Bob The Web Builder builds and improves websites bob@bobthewebbuilder.com

The theme is the foundation for the look and feel of any WordPress site, so choosing a theme is one of the first things you do when building a website. Personally, I mostly use Divi, but in this article I compare some popular themes for the default WordPress editor – Gutenberg – that are also great for other page builders like Elementor and Brizy. All these themes have both a free version and a paid version.

In this article, Bob puts very popular WordPress themes like Astra (more than 1 million active installs) and OceanWP (about 700,000 active installs) literally next to promising newcomers Kadence and Blocksy. Neve is also present in this extensive WordPress Theme comparison.

I only looked at the features the theme itself offers, whether or not with an official “add-on plugin”. For example, Blocksy needs the Blocksy Companion plugin for certain featuress, Neve needs their own Orbit Fox plugin and OceanWP even has several add-on plugins available. Every theme also requires you to install a plugin to access the premium features.

Many features that are not available by default in the theme or the official add-on plugin can of course be added with third-party plugins or custom code (for example Google Analytics or custom sidebars), but this has not been taken into account in the comparison below.

Legend
  
Included in the free version
Included in the premium (paid) version
Not included in the theme or an official add-on plugin
D Divi
E Elementor
B Brizy
T Thrive Architect
G Gutenberg
Basics Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Set maximum content width
Override global settings on a per page base (sidebar, header, footer etc)
Global colors
Different color on hover
Setting padding and margin
Choice of multiple units such as px, (r)em, %, vw, vh
Social media follow buttons
Social media share buttons
Breadcrumbs
Sidebars Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Choose between sidebar left, sidebar right or no sidebar
Separate sidebar settings for blog, pages, posts and woocommerce
Set sidebar position for mobile (above or below content)
Sticky sidebar (stays in the viewport while scrolling)
Add custom sidebars
Conditional sidebars (e.g. only show for posts in certain category)
Header Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Header builder which lets you design your own header
Choose between multiple header templates
Sticky header (stays at the top of the screen while scrolling)
Shrinking header (shrinks the header as user scrolls)
Transparant header
Mega menu
Add icons to menu items
Separate builder for the mobile menu (off canvas)
Multiple nav menu elements (eg #1 for main menu and #2 for utilities menu)
Button widget
Overlay search function (magnifying glass icon instead of search box)
Show live search results as you type
Contact info widget (address, phone number, email)
Off canvas menu on desktop (hamburger button like on mobile)
Multiple conditional headers (e.g. setting a different header on blog pages)
Login / my account widget
Recaptcha for login widget
Custom HTML widget
Add widget area (for WordPress widgets or plugins)
Footer Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Footer builder which lets you design your footer yourself
Choose from multiple footer templates
Sticky footer (stays at the bottom of the screen)
Multiple conditional footers (e.g. set a different footer on blog pages)
Scroll to top widget
Shortcuts widget (bar with useful links that sticks at the bottom)
Typography Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Set global typography
Separate typography settings for H1 to H6
Extensive typography settings (line height, letter spacing, transformation)
Separate settings for tablet and mobile
Google Fonts
Load Google Fonts locally (save on your own server)
Upload custom fonts
Adobe Typekit fonts
Font Awesome icons
Blog Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Choose from multiple layouts for the blog page
Masonry blog layout
Inifinite scroll (automatically load more posts )
Choose from multiple layouts for single blog posts
Adjust featured image size
Show or hide specific metadata (author, date, categories)
Reorder meta data
Last updated meta data
Using custom fields as meta data (e.g. ACF, Toolset, Metabox)
Show post title in hero with featured image as background
Related posts
Next / previous post navigation
Author box (widget with information about the author)
Reading progress bar
Read time indication
WooCommerce Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Multiple layouts for the shop and category pages
Multiple layouts for the single product page
Infinite scroll on shop and category page
Ajax add to cart
Shopping cart icon in header
Off canvas cart / mini cart
Wishlist
Quick view
Off canvas filters (filter button)
Floating add to cart (sticks to the top of the page when user scrolls)
Show product images as carousel (on single product page)
Advanced features Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Newsletter subscription form
Cookie notice bar
Facebook timeline widget
Instagram widget
Custom 404 page
Insert templates using hooks
Show templates in popup (e.g. by clicking on button)
Automated triggers for popup (after x seconds, scroll %, exit intent)
Extra Gutenberg blocks
Extra Elementor widgets
Google Analytics integration (without plugin)
Anonymization of Google Analytics data (to comply with GDPR)
Add custom code snippets to head, body and footer
Separate settings (layout, etc.) for custom post types
White label
Export / import settings
Demo templates / sites Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
1 page demo layouts
Complete site layouts with multiple pages
Demo templates for Gutenberg
Demo templates for Elementor
Demo templates for Brizy
Demo templates for Beaver Builder
Support Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Extensive documentation available
Video documentation available
Support for free users
Speed Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
Google Pagespeed mobile score 99 87 99 98 100
Google Pagespeed mobile loading time (time to interactive) 1.1 s 2.7 s 1.1 s 1.2 s 1.1 s
Google Pagespeed desktop score 100 100 100 100 100
Google Pagespeed desktop loading time 0.3 s 0.4 s 0.3 s 0.3 s 0.3 s
Disable WordPress core scripts (e.g. emojis)
Prices premium versie Astra OceanWP Neve Kadence Blocksy
1 website, per year $ 59 $ 54 € 59 $ 79 $ 49
5 websites, per year $ 59 $ 109 € 59 $ 79 $ 69
Unlimited websites, per year $ 59 $ 179 € 59 $ 79 $ 99
1 website, lifetime (no annual recurring costs) $ 249 $ 222 $ 699 $ 149
5 websites, lifetime (no annual recurring costs) $ 249 $ 445 $ 699 $ 199
Unlimited website, lifetime (no annual recurring costs) $ 249 $ 725 $ 699 $ 299

Speedtest

To measure the speed, I useda simple layout with some Gutenberg blocks: a hero section with a heading, background image and a button, below that a block with 3 columns, each with an image, text block and a button, and a gallery block with 7 photos and 2 buttons.

Then I activated the free version of each theme one by one (with the same Gutenberg blocks all the time) and did a speed test via Google Pagespeed Insights in a new incognito window (so things like browser cache can’t play a role either).

Not a single plugin was active, nor was any caching or other optimization.

Bob’s Favorite: Blocksy theme

Blocksy is my personal favorite WordPress theme. Both the free version and the paid pro version offer a lot of features, the interface is very user-friendly, everything looks great and the prices of the pro version are reasonable. In addition, new features are added very regularly and the support is excellent.

Only the number of demo sites is still quite limited, but there are new ones added regularly and they are are available for various page builders.

Astra theme

With over 1 million active installs, Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes of all time. Nevertheless, the above comparison shows that Astra offers a bit less features than some other themes. On the other hand, there is a lot of documentation available on how to add a feature that is not included in the theme by default, but for that you usually have to use a piece of code or a plugin.

Furthermore, Astra has a huge number of demo sites, which allow you to import a complete website with 1 click. After that, you only have to edit the templates. The Astra demo sites are available for various page builders: the default Gutenberg editor, Elementor, Brizy and – as the only theme on the list – Beaver Builder. That, in combination with their attractive prices, explains why Astra is so popular.

OceanWP theme

OceanWP is also quite popular with about 700,000 active installations, but as you can see OceanWP’s column contains quite a few red crosses.
Yet many of those things are possible, but require a detour. Some examples:

– OceanWP doesn’t have a built-in header/footer builder, but you CAN create a custom template and set it as header / footer. However, there are no standard widgets in WordPress for things like a navigation menu (yet), so an additional plugin is needed to create a custom header. Hence the red cross.

– OceanWP is the only theme that offers a mega menu feature in it’s free version, in which you can also add a widget area. OceanWP offers a number of custom widgets including a contact information widget and a login widget. However, these cannot be added to the header itself, only to a dropdown submenu, so they are not always visible. Again, a red cross that’s not entirely deserved.

– You can also adjust a few things separately for the mobile menu, but that is less flexible than in Astra and Blocksy.

In the speed test, OceanWP stood out because of the somewhat lower score on mobile. I took the test several times, but OceanWP continued to score “only” 87 on mobile.
That is of course not a bad score, but it is significantly lower than the other themes. The loading time on mobile is also a lot higher at 2.7 seconds than that of the other themes.

Neve Theme

Neve is also a pretty popular theme with a lot of features. However, some of those features (such as the social sharing buttons and the newsletter subscription form) only work with Elementor and/or the free Orbit Fox plugin (from the same maker). Other things (like the popup) only work in Gutenberg.

All licenses are for an unlimited number of websites, but if you want extensive WooCommerce settings you pay € 149.00 per year, and if you want to white label Neve the price even goes up to € 259.00.

Kadence Theme

Many people in the WordPress community are raving about the Kadence theme and the accompanying Gutenberg plugin Kadence blocks. And I can understand why; the Kadence theme has quite a few green ticks, which means that it offers quite a few features in the free version of the theme. However… not as much as Blocksy.

The premium version can’t compete with Blocksy Pro either in my opinion. For example, the Kadence WooCommerce Shop Kit contains a number of interesting features, but “basic” things like quickview and a wishlist function seem to be missing. I say “seem” on purpose; I don’t own a Kadence Pro license and the documentation is so limited and cluttered that I can’t get a good idea of which features are included or not.

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So if you’re going to buy one of the themes above, I would really appreciate it if you one of the links in this article.

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