If you’ve ever browsed the WordPress.org free theme directory, you might’ve noticed the Neve theme, which sits near the top of the Popular list, is active on over 30,000 sites, and has a perfect 5-star rating. The core theme is free, and the developer recently released a premium add-on that tacks on even more functionality. In our Neve theme review, we’ll go hands-on and show you around this theme. Neve just had a big new release – 2.0 – so even if you’ve checked out the theme before, you still might find something new in this review.
In general, Neve is customizable, integrates well with page builders like Elementor, and gives you a performance-optimized foundation that will help your WordPress site load fast.
Let’s dig in…
Neve Theme Review: A Quick Overview
Neve brands itself as “a lightweight theme built for speed in the new WordPress era [of page builders]”. And that’s a pretty good idea of what you get with Neve.
It all starts with a lightweight focus – out of the box, Neve comes in at just 200 KB on a fresh WordPress install (including WordPress itself).
Then, it aims to offer easy customization via the native, real-time WordPress Customizer. You’ll be able to customize your site’s layout, header, style, etc. all using simple interface controls and a live preview of your site.
Neve also offers a variety of pre-built demo sites that you can import with a few clicks, and it integrates great with page builders like Elementor for even more design control.
Another nice thing about Neve is its mobile-first design. While pretty much every WordPress theme is responsive nowadays, Neve puts a greater focus on mobile design, even going as far as to bake in native support for Google AMP.
Some Examples of the Neve Demo Sites
I won’t show you every single importable demo site, but let’s run through a couple examples so you understand what Neve can do (and what you can import with a few clicks).
First, there’s the Neve restaurant demo, which offers a big full-width image:
The travel agency demo keeps that same basic approach, but adds some additional CTAs:
For those demos, I’d recommend clicking through to the actual demo site so that you can see the full design, rather than just the above-the-fold content. While the above-the-fold design is similar for each demo site, there’s a lot of different stuff going on underneath.
Neve Theme Review: Eight Key Features
Now, let’s go hands-on with Neve and I’ll show you some of the high points…
1. Lightweight, Performance-Optimized Design (Including AMP Support)
As I mentioned above, Neve is quite lightweight and ready to load your site fast. When I tested things on a fresh WordPress install, the entire site with Neve had just 200KB and 11 requests (that includes WordPress itself).
Additionally, Neve also has something up its sleeve to help your site load fast for mobile visitors – built-in AMP support via the official/free AMP plugin.
2. Header and Footer Builder
Your header and footer play a key role in your site, especially if you’re planning to use a page builder to design your core content.
Here, Neve has a really neat approach to let you build your desktop and mobile header using drag-and-drop. I haven’t seen any other theme implement a header builder in this way, and I think it’s quite slick.
Basically, inside the WordPress Customizer, you’ll get the drag-and-drop interface below, as well as widgets for:
- Logo & Site Identity
- Primary Menu
- Menu icon
- Search Form
- Search Icon
- Secondary Nav
All the widgets above are free, but the Pro version of Neve gives you a bunch more widgets, too.
For example, if you want to add a dedicated “Contact Me” button, all you need to do is drag the button widget and customize it. You can also use drag-and-drop to change the width of items:
You can also use a similar interface to design your footer.
All in all, this header/footer is a really helpful, unique feature.
In addition to new widgets, the Pro add-on plugin also adds additional header options like:
- Transparent menus
- Page header builder
- Social icon component for the header builder
3. Importable Demo Sites
While it’s totally fine to build your site from scratch using Neve’s options, you can also skip that process and import demo sites with just a few clicks.
Most of these sites are built with Elementor, though the Original layout also comes in a Gutenberg block editor version if you’d prefer that approach.
At the time that I’m writing this Neve theme review, Neve offers 10 different demo sites:
- Vet Center
- Energy Panels
- Travel Agency
You can preview any demo site by clicking on it. And importing it is also super simple – you just click the Import button. Neve will then give you options for what to import, which is helpful if, for example, you don’t want to import the actual content:
4. Compatible With Page Builder Plugins (Like Elementor)
In addition to demo sites built with Elementor, Neve is just generally built to be compatible with all WordPress page builders.
What makes a theme “compatible” with page builders?
Basically, Neve gives you page-level options to control the page builder canvas for each piece of content on your site. You can change:
- The container width
- Whether to use a sidebar, and which side it should be on
- The exact content width
And you can also disable a few key elements:
- Featured Image
5. Lots of Layout Options
To customize how your site looks, Neve comes packed with tons of different layout options in the WordPress Customizer.
For example, if you wanted to change the layout of your blog archive page, you could quickly switch between:
- List with featured image on the same side
- List with alternating featured images
You can also enable/disable specific metadata for each post:
Similarly, you can also choose the sidebar layout for specific pieces of content:
All those options above are free, but the Pro add-on plugin also gives you even more control over layouts (more on this in a second).
6. Detailed WooCommerce Compatibility
If you want to create an eCommerce store, Neve comes with full WooCommerce compatibility.
In addition to offering cohesive styling for WooCommerce content right out of the box, the Neve Pro add-on plugin gives you access to the WooBooster module which adds a bunch of new features like:
- Wishlist functionality
- Multiple shop layouts
- Distract-free checkout
- Product videos
For example, you’ll be able to easily configure your checkout page right from the WordPress Customizer:
7. Booster Features (Pro)
You already saw the WooCommerce Booster feature above, but the Neve Pro add-on plugin also comes with other booster features for your header and blog, as well as an Elementor Booster if you opt to use the Elementor page builder.
For example, the Blog Booster gives you new options to showcase:
- Author bio
- Related posts
- Sharing icons
8. White Label (Pro)
If you’re a developer, the Pro version also gives you the ability to white-label Neve to present it as your own theme:
Neve Theme Review: Pricing
The core Neve theme is available for free at WordPress.org.
Then, the Pro add-on plugin has three different plans, each of which affects the features that you get and how many sites you can use Neve on:
- Personal – $39
- Business – $59
- Agency – $99
Neve Theme Review: Final Thoughts
Neve is one of the new breeds of WordPress themes that focus on giving you a lightweight, customizable foundation and integrating with WordPress page builders like Elementor to control the actual content of your pages (or even Gutenberg, which Neve does well with the Otter Blocks plugin from the same developer).
If that’s the approach you like, Neve excels. It’s fast and lightweight, comes with tons of WordPress Customizer controls, and integrates perfectly with page builders. You can also speed it up further with the Optimole plugin from the same developer, which automatically optimizes your site’s images.
It also has unique features, like that user-friendly header/footer builder. And if you purchase the Pro add-on plugin, you’ll get all those “Boosters” to unlock even more functionality for your header, blog, and WooCommerce content.
The core theme is listed for free at WordPress.org, so give it a spin and see if Neve is right for you: