Are you looking for a WordPress theme that loads faster, equipped with most of the designing features and multipurpose too, which you possibly need to start your own online business, blog, portfolio, etc.? Then, no theme other than the Astra theme is better for you to go with.
Astra is simply the best WordPress theme with blazing-fast loading times, packed with tons of beautiful options needed for any WordPress site to look delightful. It comes with a pre-built site design, creative options and, a lightweight interface, etc., that beautifies your website.
Astra has two versions in its bucket. One is the Astra free theme version and the Astra Pro theme version is the second one.
Astra’s free version gives you a quality WordPress theme that is free, lightweight, has all essential features, and most importantly, it is fast too. Astra free theme is used on over 1 Million websites to date.
But, I know you want more functionalities. That’s why the Astra theme has a Pro version to extend the functionality. Not only, it gives more features than the free version, but also you will get an amazing number of free extensions.
So if you are looking for a powerful WordPress theme, please read this Astra Theme Review. Here, I will take a deeper look at its features, functionalities, and user experience and give my verdict on whether you should go for it.
Astra Theme Overview
Astra is one of the beautiful, multipurpose, and highly customizable WordPress themes that have a mix of delightful portfolio layouts. It is a simple, affordable, and easy-to-use WordPress theme for most websites.
Astra theme is developed by Brainstorm Force, which incredibly active among the WordPress community over the decades. The team of close to 70 members knows that what it takes to create great products, trending features in themes that WordPress owners need, and how to offer great customer support.
Astra WordPress theme has over 1M+ active installations and around 4500 + 5-star ratings in the WordPress repository.
Apart from Astra Theme, Brainstorm force has some great WordPress plugins like Schema Pro, Convert Pro, WP Portfolio, Convert Plus, etc. They also have several free plugins in the WordPress repository to take your website design to the next level.
Why Astra Is Considered As One Of the best WordPress Theme?
Over a million users are using Astra. So obviously, there is something special that Astra has in it. Here are the top five features that made Astra one of the best and reputed WordPress theme.
- Fast & Lightweight: Yes, Astra is feather-light and loads in less than half a seconds. Other themes struggle to load even in three seconds. As per Google Web Core Vital, speed is a ranking factor, and that is why Astra is so popular.
- Modular Design: Astra is not like other themes where all features will be dumped, and you will have no option to disable any features that you don’t want. In Astra, you can enable and disable any features. So the page will be very lightweight and fast too.
- Page Builder Support: Astra supports almost all the page builders like Elementor, Thrive Architect, Beaver Builder, etc. That makes it an easy choice for bloggers.
- White Label Theme: If you run a website design agency then this theme is the best as it’s a white label theme. What does that mean is that if you design a website in Astra for your client, you can remove all Astra branding. Clients will never come to know which theme you have used.
- Developer Friendly: Astra offers unlimited design possibilities with Custom layouts, hooks, and filters. If you have a bit of knowledge about CSS and PHP, you can design any website with Astra. That’s the beauty of Astra.
Astra Theme Features
Astra theme has an impressive list of features in both the free and the pro versions. The best part of this Astra theme is that you can toggle on & off every feature. What does that mean is that you can turn off features if you don’t need them? It makes the theme more lightweight and Fast. We will list out Astra theme features under the following categories.
- Performance Features
- Design Features
- Site Layout Features
- Blog Layout Features
- Woocommerce Features
- Integration Features
- Custom Layout features
- Starter Sites
- Easy Customization
- Free Plugins
1. Performance Features
Following are few of the performance features that comes bundled with the Astra Theme ( Both Free And Paid version)
- Loads in less than half seconds
- Page size is about 50 KB
- No jQuery
- Optimized code
Fast ( Loads in less than 0.5 seconds)
Speed is the most vital factor, and whether it’s for your home’s fan or your website, I know you want your websites to load faster in the case of a website. But how?. Do you know?. Today, 47% of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, so your site must load in a blink of an eye.
It’s a fact!. If you don’t have a fast website, No one will ever visit your site. If ‘No Visit’ then forget about sales. To run your online business successfully, you must have a fast website, and regardless of any cache plugin.
When it comes to delivering faster loading website pages, Astra is the perfect theme we have today. The team behind the Astra WordPress theme primarily focused on the speed factor. Yes, Astra is one of the fastest WordPress themes that load websites pages in less than half a second.
Lightweight ( Only 50KB)
As far as the Size is concerned, Astra Comes has a 50 KB of page size with no site content, far less than many other popular themes, which move around 300 KB.
The codes used in this are well optimized. The Brainstorm team has followed the best possible coding practice to design the Astra theme. That is why you won’t see much difference between the raw codes and the minified code, as Astra themes codes are already minified.
2. Design Features
Although there are many design features in the Astra theme, following features are important in terms of basic web designing.
- Header and footer builder
- Sticky header
- Page headers
Header And Footer Builder
Starting from Astra 3.0, you can have a drag and drop header and footer builder. You can add rows, columns, and widgets in the header and footer. Building header and footer were never so easy with Astra theme.
You won’t need to write any code. It ensures building any kind of headers and footers easily and effectively.
The Astra Drag And Drop Header builder will let you add following widgets.
- Primary menu
- Secondary menu
- HTML code
- Social icons
On the other hand, the Footer offers the following widgets
- Footer menu
- Social icons
Astra also comes with a sticky header option. What does that mean is that the header remains in the same position when you scroll the page. You can even change the header logo in the sticky header
Astra theme comes with dedicated layouts for a single post, blogs, and archive page. You can even customize that as per your requirement.
In the Astra theme, you can have dedicated page headers for posts and pages. So you can have an intuitive post design with the Astra theme.
3. Site Layout Features
Following are the site layout features available in the Astra theme
- Boxed site layout
- Full-width layout
- Padded layout
- Fluid Layout
- Spacing control
- Default Container
4. Blog Layout Features
Following are the blog layout features available in the Astra theme.
- Grid Layout
- List Layout
- Masonry Layout
- Highlight First Post
- Date box
- Post Pagination
- Infinite Scrolling
5. WooCommerce Features
Do you know that the Astra theme can be easily integrated with the WooCommerce plugin? You can create a beautiful online store with Woocommerce and the Astra theme. Following are a few of the WooCommerce features that are inbuilt in the Astra theme.
- Product as a grid
- Off-Canvas sidebar
- Gallery options
- Sales bubble
- Quick view
- Dropdown cart
6. Integration Features
No theme is perfect if it does not offer extensive integration features. Nowadays, people love to install page builders, plugins to extend the capabilities, and the theme should be able to integrate easily. Astra themes support numerous plugins and tools integration. Here are a few of those features.
- SEO Optimized
- Schema Optimized
- Pagebuilder Friendly
- LearnLMS support
Gone are those days when your blog can easily rank without doing SEO. In 2021, SEO is a must to outrank competitors. Without SEO, you can not expect traffic to your blog.
Astra is optimized for SEO. The coding followed the best SEO practice. For example, if you talk about a blog post, the title should always have the H1 tag. Astra theme adds those HTML tags by default.
Like these, numerous SEO markups are there in the Astra theme. Astra also supports Yoast SEO and Rank Math SEO plugin. Below are some of the SEO features that the Astra theme has.
- Support meta tags for post and pages
- Breadcrumb function
- Automatic HTML markups
- Custom 404 page
- Supports SEO Plugins
Schema.org (often called Schema) is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.
Schema markup helps search engines better understand the website’s contents and deliver better search results. Websites with proper schema markups rank better in the search engine result pages.
Astra theme comes with basic schema markup inbuilt. If you want to implement an advanced schema mark-up, then you need to buy a plugin called schema pro developed by the same team. Following schema markup, features are available in the Astra theme.
- WP Header
- WP Footer
- WP Sidebar
- Site Navigation Element
- Search Results Page
- Bread crumb List
Page Builder Friendly
Page builder are used to create intuitive pages and blog posts. Page builders enhances the capabilities of WordPress on top of the theme. Most bloggers nowadays use pagebuilder like Elementor, Thrive architect etc.
Astra supports most of the page builders available in the market. In fact, Astra offers an option called ” Custom Layout,” through which you can integrate page builders with the theme.
Though Astra supports almost all page builders, butAstra offers demo websites only for the following page builders.
- Beaver Builder
If you intend to create online training/coaching websites, LearnLMS is the best software available. Astra is one of the very few themes that support LearnLMS integration. Astra gives you several design options and features that focus more on providing a better learning experience.
7. Custom Layout
One of the main complain that Astra users always have is that Astra does not offer more customization concerning posts. You will see many themes comes with a ton of post templates. The problem with those themes is that, due to many post templates, their themes get heavy, making your site slow.
Astra did a smart thing here. They have a module called Custom Layout which you can activate if you want. With a custom layout, you can design any post or page very easily. The custom layout has different hooks and positions where you put your custom blocks or widgets.
For example, you want to show the post header full width and want to design it with elementor but want to keep the post content design with Astra. With a custom layout, you can achieve this.
Here is a dedicated article on Custom Layout that you can refer for better understanding of how custom layout works.
Hooks And Layout
Hooks and layouts allow designers to add new functionalities in the Astra theme without touching a single line of code. You can also integrate page builders’ functions with Astra using different hooks and layouts.
If you are a newbie and want to have a visual reference of hooks while adding that in a custom layout, you can install this plugin from the Brainstorm Force team.
8. Astra Starter Sites
To make your life easy, Astra comes with 150+ pre-built demos that you can download. Those demos are categorized based on different page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Gutenberg Etc.
To download those starter sites, you need first to download the Astra Starter Sites plugin from the WordPress repository. You can either download the whole site or only the home page. Once downloaded, you can modify it the way you want to meet your needs.
9. Easy Customization Options
Customizing your site is no longer a big deal if you have the Astra WordPress theme. A WordPress Live Customizer and Global options for colors, typography, and more, are available in the Astra theme. With easy use of these options, you can customize your blog, websites, portfolios, etc.
Yes, the free version does not offer as many customization options. However, if you purchase the Astra Pro add-on, you can seamlessly enjoy numerous customization options.
The best part of Astra is that you can disable features that you don’t want. As you can see from the below image that there are many features that are deactivated because I don’t need those. Due to this your site become much faster as there is no unnecessary code loading that you don’t need.
With Astra, you can also do responsive design. For example, you want to have a different design in the mobile version. That is possible in this theme.
10. Free Plugins To Extend Astra Theme Capabilities
You can download couple of free plugins to extend the capabilities of Astra theme. All those free plugins are developed by the Brainstord Force team. Below are those plugins that are very useful and I am using in my blog.
Ultimate Add On for Gutenberg
The Ultimate add-on for Gutenberg comes with more than 30 useful Gutenberg blocks that you can use to decorate your sites. If you install this plugin, you no longer need other page builders like elementor.
Few blocks like the table of content, review block, FAQ block, the styled list are beneficial for a better website design and SEO. On top of that, Astra provides free support to this plugin.
Enhance the capabilities of your theme with Powerful Astra Widgets. Astra Offers you to create widgets to add an address, add a social media widget, or list icons, that you can add on your header, footer, sidebar of your sites.
With the custom font plugin, you can install any custom font instead of using Google font. Google font always slows down your site. So this custom font plugin is a great way to install a custom local font.
Must Read: How to host google font locally in WordPress
This plugin comes with an advanced sidebar manager for Astra. With this plugin, you can have a different sidebar for different posts and pages. For example, you want to show different sidebars for different categories. You can add different widgets also in this sidebar plugin.
How To Install The Astra Theme
You can install the Astra theme by following the below steps.
- Log in to the WordPress dashboard.
- Go to Appearance -> Themes
- Search for the Astra theme
- Click ” Install “ and then click on ” Activate “
The Pro version of Astra is the same as the free version, but it comes with an extra Astra Pro plugin. To install the Astra pro Plugin, you need to follow the below steps.
- Log in to WordPress Dashboard
- Go to the Plugin section
- Upload the Astra Pro Plugin
- Install and Activate
How fast Is Astra?
Speed is essential, and Astra is known for that. We have tested a blog to see how fast it is and how much the page load size can verify it matches the developer claim. Please note that the claim is based on the assumption that the site is blank and no plugins are installed. However, our test site is not empty and has several plugins. So the test result may vary.
As you can see that, the site loads in 16ms, which is far below the claimed 0.5 seconds. This is a great speed for a full-fledged site. Talking about the page size, you can see that the items that Astra loads are well below the claimed 50KB size. You can not include the images in this calculation.
Astra Free Vs Astra Pro: Astra Theme Review
As we already discussed that Astra has two different versions. The Astra free version and the pro version. Astra themes come with all the basic features that you need to build a website. But if you want more advanced features or want to expand the theme’s capabilities, you should go for the pro version.
The pro version of the Astra theme comes with the following modules as shown in the image below. Please make a note that, you can enable or disable any of the features that you don’t need.
So do we need to buy the pro version?
Yes, the answer is that you feel that you need to create a professional-looking blog and want most of the trending features. Otherwise, the free version is more than enough. Do you know that you can install Astra pro on unlimited sites? So if you plan to install Astra on multiple websites, then a one-time investment in Astra theme makes more sense.
Astra Pro Plans and Pricing: Astra Theme Review
Pricing is one of the most vital aspects that anyone wants to consider before investing in something. As I said earlier, The Astra free version is completely free and great for beginners. However, to unlock the limitless possibilities of Astra, you need to invest in Astra pro.
Astra offers yearly plans and lifetime plans. Lifetime plans are the ideal choice as you need to pay one time and you can use it on unlimited websites. If you are running an agency then a lifetime plan is a great deal.
The agency and the agency bundle plan also comes with additional premium plugins like Schema Pro, Convert Pro free of cost.
The best time to buy the Astra theme is during Brack Friday. Please watch out for Astra Theme Black Friday Deal and Astra Theme Cyber Monday deals on this blog to get exclusive 40% off.
Astra Pro Plan
This Plan comes with 100 + starter Sites and includes all the pro features that I already mentioned. You will get one-to-one support and unlimited website usage with this plan.
Please make a note that, The annual License is available at $59. However, you need to pay around $249 if you want to have a lifetime license.
Astra Mini Agency Bundle
Astra Mini Agency Bundle comes with 150+ starter sites. You will get the WP Portfolio plugin for free and one of the page builder add-on ( Either Elementor or beaver builder).
The annual license is available for $ 249 and the lifetime License is for $ 499.
Astra Agency Bundle
You will get all the Mini Agency Bundle Plan features, and it will also include free access to Convert Pro, Schema Pro, Skilljet academy, and other future plugins that the team is going to develop.
In this plan, you have to pay $ 249 for getting its annual license whereas, for a lifetime license, you will be asked to pay $ 699.
One important thing to note that, you can claim a full refund within 14-day of your plan starting date, in case you don’t find its features handy for your site.
Things that I don’t Like About Astra
No theme is perfect. The same applies to Astra also. Astra has its own share of issues. But these issues can not outrank the feature sets that it offer.
- While using Astra Free Theme Version, One of the drawbacks I found that Astra free version is restricted to limited customization options and features. If you want more exclusive features, you need to switch to The Astra Pro Theme Version.
- You can get support only through emails. And you need to wait at least a day to get a resoponce. A support forum would have been great.
- The lifetime license is costly. If not you need to pay every year which is again a big pain.
Astra Pro Support: Astra Theme Review
Astra ensures great support to its users. Suppose you are using Astra’s free version, and in case you need a kind of support, you can take advantage of the WordPress support forums to find the answers to your queries.
If you purchase the Astra pro version, you will get free access to one-on-one email support. Besides this, premium users also get access to exclusive training.
Other than that, Astra also has a Youtube channel through which you can get ideas about different Astra features and customization tutorials.
Conclusion: Astra Theme Review
Undoubtedly, Astra is the best, simple, easy to use, and affordable WordPress Theme around. It is known for its versatility, blazing fast speed, and multipurpose theme that you will ever come across.
From importing high-quality dozens of sites to perform flawlessly with a platform like Woo Commerce shows how good this theme is for you.
Customization is as simpler as you never expected. You can easily customize your website with the live WordPress Customizer.
Despite the Free version being good, I believe the people who love using Astra, Pro Theme Version is something to go with.
Another major highlight of Astra is, it comes with lots of free templates. If you are a beginner and just started things, it’s better to use the free version before switching to the premium version.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ) On astra Theme Review
Can I use elementor or Thrive Architect With Astra?
Yes, Astra supports both elementor and thrive architect. If you want, you can use Astra custom layout feature to blend the page builder with the astra theme.
Does Astra come with pre-built demo websites?
Yes, Astra comes with 150+ pre built demo websites. The number varies based on what plan you buy. For example the astra pro plan only has 100 demos but the agency plan has about 150 demos
Does Astra Offer White Labelling feature?
Yes, Astra offers a white label feature. You can remove astra branding when you are building a site for your client.
How is Astra in terms of speed?
Astra is great in terms of speed. A blank website with astra theme loads in less than half a seconds and the page size is about 50 KB.
Does Astra have a lifetime pro plan?
Yes, Astra has a lifetime pro plan and the cost is relatively cheap
can I use Astra on unlimited websites?
Yes, You can install Astra on unlimited websites and also get support for all those websites.