GeneratePress Review: A Page Builder Worth Every Penny?

GeneratePress Logo Dark
Rating
3.8/5
Contents

WordPress is easily the world’s most popular page builder. Just over 65% of the sites using a CMS use WordPress. The problem? WordPress’s theme editor is somewhat limited.

Plugins like GeneratePress seek to solve this problem. 

GeneratePress, similar to OptimizePress, is a page-building platform that tries to fill a gap WordPress doesn’t focus on. While OptimizePress focuses on marketing gaps, GeneratePress focuses on performance. 

Of course, just because you focus on an essential aspect of your site doesn’t mean it will work. In this OptimizePress review, you’ll find out whether you should install it on your website. 

What is GeneratePress?

GeneratePress Home Page

GeneratePress is a WordPress theme that’s been around for six years, focusing on speed and usability. Its made by Tom Usborne, who has more than a decade of WordPress development experience. 

Tom Usborne has been making websites since they were 11 years old. They also have a nice picture of their family on the about page. He shares that waking up every day to work on GeneratePress is a dream come true. 

With six years of experience, GeneratePress has persisted compared to other WP plugins. Claims on this page say that the tool is one of the most stable and best-supported platforms. 

Claims aside, the company has a decent enough reputation online. But long-term success doesn’t necessarily mean things aren’t going downhill, so let’s learn about the latest version of GeneratePress.

Who is GeneratePress best for?

GeneratePress is excellent for people looking for a WordPress theme that emphasizes speed above all else. It is not a page builder, only a WordPress theme with advanced features. 

The GeneratePress WordPress theme comes with a wide range of design options. They offer some of the fastest themes on WordPress, bolstering the original platform with speed improvements. 

However, GeneratePress might not be a good choice for you unless you struggle with page speed issues. It’s not very user-friendly and is ideal for those who know a bit of HTML or coding. 

You can use GeneratePress for some fantastic things if you are a web developer. But if you aren’t a developer looking for a full-page builder, you might consider Beaver Builder for WordPress instead. 

Beaver Builder integrates with GeneratePress if you want to combine speed and design. However, you’ll have to pay extra for the two programs. 

GeneratePress pros & cons

Pros

  • Free version available 
  • No monthly payment structure 
  • Incredibly inexpensive 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • You can install the premium version across 500 websites 
  • There is a bunch of premium modules that make your WordPress more customizable
  • Known for great results according to Google PageSpeed insights
  • Lots of ways to create custom page elements 
  • Built-in schema support 
  • Excellent customer support on the forums 

Cons

  •  The free theme is pretty limited 
  • A good number of premium themes require additional paid software
  • It isn’t easy to find some of the features of this tool
  • Many of these modules aren’t that useful 
  • Technical knowledge required to leverage much of this tool
  • WP default visual editor is used 
  • Tutorials are vague and uninformative 
  • One of the more advanced page builders that is hard to use

GeneratePress pricing and plans 

GeneratePress Pricing Comparison

GeneratePress offers three different plans, with only two appearing in the above image. 

The first plan you get is the yearly plan, which costs $59. The second plan is the lifetime plan, which costs $249. The discounted price you see above is related to their Black Friday sale, so snag it if you want GeneratePress for even cheaper. 

Here’s what you get with the premium plans:

  • Access to 500 items from their site library
  • A theme builder (similar to the block editor)
  • More style controls 
  • An advanced hook system 
  • A secondary navigation bar with sticky navigation
  • Infinite scroll 
  • An advanced layout system 
  • New blog layouts 

The third plan, which is not advertised, is the free plan. You can find the free plan on WordPress.org.

Because these are two vastly different plans, we will look at the free and paid plans as separate entities. 

Installing GeneratePress (the free version)

WordPress Theme Installation Page

Installing the free version of GeneratePress is pretty simple. All you need to do is go to the themes page of your current WordPress installation. 

Once you get to your themes page, click the “add new” button in the upper-left corner. 

Next, you’ll want to search “GeneratePress” on the available search engine. Click “Install” on the first option that appears. 

Search page for WordPress Themes

This gives you access to the free GeneratePress theme. You’ll know you’ve done it right when you see GeneratePress under your appearance tab. 

Using the free version of GeneratePress

Free GeneratePress Theme

 The free version of GeneratePress focuses on four different areas:

  • Site Identity – This links to your standard WordPress site identity features. Here you can change the site title, the tagline, and the size of the logo.
  • Color Options – This lets you change the global color settings for different parts of your website 
  • Typography System – Changes general font settings like the size and the font family 
  • Layout Options – This covers a wide range of navigation, header, footer, and blog settings. 

Many of these free tools are no different than what you get with other free WordPress themes. The “Site Identity” and “Colors” are identical to other WordPress themes. The Typography settings are also similar to other free WordPress themes, letting you change the header and body text across your entire webpage. 

The Layout Options reveal that this WordPress theme does support footer widgets, which let you insert various page elements into your footer. For example, if you have a WP plugin that fits your footer, you can put it there.

GeneratePress shows nothing unique for its free version. The one thing you can say is that it is fast (which is the point). However, it’s not much of an advertisement. 

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much work to look at GeneratePress’s alternative options. Below, you’ll find out more about the premium version of this tool.

Installing the premium version of GeneratePress

GeneratePress premium installation

The premium version of GeneratePress is in plugin form. Instead of installing it directly from the WP plugins page, you need to get it from the order confirmation page on GP.

Once you download it, put it in some folder and pull up your WP plugins screen. From under this menu, click “add new” from the submenu. 

From there, you’ll see an “upload plugin” button. Clicking this brings up another menu to upload the plugin. Click “choose file” from this screen and “install now.”

GeneratePress Installation Steps

After selecting your downloaded file and clicking “install now,” you’ll be brought to the next screen, where you can click the activation button. You’ll be brought back to the plugin screen, where you’ll see it on your list. 

Go back to the appearance tab on your WordPress dashboard and click GeneratePress. You’ll see a new option to enter your license key. Take the key from your order confirmation page and paste it there.

GeneratePress activation key page

You’ll be asked whether you want to receive beta updates after pasting your key. Then, you can click the “update key” button on the right side. You’ll know you’ve done things right when you see “receiving premium updates.” 

From here, you’ll get your choice of different modules to install. We will be reviewing each of these modules individually. If you want to learn more, you can click the documentation button in the upper-right corner. 

Before we get into these modules, let’s explore your different themes. 

Checking out the site library  (theme options)

GeneratePress website library theme options

The first area you are likely to check out is the site library. This holds a variety of multipurpose themes, typically divided into blog sites, eCommerce sites, and general business sites.

There are said to be about 500 pages of themes here. Concerning the three basic categories, there appears to be a large number of them. But some of them require you to integrate third-party plugins. 

Under the page-builder drop-down menu, you’ll find pages built using either Elementor or Beaver Builder. The problem with using these as your starter template is that you’ll need the connected building software for detailed editing. You’ll also have to move your site content to this style, as Elementor and Beaver Builder pages can’t always move your content.  

Thankfully, if you don’t want to use these themes, you don’t have to. Some themes don’t have this connection. However, limiting your themes behind other paywalls can be frustrating when people choose GeneratePress because of how inexpensive it is. 

Reviewing the different premium modules 

Reviewing the premium modules

One of the first things you get to see after installing OptimizePress is a series of modules. Given that there’s almost no direction from OptimizePress on where to start, it makes sense to go here. 

You’ve already seen a few modules from the reading above (i.e., site library and typography module), but these modules bring premium content. So, let’s find out how premium they are. 

Backgrounds module

GeneratePress background module settings

GeneratePress lets you add background images that you usually wouldn’t get to through standard WP. You can find this module under the “customize” menu in the typical WP navigation bar.

This feature is helpful if you want to create a custom background or texture on various areas of your website.

This module lets you change the background of things like your header, body, content, sidebar, and navigation bar. Detailed settings allow you to adjust if the image repeats, the size of the image, and the image position in the background. 

Blog module

Blog module settings configuration

The blog module settings can be found under the layout tab on the WP customization page. These settings let you change how the content appears and different design elements. 

It took me longer than I would like to admit to finding this module. I’m spoiled a bit by other WordPress plugins that separate their things from everyone else’s things. 

These settings provide a bit more customization of how blog posts appear. Here are some examples:

  • Whether to display the entire blog or a segment of the blog (including how long that segment is)
  • How your “read more” label appears (as a button or other text)
  • Whether you display the post date, author, category, or tags
  • Displaying the comment count 
  • Whether you use the infinite scroll (and possibly a button to show more posts)
  • How the featured image appears 
  • Whether you want to show the post in columns (and how many columns appear) 

The technically inclined can even use custom code to modify how these appear. GeneratePress provides some of this code in their documentation. 

Copyright module

This feature lets you change how the copyright symbol appears on the bottom of the screen. You can use “current year” and “copy” commands to display the current year and the copyright symbol. This module provides no other features. 

Dsable elements module

Disable elements using GeneratePress

If you want to remove elements from specific pages, the disable elements module is for you. This might be useful if you want to create a squeeze page and remove the distracting elements (like the header).

You can find this tool by editing any of your pages and going to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. You’ll find it under “layout,” which typically lets you edit your layout settings and what widgets appear. 

 Here’s what you can remove:

  • Top bar
  • Page header or footer
  • Primary or secondary navigation 
  • Featured image

You can also find the menu for these settings before creating new page blocks using GeneratePress. I’ll be taking a look at that a bit later. 

Menu plus module 

Menu Plus Settings GeneratePress

The menu plus module lets you add a bunch of different features. Overall, this module enables you to change how the navigation menu appears. You can find these under the layout section in various areas. 

Below is a breakdown of the different menu modifications you get:

  • Sticky menus refer to headers that follow you around regardless of where you scroll on the page. They can be handy for making it easy for site visitors to switch between pages. They are found under a menu of the same name under “layout.”
  • “Mobile headers” is a setting that lets you change how your header appears on mobile devices. There are a few options to create a more streamlined version of your current header, saving headaches for your mobile users. This is also found under the layout menu under the same name. 
  • Slide-out navigation is a form of off-canvas menu alteration. In this situation, you have a hidden menu that only appears when someone clicks or hovers over a menu icon. 
  • Full-screen overlay navigation is similar to slide-out navigation; only it covers the entire screen. 

This module is also built to be part of the “secondary nav” module, which lets you set up secondary navigation options. 

Spacing module 

The spacing module lets you control the amount of padding, height, and width of various page elements. This module is handy if you want white space or button room on your page. 

You can enhance the spacing on all types of site content. These include headers, menu items, sidebars, footers, widgets, and all forms of content. You can also change the spacing between different containers, which is ideal when using the elements tool. 

WooCommerce module 

As someone who doesn’t pay for WooCommerce, I can’t do this piece full justice. Still, it’s worth mentioning as an essential feature for WooCommerce users. 

This module extends features from the other modules to WooCommerce. So, for example, you can change the typography, padding, colors, and size on various WooCommerce pages (like the product pages). You can also disable elements on your checkout page, creating a distraction-free environment when a customer buys from here. 

Are these modules any good? 

A lot are pretty handy when looking at some of the more basic modules. That being said, there are also just as many that seem lacking. 

Their primary use is to enhance the features of theme customization. So, when you choose a premium theme with GeneratePress, you can make it your own. 

These theme customizer tools do a lot, but I always feel they don’t do enough. This is speaking from the perspective of someone who is used to page-building software. Others do more, and they often do it better. 

GeneratePress does allow further customization through custom HTML. The good news is that you don’t have to pay extra for this feature; it’s just part of the package. But then again, you could already do that with standard WP. 

But there is a benefit to keeping things simple: speed. 

While other page-building tools will focus on fancy design, GeneratePress focuses on speed and usability. This is a departure from other WP developers, who tend to forget the user in making artistic webpages. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine where your priorities are. GeneratePress often attracts business owners needing a fast, simple website with a small handful of advanced customization options. 

Building site elements 

Building site elements with GeneratePress

One element we skipped (because it’s the most important one) is the ability to build site elements. These elements, seen above, are re-usable page elements you can move to different website sections. 

Elements are broken down into type, location, and exclusions. 

The type is generally where they appear on a page, while the location is where they appear on the site (blog vs. home page, for example). Exclusions might consider what pages your site elements don’t appear on. For example, if you create a squeeze page, you don’t want your header to show up here because it will distract your visitor. 

Below, we will go through the different element types in detail. 

Element types 

The type of element dictates where they will appear. These are broken down into multiple segments:

  • Hook – An entire category that hooks content to other content on the page. For example, there is a “hook” for something that appears before or after a page header. 
  • Site header/footer – These sections let you create custom page headers or footers.
  • Page hero – Positioned where you generally see a hero page on the home page.
  • Content template – A general catch-all for content found throughout the page (i.e., blog post templates) 
  • Loop template – It lets you build archive loops using the block editor. This integrates heavily with GenerateBlocks.
  • Post meta template – This lets you generate post meta blocks (dynamic data) that change depending on different factors (i.e., changing the author name and post date data using the same block)
  • Post navigation/archive navigation – This lets you create custom navigation elements for switching between blog posts or page archives.
  • Right/left sidebar – This lets you create a custom sidebar for your page 

The usage type, in this case, applies to where you might generally place these. You can switch between these at will when you get into the element editor. 

You’ll probably find this pretty handy if you are familiar with most of WordPress’s systems. However, the knowledge base doesn’t always show you the best ways to use this data. 

The tutorial is great at assuming you already know some things. GeneratePress was not very comfortable for me as someone who isn’t technically inclined. 

Creating new page elements 

Clicking the “add new element” button will create a new element. To start, you’ll be instructed to pick an element type which gives you four options: 

  • Block – Pulls up the standard block editor  
  • Hook – Pulls up a page where you can insert code and choose where the hook goes
  • Layout – Pulls up a page where you can put in settings for adjusting a layout with a sidebar 
  • Header – Pulls up a tool to create settings for the site header.

Choosing “block” is the only one that immediately throws you into the design. The others will provide you with different settings to work with. Below, we will let you know further details on how you can edit these. 

Blocks

Editing blocks on GP

GeneratePress does not create any design tools. Instead, they focus on tools to help you dictate control of where these display elements appear. With that in mind, we won’t review WordPress’s half of the display editor.

Instead, focus on the display rules tab, which gives you three options for locations, exclusions, and users. 

We’ve already mentioned locations (control where you see the block) and exclusions (control where you don’t). But users will dictate who sees the block. 

For example, if you have member-restricted content, you can limit the users to whoever is logged in. You can also display the element for internal use only, showing it to moderators or administrators. 

Block elements in the bottom-right corner let you control where on the page they might appear. This is identical to the element type section we’ve already reviewed above. 

You can also give yourself internal notes, which might be helpful for self-reminders or messages to your team. 

When adding items to these blocks, GeneratePress provides two additional features: dynamic content and image. 

Adding dynamic content to your blocks

GeneratePress dynamic content and images adding

Dynamic content is one of the more valuable features of GeneratePress. Under these settings, the content changes depending on different on-page factors. It is primarily helpful for blog posting

When you add content, you select from one of four sources:

  • Post content – This pulls the full blog post
  • Post excerpt – This pulls a portion of the blog post
  • Term description – For more general descriptions (like product descriptions)
  • Author description – Displaying the description of the blog author 

If you want to use this outside of your blog, you can use it for other re-usable descriptions. For example, you might paste product descriptions with this content. 

When choosing your dynamic image, you can select the featured image, images from the post (post meta), or author avatar. These are more blog-focused, letting you create things like custom blog excerpts. 

Hooks

GeneratePress website hook creation tool

Hooks connect to other things on your page. In cases where you don’t want to marry them to a header or sidebar, this can be great for customizing your page elements.

However, this particular element addition is only helpful if you want to add custom code. If you want to add a hook that you design using the standard WP editor, you can do this under your block settings. 

Under settings, you’ll see a considerable number of options under the hook drop-down menu. Examples include before or after the header, around navigation blocks, in the comments container, and the sidebars. The general settings also let you exclude PHP and shortcodes and set a priority.

The display rules are identical to those found under your block settings. You can also use the “internal notes” settings to notate the hook or give yourself reminders. 

Layout

Layout creation using GeneratePress

The layout creation section lets you create layout settings that you can apply to different pages. This enables you to control how sidebars, footers, and content appears. 

Your formatting options let you choose between one and two sidebars. You can also choose to have no sidebars. Recall that you can create these sidebars using the block editor. 

The footer settings allow you to control the number of widgets. Through these, you can choose between one to five widgets to display. To add widgets, you can go to your theme’s customize tab. 

The content tab lets you control whether it goes through default padding, no padding, or contained padding. It also allows you to control the content width, which will dictate the amount of padding under your default setting.

Because this isn’t a visual editor, it can be hard to tell how this might be helpful. However, I recommend you play a bit with the customize setting to understand how GeneratePress works with sidebars and footer widgets so you can better understand this. 

Header 

GeneratePress header settings

The header settings let you control how the header appears on your screen. You can also find similar settings under your WP customization screen. 

There are three general settings under the site header tab. The first is whether the header merges with your content. This usually affects how it joins with the navigation bar. 

The bottom setting, navigation location, lets you control where the navigation bar is in relation to the header. Meanwhile, the “retina logo” enables you to upload an image that appears on the header. 

The page hero tab lets you create a hero page with its own settings. The hero page includes all those pages with the text overlaying on a large image (typically found on a landing page for a full website). 

This page lets you control the width of the hero page, whether to include custom element classes, its alignment and padding, the background image, and various text color elements. 

Like other page editing elements, the lack of a visual editor makes this hard to see. But you can overcome this by sticking to the blocks editor.

Is the element module any good?

If you are technically minded, you’ll find the elements access to be great. Moving around your blocks and editing the code behind them by segment is excellent. It’s incredible for saving time, even from a visual editing standpoint. 

But, as you might imagine, this module isn’t for those who prefer visually engaging page builders. 

Those who prefer the visual page-building systems will spend most of their time under the “blocks” element. Even then, the builder is the default WP builder, meaning you won’t find many custom items.

The two custom items let you create dynamic content, but it’s still hard to tell whether you are doing it right. The knowledge base isn’t user-friendly, as it seems to be geared toward people who are already familiar with the WordPress platform. 

That being said, you can definitely put some work into these areas to make a website with a beautiful presentation. But those who focus on design will find themselves beating their heads against a high learning curve. 

Other features worth noting 

GeneratePress has many “behind-the-scenes” features that aren’t easy to visualize. Below, I will go through some of those features, so you know they are there. 

Built-in schema support 

Schema is Google’s SEO categorization system. Website owners can use these to rank for non-standard SEO services. 

For example, there is a schema for recipes, meaning you could rank if someone searches for your recipe. Then, they could find your blog and content, which leads to more site exposure.

GeneratePress has this support built into its system. You won’t have to put extra effort into making a site Google Search can find through non-standard means. 

You’ll still have to handle the scheme formatting, which you can learn more about on schema.org.

Great page speed loading times 

Because of how lightweight it is, GeneratePress is much faster than other tools. The lightweight focus combines performance and design in an excellent package. 

Page builders tend to forget this focus, instead prioritizing design above all else. The page loading speed rate of other builders is slow as a result.

You can get the best of both worlds by combining GeneratePress with Beaver Builder. The two integrate well together but require you to make an extra investment. 

A helpful support forum

GeneratePress support forum

Another thing that makes GeneratePress worthwhile is an active and dynamic support forum. Where online tutorials struggle, online support can help fill in the gaps. 

The forum is active and regularly browed by moderators and customer support staff. As long as you aren’t an absolute butt, you’ll find some help pretty easily on there. 

There are many web developers on there with technical know-how. So, it might be intimidating for some at first, but they are friendly enough if you are friendly enough.

What do users say about GeneratePress?

Other than looking at fellow online reviews, GeneratePress doesn’t have much on it. Trustpilot was the only source I found, only providing it with about five reviews at a 3.6 out of 5. 

With this in mind, I took to Reddit to see a bit more of the public pulse of things. 

Most people love GeneratePress because of its focus on speed and performance. Those with fast loading speed as their top priority stick to GeneratePress, mainly so they can take advantage of better search engine optimization. 

GeneratePress can also be reasonably easy for people with some coding knowledge. The ability to edit nested blocks lets people easily take code and move it about their site.

Most of the people who have negative things to say about its struggle with ease of use. Many customers have taken days to do what page builders do in minutes. 

Among those people who struggle are those who misunderstand the purpose of GeneratePress. It’s not a page builder, which throws some people off quite a bit.

Is GeneratePress worth it? 

GeneratePress is worth it if you have particular needs.

As a reminder: GeneratePress is a WordPress theme. It isn’t a classic page builder like we usually review. While you can do some great site customizations with it, it isn’t for design. 

Instead, it’s for performance and usability. So, you won’t be terribly disappointed if you go into this with these expectations. 

GeneratePress is best if you pay for the lifetime plan with plans to build multiple WP sites. You can use the default themes to make multiple custom pages. All of these are also lightweight themes. 

Some are also built to work with Elementor, but some third-party integration almost always exists. Because of this, the cost of GeneratePress isn’t in its program, but the programs you must get alongside it.

For example, GenerateBlocks, which is found across most of these, is owned by the same company. GenerateBlocks is built to fulfill the visual component of this program. 

So, in asking if GeneratePress is worth it, the answer depends. As a free theme, it’s free and reasonably fast (although not pretty). However, as a premium theme and plugin, GeneratePress is only worth it to those seeking speed and more functionality across WordPress.

GeneratePress Logo Dark
Rating
4.8/5
Starting At
$59.00/year
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Chris Altamirano
Written by:
Chris Altamirano

Chris is a digital nomad. He loves tacos, tech & traveling. His favorite soccer team is FC Barcelona. He created 2BW to help people navigate through the maze of getting online. Learn more about Chris.

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