It’s beautiful, highly customizable, and above of all, it’s free. This is our mantra for Astra – a WordPress theme so powerful, you can use it for anything – a blog/portfolio website or an online store. In fact, it’s a great theme for beginners getting into WordPress.
More than 300,000 websites use the Astra theme and this number is growing by 1,000 every day. Also, it supports popular page builder plugins like Beaver Builder, Divi, and Elementor. This means you can customize your site as easily as you want.
If you are not a designer, you can import pre-made templates and create your website with just a few clicks.
In addition to this, you can install many extensions for free depending on the needs of your website. But, if you need advanced features for your website, you can upgrade to Astra Pro.
So how useful is this Astra? But should you use it for your website?
Let’s get into the basics of the Astra theme, why it’s so popular and the benefits you’ll get when you upgrade to the pro version of the theme.
Developers of Astra
Astra is the most flexible and lightweight WordPress theme developed by Brainstorm Force – who are also the team behind plugins such as Convert Pro (email optin and lead generation plugin), Schema Pro (schema markup plugin) and WP Portfolio (portfolio plug).
Brainstorm Force developed Astra to easily and efficiently integrate with page builders and Ultimate Add-ons for Beaver Builder and Ultimate Add-ons for Elementor extensions.
Brainstorm Force is also active in the WordPress community and participates in WordCamps. Plus, they regularly update their WordPress plugins for free.
Therefore, you can trust the quality of the products produced by this team.
What can you get in Astra?
According to the developers of Astra, it is very lightweight and can highly customizable. If you use Astra on your website and only have the default WordPress data, your website should load in less than half a second.
I am using Astra theme for my most of my websites and it loads less than 800ms. You will see many images and videos on these sites, but these usually take less than 3 seconds to load.
Another thing that makes Astra unique is that it supports many popular WordPress page builders. Besides Elementor and Beaver Builder, it supports Thrive Architect, Divi, Brizy, WPBakery (formerly Visual Composer), and Gutenberg.
Speaking of page builders, here’s our take on Elementor vs WPBakery and a full Brizy review that you might want to check out.
But, if you plan to import the website design from the Astra Starter site, you should use Elementor, WPBakery, Brizy or Gutenberg for editing.
These ready-to-import websites come with all the necessary pages you need to quickly launch your website by adding your content and making a few tweaks.
This speeds up your work because you don’t have to waste time setting up the page and changing the layout. Astra is a multi-purpose theme and offers starter site templates for all major niches. Even when you want to change the design, your page is built with options that make everything incredibly easy and fast.
Moreover, Astra works well with all popular plugins including LMS, CRM, email management platforms and WooCommerce.
When you enable Astra on your website and when you edit your posts, pages or other custom post types, you’ll see Astra settings added to the settings area.
It’s nice to be able to organize your website page by page, isn’t it? And that’s what you can do with Astra. Even if you are not a technical person, you can customize your website by using WordPress theme customizer.
You will get many options on the left side of the customizer. You can refine the header and footer of your website. Using the menu, you can also change the color, font, and style of the buttons on the website.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort building your website, you can import Astra’s pre-made website templates. Just launch the Astra Starter Templates plugin and select the template you like.
If you are using the free version, you can choose from 100 templates. But if you are in the Pro version, there are 230+ Ready to Import Websites! templates available. So, whether your website is for a blog, business, online store, or portfolio, you can have a design that suits your website.
Beginners can create professional websites using Astra. But, if you are a developer, you will like to use Astra too.
You can use Astra to create custom post templates and create WooCommerce websites. It complies with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 standards, and SEO best practices. It supports translation and RTL (right to left). You can also add hooks and filters to easily add content to your website. Or, you can use the free Astra Hooks plugin, if you’re not into technology.
How Astra is Customized?
Where can you get a copy of the Astra theme to install on your website? There are two ways to do this.
You can download it from WordPress.org.
Or search it from the themes section of your WordPress admin dashboard.
Now, if you want to import the pre-built design templates, just install the Astra Starter Templates WordPress plugin and choose from the templates that you like.
Once you’ve installed the Astra theme, under the Appearance menu in your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see the Astra options.
From there, you will see different options that you can configure to customize your theme. You will also find a preference for free and premium plugins that help extend the functionality of your Astra theme.
These configuration options will redirect to the WordPress theme customizer. This is great because you can preview the changes you’re making right away. You can see how your website will look on a tablet or mobile.
The WordPress theme editor has many sections and categories that allow you to choose the settings that you want to customize. But, if you’re still confused, you can add search functionality to your settings using the Search Customizer plugin.
If you choose to upgrade to pro version or install a plugin, you will find more options in the WordPress theme settings.
Astra Starter Templates
As I said, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort creating your own website, you can install the Astra Starter Templates free plugin to choose the design of the website you want.
You can find the Astra site menu under “Appearance” in your WordPress dashboard once you’ve installed and activated the plugin.
You will be asked to choose the page builder you are using: Gutenberg, WPBakery, Beaver Builder or Elementor.
Keep in mind that a page builder must be enabled on your website as any design you choose is created using a specific page builder plugin.
Once you have selected a page builder, it will display all the website designs available for that specific page builder. You can also filter them by design type: All, Blog, Business, eCommerce, Free, and Others.
You will also notice that some design templates contain the word “Agency”. It just means it’s a premium feature on the Astra Pro.
But, I’m telling you, whether it’s free or premium, these features are great.
Click on one of the templates, and you’ll get a preview of what it looks like, as well as which plugins are needed to get this working.
Just click the “Install Plugins” button at the top or bottom of the page to install all these required plugins. If the plugin is already installed and active on your website before importing the design template, it will be labeled Active.
Once you have installed all the required plugins, click the “Import This Site” button. A warning box will appear, reminding you to import the website configuration to your website and overwrite the existing content.
If you are sure about the website design you have chosen, click the “OK” button and it will be imported to your website shortly.
Once the import is done, you may now view your website by clicking on the “Done! View Site” button.
Extending Astra with free plugins
Go back to the Astra Options in the Appearance menu on your WordPress dashboard and you will see a section listing all the free plugins you can use to extend the functionality of your Astra theme.
These plugins are developed by Brainstorm Force except Unlist Posts & Pages plugin developed by Nikhil Chavan.
Five of these free plugins were developed for Astra.
Why aren’t they included in the main theme? Well, because developers need to keep the core version as light as possible.
If you want to see hooks in your Astra theme, you can install the Astra Theme Hooks plugin.
Astra Bulk Edit enables you to edit Astra Meta settings on multiple posts or pages at once.
Page banner for the Astra theme allows you to add a banner to your homepage. If you want to install custom font files and Typekit fonts, you can install the Custom Fonts and Typekit plugin.
If you are using Gutenberg and want to have more blocks like post layouts, price list and message box, then activate the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin. If you want to create and manage sidebars, the Sidebar Manager plugin can help you.
If you want to hide certain pages on your website from search engines, use the Unlist Posts and Pages plugin. The Templator plugin lets you save your templates and pages in the cloud so you can export them to any website. It is only available for Elementor, but soon they will add support for Divi and Beaver Builder.
Although the free version of Astra is amazing, think of what else you can do with the premium version.
You will have access to more powerful features to create professional websites easily and quickly.
If you are on the Astra Pro version, you can unlock a total of 18 pro modules that enhance the performance and functionality of your website.
The Colors & Background module lets you to set colors on any part of your website (that include your base colors, header, footer, content, blog, and sidebar).
The Typography module lets you to customize and style your fonts the way you want. The Spacing module, on the other hand, lets you customize your spacing for margins and paddings.
The Blog Pro module allows you to configure your blog and archive pages by showing an author bio or loading a previous blog post under the current one.
The Custom Layouts module allows you to store custom layouts for your header, footer, hook locations, and 404 pages so you can easily include them into other parts of your website.
The Site Layouts module allows you to organize your website’s overall layout. The layout that you selected will be applied to your website’s outer wrapper.
If you have a large web page, you might want to add a scroll to the top button at the bottom left or button right of your webpage so your users can instantly go back to the top of your webpage. You can do this by using the Scroll To Top module which allows you to customize your icon.
Footer Widgets module has various layouts that you can use for your footer. It also allows you to customize your footer based on your preferences.
If you’re selling physical and digital products, you can easily integrate your website with the Integration Modules for WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, LearnDash, and LifterLMS.
White Label module lets you to rebrand Astra as your own product. If you are a design agency, you can use this module to prevent your customers from knowing what WordPress theme you’re using for creating websites.
Now, who’s excited? You must be joking if you say you’re not.
Pro Version Pricing
All these features are really amazing. But what about the price? How much will it cost you to get all these features?
Well, do not be surprised when I tell you that Astra Pro starts at $47 per year. Or, you can buy it for lifetime access which starts at $227.
Very affordable, right?
All of the Astra Pro packages come with a 14-day 100% money-back guarantee, plus you can install Astra theme on an unlimited number of websites. You’ll also get premium support when you purchase the Astra Pro package.
If you want a web design template with additional WP Portfolio plugins, you can upgrade to the Essential Bundle package which costs $137 per year or $677 for lifetime access. You can also get Ultimate Addons for Elementor or Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder, depending on which one you choose to have. Other plugins like Convert Pro and Schema Pro are included in the full enterprise package which costs $187 per year or $937 for lifetime access.
So which one should you choose? I always say that the right one for you is the one that can meet your needs and your budget.
If you’re just starting out, you may not need all the extra features. You can start with the Astra Pro entry level package.
If you want more functionality on your website, you can install plugins individually. For example, if you want the Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugin, you can get it for $57 per year to $237 per year, depending on the package you choose.
But if you need more plugins, it would be better to upgrade to Mini Agency Pack or Agency Pack.
I’m sure you have nothing but passion for the Astra theme. It is one of the best free WordPress themes.
If you’re planning on using the free version, I’m sure you’ll eventually upgrade to the premium version because you can’t miss all the awesome features that Astra has to offer.
Now, what are you thinking? Go ahead to develop your website and impress your users and customers.