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Trying to find out what’s the fastest theme between Divi vs Astra?

Both of these themes are incredibly popular multipurpose options that are highly customizable. You can use them for literally any type of WordPress site, from a blog to a portfolio, eCommerce store, business brochure website, online store, and lots more.

Divi comes with its own built-in visual, drag-and-drop editor (Divi Builder). Astra is built to pair with popular page builder plugins such as Elementor and Beaver Builder or with the native WordPress block editor.

In terms of customization and flexibility, you won’t go wrong with either theme. But there’s another important consideration for building your site – performance.

How quickly your site loads affects everything from user experience to SEO, conversion rates, and more. As your site’s foundation, your theme will play a big role in your site’s performance.

In our Divi vs Astra speed comparison, we’re focused on that one single metric. That is, will Divi or Astra get you a faster-loading WordPress site?

To answer that question, we’ll run our own tests. Let’s start by talking about how we’ll test these two themes, and then we’ll share the data and the conclusions you can draw from it.

Note – we originally tested these themes and wrote this comparison in March 2021. However, in August 2021, Elegant Themes released a huge front-end performance update for Divi in version 4.10, which greatly reduced Divi’s weight. For that reason, we completely re-ran our Divi vs Astra performance tests in November 2021 to account for those changes. 

How We’ll Test Divi vs Astra Theme Performance

To test Astra vs Divi performance, we’ll run four separate tests for each theme in two basic scenarios.

Scenario #1: We’ll test just the themes themselves in their out-of-the-box states. That is, before adding any content or making any changes, which theme is more optimized? We activated each theme on a fresh WordPress install and ran the test right then.

This scenario isn’t realistic for a real site, but it gives you a good idea of each theme’s baseline optimization.

Scenario #2: We’ll build a simple page with each theme’s builder. For Divi, we’ll use the bundled Divi Builder. For Astra, we’ll install and use Elementor.

While you can use Astra with the native block editor, most of Astra’s starter sites are built with Elementor, so we feel that it’s the fairest choice. It’s also the only way to get Astra to fully match Divi’s visual, drag-and-drop design, so it’s fairest from that perspective, too.

With that being said, if you’re worried about performance, you’ll get better results with Astra if you stick to the native block editor. Of course, you won’t get the full visual design experience if you do that – there are always trade-offs.

Finally, within those two scenarios above, we’ll run two tests:

  1. Just the theme with no performance optimization.
  2. With the WP Rocket plugin installed and file/media optimization enabled.

This will give you an idea of what kind of performance you can expect if you implement WordPress performance best practices with a plugin like WP Rocket. In addition to caching and other general optimization features, WP Rocket introduced a new feature and an enhancement  in version 3.9 that do a great job of optimizing both Divi and Astra:

For reference, our test site is hosted on the cheapest $5 per month DigitalOcean droplet, managed and powered by RunCloud and an all-Nginx stack.

Additionally, here are the exact version numbers of the themes/plugins that we’re testing:

  • Divi theme version 4.13.0.
  • Astra theme version 3.7.5.
  • Elementor plugin version 3.4.7 (for the second test scenario).

To run the speed tests themselves, we’ll use WebPageTest with a mobile-first testing approach and a focus on Core Web Vitals performance metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint:

  • Test device – iPhone 8
  • Connection speed – throttled LTE connection (12 Mbps, 70 ms RTT) to simulate a user browsing on the go. In the real world, the speeds would likely be faster if a mobile user is connected to Wifi, 5G, or another type of speedier connection.
  • Number of tests – to eliminate single-test variability, we’ll have WebPageTest run nine separate tests and take the median values.

Divi vs Astra Speed Tests

Now, let’s get to the data!

Scenario #1: Just the Themes

In this first test, we’re testing just the themes themselves. Basically, we spun up a new WordPress install, activated the themes, and then ran the tests. 

More specifically, we’re testing the main homepage, which shows the blog list by default (which is just the default “Hello World” post).

Here’s how the themes performed by themselves (without WP Rocket):

LCPTTFBHTTP RequestsFile Size
Divi0.953 s0.424 s15206 KB
Astra0.558 s0.396 s741 KB

Overall, you can see that Astra is faster than Divi by itself. The load times and page size are both significantly lower with Astra than with Divi.

Remember – this isn’t a realistic test for a complete website (especially if you plan to pair Astra with a page builder plugin), but it does show that Astra’s foundation is a bit lighter than Divi’s foundation.

However, if you add WP Rocket to the mix, the numbers get a lot closer:

LCPTTFBHTTP RequestsFile Size
Divi + WP Rocket 🚀0.424 s0.368 s993
Astra + WP Rocket 🚀0.409 s0.353 s419 KB

First off, you can see that Divi and Astra now have pretty identical Largest Contentful Paint times with WP Rocket enabled, whereas Astra’s LCP time was notably better without WP Rocket.

What’s more, WP Rocket was able to significantly reduce HTTP requests and the page size of both Divi and Astra. The difference is more dramatic with Divi, where the page size dropped from 206 KB to just 93 KB. However, in terms of percentages, both themes had their page size reduced by a bit over 50%.

Scenario #2: With Builders

In this second performance test, we’ll look at the following test pages:

  • Divi theme + a simple page built with the Divi Builder
  • Astra theme + a simple page built with the Elementor page builder.

We’re using identical modules in each builder to keep things fair – just a single button and countdown timer.

Here’s how these test pages performed by themselves (without WP Rocket):

LCPTTFBHTTP RequestsFile Size
Divi0.971 s0.453 s14204 KB
Astra + Elementor1.320 s0.397 s29243 KB

Now, you can see that the comparison has shifted in the other direction when combining Astra and Elementor vs Divi. Divi’s builder page is a tiny bit lighter than the homepage, which is a testament to the Elegant Themes team’s good work on reducing Divi’s bloat and only loading the minimum needed assets.

However, when you add WP Rocket to the mix, Divi and “Astra + Elementor” are pretty much identical:

LCPTTFBHTTP RequestsFile Size
Divi + WP Rocket 🚀0.407 s0.242 s992 KB
Astra + Elementor + WP Rocket 🚀0.453 s0.340 s993 KB

You can see that WP Rocket was able to greatly reduce the file size of both themes, dropping them both down to 92 KB and 93 KB, respectively.

More importantly, the Largest Contentful Paint times also dropped, with “Astra + Elementor” having the biggest drop from 1.320 seconds down to 0.453 seconds. This is pretty much equal to the 0.407 seconds that Divi achieved with WP Rocket.

Is Astra Faster Than Divi? Final Thoughts

Overall, if you’re looking at just the Astra theme vs just the Divi theme, Astra is the clear winner. Theme vs theme, Astra is just notably more lightweight than Divi.

However, that’s not necessarily a fair comparison based on how many people will use the Astra theme. 

While you certainly can use the native block editor with Astra (which is your best option from a performance perspective), you’ll need to pair Astra with a page builder like Elementor if you want to achieve the same type of visual, drag-and-drop design that Divi unlocks.

In that case, Divi is a little bit more lightweight than Astra and Elementor paired together, though the difference isn’t that large.

However, with the right page speed optimization strategies in place, you should feel confident that you can create a fast-loading site with both Divi and Astra, even if you’re using Astra with a page builder plugin.

Whether you use Divi or Astra, WP Rocket can make a big improvement to your site’s load times and performance optimization, as you saw in the data above.

With both themes, WP Rocket was able to cut both the Largest Contentful Paint times and page size by more than half, which means you can achieve excellent performance metrics either way.

If you want to try it for yourself, click here to learn more about WP Rocket.

Have any other questions about Astra vs Divi speed and performance? Ask us in the comments section!

Comments (5)

Can you use the Divi Builder with Astra? If you can I would be curious to see how that compares to Elementor + Astra.

Thanks for the insights! Divi definitely needs some optimization to being in with. Glad to see WP Rocket helps, but it’s still like pushing something through mud, albeit not too bad with WP Rocket activated.

Great article with very good insight.
I am very much tied to Divi, so I hope that some one from Divi really takes a look at these points and addresses them soon.

Great comparison article Colin, quite helpful! Thank you and keep up the great writing.

All in all, Divi is faster than Elementor, thank you, as it should be all about these two page builders, for all the Elementor "Divi is slow" fanboys.

As for the questions below, you can't use Divi with Astra, because Divi is a theme with its own theme builder.

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