I recently migrated from GeneratePress to Astra Pro WordPress theme here at BloggingX.
Do you know why?
I migrated to Astra Pro mainly due to the superior flexibility Astra Pro offers over any of the themes I used previously.
In this guide, you'll learn
Astra theme is the product from Brainstorm Force team who is also the brain behind popular WordPress products like Ultimate Add-ons, Convert Pro, Schema Pro, and dozens of other free plugins on WordPress.
One of their top products is Astra theme for WordPress.
Astra theme: an in-depth review
Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes for a couple of reasons.
As of writing this blog post, Astra theme is the 5th most popular theme in the official WordPress repository.
The Astra Pro comes with the license to use the theme on unlimited sites.
Let me present some of the key areas in which the Astra Pro excels over other themes in the WP marketplace.
- Built for speed: The Astra theme is built taking speed into consideration. It’s built from the ground to be sleek, lightweight, and not impact the page load times. I’ll be explaining how the page load times of Astra Pro compares with other themes shortly.
- Best theme for page builders: Astra Pro is the theme that’s specially built from ground-up to be perfectly compatible with popular page builder plugins like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect, and others.
- Modular approach: One thing I liked about Astra Pro is that they neatly organize their features in the form of modules. As the theme comes with literally hundreds of features, you can disable the features by deactivating the modules. This approach also helps the developers to add new features to the theme relentlessly.
- Developer friendly: As the Astra Pro theme comes with abilities to add hooks and filters, it is super-easy for developers to extend the functionality of the theme without touching the base code.
- White-label option: Astra Pro comes with the white-label option. This is very helpful for agencies to do their own custom branding. This is an option that’s something that’s rare to see in pro version of the themes.
WP Astra theme – What’s inside?
Astra WordPress theme comes with two version – the limited free version and the premium version. The premium version of the theme comes with more functionalities and customization options which I will discuss in the next section.
You know what?
The Astra free theme comes with limited features like limited website demos, layout control, header/footer options, Elementor integration, WooCommerce integration, and much more.
On the other hand Astra Pro is the one I’m using on this site and it comes with even more powerful features like transparent header, hooks/filters, blog layouts, mega menu, header section, page headers, better typography, custom layouts, white label, footer widget, WooCommerce designer, and much more.
There are plans for agencies as well – the mini-agency and agency license. It comes with all the pro features, and as well as access to all of their plugins like Ultimate addons for Elementor, Ultimate addons for Beaver Builder, Schema Pro, Convert Pro, and WP Portfolio plugin.
How Astra Pro compared with others when it comes to speed?
It makes sense for me compare the speed of Astra with its competitor GeneratePress, and also as I’ve used it before it’s easy for me as well.
This is the page-speed test done on this very site installing both Astra and GeneratePress.
The first screenshot is of Astra Pro and the second one is of GeneratePress. The difference of page speed between GeneratePress and Astra is negligible.
I’ve tested in the blog page of my site, because in the homepage I’m using Thrive Architect.
I’ve my site hosted on WPX hosting with MaxCDN. I’ve plugins like Thrive Architect, Thrive Leads, others installed on my site. While testing both the theme speeds, the plugins were the same and I made no changes to the site in the middle of testing.
Both of themes load super-fast. But Astra pro effectively competing with GeneratePress even with tons of features is commendable. Although it made relatively more requests, it managed to compete with GeneratePress.
You can access the tons of customization options with Astra Pro theme offers right in the WordPress customizer. You don’t need to move back and forth to hunt for options to modify the aspects of the theme.
As you can see in the screenshot, the customization options are neatly organized in sections like the layout, colors/background, typography, menu, buttons, background images, etc. The number of customization options in each of these sections is astounding.
As the theme comes with tons of customization options, the developers have made it easy to disable the unwanted addons. This modular approach is what I liked the most.
To give you an example of how deep the customization is possible, refer the below screenshot of how easy it is to change the border radius of the read more button.
It is very much possible to modify every aspect of the theme without touching even a bit of CSS code.
Support for page builder plugins
As explained earlier, the Astra theme is built from the ground-up to be perfectly compatible with most of the popular page builder plugins like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, and so on.
The ability to add Elementor elements in the header bar is possible with Astra Pro plugin. This is the area in which most of the WordPress themes lack in.
Added to it, the various page templates are available right in the post editor.
As you can see you can make the content full-width by disabling the sidebar, hide the post title, and many other per-post or per-page features are there to add in a lot of flexibility when designing landing pages.
Like this, Astra pro has taken care of intricate aspects and problems that you face everyday when designing websites with page builders.
The Astra theme comes with loads of pre-built websites that can be imported in a click of a button.
No one would like to design a website from scratch. So, you need to just install this free plugin and it registers an option called Astra sites under appearance.
These are actually great-looking professional sites and also all of these sites are categorized neatly so that you find the relevant premade site easily or else you can also search the template using the search bar.
It’s great that they’ve made an additional optional plugin for implementing this functionality rather than baking it right inside the core plugin.
These are whole websites, not just pages. Some of these sites require Elementor or Beaver Builder to be active on your site.
Almost all the WordPress themes claim that they’re SEO friendly. But only a few of them actually have the features that make them SEO-friendly according to modern SEO standards.
The first aspect is that the Astra Theme is lightning fast. As you perhaps already know page speed is one of the top ranking factors.
Also, the Astra theme adds schema markup to each and every page on your site by default. You can take this to the next level by using their plugin Schema Pro.
As you may know, implementing schema markup in your web pages is very important for Google, as it is displaying rich snippets and also feature your site in knowledge graph.
Hooks and Filters
Astra Pro offers hooks and filters for developers to modify/add new functionalities without touching the codebase.
In fact, there is a separate free plugin from the Brainstorm Force team to visualize where the hooks/filters code is inserted.
Astra theme comes in with a functionality for custom layouts that enable you to add the content in any position of your site.
I make great use of their hooks functionality to insert the Elementor sections and templates at specific pages on my site.
I've added some Elementor sections on my WordPress site.
Here you can see the custom layouts I have to display the different Elementor sections at different places of my theme.
Support and pricing
The support provided by the Astra Pro developers is great. If you have any queries you can mail them or you can also open the tickets in the support section of their site.
They also have a very in-depth knowledge base on their site. If you have difficulties during the installation, customization, you can refer their extensive knowledge base.
Coming to pricing, as I’ve already told they have both free and pro versions of the theme.
The Astra pro comes at a yearly price of $59/year or you can opt for the lifetime deal at $249. There are also two other plans mini-agency and agency plans coming $169 or $249 / year. The lifetime price for both of these agency plans are $499 and $699.
The agency plans come with all of their other plugins.
Astra theme is the best WordPress theme I found in my blogging career especially when it comes to usage with page builders. I’ve tried and tested many themes, but this one beat 'em all with extensive features and robust customization options.
Hope you liked my Astra Pro review.