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200+ Fastest Free, Responsive WordPress Themes


Over 1 thousand themes were analyzed to create this complete list of the fastest free WordPress themes available.

Update: January, 10 2017
Make sure to check out the followup to this experiment, where we see how much faster we can make these already fast themes.

The 2 themes we attempted to improve:

  • Generic Framework – the fastest theme in our tests (#1 on the list)
  • Hiero – a fast theme (#18 on the list) that was the first to earn a gold star   for impressive responsive layout

We were able to drastically improve the PageSpeed scores and load times with only 3 simple tweaks. The results are truly impressive. Check it out here.


200+ Fastest Free Themes: Intro
In the old days, choosing a theme was straight forward. It was pretty much all about looks. You didn’t have to worry about things like page load speed, responsive layouts and structured data.

That has all changed now. Of course, looks are still important, but performance is currently one of the most important factors to have in mind when choosing a theme.


Unfortunately, finding themes that are responsive and lightweight isn’t very easy to do.

Why I Made This List

A Quick Video about this Experiment

I actually came up with the idea for this post a few weeks agoduring the process of looking for for a fast theme myself. Many of the themes that advertise themselves as being “fast” weren’t fast. Many that showed pictures of high Google PageSpeed Insights (GPSI) score actually had low GPSI scores.

I initially started out with about 70 themes from WordPress.org. These were themes that actually advertised that they were optimized for speed.

After testing those themes and going over the results, I thought I was finished. Until I decided to test a few themes that were popular, but didn’t advertise as being fast. Some of those scored better than most of the “fast” themes.

Test All the Themes!
I realized that if I was going to find the fastest theme, I’d need to test a lot more themes. So I harvested everything I could find (a list of just over 1000 free themes) from the WordPress theme directory.

I used two tools for testing.

I also used my a combination of PSI and my eyes to test how well themes handled responsive layouts. Any non-responsive themes were dropped from the list.

Themes that had really bad layout issues were also dropped.

Metrics Shown

  • Requests
    This number includes the total number of requests for files (css, javascript, images, and html) made in order to load the theme.
  • Total Size
    The total size (in kilobytes) of all files (css, javascript, images, and html) used to display the theme.
  • Google PSI Desktop & Mobile
    Google PageSpeed Insights gives a score (from 0 to 100 points) based on performance.

    GPSI is a great tool for checking all aspects of a site’s performance, but isn’t always the best measure for speed. Scores are shown, but not used for ranking the themes.

  • Performance Score
    Performance score is one of the metrics produced by Sitespeed.io, and is based on a lot of the same factors as GPSI.
  • Page Loaded
    The time it takes for the page to load. This is how the themes in this list are ranked.

The Setup

1) I created a fresh install of WordPress
2) Added several test posts and pages
3) Created a menu (navigation)
4) Installed all of the themes (all 1031 of them)
5) Installed WordPress Theme Test Drive plugin to make testing easier
6) Except for the GPSI scores and generating desktop screenshots, all tests were done using a mobile browser. 3 tests were run for each theme, and the average load time was used for rankings.

The List

Note: Themes with especially well done responsive layouts are marked with a gold star.

  1. Generic Framework by philhoyt
    In my tests, there were a few themes that loaded faster than Generic Framework, but they were either completely broken or not responsive. So congrats to Generic Framework for being the fastest loading theme to make the cut!

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    12
    Total Size
    57.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    0.768s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/generic-framework/

  2. Halloween by Halloween Love

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    10
    Total Size
    51.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    0.773s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/halloween/

  3. Umbra by Kelly Dwan

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    15
    Total Size
    158.4 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    96/100
    Page Loaded
    0.806s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/umbra/

  4. Phogra by andrei.serban

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    16
    Total Size
    144.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    0.939s

    Improvements

    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/phogra/

  5. Expound by Konstantin Kovshenin

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    13
    Total Size
    40.6 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    0.948s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/expound/

  6. Technews by Hemant Acharya

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    12
    Total Size
    114.1 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    0.951s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/technews/

  7. Coherent by Automattic

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    14
    Total Size
    153.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    0.959s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/coherent/

  8. Iconic One by Themonic

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    11
    Total Size
    72 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    89/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    0.971s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Size tap targets appropriately

    WordPress.org/themes/iconic-one/

  9. Ascetica by Griden

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    83.9 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    0.976s

    Improvements

    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/ascetica/

  10. Wpstart by krusze

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    9
    Total Size
    58.1 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    95/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    85/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images
    • Size tap targets appropriately

    WordPress.org/themes/wpstart/

  11. Understrap by holger1411

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    10
    Total Size
    139.5 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/understrap/

  12. Lightweight Personal by ThemeMotive.com

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    18
    Total Size
    184 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/lightweight-personal/

  13. Basic by wppuzzle

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    13
    Total Size
    114.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/basic/

  14. Actuate by mudThemes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    20
    Total Size
    221.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    96/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/actuate/

  15. Sonder by Sinaru

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    16
    Total Size
    141 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    74/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/sonder/

  16. School by alexitsios

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    20
    Total Size
    245.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/school/

  17. Yoko by Elmastudio

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    170 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/yoko/

  18. Hiero by athemes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    172.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    89/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/hiero/

  19. Shopping by themehall

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    12
    Total Size
    96.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/shopping/

  20. Foreverwood by TT Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    18
    Total Size
    166.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/foreverwood/

  21. Ample by ThemeGrill

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    18
    Total Size
    203.2 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/ample/

  22. Fashionistas by athemes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    155.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/fashionistas/

  23. Kakina by Themes4WP

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    16
    Total Size
    216.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Size tap targets appropriately

    WordPress.org/themes/kakina/

  24. Avrora by Ivan Zavalin

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    21
    Total Size
    151.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/avrora/

  25. Maggie Lite by 8Degree Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    23
    Total Size
    258.5 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    96/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/maggie-lite/

  26. Gridsby by modernthemesnet

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    28
    Total Size
    247.9 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    78/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Leverage browser caching
    • Minify CSS
    • Minify HTML
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/gridsby/

  27. Uniform by Mystery Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    22
    Total Size
    229.9 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/uniform/

  28. Wen Associate by WEN Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    22
    Total Size
    262.5 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/wen-associate/

  29. Clean Business by Catch Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    254.1 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/clean-business/

  30. Zeelinear by ThemeZee

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    21
    Total Size
    227.5 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/zeelinear/

  31. Cleanblogg by Airthemes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    22
    Total Size
    241.6 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/cleanblogg/

  32. Leeway by ThemeZee

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    15
    Total Size
    144.5 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/leeway/

  33. Interface by Theme Horse

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    17
    Total Size
    96.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    97/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/interface/

  34. Ridizain by Brian Harris

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    16
    Total Size
    160.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/ridizain/

  35. Araiz by WaqassKhalid

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    13
    Total Size
    110.1 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Prioritize visible content
    • Size tap targets appropriately

    WordPress.org/themes/araiz/

  36. Kubrick 2014 by John Wilson

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    17
    Total Size
    243 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/kubrick-2014/

  37. Bits by Simon

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    22
    Total Size
    84.6 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    88/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    75/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/bits/

  38. Spacious by ThemeGrill

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    18
    Total Size
    145.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/spacious/

  39. Stairway by TT Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    114.2 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/stairway/

  40. Passionate by Daisy Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    20
    Total Size
    223.7 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/passionate/

  41. Hemingway by Anders Noren

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    19
    Total Size
    229.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify HTML
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/hemingway/

  42. Generator by FasterThemes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    22
    Total Size
    255.4 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    89/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    71/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/generator/

  43. Tora by vladff

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    20
    Total Size
    212.2 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    90/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/tora/

  44. Suri by surimohnot

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    15
    Total Size
    73.6 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    71/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images
    • Prioritize visible content

    WordPress.org/themes/suri/

  45. Pratt by Tim Nicholson

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    24
    Total Size
    305.2 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/pratt/

  46. Traveladdict Lite by Macho Themes

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    28
    Total Size
    208.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    99/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/traveladdict-lite/

  47. Attirant by divjotsingh_440

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    25
    Total Size
    251.3 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    91/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    78/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minify JavaScript
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/attirant/

  48. Ari by Elmastudio

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    17
    Total Size
    129 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    89/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    71/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/ari/

  49. F2 by Srini G

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    20
    Total Size
    203.8 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    92/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    98/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources
    • Optimize images

    WordPress.org/themes/f2/

  50. Amadeus by Themeisle

    Desktop
    Mobile
    Requests
    24
    Total Size
    227.2 kB
    Google PSI Desktop
    93/100
    Google PSI Mobile
    79/100
    Google PSI Usability
    100/100
    Page Loaded
    1s

    Improvements

    • Minify CSS
    • Minimize render blocking resources

    WordPress.org/themes/amadeus/