Fastest WordPress Themes for Incredible Page Speed

A fast and lightweight theme can do wonders for improving your page speed – and ensuring your visitors will hang around long enough to read your content.

Last week we looked at ways to improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score. One of the recommended measures was choosing a quick theme that makes few HTTP requests.

Finding a fast theme, however, is no mean feat. Most themes available today are packed with features, such as parallax, social media and ginormous images, ensuring your site will struggle to get a score above 50 out of 100 on PageSpeed Insights.

But fast themes do exist. Below, I’ve ranked the fastest themes I could find in order from slowest to fastest.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 87
    Cost: $49

    Trail is a multipurpose port olio theme that focuses on big images and lovely typography. It features a stunning parallax scrolling effect.

    Despite the demo’s big images, Trail loads quickly and looks great on any device thanks to its responsive layout.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 89
    Cost: $45

    Skadi is a beautiful and responsive multipurpose parallax theme. It’s been built on the Twitter Bootstrap framework and includes a page builder.

    Other features include eight different portfolio layouts and 11 blog layouts.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 90
    Cost: $35

    Spark isn’t a new theme (it was released in May 2012) but it is much quicker than most newer themes available.

    This theme comes with a PHP-based delivery system which, the developer promises, will get you a 97 out 100 score on PageSpeed Insights. Maybe so, but the demo site can only reach 90 out of 100.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 90
    Cost: Free

    Did you know a Feijoa is a type of fruit, also known as a pineapple guava?

    This unusual theme is super minimalist with an emphasis on text and typography, allowing it to load quickly.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 90
    Cost: $69

    Fable is a full-width blogging theme with a clean, beautiful design built for easy reading.

    According to Elegant Themes, they use coding best practices to ensure their themes are fast and secure. Plus, their themes frequently undergo security audits.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 90
    Cost: $69

    Another Elegant Themes design in the top 10. Lucid is a responsive magazine theme with a clean and organized layout.

    As mentioned above, Elegant Themes adheres to coding best practices to ensure their themes are fast and secure.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 95
    Cost: From $57

    It’s not the most eye-catching theme out there, but Swift is certainly one of the quickest.

    Swift is fast, lightweight with speed its ultimate goal. The developers have created this theme with PageSpeed Insights in mind and it does perform well, also scoring highly on GTmetrix with 96 per cent.

  • PageSpeed Insights score: 96
    Cost: Free

    Frank is an open source theme designed specifically for speed. This theme is certainly quick, and offers a light, responsive and unobtrusive reading experience.

    The parent theme’s default homepage makes nine database queries and consists of two requests weighing ~29Kb (9.6Kb Gzipped).

    Frank is bare bones – no Javascript frameworks or unnecessary images, just a simple, fast blogging theme.