Kata – The Advanced WordPress Theme That is Free to Download

The 2000s are remembered as the time when the vast majority of WordPress themes were free and the 2010s can be remembered as the “Decade of the Premium WordPress Theme”.

If the Kata WordPress theme succeeds, perhaps the 2020s will become the “Decade of the Freemium WordPress Theme” :)

Developed by Climax Themes, Kata is an advanced WordPress theme that comes packaged with many free website designs. It allows you to create beautiful websites via the Elementor Page Builder and features many pre-made templates for your header, footer, blog page and more.

Kata Home Page
Kata comes packaged with many pre-made designs.

Kata is free to download from WordPress.org and is 100% free to use, however a pro version is available for $29 that unlocks many useful options.

Regardless of which version you use, you will have access to many professional website designs which can be installed in a matter of minutes.

Kata Theme Demos
Kata lets you create a professional website at the click of a button.

Even if you select the free version of Kata, the number of features within the theme is impressive. This is in part due to Kata’s support of the Elementor page builder and the additional Elementor blocks it adds.

Kata WP Theme - Introduction
Kata’s Page Builder simplifies the task of creating complex websites.

No WordPress theme is perfect, but does Kata live up to its own name of the “Most Advanced WordPress Theme”?

Let’s take a closer look at Kata and see.

Setting the Theme Up

The Kata theme zip file can be downloaded from WordPress.org and uploaded to your WordPress themes directory using an FTP client such as FileZilla.

Kata On WordPress.org
Kata is available on WordPress.org.

Alternatively, you can install Kata from within the WordPress admin area via the appearance section.

Installing Kata Theme
Download Kata from the WordPress admin area.

Once Kata has been activated, you will be asked to install two required plugins: Elementor and Kata Plus.

Kata Plus is an all-in-one plugin that has a header, footer, and blog builder inside Styler (the new advanced tool for styling widgets) and comes with 18 practical widgets for creating different websites.

From WordPress.org

In other words, Kata Plus has to be activated in order for Kata to function correctly.

Install Required Plugins
It is best to install the recommended plugins.

Once the plugins have been activated, you will see new admin menu items for Kata in the main WordPress admin menu and in the Appearance menu. Menu items for Elementor and Elementor Templates are added too.

Annoyingly, the main Kata menu is listed directly underneath Dashboard. This means it’s listed above important menu items such as posts, pages and media. You can, however, move the Kata menu position elsewhere using the free WordPress plugin Admin Menu Editor.

Kata Admin Menu
The Kata admin menu.

When you select Kata, you are presented with their unique user interface which overrides the default WordPress user interface.

It first loads the theme activation page, though no activation options are displayed if you are only using the free version (I suspect this will be changed later).

This page also links to the Kata knowledge base and to the Kata Facebook page.

Kata Theme Activation Page
The Kata theme activation page.

The interface links to the main WordPress admin menu, key Elementor pages, Kata options pages and the WordPress theme customiser.

Kata Menu System
Kata’s configuration area overrides the default WordPress admin interface.

Clicking on the settings cog displays links to the Elementor header, footer and blog templates. There is a link to create a course too, but you need to install LearnPress to use that.

You can also visit the Kata theme activation page, demos page and WordPress theme customiser from here.

Kata Menu Elementor Items
The menu links to key Elementor pages.

The Elementor links could prove to be a little confusing for new users who haven’t imported a theme demo yet. If you haven’t imported yet, you will see a never-ending Elementor loading page when you try and access the theme builder for the blog, header and footer.

Kata Interface Loading Error
Clicking on the Elementor templates led me to blank pages.

Kata also adds a theme page within the WordPress appearance section. It effectively acts like a reference page as it links to key pages of the WordPress theme customiser, theme demos, support and documentation.

Pro features are also promoted on this page.

Kata Theme Options Page
The Kata theme options page.

Overall, Kata is an easy WordPress theme to install and get familar with, though I do think they could improve the configuration setup. It’s not terrible, however they have everything a little more complicated than it needs be.

I realise that developers introduce many features to enhance the experience for users, but I do not like Kata’s dedicated theme interface area for a few reasons:

  1. It is unnecessary and does not provide a better user-experience
  2. I do not like WordPress themes and plugins who change key aspects of using WordPress
  3. There is already a Kata theme options page within the Appearance section and all shortcuts to key pages could be placed there
  4. There is no way to disable this interface

Hopefully, the developers will take this criticism on board and implement things differently in a future version of the theme.

Creating a Professional Website in an Instant

Theme demos allow you to transform your website design at the click of a button.

At the time of writing, there are currently 66 theme demos available in Kata. Ten of these designs are available free of charge, whilst 56 designs are reserved for those that upgrade to the pro version of Kata.

The designs can be filtered via nine categories: Blog, Business, Design, Food, Health, Online Store, Personal, Portfolio and Software. You can filter designs between FREE and Pro too.

Previews of all designs are available on the official Kata website.

Kata Demo Importer Page
All theme demos are listed on the Kata Demo Importer page.

Design can be subjective, however I was impressed by the quality of all pre-made Kata designs.

Kata Productivity Theme
Kata’s pre-made website designs look great.

When you click to import a design, you will be asked to install and activate required plugins. For most Kata designs, the only plugin that you are required to activate is Contact Form 7, though you could easily substitute this with another contact form WordPress plugin.

Install Required Plugins
Kata only asks you to activate Contact Form 7.

You will then be warned that “Previous data will be erased and a fresh WordPress without previous posts and pages will be imported”.

You are also advised that two demos cannot be imported at the same time. Therefore, if you import another design, the previous design will be erased.

Theme Import Warning
The warning that is displayed before you import a design.

Next, you will be asked what you want to import. If you wish, you can only import specific elements of the design such as headers, footers and menus, though if you want your website to match the theme demo, you need to choose all.

Select Import Items
Select what you want to import.

The design and content will then be imported.

Import in Progress
All files are imported into your website.

As you can see from the above screenshot, many of the theme items were marked as red. This is because the source files could not be downloaded from Climax Themes. I was unable to import any Kata design, despite resetting my WordPress installation many times using WP Reset.

I do not believe this is an issue that every WordPress user will face with Kata. When I contacted the developers about the issue, they noted that they had not faced the same problem. They kindly set up a new test WordPress installation area for me that had Kata installed and everything worked fine.

At the time of writing, Kata does not provide a system information page that shows whether you have met server requirements so it is difficult for me to troubleshoot this issue. The main issue that arises with importing theme demos is a lack of memory, however my test website’s PHP.ini file has a memory limit of 256MB so I doubt this would be the cause of the problem for me.

Cannot Find File
The theme import process failed.

I was able to successfully import designs in the test WordPress website that Climax Themes set up for me. In the demo importer documentation page, it states that a The Demo is Imported Successfully” message should be displayed, yet I never saw this message after installing any design in the free version of Kata.

Demo Theme Imported
The message you see when a theme has been imported.

Bizarrely, when I activated Kata Pro and imported a theme design, the import success message was displayed.

Theme Demo Imported Successfully
Success!!!

Kata’s professional website designs are a big selling point, but their theme demo import system requires work. I have yet to get it working on my own WordPress website, which is something I would still like to work out, however even the working version of the theme on the Climax Themes test area needs refinement.

After importing designs in the free version of Kata, no success message was displayed, therefore I was unsure as to whether the design was successfully imported or not. I imported many designs and on a few occasions, I received green ticks during the import process as if everything was imported correctly, yet my website design did not change.

Kata does not advise you which design is activated either. It does highlight which designs have already been imported, but there is no way to quickly switch between imported themes, so this message is meaningless. Additionally, if Contact Form 7 is already activated, the importer requires you to deactivate it and then activate it again in order to proceed.

The biggest problem is that Kata completely erases all WordPress content whenever a design is imported. That is unneccessary, impractical and, quite frankly, unacceptable.

This system means that if you want to use Kata on an established website, you will need to backup all of your WordPress data beforehand and then import all content back afterwards.

Why do they do this?

Customising Your Website Design in Kata

Kata’s theme demo import system needs to be refined, however I found the experience of editing website designs in Kata to be fantastic.

You will find a selection of customisation options for Kata in the WordPress theme customiser. If you select key areas such as the Header or Footer, you are taken to the corresponding builder in Elementor.

The WordPress Theme Customiser
Kata supports the WordPress Theme Customiser.

I messed around with the theme customiser for some time, changing the size of my layout, changing menus and more. I never experienced any issues, but be aware that when you use a pre-made design in Kata, the header, footer, body and more, are all handled by Elementor, so you are a little limited with what you can do here.

In essence, Elementor has taken control over areas such as the header and footer that are normally controlled via the theme customiser.

Customising the Container
Changing the container of my website layout.

When you are logged in and viewing the front-end of your website, you will see an option to “Edit with Elementor” at the top of the page. You can also open up the Elementor Theme Builder here for key areas such as the header, sticky header and footer.

Edit With Elementor
Elementor can be accessed from the front-end of your website.

Elementor allows you to easily modify your website using a block system and a modern front-end editor. It is rightfully regarded as one of the best WordPress page builders on the market.

Climax Themes have made the integration between Kata and Elementor so smooth that beginners may be unaware where one solution ends and the other begins. They have also given Kata users more options for creating website designs by adding dozens of additional Elementor blocks.

Kata offers 17 essential blocks, 15 blocks for posts and pages and eight header blocks. A whopping 32 additional blocks are available if you upgrade to Kata Pro.

All of these blocks are added to the existing blocks available in Elementor in Elementor Pro. They give you more options for integrating lists, videos, images, posts, counters, meus, headers and more.

Elementor Blocks
Editing your website using Elementor.

In the free version of Kata, you can modify your blog page, header and footer, through the Elementor theme builder. Additional builders are available in the pro version.

The builders give you complete control over how a specific area of your website looks. The developer’s have made the right decision by letting using customise their theme in Elementor instead of the WordPress theme customiser.

Kata Header Builder
Elementor’s theme building system lets you customise every post and page on your website.

Design is an area where Kata excels. The available designs are all of a high standard and its close integration with Elementor means that you can customise every part of your website at the click of a button.

The inclusion of dozens of additional Elementor blocks to help you create unique content is the icing on the cake.

Upgrading to Kata Pro

The developers of Kata refer to the free version of the theme as Kata Lite. This version gives you access to ten free website demos, the standard styler, essential Elementor Widgets and basic builder functionality for your blog, header and footer.

Kata Pro is available from only $29 for a one website license. It unlocks 56 additional theme demos, significantly more theme options and building options and managers for plugins, icons and fonts. Additional features include preset styles, portfolio templates and a sections template library.

Premium plugins are included in the package too, such as Advanced Custom Fields PRO and Slider Revolution.

Kata Pricing
Kata Pro adds many useful features.

A ten website license is available for $99. If you’re looking to install Kata Pro on multiple websites, this is the license to get.

A 14 day money back guarantee is provided with both Kata Pro plans.

Kata Pro Plans
Kata’s premium plans are highly competitive.

Another reason to upgrade is to gain access to support from the developers, though it is worth noting that all users can access an extensive documentation area that shows you how to use Kata.

With most WordPress themes, my advice as to whether you should upgrade to the pro version heavily depends on whether you need those additional features. This is obviously the case for Kata too, however with Kata Pro retailing at only $29 for a single license, I believe most website owners should upgrade for premium support and the additional features it unlocks.

Some features, such as the additional bundled plugins, can perhaps be classified as a bonus more than anything else. Other features, such as Fast Mode, are handy extras (at best).

Fast Mode simply asks which type of website you want to build, what logo you want to use, what your website name is etc. It’s clearly aimed at beginners, however for this to truly benefit beginners, it should be displayed after the theme is activated.

Kata Fast Mode
Kata’s Fast Mode does work, but I am not sure how useful WordPress users will find it.

Features such as the plugin manager and font manager are more useful. The font manager, for example, can be used to import fonts from Google and Adobe. You can also import fonts directly via upload or by listing the URL of the font.

Kata Fonts Manager
The fonts manager helps you add new fonts and manage them.

For me, there are two good reasons to upgrade to Kata Pro:

  • To gain access to all website designs
  • To enhance Elementor

Kata Pro gives you access to all 66 website designs so you have a larger variety of designs to choose from. It also gives you access to 32 additional Elementor blocks including reservation, content slider, employee information, pricing table, recipes and tabs.

Kata Pro Elementor Blocks
32 additional Elementor blocks are available through Kata Pro.

Kata Pro enhances the theme builders for your blog, header and footer. It also adds builders for single posts, archives, search results, menus and 404 pages.

This gives you complete control over every aspect of your website design. For example, you could use the builder to create a unique search results page or a stylish 404 page that redirects users to your archives.

Kata Pro Builders
Kata Pro gives you far more control over your website.

Check out the Kata Pro pricing page for more information about what the pro version offers.

Final Thoughts

At the start of this article, I asked whether Kata lives up to its own name of the “Most Advanced WordPress Theme”?

At the time of writing, the answer to that question is yes and no. It’s a stretch to say that Kata is the most advanced WordPress theme on the market, but it does have many great features and there is a lot to like. It’s just a shame that the initial setup process is so frustrating.

It is important to note, however, that Kata is a new WordPress theme and developers frequently rush the release of their themes before properly testing and debugging their new product. As a reviewer, it does frustrate me that developers rush releases without ironing out bugs, however my hope is that they will refine the theme in the coming months.

The good news is that Kata has great potential and in 12 months time, it could be one of the best free WordPress themes on the market and could possibly give some popular premium themes a run for their money. It boasts many fantastic pre-made website designs and customising your website using Elementor is a joy.

I was also pleased to see the developers make the pro version of the theme available for only $29. If you do use Kata on your website, it is easy to recommend upgrading as you gain so many more features and functionality for so little money.

Of course, Climax Themes are going to have to tackle some issues with their theme before it can gain popularity.

Firstly, they need to review the benefit of overriding WordPress’s default menu system. It overcomplicates things, makes everything less user-friendly and makes it harder to access important WordPress pages such as posts, pages, themes, plugins and settings.

Secondly, they need to fix the bugs with their demo import system.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Kata needs to stop erasing all WordPress content when a design is imported. It is unnecessary and is going to cause many website owners major headaches when installing Kata on an established website.

ProsCons
Solid collection of professional website designs
Elementor integration is superb and it gives you total control over your website design
Kata Pro is available for only $29
Kata’s dedicated configuration area overrides core WordPress functionality
Theme demo system unnecessarily deletes all data on your website when a design is imported

You can learn more about Kata on the official Kata sales page, however the best way to learn what Kata can do is to install the free version of Kata on a test WordPress website to familiarise yourself with what it can do.

Thanks for reading.

Kevin

If you operate a WordPress website, I encourage you to check out my Managed WordPress Hosting directory. It lists the top website hosting companies that offer specialist WordPress features such as website staging, daily backups, WordPress security, integrated content delivery networks and more.

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