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Are you looking for a way to make your website faster and more flexible and have heard about Astro? In this article, you’ll learn what Astro is, when you should use it, and when alternatives might make more sense.

What is Astro

Astro is a new and modern frontend framework that enables the creation of static HTML websites. It specializes in creating content-based websites such as blogs, documentation, and even simple digital business cards for companies.

Astro primarily promises three things:

  • Speed: Astro websites are faster than those built with alternatives.
  • Flexibility: Astro offers the freedom to combine pure HTML with other JavaScript frameworks like React or Vue.
  • All-in-one: Astro provides all the tools needed to create a website.

The speed of the website is an important factor in optimizing your site for search engines. A faster website also provides a better experience for users.

The flexibility and “all-in-one” aspects of Astro are more so advantages for developers, which can reduce the associated costs and time spent on development.

Astro strives to find a new and innovative balance. By default, Astro generates static and thus highly performant HTML pages, while specifically allowing dynamic components through JavaScript frameworks like React. This approach aims to combine the best of both worlds.

Astro as a Static Site Generator

Astro operates on the principle of static websites. This means that Astro generates all HTML pages from the written code once, and the web server delivers these to the user without any further modifications.

This has the significant advantage of substantially faster website delivery compared to other frameworks, which need to “assemble” the webpage first. For example, with WordPress, when a user requests a webpage, the components of the webpage and the content from a database are read, and thus the final HTML is assembled. While this makes the webpage very dynamic and easy to change through a web interface even by people with less technical knowledge, it slows down the website.

When Astro Makes Sense

In technology, there is no cure-all, and every tool has a specific purpose. Therefore, when choosing the right platform for your website, you should not only follow current trends but always think intensively about your requirements today and in the future.

Astro is designed to facilitate the construction of a custom-tailored website by a web developer. Therefore, the main use case for Astro is for websites that need to stand out with high speed and complex designs, and where the use of a web developer is justified. Additionally, it should not be forgotten that any changes to the layout must also be carried out by a web developer.

WordPress as an Alternative

However, if the website does not have the highest demands on speed and design, other platforms might be a better choice. Especially WordPress remains the preferred choice for websites that need regular updates, such as news sites or blogs with frequent posts. WordPress is one of the best platforms for building, maintaining, and expanding your website independently of a web developer. In our article on WordPress, you can find all the advantages and disadvantages listed.

Why We Use Astro for

Our website has clear requirements:

  1. The website must be performant and SEO optimized to rank as high as possible in search engines.
  2. The website must be easily customizable through self-developed designs. We want to stand out and realize our vision.
  3. The website does not need to be manageable via an admin interface. We can change the code ourselves at any time.

Astro fits these requirements perfectly, and we can only recommend the framework to anyone with similar needs. By using Astro, we were able to achieve almost 100 out of 100 points in all four categories in the Google PageSpeed Insights Report right off the bat. With WordPress, this is only achievable with additional plugins and careful configuration.

Especially the third point may not apply to many companies, as either the technical knowledge is not available, or colleagues from other departments (e.g., marketing) need to be able to make changes at any time. In these cases, WordPress should be used instead.

Wordpress: Benefits, Challenges and Alternatives
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