements – Dynamic page heroes, an advanced hook system and custom theme layouts.
  • Menu Plus – Sticky navigation, off canvas navigation, mobile header and more!
  • Secondary Nav – Add a second navigation with all the same options as the primary.
  • Sections – Your own tiny page builder. Break out of the content area with Sections.
  • Spacing – Control the sizes, padding & margin of your site elements.
  • Typography – Over 70 typography options give you complete control over your site text.

Elements

Elements are only accessible if you purchase the GeneratePress Premium plugin as well. These are great for adding custom code, creating a modern page hero, or fully customizing the theme itself. I have listed a few below…

  • Page Hero – Add an image or a content page header with full screen and parallax.
  • Sections – Easily create seamless sections inside your pages for modern layouts.
  • Layout – Easily change the container width, spacing, padding, etc. of all elements.
  • Hooks – Hook custom code into any area of the theme without changing core files.

Is GeneratePress Easy to Use?

Because there are so many customization options on GeneratePress it can take a while to go through them all and find out exactly what each one does, but things will get easier once you become accustomed to it.

Out of the box, GeneratePress is somewhat basic. The picture below is a fresh install with no upgrades. Now, there’s a lot of power available in the free GeneratePress theme. Spend a bit of time in the WordPress Admin and Customizer and you’ll start to see some of the power this theme offers.

GeneratePress Fresh Install

This might be the only downfall of this theme. It’s up to you to make all the customization and make it your own so it can be time-consuming. A theme that is pre-built for your specific niche might be a better choice if you are limited on time.

GeneratePress Theme Starter Site Example
GeneratePress Premium’s Mason Starter Site

Update: Recently GeneratePress has added dozens of fast-loading, pre-made templates, called Starter Sites, that you can download and import with the click of a button on their Site Library. This can speed the build process up a lot if you find one that fits your niche.

How Fast is the GeneratePress Theme?

Speed is one of the most important aspects of your website. Speed is very important for your visitors, and it’s also a very important ranking factor for search engines. GeneratePress was built from the ground up with speed in mind and is incredibly fast. GeneratePress is often cited in roundups of the fastest WordPress themes because it was built to be both flexible and fast loading.

GeneratePress uses Vanilla Javascript so it does not rely on any external jQuery or additional JS Libraries. This gets rid of the render-blocking issues that 99% of themes have. All CSS and JavaScript is minified out of the box. GeneratePress also uses a module system that allows you to turn on and off features based on if you need them or not. This can speed up your site because you are not loading unneeded scripts.

All this sounds great but how does it actually perform on Pingdom, Gtmetrics and Page Insights?

Pingdom Speed Test

GeneratePress Review - Pingdom Speed Test
~ GeneratePress scored a 99 on the Pingdom Speed Test.

GTmetrix Speed Test

GeneratePress GTmetrix
~ GeneratePress scored a 99 on the GTmetrix speed test.

Page Insights Speed Test

GeneratePress Page Insights
~ GeneratePress scored a 100 on the Page Insights speed test.

These scores are very impressive. If you would like to run these test yourself you can use the URL speedtest.generatepress.com. They have the basic theme with no upgrades hosted here.

Will My Plugins Work?

GeneratePress is compatible with all major plugins. Yoast SEO, Contact Form 7, Akismet Anti-Spam, Jetpack, WooCommerce and WP Super Cache just to name a few.

I personally have tried about fifty plugins with this theme and have not found a single one that did not work correctly.

How Much Will it Cost Me?

There is a free version of GeneratePress available for download on WordPress.org. If you want the Premium version you will need to purchase a plugin to extend the functionality of the theme.

Is GeneratePress Premium worth it?

The amount of customization, control and features the Premium version of GeneratePress offers makes GeneratePress Premium worth every penny. We use GeneratePress Premium on every site we build.

GeneratePress Premium makes customizing your WordPress website easier and faster. The Premium elements that make the difference are the unique modules and Site Library only available with the Premium upgrade.

GeneratePress Premium Pricing Chart
GeneratePress Premium offers both annual and lifetime pricing.

At first GeneratePress Premium seemed a little pricey at $249 for the Lifetime payment, but it is undoubtedly worth it. Unsure? Go with the $59 Premium option for a year and use it on up to 500 websites! With the speed and customization this theme offers I see no need of having to purchase anything else in the future.

We paid the $59 fee for years before realizing the GeneratePress team wasn’t going anywhere, the theme is always evolving and the support was second to none. It only made sense for us to go with the one-time payment as we build multiple WordPress websites every year and will be for quite some time.

When you purchase the premium version of GeneratePress you will get…

  • Access to the Site Library
  • 1 year of updates & support
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Access to Modules & Elements
  • 40% renewal discount
  • Unlimited websites

A look at the GeneratePress Premium Modules

We’ve mentioned them once, but since this section is devoted to GeneratePress Premium, here’s a little more detail one the Premium-only modules. Worth it? Absolutely.

  • Backgrounds – The Backgrounds module will set a common characteristic of many of the GeneratePress Elements to follow. Without writing CSS (that’s the common characteristic), this module allows you to easily set image backgrounds to various WordPress elements.
  • Blog – When you enable on the Blog module, your GeneratePress site’s options for Single and Archive layouts become easily editable without writing a line of CSS.
  • Colors – Using the Colors module allows easy changing of background colors, copy and links. In addition to specifying a color, you can also adjust opacity.
  • Copyright – The Copyright module is probably what you’d imagine. It’s an easy, streamlined way of changing the footer copyright message on our WordPress site to whatever you wish it to be.
  • Disable Elements – Quickly enable/disable (remove entirely from the page) a variety of elements easily with the Disable Elements module.
  • Import/Export – Once you’ve configured a WordPress site’s GeneratePress configuration settings, you may want a fast way to apply some or all of those settings to another site. That’s precisely what the Import/Export module is for.
  • Typography – Over 70 fonts from Google Fonts and your local system are at your fingertips with the Typography module.
  • Elements – Elements is the most powerful module and a compelling case to use the GeneratePress theme in and of itself. Elements allows you to do a wide variety of things which are usually cumbersome including publishing and managing custom functions, defining unique headers and layout elements and more. We’ll likely devote a whole post to the power of GeneratePress Elements.
  • Menu Plus – The standard navigation in the free GeneratePress theme is fine, but basic. GeneratePress Premium’s Menu Plus module adds options to allow you to easily reproduce several common approaches to menus and menu layouts – again, without writing any CSS.
  • Secondary Nav – The name of this module gives it’s function away. The module creates for a secondary navigation element which is editable using the Customizer. The secondary navigation has all the simple color, copy, layout and typography customization settings, too.
  • Sections – Sections is described as GeneratePress’ “tiny page builder.” This is one we haven’t used, so we can’t pass judgement.
  • Spacing – We used to find ourselves writing CSS in the WordPress Customizer to make minor tweaks to put the finishing touches on site elements. GeneratePress Spacing allows you to make padding and margin adjustments at the block level. It’s hard to overstate how helpful this is.
  • WooCommerce – Enabling the WooCommerce module unlocks thoughtful WooCommerce customizations including options for colors and typography to layouts.

How Good is Their Support?

GeneratePress currently has two types of support.

They have a very active support forum that you can use. I have always gotten a clear answer back within a few hours. Tom and the rest of the guys here really know what they are doing.

They also have a huge documentation page where the entire theme is covered in-depth. If you don’t like to read, don’t worry they have videos on almost everything as well.

Even if you for some reason can’t find the answer you need on the support forum or in the documentation, you will almost certainly find it on Google. This theme has been around for quite some time and a lot of questions have been answered on many other websites.

Visit GeneratePress

My Final Thoughts

Tom hit a home run with this one. GeneratePress makes it very easy to create a modern looking website. It is probably the fastest WordPress theme out of the box. It’s compatible with all major plugins. Their support is unmatched. All of this is what makes me love GeneratePress so much, and I would highly recommend this theme to anyone.

GeneratePress FAQ

What is GeneratePress?

GenereratePress is a WordPress theme developed by Tom Usborne. The theme is free but can be enhanced by upgrading to GeneratePress Premium.

What is GeneratePress Premium?

GeneratePress Premium is a plugin which allows GeneratePress to be customized in almost infinite ways. It includes easy ways to build advanced layouts, control spacing, incorporate visual appeal as well as access to a library of look-and-feel options.

Does GeneratePress work with Elementor?

Yes. GeneratePress works great with both the free version of GeneratePress as well as GeneratePress Premium.

Is GeneratePress the best WordPress theme?

We think so. GeneratePress is incredibly lightweight, fast and flexible. It can be used to design and develop fast-loading, responsive WordPress sites.

Is GeneratePress responsive?

Yes. Both the free and Premium versions of GeneratePress are 100% responsive. Customizing settings for responsive site design are easily modified using the standard WordPress Customizer.

Who is GeneratePress Premium not good for?

If you are interested in using a drag-and-drop type page builder, we wouldn’t recommend GeneratePress Premium. The philosophy behind GeneratePress Premium is to embrace the Gutenberg Block Editor and enhance it as opposed to completely replacing it.

GeneratePress and GeneratePress Premium Review
  • Features
  • Usability
  • Speed
  • Price
  • Support
4.7

Summary

I have tried hundreds of WordPress themes over the past 7 years, and GeneratePress is by far the best theme I have ever used. This is what really sparked me to write this review. If you are serious about quality and performance, you need to give it a try. If you have more advanced needs, consider GeneratePress Premium. The amount of flexibility and features combined with an unlimited installation limit is an impressive combination.

David Green

My name is David and I am the founder and author of Zuziko. I love WordPress and have built sites, themes and plugins. I am passionate about web development and have created Zuziko as a way to share my knowledge and experience with the world. My WordPress user profile.

5 thoughts on “GeneratePress Review – Is it Really the Best WordPress Theme?”

  1. Harpreet

    Hey David,

    GeneratePress is indeed a great theme and the pricing is spot on. Anyone can afford it and use it to create websites in any kind of niche.

    I found GeneratePress around 1.5 years ago and instantly migrated all my websites from Genesis to GP Premium.

    By the way, the article was very helpful. Thanks!

  2. Ramesh

    Thanks for the review David!

    GeneratePress is the best theme I have used in the last 2 years also. I am kind of a noob when it comes to CSS and PHP. Can you help me create the author box like you have on your website?

    • David Green

      Hi Ramesh, glad you like the theme. It’s the best $50 I have spent in a long time!

      To create an author box is pretty simple. Add the code below to a Custom Hook:

      <?php if (get_the_author_meta('description')) : // Check if the user has added an author description. ?>
          <div class="author-box">
              <div class="author-img"><?php echo get_avatar(get_the_author_meta('user_email'), '100'); // Display the author gravatar image. ?></div>
              <h3 class="author-name"><?php esc_html(the_author_meta('display_name')); // Display the authors name. ?></h3>
              <p class="author-description"><?php esc_textarea(the_author_meta('description')); // Displays the author description. ?></p>
          </div>
      <?php endif; ?>
      

      And add this code to the Additional CSS section under Appearance > Customize:

      .author-box {
          background-color: #fff;
          padding: 40px;
          margin: 0 0 40px;
          display: inline-block;
      }
      
      .author-box .author-img {
          float: left;
          margin-right: 20px;
          margin-bottom: 20px;
      }
      
      .author-box .author-img img {
          border-radius: 50%;
      }
      
      .author-box .author-name {
          font-weight: 700;
          clear: none;
          display: inline;
      }
      
  3. John Wilcox

    First of all, thanks for writing this review David!

    After reading your review, I decided to give GeneratePress a try and I love it! I am in the process of replacing all my themes with GeneratePress Premium as we speak.

    It loads extremely fast, It gets rid of the need for a child theme (because of the hooks), everything can be customized in the dashboard and the documentation is excellent.

    I am looking forward to many more years with it.

    Cheers!

    • David Green

      Awesome, glad it was helpful John. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

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