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Trying to choose between Divi vs Avada to build your WordPress site?

These two themes are two of the most popular premium WordPress themes of all time – Elegant Themes (Divi’s developer) claims to have over 767,000 customers, and Avada has been purchased over 704,447+ times at ThemeForest. Those are both incredibly impressive numbers and proof that each theme has a lot of happy users.

One of the biggest factors behind both themes’ success is their bundled visual, drag-and-drop builders. With these builders, you can create beautiful custom WordPress sites – no code required.

But design flexibility isn’t the only thing to consider in a WordPress theme – you also need to weigh how quickly that theme will help your website load because website load times play a role in everything from user experience to SEO, conversion rates, and more.

To that end, we decided to create a Divi vs Avada comparison focused on one specific metric: performance.

That is, does Divi or Avada help you get a faster loading website? To answer that question, we ran some tests of our own – keep reading to see the data and analysis.

How We’ll Test Divi vs Avada Theme Performance

Before we get to the data, let’s talk about how we’re going to test Divi vs Avada performance so that you know exactly how we set things up.

First off, we’re going to test two high-level scenarios:

  • Test #1 – we’ll test just the themes by themselves. That is, we won’t use their bundled visual builders. Instead, we’ll just test the “Sample Page” built with the block editor with the themes active.
  • Test #2 – we’ll test a simple page built with each theme’s builder, as the visual builders are a key part of what makes Divi and Avada so popular. We’ll try to use comparable modules to make the comparison as equal as possible.

For each high-level test scenario, we’ll also test two different setups:

  • The first setup is just with the themes themselves and no other performance optimizations.
  • The second setup is with WP Rocket installed and configured so that you can see how things look if you implement WordPress performance best practices.

When we add WP Rocket, we’ll configure its file optimization and media optimization settings in addition to the default improvements of page caching, browser caching, Gzip compression, and some other small tweaks.

We also enabled WP Rocket v. 3.9’s new feature to remove unused CSS, which helped us achieve even greater reductions in HTTP requests and page size.

Our test sites are hosted on a cheap $5 per month DigitalOcean droplet powered by RunCloud and an all-Nginx stack. We didn’t make any performance improvements beyond adding WP Rocket in some of the tests, as noted above.

To test and measure the WordPress performance data, we’ll use WebPageTest in two different configurations:

  • Desktop Test – using Chrome browser with a throttled FIOS connection – 20/5 Mbps 4 ms RTT. This is around the average Internet speed for the US as a whole, though it’s a bit slower than places with good speeds (like big cities).
  • Mobile Test – using a mid-tier Moto G4 device with a throttled 4G connection – 9 Mbps, 170 ms RTT. The speeds in this test will be a good bit slower than the desktop. Your actual mobile visitors will have faster load times if they’re using a premium device (like the latest iPhone) and/or browsing from Wifi instead of 4G.

For each test, we’ll have WebPageTest run nine separate tests and take the median value. This helps us avoid single-test variability and get more consistent results.

Here are the four metrics that we’ll focus on:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – part of Google’s new Core Web Vitals metrics and an SEO ranking factor in the Page Experience update.
  2. Fully Loaded Time – while Google now emphasizes LCP as a more user experience-focused metric, some people still like to see fully loaded times.
  3. Page Size – all else equal, a smaller page size is always better.
  4. HTTP requests – all else equal, fewer HTTP requests are always better.

Finally, here are the version numbers for everything that we’re testing:

  • Avada theme – 7.3.1
  • Divi theme – 4.9.4
  • WP Rocket – 3.9.0.1

Divi vs Avada Speed Tests

Now, let’s get to our hands-on Divi vs Avada performance tests…

Test #1: Just the Themes

In this first test, we’re testing just the themes without using the visual builders:

  • Divi – just the Divi theme as Divi already bundles in the Divi Builder.
  • Avada – we also installed the Avada Core and Avada Builder plugins as these are core required plugins. We didn’t install any optional plugins, though.

The actual content is the “Sample Page” that comes with a fresh WordPress installation. It’s built with the native block editor.

Here’s the data for desktop and mobile…

Desktop:

LCPFully LoadedPage SizeHTTP Requests
Divi1.465 s1.657 s447 KB18
Avada2.2872.528 s463 KB15
Divi (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)0.394 s0.621 s378 KB13
Avada (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)0.285 s0.478 s345 KB11

Mobile:

LCPFully LoadedPage SizeHTTP Requests
Divi3.086 s4.210 s431 KB18
Avada5.035 s5.898 s463 KB15
Divi (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)1.714 s3.083 s362 KB13
Avada (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)1.169 s2.435 s345 KB11

Overall, the themes are almost identical in terms of page size and HTTPS requests, but Divi performed a good bit better in the actual load time metrics on both mobile and desktop.

After activating WP Rocket to implement caching and other performance best practices, you can see across-the-board improvements in both themes’ metrics. 

πŸ’‘ You can see the biggest real-world improvement in the mobile Largest Contentful Paint times. Both themes were in Google’s “Poor” range without WP Rocket (4+ seconds), but after setting up WP Rocket, they both jumped into the “Good” range (under 2.5 seconds). These types of improvements can pay dividends in Google’s Page Experience update.

The most interesting thing here is that, with WP Rocket, the comparison changes, and Avada performed a bit better. This is especially notable because we ran these tests with WP Rocket twice to play around with different configurations. Avada didn’t pull ahead until we activated WP Rocket’s new Remove Unused CSS feature (currently in beta as of WP Rocket v. 3.9).

The Remove Unused CSS feature helped us shave around ~70 KB in page size off Divi, but we saw even bigger reductions with Avada, where we were able to cut off more like ~120 KB, along with a larger reduction in HTTP requests.

The greater improvement to Avada seems to have flipped things enough to let our WP Rocket-optimized Avada site load a little faster than Divi.

Overall, Divi has a slight edge in terms of out-of-the-box performance for this first test. But when you add WP Rocket to the mix with its new Remove Unused CSS feature, Avada performed a bit better.

Test #2: With Builders

In this second test, we used each theme’s visual builder to create a comparable page using roughly the same modules. The design is very simple – we only added three elements to keep things as equal as possible:

  • Text editor with lorem ipsum
  • Button
  • Testimonial (we disabled the images/icons to make it even)

The idea here is mainly to see what extra “weight” gets added to the page when you activate each theme’s builder.

One thing you’ll immediately see is that Divi’s page size and HTTP requests didn’t change in this test. This is because Divi already loads everything it needs for the Divi Builder on all its pages and our test page only used a few modules that didn’t include images or icons, so Divi didn’t need to add any page size or HTTP requests.

The downside of this approach is that you’re bearing the weight of Divi Builder even on pages where you only use the native block editor (as you saw in the first test). With that being said, even with that in mind, Divi still beat out Avada in that first test and this second test.

Avada also loads almost everything it needs whether or not you’re using the Avada Builder, but it did need to add another ~20 KB and one HTTP request in our Builder page.

Here’s the data for both desktop and mobile…

Desktop:

LCPFully LoadedPage SizeHTTP Requests
Divi2.078 s2.300 s447 KB18
Avada2.630 s2.958 s492 KB16
Divi (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)0.353 s0.503 s378 KB13
Avada (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)0.323 s0.554 s358 KB12

Mobile:

LCPFully LoadedPage SizeHTTP Requests
Divi5.571 s6.864 s431 KB18
Avada5.683 s7.221 s492 KB16
Divi (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)1.737 s3.034 s362 KB13
Avada (w/ WP Rocket πŸš€)1.210 s2.638 s358 KB12

Overall, you can see similar results as in our previous test.

Basically, Divi has the edge by itself. But when you add WP Rocket, Avada performed slightly better (though both themes saw huge improvements and did well).

Final Thoughts on Divi vs Avada Performance

Divi and Avada are similar in that both give you the power to build a custom website using their visual drag-and-drop builders.

However, while they both give you that control, Divi seems to have a slight edge when it comes to out-of-the-box performance, with a slightly smaller page size and better user-focused metrics like the Largest Contentful Paint time from Google’s Core Web Vitals. The difference isn’t huge, but Divi by itself was ahead in all four tests that we ran.

However, when adding WP Rocket to the mix, both themes had huge improvements. Still, Avada improved even more and loaded slightly faster than Divi with WP Rocket enabled (though only when using WP Rocket’s new Remove Unused CSS feature). 

This suggests that you can still be fine with Avada as long as you implement WordPress performance best practices with a tool like WP Rocket.

Of course, these two themes aren’t your only two options. If you’re focused on speed and performance, you might want to check out our collections of the fastest free WordPress themes or the fastest WooCommerce themes if you’re building an eCommerce store.
You can find even faster themes than these two, including the Astra theme, which performed well in our Divi vs Astra performance comparison.

Do you still have any questions about Divi vs Avada’s speed and performance? Ask us in the comments!


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Comments (2)

If you care about Core Web Vitals and Speed, do NOT use Divi, at least until the new version comes out. The code is a MESS.

Great comparison! Keep up the good work.


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