Theme choices for M2

Hi all, what themes are you all using? I’ve been using Ultimo with M1 for years, but I’ve found it a bit of a disaster with M2, it doesn’t seem to be being updated anymore. Not sure if the developers have given up with it? Not keen on Porto as I have tried that in the past.

What I’m looking for is plenty of features and lots of back end configuration options like you used to get with Ultimo. Been looking at Athlete theme, but I would need to change it considerably to fit the ‘feel’ of my site (which isn’t necessarily a problem if it’s the right theme!)

It does feel like some of the M1 theme developers couldn’t get their head around the new M2 structure and therefore stopped rolling out updates.

I’m still a huge advocate of Porto. Is it perfect? Nope. Does it get me 90% of the way there? Yes. I haven’t purchased anything new in a long time, so I can’t speak for any other rising stars.

You’re gonna have to do that with any theme. The closer the “stock” version is to your own vision, then higher the chance someone else is already utilising that design. I hope that makes sense.

I haven’t had any major issues with porto. I began development with Ultimo and really liked their theme, but they quit supporting it. Luckily, I wasn’t too far in to dev work with ultimo and I then chose to use porto. I have helped them resolve a few bugs. Most of the custom work besides color and very basic layout stuff will have to be done in a custom css file, but it really is pretty easy. It just takes time.

I will give Porto another go, it’s been about 4 years since I last used it, I just think it looks a bit dated. I’ll style it as necessary and see where we’re at after! Really disappointed with Ultimo being let slide by the developers as I love working with that theme, but never mind, onwards and upwards!

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That’s the attitude! The thing that I like about porto is that it is probably one of the most popular if not the most popular themes, so if you are adding extension/modules to magento you’re likely not to run in to any issues on the frontend as a lot of devs test against porto because it is so popular. I’m sure there are better coded and organized themes out there, but I think it is hard to beat. I’ve had good communication with the “help” through their ticketing system. I’m always very nice to them though :slight_smile:

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Question(s) from an absolute beginner:
What do the purchased themes have extra compared to the standard LUMA theme?

Is the LUMA theme quickly not sufficient enough for a simple website?
On what level is it not sufficient and rises the need for a purchased template?

Is it difficult to just change colors, logo/pictures, etc in LUMA to have the feeling of your corporate identity?

Depends on the Theme that you choose. Some are very bare-bones, whilst others allow you to easily customise designs.

Luma is a great starting point to “build off”, if you’re familiar with Frontend Design.

This depends on your own requirements. You won’t be able to answer that until you really break it in.

Some of these are just settings in Magento or can be achieved with Blocks and Widgets. Others would require some element of Frontend Design.

I have not gone through my third design for our current M2 build. It is still in dev. I started with ultimo, they quit supporting so I moved to porto. I did this and I was happy with the look, however upon taking a look at speed metrics once the site was done I found the porto is massively wasteful. After weeks and weeks of trying to get this better I decided to try my hand at manipulating Luma into what I needed. So for this has been the best design choice I have made. It will be easier on upgrades and I will not have to rely on anyone to continually keep the template updated.

My design choices, while they look like a lot, are a few simple css changes. It’s impressive what 20-30 lines of css can do. The site is much quicker, provides much better scores in speed test results, and will be much more compatible with 3rd party modules as well. In my eyes, this is the best way. I had never created a “theme” before. If you can follow some directions online and have a little css experience then you should be good. Yes, you’ll need patience as well.

Best thing I ever did for speed with M1 & M2 was to use Litespeed server, it’s pricey if you need the unlimited tier, but great if somebody else is paying! Page loading times are ridiculously quick.

Definitely! Once you’ve finished building your Porto store, you essentially have to go back in and gut everything else out and optimise it.

If I were to build another project from the ground up and I had a bigger team, I’d probably build off of Luma too. Premade themes are just convenient.

I get asked about this all of the time but I’ve never used it. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison over 30 days of metrics using “real world” data on a high traffic site. I don’t give to much attention to “lab test” results.

Granted, this goes for the amount of customization you need, but it really only took about 1-2 days to get my site 90% back to where it was with porto (aesthetically). With that said, dealing with porto taught me a lot.

That’s pretty quick. Fair play!

I’ve never done any testing other than what it feels like to use, page load, speed of layered nav filterig etc. I only use GTmetrix to pick up any serious config issues, the page load speed never seems to reflect what I get in the real world on GTMetrix with any site I build. Once the cache has been generated with Litespeed it just flies.

I know I could Google this… But what does Litespeed do? Is it fast at Caching, Processing Apache Requests or something like that?

EDIT: Ok, I did a quick Google. So, it’s an Apache/Nginx replacement. Doesn’t appear very well documented and that would scare me to death - If something went wrong, I’d need to be able to research the answer within moments.

haha. I was surprised as well. It was one of those scenarios where everything can go wrong and take forever to work out, but for some reason it just seemed that everything worked like I wanted it to. I haven’t been able to work on it for a couple weeks as it has been SUPER busy since covid hit and I find pockets of time here and there to work on it. I hope to get more time this weekend.

Pockets of time are the worst - Because you forget what you were doing, then spend an hour trying to retrace your steps before doing anything productive. We we’re talking about this on Wednesdays stream (cheeky plug :slight_smile: )

I 100% agree. I usually work on a particular aspect of something until I finish. This means really late nights sometimes.

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There’s not really a lot to go wrong or configure to be honest. What I like is that you can enable the caching for just 1 IP address, so if you have to deploy it on a live site you can work through any bugs without customers being inconvenienced. With Ultimo there are just a couple of template files to be excluded as they break, other than that it’s really plain sailing.

Famous last words :rofl: