Astra – What’s Behind the Drama?

aerial photo people gathering
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

So yesterday I posted what I thought would be one of my more controversial posts. I didn’t anticipate what I would wake up to this morning in regards to even worse WordPress drama. Let’s see if I can out-do myself. Disclaimer: I’m an Astra user and it is active on this site. If you’re looking for an alternative, GeneratePress is your best bet.

What Happened?

All I’m going to do is post facts. Some more public than others, but facts none-the-less. I will let you come up with your own conclusions. If you really want my opinion, just @ me on Twitter (ronalfy) or comment below and I’ll respond.

Here is the code in question that came under scrutiny (the actual file is ~2000 LOC, so this is just a snippet):

<?php /** * Ninja Forms compatibility id. * * @since 1.6.9 * * @return int Compatibility id. */ function astra_filter_ninja_forms_comp_id() { return 1115254; }; add_filter( 'ninja_forms_affiliate_id', 'astra_filter_ninja_forms_comp_id' ); /** * Change upgrade link for wpforms. * * @return String updated upgrade link. */ function astra_wpforms_upgrade_link() { return ''; } add_filter( 'wpforms_upgrade_link', 'astra_wpforms_upgrade_link' ); /** * Added referal ID to social snap upgrade link. * * @param string $link social snap upgrade link. * @return String social snap upgrade link */ function astra_filter_socialsnap_upgrade_link( $link ) { return ''; } add_filter( 'socialsnap_upgrade_link', 'astra_filter_socialsnap_upgrade_link' ); /** * Update GiveWP's "Add-ons" link. * * Compatibility to change the link according to their needs. */ function astra_givewp_upgrade_link() { return ''; } add_action( 'give_addon_menu_item_url', 'astra_givewp_upgrade_link' ); /** * HubSpot Plugin compatibility. * * @since 2.4.4 * @return string Compatibility string. */ function astra_get_hubspot_comp_code() { return 'WsZfC'; } add_filter( 'leadin_affiliate_code', 'astra_get_hubspot_comp_code' );
Code language: PHP (php)


The above code, if you have certain plugins installed, will insert affiliate links into your WordPress install.

This is the official announcement on the Astra Facebook Group:

Astra FB Announcement
Astra FB Announcement

This is the first article I could find referencing the issue:

Basically Astra has been removed from, affecting over a million users.

According to Twitter friend Ben in his take on the Astra dilemma, the decision was to ban the theme from for one week per affiliate link. There are 5 total links (as shown in the above code), so that equals out to be a five-week period.

As of this writing, you can still download the theme for free on You can also grab the latest source on GitHub.

Users who wish to continue using Astra will have to take care of updates on their own until WordPress 5.5 is released. Until then, users will have to FTP in or rely on their hosts to provide the updates. Once 5.5 is out, users can install updates inside WordPress manually using a zip file.

Currently I can not find any publicly linkable announcements on the WordPress or Brainstorm Force side aside from chatter on Facebook.


Ronald Huereca

Ronald Huereca
Ronald Huereca

Ronald Huereca

Ronald has been part of the WordPress community since 2006, starting off writing and eventually diving into WordPress plugin development and writing tutorials and opinionated pieces.

No stranger to controversy and opinionated takes on tough topics, Ronald writes honestly when he covers a topic.

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Ronald Huereca
MediaRon - Ronald Huereca

Ronald created MediaRon in 2011 and has more than fifteen years of releasing free and paid WordPress plugins.