Astra is one of the few themes on the WordPress repository with 1+ million active users. It is not only one of the most downloaded templates but is also a top-rated one. Its rating on WordPress.org is 4.9+.
Is Astra free/Pro edition better than your current theme? What options/features does it provide to the free or Pro users? Here’s our honest review of the template:
Astra installation and activation is easy. You can download the template from the WP repository and install it manually using the FTP/upload install method or use the WP theme search and installer tool. If you’ve bought APro, you must download this addon from the Brainstorm Force store website and install it. What happens when you install and enable the addon? You will be prompted to enter the license key when you install and activate the addon. You must enter the license key to activate and use the APro modules.
Astra adds its customization options to the WordPress live customizer tool. Thus, you should open the Live customizer tool to customize your website. The theme also adds an option, “Astra options” to the Appearance menu of the WP CMS. When you click this option, WP will open a page where you’ll find options to enable/disable the modules. Here are the options that you’ll find in the WP live customizer tool:
Astra free edition
Site identity: The Site identity option allows users to set the site favicon and logo and specify menus. You can configure the template to show a textual logo instead of a photo logo.
Color customization: This theme enables users to change the color of the link, link hover, headings h1 to h5, text, site background, and content background.
Typography: Typography management is one of the best features of Astra. The free version of the theme lets you change the font family and font size of the body text and headings h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, to h6. It enables you to change the font weight and set line height. Sometimes, users may want to add an underline to the link. Astra lets you do so with the WP live customizer tool.
Blog post customization: The entry meta modules – author link, comments link, category link, tags, and post publish date are stacked. You can change the order of these modules by dragging and dropping them. The template lets you hide the post title and enable/disable the featured image on the post. It also enables you to adjust the size of the content section i.e. post content section and the sidebar section with the help of a slider.
Header Builder: Many premium WP templates ship with 5 to 10 header styles. The only thing that you can change in these header styles is color. APro lets you build a custom header with its drag-and-drop header builder tool. When you click its header builder tool, the theme will show a panel that displays the structure of the header. By default, the header is divided into three parts. Each part has three columns, and you can add the following header elements to columns:
- HTML, secondary menu, widget.
- Social icons, buttons, login/register links.
You can change the background color of the header part.
Footer builder: The footer builder is similar to the header builder. It displays a panel that boasts three parts. The parts are divided into columns. You can add widgets, a menu, a search box, custom HTML, etc to the columns.
Archives: Astra free version lets you control the appearance of posts on archive pages. It can display the post excerpt or full content on the archive page. You can configure it to show the post-featured image below or above the post title. You can also change the font size of the archive post title and the title of the archive page.
Performance: Another interesting feature of the template is the option to enable the “load Google fonts locally” function and activate the preloading of the locally stored fonts. You can find these options in the Performance section of the live customizer tool.
APro is an add-on. Once you purchase its subscription plan, you can download the addon. Brainstorm Force lets users generate and download the Astra child template.
What is the benefit of the child theme? If you don’t use it, any changes you make to the parent theme’s PHP files will be wiped off when the developer launches a new update, and you update the template. If you’re using the child theme, your custom code will remain intact, and only the parent template/APro plugin will be updated when you run the updater.
Astra Pro add-on
The APro addon adds the following new features to the template:
Custom layout: The custom layouts module allows users to create a new header, footer, and inside page/post content section and insert code/shortcodes in various parts of the page with the help of hooks. You can configure the module to show the new layout on certain website pages for a specific time duration.
Scroll to top: The free version of the template doesn’t have the “scroll to top” function. Its Pro edition comes with the “scroll to top” module. This module lets you control how the scroll to top icon will behave. This template enables you to change the size of the scroll to the top icon and change its position to the left or right of the page. It can display the icon on a desktop, mobile device, or both. The option to manage the scroll to top function appears under its Global settings section.
Search options: APro lets you customize the search function. It allows users to enable one of the following search styles:
- Full screen, box.
- Slide search.
You can change the text that appears inside the search box and change the color of the search icon, the overlay, and the background color.
Spacing control: Astra free edition doesn’t let you control the void space surrounding various elements of the site. For example, you will find an empty space of about 1 inch below the menubar. When you can activate the spacing control module, you can adjust the space by simply entering a number in text boxes that appear in the spacing control options that you will find in the “Design” section of the Blog.
Blog Pro: APro allows users to set the length of the excerpts. It lets them configure sidebar positions or hide the sidebar. The template also lets users change the width and position of the featured image. It supports these two image positions on archive pages – left and right. The template’s free edition doesn’t have an author box module, but its Pro version has it.
Sticky menu: APro’s sticky menu module can make the mobile or desktop menu sticky. It can hide the sticky menu when the user scrolls down and show the menu when the user scrolls up.
Nav Menu: This module lets users add a mega menu to their website. If your website has plenty of categories, you can activate and use it.
Speed, documentation, and support
Astra passes the strict Google Core Web vitals test with flying colors. It is lightweight and fast too. Its developers offer ticket-based support to Pro users. Users of the free version of the theme can post their issues or questions regarding the template in the official WordPress support forum.
Plans and pricing
Users can buy one of these three annual subscription plans of Astra – Pro, Essential Bundle, and Growth Bundle for 59, 276, and 523 dollars, respectively. The Essential Bundle comes with the APro addon and 180 premium pre-designed templates. It lets users choose and download one of these two page-builder addons – Ultimate addons for Elementor or Ultimate Addons for Beaver.
The Growth bundle plan includes everything you get with the Essential Bundle, and it ships with two premium plugins – Convert Pro and Schema Pro. Also, if Brainstorm Force builds any new WordPress product in the future, you will get free access to this new product. In addition to the annual plans, Brainstorm Force offers lifetime Pro, Essential Bundle, and Growth Bundle plans for 249, 996, and 1893 dollars. Is APro worth it? Yes. It is one of the greatest WP themes ever built.
- Easy to customize.
- Drag and drop header/footer builder.
- There are plenty of features for free and Pro users.
- Great design.
- Fast and lightweight.
- One or two features of the Pro edition of the theme should have been free.