Ever since I started blogging in 2010, I have tried out numerous WordPress themes. But there is something I liked about GeneratePress so much that I switched over to it from my previous theme without thinking twice and am happily using GeneratePress on this blog since 2020.
But how is the real-world performance of this popular WordPress theme and is it user-friendly? Also, is it compatible with the popular page builders? I will address all these questions and more in this detailed GeneratePress review.
Further, I will walk you through the important features of GeneratePress and go through its pros and cons so you can decide for yourself whether it is the right theme for your blogging needs or not.
Let’s start with the basics first.
What is GeneratePress?
Apart from this, there is also a premium version (in the form of a plugin) that enhances the functionality of the GeneratePress theme manifold.
You can check out my in-depth comparison of GeneratePress Free vs Premium features.
Additionally, with the release of GeneratePress Premium 2.0 in 2021, by combining the free GenerateBlocks plugin, you have the power of full site editing or a complete theme-building experience on your hands without the need to struggle with code.
In this review, I will focus on testing the theme against various parameters to find out whether this popular WordPress theme lives up to its reputation or not.
Let us begin by evaluating the design and layout of GeneratePress.
Design and Layout
The default install comes with a boxed layout and is ideal for blogging with a neat and uncluttered design. If you love lots of white space on your page then you will fall for this design.
All the theme options are accessible from the WordPress Customizer. This follows the recommended WordPress standard that intends the customizer to be a one-stop destination for every theme setting.
Also, the Customizer helps to keep things organized and speed up the theme performance.
For instance, the GeneratePress theme customizer features time-saving in-panel navigation controls to quickly jump to any connected setting.
Now depending upon the free or pro version of GeneratePress, there are multiple options that can be configured in the Customizer.
GeneratePress provides lots of design flexibility to the user. You can decide whether to display your blog posts in multiple columns (grid layout) or one below the other (list layout). You can also make the first post featured and arrange the subsequent posts in a grid layout.
If you wish to add background images to your pages or header or footer elements, you can easily accomplish it from the Customizer.
Apart from this, there are multiple options to configure the meta information displayed alongside each post like author name, date, tags, etc.
Also, these options can be configured for your archives page and singular blog posts separately.
For example, while you can choose between different header layouts in the free version, the premium version allows added flexibility to set a different mobile header. You can also use your navigation as the header to give a lean and mean look to your blog.
There are many more design options available like a sticky header, secondary navigation, footer customization, etc. in the premium version that should not be missed. For details, you can read my comparison of the free and premium versions of GeneratePress.
In summary, GeneratePress offers a fresh and user-friendly design without the need to install 3rd party page builder plugins. However, if you would like to use a page builder plugin with GeneratePress, you have the complete freedom to do so.
I will elaborate on this aspect next in this GeneratePress theme review.
Page builder compatibility
The premium version also offers pre-made templates or demo sites for Elementor and Beaver Builder. If you’re not using any page builder plugin, you can take advantage of the templates crafted for the default Gutenberg block editor.
Once you activate a page builder plugin like Elementor, you can let the page builder to take over the design duties of your website while at the same time GeneratePress will take care of the global options like font, and site colors.
Note: When GeneratePress is combined with the GenerateBlocks plugin, the possibilities are limitless in terms of design and layout. And you will not need a separate page builder plugin to design awesome-looking landing pages and blog posts.
Currently, there are 13 templates available for Elementor and 5 templates for Beaver Builder in GeneratePress premium.
How to use GeneratePress with Elementor?
If you’re using a page builder like Elementor for creating your website, then perhaps the best way to do this is to let your theme take a back seat. You can set the global colors and typography using the theme customizer and fine-tune page level settings using Elementor or any other page builder.
Now, let’s check out the performance of the GeneratePress theme in real-world situations.
No matter how good-looking a theme is, if it makes your website load like a slouch, then it’s of little use to you.
GeneratePress ticks mostly the right boxes as far as performance is concerned.
It follows a modular approach to theme options. So, you can activate only the modules in the premium versions that you find useful. For instance, if you’re not using the WooCommerce plugin, you can switch off the WooCommerce module to improve performance.
Note: To take advantage of the different modules, you will need to first install the GeneratePress Premium plugin.
Secondly, GeneratePress is a mobile-friendly theme. It adapts perfectly to all screen sizes, and I did not notice any text or image spillover on mobile devices.
Lastly, GeneratePress offers in-built CSS optimization options in the theme customizer settings. You can enable Combine CSS and Cache dynamic CSS options to improve your site load times.
These options are available in the free version of GeneratePress as well.
You might be thinking: All this is fine, but how fast does this theme load? So, let’s answer this question now.
I tested the free and premium versions of GeneratePress using nothing but a caching plugin and numerous images on the home page to reflect real-world situations.
You should know that GeneratePress premium is a plugin that increases the overall page size and also the number of requests due to the additional modules it activates.
Here are the test results.
|Theme||Page Size||No. of Requests||Load Time|
|GeneratePress Free||336 KB||22||0.9 S|
|GeneratePress Premium||339 KB||24||1.2 S|
With a page size of more than 300 KB and more than 20 HTTP requests, the home page loaded in just 0.9 seconds using the free version of GeneratePress.
Even with the premium version activated, the page loaded in just 1.2 seconds, which is quite amazing.
But I was still not satisfied. So, I performed a GTmetrix speed test with all 30+ plugins activated. You might know that the GTmetrix speed test utilizes Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV) parameters to measure page speed.
And here is the result.
A perfect 100 score with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) time of mere 308 ms.
Now, here’s the final test conducted using Google Page Speed Insights.
Hopefully, you will now agree that GeneratePress is a fast-loading WordPress theme.
The next parameter to check is mobile responsiveness. If a theme is not 100% mobile responsive, it could be a deal-breaker since Google follows the mobile-first approach to indexing and ranking pages.
You can select any setting in the customizer and GeneratePress will adjust automatically on mobile devices.
For instance, you may set the container width to 2000 px and GeneratePress will automatically scale to 100% width on mobile.
Also, the Elements feature, which we will discuss below, features dedicated settings for mobile apart from the desktop settings.
Therefore, it will be correct to conclude that you can tweak the mobile settings to your liking with GeneratePress.
GeneratePress Elements (blocks)
GeneratePress Elements or Blocks is a premium feature but it is worth mentioning since it is so powerful and you can achieve practically anything on your website using elements without any coding skills.
You can create the following type of elements: Blocks, Header, Hooks, Layout.
Each element comes with complete control over the display settings and you can choose to display the element at the desired location and for specific categories only.
But what makes this feature truly outstanding is that you can create new blocks using the default block editor without the need to know HTML or CSS. Of course, if you wish to use HTML and CSS to create blocks, you have the complete freedom to do so.
Consider some test cases of the elements feature. You can create custom headers and footers for chosen categories or you can create category or post specific sidebars, widgets, etc.
The top bar above the header on this page and the subscription call to action (CTA) at the bottom have been created using the Blocks element. And I am just getting started. I plan to change the default design on PassionWP almost entirely using the Elements feature of GeneratePress.
For more details on the four types of elements that you can create, go through my post on GeneratePress Free vs Premium.
GeneratePress offers some interesting WooCommerce features with the free version.
These include the following:
- Display a site-wide store notice
- Product display options like default product sorting, number of products to show per page and per row, display products or categories or both on the shop page, etc.
- Customize the product display images
- Multiple check out page options
Although these features are encouraging, they nowhere come close to the WooCommerce features in the Astra theme.
However, the GeneratePress WooCommerce features are sufficient if you do not plan to run a full-fledged e-Commerce store.
Other useful features
I have reviewed the main features of GeneratePress. But, there are some additional features that GeneratePress offers that I should mention here.
Header and Footer
GeneratePress offers useful options to customize your header and footer. You can set one menu in the free version and two header menus (primary and secondary navigation) in the premium version.
Additionally, you can set sticky and transparent headers in the premium version of GeneratePress.
As far as the footer is concerned, you can display upto 5 widgets in the free and premium versions of GeneratePress. You can also display a back-to-top button for easy navigation.
Overall, I am quite happy with the header and footer options available in GeneratePress. You might have also noticed that there is a sticky header on this post since I am using the premium version of GeneratePress.
Scroll to top
As you know, Google is all about user experience (UX) nowadays. So, the easier you make it for your readers to move about your site, the more likely your website will be in good standing with the Google bot.
One way GeneratePress helps us is through the Scroll to Top button. You can see this button in action on this page. By clicking it, you can instantly scroll to the top of the page. I find it a very useful feature indeed. And so will your readers.
Post editor options
GeneratePress adds useful layout options in the WordPress editing screen where you can customize the sidebar layout, footer widgets, content container on per post basis.
What’s more, you can also disable specific elements like the content title with these options.
The difference between the free and premium versions of GeneratePress is that you get more options in the premium version. For instance, you can disable the top bar, header, primary and secondary navigation, featured image, content title, and footer in the premium version of GeneratePress.
While the free version allows users to only disable the content title on per post or page basis.
Missing features in GeneratePress
This review of the GeneratePress theme will not be complete if I do not list two features that are missing in GeneratePress.
The first is the lack of a native breadcrumbs feature in GeneratePress. If you want to display breadcrumbs on your posts and pages, you will need to use a third-party SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math.
As you can see, this is not a problem for 99% of users since almost every WordPress website uses one or the other SEO plugin.
The second is the lack of a native author box feature. To get around this issue, you can install an author box plugin to display the author profile.
Another option is to create a custom author box using the block elements feature in GeneratePress Premium.
GeneratePress offers basic support via the WordPress support forums for its free version.
However, if you would like professional and timely resolution for your theme issues, you should consider upgrading to the premium version of this theme.
On upgrading, you will receive access to the GeneratePress support forum where you can receive a quick response to your support tickets and customization requests.
One of the advantages of a forum-based support system is that there is a high likelihood that someone has already raised the same request as you and you can check out the solution by searching the support forum instead of raising a new support ticket.
I am able to get answers to most of my queries this way and I couldn’t be happier with the support offered by the GeneratePress team.
As I mentioned at the start of this GeneratePress review that it’s a freemium theme. You can get basic features for free.
But if you’re serious about blogging, then you should consider upgrading to the premium version of GeneratePress.
You will receive access to these features in the premium version of GeneratePress:
- Site Library: Importable demo sites for your brand new project
- Wide variety of color and typography options
- Elements: Create your own custom blocks without the need to know code
- WooCommerce: More control over the colors and layout of your online store
- Menu Plus: Sticky navigation, off-canvas navigation, mobile header, etc.
- Display a secondary navigation
- Complete layout control including custom spacing between elements
- Multiple blog features to take full control of your blogging journey
- Sections: A tiny page builder to craft custom posts and pages
- Copyright and Import/Export: Set your own copyright text and import/export theme options for reuse on other sites
As you can see that you receive a lot of value with the premium version of GeneratePress that costs just $59 per year.
What’s more, you can use the premium plugin on unlimited sites, including client sites, without any limit.
It couldn’t get easier than this. No need to upgrade to any developer license for use on client websites.
If you’re still unsure whether the pro version is suited for your needs, you should read my in-depth comparison of GeneratePress free and premium versions to make an informed decision.
GeneratePress review summary
GeneratePress is a fast-loading, multipurpose theme with freemium features. The free version of GeneratePress is enough to get you started with your blogging journey.
The main features of GeneratePress can be summarized below:
- Fast-loading multi-purpose theme
- Lightweight theme with an install size of fewer than 10 KB (Gzipped)
- Pre-made page templates for easy customization
- Full support for theme builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizzy Builder, etc.
- Extensive theme-customization options
- Sticky header and transparent header options
- Multiple blog and page layout options
- Create custom layouts using the Elements feature
- Full-featured WooCommerce support
- Extend functionality with the GenerateBlocks plugin
However, if you want to forge a unique identity for your blog and get access to advanced features and support, you should consider upgrading to the premium version.
This is, in a nutshell, a comprehensive review of the GeneratePress theme. Which theme are you currently using and are you considering switching to this theme? I would love to know your views in the comments below.
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