Avada Theme and Performance is Really Slow! And Forget SEO!

Quick post. The Avada theme is quite possibly the slowest theme I’ve used in a long, long time. I mean sloooow. I cannot recommend this all-in-one theme to anyone after using it for the past 6 months. 

I’m running the theme on a 6gb Pure SSD Hybrid server at WiredTree and my Avada home page was loading at a slow 9 seconds! I had all sliders disabled and all extras and animations turned off. The database was cleaned as well. This testing was done during off peak hours so traffic wasn’t impacting the test.

Nine seconds is an insanely slow page load time for any premium WordPress theme! Google expects, on average, 1-3 seconds for page loading.

In order to speed up Avada, I had to purchase the WP Rocket caching plugin to get the speeds down from 9 seconds to 4.5 seconds ($39/yr). W3 Total Cache and WP Cache only dropped me into the 6-7 second mark.

Next I upgraded Apache to Litespeed (extra $20/mth) at WiredTree because Avada was still too slow. Litespeed  brought me into the 2-3 second page load mark.

Next up was MariaDB with several tweaks to speed it up. That didn’t increase page load times, but it seemed a lot snappier than MySQL in the admin area.

Finally, I tried MaxCDN but saw no noticeable speed improvement so I cancelled it.

After all the improvements, I am now seeing 2.70 seconds blog page loading times.

avada-slow

None of these upgrades, by the way, increased the performance of the Fusion Pagebuilder in the admin area. Building custom pages still took a long time as I jumped back and forth between the home page and admin area to preview changes. Sometimes I found myself waiting 30-60 seconds between minor edits just for the Fusion Pagebuilder to start up and parse the shortcode.

I’m currently looking at jumping back to Studiopress or possibly Thrive themes.

By the way, if you’re wondering why the Avada demo is so fast, it’s because they’ve optimized their demo website with the Autoptime caching plugin and Cloudflare. You can read more about that here.

I also don’t like the fact that you cannot take Avada’s shortcode with you to another theme. If you change themes, all your special page layouts built with the shortcode break and look like gibberish. This is why I’m looking at Thrive. They have an incredible page builder plugin that will work with any theme.

Anyways, in case I didn’t make is clear, Avada Theme is slow! Stay away! I’ve read about some people having 15-25 seconds page load times on shared hosting.

Feb 2017 Update! Avada SEO Ranking Problems

Here’s some more bad news about Avada that I’ve been experiencing. After tracking performance and SEO for well over a year, I can say without a doubt that Avada has cut all our rankings in half. Pages that used to see 550 visits per week on a Studiopress theme are now down to 200 and no amount of on-page tweaking is fixing it.

I blame it on the slowness and amount of inline CSS it was creating before the content even loads. I recently enabled Dynamic CSS in the latest version in Feb 2017 to see if it helps in any way. Fingers crossed.

If you’re thinking about switching for all the layouts and features, be careful because it might tank your SEO in the process.

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