There are literally thousands of WordPress Themes. Some free, some cheap, some expensive. Some were done by professionals, but others not so much. There are the complete ones, the modern ones, the SEO friendly ones, the light ones. Thus, it is difficult to choose the best Theme for our site. But there are some Themes that stand out for their design, compatibility and functionality. Among them, aster. In this analysis we will see its strongest points, and its weakest too.
What is “WordPress Astra”?
aster is a Theme that is presented as “the perfect theme for any site“, as its developers of the company proclaim Brainstorm Force. Therefore, we assume that Astra for WordPress "dresses" well blogs, commercial sites, educational websites and creatives in general. In wordpress.org we can see that its qualification sweeps the 5 stars, being the Theme with the most and best ratings by its users. Also, nothing less, support technicians are very interested in maintaining good relations with their users. They solve tickets and respond to all problems (of course, reputation is something to sustain permanently). After this short intro, let's see why Astra is so highly recommended.
Advantages of Astra: its strongest features
Astra is Quick
The optimization of a code is a very big issue so that it is, on the one hand, "light" (that the file sizes are as small as possible), and, on the other hand, that the operation is noble with the resources of the server. Fortunately, one of the current characteristics that Themes compete with each other for is their loading speed. Astra for Wordpress was clearly improving with each new version, looking for a growing optimization of its performance.
So, it turns out that WordPress Astra today barely requires 50Kb of resources. Let's think that a megabyte they are 1024Kb; therefore, 50Kb makes a really well-optimized Theme explicit (in general, the average of Themes has a weight of 300Kb).
Thanks to this optimization, a site running with the Astra Theme loads in half a second in a default WordPress installation. That said, it is important to understand that this time increases depending on the content of each section, added to the plugins that we have installed. On the other hand, it is essential to have our WordPress installed on a optimized server for this one cms, with good connectivity and the necessary resources.
Duplika includes Astra PRO in its service Managed WordPress
The developers behind Astra state the following in their guide How to build fast sites?: “One of the most underestimated factors is accommodation. Sometimes, no matter how well built your website is, having a bad hosting will slow down the speed leading to very poor results”.
For something "open the umbrella" in this sense. Astra may be poised to win the marathon, but a modest hosting service can be a gravel road; developers know this better than anyone. Be careful with this.
Gutenberg, the native WordPress block site builder, is a tool that thousands of developers around the world have adopted. This happened not only because of its ease of use, but also because of the speed of browsing for the user. Duplika, this site right before your eyes, is built with Gutenberg. The evidence is in your hands.
Gutenberg's expansion into the world of web development ran the wind in his favor; ergo, it is essential, for any WordPress Theme that presents itself as 4×4 all terrain, be Gutenberg 100% compatible. In the case of Astra, he started working on this compatibility from the dawn of Gutenberg. For this reason, today it can boast of having the most advanced development in this sense, including pre-made templates made with this native WordPress builder.
We love Gutenberg very much. yes there is a but. With total honesty we say: as intuitive, correct and fast as this native WordPress builder is, when it comes to customizing the blocks it lacks a wealth of possibilities. Fairly, Astra comes to supply these limitations; for example, contributing the design of structural parts or conditional content. The paid version, PRO, of Astra, incorporates Gutenberg with a plethora of fonts, more colors and backgrounds for every corner of our website, "mega" menus, fine design of our blog, "sticky" (fixed) header and really many others. additional functionalities.
Integration with other site builders
The calls "Starter Templates” or boot templates that come with Astra are just created for such builders. However, it should be noted that Astra is developed to work in conjunction with most other popular builders, such as divide, oxygen, Visual Composer and many more.
Integration with WooCommerce
Those who have in mind to add an online store, immediately or eventually, will appreciate a seamless integration of Astra with WooCommerce, the plugin number #1 to build online businesses.
Astra for WordPress makes it easy to assemble an Online Store that works fast and looks the way we like it. Thus, reflecting our style, brand, logo or spirit of our products/services is a satisfying task. The Astra Theme includes WooCommerce specific functionality such as “mini cart” options and fine customization of the Product page.
One of the advantages of Astra with WooCommerce is the adding a side slider for search filters and so on (“Off-canvas Sidebar”). This window or tab remains hidden on one side of the screen, only sliding into view when the user clicks on a defined icon or link. Another functionality that should be highlighted is the possibility of configuring a unlimited product scrolling (“Infinite Scroll“). This is an alternative to paging, and on top of dynamic loading.
Gallery of +240 Templates
Templates are pre-made sites, also called “Starter Templates“. Astra comes out of the box with more than 240 templates ready to be imported into your WordPress with one click.
Remember that a template for a site is take advantage of a pre-created design, already prepared for one to change the texts and images (although the images could be left since they are part of opting for a Starter Template). Thanks to the import of a template it is possible to have our own site literally in minutes; It is enough to access the sections that already come with the template, such as "About Us", "Contact Form", "Our products", etc., and rewrite everything with our own information.
For many of the users of this Theme, the Starter Templates either Astra premade templates are an excellent motivation to choose Astra WordPress.
styles for everyone
Astra makes it easy to create your own website from scratch. The styles that it offers us (structures or construction grids) make it possible to create and customize Headers, Footers, Blogs, Unique Pages and Posts. For Headers and Footers, WordPress Astra provides us with specific tools to design with ease (options that are expanded when we buy the Pro version).
Special mention for the design of Mobile headers. Here it is possible to customize everything in another way, optimizing visibility on small screens without jeopardizing the version for Laptops, TVs and others.
Another advantage of Astra, at least for some of us, is the ability to create specific Sidebars for certain content. For example, we can use the native WordPress Sidebar for information and links that we generally want to be fixed, but for specific Pages create Sidebars with modified or entirely different content. We know that in some scenarios this can be very favorable, even if it is not something that at first seems remarkable.
Abundant customizable fonts and color palettes can be combined to reflect our corporate image without hindrance.
Our logo as we want it
Also Astra for WordPress took care of providing us with a wide range of presentation possibilities for our logo. in the place. Left, right, centered, fixed and floating, large, small, above the menu, below the menu, on either side of the menu and a beautiful etcetera.
A add-on Optional, as long as we have paid for the Astra Theme PRO version, it is “Nav Menu”. Nav Menu, or navigation menu, expands the customization of a typical links menu into this:
In case the image is not clear enough, what the Mega Menu allows is to incorporate a large and well-customized amount of sub-links per “parent” link. In the screenshot above, those demo options are displayed by choosing the link “Background Image“. It should be noted that the names of the links in the image are created by Astra for illustrative purposes only.
Mega Menus are useful on sites that offer a very large variety of products and services., and perhaps they also intend to integrate exclusive sections for suppliers, logistics or whatever is necessary into their navigation menu.
We can see a real example of a Mega Menu from Astra on the site Next from England.
General Block layout improvements
Under the slogan "customize everything, easy“, WordPress Astra presents a seriously large amount of design possibilities. While the best features are reserved for the PRO version of Astra, honestly the amount and diversity of fine tuning that Astra allows even in its free version is remarkable.
A box of Related Entries for our Entries, which conducive to continue reading. The width for items that we want. Dynamic size fonts according to device display size. Margin spacing optimization. Over 700 Google Fonts fonts (and the freedom to import additional fonts).
More advantages of Astra
Transparent header of variable intensity that blends into the background when you scroll down? Astra has it. Design of Header and Footer areas at will? If possible. Color and font presets for fast, luscious designs? Incorporated. Different presentations for a Blog? Included in WordPress Astra. Mobile-specific layout settings? Also. Premade buttons of various designs and styles to scatter all over our site? Definitely.
We cannot fail to mention his perfect integration with the giants of distance learning: LifterLMS Y LearnDash (we recommend our LearnDash quick guide). Another notable integration is with scheme. Astra includes the basic content markup implementation that helps Google/Bing/Yahoo better understand our website.
As we advance in this note, Astra technical support remains attentive to the obstacles or difficulties that its users may encounter. That is why they maintain a dedicated team of employees who, being located in very different parts of the globe, ensure 24-hour service. Meanwhile, they have been created (and continue to be added) around 200 video tutorials that Astra keeps public in its youtube channel.
Disadvantages of Astra
Finding bad points in the Astra WordPress Theme is like pointing out flaws in the face of Brad Pitt or Gal Gadot; however, there are some issues to clarify.
Although WordPress Astra in its free version is a well-equipped war tank, it is true that the best features are reserved for its paid PRO version. This is common, I would say understandably obvious. It is impossible to develop such a "triple A" product, maintain it and improve it day by day, making technical staff available, without earning a penny. It is recommended to try Astra for free and evaluate if our site needs more features than those provided free of charge. There is a good chance that you don't. However, If we want to fly high, undertake, set up a business, teaching website or profitable blog, Astra PRO can be considered as part of the investment.
At the time of writing, Astra Pro costs USD47 per year.
One of the points where maybe Astra is not worth it is in its combination with Elementor Pro (or some well-hung builder like this one). Elementor Pro contains so many tools and features that crossing it with Astra Pro creates a redundancy of resources. Therefore, we consider that the best duet is Astra Pro with Gutenberg.
Another disadvantage of Astra is that does not include many WooCommerce specific features. For example, it does not offer built-in options for product filtering or advanced shipping options. We will need to install additional plugins to get the most out of Astra and WooCommerce. That does not mean that Astra and WooCommerce are buddies in their actions, both working with the maximum possible speed and compatibility.
Designed for both independent developers, beginners or large companies.sas, it is definitely one of the best WordPress Themes out there, not for nothing awarded with 5 stars.
Offering a very complete free version, won the hearts of thousands of developers around the world. However, the paid version is necessary to unlock additional features that every professional site will eventually need to grow.
Therefore, nothing prevents us from trying its free version and deciding for ourselves if it is really great as it seems. Or, redoubling the bet, fall madly in love and want to shout "take my money" to marry its PRO version.
Thanking you for reading, we invite you to leave thoughts and doubts in the comments section below. Success to all, and good luck in your endeavors.
We take care of the maintenance of your site
We include Astra PRO version in our Managed WordPress service