Today in this post I am going to review GeneratePress.
If you are looking for the lightweight and fastest theme for your WordPress site, you can consider GeneratePress.
GeneratePress is developed keeping speed and performance in mind. It adds less than 10kb (zipped) to your page size, making sure your site loads fast.
GeneratePress is compatible with all page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, Gutenberg, etc. Tom Usborne has recently introduced the GenerateBlocks plugin, which gives powerful blocks to design WordPress websites. GeneratePress Premium + GenerateBlocks eliminates the need for page builder plugins.
|Pricing starts at||$59/mo|
|Is it white-labeled?||No|
|Templates available?||Yes. With GeneratePress premium you |
will get access to its site library
of 80+ templates
|Premium theme features||Theme builder|
Advanced hook system
|Addons||GenerateBlocks (Need to buy it separately)|
If you have basic knowledge of HTML/CSS/PHP, you can add more functionalities to the core GeneratePress theme.
Stay till the end of this post to know if GeneratePress is the best theme for your needs.
I will review all its features, with pros and cons, and also compare it with its competitors like Astra and Kadence.
Let’s get started with the GeneratePress review.
Upfront bottom line: GeneratePress is for you, if:
➡ Your main priority is site speed.
➡ You have some basic coding knowledge of HTML/CSS/PHP to implement even some minor design tweaks (as it isn’t feature-rich like Kadence or Astra)
➡ You don’t need any integrations with other WordPress plugins like LearnDash or bbPress.
➡ You are comfortable using GenerateBlocks or any other page builders.
➡ You don’t need a completely white-labeled solution.
GeneratePress theme was developed by Tom Usborne, a WordPress developer who also developed the GenerateBlocks plugin for GeneratePress.
To date, GeneratePress has over 400,000+ active installations at WordPress.org. It has got 5-star ratings from 1272+ users, as of writing this post.
GeneratePress theme is compatible with almost all the page builders, including Elementor and Beaver Builder. You can use GenerateBlocks along with the GeneratePress theme to create stunning websites.
GenerateBlocks is a lightweight WordPress plugin that is designed to work with Gutenberg editor. It extends the WordPress blocks’ functionalities, offering various customization features. Will discuss GenerateBlocks later in this post.
Let’s look at GeneratePress’s pros and cons.
GeneratePress pros and cons
- GeneratePress is one of the lightweight themes and it ensures fast site load times. It doesn’t have any integrations thus it doesn’t bloat your site with heavy code.
- It has a site-library of stunning website templates that you can import with one click. When you import the template, it will load all the essentials like widgets, and plugins to configure the site. But remember it is a premium feature.
- It has a powerful module called GeneratePress’ elements, with which you can create custom headers, footers, layouts, and hooks.
- Using GenerateBlocks (a GeneratePress addon) you can design customized blocks or even the entire website with no page builders. Within these blocks, you can also add dynamic links or text to trigger the data.
- GenerateBlocks provides various templates to design page heroes, content templates, custom footers, post meta, navigation, etc. These templates look professional and save you a lot of time.
- You can use GeneratePress on up to 500 websites. A big plus for agencies handling client websites. But do note that GeneratePress is not a white-labeled solution.
- GeneratePress lacks integrations. Unlike Astra, it doesn’t provide integrations with LearnDash, LifterLMS, EasyDigitalDownloads, Toolset, etc, thus limiting the features.
- GeneratePress elements feature requires the basic knowledge of HTML/CSS. If you are non-techy, you will find it a bit difficult.
- Also, to add some extra features in GeneratePress, like displaying read time on the posts, or removing branding, you need to play with CSS/PHP/HTML. A con for non-techies.
- Compared to Astra, the GeneratePress’ WooCommerce module lacks checkout customization options and single product page design options, like two-step checkout, coupon fields, order notes, etc.
- GeneratePress is not a complete white-labeled solution to use on client websites. You can just remove the branding of GeneratePress using custom CSS.
- GeneratePress doesn’t have a built-in breadcrumbs feature, unlike Astra.
- Unlike Astra or Kadence, GeneratePress doesn’t allow you to design the post & reorder the post meta structure.
Ease of use and user interface
GeneratePress is easy to get started. If you are a pro user, you need to install and activate GeneratePress Premium on your site. To activate the GeneratePress theme, go to Appearance>Themes>Choose and activate GeneratePress.
You can access all its features under Appearance>GeneratePress.
Similar to Astra, GeneratePress has some quick links in its dashboard to access customizer settings.
One thing I didn’t like with GeneratePress is its scattered WooCommerce features. Some of its WooCommerce features are available under the layouts section and some under the WooCommerce section. In Astra, you will find all the WooCommerce settings under the WooCommerce section itself. Super easy to access!.
Speed and performance
Let’s analyze the performance results of GeneratePress with GTmetrix.
- WordPress site running on Closte (powered by Google Cloud and Litespeed)
- Tests are run keeping Closte’s CDN server-side cache that includes OPCache and advanced-cache.
- Litespeed cache plugin on WordPress.
From the above screenshots, you will get to know the performance results. Both free and the pro themes load faster. As there are milliseconds of difference, this is not a big deal.
The site speed is comparable to that of Astra and Kadence.
GeneratePress Premium comes with a site-library of pre-made websites, which you can import with one click.
These pre-made templates work well with almost all the page builders. You can customize them as needed.
While importing these premade sites, GeneratePress will import all the plugins and the content needed to design the site, like widgets, plugins, etc. This is the same case with Astra and Kadence themes.
For sake of this review, I am using its “Dev” premade site.
Compatibility with page builders
GeneratePress theme is compatible with almost all the page builders. While importing the premade site, you can filter the theme by selecting the page builder of your choice.
I personally use Elementor to design my website.
You can design your site only by using customizer settings (of GeneratePress) & GenerateBlocks, design the entire site only with a page builder, or just mix and match.
If you are not a fan of page builders (due to pagespeed concerns) and want to stick to WordPress editor, I recommend using its GenerateBlocks plugin. It extends the functionalities of WordPress blocks; it comes with grids, containers, headlines, and buttons to beautifully design your site.
Note: In case of Astra and Kadence you will get access to sections and wireframe templates. GeneratePress lacks this.
Design and customization
You will find GeneratePress’ customizer settings under, Dashboard>Appearance>GeneratePress.
Here is a list of all the GeneratePress Premium modules.
- Disable Elements
- GP Hooks
- Import / Export
- Menu Plus
- Page Header
You can activate only the modules you need.
Similar to Astra, GeneratePress also provides quick access links to customize the site quickly. For example – If you click on the color options (see the screenshot above) it directly loads the customizer’s colors section, minimizing the number of clicks.
One noticeable difference between Astra vs. GeneratePress is that GeneratePress has built-in features to reset and export/import the customizer settings. To avail these features with Astra, you need to install their free addons; Import / Export Customizer Settings and Astra Customizer Reset.
Let’s discuss GeneratePress’ s important customizer settings one by one.
Under layouts, you have the option to design containers, sidebars, header & footers, navigations, and blog pages.
I really didn’t like this organization of the features. In Astra, the organization of the features is really good. They have separate sections for headers, footers, sidebars, blogs, etc. which is very easy to access.
Under Sidebars, you can set the sidebar layouts for the site, blogs, and single post. See the above screenshot to see the layout options available.
There are no other additional sidebar customization options available. In Astra, you can create custom sidebars using its Sidebar Manager plugin. GeneratePress lacks this. If you want to create custom sidebars, you need to use external plugins like Content Aware Sidebars.
Blog (Designing archive and single post pages)
You can design the archive pages and display either the full content or the excerpts. You can also display:
- Read more like a button
- Comments count
- Infinite pages using infinite scroll
- Load more posts
For both single and archive pages you can choose to display the post date, author name, post category & tag, and display post navigation.
You can also display the featured images for archives, pages, and posts.
Note that, unlike Astra, GeneratePress lacks:
- Built-in feature to display the read time. For this, you need to add some code to get this feature.
- Doesn’t have a feature to display the related posts on single blog posts. You need to use plugins like WP Show Posts for this.
- Lacks built-in features to display the author info and auto load previous posts on single posts. To avail of these features, you need to go with some custom solutions.
One thing I really liked with Kadence and Astra is the flexibility in designing the post and the meta-structure which is not possible with GeneratePress.
Header and footers
Sadly, the GeneratePress theme doesn’t have its own header and footer builder. It has just a few options to customize the default headers and footers.
But there’s an option!
Using GenerateBlocks and GeneratePress elements, you can create custom headers & footers for your site. GenerateBlocks even has pre-made templates to design your headers and footers super quickly. With GeneratePress customizer, you can set the header preset as classic, navigation before, navigation after, and much more.
Similar to Astra, GeneratePress also supports a mobile header and you can make it sticky. One downside here is GeneratePress sticky header option is available only for mobile devices, unlike in Astra, which allows you to enable it on desktop, mobile, or both.
To design the footers, you can choose the number of footer widgets, add them back to the top button, and add padding.
Under widgets, you have the option to design footer bars, off-canvas panel, and top bar (above header). You can design these by using GenerateBlocks elements, the default WordPress widgets, and WooCommerce widgets.
With these, you have tons of widgets available to design beautiful footer bars and top bars for your site.
With GeneratePress, you can configure primary navigation, off-canvas panel, and sticky navigation.
You can add a mobile menu label to make the navigation easier for mobile users, add navigation search, set the alignment, drop-down direction, and much more.
You can enable the sticky navigation for only mobile, only desktop, or enable or disable it for both. You can also add transitions like fade and slide for the sticky navigation.
Colors and typography
You can set your own custom colors globally for the body, header, navigation, buttons, widgets, content, etc.
Similarly, you can set the typography for base, header, content (for buttons, h1 to h4), widgets, footers, etc.
GeneratePress WooCommerce addon allows you to customize the layout, color, and typography options for your WooCommerce elements.
There are various settings available to design your store (to access these, go to Customizer>Layout>WooCommerce) as you can:
- Display cart in the menu
- Display breadcrumbs for easier navigation
- Set the shop sidebar layout
- Set the number of product columns and products per page to display
- Choose to display the page title, product image, product title, sale flash, ratings, price, and much more.
You can also design the single product pages by setting the layout, display the upsells & related products, quantity buttons, and much more. You can also enable a distraction-free mode that removes unnecessary distractions like sidebars, sticky menus, and footer widgets.
There are some more WooCommerce store customization features available under Customizer>WooCommerce.
- You can display the store notice.
- Under the product catalog, choose what to display on the main shop page, and product category pages, and set the product sorting.
- Customize the appearance of your checkout pages.
- Customize the colors of WooCommerce buttons, products, cart, widgets, product tabs, and much more.
Astra’s WooCommerce addon has additional features like two-step checkout, order notes, and coupon fields.
Kadence has additional plugins like Shop Kit that give you plenty of features to take your WooCommerce store to the next level. The Shop Kit plugin gives you access to advanced reviews, a Checkout manager, cart notes, advanced galleries, and much more.
GeneratePress elements (Theme builder)
Elements are the most powerful module that GeneratePress offers. Using the elements feature, you can design custom headers, blocks, layouts, and hooks. This feature is similar to “elements” in Kadence and “custom layouts” in the case of Astra.
There are four types of GeneratePress elements available:
- Header element
- Hook element
- Layout element
- Block element
Header element (Page headers in Astra)
To create a new Header Element, go to Appearance > Elements and click “Add New”. Choose the header element.
You can merge the site headers with the content. Add the header background, site logo, and mobile header logo for mobile devices, you can also choose where the navigation should appear.
If you want to add a hero image for the background, you need to add the content inside the content box. The content box supports only HTML, shortcodes (slider, contact forms, etc.), or template tags.
At last, you need to choose where this header should display.
Note that these are page header building options. If you want to create custom site headers, you need to use block elements.
Hooks allow you to add your own content anywhere on the website. To add a hook, first, you need to choose the hook location from the dropdown or you can even add a custom hook name if not available in the dropdown.
In the content box, you need to add the hook content, and then specify where it should display.
GeneratePress layout elements
With layout elements, you can design custom layouts to display on specific pages, posts, categories, and much more.
For example, you can design the specific layout to display only on the pages created with page builders, create site layouts for specific categories, etc.
You can also choose how many footer widgets should display for the layouts you designed.
GeneratePress also gives you the flexibility to disable the elements that you don’t want to display on the pages/posts you can hide the site sidebar, mobile header, top bars, title, navigation, etc.
GeneratePress Block elements and GenerateBlocks
GeneratePress 2.0 update introduced a new theme builder (block elements feature) which works with the core WordPress block editor and the GenerateBlocks plugin.
With theme builder (block elements), you can build custom sidebars & footers, custom author boxes, create stunning page heros, content templates, personalized post meta, headers, etc.
This is a game-changer.
Block elements use the default WordPress editor and the GenerateBlocks to design the above elements. You cannot use page builders to design GeneratePress elements. But there is a way. You can build your custom element content using Elementor templates, then add the Elementor shortcode in GeneratePress hooks to display it.
There are some pre-made templates available for content templates, page hero, post navigation, etc or you can even design from scratch. You can customize these templates as needed.
You can choose the typography, add spacing, colors, background, and shapes. While designing, you can make the block elements responsive on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
Note: Astra custom layouts and Kadence elements allow you to add the start and the end time for the elements to expire. With GeneratePress elements, it is not possible.
While designing the blocks, GP Premium 2.0 update allows you to add dynamic data inside the GenerateBlocks plugin while using the block elements module.
You can use dynamic links and texts to insert the data dynamically while designing the blocks.
In the above image, you can see all the possible block elements you can design with GeneratePress.
Within the blocks, you can add dynamic data like texts, links, images, etc.
Supported Dynamic Text Types
- Post date
- Post author-name
- List of terms
- Comments number
- Post meta
- Term meta
- Author meta
Supported Dynamic Link Types
- Single post
- Author archives
- Comments area
- Next page of posts
- Previous page of posts
- Post meta
- Term meta
- Author meta
GenerateBlocks vs Kadence Blocks
Both GenerateBlocks and Kadence Blocks have a good number of blocks with decent customization options.
GenerateBlocks comes with only four blocks; grid, container, headlines, and buttons.
On the other hand, Kadence Blocks come with more blocks. These include video popup, design library, Lottie Animations, infobox, accordion, icon list, advanced gallery, and much more.
You can integrate Kadence Blocks with Kadence Cloud to access your design library on multiple websites. This is really good to build multiple websites faster. A big plus for agencies.
You can use Kadence Blocks on unlimited websites. GenerateBlocks Pro costs $39/year to 1 site usage, $69/yr for 10 sites, and $99/year for 250 websites.
GeneratePress free vs pro
GeneratePress’ free theme has very limited features and you can’t build a professional-looking website with just a free theme alone.
For example, the GeneratePress free theme has typography options only for the body, H1, H2, & H3. Also, the free theme has limited theme colors with no control over adding colors to various elements.
If you want access to its theme builder, site library, WooCommerce addon, GeneratePress elements, mobile header, and more styling options, you need to go with its premium version.
Also, GeneratePress elements won’t work with page builders. So if you want more control and customization options, you need to get the pro version of GenerateBlocks at an additional cost.
You need to carefully note that GeneratePress doesn’t have any integrations with external plugins (like LearnDash, LifterLMS, or bbPress), unlike its competitors like Astra or Kadence.
But they may release some free plugins or add some new features built-in to eliminate the need for external integrations.
Tom, the developer of GeneratePress, announced the release of a free plugin that will add features for both LearnDash and LifterLMS.
GeneratePress Premium comes with two pricing plans; yearly and lifetime pricing. The annual plan costs $59/year while the lifetime pricing is $249.
You can use both of these licenses on up to 500 websites. If you don’t like the theme, you can ask for a refund within 30 days of purchase.
For the features GeneratePress is offering, it is worth the price.
Alternatives to GeneratePress
GeneratePress vs Astra
GeneratePress is a lightweight and fast-loading theme with limited customization features. GeneratePress needs some coding knowledge if you want to add custom functionalities to the theme. This is not the case with Astra, although coding knowledge may help.
It lacks a drag and drop header & footer builder, white-labeling feature, integrations, and has a very limited free theme, unlike Astra which offers all the features and has a more generous free theme.
GeneratePress restricts you to use the theme on up to 500 websites, whereas Astra has unlimited site usage.
GeneratePress vs Kadence
Kadence excels over GeneratePress with its ease of use and customization options. GeneratePress theme has very limited features and customization features (unless you know coding).
To design your WooCommerce store with GeneratePress, you just need to rely on its WooCommerce addon. Whereas Kadence provides you with several plugins like Kadence Shop Kit, Kadence WooCommerce Elementor Pro, etc.
GeneratePress has a support forum, YouTube videos, and knowledgebase articles to assist its customers.
If you have troubles or queries, you can ask in the community. In the forum, you can expect quick replies from the support team. Nevertheless, most of the time, you just need to search for your query in their forum and as it’s a popular theme you’ll be in luck!
They also have a contact form to assist their customers.
GeneratePress is one of the most lightweight WordPress themes available today.
Its theme builder, site library, elements and hooks, and WooCommerce addon make it worth the money.
You can even use its GenerateBlocks plugin to create beautiful and professional-looking sites without the need for a page builder plugin. If you have some coding knowledge, you can add custom functionalities.
If you have an agency, you can use up to 500 websites. But note that it is not a completely white-labeled solution.
Go with GeneratePress, if:
- Your site’s speed is of utmost importance to you.
- You don’t want to make your site heavy with external integrations.
- You want to use it on client websites (but without the whitelabel feature).
- You don’t want to spend on page builder plugins and use GenerateBlocks.
- You have some coding knowledge or don’t mind digging around for code snippets to compensate for the missing features.
I hope you liked this post on the GeneratePress review.