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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 is going to 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.

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 state. 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. We’ll install and use Elementor for Astra.

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 match Divi’s visual, drag-and-drop design.

Then, within each scenario, 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’re implementing WordPress performance best practices with a plugin like WP Rocket.

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.

To run the speed tests themselves, we’ll use three tools:

  • web.dev – this is a tool from Google that uses Lighthouse and a mobile device/3G connection. It’s the same as the Mobile results from PageSpeed Insights. It just has a nicer results page for our screenshots!
  • GTmetrix – this tool now uses Lighthouse. We ran a test from a desktop device.
  • WebPageTest – this tool helps us analyze page size and HTTP requests. We also tested using a desktop device.

For the data that we’ll share, we’ll focus mostly on the mobile results from Lighthouse (web.dev/PageSpeed Insights) and the basic data from WebPageTest.

Divi vs Astra Speed Tests

Now, let’s get to the data!

Test #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.

  Lighthouse Performance Score LCP (Mobile) Page Size HTTP Requests
Divi 76% 3.5 s 445 KB 18
Astra 100% 1.6 s 43 KB 9
Divi (with WP Rocket) 🚀 89% 2.0 s 443 KB 12
Astra (with WP Rocket) 🚀 100% 1.2 s 44 KB 6

Here are the full screenshots from web.dev:

Divi – No WP Rocket

Astra – No WP Rocket

Overall, you can see that the base Astra theme without WP Rocket is significantly faster than the base Divi theme without WP Rocket. Even without any optimization, the base Astra theme already hit a 100% mobile score in Lighthouse, with excellent performance metrics.

Let’s now take a look at the same scenario with WP Rocket:

Divi – With WP Rocket 🚀

Astra – With WP Rocket 🚀

You can’t get much better than 100%, but after adding WP Rocket, Astra’sLCP and Speed Index dropped by 25% to make it even faster.

However, Divi achieved even more remarkable performance benefits with WP Rocket. Lighthouse score jumped up to an 89% score.
More importantly, the Largest Contentful Paint time was cut to 2.0 s, which is well within what you need to optimize for Google’s new Page Experience update.

Astra is definitely better. But, when paired with WP Rocket, Divi can still get you to the numbers you need.

If you’re wondering why Divi’s page size is so large, it’s because it essentially loads the Divi Builder on all pages, whether or not you’ve activated the Divi Builder. For this reason, you’ll see very little difference in Divi between this first test and the second test.

Test #2: With Builders

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

  • Divi theme + content built with the Divi Builder
  • Astra theme + content built with the Elementor page builder (we deactivated Elementor’s built-in styles to have it inherit from the Astra theme)

We’re using identical modules in each builder to keep things fair.

  Lighthouse Performance Score LCP (Mobile) Page Size HTTP Requests
Divi 83% 3.4 s 446 KB 18
Astra 83% 3.4 s 238 KB 27
Divi (with WP Rocket) 🚀 91% 2.2 s 444 KB 12
Astra (with WP Rocket) 🚀 94% 2.3 s 233 KB 9

Here are the full screenshots from web.dev:

Divi + Divi Builder – No WP Rocket

Astra + Elementor – No WP Rocket

Divi + Divi Builder – With WP Rocket 🚀

Astra + Elementor – With WP Rocket 🚀

First off, you can see that Divi’s numbers barely change. Again, this is because Divi was already loading the Divi Builder in the first test even though it wasn’t active, so it didn’t need to add anything “new” when we created a simple page with Divi Builder.

Second, you can see that the numbers get a lot closer once you pair Elementor with Astra. However, Astra still achieves better scores and smaller page sizes. There are two parts to this:

  1. The base Astra theme is just more lightweight, as you saw in the first test.
  2. Elementor is a little more performance-optimized than Divi, as we discovered in our Divi vs Elementor performance tests.

Overall, though, the difference is smaller than you might expect if you’re pairing Astra with a full page builder plugin.

If you want to get the most out of Astra’s lightweight foundation, you might want to consider pairing it with the native block editor, though you’ll lose a lot of design flexibility in doing that.

Final Thoughts on Divi vs Astra Performance

Overall, when it comes to comparing the speed’s themes, Astra is much faster than Divi.

If you’re going to pair Astra with a page builder like Elementor, you will give up some of the advantages. You should use the native block editor to get all the performance benefits from Astra. However, even when paired with Elementor, the Astra theme is still ahead of Divi, though not in all metrics.

For that reason, the Astra theme is likely the better option for you if you value performance, which is why it earned a spot on our list of the fastest free WordPress themes.

With that being said, the Divi theme is still fast enough if you’re using WP Rocket to optimize your site and implement WordPress performance best practices.

While Divi missed Google’s recommended Largest Contentful Paint times by itself, it did get within the “Good” times when paired with WP Rocket and achieved 90%+ mobile scores in Lighthouse.

So – if you love the Divi theme and prefer it to Astra, you can still make it fast enough to offer a great experience to your visitors and optimize for Google’s Page Experience update. Will it be as fast as an optimized Astra site? Not likely. But it will be fast enough for your needs.

Finally, no matter if you’re using Astra or Divi, make sure to boost your site’s performance with WP Rocket. As you saw in the data above, WP Rocket can make a huge improvement to both themes, and all it requires is activating a plugin and checking a few boxes.

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


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Comments (3)

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.


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