Comparing 2 fantastic premium themes with tons of development options for both newbie users and coders.
- Which is “better”?
- Which is faster?
- Which one should I recommend for you?
Let’s go over their history, unique strengths, differences in workflow and development mentality, and ultimately figure out which projects they fit best!
In case you’re wondering, I still feel the same about these themes as of today.
Genesis – the #1 framework for developers
Genesis has been the #1 framework since it overtook the former #1 premium framework (Thesis) around 2010. At the time, Thesis was known for being incredibly SEO-friendly and non-coder-friendly. Back then, SEO functions were relatively basic and SEO plugins weren’t quite necessary yet so themes had to deal with those functions. Thesis was also sold as a functional “drag-and-drop” themebuilder at the time. You could say it was one of the earliest pagebuilders, although it wasn’t anywhere near as powerful as the pagebuilders today.
Although Thesis worked exactly as advertised, it still seemed expensive, cumbersome, and not well supported. It was mostly a one-man show and made tons of promises about its forever-delayed Thesis 2.0 framework. The update took forever, arriving to a half-exited audience and impressed almost no one. Many (like myself) still felt the old Thesis 1.x version was better and more user-friendly.
Genesis in the meanwhile…stayed professional, priced more attractively, was better supported by many developers and users in the community. If you want really polished 3rd-party child themes, look no further than Genesis theme marketplace. Incredible stuff done by respected developers!
What makes Genesis really attractive for me is that not only did it come with great coding, great SEO, and well-polished child themes…it’s also coded super lean! It’s a truly complete framework, everything neatly placed, accessibility, SEO-friendly, all ready to go. And also many compatible 3rd-party plugins as well. Although Genesis never really advertised their theme around speed, as the trend back then was to advertise themes for SEO and design-aesthetics…their code fit perfectly with today’s trend of wanting faster/leaner themes. Genesis is by far the most comprehensively-coded theme, tons of hooks and filters, AND still super super lean. Yes, the theme may be full-featured and comprehensive (from developer POV) but it’s still as lean as any other fast theme out there!
What else? Great community of respected and senior-level developers. If you want great code and to work at the level of the largest companies, Genesis is for you. You can read my full Genesis Theme Framework Review.
+ Polished child themes
+ Many 3rd-party plugins
+ Big community of experienced users/developers
GeneratePress – the #1 freemium theme for non-coders/coders
GeneratePress created to fit the free theme market around 2014. A desire for a clean free base theme that newbies and non-coders could use to start their WordPress site without any cost. Unlike most other free themes that try to offer you a ton of built-in styling, GeneratePress gave you an empty canvas to work with. If you need some help, there were useful example child themes. And if you wanted more features, you could buy the premium version to unlock more.
GeneratePress got popular because of the owner’s quality of code and fantastic support. It quickly grew as a fan favorite, especially among newbies not wanting to pay for a premium theme. Nowadays with free pagebuilders, you can pretty much combine them with GeneratePress to create any look you want…of course, the limit is your skill level! (Read my full GeneratePress review.)
+ FREE & PREMIUM
+ Incredible support and community of newbies
+ Well-updated with the latest trends
GeneratePress vs Genesis – which is better for you?
Genesis is still the #1 pick for me but GeneratePress is awesome as well. Both are my favorites but they have a different vibe. Super solid professional (Genesis) vs really well-crafted community theme (GeneratePress). I think you should pick the one with the community you like better. Genesis community is full of pros and A-level coders. GeneratePress feels more like DIY type of folks.
If the site is being developed be A-grade developer, use Genesis. If it’s being done by low-grade developer or a DIY non-programmer, go with GeneratePress. It’s not personal preference…depends on skill, comfort, familiarity. But both can work either way…since Genesis does have some incredibly polished child themes (for newbies), and likewise GeneratePress can also be hardcoded from scratch by A-grade developers.
The more skill you have, the less limited you are by the theme and community. But if you don’t have so much coding skill, then you should choose the community that fits more of your workflow style. Pick GeneratePress if you want to DIY with a pagebuilder and ask for help to create certain effects. Pick Genesis if you want to start with a publish-ready child theme and then ask for help to customize little bits of it.
Use GeneratePress if:
- You don’t want to pay anything.
- You’re a newbie or non-coder and love to DIY.
- You’re a low-grade/limited developer just trying to finish sites quickly.
- You like being in a community of newbies and pagebuilders.
Use Genesis if:
- You don’t mind paying $60 for the framework.
- You’re an experienced programmer who can code things from scratch, OR you don’t mind paying another $90 for a child theme.
- You’re building super professional, high-end websites.
- You like being in a community of experienced developers and programmers.
Haha, just 2 days after my comment a full blown and great article on the topic! Thank you very much, this is really helpful 🙂
It’s reassuring to know, that you can’t really go wrong with GeneratePress for most “basic” projects.
“GeneratePress got popular because of the owner’s quality of code..”
GP’s documentation was advocating a method other than wp_enqueue_scripts + wp_enqueue_style for loading Font Awesome until I pointed it out to them.
They then fixed https://docs.generatepress.com/article/font-awesome/.
That did not give me much confidence about that theme doing things the right way. Never used it after that.
I might have to agree with you, my friend. GP’s success is mostly due to Tom’s great personality and really helpful/friendly vibe. Maybe the code is not as strict/sensible as we all would like and for all I know, he might be catering more to a noob-market but I do agree with you!!
I use both GeneratePress and Genesis, and my only knowledge of how to change anything at all comes from either asking the community or searching for answers with Google. For non-coders who want to change or tweak the theme, GeneratePress is hands down the best. For almost any question I have, I can google it followed by GeneratePress and get a page full of answers. Go on the forum and get an answer in no time, followed by glad to help. Not so much with Genesis child themes. Seems like most of the answers need to be paid for on membership sites? I’ve used Genesis themes for several years, and in the last year there is virtually no real support on the studio press forum. If I get an answer at all, it takes days or weeks?? And that’s a fact, right there. Definitely a noob here…
There are definitely other Genesis communities out there. The devs are hiding from the non-coders, lol. I think GeneratePress is probably better for you if you’re doing serious DIY. But if you’re willing to hire, Genesis has many incredible developers in the community.
Thanks Johnny for this article, I’ve been using Genesis framework for a while, but I changed, migrating to GenratePress, because it’s so easy to set up and very fast
So happy for you! Did you see my recent GeneratePress review post?
Have You tried this beauty –> https://wordpress.org/themes/suki/
I suggest You to try it and make some performance Testing. You will be blown away…. Guaranteed 🙂
Thanks for sharing this with me. It looks like a lot of fun. Do you have any production sites on it? I already have many opinions by just clicking through things. Feels like a mix of GeneratePress (one-man vibe), WP Astra (design/UI), and OceanWP (business model).