I have always wanted to review the Astra theme for WordPress formally, and I finally had the chance to do so. Astra offers a free theme for all users that packs some of the most amazing features.
Did you know? A human eye takes 0.1 to 0.4 seconds to blink, and an Astra theme takes under 0.5 seconds to load! (this was just a fun fact I wanted to share!)
I have been associated with the Astra theme for three years and have my own experience to share on this amazing WordPress theme. Our team has many websites in our portfolio, and the team actively prefers to use the Astra theme on DemandSage.
I took insightful inputs from my web development and designing team, who are always working with Astra, to understand what they like and don’t like about the Astra theme.
To eliminate the bias, I further gathered real user inputs from a couple of public discussion platforms and formed this concise review.
Read more to understand what this Astra theme can and cannot do in this elaborate guide, where I have explained how each unique feature works and the core difference between the free and the paid plan.
Quick Verdict: Astra Theme Review
The gist of it all is Astra Theme is totally worth it to take your website loading speeds to the lowest time possible. I have tried to channel all my learnings about the Astra theme in the below table; check it out.
|Ease of use||4.9/5|
|Pricing||Astra – FreeAstra Pro – starts at $44/year|
|Best For||Beginners to Experts|
|Integrations||Elementor, Beaver Builder, Yoast, WooCommerce|
|Customer Support||24 x 7 – Pro users|
What I Liked About Astra:
Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes available. It is useful for a number of purposes and has some truly valuable features.
Here’s what I really liked about the Astra theme:
- Lightning-fast loading speed
- Free templates available
- WooCommerce ready
- Google Fonts support
- Unlimited color schemes to choose from
- Offers Google AMP support
- Multiple customization options – for headers, footers, 404 pages, etc.
- Easy to use
- Multiple page-builders support
- Strong customer support
What I Didn’t Like About Astra:
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- Limited access to the free version
- Basic styling options
- No customer support for Astra Free users
What is Astra and What is it famous for?
Astra is a popular and one of the easiest WordPress themes to work on and can easily be implemented for blogs and personal portfolios. It is also very lightweight and takes only about 50 KB of your front end.
Besides the website’s aesthetics and speed, Astra also considers SEO to come with Schme.org code integrated as default and is native AMP ready will boost the way search engines see your site – in other words, search engines will love it!
Have a look at the download graph of Astra from WordPress. It reached an all-time high on 15th August 2023 when the downloads reached – 11,874
Astra comes with many useful integrations with popular page builders, and some of them include:
- Beaver builder
- Visual Composer
- Sie Origin
And many others (more on this further below)
Oh yes, did I mention that it is fast? Like, SUPERFAST? Have a look at the loading speed before and after I used the Astra theme for a website. (Further in the article)
The Unique Features and Benefits of the Astra Theme
The new Astra 4.2.1 comes with a revamped dashboard and quick settings options that have just made life easier. Changing the buttons, colors, headers, etc, is just a click away.
Here are the top features of the Astra theme that sets it apart:
One of the prime features and the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the Astra WordPress theme is the speed at which it loads.
Astra claims that the theme is optimized for faster loading speeds and as a result of its lightweight, Astra loads in less than 0.5 seconds! Here’s the claim from their official website.
Let’s check if the claims are true:
Here’s a test that I ran on Pingdom for one of the upcoming projects that I have been working on. I am using the Astra theme on it, and here are the speed results (load time) that it fetched me:
2. Website Templates
Another distinguishing feature that Astra has is the plethora (read: thousands) of available ready-made templates. These are easy to customize and are intended to deliver high performance. They are mobile responsive too!
From their starter templates section, I can choose from a range of industries to select a template for your needs. Additionally, there is a custom search for a template by – page builder, type (free or paid), and sort by popular and latest.
With every template, I could check the details and get a live preview of a theme that was customizable with the color schemes and font, too!
What I like the most was that Astra’s templates are very convenient to use and focus on delivering performance while also being integration-friendly and are updated regularly
3. Customizing Options
Astra offers many customization options, from changing the logo, fonts, and colors to changing the layout, headers, footers, etc.
If you’re subscribed to Astra Pro, you further get access to some Pro features where you can adjust spacing, typography, and backgrounds.
Let me quickly show you how this works:
- This is what the Astra theme looks like on the WordPress dashboard. Click on the highlighted box and arrow to enter the customizer menu.
- Next, you will see a list of all the available customizing options within Astra. Let me show you an example of how to change the colors next. Click the global option, and that will lead you to all the available typography, colors, and other misc. options
- Select the colors button next and choose the choice of colors you want easily
- Here’s how the menu looks for the colors dashboard.
Note: This small demonstration was just to show you the usability and the ease with which you can use Astra. Like colors, other features are equally accessible and do not let you break your head.
4. Vast number of website layouts
These layouts provide a structure to your website and help keep everything aligned. With the free plan, you only get one default container layout (called the primary container).
Inside, I saw an option to adjust the container width options that include — container width, narrow container width, container layout, and dedicated container layout.
Astra offers 5 types of container layouts that include:
- Content Boxed
- Full width or contained
- Full width or stretched
- Narrow width
Note: The new narrow container width slider has recently been included with the new Astra Version 4.0.
With the layout options, I started to see the difference between a free Astra theme and a paid “Astra Pro” version. For the pro users, I found these 5 exclusive layout options that can be used for a website:
- Full Width
- Fluid Layout
- Spacing Control
Here’s a look:
The way to use these layout features is super-easy, and I like how easy it is to change the dimensions using just a slider!
5. Integration Ability
The next unique feature of the Astra Theme is its potential to be paired up with many blogging tools and software. Astra works seamlessly with Elementor, Beaver Builder, WooCommerce, Spectra, and Yoast with the Astra free version.
Additionally, with the Astra Pro, you get LifterLMS and LearnDash integrations exclusively.
Check out the add-on features that Spectra integration provides:
6. Header and Footer Customization
Astra offers in-depth header and footer features. As a designer, you have to focus in much detail on the header and footer of a website as they are the start and the endpoint. Astra lets you go full custom mode with a list of header and footer options.
You can play around with:
- Changing the transparency.
- Optimizing it for mobile devices.
- Sticking it to the top.
- Changing the color or background above or below.
Inside the customizer is where the header and the footer builders are located, which lets you add/edit the headers.
7. Custom Layouts
The customization abilities for Astra are not just limited to headers and footers. Check out how I created a custom 404 error page.
Here’s a custom 404 page that I created for the website:
Apart from this, Astra also lets you create a custom layout hook that lets you inject custom code and content where you wish to. Read this detailed guide from Astra to learn how to add a custom hooks layout.
Astra has valuable learning resources and offers detailed guides teaching how to operate complex Astra features.
8. Astra Support
As mentioned above, Astra does not let its users get lost while building the project of their dreams. During my time working on Astra, I never faced a difficulty or thought of seeking a solution outside of the Astra platform.
Astra offers great support to its users with written and video guides. Read more about the assistance that Astra gives to its users:
- In-depth articles: They have over 481 articles that cover each and every corner of the Astra field. This helped me while I was stuck customizing the sidebar.
- Dedicated YouTube channel: I found Astra’s dedicated YouTube channel that offers video tutorials for the most common user questions related to Astra. They are detailed walkthrough videos, and some of them even run for hours. This shows the details that the instructors go into.
- 24/7 Customer Support: Apart from common feature-related help, for Pro members, if you have any other requirements or queries, you can get 24/7 support from their dedicated team that will resolve your concerns in a flash.
Astra vs Astra Pro
Astra offers a bunch of services with its free plan that the majority of users fnd sufficient. Still, Astra offers an impressive Pro plan that opens the doors to multiple possibilities and customizations that can make the website even better.
|Colors and Backgrounds||Limited||Full Access|
|Site Layout Options||❌||✅|
|Custom Header and Footer||❌||✅|
|Custom 404 Page||❌||✅|
|Hooks support Custom code||❌||✅|
|Color & Typography Options||❌||✅|
|Self-hosted Google Fonts||✅||✅|
Astra Pro offers advanced website-building features that elevate the way you can shape your website. It offers this in three different options that include — Astra Pro, Essential Bundle, and Growth Bundle.
Have a glance at this table to understand more:
|Plan||Annual Plan||Lifetime Plan||Best For|
|Astra Pro||$44/yr||$224||Customization options to build websites faster|
|Essential Bundle||$127/yr||$637||Premium website templates|
|Growth Bundle||$174/yr||$874||Complete suite of features and tools|
Astra Exclusive Coupon
Here is a small perk for making it this far with me!
Using our exclusive Astra Coupon code, you can now save up to $312 on the lifetime payment of the Astra Pro–Growth Bundle plan. Read this detailed guide and follow the steps to claim the Astra theme discount.
If you are lucky, you can get this once-a-year 70% Black Friday discount. You can keep an eye on our Astra Black Friday page to stay updated with the offers.
Who Should Go With the Astra Theme?
Now, let me paint a clearer picture for you here. This can be a bitter pill to swallow, but Astra Free Theme is not for everyone. Why? While it is regarded as one of the fastest loading WordPress themes, it has some drawbacks of its own.
You can use Astra Pro to tackle these issues and actually make a difference to your website.
But, that being said, the Astra Free WordPress theme is for starters who do not need advanced customization options. Some more reasons to choose Astra are if:
- You are looking for a quick-loading WordPress theme
- You want a versatile theme that is compatible with most page builders
- You want a plethora of templates and layout options
- Custom Header and Footer options
- Want to add custom hook code to make a website unique
- A vast library of written and video tutorials to learn from
My Verdict: Is Astra Theme Worth It?
I have a one-word answer to this question — Yes! Given the complexities that adding a theme can give the users, Astra makes it smoother.
Astra theme is worth applying to your website as it is fast, reliable, customizable, and, more importantly, affordable for the value and benefits it gives. The one-time payment might feel like a lot, but use the above discount, and you’re sorted.
We love using Astra here at DemandSage and keep experimenting with its newer features to test it to the limits. I shall keep this post updated as and when we find further relevant information to contribute to the Astra theme.
Also, I would love to see how you’re using Astra and its customizations. Let me know in the comments below!