Built for Speed: 12 Free and Fast Loading WordPress Themes

Earlier in the week I took a look at some of the ways that you can speed up your WordPress website. To follow that up I thought I’d go out and see if I could find some fast loading WordPress themes for you speed freaks to use. I used Google’s brand new online speed test tool to test a whole bunch of pages from the WordPress Theme Directory and from some other sources. I’ve only included themes which scored 80 or above on Google’s speed test so you can be  guaranteed that these are some fast loading themes.

A Thought for Network Admins

If you run a WordPress Multisite Network and you’re struggling with your blog load times you might want to consider only using fast themes, such as the ones below. They can be a great way to inch the speed up across your network.


Magnolia WordPress Theme

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory WordPress ThemeChaos Theory WordPress Theme

Toolbox WordPress Theme

Toolbox WordPress Theme 88/100 



zBench results 84/100 

The Arialist

Arialist WordPress Theme


Minimalist WordPress Theme

83/100 TwentyTen

Twenty Ten WordPress Theme


Suburbia WordPress Theme80/100

Blogum WordPress Theme82/100

Swift WordPress Theme83/100

Scherzo 2.0

Scherzo http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/scherzo89/90



Oenology screenshot


Comments (20)

  1. I’m in the process of database speed/efficiency testing as many of the free and premium WordPress Themes I can get my hands on.

    The test are run on a newly setup clean Linux server running PHP 5.1.6, MySQL 5.0.77, WordPress 3.1.1 with default content and only the WPDB plugin active. WP_Cache Status: Enabled! Plus I refresh the browser 4 times on each theme, before recording the follow results:

    Top Ten Fastest Themes/Frameworks
    (out of the box clean install)

    Thesis 1.8 by Chris Pearson
    11 db queries in 0.0028650760650635 sec.
    Hybrid 0.9 by Justin Tadlock
    8 db queries in 0.0028834342956543 sec.
    F8 Lite 4.2.1 by Thad Allender | Graph Paper Press
    11 db queries in 0.0032894611358643 sec.
    Whiteboard 3.1 by Bold Perspective
    11 db queries in 0.0033519268035889 sec.
    Thematic by Ian Stewart & Chris Goßmann
    12 db queries in 0.0037977695465088 sec.
    Basic 3.9 by Elegant Themes
    14 db queries in 0.004436731338501 sec.
    Twenty Ten 1.2 by the WordPress team
    14 db queries in 0.0045411586761475 sec.
    Derelict Beta 1.0 by Theme Force
    18 db queries in 0.004737377166748 sec.
    Classic 1.6 by Dave Shea
    13 db queries in 0.0048260688781738 sec.
    WP Framework by Ptah Dunbar
    13 db queries run in 0.0049338340759277 sec.

    You can see the, (I think) some quite surprising results so far.
    The full details can be found here:

    I would be very interested to hear your comments and feedback on this.



  2. You have a lot of good information on this site…thanks. I too was not aware that Google had that online speed testing tool. I’ve been trying to get my sites to load faster and bought Thesis which I like. I even went to VPS hosting and am hoping that will help as well.

  3. try this…indonesian custom theme and it`s not mine :)

    page speed is 100 (without ads)


    remove underscore before http :)

  4. Hi, I tried Zbench and with a few tweak, I have been able to achieve a Google Page Speed Score of 100 and I would be using this on my first blog site. Many thanks for letting us all know about the Google Page Speed Score Service !!