Updated: October 2019
There are no affiliate links on PagePipe.
If we authored a WordPress dream theme, what specifications would we use for extreme mobile speed optimization?
Here what we’ve prayed for in a mobile speed theme:
1. Gzip download file size below 1 megabyte.
Always our criteria for culling speed themes.
2. jQuery not enqueued.
3. Font Awesome unused (or includes a lighter substitute or subset).
We hate heavy Font Awesome workaround for the artistically crippled. Read more 〉
4. Google fonts disabled. Uses a system-default font stack instead.
We always disable Google Fonts for mobile speed.
5. Includes a top-of-page button – without activating jQuery.
6. Many happy users (like 100,000 is nice).
7. Available in the WordPress free theme directory.
What would we name this fantasy theme?
Why, we’d call it:
Wait. That theme already exists. And it matches our Disney-land specifications. Every single one.
Sprinkle on an assortment of these free speed plugins when needed:
- Cache Enabler
- Disable Emojis
- Far Future Expiry Header
- WP Remove Query Strings
- Lazy Load by WP Rocket (doesn’t enqueue jQuery. Good for still images and video.)
- Lazy Load for Videos (enqueues jQuery. Good for YouTube turning off Google’s “other recommended videos” leading to your competitors videos. Nice.)
- Disable Embeds
It takes special handling to keep GeneratePress fast. A simple plugin addition can cause Google font loading or jQuery enqueue and other blunders. Keep an eye on these things so the speed bonuses aren’t wasted.
And the test results are incredible:
We’ve looked at GeneratePress before. When did GeneratePress become so magical and wonderful for mobile speed? Officially, December 14, 2017 version 2.0.1 was released. That’s when all these speed features appeared.
Active installs: 200,000+
Compressed file size: 913k.
Most commercial and free themes now include Font Awesome. It is a workaround to create social icons, responsive-menu-hamburger icons, and search-field icons. It causes site drag. Dequeuing Font Awesome for speed unfortunately ruins mobile screens.
Authors of free themes include Font Awesome 40 percent of the time. On paid themes, it’s almost always present. The selected GeneratePress v2.1 theme doesn’t enqueue Font Awesome. The “Lightweight Social Icons” plugin (also authored by GeneratePress) loads a faster social-icon subset produced using Fontello. But what we’ve found to be even faster is using PNG icons as social-media links. Those are about 300 bytes each. Then no plugin or fewer HTTP requests are needed.
GeneratePress theme has American, English-speaking authors. They have a fantastic reputation and respect in the WordPress community. GeneratePress is on 100,000 websites. They only make one theme so they can provide stellar customer service.
Tom Usborne is the author of GeneratePress. It’s his one-and-only, pet-theme. And it’s all he need ever produce. The theme only weighs 30k on the frontend. Fantastic achievement.
Tom, honestly, are you reading PagePipe? – or just our minds? Thanks for your hard work.
Awesome! Thank you! I spend a lot of time focusing on performance, so to see it get noticed like this is incredibly satisfying.
Really happy that you’re enjoying GP :)