Highend WordPress Theme Review
Highend is one of the popular WordPress theme from HB-themes offered through Mojo marketplace. The theme cost $49 for a single site license having most of the needed features. After using the theme for a while on our sites we wanted to share our experience for those who are looking for a genuine review of this theme.
Pricing – Is it Worth?
Highend is one of the top selling WordPress theme on Mojo marketplace with sales exceeding
14K 22K mark. It will cost $49 $59 and bundled with the following premium plugins:
- Revolution Slider – $19 worth
- Layer Slider – $18 worth
- Essential Grid – $25 worth
- Visual Composer – $33 worth
- Icomoon Icons – $59 worth
From the cost perspective it is definitely worth of buying all of these plugins and a beautiful theme together.
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 needed 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 time limit. 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.
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
10K15K issues recorded on their support forum.
- In general support team responded well for theme specific queries. But on a general queries like “why theme does not recognize recommended schema?” was never answered.
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 updated frequently to align with 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.
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 visual composer needs you to understand “what is what” and the huge set of screen options may confuse you initially. We also noticed the visual composer is very slow on shared hosting dashboard causing delay in post editing.
In short – it will not be as easy as changing to a simple WordPress theme or creating site with default editor and you need to invest effort and time to understand the page building with visual composer, essential grid and other slider plugins. It is up to you to evaluate spending money and investing time on this theme to transfer your existing site but this will be a good bet for new sites.
Builtin and Bundled Features
Assuming you have good server resources and content, highend is the final theme you will buy as they show on their demo. 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 templates 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.
Is it Suitable for Your Site?
This was the question in our mind for many months even after we bought the theme. Because after installing the plugins and demo data the site we installed really looks heavyweight whereas it was a simple lightweight site with the previous theme. When we just checked the source code it was having >2.4k lines on the new site with highend theme which was more than three times compared with the same site using other theme. Basically we do not like so many codes on the source and we found each additional plugin is causing more load on the server by creating so many shortcodes. We also know the huge dependencies on auto generated shortcodes will make the theme switch very difficult once you want to move out of highend theme.
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.
Since we love the features of the theme and have long term commitment, we went ahead with migrating to highend. As expected, the look of the site was completely changed with more professional layouts and integrated shop getting lots of positive user responses. We also moved from shared hosting to managed WordPress hosting and using premium caching and CDN to distribute the content fast.
Pro & Cons
Below is the consolidated list of pros and cons as far as we experienced with highend theme:
- Cost effective combined with top-rated premium plugins like Visual Composer, Slider Revolution, Essential Grid, etc.
- Highly customizable with one click demo data and child theme.
- Lifetime support and auto update from the developer.
- Compatible with bbPress, Woocommerce and integrated login module.
- Large variety of built-in templates to choose from.
- Theme without bundled plugins is less attractive.
- Migrating an existing site is not an easy task with different types of plugins needs different type of image sizes.
- You may need appropriate server resources to run a large site with highend theme.
- High use of shortcodes will make the theme switch a difficult task later.
Highend WordPress Theme
- Ease of Use
- Standalone Theme Features
- Overall Features
- Support & Documentation
- Site Speed on Shared Hosting
- Migration (both from and to)
So can I buy this theme or not? – The answer depends on the features you want to use. 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 then highend will be like fitting a huge wedge into a small hole.
- More suitable – One pager sites, personal sites having limited pages, companies who hire people to maintain their sites, sites having solid hosting platform.
- Not suitable – individual site owners having sites on shared hosting servers.