WordPress themes allow us to completely change the look and feel of our website in any way we like, and Astra takes that to a whole new level. It is one of the most popular WordPress themes with its free version gathering over 500,000 active installations. That’s huge! So if you are interested in learning more about the Astra Pro theme and all its functionalities, here is a comprehensive Astra theme review to help you out.
Astra theme is known for its excellent PageSpeed and feature-rich customization. Free Starter Sites bundled with Astra helps you to create a professional website in minutes. Top of that Astra Pro version offers additional value-added features at a lesser price than the competition makes Astra a complete WordPress theme.
Before we go deep into our review of Astra theme, lets first understand, what is Astra.
What is Astra?
Crafted by the talented team of developers over at Brainstorm Force, Astra is one of the best multipurpose WordPress themes on the market.
It strikes a rare balance between style and performance with flexible customization options and powerful integration with popular services and platforms.
The theme gives you access to a rich theme options panel paired with tons of pre-made layouts and compatibility with almost every popular page builder plugin.
But despite being packed to the brim with powerful features and functionalities, the Astra theme is super lightweight, and also well optimized for speed and performance.
However, do you really need the Astra Pro version – especially with hundreds of thousands of users satisfyingly using the free one?
Well, all these types of questions will be answered in our full in-depth Astra Theme Review.
By the end, you will have a detailed insight into what both versions of the theme have to offer, and which one is right for you.
So without further ado, let’s get started:
Astra Theme Review – Astra Pro is Setting New WP Theme Benchmarks
Before we dig deep into our detailed review of Astra theme, let’s first understand, why one should give Astra theme a shot.
Why You Should Use Astra? The Pros!
Astra WordPress theme is available for free, rich in customization, and optimized for performance. What more reasons could you want from a WordPress theme?
However, we will not leave you with some general ideas.
Here are all the big reasons that make Astra a must-have theme for your WordPress website:
# Beginner-Friendly Design Options
It’s easy to spot a good design when you see one! But creating one from scratch is a whole different story. Even if you have advanced page builders at your disposal that require no coding – you at least need to have proper knowledge about UI/UX to conjure up a decent looking website.
Now, even if you are a complete beginner with no designing know-how, you will still be able to create astonishing professional-grade websites using Astra.
To get you started, the theme offers you its bundle of starter sites. It packs in over 100+ professionally designed premade website demos (made with Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy and Gutenberg each) that you can install on your website with a simple click.
It covers multiple niches and various design styles, so you are bound to find something that you like.
On top of that, the theme is compatible with almost every popular page builder plugin. Therefore, if you dislike certain details about the starter site you import, you can easily make tweaks in the layouts to fit your taste.
# Global Customization Settings
And speaking of customization, Astra also includes Global Customization settings. This allows you to make site-wide customizations to your website from a single customization panel inside the WordPress Live Customizer.
Not only that, but the theme introduces tons of customization settings and design options that give you control over almost every aspect of the theme. So with a little time, you can make the theme look exactly like you want it to.
# Responsive Design
The majority of online traffic is moving to mobile which makes it super important for your website to be mobile-ready. Luckily, the Astra theme follows a responsive design language which makes your website mobile-friendly from day one.
So no matter, if a user is viewing your site from a desktop or small-screen mobile phone, you can rest assured that they will get satisfying user experience.
Even during our Astra theme review, we have tested it on some sample site, the responsive design works flawlessly with all the modern WordPress Page Builder plugins.
# E-Commerce Support
Granted there are many eCommerce compatible free WordPress themes on the market, but they rarely deliver good designs and professional aesthetics. But, with Astra, it is completely different.
As you have seen, the Astra theme comes with tons of customization options and ready-to-use premade layouts, including eStore demos. On top of that, with WooCommerce integration, you will be able to set up a full-fledged online store and start your eCommerce business right out of the box.
Astra has been built from the ground up with a focus on speed and performance. WordPress websites that use Astra in comparison to other themes, load faster and have snappier performance.
We have provided a more detailed look at how Astra manages to deliver these blazing fast speeds in the following section.
One of the key USP (Unique Selling Point) for Astra is its super-fast performance. But on the contrary, multipurpose WordPress themes are notorious for their bulky size which slows down PageSpeed.
So is it all talk and no substance?
Well, Astra does use three awesome measures to ensure optimized performance and quick load time.
For starters, it requires less than 50KB of resources whereas the average WordPress themes take up more than 100KB. The lesser the resource requirement, the lesser is the load on the server which helps it load things quickly.
On top of that, Astra complies with all the best coding standards using much of the WordPress data which also benefits in optimizing performance.
With all these measures working together, Astra advertises a load time of less than half a second. Although your mileage will vary depending on what type of content you have on your website. But it is likely to be better and faster compared to other market alternatives.
In addition to that, you can even optimize your website performance and improve the page loading speed of your blog using this detailed guide on How to Increase Page Speed using Htaccess (WordPress).
Astra: Key Features
By now you should have a clear idea of everything you can do with the theme. However, if you want a bit more technical insight into all its bells & whistles, then here is an in-depth look at all its key features:
# Astra Starter Sites
Astra comes with over 100+ professionally designed ready-to-use demo websites. Some of them are available with the free version of the theme while many can be accessed when you purchase their Mini Agency or Agency Bundle.
Astra demo layouts are developed around various different niches and can help you start anything from basic blogs to online businesses and eCommerce websites.
During the Astra review, we have checked and installed a couple of agency and eCommerce starter sites and all the development and import of starter site demo was easy and seamless.
You are likely to find a demo layout that fits your design requirements. And in case you want to make some edits to the overall look and feel, that too can be managed with the tons of customization options bundled in with the theme.
Well if you are planning to start your own website and want to learn the nitty-gritty, here is our detailed guide on How to Create a Website: Step by Step Guide to Make a Website.
# Customization Options
It would be an injustice to simply state that the theme is rich with customization options.
In our Astra theme review, we dug deep to understand and unveil the functionalities of the customization options offered in the free and paid version of the Astra theme.
Based on our findings, we can positively say that if you are getting the free version of the theme, you will get access to all the basic and necessary customization options that are more than enough to start your website.
However, Astra Pro comes in bundled with tons of advanced customization and design options to help you get complete control over how the site looks and feels.
Here is a look at the overall customization potential of the Astra theme and everything you can do with it:
- Tons of Site Layout variations – boxed, full-width, and padded with full control over spacing, margin, and other parameters.
- Several inbuilt header and footer options giving you complete control over how they look and feel.
- Support for sticky and transparent headers.
- Offers Mega Menu support.
- Tons of color & typography options.
- Dedicated sidebar with loads of settings and customization options.
# Blog Layouts
Astra Pro brings tons of blog layout variations to help you present your content in a unique way:
- Grid Layout.
- List Layout.
- Masonry Layout.
- First Post Highlighting.
- Excerpt Count.
- Date Boxes.
- Blog Structure Control.
- Post Pagination.
- Infinite Loading.
# Custom Layouts
All the custom layout options are preserved for the Astra Pro users. However, here you will be given complete control and advanced tools to create your own custom layouts.
You will be able to create custom headers & footers, set up custom display conditions, build unique 404 pages, and even use hooks to inject custom code and content anywhere on your website.
# Integration with Learning Management System
Astra Pro offers seamless integration with LifterLMS and LearnDash, two awesome learning management systems. These platforms allow you to create, manage, and distribute online courses for your readers.
Astra contributes well with advanced settings that let you enhance user experience with additional styling on such websites.
# SEO Optimization
Astra brings inbuilt Schema Integration and comes with basic schema markups which helps to deliver rich SERP snippets to help bring more traffic to your website.
Not only that, but the theme is developed following the best coding standards to make sure to offer better SEO performance.
# Astra Widgets
Theme Astra comes with tons of free widgets to help you display additional information on your website.
- Address Widget: Helps you add a widget to your business address on your website.
- Info List Widget: Helps you add an info list anywhere on your page. You can even use icons to create an awesome looking list if you want to.
- Social Icons Widget: A dedicated widget to show all the popular social network icons on your website. All you need to do is select the social networks (it supports all popular social networks) and the widget will show them on your website.
# WooCommerce Support
Both Astra and Astra Pro come with WooCommerce support but the pro version brings in much more advanced options like:
- Grid settings
- Infinite scrolling
- Off-canvas sidebars
- Product quick view
- Gallery option
- Dropdown cart
- Attractive sales bubbles
And much more.
Astra: Free Vs. Pro
As mentioned earlier, Astra delivers all the basic and necessary functionalities with the advanced options saved for Astra Pro.
We have reviewed the free Astra theme as well as the paid version called Astra Pro separately. And as per our Astra theme evaluation, the Astra Pro can be considered as a Value Addition Pack to the already awesome free Astra theme.
By now, you should have a basic idea of what features you will get if you upgrade to the Pro version. However, here is a more concise look at all the extra features bundled in with Astra Pro.
- Design: brings support for sticky header, mobile header, page headers, mega menus, and extended color & typography controls.
- Layout: support for different layout variations like boxed, full-width, padded, fluid layout, and spacing controls.
- Support for Custom Layouts: create headers, footers, 404 pages, and custom hooks.
- Typography & Color: extra control over your site fonts, font style, font size, colors, and so on.
- Blog Layouts: It introduces tons of blog layouts like the grid, list, masonry, date box, excerpt count, blog structure control, post pagination, infinite loading, and so on.
- Global Design Options: advanced designing options for header & footer layout and content.
- WooCommerce: extensive eCommerce options to help you build a high converting e-store and deliver an awesome shopping experience.
- Third-Party Integrations: offers seamless integration with LifterLMS, LearnDash, and Easy Digital Downloads.
- Support: get access to 24/7 premium customer support.
Astra: Astra Pro Addon
This can be confusing for some users.
Astra Pro and the Astra Pro Addon are exactly the same. You see, Astra is the base theme that is available for free. When you choose to upgrade to the Pro version, you will need to buy the Astra Pro Addon plugin.
Once installed on your WordPress website in conjunction with the Astra theme, it will provide some enhanced features. The plugin simply introduces tons of addons for different aspects. You can activate and deactivate the add-ons as per your requirements.
This allows you to only keep the features that you are using so you don’t unnecessarily bloat your website with unwanted functionalities and slow it down.
Astra & Other Plugins
With Astra installed on your website, if you visit the Astra Options page, you will see a box that says you can extend the theme functionality by installing additional free plugins.
As you can see from the image above, this includes:
- Astra Customizer Reset
- Astra Bulk Edit
- Astra Widgets
- Custom Fonts
- Customizer Search
- Custom Typekit Fonts
- Import / Export Customizer Settings
- Sidebar Manager
- Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
All these plugins are created by the developers of Astra. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will face no compatibility issues.
Furthermore, Astra is compatible with almost every popular WordPress Page Builder on the market including Elementor and Beaver Builder.
The Astra Pro is available under an Annual Pricing plan or as a lifetime package.
As you can see from the above image, there are three pricing tiers that they offer.
There is the basic Astra Pro priced at $59 for the annual subscription or $249 for the lifetime subscription.
Mini Agency Bundle
Then there is their Mini Agency Bundle which comes with 55+ agency starter site demos, the WP Portfolio Plugin, and one Page Builder Addon. It is priced at $169 for the annual subscription or $499 for the lifetime package.
This package is built for those who wish to stick with the one-page builder (either Beaver Builder or Elementor) and own Astra Pro along with the Agency Starter Sites.
And then comes the Agency Bundle which provides every single bell and whistle. It is available at $249 for the annual plan and $699 for the lifetime offer.
The Agency Bundle comes with many essential tools that an agency will need. You get the Astra theme and Astra Pro addon, Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder and Elementor, Schema Pro, Convert Pro, WP Portfolio and all the starter sites you see displayed on their website.
Astra: Support & Updates
Both free and premium Astra users are entitled to dedicated customer support.
The free users will get access to in-depth video tutorials and dedicated articles to help them work with the theme. And if they still face certain issues, they can take their problems to the WP.org Support Forum where members can pitch in to help.
And once you upgrade to the premium version, you will get the extra benefit on one to one email support, that too 24×7. However, during this Astra theme review, we did not explore and evaluated the email support from them.
So, Is It All Sunshine And Butterflies? The Cons!
Astra is pretty much perfect when you consider all the awesome features it brings to the table. There is practically no compromise and the theme delivers on all grounds.
However, if we were to do a little more nit-picking then something can be said about not enough third-party integration.
Running a particular niche website isn’t all about the design. You also need access to niche-specific features. However, that’s an issue that can be easily resolved by installing additional plugins. But it is something worth keeping in mind.
Wrapping Up The Astra Theme Review: Is It For You?
If you are tight on a budget, then without a doubt, you should pick Astra blindfolded. It is by far the best free theme on the market.
Whereas if you are planning to get a premium WordPress theme and customization is top on your priority list, then Astra is worth a consideration.
You can especially benefit if you are a developer or designing agency that needs to build various niche websites for their clients. Its diverse collection of ready to use website demos and customization options makes it a priceless tool for web development.
If you are planning to invest in this theme or the Agency Bundles, you could do that during a couple of weeks when they plan to offer a Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer when the prices are got down to minimal. Visit their website to get 30% OFF during this year’s sale season.
Do let me know if you find this Astra theme review helpful. Do you want us to compare the Astra theme with some other popular themes like GeneratePress, Genesis Themes or Divi? Let us know your thoughts or queries in the comments section below, we would be happy to respond.
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