Astra Pro Plugin: Getting Started

A road going up a mountain with a orange flag on mountain peak: Astra Pro Plugin: Getting Started

If you’ve been using the free Astra theme for awhile, it’s time to take a look at the Astra Pro Plugin.

Astra Pro extends the free Astra theme by offering some great features that you can activate on an as-needed basis.

These features include:

  • Above and below header
  • Sticky header
  • Variety of footer widget configurations and sizes (i.e.: 2-5 columns)
  • More font and color options for global colors, headers, sidebar, blog archive and single post
  • A blog pro option for even more ways to customize your single post and blog archive
  • Mobile header option for different menu styles, colors, and header breakpoints
  • Page headers
  • Custom layouts (great for adding a 404 page, FB Pixel code, Google Analytics and more)
  • More site layout options
  • Scroll to Top
  • Integration with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Download, LearnDash, and LifterLMS

Though you may be perfectly happy working with the free Astra theme, I think it’s worthwhile to explore upgrading to Astra Pro.

And the Astra Pro features can help you build out an even more beautiful WordPress site!

While I’ve touched on a few of these features in prior posts, I thought it might be helpful to dedicate one article to exploring these Astra Pro options in detail.

Here’s a list of links to help you find a specific topic:

Using Astra Pro with Free Astra Theme
Astra Free Theme Links to Customizer Settings
Astra Pro Modules
Upload Logo
Customize Fonts
Header
Primary Menu
Footer
Colors
Layout Options
Blog Pro
Sidebar
Override Customizer Defaults
Additional Features
Support

Astra Pro Plugin: Getting Started

You may be going through our Astra Series posts to learn more about the Astra Theme.

And you may have already imported an Astra starter site and set up a child theme.

But you may be a bit confused between the free Astra theme and the Astra Pro plugin. I was!

What was confusing was the fact that the theme is always free.

But for any enhanced features, you have to purchase the Astra Pro plugin.

But once I started investigating, I began to understand the value that Astra Pro brings to web design.

So let’s explore getting started with Astra Pro and see how it can help.

Using Astra Pro with Free Astra Theme

Both the free theme and Astra Pro enable you to easily customize your site.

But Astra Pro gives you way more settings that you can change in the Customizer.

This post assumes that you have already installed the free Astra theme on your WordPress site.

If not, take a moment and download it now. Then install and activate the free Astra theme.

Once done, you’ll be able to easily follow the steps below.

Purchase Astra Pro Plugin

Next you need to purchase the plugin.

As of this writing, there are three purchasing options as shown in the chart below.

Astra Pro plugin is included for free in the Mini Agency and Agency Bundle.

Astra Pro

Annual: $59
Lifetime: $249

Mini Agency Bundle

Annual: $169
Lifetime: $499

Agency Bundle

Annual: $249
Lifetime: $699

For a list of features for each package, please refer to the Astra product comparison.

Activate Astra Pro Plugin

Next, download, install and activate Astra Pro plugin on your site.

Once done, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins.

Then click on Astra Pro > Settings.

Or go to Appearance > Astra Options.

You’ll see two sections: one with Astra Free Theme Links followed by Available Astra Pro Modules.

Astra Free Theme Links to Customizer Settings

The following links will take you directly to the customizer setting in your website.

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Available Astra Pro Modules

But note how many more features you have when you install Astra Pro:

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Out of the box all of the pro options are deactivated.

Decide which options you want to use and then activate them.

This allows you complete control over the assets that get loaded into your website.

And when you can pick and choose exactly what you need, you end up with a leaner and faster-loading website.

Let’s take a look at the settings.

Astra Options

From the Dashboard go to Appearance > Astra Options.

Screenshot of Astra Free Theme Customizer Links
Astra Free Theme Links to Customizer Settings

Upload Logo

Available in Astra Free Theme and Astra Pro

Click on Upload Logo and you’ll see the following Customizer Settings screen for Site Identity:

Astra Options Customizer Settings: Add, Remove, or Change Site Logo
Add, Remove, or Change Site Logo

You can add, remove or change your site logo as well as specify logo width and logos for retina and/or mobile devices.

And take note of the desktop icon denoted by the red arrow above.

This Customizer setting has the ability to toggle between desktop, tablet and smartphone views.

So if you click once on the desktop icon, it will toggle to a mobile view so you can adjust the logo image or width if needed like so:

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Astra Theme Logo Mobile Customizer Setting

And you can see that now the little icon in the lower right corner has changed from desktop to mobile.

If you click that icon one more time, it will bring up a smartphone view with the same settings as above so you can further fine-tune your site logo for smartphones:

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Astra Theme Logo Smartphone Customizer Setting

So as you’re customizing your website, take notice of settings that display those icons to see what additional options are available to you for different devices.


Customize Fonts

Astra Free Theme

In Astra Options, click the Customize Fonts link to get to base typography and heading settings in your website.

You’ll have the option to change your basic font setting and typography for all six headers.

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Astra Customizer Setting for Typography
Astra Pro Typography

But with Astra Pro Typography you can manage other typography throughout your website such as:

  • Header: Primary Menu and Sub-menu
  • Content
  • Button
  • Blog / Archive
  • Blog Post Title / Post Meta
  • Pagination
  • Single Post / Page Title
  • Sidebar
  • Footer Widgets
  • Footer Bar

Those additional settings are found under Appearance > Astra Options > Typography.

Once you have that module activated, go to Appearance > Customize > Global > Typography.

From there you can modify the typography for the above listed elements.

Learn more about customizing typography.


Clicking Header Options takes you to Header in Customizer Settings where you have the option to modify settings for:

Astra Free
  • Site Identity
  • Primary Header
  • Primary Menu
  • Transparent Header
Astra Pro

To use these extended features , you need to activate Header Sections Module.


Astra Free Theme Primary Header

You have three distinct header options in the Astra free theme: logo to the left, logo on top, or logo to the right of your menu.

Select how you want the header area to look such as logo and menu placement for both desktop and mobile.

Choose bottom border size and color.

And then choose your mobile layout option.

Astra Theme Customizer for Primary Header
Astra Customizer Settings for Primary Header
Astra Pro Header Styles

You might want to explore the additional header styles that are available in Astra Pro:

  • Transparent Header – Your primary header background is transparent which provides a seamless look with a menu over a large cover image.
  • Above Header – This setting allows you to show your CTA, contact info, social media icons, menus, etc. above your header section.
  • Below Header – Same functions as Above Header, but information appears below the header section.
  • Mega Menu – Let’s you create the ultimate fully customized menu with background colors and images, highlighted labels, columns and more.

Primary Menu

Astra Free Theme Primary Menu

With both the free theme and Astra Pro, you have the option to disable the menu altogether as well as specify the last item in the menu.

For example, you could choose the Search icon as the last item in the menu like I’ve done on this site.

Or you could put your social icons as the last item in your primary menu.

But if you want to put social icons in your menu, you’ll need Astra Widgets installed and activated. And this post explains how to use Astra Widgets.

Next, for your sub-menu, you can specify any type of animation you wish when that menu opens such as Slide Down, Slide Up or Fade.


Astra Pro Primary Menu

With Astra Pro, you can do even more styling on your primary menu.

For example, you can specify typography, colors and spacing for your desktop and mobile menus, sub-menus or Mega Menu.

Astra Customizer Setting for Primary Menu
Astra Pro Customizer Settings for Primary Menu

Wherever you see a pencil, you have the option to edit a setting.

For example, click on the pencil icon next to menu.

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Edit Colors and Typography

A second screen opens with your menu option settings.

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Edit Menu Link Colors

Note how you can modify a normal link color as well as hover and active link colors from the Customizer.

And don’t forget about the device icons to the right (purple arrow). In this view we are editing the desktop link colors.

Toggle the icon to get mobile and smartphone options by clicking on that icon.

Click once and you’ll toggle to edit the mobile link colors.

Click that icon again and you’ll toggle to settings for smartphone link colors.

Using Your Brand Colors

Now you most likely have specific brand colors that you are using in your website.

You can set those color values using the default color palette.

But to make your color customization easier, you can add a custom color palette to Astra.

In this way, you can define a palette that specifies your brand color values.

So when you click the “Select Color” button, the palette will show your predefined colors instead of the default palette.

Editing Menu Typography

Here’s how you edit menu typography.

Under the Typography setting, click the pencil icon next to the Menu option.

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Edit Menu Typography

The expanded settings menu opens and you can specify your font family and style.

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Editing Desktop Font Family and Style

Click on the desktop icon (purple arrow) to bring up the mobile menu screens so you can edit typography for mobile.

Click the icon again to bring up smartphone typography settings.

I hope by now you see how easy it is to use the Customizer.

Take time to explore these options in greater detail and watch as the Customizer transforms your site in the right pane whenever you modify a setting.

Astra Free Theme Footer Options

With the free theme you have 2 choices for your footer widget layout: none or 4 columns.

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Astra Free Theme Widget Options
Astra Pro Footer Options

With Astra Pro, you have eight options for your footer widgets.

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Astra Pro Footer Widgets and Layouts

Depending on which footer layout you choose, additional settings will be available to you including colors and background.

You don’t need to have footer widgets.

You might just want a Footer Bar in which case you have two layouts from which to choose.

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Footer Bar

Simply choose the desired layout and additional settings options will be available to you.

The Footer Bar is the perfect place to put your copyright notice, affiliate disclaimer, and your main menu.

Set Colors

Astra Free Theme Set Colors

Clicking on Set Colors takes you to a Global Colors setting.

As mentioned earlier, you can easily set up a custom color palette with your brand colors.

Here you can modify your basic colors for text, theme, links and background.

You can also specify a background image.

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Astra Free Theme Colors and Background
Astra Pro Set Colors

With Astra Pro, once you activate Colors and Background, you will have additional color options in the Customizer.

Those options are:

  • Global > Colors > Content
  • Header > Site Identity
  • Header > Primary Header
  • Header > Primary Menu
  • Blog > Blog / Archive
  • Blog > Single Post
  • Sidebar

And you can learn more about how to use these options here.

Layout Options

Astra Free Theme Layout Options

With the free theme, you get a few basic layouts including full width, boxed and stretched.

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Astra Pro Layout Options

With Astra Pro, you get the following layouts:

  • Full-Width Layout – the main wrapper of your website page goes from edge-to-edge of the browser window.
  • Max Width Layout – the main wrapper of your website is set to a maximum width. You can also set top and bottom margin so your website looks like a box.
  • Padded Layout – same as Full-Width Layout with the ability to add padding to website edges so the page seems “framed.”
  • Fluid Layout – the entire website goes edge- to-edge of the browser screen for all screen sizes.

Blog Pro

Astra Free Theme Blog Layouts

With the free theme, you can modify your Blog / Archive structure such as whether the featured image shows above title and blog meta data or vice versa.

Customize Astra Archive Page with Astra Pro - Screenshot Displaying Post Structure Settings
Blog / Archive Post Structure

You can also show or hide blog meta data: comments, category, author, publish date, and tags by toggling the eye on or off:

Customize Astra Archive Page with Astra Pro - Screenshot Displaying Meta Data Show/Hide Settings
Blog / Archive Post Meta Data

Finally, you can easily rearrange your post structure and meta data:

Animated GIF that shows how to reorder Astra Meta Data on Blog Layout
Reorder Blog / Archive Post Meta Data

The last available free theme option is a typography setting where you can only change font size for archive or post titles.

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Astra Free Typography Setting
Astra Pro Blog Layouts Option

But you can do so much more with the Blog Pro feature of Astra Pro.

The Blog Pro layouts is one of my favorite features of Astra Pro and I cover it in depth in my Customize Astra Archive Page with Astra Pro.

You can specify your blog layout as a List, Grid, or Masonry:

Sketches of 3 Blog Layouts: List, Grid, Masonry
Options for a Beautiful Blog Layout!

Not only that, you have lots of configuration options for your layouts such as featured image on top of excerpt, to the left of the excerpt and more.

I recommend you check out this post that covers configuring the Blog / Archive in greater detail.

Astra Free Theme and Astra Pro

You can specify a default layout such as “No Sidebar.”

And you can further specify additional sidebar defaults for pages, posts, and archives.

Or you can set sidebar width:

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Sidebar Layout

Keep in mind that these sidebar defaults can be overridden for any post or page.

And I’ll show you how in the next section.

Override the Customizer Settings for a Specific Post/Page

The Customizer lets you set site-wide defaults for your website.

But every page and post can have their own settings, too.

For example, you might want a sidebar on your Contact Us page but not on your About page.

To override the Customizer settings, you would edit that specific post or page.

Then go to Document > Astra Settings.

The following settings are available to be changed for that particular document:

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Change Document Settings

So once again you see how granular you can get with your website design using Astra Pro.

Additional Astra Pro Features

To round out our discussion on Astra Pro extended features, check out the additional articles below:

  • Astra Pro Modules also has integration with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, LearnDash, and LifterLMS.
  • Finally, you can white label Astra and present it as your own plugin with your branding instead.

Priority Support

When you purchase Astra Pro, you’ll receive one-on-one priority support.

Documentation says you’ll receive your response within 24 hours.

However, I have found that I usually don’t get a response for 48 hours.

And many times I have to go back and forth a few times before my issue is resolved.

I’m hoping that is something that Brainstorm Force, the team behind the plugin, improves.

But despite the slower response time, I’m still quite happy with how solid and well-performing the Astra Free Theme and Astra Pro Plugin are.

Over to You

I hope that our Astra Pro Plugin: Getting Started article will help you decide whether you need Astra Pro for your Astra website.

My own website is a work in progress as I explore and learn different features and functions of the theme.

Please feel free to leave a comment sharing your experience with Astra.

Or if you have a question, please feel free to ask in the comments!

I’m always happy to help!


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