Astra Theme vs Genesis Themes by StudioPress?


Astra Theme vs Genesis Themes by StudioPress?

I’m seeing an increasing number of places online where some people are asserting that sites built with the Astra theme are “faster” (faster page load times) than sites built with Genesis.

I’m a longtime Genesis user and I expect to remain so, but I am concerned about this. I’m having our developer create a copy of one of our Genesis sites with Astra to check this for myself.

In the meantime, though, I decided to post this message to ask others here what you think about this. Is it your assessment that Genesis has become a bit slower and perhaps a bit bloated?

Thank you in advance for your input and suggestions.

Astra Theme vs Genesis Themes by StudioPress
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Ali Akkas 1 year 2020-10-11T02:07:53+00:00 7 Answers 0

Answers ( 7 )


    Each of the page builder themes advertises themselves as fast. Out of the box, Astra like Genesis is fast. Turn on some of the pro features in Astra and watch the page weight go up.
    Having a fast base, which both Astra and Genesis are, is a good thing. But after that, everything is up to the implementer or developer to make sure they are handling page weight and speed.
    In that regard, Astra isn’t doing anything special compared to Genesis. It all depends on how you build your site on top of those themes.



    I started my WordPress journey with Genesis and got so frustrated that I had to get my money back. Next, I used Theme Forest themes (long story). Then I found Astra and got stuck with it. So far, so good. 
    Genesis not innovating. They have become stagnant. I think they want people to use StudioPress sites. With Astra and the Astra sites, you can literally install a nice looking site in a few minutes. Then, just customize using Customizer and it comes w/ your favorite page builder.
    Many of us started with Genesis and it gave us a great foundation to become better WordPress developers. I learned so much more about CSS and PHP using the Genesis themes. I think there is great value in that, but in a world where launching websites quickly matters, an Astra setup is pretty nice to have.
    There are still programmers who say that you should build your content management system from scratch, which is usually not the case anymore.  As themes, like Astra, become more flexible and can cover more use cases without sacrificing good code, the need for bespoke themes has gone way down.

    Astra is the Best WordPress Theme

    Best answer

    I love both Astra and Genesis but each has a different purpose.
    Ultimately I find that if I am building a page builder site, then Astra suits the purpose perfectly. But if I am building a fully hand-coded site, then I find options in the customizer just confuse things. In hand-coding instances, I don’t want anything in the customizer as I prefer to write my own stylesheets. With loads of settings in the customizer I will just end up having !important tags all over my stylesheet, or I have to stop my flow and hunt for options in the customizer.
    Personally, I kinda hate the customizer but find it a necessary evil when creating page builder sites for clients that like this (which these days are most of them!).
    I for one, hope Genesis does not ever add loads of options in the customizer. I have also been chatting with some developer friends and the general consensus is that pretty soon a hard line will be drawn in the sand between those that know how to code in this way and those that do not.
    Personally, I am now using the amazing Freelancer Framework by Cobalt Apps which is like Genesis on steroids. The whole purpose of this theme however is to remove ALL options and make you think. Sure, it means you could take a very long time to build a site! But for those sites you want to be extra special, perform fantastically and if you enjoy the educational code journey, it’s amazing!
    Also – Genesis and Astra both have a very different setup. Genesis is a True Framework. Astra is not. The main contrast is that the child theme (Genesis Sample) contains a stylesheet that is fully populated, so you use this stylesheet to customize options rather than using the customizer. This gives you tons more power and options but is of course the coding way to go about things.
    Overall I do believe it is just a case of coder vs non-coder. Astra always wins for non-coding time saving and ease of use on simpler sites if that is what you are looking for.

    Astra Theme Pricing


    Whether the page rendering on the server takes longer or not is more or less moot at this point.
    People should be serving their pages cached – zero servers render time. Plugins like WP Rocket handle this caching, along with other key components like javascript defer and CSS async. The next level to look at is response time.
    Server response time and proximity to request location become key bottlenecks.
    What is the child theme being used? Are they loading unnecessary javascript? Has the CSS been optimized so that only the necessary CSS loads on each page? (WPRocket helps a little with the critical CSS part)
    Last is the individual site settings – are they loading unnecessary plugins? carousels? Is comment count limited to a reasonable number? Pagespeed insight is a good place to start – limit the number of DOM nodes and javascript execution time, along with page rendering from CSS.
    Plugins: Are you loading woocommerce on every page, even though it only gets used on 2-3 pages? What about calendar plugins? Most plugin developers don’t build for site speed and incorrectly load their assets on EVERY page.
    Genesis works well with this entire stack – and I’ve never tested Astra but I’m sure it could be optimized in the same way.
    It’s more or less irrelevant which framework you use – use whatever you’re familiar with. The framework is a small part of a large puzzle.


    I have Astra, I have GeneratePress & I have Genesis, I always come back to Genesis, I love it, I love it so much that if a Client likes an actual theme from a NON-Genesis or WordPress theme, I will reproduce it in Genesis, for the simple reason if that client should need further work doing on it I don’t need to refresh my head on the specific theme they are using and waste time, it keeps my charges low and a happy client.


    The problem is not Astra. The “problem” is the use of page builders like Elementor. Genesis is a developer’s framework. But, the world—for better or worse—is moving slowly to page builders. And, before all of you start yelling, I started my career as a machine language programmer which was, at that time, the way to get a program to run fast. The “competition” was languages like Fortran and Cobol (most of you don’t have a CLUE what I am talking about). As computers got faster, and higher language compilers got better, there was no advantage in writing programs at the level of the computer code.
    Astra is a good theme to use as a base for a page builder like Elementor. Genesis can be used for this but is not tailored for page builders. It’s not supposed to be. But it runs fast, you say. Yep. And machine language programs ran a lot faster than Fortran/Cobol—until they didn’t!


    Genesis Framework is closely integrated with core WordPress. Many Genesis programmers are also contributors to WordPress core so they really try to build functions and tools in a native WordPress way. Many other developers kind of go against WordPress, trying to hack it into something with all kinds of features and tools that were never intended in the first place.
    I’m guessing Genesis is trying to stay true to their belief of what WordPress is (whatever that may be) and not developing something that top developers would not use. Page builders are incredible because of what they allow users to do (and also fun to use) but do they build “better websites”, with better/cleaner/conflict-free code? No, they do not. For this reason alone, I think Genesis has stayed away from following the trend.

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