If you build WordPress sites with page builders, you’ve probably come across OceanWP. Along with GeneratePress and Astra, it forms the “Big 3” of popular themes to pair with WordPress page builders. In case you’re not familiar with the WordPress page builder world, OceanWP is a free multipurpose WordPress theme that gives you a ton of control for customizing your site’s design via the real-time WordPress Customizer. Not only that, it’s also blazing fast!
The core OceanWP theme is free and listed at WordPress.org. Beyond that, it also includes a variety of free and premium extensions that can tack on additional functionality.
In our OceanWP review, we’ll share more about what makes this theme so unique and popular.
Why Is OceanWP so Popular?
Rather than spouting off a single opinion, we thought it would be more helpful to share a couple thoughts from users in the Facebook Elementor community. You should notice a common thread through all of them:
Two comments in the Elementor Community Facebook group
Another comment in the Elementor Community Facebook group
Basically, OceanWP’s main draw is that it gives you the power to customize your theme in a very user-friendly, intuitive manner via the WordPress Customizer, including deep support for WooCommerce.
Through this customization, you can either create the framework for content that you design with a page builder, or you can just take more control over your theme in general.
Beyond those controls, OceanWP also includes a variety of free and premium demo sites that allow you to quickly import a premade design, including WordPress Customizer settings and an Elementor template for the landing page.
Through these demos, you can quickly make OceanWP look like this:
OceanWP sports coach demo
Or like this:
OceanWP eCommerce store demo
Or like any of the other demos:
All OceanWP demos
For more power, OceanWP also has free and premium extensions for things like:
- Popup Login
- White Labeling
- WooCommerce Popup
- Sticky Footer
- Modal Window
- Posts Slider
- Ocean Hooks
- Demo Import
- Custom Sidebar
- Elementor Widgets
- Responsive Side Panel (with widgets inside)
- Sticky Header
- Footer Callout
- WooCommerce Product Sharing
- Social Sharing
And all of this comes in a package that’s pretty lightweight compared to most WordPress themes. Which means its great in terms of performance.
How to Import a Demo Site with OceanWP
It’s easier to show you how the Customizer works with an already-built site, so let’s start with a quick look at how easy OceanWP makes it to import a demo site.
Once you install the free Ocean Demo Import and Ocean Extras add-ons from WordPress.org, you can import demo content right from your WordPress dashboard:
How to import an OceanWP demo
Once you finish the demo process, your site should look exactly like the demo.
To customize the homepage design of the demo, you can use Elementor:
OceanWP uses Elementor for the landing pages in its demos
And to customize the rest of your theme, you’ll use the WordPress Customizer.
OceanWP WordPress Customizer Settings
The WordPress Customizer is where OceanWP really shines. Even with very few of the extensions installed, here’s the lengthy set of options that you have:
Full list of Customizer settings
The depth of these options goes way beyond what most regular WordPress themes offer.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Controlling Your Header
One of the areas most page builders still can’t touch is your header…which is why it’s convenient that OceanWP gives you a whole heap of options for controlling your header (and the “Top Bar” above your header – which is what contains the contact information and social profiles in this demo):
Header Customizer settings
Not only can you choose from premade styles, you also got lots of nitty-gritty settings to control how it looks…down to the actual padding that you add to your header for different devices:
Header style and padding
Controlling Your Blog
We can’t cover every single setting, but let’s look at two more…
In the Blog area, you can control everything from the general layout…
Blog layout options
…down to the specific ordering/visibility of various elements and meta information:
Blog details Customizer settings
Controlling Your Site’s Typography
Want to change up the fonts and font colors on your site? No problem, just head to the Typography section, where you’ll be greeted by another lengthy list of options:
You Get Similar Depth In Other Areas As Well
The goal of this section isn’t really to show you every single setting (there are a lot more!). Instead, it’s to give you an understanding of the depth of control that you can expect from the WordPress Customizer and OceanWP.
While it will certainly take you some time to go through all of the settings, you have the power to control pretty much every important aspect of your site without needing to touch any code/CSS directly.
5 Other Helpful OceanWP Features to Make Your Life Easier
Beyond the demos and WordPress Customizer functionality, here are some other standout features of OceanWP that will make your life easier and give you a lot more flexibility when working on your site.
1. Individual Post Controls
With the free OceanWP Extras add-on, you get access to a detailed new meta box on individual pieces of content:
Meta box on individual posts
Through these many options, you can control (in part) the following settings on a per-post or per-page basis:
- Change content layout or sidebar layout
- Disable header or topbar
- Change logo or menu colors
- Disable post/page title
- Disable footer
- Other smaller features
While these controls can be helpful in a variety of niche situations, they’re especially great if you are using OceanWP with a page builder because you can disable elements that would otherwise get in the way of your page builder.
2. Option To Enable/Disable Specific Scripts/CSS
How to disable specific scripts in OceanWP
Basically, this area lets you disable the stuff that you’re not actually using to speed up your site.
3. A Huge Number Of Hooks + Conditionals
Hooks make it easy to insert content into different areas of your site without needing to edit the theme’s code directly. For example, you could use hooks to inject an ad below your post title, or just add general content anywhere else.
Once you get the hang of hooks, they’re super helpful.
And when it comes to hooks, the premium OceanWP Hooks add-on doesn’t disappoint.
It gives you a whole heap of hooks. And the really cool thing is that all of these hooks also let you:
- Only enable the hook content on specific content (like just your homepage)
- Only enable the hook content for specific user roles
OceanWP hooks options
While hooks themselves aren’t unique in themes targeting this niche, the conditional logic and user role targeting is.
4. Deep WooCommerce Integration
Another one of OceanWP’s selling points is its deep integration with WooCommerce. If you have WooCommerce installed on your site, you’ll get a new WooCommerce area in the WordPress Customizer:
OceanWP WooCommerce settings
This isn’t just a few token settings, either. It gets pretty deep – for example, you can even customize the number of upsells and cross-sells on your cart page, as well as enable distraction free cart/checkout:
Detailed cart/checkout settings
5. Lots Of Other Extensions
So far, we still haven’t even touched on many of the other free and premium extensions. But remember – OceanWP also lets you add tons of other helpful functionality.
Check out the full list of extensions here.
In case you’re wondering why there are so many extensions, this is actually a nice approach because it keeps things modular.
Rather than forcing everything into a single theme where you may or may not want all that functionality, OceanWP lets you pick and choose the exact functionality that you want to keep things lightweight.
OceanWP Speed Tests
We were curious to see how OceanWP performed, so we ran a few speed tests. We imported the full Sports Coach demo content on our dev site (which is hosted here at Kinsta) and tweaked a few small things. Elementor is also installed, as recommended by OceanWP.
- We disabled Google Maps from the footer. This is a well-known performance killer and honestly should never be on a home page ever!
- We enabled the Kinsta CDN so that assets would load as fast as possible from wherever we ran the tests.
- We added Google Analytics to more closely mimic a production site.
We then ran five speed tests and took the average.
OceanWP speed test (source: Pingdom)
Wow, 😮 744 ms? That’s pretty great for literally one-click importing the demo content and making three small changes. Remember, with the Scripts and Styles Panel you could easily go through and optimize this some more. But it’s great to know that pretty much right off the bat with OceanWP, you can expect great performance!
How Much Does OceanWP Cost?
The core OceanWP theme is 100% free. And there are also 7 free extensions that you can find at WordPress.org.
If you want the premium extensions, you can either purchase them individually starting at $9.99 each for use on a single site.
Or, if you want access to all 11 premium extensions, as well as all of the Pro Demos, you can purchase the Core Extensions bundle starting at $39 for a single site license.
If you want to read more about why Nicolas, the theme’s developer, decided to go with this payment model, check out his post at Freemius for some backstory.
Give OceanWP A Try – It’s Free
Because most of the core OceanWP functionality is free, you can download OceanWP from WordPress.org and play around with it at no risk to your wallet.
While the premium extensions definitely add helpful functionality, you should be able to get a good grasp of the theme from just the free version. Then, if you like it, you can always add those premium extensions later on.
Now over to you – have you ever used OceanWP? How do you think it stacks up to other multipurpose WordPress themes?