Astra is a very popular choice for your WordPress projects. Its high quality and performance make it one of the best WordPress themes out there.
Free vs Premium Astra theme
One major difference between the free and the paid version is the available support. Only the premium version includes a 24/7 support.
The free WordPress theme edition includes a narrow features set related to colors, typography and spacing. Only few multiple html elements are available in free version. On the other hand, the paid version includes the full features.
Integrations (such as WooCommerce, Learn Dash) are very limited in the free version. You will need to go for the paid version for the full WooCommerce support. Premium users will be able to access many other features related to cart functionality, checkout process or shopping page design.
The free version might suffice for many users. However, if you want more control over the layout you will need to upgrade. This is because advanced features such as full width or fluid site layouts are available just in the premium version.
Furthermore, the premium version includes far more features such as multiple page headers or sticky header animations.
Next, we are reviewing functionalities that are available either in the free WordPress theme version or in the premium (paid) version. Given the limited feature-set available in the free version, many of these features are available only in the premium edition.
Pre-defined websites available as a starting point
Have you found yourself not knowing how to start? You have an idea in mind for which you want a WordPress website. Yet this is not sufficient. Most of us prefer to have a starting point instead of building everything from scratch. This is particularly true with a WordPress site. And the more options you have for this starting point the better.
Astra makes things easier for those who want a starting point by providing pre-build websites. At the date of the review there were over 180 predefined website designs and layouts for you to explore. Many of these layouts look professional and are great as a starting point for your web project. You could browse and explore each of these pre-build websites in the Astra theme website. Once decided about a design, you can import it with Astra Sites plugin.
Customize easily the header
While designing your WordPress project, the header is one of the key areas of your site identity. In most cases, it will be the first section on the page. Thus, its appearance will have a huge impact on how your users will perceive your site. A professional header, with modern and minimalist menus could contribute to a trustworthy design. A header that matches your global colors could strengthen your overall website identity.
In Astra you could manage multiple headers and to customize the layout for each of these. For example, on one page you could have a custom sticky header with custom colors and background. The theme provides header and footer builders. This will allow you to edit your existing headers or to create a new header from scratch. And this can be done quite simple by using drag & drop. Just drag things around or select an element to change its properties. We found the entire editing experience well thought and easy to use.
A fast loading time during our Astra theme review
What we loved most about Astra WordPress theme, was that it was optimized for performance. We found the theme to load fast and to perform good against various key metrics such as GTmetrix and Pingdom.
Working smoothly with other WordPress page builders & tools
Many WordPress users will be interested in how the theme works together with established WordPress page builders. We were glad to learn from the Astra theme website, that the theme was built to work smoothly with tools such as elementor or yoast. Also, the theme intends to be compatible with Gutenberg Blocks. Furthermore, the Astra theme is integrated with key learning management systems such as LearnDash. And not to forget, you could easily create an online ecommerce WordPress site, since the theme also prove integration support with WooCommerce.
Lots of integrations available
During our review of the Astra WordPress theme, we found that the theme provides key integrations. For example, it integrates itself smoothly with other Learning Management Systems such as LifterMLS or LearnDash.
Control the flow of your content
The theme provides easy to use components to lay out and list posts. For example, you could use a list layout, a grid layout or a masonry layout. These should give you the power and flexibility to implement your own ideas for your listing pages.
This is essential if you want to create different designs for the lists from your pages, homepages or archive listings. Instead of creating monotone experiences, where all listings look alike, you could create unique layouts for various listing from your web project.
Many typography options available
Astra present a wide range of typography settings. You could use typography presets to set up the font settings for your text and headings. The use of presets it is quire convenient since you will save a lot of time while formatting your web page. Then you could specify different font sizes and weights for different viewports and devices. For example, you might want to change the font size for headings or subtitles on mobile devices. Similarly, you could have specific text with readability issues on smaller viewports. This happens when the background is impacted by the viewport change and the new background does not ensure sufficient contrast. Thus, you could decide to increase the color readability of the text just for specific viewports.
There are many more typography features and settings available in Astra. You could even integrate Google Fonts or use your own custom fonts.
Two versions – Free and Paid theme versions
At the time of the Astra WordPress theme review, there was a free version and a Pro version. As expected, not all the features are available in the free version. For example, premium support and advanced site layouts are available only in the premium theme version. Premium users will be able to access far more integrations and to customize more features. As the Learndash integration is available just for paid users.
Furthermore, Pro users will have access to additional site layouts such as full-width or fluid. Extra customization for header, footer or for your blog archive are available just in the paid version. For example, a user with a paid license could customize also the archive page pagination, or to opt in for a masonry layout.
Playing with colors is a breeze
If you want to customize your web page colors and background, there are many options for you. For example, you could specify colors and a background for your header, for your blog archives, for the footer, sidebar or the content area. You could also specify global colors that will propagate across your entire website. Once changed, these will impact all your pages. This will allow you to change at any point the overall key color schemes for your web project.
Astra WordPress theme remains one of the leaders in its field. It is lightweight, highly performing, and with lots of creative features. Furthermore, it has a comprehensive knowledge center with clear documentation and lots of video tutorials.
You can learn more about Astra on: