You’re looking for a WordPress theme that will make your website load quickly… You want the design freedom to build a great-looking site that helps you achieve your business objectives, but you also want the design flexibility to produce a great-looking site that meets your business objectives.
Previously, finding a WordPress theme that could accomplish both was difficult. You could have gone with a lightweight foundation like Genesis, or you could have spent a lot of money on a huge theme that did a lot but also slowed down your site due to bloat.
Fortunately, a new generation of WordPress themes has succeeded in combining design versatility with a lightweight package that won’t slow down your site.
Astra’s Support Group
Brainstorm Force, a WordPress development business with over 60 people, created Astra.
It’s no wonder that Astra works so well with page builders, given that Brainstorm Force created the Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder and Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugin extensions, demonstrating that they have a thorough grasp of how major WordPress page builders function.
They’re also the creators of the Convert Pro email opt-in and lead creation plugin, the Schema Pro markup plugin, and the WP Portfolio portfolio plugin.
The WordPress community sees Brainstorm Force as a very active member. They visit WordCamps all around the world regularly, and their free WordPress plugins are constantly updated.
What Are the Benefits of Using Astra?
Astra is a multi-featured WordPress theme with a lot of customization options.
It’s very light, and the creators claim that a website built using Astra should load in under half a second using basic WordPress data. To do so, they disabled jQuery and kept resources under 50kb.
The native support for major WordPress page builders is one feature that sets Astra apart from many other designs. Elementor, Beaver Builder, WPBakery Page Builder, Thrive, Architect, Divi Builder, Brizy, and Gutenberg are just a few of the page builders that work well with it.
One of the Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Gutenberg is required by the starter site system to import demo content, as you’ll discover later. If you’re importing a website design, though, you simply need to utilize one of the four page-builders.
Astra Theme Customization
Astra is available for download through WordPress.org or via your WordPress admin area’s themes section.
The theme does not need any WordPress plugins to function, however, if you wish to import demo content into your website, you will need to install the Astra Starter Sites WordPress plugin (more on this later).
Under the WordPress appearance menu, you’ll find the ‘Astra Options’ page.
Because the WordPress theme customizer contains all of the theme’s options, this page serves as a hub rather than a settings page.
This page also includes connections to the Astra documentation section, Facebook group, and contact page, as well as free and paid plugins that enhance Astra.
Demo Content (Astra Starter Sites)
On the right-hand side of the main Astra Options page is a link to the Astra Starter Sites WordPress plugin. Downloading and installing this plugin is completely free.
When you enable it, a new page named ‘Astra Sites’ will appear in the Appearance menu.
You’ll be prompted to choose from Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Gutenberg as your preferred page builder.
You’ll need to enable the Elementor page builder if you choose a design that utilizes Elementor, for example. This is because each design was made utilizing page builder parts from a specific page builder plugin.
After you’ve chosen a page builder, you’ll see a list of basic website designs are available. It can be filtered by Business, eCommerce, Professionals, Community, Blog, and Other are some of the Free and Premium design types.
Using Free Plugins to Enhance Astra
You’ll see a box on the Astra Options page that states you can expand Astra with free plugins. This page lists a total of 12 plugins.
all of the free plugins mentioned are built by Brainstorm Force.
The Astra WordPress theme was the inspiration for five of the free plugins.
There’s a case to be made for integrating this extra functionality into the main theme, but I like that keeping it separate keeps the basic version of Astra light.
Which Astra version, Free or Pro, is right for you?
WordPress.org offers the Astra theme for free download. Then there’s the $59 Astra Pro model, which includes a bunch of additional features.
So, which option is best for you? Is it necessary to purchase the premium version to construct a website? Or do you believe you’ll be OK with the free version?
To respond to the last two questions, the Pro edition is not necessary to construct a stunning website. I use the free version on some of my projects since it offers everything you need to establish a basic site, especially if you plan to use a WordPress page builder.
Here is my tourism blog built with Astra and Elementor tourismblog.in
Nonetheless, there are several strong reasons to consider becoming a pro. Let me highlight a few points…
More sites that can be imported as demos
You’ll have access to all of the demo sites that may be imported if you purchase the Astra Pro-Growth package. You’ll also get access to all of the developer’s other plugins, including Schema Pro for adding rich snippets and WP Portfolio for establishing a portfolio.
You may make your own headers.
In the free version of Astra, you can still change your header, but Astra Pro gives you a lot more options for doing so in more creative ways. Some of the features are:
- With mobile headers-you can create a wonderful personalized mobile experience.
- Using a sticky header-you may make your menu “stick” even as the user scrolls down.
- Massive menu – create a huge menu to make navigating simpler.
There are more design options.
While the free version of Astra gives you basic color and typographic flexibility, Astra Pro takes things a step further by enabling you to change the color and font of practically every element on your site.
Layout options are expanded
Astra Pro, on the other hand, gives you a lot more options for content and blog layout. You may, for example, choose from several different blog archive layouts and arrange content above or below your header.
More comprehensive plugin integrations
In its free version, Astra is compatible with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, but Astra Pro takes it to the next level.
WooCommerce comes with a slew of features, like a two-step checkout that encourages conversions, an Ajax cart, and more.
If you’re planning to utilize WordPress to develop your own online course, Astra Pro additionally offers dedicated connectors for LearnDash and LifterLMS.
So, do you believe Astra Pro is something you should get?
While describing Astra Pro’s new features, you may have noticed that I used the word “more” many times. That’s the gist of it: Astra Pro isn’t inherently “better” since the fundamental theme is the same.
Astra Pro, on the other hand, gives you even more of what you currently have.
If you download the free version and it already enables you to do anything you want, that’s amazing! You may now exit; the Pro version isn’t necessary.
However, if you run into any difficulties — for example if you really want sticky navigation or a different blog archive layout – Astra Pro is definitely what you need.
My advice is to start with the free theme and see how things go from there. If you run across any of these issues, upgrading to Astra Pro is simple. Astra Pro is really a plugin rather than a theme. So you’ll maintain the theme you’ve already set up and just put the Astra Pro plugin on top.
Astra Pro’s functionality is also modular, enabling you to pick and choose whatever features you wish to use while keeping your site light:
Astra theme Free vs Pro
Dynamic Content Builder Without Code
Scroll to Top
Easy Digital Downloads
Page Builder Compatibility
Caching Plugin Compatibility
SEO Plugin Compatibility
Translation Plugin Compatibility
Contact Forms Compatibility
Other Plugin Compatibility
If I had to suggest a single WordPress theme for everyone to use, it would be Astra.
Astra may be used for almost any form of the website because of its extensive customization features.
Astra may also be customized without any specific expertise since it utilizes the WordPress Customizer. To build a personalized site, you won’t need to be a developer.
What if you don’t want to start from scratch and create a website? You may import one of the 100 pre-built demo sites, all of which were created using your favorite page builder.
Finally, Astra is very lightweight and speed-tuned, which means you can receive all of the aforementioned advantages while still having a fast-loading site.
So, whether you’re using the free version or Astra Pro, add this to your toolkit and think about employing it on your next WordPress site.
Astra is the best WordPress theme to use with the Elementor plugin and the best WordPress theme for your website, online store, or blog.