We recommend the Twenty-seventeen default theme for speed. Even for year 2021.

You may have expected us recommending something more esoteric. Or perhaps a *premium* theme. It may seem an evasion – or path of least resistance. Not so.

The main reasons for using this free theme are:

It’s WordPress endorsed. They are the biggest theme author and theme publishing company in the world. The future longevity of this theme is excellent. It will be updated and kept current for many years. It won’t be abandoned or sold.

2We torture tested the pre-release back in October 2016 – and continue testing it even today. It’s fast for mobile – even when abused with sloppy design practices that bloat most sites. If a site is slow using this theme, it’s not the theme’s fault. It’s something else. It has potential most people don’t realize.

Pages are a classic one-column layout suitable for modern mobile business sites (not a blog format with sidebar). The parallax, front-page, sectional, featured images can be used or not. It has flexibility.

With a little imagination, using color-depth-limited GIF images allows big-screen graphics to look “grand scale.” Yet, still be fast loading. This is a standard-issue theme with uncommon mobile adaptation.

It works well for responsive mobile screens. It does require planning and creativity for the fall-back header image.

Don’t hesitate or be embarrassed using this free theme. While one person at Automattic designed it, a team of 103 contributors put many hours into reviewing and tweaking it. It had a high price tag for WordPress to produce it.

So just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s cheap.

Twenty-seventeen Default Theme Tips

Read our torture-test results of this popular free theme.

Don’t get locked in for recurring *annual renewal* theme memberships. Save your money.

The Twenty-seventeen Torture-tested Themes ebook contains honest and common-sense reporting and tips about mobile WordPress speed!

What are Torture-tested Themes?
Torture-tested Themes
are ebook-only guides to essential page-speed fundamentals, speed techniques, or deep obsessions on a single aspect of WordPress themes. Whatever the report, you’re only a quick read away from learning vital, practical know-how for faster mobile speed. Popular, premium themes are usually the heaviest loading. You learn alternatives for better speed.

PayPal is a secure SSL-encrypted payment.

Our “Twenty-seventeenreport is 5,783 words.
PDF: 15 pages, 8.5×11 inch, 1.6MB.


THEME.2 $1595


  • Pros and Cons of Twenty-seventeen default Theme.
  • Custom branding Twenty-seventeen theme and it’s affect on speed.
  • The dangers of slow loads with a motion header – and speed alternatives.
  • Our deliberate attempt bloating the page and our surprise at the speed results.
  • Actual before-and-after speed results using cheap, shared hosting.
  • Our report about the out-of-box-experience.
  • Why we think this is a great theme.

About the Author

Steve Teare
Steve Teare, Performance Engineer

Steve Teare researches WordPress speed techniques and methods. Steve’s most valued superpower is creativity.

Site owners need education. Not how to make nice-looking sites. But how not to abuse and ruin WordPress – and thus the Internet itself. Steve’s mission: save the Internet from the approaching WordPress Apocalypse!

Steve’s passion is balancing the perception of speed with color and images. Building for speed stops mobile website abuse. Performance is not just an afterthought, bake it in from the start.


Twenty-seventeen theme is still fast after all these years.

Torture-tested Themes
Speed-mastery reports for WordPress power users.

Get speed tips and instructions. You’re buying our knowledge and expertise. Links to resources are included for your convenience and backup. All open-source downloads are the property of their original authors and protected by GPL licenses. They are endorsed and available from the WordPress plugin directory. We don’t provide support. But we do answer email speed questions for 30 days after purchase.


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