GeneratePress and Astra are the most popular themes in the WordPress marketplace right now. If you are using any of the popular page builder plugins, you should be using either one of the plugins.
So, in this post I will be comparing GeneratePress and Astra theme especially with regard to using it with page builder plugins like Elementor, Beaver Builder, and others.
GeneratePress vs Astra - Which is the Best?
Ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, both these themes beat every other WordPress theme in the marketplace.
These are the themes that have made complete use of customizer feature that comes with WordPress. You can see almost all the features these themes have got to offer in one single page, neatly organized - Theme Customizer Page.
Both these themes have a modular approach, that means set of related features are grouped as a module, and you can enable or disable unwanted modules to ease out your learning curve.
As a non-coder, you don’t need to touch a single line of CSS code to make most of the visual changes to your site.
Everything you need is just accessible on one page with live preview.
I would give Astra a plus one, as the theme customization is a bit easy to use.
Astra is actually very lightweight when compared to GeneratePress mainly due to the fact that they are easy with queries. When you compare the page load speed of sites, Astra has a little edge over GeneratePress when used with an Elementor template.
However, when Astra and GeneratePress are tested without any page builder installed, both got similar scores in Pingdom.
It won’t make much of a difference, because based on the integration of themes with page builder and other plugins you use, the results for you may completely contradict with mine.
But, Astra has a little edge when it comes to performance. But that’s not a deal-breaker for me.
Both these tools have very great features for you to customize the layout of your site. Let’s look into them.
GeneratePress comes with some features to tweak the site header by enabling you to tweak the width, alignment, padding and toggling mobile header functionality.
The GeneratePress also comes with the ability to set page header. You can set headers for individual pages, you can make the page header transparent, add video background, image, content or use all these elements in one go.
On the other hand, Astra theme comes with add ons like header sections and page headers. Inside the customizer you get the option to edit the primary header, add a layout above header, below the header and also make header bar transparent.
The “Above header” feature is what I found appealing.
Unlike GeneratePress, Astra comes with a separate “post type” for creation and management of page headers. In that separate section, you can create site headers, page headers and also set the display rules.
Having a separate section for managing headers is much more powerful than setting page headers each time.
GeneratePress comes with options to set custom text, set padding, and also select the number of widget areas in the footer bar.
Whereas in case of Astra, you can choose among the available footer layouts, set custom texts for each of the available footer sections, and also select among the 7 footer widget layouts.
Both these themes have the same customization power when it comes to the footer.
Both these themes offer the same amount of widget area depending upon the site layout you’ve chosen. With both these themes, you can make use of multiple widgets in the footer bar.
However, by making use of some plugins or coding, you can always register new widget areas. You can easily add hooks to both of these themes without editing any theme files.
Special: With Astra Agency Plan, you have a section called Astra sites that essentially is a directory of dozens of sites built with Astra and various other page builder plugins.
With the click of a button, you can literally import the entire site. This is a great feature.
In color customization, both these themes are almost a tie. In the customizer page, both of these themes have the exact same control for color selection.
There are plenty of color pickers for you to change the color of every aspect of your site from widget title color to footer link color. Every visual aspect can be modified without touching even a single line of CSS for non-coders.
I would still give GeneratePress an edge because it gives you the ability to tweak the colors of form elements, slider elements, and menu elements in precision.
If you have complex needs, you can always make use of the custom CSS section which both these themes offer.
Both these themes come with both free and pro versions. With both of the free versions, you’ll get no access to premium modules/add-ons.
The GeneratePress premium version gives you access to 15 modules.
On the other hand, Astra Pro gives you access to 16 add-ons out of which 2 are yet to come.
However, by looking at the sheer amount of modules these themes have got to offer, you can’t just decide the winner.
The module-based approach in WordPress themes is on buzz for good reasons. It’s like object vs function-oriented approach. They are easy to maintain, scalable, and also easier to market. But I think WP Astra has taken it too far by creating a separate addon for just a “Scroll to top” button.
These themes are indeed developed with non-coders in mind. But still, have some great features for developers to play with.
For CSS changes, both these themes come with custom CSS section (not to mention).
There is also a section for you to add hooks without touching the theme files. Thus, totally eliminating the need to create a separate child theme. You can add hooks to header, body or the footer.
There are also options for you to export/import the theme settings, and it is extremely helpful while creating your clients’ websites without having to go through all those settings.
If creating a child theme is what you are looking for, then both GeneratePress and Astra themes support the creation of child themes. With this, as a developer, you’ll be getting the ultimate freedom to build something awesome upon the solid framework.
Compatibility with page builders
Both these themes work great with page builder plugins like Elementor, Beaver Builder and, Thrive Architect.
I’m using GeneratePress with Thrive Architect plugin. The journey has been so smooth so far. The integration between these two is rock-solid. I can’t really comment about Thrive Architect with Astra Pro as I haven’t really used the combo.
If you are using Elementor, then both GeneratePress and Astra works great for you as per my observations. But still, Elementor has officially recommended GeneratePress on their articles. You can’t go wrong with any of these.
The Astra theme has a good integration with Beaver Builder. Even the WPAstra site is designed using Beaver Builder. On the other hand, Beaver Builder also works great with GeneratePress.
If you are asking me about Visual Composer, I’ve never used this plugin mainly due to the extensive usage of shortcodes. But still based on the reviews I can say that both these themes work great with Visual Composer.
Astra is built originally to integrate smoothly with page builders or at least they market like that. Also, the Brainstorm Force team has a good track record of building plugins for page builders like Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder and Visual Composer. So, if you are specific about how the theme performs with page builders, go with Astra.
GeneratePress also integrates perfectly with all the page builders. In fact, it is the theme that I use on my site with Thrive Architect and also heard people recommending it strongly to use GeneratePress alongside Elementor.
Both these themes come with a dedicated modules/addons for Woocommerce integration. Please note that only when you have WooCommerce plugin activated on your WordPress site, you’ll see the module options in the customizer page.
With both the themes, you can select the layout, alignment, and also choose the number of products to display on a single page. Added to these options, with Astra Pro you can also select the order in which the product information appears.
Support and documentation
Both GeneratePress and Astra Pro come with one year of free updates and support. Both these themes have a ticket system where you can raise tickets for support.
Apart from the ticket system, both these themes have a dedicated support forum and a knowledge base.
Both these themes have a good knowledge graph. With GeneratePress 2.0 coming onboard, the knowledge base of GeneratePress is really growing than ever.
Both GeneratePress and Astra are freemium themes. Their free versions won’t come with modules, support, and also many other features.
If you want the pro versions, GeneratePress costs $39.95 per year. WP Astra costs you $59/year. Both these come with usage on unlimited sites, updates, and support.
You also need to note that GeneratePress offers you 40% off on renewal, whereas WP Astra offers you only 20% off on renewal.
It is also worthwhile to note that WP Astra has a separate agency plan which sells for $249/year. It does include a bunch of extras like their addons for page builder plugins, and much more.
Whereas, GeneratePress gives you the right to use their theme on unlimited client sites with their one and the only premium plan itself. They don’t have a separate agency plan.
GeneratePress is by far the most affordable option for you.
Here’s my final take.
However, it doesn’t mean that GeneratePress has fewer features. It has great features more than you may ever use.
If you’ve seen the pricing section of this post, you can notice that the GeneratePress comes at half the price of Astra Pro for a user. If you own an agency, GeneratePress comes at a fraction of the price of Astra.
As documented in one of my previous blog posts, I shifted from FocusBlog to GeneratePress. Before making a switch, I was in a dilemma to choose between GeneratePress and Astra. I finally settled with GeneratePress due to its integration with page builders, popularity, and affordability. For me, the additional features Astra was offering didn’t make much difference.
Again, if you forget the price for a while, Astra has a little edge over GeneratePress.
You can’t really go wrong with either of these.
Are the additional features that Astra offers worth the price? You are the one to decide.
If you are willing to buy any of these themes, make sure you do it through one of the above links and buy me a coffee 🙂