If you know WordPress then you’ve probably heard about these two themes: Astra and Generate Press are two of the best WordPress themes today and if you are wondering which theme to use for your own WordPress website then this artical may just do the trick for you.
Okay so let’s start with the Astra theme. You can see on the home page that they’re claiming the other fastest-growing theme of all time and that sounds pretty impressive.
I don’t know how you substantiate a claim like that but that’s probably a different conversation.Okay so if we scroll down the page you can see that you have pre-built websites,the ability to customize without code, the theme is made for page builders which is perfect if you use something like Elementor, Beaver Builder or various others, and of course it’s super fast in performance.
You can see some examples and one thing they’ve done very well is they’ve worked on integrating with some very big tools including Elementor and Beaver Builder, which I’ve just mentioned,as well as WooCommerce and Learn Dash.
You can see some metrics here about loading speeds and you can take a look at a huge library of pre-built websites.
Generate Press is equally impressive ; it is – they say – the perfect lightweight theme for your next project.
Boasting over 2 million downloads, it’s active on over 200,000 websites and has over 800 positive reviews.
There’s a quick little video showing you how Generate Press works, a reminded that this is a theme focused on performance, and much like the Astra theme, GeneratePress also shows off the fact that the theme is well coded and very light weight.
So both themes are lightweight, both themes are coded for performance and both themes integrate with various popular page builders.
At the end of this artical I will share with you my setup, so you know what I’m using but for now let’s get back to the comparison. Both Astra and GeneratePress offer a free version of the theme.
Now, as you can imagine the free version of the theme does have some limitations compared to the pro but to be fair it’s not like you’re getting a completely different product; you are getting the same theme minus a few things.
So both the Astra and Generate Press free themes are nothing to turn your nose up at. On that note if you are looking for the free theme then there’s very little difference between the Astra free theme and the Generate Press free theme.
What I would suggest is that you install both themes and you try both themes‘ templates. Keep in mind once again that with the free version you won’t be able to access every template but you will be able to access some.
I think the decision of whether you should use the free version of Astra or GeneraPressis really gonna boil down to preference and the templates that you have available if you want to make use of those templates.
Now on to the pro. The Astra Pro theme comes with all this extra functionality which includes white label which is handy of you’re building websites for clients; you have site layouts, advanced typography, more colours, spacing control which gives you greater control over each element, spacing, padding and margin and much more.
The pricing of the Astra Pro theme is very reasonable:right now it’s $59 a year and you can use it on an unlimited number of websites.
Now on to Generate Press Pro or Premium as they call it. Much like with Astra you can see greater control over colours, typography; you get the site library, elements Woo Commerce integration, menu, spacing of course and a feature that I haven’t seen in other themes which I think is very interesting: it’s this disable elements feature which enables you to turn off various theme elements on specific pages through out your website, which is brilliant because you can turn off certain elements that you’re not using on a web page and improve the performance – the loading speed – of that page.
Very nice feature indeed. When it comes to working with the themes both themes are integrated with the WordPress customizer .
so rather than having a theme with its own separate set of preferences you get a standard experience through the WordPress customizer.
So both themes have that. When it comes to the pre-made templates you can see the Astra library here and you can see that the Astra theme integrates with the Elementor page builder, the Beaver Builder page builder, Breezy and Gutenberg.
On the website they’ve done a good job of categorizing the different templates and the reason they’re called starter sites is because you can install one of these templates at the click of a button and either keep them as they are (obviously change the text and so on and maybe a few images) or you can use them as the base, if you like, of your website and start building upwards from them.
The Generate Press library of templates is equally impressive. You can see that this theme integrates with the Elementor page builder and Beaver Builder .
So Astra has the slight edge there by integrating with more page builders.
Now when it comes to pricing Generate Press Premium is also very affordable: right now at the time of this recording it’s a touch under $50.Much like with Astra you can use it on an unlimited number of websites and like Astra.
This is a renewable fee every year if you want the updates and support. Now on a side-by-side comparison I do think Astra has the edge when it comes to themes; I do think their designs are slightly better, but that’s just what I think; you may prefer Generate Press designs.
I haven’t counted these and I may be wrong but it does seem like there are more templates in the Astra site. Now the Astra Pro theme comes with something called custom layouts which enables you to build headers and footers and all kinds of things and assign them to different areas on your website using hooks.
And Generate Press has the exact same feature only they call it elements. But there is a difference and I’m going to show you that right now.
Inside your WordPress dashboard you’ll notice that under appearance you have the Astra options and under that you have custom layouts, which I have activated on my Astra pro theme.
The way this works is you click on add new, let’s give it a title, and if you wish you can build the layout in your favourite page builder as long as it integrates with Astra Pro.
In this case I’m using Elementor so I can click on the edit with Elementor button and this gives me access to all the Elementor elements.
So for example I could build a frame here, add an image and publish it. Now if we go back to the dashboard you’ll note that in your custom layout you have a settings box and this enables you to assign your new layout to the header or the footer or a custom hook,and you’ll see that under actions you have all the available hooks.
Under these settings you can add display rules: for example you can set it to appear on your entire website and then add an exclusion rule and stop it from appearing in, let’s say for example, your private policy page.
So that is super cool. Now in the Premium version of the Generate Press theme you’ll notice that you have an elements section under appearance.
This is a place where we can build custom layouts which we can then assign to the header,the footer or a hook.
But here’s the difference: if I click on add new, I can choose an element type. I want to make it a header element. I’m going to give it a title and you’ll see that I have plenty of control over this element, from colours to alignment and also various tabs here that enable me to do really cool stuff like merging with the content.
I also have a display rules section where I can choose to display my new element across the entire website and add exclusion rules if I want to, and this section here with internal notes where you can actually type yourself some notes in case you need to remember something.
But here’s the thing: you’ll notice that I don’t have that integration that Astra has with my elementor page builder and that is a significant difference.
To put this in perspective, if I scroll down one of my posts you’ll see here an image at the bottom of the post which is a call to action.
Now that I created using a custom layout. In Astor Pro this is very easy:I simply create a custom layout, assign it to the right hook, open my page builder which happens to be Elementor, drag a frame onto the page,drop an image and save.
With Generate Press on the other hand it’s a little more tricky. What I had to do in that case is upload an image to my media library and then code the image into the elements section.
If you want to make it easier you can open a blank post add an image block in Gutenberg, upload an image to the post then go to view HTML, copy the code and then paste it into the Generate Press elements section.
So it’s not quite a smooth process as it is with Astra Pro and that’s one big difference which may swing you one way or the other.
Okay so before we conclude let me add that I use both Astra and Generate Press.In fact I use Astra Pro and Generate Press Premium.
I have been using Astra Pro since it came out; I use it across many websites and I did use it on my main blog, but I have recently switched to Generate Press on my main blog and the reason for that is down to preference.
As I say the two themes Astra Pro and Generate Press Premium are very similar: they are both very light weight themes, they are both superbly coded so there’s not much difference there when it comes to performance.
The Astra Pro custom layouts versus the Generate Press Premium elements is a thing and Astra Pro definitely win hands down on that area.
But for me creating these custom layouts was one-off,so for me personally the lack of integration with Elementor in this area is not a big thing.
Now to conclude when it comes to choosing between Astra versus GeneratePress, I think really it’s going to come down to what you want it for. If I want access to ready-made websites I will probably lean towards Astra because they do have a huge library and it’s constantly growing, and the themes really are nice.
In my case when it comes to my blog I don’t use a template, I start from scratch, so I didn’t need that.
What swung me towards Generate Press is actually preference: to me it seems just that little bit nicer. I tried the Generate Press free theme and within ten minutes I bought the Premium.
That said I’m not walking away from Astra, as I say it depends on what kind of website I need and what the purpose is going to be,but hopefully I’ve given you a bit of insight into both themes and hopefully that helps you make your decision.
I’d be interested to know which theme you go towards and why, On that note if you like this type of artical that way you don’t miss a thing.