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Astra Theme Review: Lightweight, Customizable, and User-Friendly

Last Updated on August 31st, 2023

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Astra is a very simple and customizable theme developed by Brainstorm Force, that’ll make your life so much easier. Not only that – it is also very SEO friendly and fast. Made to work with various page builders, it provides options that will suit all your needs even if you don’t have any HTML knowledge.

Whether you own a make-up studio, want to invite guests to your wedding or create a co-working space, Astra has got you covered. With simple editing options that offer various possibilities, you can be sure that your website will look exactly the way you imagined it.

astra theme review: theme and plugin setup

Astra Theme Review: Theme and Plugin Setup

Installing Astra theme is fairly easy and can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Download the .zip file from the theme website
  2. Choose whether you want the free option, Astra Pro or Growth Bundle
  3. Store the file on your computer
  4. On your WordPress admin page, go to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New -> Upload Theme, and choose your .zip file
  5. Activate the theme

You can also install this theme from the WordPress dashboard. 

  1. Navigate to the Appearance menu on WordPress dashboard, open the Themes submenu and type Astra into the search bar 
  2. Click Install and then activate the theme

To gain access to various pre-made sites build, you’ll also need to install the Astra Starter Sites plugin.

Astra Theme Review: Theme Features

Astra is packed with various options to help you optimize your website. Here are some of the features it offers:

  • Free, with Premium packages available
  • Speed: Astra loads in less than half a second
  • Lightweight – only needs around 50KB of resources
  • Uses Vanilla JavaScript instead of jQuery
  • Compatibility with all Page Builders
  • Easy to use with clean admin interface
  • Simple, yet beautiful design for various needs
  • Dozens of pre-designed starter sites
  • Customizable – edit all of its parts to be just like you want it
  • SEO friendly – The Schema.org markup is included in all versions of this theme
  • Widget-ready
  • Toolset integrated
  • Extendible with Hooks
  • Open Source, 100% GPL
  • Compatible with WooCommerce and many other plugins

Astra Theme Review: Performance Capabilities

Page load time is among the essential metrics that determine the website’s overall performance. According to Brainstorm Force, the theme loads in 0.5 seconds when used with default WordPress data. 

Its speed grade ranges from 91% on YSlow to 100% on Pingdom, which speaks volumes about its performance capacities. The theme performs admirably on mobile devices since its Time-to-Interactive is only 2.6 seconds, according to Google PageSpeed Insides. 

Uploading vast quantities of high-resolution videos and photos to the theme will slow it down, but its page load time will remain under two seconds. 

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It’s important to note that how well the Astra WordPress theme will perform also depends on the hosting service you’re using.

Astra Theme Review: Customizing Theme

Astra theme offers many different ways to customize your website with lots of options:

astra theme customizing

  • Site Identity: You can choose to upload your own header, and decide whether you want to show or hide your site title or tagline.
  • Layout: Decide on your header layout and width, container width, sidebar layout and much more.
  • Colors & Background: Choose your base background color, body color, theme color and link color. Also pick a different color for the footer.
  • Typography: Pick the default body font and set default font sizes for headers, site title, tagline and blog post title.
  • Button: There are various options for formatting your button text, background and padding.
  • Widgets: Place different widgets in up to four different areas.
  • Homepage Settings: Choose whether your home page is static or will it display latest posts

Applying identical spacing settings on all site’s pages and experimenting with custom layouts or navigation menu options is only possible with the theme’s Pro version.  

You can add the Brainstorm Force’s Customizer Search plugin if you want to edit the theme with WordPress Customizer. 

Responsive Design

Having quick access to different elements isn’t the only advantage of customizing the Astra theme in WordPress Customizer. 

As you probably know, the editor shows you a live preview of all changes you make and allows you to see how each page looks on a Smartphone, tablet, or desktop. 

You can edit the Astra theme’s frontend and backend and switch between different display options. The theme should adjust the page layout automatically for each device. 

Moreover, you can easily alter the Margin and Padding parameters if you want to optimize the appearance for a specific device. 

The theme’s Mobile Header module enables you to design menus, choose header styles or upload logo images specifically for Smartphones.

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Astra Theme Review: Pre-Made Starter Sites

Once you’ve activated the Astra Starter Sites plugin, click “See Library” and choose your favorite option. There are dozens of them so you can definitely find one that suits all your needs. Here are some of them:

astra pre-made starter sites

astra pre-made starter templates

astra pre-made starter templates for pet services

astra pre-made starter templates for food recipe website

astra pre-made starter templates for spa

Some of the templates are only available in paid version, but there are plenty of great ones available for free. And, as they are so customizable, you can edit them according to your business needs. Photography, Blog, eCommerce, and Business are among the most popular categories of Astra Stater templates.

Choose the one you like best, and go to “Preview”. A screen like this will appear, and all you have to do is click Import This Site.

Don’t forget that importing a template will override all data within the Astra theme. Also, you can decide if you want to delete a site you uploaded earlier, import the template widget, or include customizer settings.

astra templates preview

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And that’s all, you’re almost done. Just edit it according to your own business/event and you’re good to go.

Astra Theme Review: Page Builder Ready

Astra is a great choice if you like to use page builders. What’s revolutionary about it is that it is actually designed to work with them, not getting into their way, letting you edit everything without interfering with headers or other aspects of the page builder.

Whether you use Elementor or Beaver Builder, you will see that lots of thought was put into actually making the theme work with them. The theme’s compatible with Site Origin WPBakery, Divi, and other popular page builders.

Essential bundles that come with the WP Portfolio plugin are available for Elementor and Beaver Builder page builders. 

Astra WordPress theme is compatible with several block builders, including the Brainstorm Force’s Spectra plugin. Moreover, you can customize this theme with the Gutenberg block editor.

Astra Theme Review: Pricing Options

It is almost certain that the free option of Astra Theme will be more than enough for your needs. However, you can also consider getting Astra Pro Add-on and Growth Bundle plugins.

Astra Pro Add-on Features

For more customization, at the price of $59 per year, you can also get:

  • Transparent Header
  • Better Typography
  • Sticky Header
  • Custom Layouts
  • Page Headers
  • Footer Widgets
  • More Color Controls
  • Scroll to Top Link
  • Header Sections
  • Mega Menu
  • White Label
  • More Header Designs
  • Blog Layouts
  • Spacing Control
  • Site Layouts
  • WooCommerce Designer

The lifetime license for this WP addon is $299, so you can save more than $70 if you choose this pricing option.

Growth Bundle Features

If you’re willing to pay $249 per year or $1,249 for the lifetime license, you can be certain that your web agency will have all it takes to make the website as successful as possible. You’ll get everything from Astra Pro, plus a library of prebuilt websites and Astra’s top selling plugins, such as:

  • Astra Premium Sites
  • Convert Pro
  • All-in-one Schema Pro
  • Free updates
  • Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder
  • Addon for Elementor (coming soon)
  • Any future plugins Astra comes up with

Astra Pro and Growth Bundle include extensive documentation and a video tutorial library to help users make the most of the theme’s features.

Frequently Asked Questions about Astra Theme

Why is Astra the Best Theme?

Fast page load times, a vast selection of templates, and compatibility with popular page builders make Astra one of the best WordPress themes on the market. 

Moreover, the theme’s free version is stacked with features that enable users to launch a website quickly. You can choose from over a hundred free templates you can add to the theme and customize as you see fit. 

The theme doesn’t use the jQuery library, which improves its performance on all devices. In addition, Astra is SEO-friendly, and you can combine it with plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math. 

Is Astra a Secure Theme? 

This WordPress theme is secure, but it’s not immune to hacking attempts, especially if website owners don’t implement the best security practices. 

Here are a few things you can do to improve the theme’s safety:

  • Create DNS and application firewalls 
  • Limit the login attempts and site access 
  • Use strong passwords and update them frequently 
  • Use HTTPS SSL protection to improve server security 
  • Don’t use outdated and unreliable plugins 

These, of course, aren’t the only measures you can take to make the Astra WordPress theme safer, so you should search for a solution that will minimize the chances of backdoor attacks or brute-force logins. 

Why is Astra Theme so Popular?

The theme’s free version is lightweight, fast, and equipped with tools that allow users to launch a site quickly. As a result, Astra currently has over a million active installations, which makes it one of the most popular WP themes. 

All templates available within the theme have functional designs and are fully customizable. The theme offers a broad spectrum of templates suitable for creatives, startups, and small businesses. 

Hence, companies and individuals use the theme to build a visually attractive website and cut the initial costs of starting an online store or creating a portfolio.

Final Verdict on the Astra Theme

If you’re looking for easily accessible and customizable WordPress theme, you really can’t go wrong with Astra. SEO friendly and ready for all Page Builders, this theme is just perfect if you don’t want to be bothered with advanced site building.

Astra theme will give you everything you need, and more. Customize its layout, shift between different header options, edit colors, backgrounds and much more. The theme is widget-friendly, with up to four areas to place them, and integrated with Toolset for more customization. Its powerful Add-on pack offers even more options – play with your website and make it attract just the right customers. Compatible with WooCommerce and lots of other plugins, it’ll make your life so much easier.

Taking up only 50KB of your resources, Astra is super-fast, with loading speed of around half a second. It’s designed to be simple, yet it holds lots of different options that you can be sure to find the right fit. Its Astra Starter Sites plugin gives you the opportunity to explore dozens of pre-made templates and adapt one of them to your business or personal website. Most importantly, its compatibility with Page Builders means you can do everything with little effort and no HTML knowledge.

If there’s a bad side to this theme, it’s the fact that you’ll have to pay more if you want to gain full access to all it has to offer. However, Astra Pro comes at a reasonable price and it can give you so many options – so it’s probably worth it. And, even if you choose to stick with the free pack, you’ll find that it’s more than enough for your business needs.

Get the Astra Theme

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.