OceanWp is a free multi-purpose WordPress theme that has tons of premium features.This theme was added to the WordPress themes repository in April 2017. It has more than 7,000 active installs and a five-star rating. Additionally, it is fully compatible with top performing page builders like Elementor, Visual Composer, Beaver Builder and, Divi builder. Besides that, it is WooCommerce and multilingual ready. This theme comes with demos in different niches that you can import with one click. In this review, we will go over the ins and outs of the theme.
Considering the fact that this is a free theme, I must say that this theme is packed with premium features. This is a list of the features that offers:
- Lite weight theme resulting in fast page loading time
- Theme options are integrated into the WordPress Customizer. Consequently, you get a live preview of all the changes that you apply.
- Control displaying the different sections in the WordPress Customizer. This comes really handy as the WordPress customizer might be slower when it is stuffed with many options.
- The integrated mega menu, allowing you to create multi-layer menus.
- Control the page options for every page
- 13 Free demos
- Multilingual-ready with RTL support
- Fully compatible with Elementor, Visual Composer, Beaver Builder and, Divi builder
- A premium extinction pack that includes 8 plugins. We will cover each plugin individually later in this review
Installing and configuring
You can find this theme on the WordPress theme repository. To install and activate it on your site, navigate to Appearance -> Themes then click on the Add New button and search for OceanWP. Now click on install and once it completes installing you click the Activate button.
Once you activate the theme you will see a nitification message offering getting the Ocean Hooks extention for free.
I recommend that you download and install the Ocean Hooks extension as it allows you to add custom content without using a child theme.
You will also see a notification message to install and activate the Ocean Extra plugin. This plugin adds features to the theme such as enabling and disabling the different customizer sections, Import and export the theme setting, and a panel to activate the premium extensions. Additionally, you can control displaying/hiding the sidebar on any page or post and even change the layout.
Once the Ocean plugin is activated you will see a new menu item on your WordPress dashboard “Theme Panel“. If you navigate to the Theme Panel you have the option to enable/disable the customizer panel, add your logo, favicon, control your header and footer options, etc. At the bottom of the page, you will see a link to OceanWP’s Youtube channel that includes video tutorials on how to use the different features in the theme. You will also find some links to documentation article and a link to ask for support.
Under the Theme Panel, you will find a sub-menu item called My Library. From there you can create a custom header template, footer template, etc. You can watch this video to have a better understanding of how templates work.
From the Theme Panel -> Scripts & Style, you can control the different CSS and JS code that controls the different features in this theme. For example, you can enable/disable the Meha Menu feature from there. This helps to improve the loading speed of your website.
From the OceanWP Importer & Exporter page, you can export the customizer settings to be imported to another website running Ocean WP.
The Rec. Plugins menu item takes you a page where you can download the Ocean WP recommended plugins. Some of the plugins there are free like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7 , and Yoast SEO. Other plugins are premium ones like Slider Revolution, Visual Composer, and Gravity Forms. It is worth mentioning that you don’t need to install any of the recommended plugins for OceanWP to function properly. One last thing, some of the links to purchase premium plugins are affiliate links. As Nicolas (the developer behind OceanWP) is offering the theme for free, I strongly encourage you to buy the premium plugins using these links as this will help Nicolas in making OceanWP even better.
The last menu item under the Theme Panel is Extensions, where you can activate the free extension plugins for Ocean WP like the Ocean Demo Import plugin that allows you to import demo content to your website. It also offers premium extension plugins like Ocean Portfolio that allows you to add portfolio items to your website.
At the time of writing this post Ocean WP offers 13 demos to choose from. To import the demos you need to install and activate the Ocean Demo Import plugin. Navigate to Theme Panel -> Extentions and find the Ocean Demo Import plugin and click on the install button then activate it.
Navigate to Theme Panel -> Install Demos. You will see all the available demos, choose the demo that you want to import and click on the Install button.
Note that you will want to activate the required Ocean WP extensions for every demo. Here is where you can check which extensions are required for each demo.
It is always nice to have the theme customization options integrated into the default WordPress editor as it allows you to see a live preview of the changes you applied.
On your WordPress dashboard navigate to Appearance -> Customize, you will find the default customizer option along with many other customization options coming from Ocean WP.
To change the logo, simply navigate to Header -> Logo and upload your logo.
Similarly you can customize the different theme elemets such as the header, foorter and sidebar.
Core extensions bundle
Ocean Wp offers a premium extension bundle that includes 8 plugins. The price of the bundle is $79. The author claims that this is more bang for your bucks. So let’s see what functionalities do these plugins add to the theme.
- Portfolio is an extension that allows you to add a portfolio to your site. You can display your portfolio on any page using a short code. Aditionally, the portofolio has a filter bar.
- Woo Popup is a WooCommerce extension that allows you to have a customized message that shows when clicking on the add to cart button.
- The Sticky Footer plugin allows you to customize your footer. You can add a menu in the footer bar or text and customize it’s color
- Ocean Hooks is an extension that allows you to use short codes and add code to your theme to control that different theme elements without the need to create a child theme.
- Elementor Widgets is an elemento extension that adds new widgets to the builder.
- Side Panel is a plugin that allows you to add a highly customizable sidebar to your website.
- The Sticky Header plugin offers adding a header to your website where you can design seperate headers for desktops and mobiles. You also get to customize the color, the height of the header during scroll, and other attributes.
- With the Footer Callout you can add a section on the top of your footer that includes any message you want.
You are free to add a link or a call to action button there.
One of the strong points of OceanWP is that it is compatible with many of the page builders; allowing you to choose your favorite page builder to build your website.
If you are planning to build an eCommerce site, this theme is a solid choice as it is fully compatible with the well-known WooCommerce plugin and includes eCommerce demos.
Despite the fact that Ocean WP is a light weight theme, it is compatible with performance optimization plugins such as WPRocket.
This theme is a multilingual-ready theme. So, if you are planning to translate your website to a language or more, you shouldn’t encounter any compatibility issues.
Building multilingual websites using OceanWP theme
Ocean WP follows the WordPress internationalization standards, thus you can translate the different theme elements into any language you want. It is compatible with WEGLOT and the well-known WPML. It also comes with the German, French, Norwegian, Dutch, and Slovenian.
Documentation and support
The documentation is divided into four main sections:
- Getting Started, where you can find detailed instructions on how to import the demo content and customize the different theme parts.
- Extensions, this section has articles that explain how to use the extensions.
- Developer Doc, has advanced topics such as using hooks and altering the main sidebar display.
- FAQs, this section includes topics related to licensing and the terms and conditions.
As Ocean WP is available on the WordPress themes repository you will get free support by visiting the support forum page. If you purchased one of the premium Ocean WP extensions or the extensions bundle your support ticket will be prioritized as you have an active license. this theme Offers two support packages. The first package provides you with 3 months of prioritized support for $29. The second package provides one year of prioritized support for one year for $99. If you ask me, I think that it is a bit overpriced as the average pricing of premium themes is $70 including one year of support.
I must say that this theme is one of the best free WordPress themes that I have seen so far. The theme is packed with tons of features, you can even add more features to it by getting the extensions bundle. If you are looking for a free theme for your next project I highly recommend that you give OceanWP a try.
If you are already using this, share with us your experience with it in the comments section.