Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium are two WordPress themes that offer blazingly fast load speed without compromising customizability.
Out-of-the-box, they seem very similar in many ways and offer almost the same features. But how do they really compare, and what should you choose for your website?
Astra Pro vs. GeneratePress Premium will be a challenging question because they’re very similar-almost identical-when it comes to the features.
Both are highly customizable and compatible with various page builders. However, the pricing and developer could be the tie-breaker for these themes.
We’ll go through everything that you need to know about both themes in great detail. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the critical features for both Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium.
We’ll also share a vital piece of information that can help you pick the right theme for you.
Let’s dive into the details.
Astra Pro vs GeneratePress Premium: Introduction
Before we start anything, let’s make something very clear; Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium are, in a way, premium plugins that work with Astra and GeneratePress themes.
You can use both for free, but if you want to unlock more modules that will help you create better-looking websites, you can pay for both of these plugins.
This review isn’t for the themes (Astra and GeneratePress) that you can use for free. What we’re going to compare are the premium plugins (Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium).
The themes will also play a role in this comparison, but it may not be as much as you think because they only act as a framework for what the premium plugins can do for you.
Astra Pro Theme
Astra (the free theme) has more than 1 million active installations with 4766 5-star ratings. Although it doesn’t tell us how good Astra Pro is, a million active installations would only mean that the theme is a perfect fit for many WordPress users.
Astra is a lightweight theme-it’s less than 50kb-but it looks a bit bland out-of-the-box. After installation, you’ll only see the good old “Hello World” post without any design.
However, users can import one of their templates and customize it to their liking.
Although this feature is “good enough” for most WordPress users, there are limitations to what Astra can do, especially if you’re someone who pays attention to small details.
The site layouts, branding, spacing, and header and footer designs are somewhat limited.
Astra Pro can fix all of these for you, and it can take the theme to a whole new level when it comes to customizing all the facets of any website.
It also allows you to unlock different modules that you can use to create new features and functionality within your WordPress site.
Check out our in-depth review of Astra Pro to know the details.
GeneratePress Premium Theme
Like Astra Pro, GeneratePress Premium is also a premium plugin for the GeneratePress theme-a free theme that you can install on any website.
Currently, it has more than 300,000 active installations with 1158 5-star ratings. So, it’s definitely something that we can’t take lightly.
GeneratePress is a lightweight theme that focuses on performance.
Although it offers several templates that you can use to build your website, its best feature is a clean coding structure that’s less than 10kb! The customizations may be limited, but it’s a gateway to a plethora of other WordPress tools that you can use.
You can install GeneratePress Premium to unlock more features and modules that provide you with better customizability.
It works well with Gutenberg, but if you want a better drag-and-drop page builder, you can also use Beaver Builder or Elementor.
Astra Pro vs GeneratePress Premium: The User Experience
Astra and GeneratePress have a very straightforward interface, and you can interact with both of them much like how you would interact with other WordPress themes.
However, after installing their respective premium plugins (Astra Pro and GP Premium), there’s a slight difference in the user experience.
Astra Pro Theme
Astra is more than enough for most users, and customizing it is a breeze. You don’t have to learn another interface-like you would with most page builders-which also helps flatten the learning curve.
After installing Astra Pro, things are easier to edit, and you can get to the nitty-gritty of designing almost every facet of every page.
You’re not required to pay for the premium plugin, though. You can use the free theme and do almost everything that the plugin does on your own.
Like most WordPress tools that you can get for free, the premium add-on only helps you make things easier. So, the decision to pay for the plugin only boils down to which is more important for you:
- Spend more time to figure out how to move things around and save some money, or
- Pay a small amount to get the same result and save a lot of time.
Since we’re talking about the learning curve, we’d say that using Astra Pro isn’t the most straightforward interface that we’ve used. It’s easy to learn, and it uses the same interface as most WordPress themes, making it so much easier to edit.
However, there are times when we know what we need to change on the website, but we still find ourselves spending quite some time figuring out where we can find the option for it.
We’ve used other themes and page builders with a lot worse interfaces, but Astra Pro’s interface is also not the best.
GeneratePress Premium Theme
GP Premium works like Astra Pro; you can use GeneratePress, import the starter templates, then edit every section to your liking.
If you want to make things easier for you, GeneratePress Premium unlocks several options that you can use to smooth things out using the same interface that you would if you’re using other themes.
Sure, you have to pay for this add-on service, but that’s really how most things work in WordPress. If we were to compare GP Premium’s user interface with Astra Pro, we’d prefer using GeneratePress.
Although there’s still a learning curve, we find it easier with this add-on, and it lets me focus on really designing the page instead of wasting time finding my way around the settings menu.
User Experience: The Verdict
There isn’t really that much difference with the user experience that you’ll get from both themes. And even with their premium plugins, the learning curve is minimal.
Still, we’re leaning towards GeneratePress Premium for the simplicity of the interface and how easy it is to find the sections that we want to customize.
Now, you may point out the difference in the number of active installations. Of course, the more active installations a theme has, the better it is, right? Well, we believe there’s another reason for that, which we’ll also talk about later.
Many prefer using Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium because you can manage and customize them using the default WordPress editor or the default block editor-Gutenberg.
So, if you know how to use WordPress, it’ll be effortless for you to build your site using either theme. Both themes also have a ton of starter templates that you can choose from, and you can edit various sections to fit the site you’re trying to build.
As mentioned, both Astra and GeneratePress will only serve as a framework that allows you to be creative with your sites.
You can also use various tools to make the customization process a lot easier, such as Beaver Builder and Elementor. However, these tools are optional and may have a bit of a learning curve for most WordPress users.
Simplicity is at the core of both themes, and it caters to the needs of both new and experienced WordPress builders.
The fact that you can use Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium much like how you’d use other WordPress themes without the learning curve is already a huge plus for newer builders.
Even experienced builders will find it easy to use because of its compatibility with other well-coded plugins.
I’m leaning more towards GeneratePress Premium for the user experience just because we find it easier to use. However, it doesn’t mean that Astra Pro is bad.
In fact, the difference isn’t that much, and we think Astra Pro is still well-above average when it comes to user experience.
Related Reading: Elementor Pro vs WP Astra Pro
GeneratePress Premium vs Astra Pro Theme: Performance
Almost everyone who tried to compare Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium has one thing in mind: speed.
It’s understandable, considering that both themes market themselves as the fastest and most lightweight WordPress themes you can use. But how do they really compare with each other?
Astra and GeneratePress are both well-coded themes; we tried using both with different plugins, and as long as the plugin is well-coded, they won’t slow down both themes.
However, it’s just theoretical and doesn’t really apply in the real world. So, we conducted several site speed tests to see which of these themes load faster. Here are the details for these tests:
- We applied the starter templates and installed Elementor on both themes.
- Both sites are hosted with WPX Hosting.
- We conducted these tests using a 20/5 connection, which is the average internet speed throughout the U.S.
- We installed and activated Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium.
It’s far from what your actual site would have, but let’s consider this test as the baseline. Here are the results:
|Theme||Page Size||HTTP Requests||Median Page Load|
|Astra Pro||1.54 MB||60||1.527|
|GP Premium||1.32 MB||24||1.326|
There are several other tests that you can do to check the speed for both themes, but on my end, the results were quite conclusive: GeneratePress Premium delivered faster speed in all ten tests.
Performance Tests: The Verdict
The difference in both themes’ performance seems minimal, but remember, we only used the starter template, their respective premium plugins, and Elementor.
Your actual site will have a lot more content, and it’s most likely going to have even more plugins. So the difference in speed will be more significant for you.
GeneratePress Premium is like a well-oiled machine that works seamlessly with other well-coded plugins. It doesn’t mean that it won’t slow down as your site grows.
But if you’re only building a small site or maybe a blog, GeneratePress Premium will give you a better performance rating.
Related Reading: Speed Up WordPress Site
Astra Pro vs GeneratePress Premium Theme: Pricing
You might be wondering: if GeneratePress Premium is faster and provides a better user experience-at least for me-why does Astra Pro have more than a million active installations?
We believe it’s because of what you can get for what you’re paying for. Hear me out.
Astra Pro and GeneratePress Premium are both priced at $59/year. The lifetime license for GP Premium is $249, while Astra Pro costs $523 for a lifetime license.
However, we don’t think we’ve seen Astra Pro’s lifetime license being sold at its regular price-it’s always at $249.
You can get both add-ons for the same price, but it’s the value that you get in exchange for it that, we think, gets more people hooked into Astra.
There are many other services that you can get from Brainstorm-the company that develops the Astra theme.
Unlike Astra, GeneratePress was developed and is being maintained by an individual-Tom. Although GeneratePress Premium is simpler and faster, there aren’t many offers that you can get from it other than unlocking some features.
Don’t get us wrong. GeneratePress Premium is more than enough for most WordPress users. However, if you’re looking at scalability, compatibility, and other plugins optimized for this theme, you’ll have to go through several trial-and-error stages.
Click here to check the pricing details of GeneratePress theme.
Astra Pro has a company with several in-house developers who are building templates and plugins for Brainstorm.
So, whatever plugin they release, you know that they’ll work well with Astra Pro. There are no trial-and-error stages, and all of them are optimized.
This service doesn’t come for free, though. Astra Mini Agency costs $276 per year or $998 for a lifetime license; Astra Agency costs $523 per year or $1,893 for a lifetime license.
Sure, these services can be costly, and most WordPress users may not even need these services. But knowing that you can scale your business and get more from your theme gives a lot of confidence for its users.
So, Astra Pro may not be cheaper, but it has an ecosystem that you can invest in. Given that you’ll use all the plugins, add-ons, and services they offer, you’ll definitely find more value with Astra Pro.
Click here to check the pricing details of Astra Pro Theme.
Final Thoughts on Astra Pro vs GeneratePress Premium
We hope that with the three factors we’ve covered, it’ll be easier for you to pick the best theme for your site.
However, if you prefer to avoid the complexities of picking the best theme for you and just go straight to why you should use each theme, this section is for you. So, which of these themes should you use, and why?
Why Should You Use Astra Pro Theme?
Astra is a lightweight and fully-customizable theme that you can use for your WordPress site. It allows you to build various sites-from blogs to eCommerce stores and you have the option to upgrade it for better functionality and customizability.
Aside from this, you have even more options to upgrade it to their Agency bundles as you see fit for your business.
To sum everything up for you, here are the reasons why you should use Astra Pro:
- You’re building different websites that rely on high customizability and scalability.
- You want to invest in an ecosystem that provides your business with a lot of room for growth.
- You wouldn’t mind having a slightly larger and a bit slower site, as long as you get more customization options.
- You want to be sure that you’re investing in a reputable company that will keep updating the theme for years.
Astra Pro is an excellent choice for most WordPress users because it’s easy to use, and the interface will be very familiar for you.
You don’t have to learn a new interface just to customize your website, and it gives a lot of room for growth.
Why Should You Use GeneratePress Premium Theme?
GeneratePress Premium is a slightly better WordPress theme than Astra Pro, but there are also some compromises.
Sure, it works like a well-oiled machine that lets you build a wide range of WordPress sites with different functionalities, but some people may hesitate to invest in a theme that only relies on one WordPress community member.
To sum it all up, here are the reasons why you should use GeneratePress Premium:
- You want to build a website using a theme that can implement updates fast and is from a veteran member of the WordPress community.
- You wouldn’t mind spending a bit more in exchange for a faster theme and simpler interface that works well with other page builders.
- You’re not planning on scaling your website, and you have a clear goal on what you want for it (i.e., a blog, magazine, or a static webpage).
- You want to build a membership site or an eCommerce store without going through a massive learning curve.
GeneratePress Premium is a better option for newer builders who are only familiar with the default WordPress editor.
There’s a minimal learning curve, but it allows you to build websites like a pro. Aside from this, it’s also one of the fastest themes we’ve tested, albeit a slightly more expensive add-on.
Conclusion: Astra Pro vs GeneratePress Premium
Aside from user experience, speed, and price, you consider other important factors when choosing the best WordPress theme.
It lets you build well-designed sites without coding. Astra Pro may be less intuitive and slightly slower, but having a company that focuses on various services may provide your business with more room for growth.
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