Highend is one of the popular WordPress theme from HB-themes offered through Mojo marketplace. The theme cost $59 for a single site license having most of the needed features. We have been using this theme for more than five years in our site. Here, we wanted to share our experience for those who are looking for purchasing the theme. Therefore, this is a genuine review of highend WordPress theme based on real usage without any bias.
Highend Multipurpose WordPress Theme
Highend is a premium only multipurpose theme that you can use for building business, portfolio, online store and blog site. It offers custom designed elements along with WPBakery modules to create stunning websites. You will get theme options panel to customize header, footer, blog layout and other features of your site. After purchasing fro Mojo marketplace, download the content containing theme files. You do not need the purchase code as there is no need to activate the theme after installation.
Pricing – Is it Worth?
Highend is one of the top selling WordPress theme on Mojo marketplace with sales exceeding
14K 22K 39K 45K mark. It will cost $49 $59 and bundled with the following plugins. You need to install the plugins marked as required for the theme to work properly. Though other plugins are optional, you may also need them to have a similar site like their demo.
- WPBakery Page Builder (required) – though they show as Visual Composer it is WPBakery Page Builder plugin and not Visual Composer.
- Revolution Slider (optional)
- Layer Slider WP (optional)
- Essential Grid (optional)
- Social Snap (optional) – this is a free version of the plugin.
- WP Instagram Widget (optional)
- WooCommerce (optional)
- Contact Form 7 (optional)
From the cost perspective it is definitely worth of buying a theme along with all of these bundled plugins.
Once purchased, you can download the theme from Mojo marketplace along with demo and child theme files. Like any other third party themes, you can install the theme through WordPress admin dashboard or upload using FTP. Once installed you will be prompted to install the required plugins as listed above. It is highly recommended to install the plugins only if you need them. For example, both Slider Revolution and Layer Slider plugins offer similar functionalities. Hence install one of them to create featured header sliders for your site.
The demo files can either be imported through FTP or installed directly from the WordPress admin dashboard. The theme offers a system diagnostics feature to check whether your hosting can allow importing the theme or any modification is required on settings.
We noticed, the installation of theme works fine but the demo import always timeout with PHP max execution limit. Go to “Highend > Import Demos” menu and choose your demo to import on your site. In most cases, you only need the theme files to be installed on live site and demo data is not required since it will add hundreds of demo pages which you need to delete again.
There are handful of demos available and the developer did not release any new demo for the past many years indicating they are not focusing on this theme development at all.
Activating Highend Modules
The theme offers lots of in-built modules which you can view under “Highend > Highend Options > Highend Modules” menu. Enable the modules you need to use on your site from here. Unfortunately, disabling modules here neither will disable the CSS for that module nor will have any impact on using the corresponding shortcodes. What it does is to simply disable the menu item from admin panel sidebar. Each module is a custom post type which you can manage similar to posts and pages from the admin panel.
The theme allows you to customize the layouts at site level from the options panel. You can setup blog, WooCommerce, sharing, logo and contact button as per your need. For individual page, you will see meta boxes in the post editor to adjust background and page layouts.
Ease of Use
Whether you are new to WordPress or already familiar with default WordPress editor, using highend theme needs some time to get acquainted with the plugins. Building page with WPBakery plugin needs you to understand “what is what” and the huge set of screen options may confuse you initially. You can create pages using the frontend or backend builder of WPBakery plugin. We noticed the WPBakery plugin is very slow on shared hosting environment causing delay in post editing. For creating posts, unfortunately the theme is not optimized for Gutenberg block editor and you need to either use old Classic Editor or copy paste the shortcodes from their documentation section. Though highend theme offers custom widgets, it does not offer any Gutenberg blocks. Therefore, if you love Gutenberg then highend is not the theme for you.
In short – it will not be as easy as using a simple WordPress theme or creating site with default editor. You need to invest effort and time to understand theme meta boxes, page builder elements and slider settings. Highend may be a good bet for new sites, however, it is up to you to evaluate spending money and investing time on this theme for migrating your existing site.
Builtin and Bundled Features
There are as many as default features and options to customize your site. The advantage is the integrated online shop and membership features. Also there will be no need of additional shortcode plugins with the built-in shortcode generator.
- Integrated WooCommerce support for creating online shop.
- Theme is fully responsive and optimized for Retina display.
- Theme supports different types of page layouts like scrolling presentation, seven default post formats like quote, video, audio, etc. and custom post types.
- Builtin custom post types for pricing tables, FAQ, portfolio, gallery, testimonials, team members and clients allows you to create literally anything you want without the need of additional plugins.
- Different types of header, footer and blog layouts make things more easy to build a wonderful site.
- Drag and drop visual composer, slider revolution and essential grid plugins transform your site to next level.
- Custom Google fonts, 50+ shortcodes, 20+ sidebar widgets, unlimited sidebars. mega menu, WPML and RTL supported.
The list will go long if we describe each feature, it is worth to look at their main demo site to see the features in action. Besides the main demo there are also demos available for restaurants, corporates, simple blogs, photography, etc.
In case of any issue you need to create a thread in support forum to get your queries answered. There is a direct link from the dashboard allows you to navigate to HB-themes forum. We have raised more than 5 issues which indicated two things:
- There are bugs on the theme and compatibility issues specific to individual sites. At the time of writing this review, there are more than
10K 15K 22K24K issues recorded on their support forum.
- Earlier days, their support team responded well for theme specific queries. However, they have no answers for general queries like “why theme does not recognize recommended schema?”.
What we understand is the bugs are coming out of bundled plugin updates and compatibility issues with other plugins like WooCommerce. Since the theme is NOT updated frequently to align with PHP, core WordPress and bundled plugin’s update you should never update the theme directly on a live site. Trying out on local or staging site before updating live site is a mandatory requirement with highend theme.
Once the initial site is setup as per your need, there may not be much need for contacting support frequently as long as you don’t change the setup again. They also have plenty of documentation and video tutorials for learning and referring. Make sure to disable auto updating of theme in live environment to avoid issues with the updates.
Is it Suitable for Your Site?
After using more than five years, we do not recommend highend theme for the following reasons.
- Theme does not support Gutenberg blocks, not proactively updated for the compatibility with latest PHP and core WordPress updates. You can check their support forum was flooded with issues during each PHP and major WordPress update.
- You need a solid hosting server with caching setup to support the theme to work properly.
- Theme entirely depends on shortcodes for creating elements. Basically we do not like so much code on the source and we found each additional plugin is causing more load on the server by creating so many shortcodes. The huge dependencies on shortcodes will make the theme switch very difficult once you want to move out of highend theme.
- In last seven years, we did not see the developer released any new demo or element or block while you can get free starter templates / blocks with many popular themes in the market.
We are using highend theme, since it offers integrated WooCommerce shop. We also need to move from shared hosting to Cloud VPS WordPress hosting and use premium WP Rocket caching to distribute the content fast. All these things we did more than seven years back when not many themes were available. However, nowadays you have plenty of alternative themes like Kadence, OceanWP, GeneratePress, Astra, Newspaper or Uncode. Especially if you are looking for fast loading website, we strongly recommend you to be away from highend theme. We are also planning to migrate from highend theme to a lighter theme as Google included page speed as one of the ranking factors.
Though we do not recommend the theme it has some advantages:
- Cost effective combined with top-rated premium plugins like WPBakery, Slider Revolution, Essential Grid, etc.
- Highly customizable with one click demo data and child theme.
- Lifetime support and integrated with bbPress, WooCommerce and custom logo on login page.
- Large number of built-in and WPBakery elements to build to build page layouts from scratch.
FAQ on Highend Theme
$59 one time payment and get lifetime updates and support. There is no free version of the theme available.
Yes, WP Bakery page builder is a mandatory plugin for using this theme. There are optional plugins like Revolution Slider, Essential Grid and WooCommerce.
Unfortunately, the developer do not update the theme frequently. All the updates you can see in their change log were done for patching up the problems due to WordPress, plugins and PHP updates.
We have tested with page speed tester tools with shared hosting to find the rank as low as 30-40 on both mobile and desktops with the demo content. The same site previously was previously ranked between 70-80 range on mobile and desktop.
We can rate their support as poor. Most of the support queries on their forum are for fixing theme panel and compatibility issues. You may have to wait for long time for any site specific queries. Some times you will not get any answer also.
If you are looking for creating a site as shown in the demo then it is highly recommended to have an appropriate hosting server to accommodate all those heavyweight plugins in addition to other plugins. If you run a simple blog or a business site then highend will be like fitting a huge wedge into a small hole. Not recommended due to slow speed, heavy CSS, jQuery based and poor support.