What is the most important thing to start a new project on CMS WordPress? Of course, a tuned and fast template. Moreover, if it is compatible with page builders of the site, you no longer need to look elsewhere because that is probably all you will need. Why is Astra so popular here and around the world, and what can it offer you? You will find out in this review.
Introducing the Astra template
Astra is a multifunctional template for WordPress that you can safely use for any web project. Among the main advantages of this template are its simplicity, speed, and, in particular, compatibility with popular page builders of pages such as Elementor or the native Editor Gutenberg.
Introducing the Astra template.
You can also use the Astra template in its free version. Still, it should be noted that you will miss several useful features such as different layouts (layouts) for listing blog posts, quick product previews for WooCommerce e-shop, or, for example, custom page header layouts, error 404 pages, and many other useful fiches. These are the things that will make it easier for you to customize and customize a more sophisticated website look in the Pro version of this WordPress template. You can see a comparison of the two versions here: Free Comparison and Pro Version.
Astra was created in 2017 and immediately gained a large user base as it was easily customizable thanks to many built-in features. Currently, over 900,000 users worldwide use this template. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, almost 3000 users use it together. According to BuiltWith, Astra is one of the 5 most used WordPress templates in the Czech Republic.
Who is behind the Astra template?
Behind the Astra template is developers from the United Kingdomn company Brainstorm Force, founded by developer and marketer Sujay Pawar. He founded the Brainstorm Force in 2009. Originally, however, it was a company that was fully engaged in digital marketing with several support services that were not engaged in the WordPress editorial system. It was not until a few years later that the company began to focus on this editorial system.
Currently, we can find over 50 WordPress templates and plugins in its portfolio, which are used by over 1 million users worldwide.
Why use the Astra template?
We’re not going to get into any controversy here, which WordPress template is the best or fastest. Such discussions or tests end in dead ends in dead ends. On the contrary, I would like to mention why I use Astra on my client projects and why you probably want to use it yourself.
First of all, web projects are about speed. Unfortunately, there’s more and more pressure on the speed and optimization of websites, so you either need your own written template that doesn’t contain much ballast or need a lightweight but powerful ready-made template.
Writing a template from scratch is probably the best option. But it is also the most expensive option you can choose at the start of a new project. So the Astra template saves you a lot of money because it’s light and professionally tuned. Thanks to this, users do not download a lot of unnecessary ballast when loading your website.
In the pro version of this template, you will find several useful features to help you create and set up fast, nice and functional sites with minimal effort. If you end up combining this template with some tuned page builder for WordPress, you are basically able to create any website or e-shop look without using HTML or CSS encoding. So you’re going to save a lot of work and time.
Main features and features of the template
Astra is a modern WordPress template, so you can expect it to focus on performance in the first place.
At its very foundation, this template requires you to download fewer than 50 KB of important resources for the function and rendering of the template. The fewer resources a template uses, the faster it can lead to users.
And well-optimized code also contributes to the performance of the template. And it has this template because it uses the default CMS WordPress data and adheres to encoding standards. So it’s not a hastily smacked template.
In the next lines, we’ll talk about the other features this template offers.
Custom header, footer, or custom page with error code 404. It’s not with the Astro Pro.
Custom layouts in the template.
In the editor, you can create your own layout of the above elements. You can then use simple rules to set whether they should appear on a specific page, for example. A good feature is also the ability to set up custom layouts according to user roles. For example, you can show logged-in users a header other than the non-logged-in ones.
Blog layout (post listing)
In the free version of Astra, you have absolutely no way of affecting blog post listings. In fact, you can do it intricately through some plugin or hard-code it in a template. With the Pro version, this is no more, and you can set different versions of grid layouts to list posts, and you can also, for example, have the first article highlighted to make it unmissable.
Set up grid layout for blog.
With headers, you have many more options than you will definitely appreciate. Again, you will no need to encode something hard in the child template, but you can create different header designs simply through the customizer template.
Template header designs.
Above the classic (primary) logo bar and menu, you can add a bar with contact information, for example. And you can do the same under it.
Flexible footer options
When you set footers, you can set up to 5 columns for widgets. You can choose from different layout options according to their widths. This is one of the effective features of the customizer, with which you can get almost anything you can think of in the footer of the page. This allows you to create sophisticated page footers and not just faint, non-saying blocks of site links.
Set widget layouts in page footers.
Many developers, and not only them, will be pleased to find integrated features and extensions in this template to help them set the look of WooCommerce e-shops. For example, directly from the template customizer, you can easily change the layout structure of the product page and the appearance of the listing of products in the catalog. You can then easily set the number of listing columns in the product catalog or, for example, set up image and text alignment.
Edit the page structure for each product.
Another interesting feature for e-shops is, for example, a quick preview of products, where users suddenly hover over the product, so they will see more detailed information without having to click the product.
Colors and typography
Finally, I mention this seemingly inconspicuous feature that you can find in the customizer. This feature also saves you the necessary interference with CSS styles. With template customization options, you can easily set colors for different page elements, such as headings, buttons, or links. You can also easily change the fonts (fonts) of those elements and set them in different sizes for display on different devices.
Pre-made starter templates
Astra Starter Templates are actually pre-prepared appearance templates for web pages. What good are they? This template looks basically like a “backscatter.” It is assumed that the user who buys it will want to modify it using their own encoding or page builders further.
A sample of pre-made page skins for the Astra template.
So we know that Astra is better and more tuned than on top of shiny templates from some online template markets. Astra looks too ordinary at first glance. Especially for less experienced users. The look sells, and nothing about it will change the fact that there are great possibilities and useful features hidden beneath the surface of this template.
Users who do not want to work with graphics and UX web would not choose Astra due to the apparently ordinary. No matter how good it is, then nice but unoptimized and stupid templates for a few dollars.
So Astra Starter Templates are here to help you create graphically nice and optimized websites faster.
Depending on your page builder or page editor, you’ll choose one of the dozens of pre-made skins for the site. Then, you can easily import it into your WordPress. With page builder, you change texts, photos, and other elements, and you have a perfect website that you didn’t have to reach into the source code for and whose appearance was designed by professional web designers.
Astra template prices
Astra is available on several fares. You can use the well-cut free version or pay for one of three paid plans – Pro, Essential Bundle, and Growth Bundle.
Astra is one of the few to offer lifetime licenses for these tariffs. Of course, these are much more expensive, but you don’t have to pay every year to renew your license. And that often pays off.
The individual plans differ in the number of available pre-made Starter Templates skins and other add-ons and plugins.
In addition, you get a WP Portfolio Plugin agency tariffs that cost $39 separately compared to the Pro version. Finally, with the Essential Bundle, you can choose your favorite page builder, for which Astra has premium add-ons ready.
With the highest Growth Bundle plan, you get all the benefits and plugins that this template offers. It is definitely worth mentioning the Schema Pro plugin, with which you can easily mark the data on the site as a structured or convert pro conversion tool. Unfortunately, both of these tools cost tens of dollars each. Impeccably, Brainstorm Force promises that you will automatically have their future plugins available on this plan.
Compatibility with page builders and plugins
The Astra WordPress template was designed for page builders. So this means that it is compatible with about every modern WordPress site builder. The only exception is the Divi template with its built-in page builder. He can work with Astro, but I don’t think it’s a happy solution to connect them. Furthermore, Divi adds a lot of “nonsense” to the site code, which then hinders Astra and thus deprives her of its advantages. By the way, Divi was also thoroughly tested on the WebhostingCentrum portal(Divi reviews).
The Astra template is fully compatible with elementor, beaver builder, breezy page builders, and the built-in Gutenberg page editor. For these page builders, Astra also has pre-made Starter Templates skins.
However, Astra also has a good time with other page builders of the site, which users of the WordPress editorial system like. For example, Thrive, Architect, WPBakery, and Visual Composer.
Evaluation and conclusion
Astra is currently one of the most popular templates for WordPress. I hope it doesn’t seem too biased, but I like to use it myself.
One reason is its speed. There’s a lot of pressure on the speed of website loading today. Those who don’t load the site quickly may lose a significant proportion of visitors in the future because Google may decide to offer users faster-competing sites in search results.
The clear and optimized source code of the template is closely linked to speed. It doesn’t need to download a lot of resources for rendering and so on. Supposedly, Astra can load in half a second. But, of course, we’re talking about its foundation. If you start using Elementor and Astra, for example, it will not be so famous anymore. But it’s still going to be a lot better than using Elementor with some month-tuned templates.
I also appreciate the ability to set up many things about the site’s design through its customizer. Without interfering with code or writing CSS, I can set page layouts, change fonts and colors, and set listings of posts or products in the e-shop. There, for example, I can change the order of previews, article metadata headings, and so on. Still, most importantly, I can create more efficient listings, for example, in a grid layout that is clearer for the user.
The essence of Astra is that you can further customize and customize it to your own ability. And here, it must be compatible with various page builders of the site. Nowadays, most web projects don’t interfere with code much because it’s lengthy and more costly. So Astra in the Pro version, in conjunction with some page builders, is simply the ideal choice for creating almost any web project. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, a magazine, or a big e-shop.