If I say Astra, what comes to mind?
Personally, it reminds me of a German car model, a satellite, or a Romanian football club (yes, I’m a sports addict).
More amusing, but just as serious, I also discovered that the acronym ASTRA referred to the Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and Culture of the Romanian People.
Well, you probably don’t care about that last point – and I’m not offended.
You are interested in WordPress. Good thing, Astra is also a freemium theme on our famous and beloved CMS.
And not just any theme. It’s one of the most popular in the theme directory.
Of the nearly 5,000 reviews submitted at the time of writing, more than 4,800 gave it 5-stars!
Could it be the perfect theme, the one we dream of falling upon one day, in order to adopt it for all our projects?
To find out, you will discover an ultra-detailed test of our beast of the day.
To do this, I will use the same structure as for the article about GeneratePress.
I will focus in particular on getting started with Astra, its customization, its impact on performance and SEO, and its value for money.
Some of the links you will find in this article are called “affiliates”. This means that WPMarmite will get a small commission if you decide to purchase one of the products shown. It won’t cost you more and it’s a way to thank us for the articles we write and work on! Read our publishing policy for details.
Originally written in April 2019, this post has been last updated in June 2021 using the 3.6.2 version of the free theme, and the 3.5.1 version of Astra Pro.
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What is Astra theme?
A millionaire theme…
Astra is a freemium theme: it is available for free on the official WordPress directory.
If you want more options, you can get the premium version (starting at $59). I will come back to all its specificities a bit later, don’t worry.
With more than 1 million active installations (number reached in July 2020), this is one of the most popular free themes on the directory.
Only the Twenty Twenty and Twenty Seventeen themes, integrated into the WordPress Core, reach the same level.
Which places Astra far ahead of other prestigious competitors such as:
All this success has been accumulated in just 2 years (Astra was launched in 2017): sounds crazy, right?
… momentarily punished a few days on the official directory
Shortly after being the first non-native theme in the official directory to surpass one million active installations, Astra received a big bamboo hit.
The Theme Team, the team in charge of themes on WordPress, suspended it from the official directory for a few days, before reintegrating it. According to the Theme Team, Astra violated WordPress rules prohibiting the addition of affiliate links in a theme (which Astra would have done, therefore).
An “accusation” refuted by Brainstorm Force, the company behind Astra. Even though it admitted to having made “a mistake”, it said that its only fault was to have used third-party plugins to circulate a sponsorship code.
Sujay Pawar, the CEO of Brainstorm Force, published a letter of apology on the theme blog.
Did WordPress go too far? Was Astra outlawed? If you want to know more about this story, I recommend you to read this article on WP Tavern.
The flagship product of an innovative company
This company also offers about fifty products, including:
- Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder and Ultimate Addons for Elementor: two plugins to add additional add-ons and templates to the Beaver Builder and Elementor page builders.
- Convert Pro: a plugin to create opt-in forms.
- Pro Schema: a plugin to generate Schema.org language.
- WP Portfolio: a plugin to create a portfolio.
In total, Brainstorm Force has more than 10 years of experience, and its products are used on more than 2 million websites.
This solid presence within the global WordPress ecosystem is a guarantee of effectiveness that is not to be underestimated.
If you choose the Astra theme, you should be quite safe with its updates and maintenance.
Now, let’s find out why Astra is so famous.
“Customize Everything Easily”
The motto is obviously very catchy, but these are the few words that you will see appear when scrolling on the home page of the site.
Its developers present it as:
- An easy to customize theme, even without any knowledge of code.
- Compatible with most of the page builders.
- Full of ready-to-install site demos.
Moreover, as the description of the theme on its dedicated page in the official directory states, Astra “is very light (less than 50 Kb loaded on the public interface) and offers unprecedented speed”.
According to its designers, it would load in 0.5 seconds. You’ll find out if this is really the case in the Performance section.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about it.
It’s time to get down to business: discover Astra’s options.
Let’s start with its ease of use.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at websites created with Astra on BeautifulPress.
Getting started with Astra
A clear interface
After activating the theme, a link entitled Astra Options appears on your Dashboard, within the Appearance menu.
Once inside these options, you will find several things:
- Several links will allow you to be redirected to the Customizer settings. This is one of the great strengths of this theme: all the settings take place from the Customizer.
- You will discover that it is possible to activate 15 additional modules to customize your site. These modules are available in the Pro version, which we will focus on in Part 3 of this test. Like GeneratePress, Astra uses a modular approach: you can choose to enable or disable the modules you are interested in at any time. On the user side (you), this allows you to optimize the performance of your site (it loads less resources). On the developer’s side, this leaves the field open for him to add new modules over time, and thus improve his product.
- To save time, you can import starter sites. These are ready-to-use templates that require the installation of the Starter Templates plugin (former Astra Starter Sites plugin), listed in the directory. A simple click on the Install Imported Plugin link will activate it for you. Then, simply choose your page builder (Gutenberg, Brizy, Elementor or Beaver Builder), and it’ll suggest templates (nearly a hundred to create a blog, ecommerce, business or freelancer website). Please note that some of these templates can only be activated if you have purchased one of the following two Premium Licenses : Essential Bundle or Growth Bundle. It took me about 1 minute for the starter site to be installed. Now you have a website ready to use without having contributed to it! You can, of course, customize it as you wish.
Note that there is a feature to delete all the settings of the demo later, if it no longer suits you. Good to know, even if the option is not 100% effective. I had to manually remove the remaining logo and a social sharing plugin that was still lying around.
- A link to the documentation (very well made) is also available if you need a hand.
- Finally, you will notice that it is possible to “customize” Astra with free plugins, such as Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg.
All the settings within the Customizer
You can find all the theme settings within the Customizer. That’s pretty cool: the theme is easy to setup and to use.
As you can see, there are typical customization options. You can customize the colors, the background, the typography, the widgets or your menus.
But there are still some small gems inside these options. 😉 Here are the ones I liked the most:
- The possibility to display your content in full width, adjusting to the nearest pixel.
- You can change the width of your logo.
- A breadcrumb can be added inside/after the header, or just below the title of your content.
- The Blog layout can be adjusted quite precisely: you can choose to display the author’s name, comments, publish date, etc. Everything is done by activating and deactivating these options, and by simply dragging and dropping.
Also note that since the release of its 3.4 version, in April 2021, Astra offers a feature to easily add related posts to your blog in order to retain visitors longer on your pages.
- The buttons customization by choosing their radius or color.
- You can choose to display a sidebar on the right, left or not at all. It is also possible to do this as you wish on the pages and posts.
All this is already quite appealing, and the launches of Astra 3.0 versions and higher, starting in January 2021, have even brought several improvements to the Customizer (its loading time has been significantly improved, for example).
But one of the biggest changes was surely introduced in the 3.0 version: the addition of a Header & Footer Builder within the Customizer itself, and accessible with the free version of the theme.
I present it to you just below.
A drag-and-drop header and footer builder
How does it work?
Astra’s Header & Footer Builder is based on the drag and drop principle: you can freely move the elements of your choice in the areas provided for this purpose, using your mouse.
This is the same principle as with a page builder, for example.
Whether for the Header or the Footer Builder, the customizable area is divided into 3 fields:
- Above header/above footer: number 1 below.
- Header to main footer (middle area): number 2.
- Below header/below footer: number 3.
The gear wheels on the left provide access to global settings for each area, including design settings (border, background, spacing, margins, etc.).
To change the position of each element, you no longer need to go to the relevant tab within the customization tool. Simply move the elements of your choice wherever you want:
Convenient, intuitive, efficient: personally, I really liked the ease of use.
What can you do with it?
You can then add all sorts of customized elements within your navigation menu and footer :
- With the free version of the theme, you are free to add call to action buttons, a search bar, HTML code, social network icons, or the widget of your choice. And don’t forget the possibility to modify the copyright in the footer. Each element can be easily duplicated and deleted.
- Astra Pro offers even more options. For example, you will be able to add a shopping cart in your header if you use WooCommerce, and also a language Switcher element, to display multilingual website navigation.
You will also have responsive options (optimal display on all screens) quite nice:
- You will be able to choose different displays for your smartphone menu (e.g. horizontal for computer screens and vertical for smartphones).
- You will be able to hide/show the menu items of your choice according to the screen size of your visitors.
If you want to know more about this feature, I suggest you to watch the Brainstorm Force presentation video:
That’s it for the Header & Footer Builder. In a nutshell, what can we learn from getting started with Astra? Getting started is very easy.
If you decide to use it, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to get started with Astra and the fact that you’re not drowned in the middle of hundreds of options.
But beyond some of the appreciable parameters mentioned above, you may feel a little restricted in terms of personalization.
To go further and enjoy all the power and flexibility of the theme, you’ll have to test the Premium version.
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The theme customization: discover the premium add-ons
The Premium version of the theme, called Astra Pro, is actually a plugin that will add about twenty features to the basic theme.
You can get Astra Pro on the theme home page by clicking on the Pro tab.
The initial offer starts at $59 for unlimited website use and one year of support.
Once you have purchased the plugin (it will be in zip format), install it and activate it on your Dashboard, via the Plugins menu.
Is everything OK so far?
Let’s keep going.
Returning to Appearance > Astra Options, you will notice that Pro modules are now available.
Before the release of version 3.0, there were 18 Pro modules. Three of them have “disappeared” (Moving Header, Header Sections, Footer Widgets). In fact, Astra 3.0 did not remove them: most of them are embedded in the Header & Footer Builder.
You have to activate them if you want to use them (this is not the case by default).
This is referred to as a modular structure. This prevents unwanted files and functions from being loaded.
Right now, I would like to draw your attention to two points:
- Remember to activate your User License (Astra Pro License menu, at the top right of the page) to activate automatic updates.
- The WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, LearnDash and LifterLMS modules can only work if you have previously activated the plugins/services stated above.
In total, there are 15 additional features that you can activate.
Let’s review the most significant ones.
To activate the module, click on the Activate button. Then go back to Appearance > Customize.
Then go to Layout > Blog.
Among the new features that appeared, compared to the free version of the theme, I liked:
- The Author Info option, which allows you to add a small insert to introduce the author of the post in a few lines.
- Auto-loading previous posts.
- The possibility to apply the width and height of your choice to your Featured Image.
- The Infinite scroll option that triggers the display of your articles as the visitor scrolls through your page.
- The possibility to customize the display width of the blog content.
- The option to display your posts up to 4 columns, with the possibility to add the date clearly visible in a square or a circle.
At first glance, I didn’t really see the need for this module. But on closer inspection, it is actually very useful.
Thanks to this feature, you will be able to adjust the margin and padding of some key elements of your website such as:
- The header
- The sidebar
- The footer
- The container
- The blog
So how does all this work? Just activate the module and go back to the Customizer, for example in the Header Builder, in the Design part of your Main Menu.
If the module can work on the selected element, a Spacing section will appear.
It is then very simple to modify the spacing between your different elements, depending on the chosen device (computer, tablet or smartphone).
Take a look below:
Last nice option that will appeal to the more experienced: you can choose spacing values in pixels, EM, or percentage.
For more information on this subject, you can check out this resource: Web style sheets, CSS tips and tricks.
Scroll to top
After activation, this module will display a “Scroll to top” icon to allow your visitors to quickly return to the top of a page without scrolling, if they want to do so.
This is especially useful for pages with a lot of content. To discover the available options, go to Global > Scroll to top.
You will see that you can:
- Display the icon on desktop, mobile or desktop + mobile.
- Choose its position (right or left).
- Customize its size and background radius by entering the values of your choice.
- Define the icon colors and its background, also on hover, through the Design tab.
The White Label module allows you to rename the theme and the plugins associated with it by giving it the name of your company/brand.
This can be useful if you are a freelancer or an agency and you create websites for your customers.
You can replace the name of the plugin and theme with the information of your choice so that your customer does not know that you have used a third-party solution, if they access the back office.
After that, there will be no trace of the Astra brand on your site.
First enter the desired details on the Settings page. Once you’re OK, click Save Changes.
And here is the result on the themes page (in Appearance > Themes):
And here is the result on the plugins page (in Plugins > Installed Plugins):
The Nav Menu module allows you to create what is called a Mega menu.
Mega menus are very often found on large ecommerce sites, because they allow the user to easily show the different categories of products sold on the said site.
If you have just a few topics on your website, no need to create a mega menu (often criticized from an SEO point of view).
However, if you think you absolutely need it, the Astra theme will allow you to create one, by going to Appearance > Menus.
You will now be able to create columns, add custom text to highlight certain links, or add a template to display a background image.
As its name suggests, the Page Headers module gives you the option to create a page header.
An image is often worth 1000 words – and here is a demonstration:
You will be able to:
- Add breadcrumbs and a background image.
- Change the colors.
- Integrate a parallax effect.
- Merge your custom header with your site header.
- Apply specific display rules to the pages of your choice.
The Custom Layouts module allows you to add the following specific elements:
- 404 Page
- Custom calls to action that you can design on Gutenberg, Elementor or Beaver Builder.
This is a fairly advanced option, with which you will be able to create custom sections, applying the display rules of your choice, if necessary. For example, you can specify:
- A start and end date and time to display one of your custom layouts.
- On which type of screen (computer, smartphone, tablet) the custom layout will be displayed (non exhaustive list).
But let’s move on to some examples. The 404 Page option will allow you to create a custom 404 page by disabling the Primary header, or the footer.
The Header and Footer options let you create these custom sections and display them only on the pages of your choice, thanks to precise display and/or exclusion rules.
Finally, even though it remains technical, you can enjoy the power of hooks on Astra. If you are specifically interested in this, I advise you to use this feature.
The Hooks option allows you to add code snippets on about 50 different areas.
An example of how to use hooks? For example, you can use the one named wp_head to add your Google Analytics tracking code.
To see where your hooks are located, you can have a look at this resource.
If you do not wish to use the Pro version of Astra, but would still like to use the hooks option, you can use the Astra Hooks plugin, available for free in the official directory. However, it will not allow you to apply conditional display rules.
The WooCommerce module helps you extend the customization options of the famous ecommerce plugin.
First, remember: you must have activated WooCommerce on your site.
You will then find all the available settings in the WooCommerce sub-menu of the customization tool.
Among the significant options, we can mention:
- The display of your products in grid or list view, with the option of aligning them on several columns.
- The customization of the checkout page, with the presence of a distraction free checkout, for example (the header and footer are disabled when the user is about to pay).
- Galleries to display different images of your products.
- Color management for titles, notations, texts, buttons, prices etc.
- The possibility to add the Shopping Cart icon wherever you want on your site thanks to a shortcode.
Other types of integration
As for WooCommerce, Astra Pro has 3 modules to extend the customization options of 3 plugins/solutions:
- Easy Digital Downloads A freemium plugin (available in Pro version from $99/year) that allows you to sell digital products.
- LearnDash A premium solution (from $159) with which you can create an e-learning site on WordPress.
- LifterLMS One of LearnDash’s competitors (starting at $120/year).
The other modules
Without going into too much detail, know that other modules can help you:
- Create a sticky menu. This is a menu that remains stuck at the top of the screen, even when the user scrolls through the page. You can also change the width of this sticky menu.
- Customize the layout of your content with 4 options (Full width, Max width, Padded and Fluid), contained in the Site Layouts module.
- Fine tune the colors and background (e. g. you can choose a color for each hn (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6).
- Choose the font of your choice and adjust its weight, size and line height for each element of your site (body, header, breadcrumbs, buttons, titles, widgets, footer). This is the Typography module.
And that’s it for this complete tour of the different modules offered by the Astra theme.
Let’s move on to the next step in our guide: Astra Starter Templates.
If you remember, I briefly started talking about the subject at the beginning of this article.
I explained that it was possible to import starter sites (the Starter Templates) so that you don’t have to start from a blank page to start creating your site.
To use them, I remind you the two possible options:
- Activate the dedicated plugin present on the official directory.
- To take advantage of even more template options, you can also subscribe to Astra’s Essential Bundle or Growth Bundle offers.
Honestly, don’t deprive yourself of them. With them, you’ll save a lot of time and Astra claims to offer more than 150 ready-to-use site templates (while continuing to add more as you go along).
By going to Appearance > Starter Templates, you will discover a very wide range of templates, adapted to dozens and dozens of different niches (Blog, Ecommerce, Catering, Music, Travel, Fashion, Health etc.).
To modify them, Astra proposes an integration with Gutenberg and 3 page builders: Elementor, Beaver Builder and Brizy. Elementor and Beaver Builder are the best (more than a hundred compatible templates), compared to Brizy (40 templates).
Among the advantages of these Starter Templates, we can for example note the possibility to import a complete site or the page of your choice, from the template of your choice (you can combine several pages from several templates).
Also, note the fact that templates inherit your settings from the Customization Tool (colors, typography etc.).
Now, since we have just talked about page builders, let’s go to the next step of our test: adapting Astra to page builders and plugins.
What adaptations are there for page builders and plugins?
Astra clearly highlights this on its website: the theme is “made for page builders”.
First, as noted earlier in this guide, Astra Starter Sites were specifically created to work with Elementor, Beaver Builder and Brizy (not to mention Gutenberg, which is not a page builder per say).
Elementor and Beaver Builder are the two “favorite” builders of the theme. Elementor CMO Ben Pines, recommends Astra to all Elementor users.
For the purpose of this article, I was able to test the theme with the two builders mentioned above – and there’s nothing to complain about.
The theme lets you completely control the structure of your page, which makes it very convenient to use with a page builder. For example, you can:
- Choose to display your content full width (this is not possible with all themes, and it is essential).
- Disable your sidebar.
- Disable elements that you do not use (e.g. footer, header, navigation menu).
- Disable your page title.
But what happens if you have another favorite builder other than Elementor or Beaver Builder?
Will it integrate properly into Astra? According to the creators of the theme, Astra should be compatible with all page builders, including Divi, Thrive Architect and WPBakery Page Builder (former Visual Composer).
I could not check individually, but if you have encountered any concerns or incompatibility issues, please let us know in the comments.
Astra theme and plugins
Now that we’ve discussed page builders, let’s move on to the plugins. One of the webmaster’s “fears” is the compatibility of the theme they activated with the plugins they will use.
Because if you have a problem, your site may crash. And that’s not fun for anyone.
If this happens to you one day, don’t panic. Before calling the Emergency Department, go to our guide to fix major WordPress errors.
Nobody is immune from error, even when applying best practices. However, no major plugin incompatibility has to be noted regarding the Astra theme.
The theme is developed on a clean basis and respects WordPress standards, it helps to avoid issues.
Regarding plugins, Astra also has its own specificity. To add new features to the theme, it recommends 9 free plugins, all created by the parent company, Brainstorm Force.
You will find them in Appearance > Astra Options.
Suggesting extra plugins to activate adds a little misunderstanding: why not create additional modules for the plugins dedicated to Astra?
But it still keeps the theme as light as possible, which is a good point.
To me, Lightweight Sidebar Manager is quite useful: it allows you to display different sidebars on different pages of your site.
And if you use Gutenberg, you’ll appreciate Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg, a block library for the WP content editor.
Speaking of Gutenberg, let’s move on to the next part.
Astra theme and Gutenberg
Too many themes on famous sales platforms such as ThemeForest pretend they are compatible with Gutenberg, the content editor that appeared with version 5.0 of WordPress, at the end of 2018.
But when you dig a little deeper, you realize that they are still a long way off, even more than two years later…
However, Astra is compatible with Gutenberg, and integrates perfectly with it.
An example? The famous Starter Sites, which I’ve mentioned several times throughout this post.
More than 70 ready-to-use site templates are available and work very well with Gutenberg.
In fact, Brainstorm Force is going all out for it. Between October 2020 and June 2021, they added more than 50 additional templates compatible with Gutenberg!
Among the interesting features of Astra with Gutenberg, I could mention:
- The possibility to adjust the width of your content from Gutenberg.
- The application of the theme’s color and background settings transcribed on Gutenberg when editing a page or post.
- The application of your settings initiated from the Customizer within Gutenberg.
- The possibility to create custom layouts, as with a page builder, as long as you activate the Custom Layouts module.
How is the user experience for a site using Astra?
Influence on site performance
On the Astra Options page, on your Dashboard, you may have seen this message, top right: “Stylish, Lightning Fast & Easily Customizable”.
Let’s take a look at the performance of this supposedly ultra-fast theme.
So, according to you: deserved reputation, or total bluster?
To answer this, let’s start by recontextualizing.
Having a fast theme is very important, and not just to brag at dinners with your developers or SEO managers.
Did you know that to rank a page in its search engine, Google uses more than 200 criteria?
Among them is the speed of your page (even if this criterion is far from being the most important to position a page in the search engine results).
But it is still important that a page loads quickly (Google recommends a page load time of less than 3 seconds on smartphones), in particular to take care of the user experience of your visitors.
If you choose Astra, you should do quite well. It is said to be “the most lightweight theme available in the market and offers unmatched performance”.
In addition, Astra claims:
- To load “in less than 0.5 seconds with default WordPress data”.
- To require less than 50KB of resources to load, “whereas most of the other WordPress themes require at least 300 KB“.
In order to verify the accuracy of these statements, I ran a series of tests.
Here’s how I did this:
- Testing services used:
- WebPageTest (using Paris as location each time) using the “fully loaded” criterion (when the site is fully loaded, including external scripts and applications);
- Pingdom Tools (each time using London as a location).
- Test site hosted on a shared Bluehost server.
- I didn’t activate any plugins and Astra Pro was not installed.
- I compared Astra to another popular free theme (Sydney, 200,000 active installations) from the official WordPress directory.
Test on WebPageTest with Astra enabled: page load time of 1,040s (fully loaded):
Test on WebPageTest with Sydney enabled: page load time of 2,237s (fully loaded) :
Test on Pingdom Tools with Astra enabled: 492ms page load time
Test on Pingdom Tools with Sydney enabled: page load time of 2.03s
In conclusion, we can confirm that Astra is indeed a “lightning fast” theme. It loads in around a second (492ms on Pingdom, 1,040s on WebPageTest) and remains much more efficient than its competitor Sydney (2 to 4 times more efficient).
It is rather close to GeneratePress.
In addition, the Astra theme sends fewer requests, and the size of the page remains very light with it (33.9 KB compared to … 473.5 KB for Sydney). I would like to point out that the content was exactly the same for both themes.
On the other hand, the results we have observed are a little less “good” than those announced on the theme website:
The above results provide a first glimpse, but cannot be considered as a final and conclusive judgment. You may have different data at home, depending on your hosting, or the plugins you use.
Overall, Brainstorm Force is committed to making website creation faster, better and smoother. A strong commitment that can be seen in action on the latest theme versions:
- 3.3 version of the theme (April 2021) features lighter HTML and CSS code (file size has been reduced).
- 3.5 version of the theme (June 2021) introduces powerful CSS optimizations for faster frontend loading. For example, conditional loading of CSS means that Astra will only load CSS if a particular style or element is applied or used on your website.
- 3.6 version of Astra allows, if you wish, to locally store your site’s Google Fonts on your server (instead of making requests to Google’s servers to load them). This improves the loading time of your WP website.
Speed up your website with WP Rocket
Impact on SEO
To begin with, Astra uses valid HTML code, which will make it easy for search engines to come and browse your site to index it.
Astra also uses structured Schema.org data on each page of your site.
This is an HTML tagging method that helps Google understand what type of content you have.
On this subject, you can even go further by using their Schema Pro plugin.
About this, beware. Frederic, one of our readers, pointed out in a comment that duplicates in the marking of data had been created when he used Astra Pro + Schema Pro in combination. If you are in this configuration and notice the slightest problem, do not hesitate to contact the theme’s support to report the problem to them.
Finally, another interesting option from an SEO point of view: the breadcrumb. Astra offers you the possibility to add a breadcrumb inside/after the header, or just after the title of your content.
As a reminder, a breadcrumb helps your visitors understand where they are, and navigate more easily on your site. They can also have a beneficial impact on your SEO.
Having a responsive site (that fits computers, tablets and smartphones) is essential for several reasons, such as:
- The user experience of your visitors. There is a 61% higher chance that they will leave your site and go look elsewhere if they do not find what they are looking for on your pages.
- Your SEO. Since March 2018, Google has implemented what is called mobile-first indexing. This means that Google mainly uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking your pages in the results of its search engine.
- Over half of all Google search visits (61%) take place on a mobile device.
So, is our dear Astra theme responsive?
If you’re having fun reducing your browser window on one of their demos (Starter Sites), everything seems to work like clockwork.
But to be sure, we used an even more reliable test: Google’s mobile friendly test.
And the result was convincing.
No obstacles in sight. So we can move on to the next step in our test: Astra pricing.
What is the value for money?
First of all, as you now know, you can use the theme’s free version by installing it directly from your Dashboard.
If you wish to use – in particular – the Premium modules presented above, you will need to purchase one of the 3 Pro versions:
- Astra Pro: this is the version used in this article, sold for $47/year.
- Essential Bundle ($169/year).
- Growth Bundle ($249/year).
The entry-level package (Astra Pro) should be enough for you, especially if you don’t need additional ready-to-use site templates and are not interested in the other products offered by Brainstorm Force (Ultimate addons for Beaver Builder and Elementor, as well as their other in-house plugins).
Coupled with the page builder of your choice, Astra Pro will give you excellent results.
If you can, and if Brainstorm Force products attract you, go for Essential Bundle or Growth Bundle.
Note that each plan allows the use of the theme on an unlimited number of sites and includes one year of support (with a 20% discount on each plan at the annual renewal).
Regarding this last point, I have dealt with them several times by asking them questions about the Ultimate addons for Beaver Builder plugin, which I use. I got an answer in less than 24 hours and my problems were fixed.
Finally, if you are confident and want to make Astra theme your number one work tool, don’t hesitate: go for a Lifetime License.
Astra Pro will then be offered at $249, Essential Bundle at $499 and Growth Bundle at $699.
And compared to competing solutions on the market, is Astra in the standard price range?
- Themeforest: Most of the themes sold on the platform cost, on average, around $59. They are not always usable on an unlimited number of sites and include 6 months of support ;
- OceanWP: this ultra-popular theme costs $129 for the premium version, for unlimited website usage ;
- GeneratePress: it will cost you $59 for for use on up to 500 sites.
Our final opinion
- An easy to use theme, as promised. We appreciate the presence of the settings in the same place, directly on the Customizer.
- A powerful theme. Yes, Astra is really lightning fast and the modular approach (you only enable/disable the options you need) is a real plus.
- The presence of more than 150 ready-to-use site designs to activate in 1 click (the famous Starter Sites). In short: Astra contains more than 150 themes in one!
- The Header & Footer Builder to create your headers and footers by drag and drop.
- Very efficient and responsive support. There is also a Facebook group dedicated to the theme, with nearly 30,000 members to help you.
- The documentation is clear and well designed.
- A perfect integration with WooCommerce.
- The presence of an option to purchase the theme via a Lifetime License, allowing you to make “savings” in the long term.
- A theme that is regularly updated and properly maintained. Brainstorm Force has been in business for 10 years and remains a solid company with continuous growth. A cool guarantee for the user.
- An SEO-optimized theme.
- A clean code that respects WordPress standards.
- The theme also focuses on accessibility by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Astra’s areas of improvement
- Starter Sites are very useful to install a site from A to Z in a few clicks. However, they only work with some page builders (Elementor, Beaver Builder and Brizy). If you are used to using another builder, it will take some time to adapt to a new page builder.
- The feature to delete all the settings of a Starter Site (to reset in some way) is not 100% effective. I had to manually remove the remaining logo and a social sharing plugin that were still around. This feature can be improved.
- Even if the distinction between free plugins and modules on the Board is well split in two, one gets a bit lost at first when discovering the theme. Do I need to activate a module? Or rather a plugin?
Who is Astra for?
- Novice site creators will appreciate its ease of use. All settings can be found within the Customizer, and for those who don’t know how to code at all or are in a hurry, it must be said that Starter Sites are a breeze! For this kind of user, one of the Premium versions seems more appropriate to me (Astra Pro, for example), especially because you will benefit from many more customization options and support from the theme creators.
- More experienced users will appreciate the presence of many hooks, as well as the presence of code snippets to modify some settings. Another useful option, if you are a freelance website designer or an agency: the presence of the White Label module, in the Premium version, to adapt your branding to the theme. If you have a basic code knowledge and/or are used to working with a page builder, the free version will probably be sufficient. In particular, you can use it as a starter theme on which to build your site.
The #Astra theme can work for novice site creators and more experienced users. It’s up to you to see if you like it or not!
In the end, I find Astra a very pleasant theme to use. It’s true that it is:
- Easily customizable
- Lightning fast
Nevertheless, in the same category, and even if it remains very subjective, I prefer GeneratePress, which I found even more accessible and simple to use, although with fewer options.
But in the end, the two themes are really very similar in terms of quality.
To get Astra, go to the official website via the button below:
From now on, it’s up to you. I would very much like to hear your opinion.
What do you think of Astra? Are you an experienced user or do you plan to test it after reading our post?
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