Published by on August 6, 2019 • 0 Comments • Lire en Français

They crush almost any competition by being among the most popular themes in the official WordPress directory.

They trust the active installations: nearly one million between them.

They generate passionate opinions, and even sometimes declarationd of love (yes, yes, I assure you).

Coeur avec les doigts

They have roughly the same characteristics:

  • Lightweight.
  • Compatible with the best page builders.
  • No coding knowledge necessary.
  • Change the design through a range of options in the WordPress Customizer.

And so on.

In short, these three are almost unavoidable in the world of WordPress themes today.

But here's the question. OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress: which one should you choose for your next project?

How to find the one that is really made for your needs, and your expectations?

In order to help you answer this question, here is a detailed comparison of our 3 themes.

Just to remind you, each of them has also a dedicated post:

Presentation of OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress

OceanWP

OceanWP on the directory

Active installations: 400,000+

Ratings: 2,409 5-star ratings out of 2,442 user reviews submitted.

OceanWP claims to be the “fastest growing theme for WordPress”.

Difficult to check, but one thing is sure: it is the most popular theme in the official directory, except for default WordPress themes (Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Seventeen etc.).

Pretty good, for a rocket that took off in late 2016.

Among our 3 themes of the day, it is also the one with the most customization options. If it can be considered as a fast theme, it focuses above all on design.

One of its objectives is to help you “create beautiful websites”, as stated on its homepage. To do this, it offers many ready-to-use demos, and will work very well with many page builders.

Another point to highlight is its excellent integration with WooCommerce, with many native options.

Options WooCommerce d'OceanWP
An overview of some of OceanWP's WooCommerce options

Finally, OceanWP also stands out in its business model. Let's just say it's a little special.

It does not offer a Pro version per se (as GeneratePress and Astra do), but paid extensions that allow you to add features to your free theme (e.g. adding modules to Elementor with the Elementor Widgets extension, creating a Portfolio with the Portfolio extension, a sticky header with the Sticky Header extension etc.).

In total, there are 13 of them. You can either buy them individually or acquire them as a core extensions bundle, a kind of OceanWP Pro, containing the 13 Premium extensions + 20 site demos.

OceanWP website

Astra

Astra on the directory

Active installations: 300,000+

Ratings: 2094 5-star ratings out of 2,130 user reviews submitted.

“Fastest growing theme of all time.” This is how its designers present their baby, by welcoming you to their official website.

Again, as with OceanWP, it is difficult to prove this. In the field of marketing, you have to promote your product well..

Astra must not be too far from the truth. Launched in 2017, it has a gargantuan appetite. When WPMarmite published its detailed test at the end of April 2019, it was active on more than 200,000 sites.

Less than 2 months later, the number of… 300,000 active installations had already been reached.

Gargantuan, we tell you!

I have to say, there's a hell of a machine behind all this. Astra is maintained by Brainstorm Force, a company of about 60 people based in India, which also created Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder, Ultimate Addons for Elementor, and Convert Pro.

To define it in a few words, I would say that Astra stands out for its ease of customization, its many site demos, or its performance.

It is also very lightweight and modular, like Generate Press.

Its 3 Premium versions allow you to activate up to 18 modules on demand, offering more or less what GeneratePress does (design customization, layout, header, footer, etc.).

To find a detailed presentation of the modules, see the article about Astra on the WPMarmite blog.

Astra website

GeneratePress

GeneratePress on the directory

Active installations: 200,000+

Ratings: 846 5-star ratings out of 854 user reviews submitted.

Created and maintained by Tom Usborne, a Canadian developer/designer, GeneratePress is a theme that focuses primarily on performance.

The homepage of the website dedicated to the theme states that it's the perfect lightweight theme for your next project”.

It is one of the fastest themes on the market. With this theme, a default WordPress install is less than 30kb.

Among its other major features, I would highlight its ease of use and its modular approach (you only enable the options you want to use).

Let me explain this last point: the Premium version of the theme gives access to 14 modules that you can enable/disable in one click. They cover several customization domains (design, layout, blog, WooCommerce etc.).

You will find them in detail in the test dedicated to GeneratePress.

GeneratePress website

Note

Be aware that the 3 themes are also responsive and optimized for SEO. And if no coding knowledge is necessary, they all offer more advanced options for the most technical of you, like hooks, for example. In a nutshell, hooks are pieces of code that you can add to different spots in your theme (e.g. header, footer) to customize it.

How easy are they to handle?

OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress installation process

Let's start by detailing the install process for free versions.

No jealousy at this level: you can install the 3 themes directly from your WordPress Dashboard.

As a reminder, all you have to do is go to Appearance > Themes. Then at the top of the page, click on Add. Finally, install and activate the theme of your choice.

Add Generate Press theme on your dashboard
Here is how to add GeneratePress theme on your WordPress admin

OceanWP later distinguished itself from its competitors. It takes the user a little more by the hand by offering him:

  • To install some extensions.
  • Launch a setup wizard that will allow you to choose a demo (a ready-made site) and start customizing your site (choice of logo, colors etc.).

Regarding the premium versions, GeneratePress Premium and Astra Pro are two plugins that are added to their respective themes.

To take advantage of it, you just have to activate a zip file once, as you would for any other downloaded plugin.

This will trigger the appearance of 14 modules for GeneratePress, and 18 modules for Astra.

With OceanWP, the procedure is a little different. If you purchase one of the 3 Premium Plans, you will have access to 13 extensions.

You will need to install them one by one, as soon as you want to use them.

Ease of use

The 3 themes can be customized directly from the Customizer. You can find it by going to Appearance > Customize.

Astra options within the Customizer
Astra's options within the Customizer

This is really very convenient for the user. This allows you to access all the settings in one place, without having to search everywhere on your dashboard.

OceanWP offers, for example, a Theme Panel on your admin, which concentrates some sections of the Customizer.

Links also allow you to quickly customize certain aspects of your website (e.g. logo, typography, colors, sidebar etc.).

Which theme wins here?

OceanWP is the theme that offers the most options and features. However, we tend to get lost in it a little.

In terms of ease of use, GeneratePress is the most successful, followed closely by Astra.

Their menus are certainly a little less extensive, but they go straight to the point, which prevents you from getting lost.

The podium:

1 – GeneratePress 2 – Astra 3 – OceanWP

Demo sites

As we said in the introduction, our 3 themes allow you to setup the website of your choice without coding knowledge.

If you are new to WordPress and don't want to get your hands dirty, this is probably something you are interested in.

If you are a freelance website designer, it can also save you time during your creation process.

As a result, the solution consists in particular in going through demo sites. GeneratePress, Astra and OceanWP offer them.

Discover the strengths and weaknesses of the 3 competitors regarding this matter.

OceanWP

If you bet on OceanWP, you will have access to 13 demos in its free version.

These pre-designed demos cover several areas (Blog, Business, Sport, One Page, Ecommerce).

The Premium version offers about sixty more models. They are installed by activating the Pro Demos extension, contained in one of the three Premium offers.

We are quite similar to what Astra does, with templates specific to different niches (Photo, Music, Fitness, Design, Corporate, Blog etc.).

Some OceanWP demo examples
Some OceanWP demo examples

Particular care has been taken in the design, which makes them both simple and pleasant to look at.

On the other hand, most demos have been created with Elementor, so if you don't want to use this page builder, the choice will be much smaller (or at least your site will not look exactly like the proposed demo).

Astra

From its free version, Astra theme offers to import pre-made full website demos .

Only condition? Install the Astra Starter Sites plugin, which you can find on the official directory.

It gives you access to about forty demos, on niche themes such as catering, blogging, fashion, hotels, coaching, etc.

Astra templates
Some Astra templates

The demos are clean, airy, and visually appealing.

For even more choices, you will need to purchase one of the two premium Agency options (Mini Agency Bundle or Agency Bundle).

This will give you access to a total of 100 demos. But be careful, they will only work with Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy or Gutenberg.

GeneratePress

GeneratePress Site Library
GeneratePress Site Library

To be able to enjoy the site demos – available in the Site Library – on GeneratePress, you must purchase the Premium version (GP Premium).

To compare with, Astra and OceanWP offer a number of demos from their free version.

But let's get back to GeneratePress. Tom Usborne, the theme developer, offers 39 demos in total, rather generalist, although you will see that you will find some specifically to create a blog, a Business website, an ecommerce one, or even for a freelance activity.

Of these, 17 require you to use the Pro version of one of the following two page builders:

OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress: which theme wins here?

In terms of the number of demos offered, Astra wins, whether in free or premium version.

OceanWP is really not far behind, while GeneratePress is a little behind.

In addition, in terms of demos, it offers more integrations with page builders than its competitors.

All are installed in just some clicks. In terms of quantity, Astra has a little more choice than OceanWP. On the other hand, it offers more integration with page builders.

The podium:

1 – Astra 2 – OceanWP 3 – GeneratePress

Page builders integration

There was a lot of talk about page builders in the previous section. You are good to go, so let's get started on their specific integration to the 3 themes.

A page builder will allow you to create custom layouts, most often using a drag and drop system, without touching any single piece of code.

A man shakes his hands

For technical refractories, and those who want to save time in their creation process, page builders offer serious advantages.

Today, the most downloaded builder page on the official directory is called Elementor. It has 2 million active installations.

It's hard to miss him. Our 3 themes have understood this and integrate very well with it. Each of them offers site demos adapted to Elementor, as you have seen.

OceanWP, for example, even has a dedicated extension – Elementor Widgets – that adds about 50 modules to the page builder.

In its official documentation, Elementor lists Astra, GeneratePress and OceanWP as among the most compatible themes with it.

Beyond that, a theme “compatible” with a page builder must be able to give you full control over the structure of each page by:

  • Displaying or not your content full width.
  • Displaying or not one or more sidebars.
  • Disabling your page title, if necessary.
  • Disabling items that you do not use (footer, header, menu etc.).

Good news: the 3 themes allow you to do this, thanks to a specific settings box that you will find when creating your pages.

OceanWP settings meta box
OceanWP settings meta box

Much has been said about Elementor, but what if you use Thrive Architect, Visual Composer, or another page builder?

We haven't tested every theme with every page builder. On the other hand, it has been noted that OceanWP and Astra claim to be compatible with the “best page builders in the market”, such as:

oceanwp vs astra vs generatepress et la compatibilité avec les page builders

On the other hand, GeneratePress is less advanced on this point, even if it states that it is “page builder friendly”.

Note

A word about Gutenberg: The Gutenberg content editor, natively integrated since WordPress 5.0, is not a page builder strictly speaking. However, it allows, at its level, to create custom layouts using a block system. Our 3 themes of the day are compatible with Gutenberg: you will not be blocked if you plan to use it. It should be noted that Astra offers, for example, 14 website demos specifically dedicated to it.

Which theme wins here?

Difficult answer. The 3 themes claim to be compatible with the best page builders on the market.

However, we can notice, through the demos of the sites that each one proposes, that the integration is not the same.

For example, GeneratePress demos are only compatible with Elementor and Beaver Builder (which does not prevent you from using the theme from scratch with another builder, I might add).

OceanWP is quite dependent on Elementor: it offers an extension dedicated to it (Elementor Widgets). Undoubtedly, it will be perfectly suitable if you plan to use this page builder.

Finally, Astra seems to me to be the most versatile. Its demos are compatible with 4 page builders (Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy), and its Agency version gives you access to Ultimate Addons for Elementor and Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder, two very powerful extensions that will add additional modules and templates to the two page builders.

The podium:

1 – Astra 2 – OceanWP 3 – GeneratePress

WooCommerce support

The natural extension of a showcase site is the e-commerce site. To implement it on WordPress, there are several solutions.

The most famous is called WooCommerce, downloaded more than 70 million times!

Technically, it is a plugin that will transform your website into an online store.

Now, let's dive right in: what our 3 themes have to offer, regarding WooCommerce?

OceanWP

OceanWP offers a whole range of options. The big advantage is that they are already native within the free theme. No need to get a Premium extension to be able to:

  • Display a native cart pop-up to capture your visitors attention in order to increase conversions.
  • Offer your visitors a floating add to cart bar, which makes your Add to Cart button always visible.
  • Filter your products in an off-canvas filtering sidebar, in order not to distract them.
  • Have a “Quick View” option, which will give your visitors access to detailed information about the product of their choice, without being taken to a new page.
Quick view on OceanWP
OceanWP Quick view option

Astra

In its free version, Astra offers some options for WooCommerce, including adding a shopping cart in your header, or customizing the layout (number of products and columns to display etc.).

All the settings can be made directly from the Customizer.

For a much more complete range, you will need to purchase one of the 3 Premium Plans.

For example, you can:

  • Display your products as a grid or list, with the option of aligning them on several columns.
  • Customize your checkout page, for example with a non-distracted mode, to disable the header and footer when the user is about to pay.
  • Add the Shopping Cart icon where you want on your site, using a shortcode.
  • Include “Sale” badges.
  • Choose the number of products to display per page.
  • Create filters so that your visitors can more easily search for your products based on price, novelty, average rating, etc.
A Sale badge example

Note

In terms of e-commerce, another known plugin in the WordPress ecosystem is called Easy Digital Downloads, which specializes in digital products Astra offers a specific module to extend its functionalities in a fairly thorough way. In addition, the Brainstorm Force theme offers specific integrations for two plugins used to create e-learning sites LearnDash and LifterLMS.

GeneratePress

If you want to use WooCommerce with GeneratePress, you will have no choice: you will have to get the Premium version, which has a specific module.

Nothing is provided for in the free version.

As a premium, therefore, you can change the color of titles, texts, buttons, prices, or display or not some options such as the description of your product, the button to add to the basket, the title and image of the product, the related products etc.

WooCommerce & GeneratePress

Which theme wins here?

OceanWP stands out: its options are numerous, specific – they promote the user experience and encourage conversion – and free!

Astra has nothing to be ashamed of, but all its major options are only found in one of its Premium versions.

Same for GeneratePress: its options are effective, but a little less numerous than the ones you can access on Astra.

The podium:

1 – OceanWP 2 – Astra 3 – GeneratePress

Performance: which theme is the fastest?

We just talked about e-commerce. You may know this, but there is one thing to consider when managing an online store: your page load time.

This also applies to a classic website, by the way.

Indeed, it is estimated that 53% of mobile phone users will leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Un homme se résigne

In other words, the theme you choose will have to be well coded and lightweight.

Regarding our 3 themes, you'll be OK: the three of them use the latest and most stable coding standards.

Furthermore, Astra and GeneratePress use a modular system. This means that you only enable the modules you need, which avoids loading files and functions that will not be used.

OceanWP offers a very similar option called Scripts & styles: you enable or disable CSS and JavaScript scripts that you do not want to use in one click.

Although the 3 themes claim to be among the fastest on the market, we have noted some differences during the various tests we have conducted.

I have activated the 3 themes (their default configuration) one by one on a test website hosted on a shared o2switch server, without any plugin/module activated.

I used the WebPageTest and Pingdom Tools services.

Results? GeneratePress was the most efficient, ahead of Astra and OceanWP.

You can find detailed results on the comparisons of each theme:

Which theme wins here?

These 3 themes can be described as fast and lightweight. They will be much better optimized than the vast majority of the free themes on the official directory (the 3 have done much better than Sydney during our tests, for example).

Note

I would like to point out that the results of these tests provide a first overview, but cannot be considered as a final and definitive judgment. You may have different data at home, depending on your host provider, or the plugins you use.

The podium:

1 – GeneratePress 2 – Astra 3 – OceanWP

Pricing

As you can see, the 3 themes are first accessible for free from the WordPress directory.

To benefit from all their options, you will have to go through a Premium offer.

Each theme has its own peculiarities on this point. Discover them now.

OceanWP

OceanWP has 3 Premium plans, available from $39 to $129.

Les différents prix du thème OceanWP

OceanWP still had until recently an unlimited offer, like its two competitors. But this offer has been replaced by an Agency pack, which can be used on up to 25 sites.

In terms of options, you have access to 1 year of updates and support, and you will benefit from 13 Premium extensions and 60 demos (site templates).

Astra

Astra offers 3 paid versions: Astra Pro ($59, about €52), Mini Agency Bundle ($169, about €150) and Agency Bundle ($249, about €221).

Les différents plans du thème Astra

Each pack allows the use of the theme on an unlimited number of sites and includes one year of updates support.

Astra Pro has fewer Starter Sites (20 versus 50 for the other two packs), does not give access to some additional plugins created by Brainstorm Force.

GeneratePress

Unlike its two competitors, GeneratePress offers a single paid offer called GP Premium ($49.95).

GP Premium

This gives you access to the 14 Premium modules of the theme, which you can use without limitations on all the sites of your choice.

One year of support and updates are also included.

OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress: which theme wins here?

GeneratePress offers the most financially advantageous offer, if you plan to use the theme on an unlimited number of sites. If you want to use the theme of your choice on a single site, OceanWP will be cheaper ($39).

This theme may even be even cheaper if you only want to use a Premium extension. They are available at $9.99 per unit.

In addition, GeneratePress is the theme that offers the most advantageous renewal offer.

It gives you a 40% discount (compared to 20% for Astra, and 30% for OceanWP), if you want to continue to benefit from support and updates beyond the first year.

As a general rule, I strongly recommend that you keep your theme up to date, especially for security reasons.

Un homme met le doigt sur la tempe

Note

I would like to say a word here about documentation and assistance, the latter often being linked to the price of a theme. The documentation on the 3 themes is clear, with Astra winning the prize for the most extensive. Regarding support, I could only test the Brainstorm Force support because I have already used one of their plugin (Ultimate addons for Beaver Builder). Verdict: answer given and problem solved in less than 24 hours by email.

The podium:

1 – GeneratePress 2 – Astra 3 – OceanWP

GeneratePress vs Astra vs OceanWP, which one is right for you?

GeneratePress has climbed 3 times on the highest step of the podium, ahead of Astra (2) and OceanWP (1).

Does that make it the best theme of the 3? The answer is no.

I would say that the best theme remains the one that will be best suited to your technical level, your aspirations, and your needs.

I will give you some ideas so that you can make your final choice in an informed way:

  • You are looking for an easy-to-use theme: GeneratePress.
  • You are looking for an excellent WooCommerce integration: OceanWP.
  • You want unlimited use at the best price: GeneratePress.
  • You want to have a wide choice of templates and site demos: Astra and OceanWP.
  • You want the perfect companion for Elementor: OceanWP.
  • Performance is your number one choice criterion: GeneratePress.

All this is about small details and, finally, we could include the 3 themes in each category. But at least it might give you a little help if you hesitate.

One thing is for sure: these 3 themes are of high quality and you will certainly not be disappointed if you choose to use them, even if I find that OceanWP is more complex to handle for a beginner.

For a complete overview of each theme, don't forget that you can find their dedicated articles:

One last piece of advice: you have little chance of making a mistake, after all.

The free versions of the 3 themes can give you a first general overview.

And if you opt for a Premium Plan, you can also use the money back guarantee (30 days for GeneratePress, 14 days for Astra and OceanWP).

So, what do you think of these three themes? Which one do you use or intend to use?

Give us your feedback in the comments below.