GeneratePress Theme Review - 2020

Table of Contents

GeneratePress Theme Verdict

Price Starting at $49.95/year
Features 4.5/5
Performance 5/5
Value for money 5/5
Customer Support 5/5

What's the GeneratePress theme?

If you are looking for a WordPress theme for your next website or to modify the current one, you know how difficult it is to find a theme that more or less suits your needs.

In the last few months we have seen a new generation of themes emerge, such as the Astra theme. This new generation of WordPress theme offers a new contract to the user: they offer you a sleek WordPress theme with a clean code that you can customize in-depth with a Page Builder (Divi Builder, Elementor, Beaver Builder, …)

We are going to see here the different features of the GeneratePress theme, its strengths, and weaknesses and above all determine if this theme is suitable for your needs and your project.

GeneratePress theme overview

The GeneratePress theme is a Freemium WordPress theme. This means that you download a free version that offers basic functionality. If you ever want more options, such as customization and more features, you will need to choose the paid option.

Over the past months in the WordPress ecosystem, freemium has evolved into the new standard. Even if I understand the reasons for the theme editor, for the user like us, it can quickly become expensive with hosting, the theme price, the premium plugins, …

Luckily with GeneratePress, we’ll see that the price to pay is finally not so high, especially that the quality/price ratio is unbeatable with impressive customer support.

The important detail to know about the GeneratePress theme is its lifespan. Even if its success is recent (let’s say since 2019), this theme has been available in the WordPress ecosystem for more than six years! A WordPress theme with longevity and success owes nothing to chance!

Why choose the GeneratePress theme?

GeneratePress is part of the new generation of WordPress themes (with the OceanWP theme, the Astra theme and to a certain extent the Divi theme) which offers a simple deal to the user: the WordPress theme you will choose is intentionally simple, optimized (code, speed, SEO) and customizable from A to Z with a Page Builder (Elementor or Divi).

Gone are the days of multi-purpose themes that offer 50 features with a massive amount of code and catastrophic loading times. GeneratePress is a very simple WordPress theme focused on performance thanks to :

  • Clean and secure code: To avoid having a heavy theme with security holes, the editor of the GeneratePress theme goes through an external organization to certify that its code is clean and hacker-proof (like the Divi theme with the Sucuri company).
  • An unbeatable size: When you install the GeneratePress theme, the default site weighs only 30 KB. Of course there is no image or graphic element but this proves the reliability of the code.
  • Optimized SEO: As you know, SEO is the key to making your website visible. It is important, when choosing your WordPress theme, to start with a good foundation. GeneratePress has a clean and optimized code, integrates the structured data of the Schema.org standard and the loading time is very fast.

As of June 2020, the GeneratePress theme is installed on more than 200,000 sites worldwide with a rather exceptional average of 5/5 reviews. (out of more than 1050 reviews). Can so many people be wrong? Let’s try to see why GeneratePress gets everyone’s approval!

We will first look at the free version of GeneratePress. From installation to getting started, you will have a guide to get you accustomed to this theme. Then we will see the Premium options offered by GeneratePress and see if it’s worth it to opt for this famous paid version!

How do I install GeneratePress?

Installing the GeneratePress theme is relatively simple. As with all free WordPress themes, you will need to go through the WordPress Administration Panel.

In the “Appearance” menu, click on “Themes” and “Add New”. In the search bar at the top right of your screen, type “GeneratePress”. Before installing the theme, make sure that it is provided by the author “Tom” and that it is used by more than 200,000 sites. Now click install and voilà, you have the GeneratePress theme on your site.

install-generatepress-wpbuilder

GeneratePress free version configuration

To be able to customize the GeneratePress theme, you must use the WordPress Customizer
(the native customization tool). This saves you from having to install a third-party framework and therefore lightens your WordPress installation! First good point for GeneratePress!

To access this menu, nothing could be simpler! Click in the administration of your WordPress site on the “Appearance” menu and then “Customize”. You will see a menu with the settings below:

  • Site identity: Basic option common to all themes, it allows you to give a title to your site, a slogan, a logo and a favicon.
  • Layout: An important menu since it allows you to fine-tune and customize the structure and navigation of your site. You can set the width of your site (global container), Header, Navigation (menus), Sidebars and Footer.
  • Colors: Choose background colors, links colors, titles colors, …
  • Typography : Define the fonts used for titles, text, … Important point, GeneratePress allows you to use the system fonts (the ones on your machine). You won’t need to call Google’s servers (with Google Font) and so you’ll save loading time! Please note that this is optional and that you can always use Google Fonts.
  • General: This menu allows you to optimize the code of your theme by combining CSS. This allows you to reduce the code of your page a little and thus be faster. You can also define in this menu if you want to use the .SVG format for your icons.
  • Menus: Classic option that you find in all themes and that allows you to create, modify and choose the location of the menus.
  • Widgets: Default option to choose sidebar widgets.
  • Additional CSS: Add custom CSS here.

As you can see, configuring and getting started with GeneratePress is relatively simple and quick. Keep in mind that most of the menus allowing customization are deliberately restricted. In order to get more, you need to subscribe to the Premium version of GeneratePress.

customize-generatepress

How to install GeneratPress Premium?

The setup of the GeneratePress Premium theme is very simple since the features are accessible by installing a plugin. To have access to this plugin, you must of course purchase the Premium version.

Once you have your GeneratePress account, you need to go to “Account” and “Downloads” (see image below). From this menu, you can download the free version of the GeneratePress theme (required to run the Premium plugin).

To install the free theme, choose the method described in the section How do I install GeneratePress ? Download only the plugin named GP Premium and note the user key (“License”) to be able to use it on your site afterwards.

generatepress-premium-licence


Now that you have downloaded the Premium plugin, you need to install it. To do so, go to the “Extensions” menu and then “Add”. Click on the “Upload an extension” button and upload the GP Premium plugin. Once this is done, activate the plugin.

upload-generatepress-premium

Once you have activated your plugin, you will see a “GeneratePress” menu in the “Appearance” tab. Click on it to see all the features offered by GeneratePress Premium. Activate the features you are interested in.

Last but not least, don’t forget to enter your license key to benefit from the updates!

activate-generatepress-premium

GeneratePress Premium Features

Site Library

The first feature of GeneratePress Premium is the site library. As for the Divi theme with its Layout Library, GeneratePress offers designs already made by professionals to allow you to start or adapt your existing site with quality elements.

The available sites are diverse and you can sort them according to whether you use :

  • Elementor
  • Beaver Builder
  • No Page Builder
site-library-generatepress

Once you have chosen a design that suits your needs, you can preview it by clicking on it. A modal window will appear (see image below). GeneratePress will offer you to import the layout you see on your site. In the import options, once you have clicked on “Import Option”, the theme will warn you that once all the elements are imported (widgets, content, site option, menus, …) they will have to be uninstalled manually and one by one! If you agree with this, check the warning box and the site is yours!

GeneratePress will also install the required plugins to run the site. For example, if you see a form, chances are the Contact Form 7 plugin will be installed!

generatepress-install-layout-site-library

Background module

By activating this GeneratePress Premium module, you will be able to add a background image on various places of your site (Header, Sidebar, Footer, Content, …).

This module will certainly not be the one you will use the most but it has the merit to exist. Regarding the addition of background image, you can set a number of points like :

  • Image repetition (No repeat, X repeat, Y repeat or repeat).
  • Image size: contain, cover, 100% width or automatic size.
  • Position: Left, right; x%, y%, …

Blog Module

Although this premium module of GeneratePress is called Blog, it allows you to customize the structure of your site much more than just the blog part.

You have access to this module via the WordPress Customizer in the “Layout” section and then “Blog”. Once in this menu, you can adjust the items according to three criteria:

  • Content
  • Featured Images
  • Columns

The content: In this part, you will set the functionalities for the archives as well as for the articles. Thus, you can modify :

  • Content type: Display an excerpt of the article or the entire article.
  • The number of words for the extract: Define the number of words you want to display in case you chose “Extract” in the previous option.
  • Text displayed for ” Read more ” : You can put whatever you want (see the article, learn more, browse the article, sketch the article, …).
  • Display read more as button: If you don’t want an ugly text link, you can turn the “Read more” into a button.
  • Display the date of the article.
  • Show the author of the article.
  • Show the categories of the article.
  • Display the tags of the article.
  • Display the number of comments.
  • Use “Infinite Scroll”: this option is useful if you have a high volume of articles.

Featured Images: Depending on whether it is for archives, articles or pages, you can configure a number of elements on the featured images:

  • Show or not show featured images.
  • Show the padding around the images.
  • The location of the featured images: Below the title or above the title.
  • Alignment: Centered, right or left.
  • Image size: Original size, thumbnail, medium, large, 1536×1536 or 2048×2048.
  • Width in PX.
  • Height in PX.

Columns: You can choose to display items in columns.

These elements are available for the “Archives” and “Articles” pages.

customize-blog-generatepress

Colors module

The Colors module will allow you, as the name implies, to customize the colors of all areas of the GeneratePress theme. For example, you can adjust the colors :

  • Body
  • Header
  • Primary Navigation
  • Secondary Navigation
  • Off canvas Panel
  • Buttons
  • Content
  • Sidebar Widgets
  • Forms
  • Footer
  • WooCommerce

Everything is relatively clear in this menu, let yourself be led!

customize-colors-generatepress

Typography module

Same functionality as the Colors module except that here you change the fonts of all areas of the GeneratePress theme.

Remember that you can use system fonts, avoiding an extra call to the Google server (for Google Fonts).

customize-typography-generatepress

Disable elements module

The location of this feature is not in the WordPress Customizer but rather within your posts and pages.

With this feature, you can choose to show or hide certain Containers. For example, if you want to create a page that promotes your ebook, you may decide to hide the menu, the featured image, the header, …

disable-elements-generatepress

Elements module

The elements module is, in my opinion, the one that should make you decide to go for the GeneratePress theme. In spite of a rather simple name, the functionalities are simply extraordinary.

To access this menu, you must click on “Elements”, just below “GeneratePress”. What you will be able to do is just awesome.

For example, if you want to customize the page layout of your blog posts with a header image, as is the case with this post, you can create a dynamic rule that allows this. Design the image, add the display conditions and publish your element!

In the same spirit, you can add your Google Analytics code here using Hooks. Insert your code, set the display conditions (on the whole site, a couple of pages, a couple of categories, …) and you’re done! It’s just bluffing.

elements-module-generatepress

Sections module

The section module proves the versatility and power of the GeneratePress theme. Basically, it is a mini Page Builder, with almost all its features but without the unnecessary code. You can enable this feature on pages and articles and create rich and dynamic content without using a Page Builder!

You can adjust two aspects of this module :

  • The parameters: Adjust the layout (full width, custom CSS, …), the colors and the background.
  • The content: Add your content here.
section-module-generatepress

GeneratePress & WooCommerce

Good news for those who want to launch an online store with the WooCommerce plugin, the GeneratePress theme natively integrates the WooCommerce plugin and the customization will be done simply and quickly through the Customizer (Theme Customizer).

Thus, in the menu ” Layout ” then ” WooCommerce “, you will be able to configure four aspects of your shop :

General: As its name suggests, in this part you will set the general options of your shop.

  • You can display the cart in your menu.
  • Display a mini basket in the submenu
  • Menu item icon: Choose the icon that best suits you.
  • Menu item content: You can either display the number of items in the shopping cart or the amount.

Shop: In this menu, you will customize the graphic design of your WooCommerce shop :

  • Sidebar layout: By playing with the different options, you can configure your shop to have the sidebar on the left or on the right or without sidebar.
  • Products Columns: Choose the number of columns you want to display. The more you reduce this number, the larger your products will be displayed.
  • Column Gap:You can add a space between the columns of your shop, to let your content breathe.
  • Image alignment: choose between left, right or centered.
  • Number of products per page.
  • Text alignment.
  • Display options (page title, number of products, sorting option, product image, sale flash, note, price, add to cart button, …)

Single Product: With this menu, you will set the display of a single product in your shop :

  • Sidebar layout: As for the shop settings, choose the layout you prefer.
  • Product Image Area Width.
  • Display add to cart panel on scroll. 
  • Display quantity buttons.
  • Display sale flash.
  • Display product tabs.
  • Display related products.
  • Display upsell products.
  • Display product meta data.
  • Display short description.

Checkout: For the checkout page, you can activate the distraction-free mode. This mode removes the elements considered too distracting (such as the sidebar, widgets, …).

As you can see, setting up an online store with GeneratePress and WooCommerce is very simple. The customization options are endless and you can achieve your goals quickly.

generatepress-woocommerce

GeneratePress Child Theme

Of course, GeneratePress features a child theme! It would have been weird if a theme with so many good points didn’t have a child theme!

You can download the Child Theme for GeneratePress at no cost by clicking on the button below and customize your site with peace of mind.

GeneratePress & SEO

If you recall, I said in the introduction that the GeneratePress theme made three promises to promote its theme and SEO was one of them. To have a little background in SEO (I’ve been SEO for over 12 years now), I can confirm that it’s solid. In addition to its phenomenal speed, GeneratePress has a clean and structured code. When I say structured, it also includes the rich snippet markup so loved by search engines.

As you can see in the image below, when testing the demo site using Google’s structured data test tool, you can see that the markup is clean and many elements are available.

generatepress-seo-optimized

GeneratePress Pricing

The GeneratePress Premium pricing is very simple since it is a unique price:

$49.95

Please also note that this is a licence that must be renewed annually. The positive point of this restrictive system is that when you renew, you will benefit from a substantial 40% discount! Thus, the second year of your GeneratePress Premium license, you will pay :

$29.97

The price of GeneratePress Premium is really affordable compared to other themes but it is obvious that the lack of a lifetime license is annoying.

Speed and performance of the GeneratePress theme

One of the promises of the GeneratePress theme is velocity. To verify these claims, I tested the theme in different aspects. You can expect that when you install the theme for the first time without any content, you will get a near perfect score since your site is empty! To give you an overview, I set up the following test:

  • I installed GeneratePress on an empty site and tested the speed with Pingdom Tools.
  • I did the same test again with the new GeneratePress installation this time with the GTMetrix tool.
  • I created a demo site with GeneratePress by adding content, images, … I tested this demo site with Pingdom Tools.
  • I re-tested the demo site with the GTMetrix tool.

Important point, no cache plugin has been installed and the server on which this demo site is located is a premium shared server


As you can see on the demo site, with the images and all the content, the GeneratePress theme is doing very well. Despite its size, the loading time remains relatively controlled. If you optimize your images well and opt for a high-performance cache plugin, your site should not slow down at all!

GeneratePress theme vs Astra vs Hestia vs OceanWP

If you want to discover the results of WPAstra WordPress theme speed performance without going into detail, here is a summary table below. The test methodology is as follows: 

  • We tested the theme on a brand new site, with only WordPress installed. No cache plugin.
  • We tested the loading time of the new installation on Pingdom Tools and GTMetrix.
  • We tested again with pre-made layouts with the same tools.
wdt_ID Website + Tools Load Time Page Size Requests Pagespeed Score
1 OceanWP Fresh Install Pingdom Tools 1.14 s 257.2 kB 19 87
2 GeneratePress Fresh Install Pingdom Tools 0.6 s 26.7 kB 9 87
3 Hestia Fresh Install Pingdom Tools 1.25 s 385.1 kB 23 82
4 WPAstra Fresh Install Pingdom Tools 0.8 s 36.9 kB 6 75
5 OceanWP Fresh Install GTMetrix 0.9 s 265 kB 20 98
6 GeneratePres Fresh Install GTMetrix 0.8 s 30.7 kB 10 100
7 Hestia Fresh Install GTMetrix 1.2 s 327 kB 24 94
8 WPAstra Fresh Install GTMetrix 0.4 s 39.6 kB 7 100
9 OceanWP Demo Install Pingdom Tools 2.17 s 10.8 MB 83 87
10 GeneratePress Demo Install Pingdom Tools 1.64 s 1.0 MB 39 86

GeneratePress theme vs OceanWP

Speed and performance of GeneratePress theme vs OceanWP

GeneratePress theme vs Astra Theme

Speed and performance of GeneratePress theme vs Astra Theme

GeneratePress theme vs Hestia Theme

Speed and performance of GeneratePress theme vs Hestia Theme

Speed and performance test of GeneratePress with Page Builders

To test the speed and performance of GeneratePress theme with the differents Page Builders, we have chosen the following criteria:

  • Create a page from scratch. Only header and footer.
  • Put a title, a section with two columns (one text and one image), a button, a video and social media icons.
  • The image is the same for every tests. Image optimized by Tinypng.
  • We have monitored the time needed to create this page.
  • Speed test performed with Pingdom Tools and GTMetrix. We use Query Monitor for queries related data.

Speed and performance of GeneratePress with Elementor

Time to create the page with Elementor: 05 minutes

Pingdom Tools GTMetrix
Page Load Time 1.24 seconds 2.7 seconds
Page Size 0.99 MB 0.96 MB
Requests 41 42
generatepress-elementor-queries
Details of requests made by Elementor plugin
Example of page created with GeneratePress and Elementor

Speed and performance of GeneratePress with Divi Builder

Time to create the page with Divi Builder: 04 minutes

Pingdom Tools GTMetrix
Page Load Time 1.9 seconds 1.3 seconds
Page Size 2.10 MB 1.98 MB
Requests 78 34
Details of requests made by Divi Builder plugin
Example of page created with GeneratePress and Divi Builder

Speed and performance of GeneratePress with Thrive Architect

Time to create the page with Thrive Architect: 05 minutes

Pingdom Tools GTMetrix
Page Load Time 1.33 seconds 2.4 seconds
Page Size 1.90 MB 1.82 MB
Requests 34 34
generatepress-thrive-architect-queries
Details of requests made by Thrive Architect plugin
Example of page created with GeneratePress and Thrive Architect

Speed and performance of GeneratePress with Beaver Builder

Time to create the page with Beaver Builder: 07 minutes

Pingdom Tools GTMetrix
Page Load Time 1.66 seconds 2.2 seconds
Page Size 2.00 MB 1.94 MB
Requests 36 37
generatepress-beaver-builder-queries
Details of requests made by Beaver Builder plugin
Example of page created with GeneratePress and Beaver Builder plugin
generatepress-beaver-builder

Speed and performance of GeneratePress with WPBakery

Time to create the page with WPBakery: 09 minutes

Pingdom Tools GTMetrix
Page Load Time 1.44 seconds 2.1 seconds
Page Size 1.80 MB 1.75 MB
Requests 45 45
generatepress-wpbakery-queries
Details of requests made by WPBakery plugin
Example of page created with GeneratePress and WPBakery​
generatepress-wpbakery

Our verdict on GeneratePress

Generatepress is without a doubt one of the best freemium themes of the last few years. If you are looking for a well coded, fast and customizable template, look no further.

Moreover, having used it personally, I was able to test the support and I can tell you that the creator of GeneratePress (Tom Usborne) is reactive and patient.

I highly recommend GeneratePress if you have no idea what theme to choose to start creating a website. GeneratePress has many qualities and it is very easy to get started. Moreover, this theme is compatible with most Page Builders on the market like Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, …

Another noteworthy point, the developers of GeneratePress are working on a new project called GenerateBlocks. As its name indicates, this plugin will allow you to add Gutenberg blocks to your WordPress site. The advantages of this plugin are numerous:

  • You no longer depend on a Page Builder plugin (Elementor, Divi, …)
  • The source code of your page is so clean compared to Page Builder.
  • Updating and maintenance is simplified.

I will keep an eye on the evolution of this project (in beta for the moment) and tell you about it very soon!

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