I’ve heard the community raving about the OceanWP multi-purpose WordPress theme and finally decided to give it a try. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by what I found! 🤘 I’m not usually a fan of multi-purpose themes in terms of performance and bloat and stay away from themes like Avada, X Theme, and Enfold. Today I’m going to dive into the OceanWP theme and show you why I think it’s a great contender for your WordPress site, both in terms of performance and functionality.
OceanWP is a free multi-purpose WordPress theme created by Nicolas Lecocq. He originally worked as a freelancer and was frustrated that there was nothing out there that really suited his needs for clients. Been there. 😉 Every project became a lot more work than it should have been.
So for every project I worked on, I had to either create a complete theme or purchase a premium theme. Not only was this process time consuming, but it also increased the price of the service. On top of that, customers would often ask me how to do such and such manipulation due to the complexity of some premium themes. – Nicolas Lecocq
Because of that Nicholas decided to build something better; a theme that was lightweight and still highly extendable. And that’s when OceanWP was born. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s not surprising, as it’s only been around since 2016. It really kind of popped up out of nowhere and is now one of the fastest growing WordPress themes on the repository!
As of writing this, it has over 100,000 active installs with an impressive 5 out of 5-star rating and over 350 reviews. Not only that, but it has never received a rating under 4 stars. That’s probably the most impressive rating to download ratio I’ve ever seen.
Before we dive into exploring OceanWP here are some of the features you can expect to find.
- Lightweight and highly extendable. You can easily turn things off and on with a click of a button, even scripts for performance! Developers will love this theme.
- It’s fully responsive and will look great on desktops, mobile devices, and tablet screens.
- Compatible with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads if you’re building an eCommerce site. It even has cool extensions for Woocommerce to get more sales.
- It’s compatible with all of the page builders out there: Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, Divi, SiteOrigin, etc.
- OceanWP supports RTL languages and can be translated into your own language. It’s compatible with WPML.
- Built with SEO in mind.
- Has mega menu and icons built-in.
- Great active support from the developer. He pushed out over 36 updates/features in 2017 alone and is already making 2018 a killer year. Check out the OceanWP changelog for yourself.
The OceanWP theme is completely free, but if you’re serious about your WordPress site, you’ll want all the premium extensions. The great news is that unlike premium themes on ThemeForest, you can give the free version of the theme a try without any commitment. Install it and play around with it to see if you think it will work well for your project. You can even get free support on the WordPress forums.
Extensions with Free Version
The free version does come with the following 8 core extensions:
- Ocean Stick Anything: Stick very easily anything you want on your website.
- Modal Window: Insert any content into a modal and place the opening button where you want.
- Posts Slider: Display your latest posts in a beautiful slider with different options.
- Demo Import: Import the demo content, widgets and customizer settings with one click.
- Custom Sidebar: Generates an unlimited number of sidebars and place them on any page.
- Product Sharing: Add social share buttons to your single product page with this free extension.
- Social Sharing: Add social share buttons to your single posts with this free extension.
- Ocean Extra: Add meta boxes, import/export, and a panel to activate the premium extensions.
You can purchase premium extensions individually but price wise it doesn’t make much sense. I suggest just getting the premium extension bundle. Currently, there are 13 premium extensions on top of the 8 free included ones. The bundles include all of the premium extensions, 12 months of priority support directly from author and updates, along with the pro demo content.
- $39 for 1 site
- $79 for 3 sites
- $129 for unlimited sites
Here is a list of the premium extensions:
- Cookie Notice: Add a Cookie notice on your website to comply with the GDPR regulations. GDPR impacts pretty much everyone!
- Full Screen: A simple and easy way to create a fullscreen scrolling website.
- Popup Login: A plugin to add a popup login/register form where you want.
- Instagram: Fetch and customize your Instagram feed to display in a beautiful way.
- White Label: Impress clients by replacing the OceanWP name with your own brand name.
- Portfolio: A complete extension to display your portfolio and work in a beautiful way.
- Woo Popup: A simple extension to display a popup when you click on the Add To Cart button.
- Sticky Footer: A simple extension to attach your footer to the bottom of the screen.
- Ocean Hooks: Add your custom content throughout various areas of OceanWP. This one is awesome!
- Elementor Widgets: 10 new powerful widgets for the popular free page builder – Elementor.
- Side Panel: Add a responsive side panel with your preferred widgets inside.
- Sticky Header: Attach an eye-catching header at the top of your website pages.
- Footer Callout: Add some important information about your company in your footer.
I will be using some of the premium extensions in my review today to show you the real power of the theme.
Diving Into OceanWP
Now it’s time for the fun part! Because OceanWP is in the WordPress repository, the easiest way to install it is simply to add a new theme under “Appearance → Themes.” Simply search for “oceanwp” and click on “Install.”
After activating the theme you’ll be prompted to install a few additional plugins. I’m not going to cover the Elementor plugin today as I think OceanWP is already customizable enough without needing a page builder. But I do recommend installing the Ocean Demo Import and Ocean Extra plugins.
Ocean Demo Import allows you to import the demo content, widgets and customizer settings with one click. If you’re wanting to simply tweak one of the demos this can easily speed up your design workflow. Ocean Extra adds features to OceanWP like widgets, meta boxes, activate/deactivate the customizer sections, enable/disable the theme’s scripts and styles, import/export and a panel to activate the premium extensions.
Theme Panel and Customizer
The Theme Panel for OceanWP is awesome! It lets you enable and disable all sorts of things. It also gives you easy access to customizations for your WordPress site. This theme utilizes a lot of the built-in WordPress customizer which I like a lot. I’ve said this before, but more developers need to take advantage of the customizer.
A few quick shortcuts in the theme panel include:
- Upload Your Logo
- Add Your Favicon
- Choose Your Primary Color
- Choose Your Typography
- Top Bar Options
- Header Options
- Footer Widgets Options
- Footer Bottom Options
Scripts and Styles
The OceanWP hooks premium extension is also pretty cool, especially for developers. This allows you to basically insert code (HTML or PHP) wherever you want it in the theme. For example, I added my Favicon in the header. Instead of using the theme option to do it, I do it with a hook so I can force it to load from my CDN.
<link rel="icon" href="https://cdn.mydomain.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/favicon.png" type="image/x-icon" />
There are over 50 different hook locations! 😮
When you first install OceanWP, this is how the base theme looks without any customizations. Pretty empty right? Well, that is a good thing! Because that means it’s not bloated from the start. I always prefer a theme where I can add things as opposed to being forced to strip them out.
Base Speed Test
I always test a new theme right out of the box without any customizations just to see how fast the base is. This tells me a lot of what I can expect by the time I add everything to it. Running the stock OceanWP WordPress theme on Kinsta hosting and using KeyCDN, clocked in at a whopping 363 ms load time. Not too shabby. 😁
And with the following optimizations, we were able to get a 100 performance grade on Pingdom.
- Remove query strings and embeds with Perfmatters plugin
- Disable Font Awesome and Simple Icons in the OceanWP theme panel
Installing Demo Content
Now let’s see what happens when we install all the demo content. The premium OceanWP demo content has over 30 pre-built templates ready to go. You can find everything from a personal blog to an eCommerce store.
To import a demo you simply click on it will let you know which plugins are required for it to look exactly like what is displayed. Today I’m going to be installing the “Personal” demo as I think that looks awesome for a blog.
It will then prompt you to import the data.
And boom! With a few simple clicks, I now have my amazing looking blog theme up and running. Not sure how you can get any easier than that.
Final Speed Test
If we run another speed test we can see we are still clocking in at under 500 ms which is awesome! Of course, some demos will have more content than others based on the type. WooCommerce stores will most likely require the most resources. But everything I tested with OceanWP was under second.
As you can see OceanWP is awesome in terms of performance. I suggest finding the closest demo that you like and simply tweaking it from there. This can save you a ton of time! I literally did everything above in under 10 minutes, no joke.
Multi-purpose WordPress themes usually get a bad rap and for good reason as they are typically bloated, slow, and overly complicated. That’s definitely not the case with OceanWP. OceanWP is built with performance in mind, allows you to enable/disable pretty much everything, and is crazy easy to use. A beginner shouldn’t have any problems.
I would love to hear what you think about OceanWP. Have you tried it yet?
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