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.
Last updated: October 2, 2017
Active Installs: 40,000+
ZIP download: 4M
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:
Pingdom.com speed tests for these themes:
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?
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.
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:
- huge images
- SEO plugins
- third-party advertising
- Facebook counters
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:
PDX Chambers Basic
VW Hospital Lite
The speed plugins we used from the free WordPress plugin directory:
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.
Mobile WordPress Speed – without coding!
What others think of us: