Tiny Hestia free WordPress theme: mobile speed review.

blue opt

Save the Internet from WordPress speed abuse.

Updated: November 2017

3 minute read

In Ancient Greek religion, Hestia is a virgin goddess of architecture.

Tiny Hestia is a free child-theme that strips down the full Hestia WordPress theme.

There is no reported visual differences between the child theme and the free parent theme. No changes of style. The child theme removes all frivolous scripts to make the theme super fast and clean. That’s the claim. Let’s do some benchmark testing. All tests are done on cheap, shared, magnetic GoDaddy hosting. No CDN.

HESTIA
Version: 1.1.50
Last updated: October 2, 2017
Active Installs: 40,000+
ZIP download: 4M

TINY HESTIA
Version: 1.0.5
Last updated: September 22, 2017
Active Installs: 600+
ZIP download: 785k

Decompressed Tiny Hestia is 1 megabyte. We note: 752k of that is the theme screenshot. That leaves 248k of CSS, PHP, and Bootstrap. Most notably, they removed heavy-loading Font Awesome. It’s replaced with a tiny 1.6k image sprite. The sprite (above left) contains only three icons: a shopping cart, a chain for links, and a magnify glass for search.

Here’s the included theme screenshots:

Main Hestia screenshot.

Tiny Hestia Screenshot

Pingdom.com speed tests for these themes:

Hestia master 474 millisecond load time. No images.

Tiny Hestia load time 434 milliseconds.

The differences include slightly better speed, better page weight, and fewer number of HTTP requests.

Before 〉 256k
After 〉 83.4k

Before 〉 18 requests
After 〉 10 requests

So what if we optimized Tiny Hestia with some speed plugins? What would the results be then?

Tiny Hestia with speed plugins: Load time is now 225 milliseconds.

Before 〉 83.4k
After adding plugins 〉 71.1k

Before 〉 10 requests
After adding plugins 〉 4 requests

We’ve been using Magazeen Lite free theme. So we thought we’d compare it. Note: We recently switched PagePipe to Twenty-seventeen default theme.

Magazeen Lite theme for comparison with the same speed plugins installed.  About the same speed, number of calls, and 15k lighter page weight.

MAGAZEEN LITE
Version: 1.0.11
Last updated: November 7, 2016
Active Installs: 400+
ZIP download: 432k

Any free theme with a zip download file size of about 500k or less will not include Font Awesome.

For Zip downloads that weigh below 1M, about 30 percent will have Font Awesome included. Font Awesome can add 70k to 300k of extra page weight globally (site drag). 17 percent of these themes will have lighter-weight Genericons. The remaining 47 percent will not have any icon font. The remaining 6 percent will have a variety of different lightweight icon fonts.

There is no easy way to remove icon fonts without messing up the mobile user experience. It’s plain – for extreme optimization – it’s best to start with a theme without Font Awesome.

Below is a list of 45 fast themes we recently evaluated. None have Font Awesome. They’re not beautiful themes. They only have speed potential. Load the theme up with:

  • sliders
  • huge images
  • SEO plugins
  • third-party advertising
  • Facebook counters
  • etc

And you’ll have a heavy, slow site. Use good speed strategy and common sense creating your website.

Our speed suggestions from the free WordPress Theme Directory:

Aquarella Lite
Avani
Bakedwp
Best Reloaded
Branches
Burger Factory
Checathlon
Cosmica Green
Couture
Expire
Foodies
Foxhound
Gama store
Golden Black
Grayscales
Hacker
Hamilton
Hit
Housepress
Iconic One
Kiyoshi
Lightblogkt
Lightpress
Marvel
Mediquip Plus
Oneway
P2
PDX Chambers Basic
Photopress
Polestar
Proficient
Responsive Kubrick
Reviewzine
Risa
Seos Video
Siimple
Simple Store
Simply Pure
Singularity
Taste
Tiny Hestia
Truelove
VW fitness
VW Hospital Lite
Wellington

The speed plugins we used from the free WordPress plugin directory:

Autoptimize

Cache Enabler

Disable Emojis

Far Future Expiration Plugin

Query Strings Remover

Remove Google Fonts References

WP jQuery Plus

Is Tiny Hestia optimized special or super speedy?

Not necessarily. It’s better than Big Hestia. By simply leaving Font Awesome out, many trim themes easily have equal speed. But Hestia looks quite nice. And we like the design touches. We recommend Tiny Hestia for improved mobile user experience.

Godspeed—

Steve Teare
performance engineer

Mobile WordPress Speed – without coding!

What others think of us:


... Facebook Mastermind Group just referenced your blog in talking about WP themes ... Best quote he said, "Here's an interesting site on WordPress speed: PagePipe.com. Warning: he's got some controversial ideas." Thought you’d like that! Lilypad Media LLC, North Carolina, USA

by - Kurt Perschke