When choosing a WordPress theme for your next website, it’s important to consider more than just its aesthetic appeal. Your theme also affects the experience of building your site, so you’ll want to pick one that fits your design style. If you like using page builders, for instance, your decision will often come down to OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress.
These three themes are favorites among the page builder community. Each is a solid tool for a variety of WordPress applications, and they really stand out when used alongside specific page builder plugins. They’re also similar in terms of features and style, which can make it seem difficult to pick the right one for your needs. Fortunately, that decision may be easier than you think.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll compare OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress. We’ll look at their features, pricing, ease of use, page builder compatibility, support, and more. By the end, you’ll know which theme is likely to be the best fit for you.
First, however, let’s talk about why you might need one of these themes in the first place!
Why need a page builder-friendly WordPress theme | Introducing OceanWP, Astra, and GeneratePress | Features | Page builder compatibility | Pricing and licensing | Ease of setup and use | Layouts, templates, and design options | Plugins and extensions | Speed and performance | Support and documentation | Which theme is the best page builder-friendly option? | Hestia: A user-friendly alternative | Conclusion
Why you might need a page builder-friendly WordPress theme
By default, WordPress offers a streamlined editor that makes it pretty easy to create and design content. However, this editor can be a bit lacking in terms of flexibility and options. That’s why there are so many popular page builders. These tools enable you to drag and drop pre-built elements, and arrange them precisely within your pages and posts.
Most page builder plugins have been developed to work reasonably well with just about any theme. However, ‘reasonably well’ is often not good enough. If you want to get the most out of your site, it’s smart to look for a theme that’s been optimized to be highly compatible with page builder plugins.
As Scott Wyden Kivowitz, Chief Community Officer at Imagely, had to say on the relationship between themes and page builders:
Of course, even when you narrow your selection criteria to page builder-friendly themes, there are still a lot of options. Let’s look at three of the most popular themes among page builder users, and see how they stack up.
An introduction to the themes
For our review, we’ll be comparing OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress. These three multi-use themes are popular, well-reviewed and supported, and compatible with many of the most popular page builder plugins.
Astra will also help you to create a stylish website, although its primary concern is performance.
This is an extremely lightweight theme that keeps your site running fast on the front and back ends. It’s highly customizable even for non-coders, although it also offers plenty of features for developers to take advantage of.
Finally, we come to GeneratePress.
This last theme maintains a solid balance between providing plenty of features and keeping things as lightweight as possible. The developers focused heavily on ease of use, so there’s no steep learning curve.
All three of these themes have plenty to offer, so how do you choose between OceanWP, Astra, and GeneratePress?
OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress compared (eight key factors)
Now, we’re going to compare OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress in eight different categories. It’s worth noting that, while each of these themes has a free version in the WordPress plugin directory, we’ll be discussing the full-featured premium versions here.
Let’s jump right in!
All three themes cover the bases when it comes to essential features for any WordPress theme. They are all fully responsive, and are built to support both solid performance and give you good SEO parameters.
However, there are some noteworthy distinctions in the feature sets they provide:
- Pre-built elements: Astra offers a wide range of headers, widgets, layouts, and other elements that can get you started quickly. OceanWP also provides an impressive range of customizable elements, including 7 header styles, 15 widgets, and 5 starting layouts, while GeneratePress is a bit lighter in this area.
- E-commerce applications: OceanWP is the standout here, providing targeted functionality for improving your cart and product pages. However, GeneratePress also offers a WooCommerce-specific module.
- Developer-friendly functionality: Both OceanWP and GeneratePress incorporate hooks for developer use, making it easier to tweak these themes through custom code.
When all extensions and add-ons included in the premium bundles of these themes are taken into account, we’d rank them as follows:
- Astra and OceanWP 🥇
- GeneratePress 🥈
Page builder compatibility
Astra is designed from the ground up to work with page builders. It integrates smoothly with popular options such as Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi Builder, Site Origin, and WPBakery Page Builder (Visual Composer). As an added bonus, it lets you turn off the page title and sidebar while working on your content, giving you more space to focus on design. Finally, the Agency Bundle (the most expensive version) comes with add-ons designed for specific page builders.
GeneratePress has less to offer here. It claims to be compatible with all major page builder plugins, but there’s little information on which specific plugins it works best with. However, its modular design does work well alongside page builders.
Last but not least, OceanWP is designed to work smoothly with page builder plugins. In particular, the developers have taken care to ensure that it supports Elementor, Visual Composer, Divi, and Beaver Builder. One of the extensions you’ll get with the premium version also adds a number of widgets specifically designed for Elementor.
All three themes also work very well with our own Orbit Fox plugin. It isn’t a page builder per se, but adds several handy modules to your site that can extend its functionality significantly.
GeneratePress and Orbit Fox are a particularly strong match, since the templates and page builder widgets of the former and the modules that come with the latter combine to offer you an easy way to customize your site.
With all that in mind, here’s our ranking of page builder compatibility for OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress:
- Astra 🥇
- OceanWP 🥈
- GeneratePress 🥉
Pricing and licensing
At this point, you may be wondering what these themes will cost you. As it turns out, each involves a fairly different pricing structure.
OceanWP is the most scalable theme, offering three tiers of premium plans. They all come with the full range of extensions, demos, and support, and only differ in how many licenses they provide. You can get one site license for $39, three sites for $79, or unlimited sites for $129.
GeneratePress Premium, on the other hand, is as simple as it gets. There’s only one option – $39.95 for all modules, one year of support, and unlimited site licenses. However, this is a pretty generous plan.
Finally, Astra offers two premium versions. For $59, you can get all the theme’s features, a year of support, and unlimited site licenses. $259 will also get you a library of pre-built websites to work with, and several pro add-ons.
|$39 – 1 site|
$79 – 3 sites
$129 – unlimited sites
|$39.95 – unlimited sites||$59 – unlimited sites|
$249 – unlimited sites (agency)
|12 months of updates and support, 11 premium extensions, all pro demos included||All premium modules, full access to the site library, one year of updates and support, 30 day money back guarantee||updates and support for one year, 20% renewal discount, all premium modules|
In terms of how much you’re getting for the price involved, here’s our ranking for OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress:
- GeneratePress 🥇
- Astra 🥈
- OceanWP 🥉
Ease of setup and use
Now, it’s time to see what OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress look like in action. We’re going to talk briefly about what’s involved in installing each premium theme. Then, we’ll take a look at the process of setting them up.
Astra is the simplest theme to install. You’ll simply get a ZIP file you can upload to your site through your preferred method – such as the dashboard or via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). OceanWP, on the other hand, requires you to first have the free version of the theme installed. The file you’ll receive when you purchase the premium plan is actually a plugin, and needs to be installed in your site’s plugins folder.
Finally, the OceanWP premium plan doesn’t change the theme itself – it just adds a collection of extensions. Therefore, you’ll receive a series of zipped folders, one for each add-on. You’ll need to upload and install each one separately.
So you can see what you’ll be starting with, here’s what a bare-bones installation looks like for OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress:
Now, let’s take a closer look at what you’ll do with these themes after installing them.
Basic site setup with OceanWP
OceanWP offers a variety of demo content, which you can install using the included Demo Import extension. There are basic options, and specially-designed Pro Demos:
These demos are quite professional on the whole, especially the pro options. Here’s the Chocolate demo, for an example of what you’ll get as a starting point:
To help you manage all of your themes, extensions, and everything else, there’s a handy Theme Panel tab that keeps it all organized. Since you’ll be adding a lot of content if you install all of OceanWP’s extensions, this is a useful feature:
There are a lot of options here – so many, in fact, that it can be a little overwhelming to new users. It’s all organized reasonably well, but it will take some work to discover everything this theme has to offer.
Basic site setup with Astra
Getting the demo content set up for Astra is a bit convoluted. You’ll need to install a free plugin called Astra Starter Sites from the WordPress Plugin Directory first.
After installing the plugin, you’ll find the demo sites under Appearance → Astra Sites:
You’ll need to select whether you’re using Elementor or Beaver Builder, since this affects the selection. The demos themselves are well put-together and professional, if not quite as stylish as OceanWP’s options. There are some nice starting designs, however, such as the Product Landing Page demo:
Under the Appearance tab, you’ll also see a section called Astra Options:
This gives you a snapshot of your design options. The links here lead to the Customizer, however, so you’re better off going straight there instead:
The organization here is more streamlined than with OceanWP, giving you some basic choices to start with and then slowly expanding to show the wide range of options on offer. Overall, it’s easy to get a quick grasp of what you can do with this theme and start working right away.
Basic site setup with GeneratePress
Last but not least, let’s check out GeneratePress. After completing the installation, you’ll want to head to Appearance → GeneratePress to choose which modules you want to enable:
This is a simple way to customize the features your site contains, and keep it from getting cluttered. Each module you activate will add new options to the Customizer.
Unlike the last two themes, GeneratePress doesn’t offer pre-built sites or demos. Instead, you’ll want to head straight to the Customizer to start tweaking your site’s appearance. The settings here are clearly organized and easy to find:
Overall, this theme presents the quickest setup process, since it’s more streamlined than OceanWP or Astra. It’s also the easiest to understand quickly, without the need for documentation.
To sum up, here’s our ranking for how easy it is to set up each site:
- GeneratePress 🥇
- Astra 🥈
- OceanWP 🥉
Layouts, templates, and design options
Any worthwhile theme should provide plenty of design options to get you started. So let’s see what OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress have to offer in terms of starting layouts, templates, and so on.
We’ll begin with Astra, which has a dedicated Site Layout module. Using this tool, you can make adjustments to the design of your entire site. You can also create your own custom layouts quite easily. Plus, there are a wide range of customizer options that give you lots of control over your headers, sidebars, footers, backgrounds, and more.
OceanWP offers a lot of starting demos you can tweak however you’d like. There are also extensions that provide templates for portfolios and popups, specific types of headers, sidebars, footers, and more. You’re free to customize your site fully, although there are admittedly fewer design-specific features than with Astra.
Similar to OceanWP, most of GeneratePress‘ design options are contained in its various modules. There are layout options for your site and for specific sections, as well as a number of choices for headers, menus, backgrounds, and so on. The options added to the customizer are pretty comprehensive, and enable you to make both large- and small-scale tweaks to your site’s appearance.
None of these themes disappoint in terms of design potential, but we’re ranking them as follows:
- Astra and GeneratePress 🥇
- OceanWP 🥈
Plugins and extensions
We’ve mentioned in passing that these themes offer some extra extensions, modules, and plugins. However, we have yet to look at this aspect in depth.
OceanWP’s premium version comes with all of the theme’s extensions.
We’ve already discussed the design-related options these modules offer. However, there are also extensions that provide social sharing buttons, popups, hooks for developers, and more. There’s even one that helps you ‘white label’ your site.
GeneratePress also includes all modules in its premium plan, and there are a similar number to what OceanWP provides.
They’re less diverse, however, since they focus more specifically on design. There are a few particularly handy modules, though, such as one with extra WooCommerce options, and another that adds developer hooks.
Astra is the only theme that doesn’t offer everything in the basic premium plan – although its features at that level are comparable to GeneratePress and OceanWP. However, the pricey Agency Bundle provides a bunch of extras. There’s an add-on for the theme itself, a plugin that helps you create calls-to-action, a schema markup plugin, and even add-ons for specific page builders.
Taking price into account, this category results in another tie for OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress:
- Astra and OceanWP 🥇
- GeneratePress 🥈
Speed and performance
Let’s see how the three themes hold up in a real-world scenario. We set up a basic WordPress site using the Theme Unit Test Data, and tested its loading times with each theme installed (using Pingdom Tools).
After taking the average of several trials, here are our results:
As you can see, Astra clearly offered the best time. GeneratePress had essentially no effect on our site’s loading times, while OceanWP slowed things down a bit (although not enough to be a problem).
All of these themes appear to be well optimized. If you’re interested in getting the best performance possible, however, here’s our ranking:
- Astra 🥇
- GeneratePress 🥈
- OceanWP 🥉
Support and documentation
No matter how easy your theme is to use, you’re going to have some questions. Therefore, it’s important to have solid support options you can rely on.
All three premium themes come with a year’s worth of support and updates. In addition, each offers ticket submissions as the primary way to get help. Both Astra and GeneratePress also provide support forums. OceanWP doesn’t, but it does offer a ‘priority support’ plan for an additional fee.
What’s more, all the themes also offer documentation. Astra’s knowledge base is the most comprehensive and helpful, offering plenty of tutorials. The documentation for both OceanWP and GeneratePress is less thorough, but does cover most of the important bases.
When it comes to support, we’d rank OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress this way:
- Astra 🥇
- GeneratePress 🥈
- OceanWP 🥉
Which theme is the best page builder-friendly option?
We were actually surprised to see such a clear winner come out in this review of OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress, considering how similar all three themes seemed at the start. However, we couldn’t help but notice that Astra stood out as the #1 option (or was tied for first place) in six out of eight categories.
Astra is a solid option that offers an excellent balance between features, pricing, and ease of use. It provides a ton of customization options, quality support and documentation, and impressive performance. Crucially, it also offers the most in terms of page builder compatibility.
Of course, this doesn’t mean GeneratePress and OceanWP are poor quality options. If you’re looking for something a little more simple and streamlined, GeneratePress is easy to get started with and offers quite a bit considering its low price. OceanWP, on the other hand, should probably be your go-to theme if you’re looking to design the best-looking site possible.
Bonus Hestia: A user-friendly alternative
As we’ve made clear, the themes we’ve been discussing throughout this article are excellent choices in particular situations. However, all three share one key downside. They offer so many different features, modules, extensions, and so on that they can be difficult to get started with.
What if you’re looking for a theme that’s more streamlined, and cuts out some of the ‘fluff’ without losing any important functionality? In that case, you may want to consider Hestia.
This multipurpose theme is great for a wide range of applications, although it’s particularly well-suited to startups and WooCommerce stores. Its Live Customizer makes it simple to design and tweak your site until it’s just right, even if you have little to no experience in web design. Plus, there’s a lot of demo content and customization options on offer.
Most importantly, Hestia is designed to work seamlessly with the most popular page builder plugins. This makes it an excellent choice if you need a theme that integrates with your favorite page builder, but is a little more user-friendly than OceanWP, Astra, or GeneratePress. Even better, it’s a completely free theme, and enables you to get your site off the ground very quickly.
Picking the right WordPress theme is an important consideration, and one that shouldn’t be rushed. If you put some thought into how you’ll actually be using your theme beforehand – for example, by knowing what page builder plugin you’ll use – you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
In this review, we compared three of the most popular and feature-rich WordPress themes that are perfect for page builder enthusiasts. To recap, here are our conclusions about OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress:
- Astra: This was the best overall theme in our review, offering lots of features, excellent performance, and compatibility with a wide selection of popular page builders.
- GeneratePress: As an alternative option, this is a lightweight, easy-to-use theme that’s well priced and very streamlined.
- OceanWP: Although it’s a bit more convoluted to use, this theme offers a lot of options, and places a strong focus on helping you create beautiful designs.
- Hestia: An easier-to-get-started-with alternative than the above – simply giving you a theme that works and looks great out the box – while also being compatible with the popular page builder plugins.
Have you used any of these themes? If so, what did you think of them? Who’s the winner between OceanWP vs Astra vs GeneratePress for you? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%: