How to Optimize GeneratePress for Core Web Vitals [100% Solved]

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GeneratePress is one of the fastest themes and I am sure that people who know a thing or two about site speed know that.

GeneratePress has a solid team behind it. I try not to contact their support often but when I do, I get all the help that I need.

You can install GeneratePress on 500 domains for only $59 a year and you don’t really need to do much to pass core web vitals with it.

I am writing this for the folks who use GeneratePress and monetize their content with Adsense, Ezoic, Mediavine, AdThrive and any other Display Ads Networks

Optimizing GeneratePress is not that hard.

Ezoic vs GeneratePress

Recently the Ezoic team released a speed tool and within it you can find a section called technologies.

The section just states that they don’t recommend the GeneratePress theme and they suggest switching to some alternatives.

The message in the Ezoic Dashboard says “25% of domains using this technology perform significantly worse than the average site

ezoic

Ezoic users who know nothing about site speed can start spreading ignorance as soon as they read those type of recommendations

Ezoic also dedicated a post to GeneratePress telling user to do two things:

  1. Use another theme
  2. Activate EzoicLeap

The first one is the laziest approach to site speed and the second is an attempt to present Ezoic LEAP as the new speed savior.

GeneratePress vs Alternatives

If you are using Ezoic, get a demo site of the theme alternatives found in the technologies tab and run some tests in GTMetrix to check how fast they load and the number of requests they load in each page.

I tested a few and this is what I got:

#ThemeURL TestedRequests
1FotoPost40 Requests
2SustyHomePage3 Requests
3ZakraPost36 Requests

These are the thoughts of some of the themes found in that list.

  1. Foto has 40 requests despite being a minimalistic theme. The demo doesn’t pass core web vitals on mobile
  2. Susty looks like a word document shared online. The demo passes core web vitals on mobile and desktop
  3. Zakra has a lot of demos and looks good. It creates 36 requests.The demo doesn’t pass core web vital on mobile

You can run some more tests and you can make your own conclusions.

To be fair with the developers of such themes, you can optimize them to make sure they load fast.

Let’s Optimize GeneratePress

If you monetize your site with ads, you need to have a fast website, you want people to have a good experience while they are checking your content.

If your site loads fast, people might continue reading the rest of your content therefore they will see more ads and you will probably make more money.

This is my way to have a fast loading website with GeneratePress.

Fast and Secure Hosting

You need cloud hosting to make your site fast, I have been using a $10 plan with Cloudways and I have 10 websites in it. That is $1 per site.

Pretty affordable don’t you think?

The reason why my small server can handle 10 sites really well is because I enabled CloudFlare Full Page Caching for sites with Adsense Ads.

If you use Ezoic, you can’t use CloudFlare APO or CloudFlare Full Page Caching so stick to Ezoic caching if you want to live.

Ezoic caching is pretty good. I have no complaints.

Install the Necessary Plugins

I try to have no more than 10 plugins in my WordPress installation:

PluginsReason
Ad InserterTo Place Ezoic and Adsense Ads
CloudFlareClear the cache at the CDN Level
GenerateBlocksI use it to create pages, not posts
GP PremiumTo use all features from GeneratePress
PerfMattersNecessary to optimize WordPress sites
SEOPressUseful to optimize your site for search engines
Table of Contents PlusTo create a Table of Content
Simple URLsNecessary to create pretty links
Code Snippets To add functionalities to your site
WP Show PostsTo show posts on my Homepage

These are my comments about those plugins.

  1. Ad Inserter won’t load Jquery on your site if you don’t use their sticky widgets.
  2. CloudFlare is useful to clear the cache when I update a new post, specially when you use full page caching.
  3. GenerateBlocks is useful to create pages, sometimes I use it for headings.
  4. GP Premium is there to make GeneratePress better.
  5. Perfmatters is a plugin that you should have.
  6. SEOPress doesn’t add any requests to your WordPress site.
  7. Table of Contents Plus add some requests but I have some tricks for that.
  8. Simple URLs doesn’t add any requests to your WordPress site
  9. Code Snippets doesn’t add any additional requests to your WordPress Site
  10. WP Show Posts add requests but you can load these where you need them with the help of PerfMatters

You might not need all those plugins or you might need other plugins not mentioned in the list, make sure that those plugins don’t add requests to your site.

If they do, worry about the JS and styles they add or use lighter alternatives.

Also remember that you can’t blame GeneratePress for the plugins you install and the scripts and styles they load.

GeneratePress Optimization

These are some of my recommendations to optimize GeneratePress

Don’t display featured images to get rid of a CSS request related to that functionality.

You can do that by going to layout, blog, single and posts in the theme customizer and unticking these two options.

Don’t use the sticky menu because it requires JQuery and you don’t want JQuery and JQuery migrate loading on your site.

I read in the GP forum that the GeneratePress team is working in a solution for this in case you want to use sticky navigation without relying on JQuery.

If you want a sticky simple sticky navigation, you can do that with a few lines of CSS.

Don’t activate the off Canvas Panel to avoid additional CSS requests in the front-end of your site

If you don’t have really good uses for the widgets in the footer, get rid of it and don’t activate the back to top button.

You can create a footer using the elements feature in GeneratePress. That’s what I do.

Don’t activate the smooth scroll functionality if you don’t want more requests to be added

There is nothing wrong with those features, if you wanna trim as much as you can from those tests, you can keep all of that deactivated.

It is pretty simple.

GenerateBlocks and GeneratePress: Inline CSS

If you are going to use CloudFlare Full Page Caching or Ezoic Cloud Caching, inline the CSS generated by GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks so you don’t see two additional requests in your speed tests.

This is the option to inline all the CSS generated by GenerateBlocks and GenerateBlocks Pro

And this is the option to inline all the CSS generated by GeneratePress and GP Premium

Inlining will make your HTML grow a tiny bit but it is not going to kill your speed.

WordPress and Perfmatters

Let me be clear that these are not problems caused by GeneratePress or GenerateBlocks.

These are speed problems causes by WordPress.

With Perfmatters, this is what I do.

Disable Emojis
Disable Embeds
Disable Dashicons
Remove JQuery Migrate
Remove Unused CSS

GeneratePress and PerfMatters

We have only four requests generated by GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks.

RequestsPlugin
main.min.jsGeneratePress
style.min.cssGeneratePress
main.min.cssGeneratePress
navigation-branding-flex.min.cssGeneratePress

The rest of requests that you might see in speed tests if you follow my recommendations are pictures, embedded videos or requests created by other plugins you use.

If you want to blame GeneratePress, you can only blame those four requests however those four requests won’t prevent you from passing core web vitals.

If you don’t want to see those requests, optimize these assets with the help of PerfMatters.

Perfmatters has a lightweight feature to remove the unused CSS from the styles you can’t get rid of.

Perfmatters also has the option to delay and defer scripts so you don’t have to worry about them either.

Should I use Optimization Plugins?

If you use Mediavine or Ad Thrive, they will probably tell you to use Perfmatters, WP Rocket, CloudFlare APO, NitroPack etc.

If you are using Ezoic ads, they will probably tell you to get rid of caching plugins and other optimization tools because they have Leap.

If you are happy with Leap, use it well and stop blaming GeneratePress

Passing Core Web Vitals

You can test any of the posts in this website and you will confirm that they pass core web vitals without a problem.

This is the screenshot to show that this demo of GeneratePress passes Core Web Vitals on Desktop.

Now it is the turn of the mobile version of the site. The mobile version is usually the one that gives more problems to WordPress users.

Can we blame GeneratePress or GenerateBlocks for slowing down your site?

Absolutely not. That’s on you and your bad decisions

GeneratePress was not the issue here.

If you still have issues, identify what they are and tackle them one by one.

Ads and No Ads

I have sites with no ads, sites with Adsense and sites with Ezoic ads in the same server, with the same plugins and with the same optimizations.

I am 500% sure that GeneratePress is not the problem.

  • Sites created with GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks pass core web vitals without a problem.
  • Sites created with GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks and Adsense ads pass Core Web Vitals without a problem.
  • Sites created with GeneratePress and GeneratePress with Ezoic ads can pass core web vitals but you have more obstacles.

If you don’t believe that, create a copy of a website with Ezoic ads, apply some of the recommendations and optimizations from above and you will see the difference between a site without ads and a site with ads.

Do you want a 100 in Speed Tests?

All ads slow down sites. Period.

If you want to see a 100% on mobile and desktop, you gotta apply tricks like delaying, deferring or lazy loading ads.

If you have ads on your site and see 100 scores on mobile, you can be 100% sure that a trick was applied to your site at the server or at the CDN level.

Run several tests on Google Page Insights and check those snapshots or run Google page speed test using the Chrome Inspect tool so you have a better concept of reality when we talk about speed and speed tests.

More about Optimization

I hope that you found this guide about how to optimize GeneratePress useful

These are some posts about how to speed up wordpress sites

  1. How to Use Flying Scripts to Speed up Your WordPress Site
  2. CloudFlare Full Page Caching and Ezoic
  3. How to Use CloudFlare Full Page Caching With WordPress
  4. How to Improve the Page Speed of your Adsense Sites
  5. How to Disable CloudFlare Caching
  6. WP Rocket and Ezoic Ads
  7. Optimizing WordPress Sites with Autoptimize
JM

Sobre Jose Manuel

I am José Manuel. I am writing about things I know and things that I am learning about WordPress. I hope you find this blog useful.