WordPress trends: Uncovering the Drawbacks: A Deep Dive into Elementor and Astra and alternatives!

First, I will tell you what are the 2 ways to build a well-made website with WordPress technologies behind it.

In the second part of the article, I’ll expose some of the known issues of using these two famous WordPress plugin and Theme: Elementor and Astra. I get frequently customers who use these two and can’t get things done, can’t get things right, get their site broken, can’t do this and that, a lot of limitations, their coffee gets cold while waiting for the editor to load and their customers click away to find a better provider of their service because the page takes ages to load.

Part 1: the best 2 options (IMHO) to build a resilient, modern, robust WordPress website without all the risk of depending on a “premium theme” such as Astra or a plugin like Elementor

Custom WordPress theme development done right

  • Custom theme development based on the WordPress official themes or Woothemes Storefront. This path maintains WordPress PHP template engine but with consideration on the future of your app. If tomorrow Elementor closes or its acquired by Adobe (he he) or Astra developer decides to focus their business in building who knows what because they business is not profitable (I’m not saying it isn’t -its just a hypothetical situation – but trust me, I’ve seen this happen over the last decade more than once!) the result is that your website is doomed to be remade because all the tools you used build it are not maintained anymore.

Headless WordPress with a Next / React or Nuxt / Vue as frontend.

  • Headless WordPress development: using WP as a backend and consuming it via it’s REST API with a modern Javascript Frontend Framework like React or Vue.js. Ideally to maintain the benefits on SEO of static websites, use Nuxt or Next to build your WordPress-powered Frontend. This also allows you to avoid the plugin hell of WordPress and take the benefits of its API to build whatever you need.

Part 2: the drawbacks of using Element or Astra to build your website.
-Or even worse: why not using both together for your company’s website? 😂

When you build your WordPress powered website, you wan’t WordPress “powers” right? Ok. This is the main reason why using these plugins or themes, which are trending in 2023, the plugin Elementor, and Astra theme, both pieces of software can be found in multiple sites created in the recent years. Some look good and render well (if you have warm enough coffee to wait for the Elementor editor to load). Both are tools that seem to simplify using the platform and cut costs…but trust me, time will tell, I’ve seen these two pieces blow up, collapse and limit the growth of my customers because of their known drawbacks. Having a website for your company or project has a cost and I can understand when some companies decide to take this path, save some cash now, and move fast with the site running cheap and easy. After one or two years, I’m pretty sure you will see how these tools have limited your growth, hurting your website performance, your users experience and your experience as a owner of a business that has a online asset to maintain: WordPress with Elementor and Astra just make things more hard to maintain, hurting robustness.

At first sight, it doesn’t look like they will cause all this problems, but the evolution of your business and the lifecycle of the CMS and your dependency on the free or paid versions of these two tools, sooner or later become a problem. But we don’t want to worry for problems of the future. It seems so far… but the future can be literally tomorrow.

WordPress, a platform that powers a significant portion of websites, is known for its vast array of plugins and themes that help users build unique online spaces. Two such tools, the Elementor plugin and Astra theme, have gained traction for their robust features and ease of use. However, like any software, they come with their set of drawbacks. In this piece, we’ll explore the common issues users may encounter with Elementor and Astra and how they could potentially impact your web development journey.

Elementor: Problematic Plugin

Elementor, a popular page builder plugin, is cherished for its drag-and-drop functionality and the freedom it provides in design. Despite its strengths, users have reported several issues, companies over years experience problems when upgrading to a newer version, migrating their sites and the well known bad UX when opening a page on the Dashboard to edit it, the larger page-size which impacts in page-loading speed and final UX.

1. Plugin Conflicts:

Elementor is known to conflict with certain plugins and themes, which could lead to a less than smooth user experience. Particularly, some known conflicts arise with popular plugins like WooCommerce and WPML​, you basically can’t use the full power of the CMS at all. One of the key benefits is the free plugins available. When a website gets custom, painful experiences come with this customizations.

2. Content Editing:

Problems related to content creation, editing, or display are common. These include text formatting, image alignment, and responsive design glitches, which require a systematic troubleshooting approach​.

4. Performance Challenges:

Elementor’s heavy content or complex designs can sometimes impact website performance, leading to slower load times or sluggishness​. The bloated code generated by the platform… only if you don’t know coding can sleep at night.

5. Regular Updates Requirement:

Failing to update the Elementor plugin regularly can lead to conflicts with your website’s core code or other plugins, causing critical errors​. A new dependency which your whole website depends on.

7. Huge page size

Increase of page size is considerable. Elementor adds unnecessary code to your pages in order to create a page. The page loading speed will be affected.

8. No tables

The plugin doesn’t provide the functionality to work with tables.

9. Bad UX: Can’t edit without the sidebar open

This is really a minor thing. But it hits hard on the UX and user expectations about a plugin that is supposed to allow you editing all your site’s content with ease.

Astra: A Theme with Limitations

Astra theme, known for its lightweight nature and customization features, also presents certain challenges to its users:

1. Limited Free Version:

The core free version of Astra has limited features, restricting advanced customization options which are only unlocked in the Pro version​.

2. Customization Limitations:

Despite offering a range of customization options, there may be some limitations on how much you can alter your website’s design​.

3. Heavy Reliance on Plugins:

The theme’s compatibility with various plugins necessitates the installation of additional plugins to access some features, potentially slowing down your website and increasing the risk of compatibility issues​. Your theme forces you to become a plugin addict… more dependencies to maintain and update, more error prone and unstable WordPress.

4. Limited Support:

Support may be limited compared to other premium themes, which could be a drawback when technical issues arise​.

5. Inconsistent Updates:

Astra is regularly updated, but there have been instances where updates have caused compatibility issues with other plugins or even the WordPress core​.