For many people the Astra Growth Bundle is an expensive purchase and it is smart to do some due diligence before making a big investment. In this post I’m looking at the Astra Growth Bundle, the history of the company behind it, and my experience with the products and team. Hopefully this will provide some background to help in deciding if the package makes sense for you.
What Is In the Bundles
Astra Pro is offered stand-alone as well as in an Essentials Bundle and a Growth Bundle. Stand-alone, you get the Astra Pro theme addon which provides a number of advanced features, from a header and footer builder, sticky header options, mega menu, advanced typography and style features, white label and custom layouts and hooks and more. Pricing may change, but as of this writing, Astra Pro Lifetime for unlimited sites is normally $299, on sale on Halloween for $224.
The Essentials Bundle is the smaller of the two bundles. In addition to Astra Pro, it includes premium Starter Templates, the WP Portfolio Plugin, as well as either Ultimate Addons for Elementor or Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder, but not both. Pricing may change, but as of this writing, the Essential Bundle Lifetime for unlimited sites is normally $849, on sale on Halloween for $637.
Now, this brings us to the Growth Bundle, the subject of this post. The Growth Bundle includes these products (pricing is stand-alone LTD pricing):
|Item||Regular Price||Halloween Sale Price|
|Astra Pro LTD||$299||$224|
|Ultimate Addons for Elementor||$249||$237|
|Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder||$249||$187|
|Spectra Pro||Not yet released|
|Starter Sites Pro||Not sold by itself|
|SkillJet Academy||Not sold by itself|
If you look at the cost column you see that there is significant savings over purchasing the items individually when looking at the sale price of the bundle ($1,144 individual sale prices and $874 bundle sale price). So from the cost perspective the Astra Growth Bundle is a good value. This is especially true when you consider that the Spectra Pro plugin is in beta now, and will be included, and also that there are some bundle items that are not sold by themselves.
So, it is a good value, but with a large caveat. Bundles are only a good value for you if you are going to use more than one or two of the items in the bundle. If you are only going to use the Astra theme and never need any of the plugins, or only need one of the plugins, then you will save money on the single product purchase.
Background About the Team
Brainstorm Force, the makers of the Astra theme, have been in business for a long time. They started out as an agency and then shifted to making page builder addons. I give the team a lot of credit because they were one of the first to realize the importance and potential of a general purpose, page builder friendly theme … and Astra was born. Astra quickly picked up steam and it went on to become the first, and still the only, non-core theme with over a million active installs. The free Astra theme has an whopping 4,960 five star ratings.
And the team also has a couple of free plugins with over a million active installs. Starter Templates is a collection of pre-designed templates for Gutenberg, Elementor, and Beaver Builder that also tops a million active installs. There is also a pro version of Starter Templates with more templates. Starter Templates Pro comes with the Essential and Growth bundles. The other plugin with over a million active installs is their Elementor Header and Footer Builder.
Many people don’t realize that Brainstorm Force has 43 free plugins in the WordPress plugin directory. Some of them have only a few active installs while others, as mentioned, have over a million. Some of these plugins were written in response to user requests, while others were initially created by the team for their own use and then released to the community because they might be of benefit to other people.
All of this success doesn’t mean that there weren’t mistakes along the way. For a short time the Starter Templates included links to pro plugins from partners and it wasn’t clear these were affiliate links. This was quickly fixed. Also, like many companies, Brainstorm Force slowed down significantly during Covid lockdown, but it seemed to take them a long time to recover the momentum of new features and new product rollouts that they have historically shown. I’ve been happy to see that rapid development is back on track.
The Astra Growth Bundle and My Experiences
I purchased Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder back in April 2017. There weren’t as many page builders as today and at that time Beaver Builder was obviously one of the best options. In September 2017 Astra Pro was released and I was anxious to purchase it. Brainstorm Force had another plugin, Schema Pro, in the works, so I asked if I could upgrade to the Astra Growth Bundle (then called Astra Agency). They gave me some credit for my previous purchase and I began using Astra Pro pretty much exclusively for several years. Convert Pro, their email opt-in and banner builder, was also available around that time. When Elementor hit the scene there were rumors that Brainstorm Force was developing a plugin for that, an Elementor version of their Ultimate Addons. I was thrilled when that was included without further cost in my bundle.
For agencies it may make sense to always use the same theme and plugins on all sites. However, as someone who makes videos about WordPress plugins and themes, I like to try out new options when they look solid and bring something new to the table. Consequently I use different themes on different websites and every few years switch things up.
I imagine many people have seen in my videos how I use book reviews as demo data. My wife is a librarian and several years ago she suggested that we participate in the Hugo Awards process. I talked her into doing book reviews for a website of the ones we read. That site started with the Page Builder Framework theme and Elementor. The Page Builder Framework is a good theme, but somewhat basic and the site had grown and needed something more sophisticated. I switched our book review site over to using Astra Pro. That was a few years ago and I’ve never had an issue with any Astra or Astra Pro update. I also use Schema Pro on this site, as I found through in-depth testing that it did a better job than schema options in my SEO plugin.
This year Brainstorm Force has reworked their Gutenberg plugin, Spectra, and they have been preparing Spectra Pro. Spectra Pro will be included in the Astra Growth Bundle and many people are looking forward to trying it out. Some of these people are still using older page builders and are wondering if they can make the jump to Gutenberg and others are already on Gutenberg and looking for a good plugin with dynamic data options.
In conclusion, Astra and the Brainstorm Force offerings have kept pace with trends in the WordPress ecosystem. They have a range of products which are among the best in class. The Astra Growth Bundle is a good deal if you are going to use two or more of the included products.