The Best WordPress Themes for Excellent Core Web Vitals in 2023

Are you tired of spending hours testing and comparing WordPress themes to find the best one for your website? We understand that it can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you! After thorough research and testing, we’ve identified the top 7 WordPress themes that excel in Core Web Vitals and offer outstanding performance.

How We Tested the Best WordPress Themes for Good Core Web Vitals

To determine the best WordPress themes, we conducted extensive speed testing using three tools: Google’s PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom Speed Test. By analyzing various metrics, we assessed the performance and user experience of each theme.

PageSpeed Insights

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a reliable tool for testing speed and Core Web Vitals. We focused on the Performance Score, First Contentful Paint, Largest Contentful Paint, Speed Index, Total Blocking Time, and Cumulative Layout Shift.

Google PSI performance score


GTmetrix analyzes website speed and optimization, providing valuable insights into performance issues. We focused on the GTmetrix Grade, Performance Score, Structure Score, Web Vitals, and Load Time.

GTmetrix Grade


Pingdom is another tool we used to evaluate website speed from different locations. We considered the Performance Grade, Load Time, Page Size, and Requests metrics.

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Quick Summary of the Best Performing WordPress Themes

Before we dive into the details of each theme, here’s a summary of our test results based on Pingdom’s page size and load time rankings:

  1. Twenty Twenty-Three – Page Size: 26.3KB; Load Time: 520ms
  2. Hello Elementor – Page Size: 32.7KB; Load Time: 520ms
  3. GeneratePress – Page Size: 37.7KB; Load Time: 538ms
  4. Neve – Page Size: 42.4KB; Load Time: 552ms
  5. Sydney – Page Size: 48.1KB; Load Time: 560ms
  6. Astra – Page Size: 48.5KB; Load Time: 619ms
  7. Kadence – Page Size: 54.8KB; Load Time: 628ms
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WordPress Themes Performance Test Results

Best WordPress Themes for Passing Core Web Vitals in 2023

Now, let’s take a closer look at each theme, its features, pricing, and performance scores.

1. Twenty Twenty-Three – Best buds with Gutenberg

Twenty Twenty-Three WordPress Theme

The default Twenty Twenty-Three theme is designed to utilize the latest design tools introduced in WordPress 6.1. It offers a simple and uncluttered foundation with ten distinct style variations contributed by the WordPress community. Twenty Twenty-Three allows you to easily create a website of any complexity level, either by utilizing pre-designed styles or by customizing it to your liking.

  • Price: Free
  • Active installations: 800,000+
  • Best features: Minimalist design, lightweight, pre-designed styles
  • Suitable for: Testing environment and building a variety of websites

Our tests showed that Twenty Twenty-Three achieved remarkable results in all three speed tests, scoring perfectly on both mobile and desktop. It also had excellent lab-based Core Web Vitals scores.

2. Hello Elementor – The Ecommerce go-to

Hello Elementor WordPress Theme

Hello Elementor is a lightweight theme developed by the creators of the popular page builder, Elementor. It integrates seamlessly with Elementor and other plugins such as WooCommerce, allowing you to create a functional website from scratch. With a wide range of ready-made designs and customizable options, Hello Elementor is a go-to choice for building visually appealing and fast-loading websites.

  • Price: Free
  • Active installations: 1+ million
  • Best features: Lightweight, 100+ ready-made designs, customizable
  • Suitable for: Building a website from scratch

Hello Elementor performed excellently in Core Web Vitals tests, achieving high scores on mobile and desktop. It also ranked as one of the lightest themes in our Pingdom tests, with a load time of 520ms.

3. GeneratePress – The block-based one

GeneratePress WordPress Theme

GeneratePress is a speed-oriented WordPress theme that prioritizes usability and accessibility. It is fully compatible with Gutenberg and major page builders, providing you with the freedom to create content the way you want. With its responsive design, extensive customization options, and excellent performance, GeneratePress is suitable for all kinds of websites.

  • Price: Free; $59/yearly, $249/lifetime
  • Active installations: 500,000+
  • Best features: Speed-oriented, responsive, compatible with page builders
  • Suitable for: All kinds of websites
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GeneratePress achieved nearly perfect performance scores in our tests, demonstrating its commitment to speed and user experience. Although the page size was slightly different from their official claim, it still performed exceptionally well.

4. Neve – The versatile

Neve WordPress Theme

Neve is a versatile theme that can be customized for various purposes, including blogging, small businesses, startups, agencies, and e-commerce shops. Optimized for AMP and responsiveness, Neve ensures quick loading times and optimal display on any device. With its minimalist design, SEO-optimized code, and compatibility with Gutenberg and popular page builders, Neve offers a solid foundation for creating stunning websites.

  • Price: Free; $69/year; $149/year; $249/year
  • Active installations: 300,000+
  • Best features: Responsive, SEO-optimized, minimalist design
  • Suitable for: A wide range of purposes and sites

Neve performed exceptionally well in Core Web Vitals tests, delivering great performance scores on both mobile and desktop. While its page size and load time were slightly higher than some other themes, it still offers excellent results.

5. Sydney – Freelancers love it

Sydney WordPress Theme

Sydney is a robust theme that allows businesses and freelancers to establish a remarkable online presence. With its compatibility with Elementor and various customization options, Sydney offers flexibility and functionality. It provides full control over design elements, including access to Google Fonts, color control, layout control, and more.

  • Price: Free; $69/yearly, $99/year; $199/lifetime
  • Active installations: 100,000+
  • Best features: Access to Google Fonts, color control
  • Suitable for: Business websites

Sydney performed well in our tests, delivering excellent scores in Core Web Vitals. However, its page size was slightly larger than the default WordPress theme, impacting load time.

6. Astra – Known by all, loved by all

Astra WordPress Theme

Astra is the most popular WordPress theme for a reason. It offers superior customization options, compatibility with popular page builders, and a visually appealing design. Astra is known for its lightweight nature, SEO optimization, and integration of desirable features like pre-built websites. With Astra, you can create any type of website with ease.

  • Price: Free; $47/yearly, $137/year; $187/year; lifetime options available
  • Active installations: 1+ million
  • Best features: Pre-built websites, multiple customizable options, fast
  • Suitable for: Every website
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While Astra showed excellent performance on mobile, its desktop scores were not as impressive. However, it still offers great results across other metrics, indicating its popularity and reliability.

7. Kadence – The low-key favorite

Kadence WordPress Theme

Kadence is a lightweight theme packed with features, allowing you to create beautiful, fast-loading websites effortlessly. With its intuitive drag-and-drop header and footer builder, extensive template library, and compatibility with popular third-party plugins, Kadence offers versatility and performance. Whether you’re building an e-commerce website, a course platform, or a business site, Kadence has got you covered.

  • Price: Free; $129/first year, $199/first year
  • Active installations: 200,000+
  • Best features: Intuitive drag-and-drop, starter templates, performance-minded
  • Suitable for: All kinds of websites

Kadence performed well in our tests, offering great Core Web Vitals scores. Although it had a slightly larger default page size, it demonstrated excellent potential with optimization.

Which Theme Should I Install?

We recommend trying all the themes we’ve mentioned. Each one offers a solid foundation for building high-performance websites. By playing with their customization features, adding content, and installing plugins, you can determine which one suits your specific needs and requirements. Remember, the themes’ performance may vary depending on your website’s content and plugins, so it’s essential to conduct your own testing.

How to Further Improve Your Core Web Vitals [Checklist]

Choosing a speed-optimized theme is crucial for good Core Web Vitals. However, there are additional steps you can take to optimize your website further. Here’s a quick checklist:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

  • Use a lightweight theme
  • Avoid unnecessary plugins
  • Compress and serve images in next-gen formats
  • Minify and compress code files
  • Implement Critical CSS
  • Use a CDN
  • Install a caching plugin

First Input Delay (FID)

  • Delay or remove non-critical third-party scripts
  • Minify and compress code files
  • Reduce unused CSS
  • Defer unused JavaScript

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

  • Add width and height attributes to images and videos
  • Reserve space for ads, embeds, and iframes
  • Optimize font delivery

By following these best practices, you can optimize your website’s performance and ensure excellent Core Web Vitals scores. Remember, it’s an ongoing process, so take it one step at a time.

Alternatively, you can try NitroPack, a comprehensive website optimization solution that automates the optimization process and helps you achieve great Core Web Vitals scores effortlessly.

Pass your Core Web Vitals on autopilot with NitroPack →

With the right theme and optimization techniques, you can create a lightning-fast website that delivers an excellent user experience. Happy building!