Skip to content
CodeinWP content is free. When you purchase through referral links on our site, we earn a commission. Learn more
Home / Blog / Best Free WordPress Themes / Astra Theme Review

Astra WordPress Theme Review: What Is All the Hype About?

Astra is one of the most popular free WordPress themes due to its lightweight code and user-friendly features. However, every site owner has different needs, and you might be wondering whether this is a suitable option for you. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a detailed Astra WordPress theme review.

By exploring its functionalities in depth, you can quickly decide if Astra will fit your unique preferences. That means learning about its compatibility with certain page builders, the starter templates it offers, and how it holds up in a performance test.

Astra WordPress Theme Review

In this Astra WordPress theme review, we’ll cover the key features, pros, and cons of this tool. That way, you can more confidently determine if it’s the best option for your WordPress website.

Let’s get started!

An introduction to Astra

Astra is marketed as lightweight, speedy, and customizable. Its developers also call it “The Most Popular Theme of All Time:”

Astra WordPress theme review.

This is certainly a bold statement. However, with the Astra theme currently clocking in at 8,148,585 total downloads, it may not be an exaggeration. This theme also has a five-star rating on its WordPress.org listing page, making it a top contender if you’re in the market for a new theme.

Astra was first released in 2017. It is developed by Brainstorm Force, the same team behind Convert Pro and Ultimate Addons for Elementor. Therefore, it’s designed to be compatible with popular page builders, many marketing tools, and some of the leading WordPress plugins. It’s also a ‘freemium’ theme, which means that the developers offer both free and premium versions.

Astra’s key features ⚙️

With that basic introduction out of the way, it’s time to dive into our Astra WordPress theme review. First up, Astra has some distinctive features that make it different from many other WordPress themes. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.

Performance-focused design

The Astra theme is designed for high performance, with the aim of helping your site run smoothly and quickly. To check it out for ourselves, we installed the theme on a testing site and ran some performance tests using WebPageTest.

Out of the box, Astra came in at just 42 KB with six HTTP requests, which is about as lightweight as you can get. Of course, once you add some actual content, that size will increase. But Astra provides a very strong foundation for you to build a fast-loading WordPress site (as long as you follow other WordPress performance best practices).

Astra theme performance review

Astra achieves this speediness in several ways. For instance, it doesn’t use jQuery, which can negatively affect performance via render-blocking. Instead, it utilizes Vanilla JavaScript to run interactive elements.

Moreover, Astra relies on highly optimized code to keep it efficient and lightweight. It also offers self-hosted Google fonts, so your website doesn’t have to retrieve these elements from an external server (slowing down page speeds in the process).

Page-building features

With Astra, you also get enhanced page-building abilities. For starters, you can easily integrate this theme with popular page builders, such as Beaver Builder, Divi, Elementor and more:

Elementor page builder

Additionally, Astra includes page-level controls that enable you to set up a custom canvas for your preferred page-building plugin. For example, you can choose the content and sidebar layouts for your page:

Astra sidebar and content layout.

You can also disable specific elements, such as page headers and footers:

Disabling page elements with the Astra theme.

Moreover, you can access advanced settings to disable particular header rows and choose transparent header qualities:

Astra advanced settings

Note that these settings might differ slightly depending on your page builder plugin and starter site.

Astra Pro also comes with a dedicated Header Footer Builder that enables you to create custom tri-layer designs. With it, you can add interactive elements to your headers and footers, such as logos, buttons, and widgets. Plus, there are custom design options, including sticky and transparent elements.

WooCommerce integrations

Astra Pro can also be a worthwhile option if you want to run an eCommerce store. That’s because it integrates easily with the WooCommerce plugin and provides a range of specialized settings to help you optimize your online business.

You can also access the following WooCommerce-specific features:

  • Grid settings: Show your products in a customizable grid layout.
  • Infinite scroll: Enable customers to view all of your products without navigating between different pages.
  • Quick view: Let customers see product specifications without clicking on their separate pages.
  • Drop-down cart: Allow buyers to view their online carts without leaving the page.
  • Sales bubbles: Promote discounted products with custom graphics.
  • Gallery display options: Design a product gallery with various display options.

You can access these settings via the Customizer. Here’s an example of the options you get to customize the single product page.

Astra WooCommerce settings

However, as with many of Astra’s more advanced features, these settings aren’t available with the free version. So you’ll need to upgrade to a premium license if you want to utilize them.

Free plugins

Astra also provides easy access to plugins that can supplement its functionality. In fact, it recommends that you take advantage of them. You can find these tools on the Astra Options page after installing the plugin and activate any of them with one click:

Astra plugins.

Here’s a quick overview of the recommended plugins:

💡 Keep in mind that these plugins aren’t essential for using Astra. However, they can be handy if you want to automate your design workflow and get the most out of the theme.

Social functionality

Astra also comes with some integrated social features. For instance, it supports Google Web Stories. This allows you to display your content in the style of Facebook or Instagram stories, to show off highlights and news about your business:

An example of a website using Web Stories.

Furthermore, Astra offers social icon widgets:

Social icons with the Astra WordPress theme.

These social icons link directly to your social media profiles. This allows visitors to quickly and easily start engaging with your brand on other platforms. Thanks to this feature, you won’t need to install a third-party plugin to link your site and social platforms.

Astra’s design features 🎨

A theme’s design plays a huge role in whether it’s a good choice for your website. That’s why in this part of our Astra WordPress theme review, we’ll look at all the styling and customization options it gives you access to.

User-friendliness

Astra is fairly easy to use and customize. You can access the majority of the theme’s settings from the WordPress Customizer. It also comes with over 180 starter websites, some of which are constructed using page builders alongside the theme itself.

Once you install and activate Astra, you can navigate to Appearance > Astra Options and click on Starter Templates. You’ll then see a search page where you can customize your template using a page builder:

Astra WordPress theme starter templates search.

Here, you can search for templates according to site types, such as Business or Blog. After you’ve made your selection, you’ll be prompted to upload a logo and adjust its width:

Astra logo.

Next, you can choose from preset color and font options, or customize them instead:

Customize Astra starter site.

Finally, you can enter your personal details and import Customizer settings, widgets, and content for your starter site (if needed):

Installing the Astra WordPress theme.

Astra will then take a couple of minutes to import the starter site and its content:

Installing Astra.

Now you should see a success screen and a demo video. You can go to your new website by clicking on View Your Website:

Astra installation success message.

Then, you can start customizing your site with the corresponding page builder plugin. Our starter site was made with Elementor, so we’ll click on Edit with Elementor > Site Settings to get started:

Editing Astra Theme with Elementor.

This will launch the Elementor plugin:

Editing an Astra theme with Elementor.

While Astra is highly user-friendly, one downside is that its free support is pretty minimal. This means that if you run into any issues, you’ll only have access to video tutorials, troubleshooting posts, and a limited ticketing system.

To access premium customer support, you’ll need to upgrade to Astra Pro. With this in mind, Astra may not be the best option if you think you’ll likely need extensive technical help while configuring your WordPress website.

Global design and customization options

As with most themes, Astra enables you to apply design options in the WordPress Customizer. There, you can use global styles to control your site’s typography, colors, button styles, and container (page layouts):

Astra Global Styles.

You can also access basic header and footer options to choose different types, widths, margin settings, and buttons. However, keep in mind that you’ll have fewer customization options with the free version than with Astra Pro:

Astra header builder.

Additionally, you can set up blog layout options, breadcrumbs, and sidebar designs from the Customizer. It’s simply a matter of clicking around and adjusting settings to fit your needs.

Typography

Your site’s typography can be a significant contributor to your overall branding. It can set the tone for your content and complement your visual aesthetic.

Astra has multiple typography options available in its free version. You can choose from more than 700 Google fonts (800+ with the premium version) or use presets to save time on design. Additionally, you can import custom fonts.

Astra also allows you to customize font sizing and spacing across your website:

Astra WordPress theme review of typography customization.

Moreover, it lets you set responsive sizes that differ across mobile devices. This can help you provide a great user experience (UX) regardless of each visitor’s device.

Site layouts

With Astra Pro, you can also design and use site and blog layouts. These templates can display your content and blog posts in attractive and user-friendly formats, including:

  • Masonry layouts
  • Grid layouts
  • Boxed content

You’ll also have access to advanced header and footer styling options, such as:

  • Mobile headers: Breakpoints, flyouts, hamburger menus, and more mobile-responsive designs
  • Above/below header content: HTML code, shortcodes, and widgets below and above your header sections
  • Footer layouts: Widgets, shortcodes, and HTML within your footers

Once again, keep in mind that these styling options are only available in Astra Pro. When you’re using the free version, you’ll be restricted to a default content container and a preset blog post layout.

Therefore, you might consider choosing an Astra starter site that already has the visual specifications you’re looking for. If you can’t find one you like, these restrictions can be a bit limiting.

Astra pricing (free vs pro) 💵

As we’ve mentioned, you can download and use Astra for free or you can upgrade to Astra Pro. In addition, you may have already noticed that the free version has significant limitations in certain scenarios.

As a reminder, here are some of the more advanced features that only come with the premium theme:

  • Access to site, blog, and footer layouts
  • More than 800 Google fonts
  • Color and background customization options
  • Multiple header designs
  • Integrations with the LearnDash and LifterLMS plugins
  • Custom layouts/hooks (great for developers)
  • White-labeling options
  • Premium customer support

Astra Pro starts at $47 per year. You can also purchase lifetime access starting at $239. With any paid plan, Astra offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, enabling you to try it out and see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Astra pros and cons 👍👎

To summarize our Astra WordPress theme review, here are the main pros and cons of using this theme:

  • ✅ Lightweight and performance-enhanced
  • ✅ Multiple customization options
  • ✅ Beginner-friendly
  • ✅ Integrations with various page builders
  • ✅ Regular updates
  • 🚫 Limited support and minimal styling options with the free version

Overall, Astra is a highly versatile WordPress theme that can work well for nearly any type of site. Therefore, it may be an excellent choice if you’re looking to put together an attractive and high-performing website quickly and easily.

However, if you want advanced customization options and eCommerce features, you’ll likely need to upgrade to Astra Pro. Therefore, it’s important to make sure this theme fits into your budget before choosing it over other options.

Conclusion 🏁

Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes. It comes in both free and premium versions, and offers plenty of customization options for all kinds of website niches.

To recap our WordPress theme review, Astra stands out due to its performance and efficient code. It’s also ideal to use with page builder plugins, and beginners should find it easy to navigate. However, you’ll need to upgrade to Astra Pro for advanced eCommerce features, layout templates, and premium support.

Do you have any questions about our Astra WordPress theme review? Ask us in the comments section below!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Show Comments

Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!

Most Searched Articles

Best JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks: Try These 14 in 2022

In this post, we look at the best JavaScript libraries and frameworks to try out this year. Why? Well, with JavaScript being available in every web browser, this makes it the most accessible programming language of ...

25+ Best Free WordPress Themes for 2022 (Responsive, Mobile-Ready, Beautiful)

If you're looking for only the best free WordPress themes in the market for this year, then you're in the right place. We have more than enough such themes for you right ...

12 Best WordPress Hosting Providers of 2022 Compared & Tested

Looking for the best WordPress hosting that you can actually afford? We did the testing for you. Here are 10+ best hosts on the market ...

Handpicked Articles

How to Make a WordPress Website: Ultimate Guide for All Users – Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced

Many people wonder how to make a WordPress website. They’ve heard about WordPress, its incredible popularity, excellent features and designs, and now they want to join the pack and build a WordPress website of their own. So, where does one get ...

How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Ultimate Guide for 2022

Is this going to be the year you learn how to start an eCommerce business from scratch? You’re certainly in the right place! This guide will give you a roadmap to getting from 0 to a fully functional eCommerce business. ...