GeneratePress, Astra, and OceanWP are the highest rated free WordPress themes in the WordPress theme repository. These three templates have 500k+ active users each and have a great rating of 4.8/4.9.
Below, I’ve shared a brief review of each of these three templates one below another so that you can learn the differences and similarities between the three themes.
Once you install and activate OceanWP, you’ll see a notification to install the OceanWP Extra plugin.
When you install the plugin, you’ll see an option to run the Setup Wizard. The wizard will help you in creating and launching a WordPress website quickly in 5 steps. In the 1st step, the wizard will display a brief message. In the 2nd step, you must choose a demo from the list of 10+ demos. The demos are grouped into these categories – eCommerce, blog, business, sport, one page. You can see the preview of the demo before making the wizard install it. The demos of the theme may depend on some plugins to work correctly. After installing the demo, you’ll be prompted to install the required plugins. OceanWP Wizard lets you choose the items you want the wizard tool to import. Once the task of importing the demo is completed, you can customize the site in step 3 of the wizard.
The customizer lets users upload a logo, set title, primary color, links color, etc. The last step of the wizard has an opt-in box with your mail-id. You can ignore the box and click the “View your website” button to see your site.
OceanWP can be customized with the WordPress CMS’s live customizer tool. The theme offers several customization options. You can adjust footer/header background color, left/right/top/bottom padding, enable/disable footer widgets, change the sidebar’s background color, bottom/right/top/left margin/padding, change typography settings, and more with the live WordPress customizer tool.
OceanWP enables users to change the font of the HTML heading tags, menus, body, footer, etc. OceanWP customizer allows you to change the blog post layout to one of the following:
- Sidebar, content.
- Content, sidebar.
- Left and right sidebars.
In other WordPress themes, you must edit the single post PHP file to change the position of the elements displayed on the blog post. In OceanWP, you don’t have to do so. The theme lets you change the position of the featured image, tags, social sharing buttons, related posts, author box, related next/prev navigation links, etc by simply dragging them. You can also control their visibility i.e. hide/show them. The theme allows users to set the tag they want the theme to use for the blog post title. The default is H2.
In addition to the Live WP customizer tool, OceanWP also adds the “Theme Options” panel to the WordPress dashboard. If you think that the options of the customizer are slowing down your website, you can turn off the options that you don’t want to use from the “Theme options” page of OceanWP. The Theme Options page also finds the important things that you’ve not added to your website and makes you aware of the same.
OceanWP adds several scripts to the site. If the scripts are slowing down your website, you can disable the ones that you don’t want to use. Alternatively, you can use a plugin such as WP Rocket to minify and concatenate stylesheets and scripts.
Also see: WP Rocket black Friday sale
Astra is a different theme from OceanWP. It is a good alternative to OceanWP and has a similar rating as the above template.
You can start using Astra straightaway without installing any plugin. However, to add new features to the existing template, you’ll have to install plugins from the Theme Options interface. The following free plugins are available to the users:
- Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg.
- Sidebar manager.
- Custom Typekit fonts.
- Astra Widgets/Bulk edits/customizer reset.
The users can customize Astra with the WordPress live customizer tool. Astra adds a placeholder to each element. If you click the placeholder, Astra will open its customization options in the WordPress live customizer panel. Astra categorizes the options in the Live customizer interface. OceanWP shows all options supported by the element in one interface.
Astra supports boxed and full-width contained/stretched layout. It also supports custom width the user sets with the help of the slider. The WP theme lets you set a different layout for the homepage, archive page, and blog post. As in OceanWP, you can adjust the position of the elements in the blog post stack by dragging and dropping them. For example, you can make Astra display the featured image below the blog post title, etc. The template’s live customizer tool enables you to adjust the width of the sidebar with a slider.
Astra ships with three header styles. The desktop header can be of two styles in the theme – boxed and full-width. The mobile header can be of type types – Inline and Stack. The theme lets users increase/decrease the header’s bottom border. Adding a search button, button, etc to the menu manually can be a difficult task. Astra ships with an option to add these buttons at the extreme right of the menu. The template lets users set a breakpoint at which the theme will hide the desktop menu and will show the mobile menu. It allows users to set an animation for the container.
As in OceanWP, the Footer area of Astra can have multiple widgets or no widgets at all. You can change the footer’s appearance and increase the footer’s top border with the WordPress live customizer tool.
Astra doesn’t have the option to disable scripts and stylesheets. Frankly speaking, you don’t need these options because the theme is lightweight and adds fewer links to script/stylesheet files on the page.
75% of the options on the “Theme Options” interface of the free version of Generatepress shows the premium/paid modules. The options to customize the theme are located on the sidebar. In case you’ve created a messy design, you can reset the design from the Theme Options interface.
Two of the most interesting features of GeneratePress is that the template supports “Flexbox” as well as “Float” structures. It supports “SVG” and “Font” icons. You can change the structure and icon type with the click of a button.
GeneratePress, Like Astra and OceanWP support three layouts – sidebar/content, content/sidebar, sidebar/content/sidebar. It allows you to set a logo and tagline for the site. The WP template lets you change the color of the text, link, blog post title/title hover, and the background color of the page. It lets you change the Google Font of the heading tags, font size, line height, etc. You can also add/remove widgets from the sidebar/footer with the WP Live Customizer tool.
OceanWP vs Astra vs Generatepress: Size, set-up & speed comparison
OceanWP, even though has options to remove scripts and stylesheets, adds several links to the scripts and stylesheet files in the HTML of the page. Astra and GeneratePress are lightweight by default but if you use the demos or add new modules/features to the site, the size of the page will increase.
As far as I’m aware, OceanWP is the only WordPress theme among the three templates I’ve shared here to have a setup wizard. The presence of the setup wizard hardly makes any difference as the themes are easy to set up and customize.
Speed and performance
If you reduce the number of scripts of OceanWP with its built-in script disabler/enabler tool, the speed of OceanWP will be the same as that of Astra and GeneratePress.