I really want to say that the best WordPress page builder is Elementor, or Thrive, give you a few pointers, and then be done with it.
Not because I don’t like writing long roundups – I love it.
But because I want to help you hit the ground running without much fuss.
Unfortunately, I can’t do that. WordPress page builders have evolved so much in the past few years that it’s impossible to crown an absolute winner.
There are just so many things to take into account, and the slight differences between WordPress builders makes every one of them suitable for someone else.
So instead, this roundup will focus on pointing out what each WordPress tool is good, and bad at.
What is a WordPress page builder?
Page builders are design tools.
Using a visual environment, they allow you to bring your ideas to life without having to learn complex code or deal with the inherent restrictions of using the CMS default editor.
Most WordPress page builders come in the form of a plugin, and pages created within the builder either lay on top of the standard WordPress page or slot within the content boundaries of your theme.
These days, there’s no shortage of page builders on the market.
Many of them are constantly evolving and each behaves differently, so there’s no real ‘standard’ or ‘definition’ of what a page builder actually is (or does).
At a fundamental level, their purpose is really to offer control over every element on the page. To lift the boundaries and allow for unrestricted creativity without having to face endless technical limitations.
Any decent editor allows you to drop images, play with the typography and adjust element sizes. That stuff is a given, and nothing you can’t do in the standard WordPress editor.
Page builders kick things up a peg.
For starters, you get complete control over your page layout, most commonly through the use of columns.
From there, you can start getting fancy with things like content boxes, icon boxes and tables.
And you can even go as far as dropping in animated elements to really bring your content to life.
These are just a handful of examples, and some page builders on the market have dozens of element types you can take advantage of.
The Best WordPress page builders
A WordPress page builder needs flexibility, a decent template library, helpful modules, and good options for both beginners and experienced users.
That’s our benchmark for rounding up the builders you’re going to read about.
But they’re not the only criteria we looked at.
We took support, pricing, and extra features into account to settle on both the overall best choice, as well as options for different categories of people.
That being said, let’s get into it.
Elementor: The King Of Page Builders
Despite heavy competition, Elementor has quickly become one of the most popular visual page builders for WordPress, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace.
With their recent update (which you can read all about in our Elementor review) they took things a step further.
Elementor is our favorite builder, and we use it for our site. It has everything you need to create any type of website, it’s flexible, it has a good library of templates and widgets, and it also boasts some extra features for advanced users.
The best part? If you choose the free version, you can still create beautiful versions. Compared to all other WordPress page builders, Elementor is the only one that has a viable free option, which makes it perfect for budget bloggers.
- Core product is 100% free
- Great user interface
- Global widgets are awesome
- Unique styling and hidden elements for responsive
- Revision history works well
- It’s open-source
- Active Facebook group
- Detailed documentation
- Forced styling by default
- Global vs static templates can be confusing
- Lacking some marketing-oriented features
Elementor shines in almost all categories.
Its user interface is easy to understand, with most options being quite intuitive and featuring a workflow hard to beat by other builders.
Its element library is also decent, both in the free option and the paid plugin as well. You get basic elements like:
- Text Boxes
And even more advanced ones like:
- Price lists
- Calls to action
- Review sections
- Code blocks
The pre-made blocks of content and page templates are not necessarily awe-inspiring, especially when compared to what other tools like Divi have to offer, but they’ll do the job of jumpstarting your development process.
The developer in you will rejoice at their advanced editing options for all elements.
Elementor lets you modify things like:
- Motion Effects
And even add Custom CSS snippets for all of your on-page widgets and blocks of content.
All in all, Elementor is a well-rounded WordPress page builder. If you need to edit and preview your page, you can just collapse the left sidebar.
Or preview your page from any screen size you want.
On top, one of the best features of Elementor is that you can choose to hide, or add advanced styling options to any element, according to the device users are browsing your site from.
Elementor is the best WordPress website, builder. The free version alone is a decent choice to create a basic WordPress site, or quickly throw around landing pages for an upcoming launch.
And if the free version isn’t enough for you, keep in mind that you can always get a ton more elements by installing a “content blocks for Elementor” plugin. There’s a lot of those out there.
While writing this roundup, I kept wanting to move over to the next drag and drop page builder.
Then I remembered something else that Elementor can do.
And I kept writing.
This is, in short, what Elementor is like. It does it all, and it’s easy to use.
Moreover, it integrates so well with other WordPress widgets thanks to its shortcode feature, which explains why it’s the most popular WordPress page builder.
What is a shortcode, you ask?
It’s a system by which you can insert any element created in other WordPress plugins (like a form, or a pop-up) into a page you already built. All you need to do is paste a short code and you’re done.
If you want to find out more, make sure you read our Elementor review.
But enough about Elementor. It’s the best website builder for WordPress, but it’s not the only one.
Let’s talk about Thrive.
Thrive Architect: Conversions taken to another level
Thrive Architect is a reboot of the original ‘Thrive Content Builder’, which quickly became the standard WordPress page builder plugin for marketers on its release back in 2014.
Of course, Thrive Content Builder didn’t come without its drawbacks, and this vastly improved iteration helped the ambivalent plugin to make a comeback, and ultimately win back the hearts (and wallets) of countless online marketers.
It has a beautiful interface, helpful features to help you streamline your workflow, responsive editing options, and on top of it all – great widgets and templates for people that want to build conversion focused pages and websites.
- Amazing templates and functionalities for marketers
- Great user interface
- Inline text editing and formatting
- Improved element selection (breadcrumbs)
- Improved HTML and CSS editors
- Hotkeys for fast actions
- Response view and device-specific styling
- Very flexible layout options
- Significantly improved element styling options
- Crowded properties panel
- Still some bugs to iron out
But Thrive Architect has something else going for it. It’s the best tool for marketers thanks to its conversion optimization-focused widgets, templates and adjacent tools.
You get elements like countdown timers, credit card buttons, content reveals and disqus comments.
Again, their page templates are built with marketers in mind.
So right off the bat, if you just need to build a landing page and you want the best tools available to help you pump it out fast, there’s no better choice than Thrive Architect.
In the long run, there is some debate over what website builder for WordPress is best here.
You can achieve similar results with a page builder like the Divi Builder or Elementor, and editing small things like rows and columns is pretty similar for all popular WordPress tools.
So I guess it sometimes comes down to personal preference.
But Thrive Architect has other pros besides the tools to create awesome landing pages. For example, their Analytics and Scripts dashboard makes it really easy to integrate with other third party tools.
In general, they have pretty good support for APIs, even if they’re not packaged in the prettiest interface.
Moreover, Thrive has another thing that sets it apart from other page builders: You can easily access the source code of your site.
Thrive also has a decent pricing scheme:
So if you’re a marketer, give it a try. If you’re not a marketer, Elementor might still be the better website builder for you.
Divi Builder: A Designer’s Paradise
Divi Builder – from Elegant Themes – is a backend and front end visual page builder geared towards web designers.
With the release of Divi Builder 4.0, the plugin from elegant themes is miles ahead what it initially started as.
Like most entries in this list, Divi has a beautiful interface, even if it can get overwhelming at times, powerful customization options, and an overall good offer.
To top it all – their layout packs, which round up the individual page templates you can use to over 1,300.
- Clean and minimal interface
- Huge library of modules (inc. dynamic modules)
- Global templates and modules with selective sync
- Strong design and customization settings
- Full page and section templates (inc. global sections)
- It’s fast
- Great support channels available
- Interface can get overwhelming if you’re multitasking
- Live chat support only for pre-sales
I just couldn’t really get comfortable with Divi Builder. Everything from the smooth scrolling to the auto-adjusting floating window just threw me off.
If you check our list of pros and cons, you’ll notice the interface is on both of them.
That’s because Divi looks extremely smooth when you get into the website builder, but as soon as you start working on some elements it’ll look like this:
And that’s without opening all of the sidebars you can have on at the same time.
Their widget library is decent, but it does fall a bit short when compared to Elementor or Thrive.
Overall, Divi is a powerful page builder. It’s got the basic stuff like responsive editing:
Or adding snippets of code on your page:
But Divi also has another major thing going for it: the largest page template library among page builder plugins.
174 layout packs (which translates to 1,290 total page layouts), and that’s just at the time of writing. Elegant Themes, the company behind Divi, constantly adds new layout packs, so if you want to build your WordPress site with templates more than flashy features, Divi is the one builder you need.
Not to mention, a subscription to Divi also gets you three other plugins:
- Extra, a WordPress theme and visual page builder for online magazines
- Bloom, an email opt-in and lead generation tool
- Monarch, a social media sharing plugin
So if any of these sound great, Divi builder is the best WordPress page builder for you.
And it will only cost you $89 for a lifetime subscription and one year of support and updates.
Beaver Builder: Almost What You Need
Beaver Builder is a widely-used front-end visual page builder for WordPress, also offering a dedicated WordPress theme and theme builder to work alongside it.
Unlike its competitors, Beaver Builder seems to have a strong foothold in the developer community, promising site builders and their clients a platform to create and design websites without the usual headaches.
However, despite its decent options for developers, seamless interface, large amount of templates and flexibility, Beaver Builder struggles to find a place in the market. It has a strong following, but they’re losing popularity each day. Let’s find out why.
- Intuitive user interface (easy to use)
- Decent library of page templates
- Ability to save templates and content sections to reuse later
- Several reliable support options available
- Use on unlimited sites (even on the cheapest plan)
- Save modules and rows to reuse globally
- Great support channels available
- More expensive than other, better options
- Nothing special to warrant the steeper pricing point
Beaver Builder was built with developers in mind. And it’s a decent option for any website development need, whether you plan on creating a portfolio website, or an affiliate marketing site.
Its interface is similar to that of Divi, and it’s definitely easy to navigate:
While it does share a lot of similarities with Divi, like the ability to move sidebars around, or only have them open when needed, it does things a bit better.
You can use the Beaver Builder to edit advanced options like margins and padding in real time.
However, it doesn’t have an impressive library of templates like the aforementioned competitor.
It’s not a lot, so you might not be able to find the kickstart you’re looking for, or those flashy landing pages.
So all in all, Beaver Builder is a decent choice.
As long as you don’t think about the pricing too much.
When you take that into account, a lot of people could do with other page builder plugins. Still, it might be worth the price for developers.
But then if you’re a developer… Oxygen Builder is a better choice.
Oxygen Builder: Enjoy with a side of CSS
Oxygen Builder is a very good choice for experienced developers and web designers. However, we don’t advise you to use it unless you know your way around elements, attributes and classes, because you’ll be overwhelmed pretty quickly otherwise.
Oxygen is not technically a drag and drop page builder, since you click elements to add them on page, you don’t *actually* drag them (an important point, since at first I thought it was not working when I tried dragging an element on page).
But it’s a WYSIWYG plugin nonetheless, and it’s a very complex one at that. The support for developers is amazing, and the customization you can pull off is unparalleled. As long as you know what you’re doing.
- Extremely flexible if you know how to use it
- Powerful features
- Decent modules and templates
- Extremely steep learning curve for non-techies
Oxygen Builder is not your classic drag and drop page editor, and that’s by design. The interface looks much more like Photoshop than Elementor, because Oxygen was built to accommodate website developers that know their way around a code playground.
When I first saw this interface, I was overwhelmed. I could sort of guess what everything can do, but it was simply too much for a non-coder like me.
In theory, you can do anything you can do in those other page builders:
- Add elements on page
- Use templates to kickstart the development process
- Modify advanced options for each element
- Integrate with third parties
But in practice, you’ll need to know more than what a <body> tag is to use Oxygen to its full potential.
Just look at some of the advanced options available for a simple block of text:
This is the full “Advanced” tab for that same block of text:
Of course, this is heaven on earth for any experienced developer. You can add custom CSS for any element if you just click the button and you have a full playground at your disposal:
So definitely give Oxygen a try if you want more control over your website design in WordPress.
Their pricing is top-notch too:
Any tier means unlimited access to the tool, support and updates, for life.
Any tier lets you use Oxygen on as many sites as you want.
Oh, and they have a 60 Day Money Back Guarantee.
If you want to find out more about this tool, read our Oxygen review.
If you’re not quite sure what to pick yet, keep reading.
Which page builder is best for your needs?
Again, deciding on the best page builder doesn’t mean crowning an absolute winner, as much as I’d like to announce the best WordPress builder in the world, no-contest.
No two website owners are created the same.
So depending on your niche, objectives, and budget, you might need a different WordPress page builder.
Like we’ve said, Divi Builder is great for designers, but it can’t match the conversion focused tools of Thrive.
Elementor is a stellar overall choice, but it’s a toy for developers if you pit it against Oxygen.
So when choosing a WordPress page builder, think about what you need, and what you can use. That being said, we took the liberty of at least crowning two kings (or consuls, for you history nerds).
The best value choice, and the best “Premium” builder.
Best Value WordPress page builder: Elementor
Whether you’re a penny-pincher or just on a tight budget, you can still benefit from using a page builder without breaking the bank.
In this case, there’s one visual page builder that sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to “best value”.
I’ll let this pricing comparison table do the talking…
|Page Builder||Free Version||Premium Version|
|Thrive Architect||No||$67 lifetime|
|Elementor||Yes (some limitations)||$49/yr – $199/yr|
|Beaver Buil||Yes (heavy limitations)||$99/yr – $399/yr|
|Divi Builder||No||$89/yr or $249 lifetime|
In my opinion, not only is Elementor the best free visual page builder out there, but it also ranks among the top premium page builders as well. (Yeah, seriously.)
It’s got the flexibility, customizability and advanced tool for professionals, but it balances that perfectly with a very manageable learning curve, making it a perfect all around good choice.
If you’re not convinced, scroll back up to our Elementor section and see for yourself.
And, unlike other “free” page builders, Elementor still feels like a complete product without ever having to upgrade, especially when you factor in other free addons you can get from the WordPress plugin repository.
Best Premium WordPress page builder: Thrive Architect
While Elementor is a very good page builder, it definitely lacks in the marketing department.
After all, that’s why we build websites in the first place — to make money, right?
Before Thrive Architect was released, I would have had to give this to Elementor as well, but given how well Architect performed in my testing, and the fact that it’s very marketing-oriented, it is, for me, the best premium visual page builder.
(Of course, that’s not to say Elementor isn’t viable for marketers, because it is. It’s just not on the same level as Thrive Architect, for various reasons mentioned in the dedicated review.)
Honestly, you can’t match Thrive’s templates and tools for marketers, it’s just miles ahead the competition when it comes to conversions.
If you still can’t decide which page builder is better for you, check out our post with Thrive Architect vs Elementor comparison.
Gutenberg vs Page Builders
Ok, so we’ve mentioned our top picks.
But I know some of you might even be thinking about not buying any WordPress page builder.
With the new (well, relatively new) Gutenberg block system being the default for page editing in WordPress, and considering its impressive features, a lot of people questioned the need of page builders altogether.
After all, you can customize your page quite a lot with Gutenberg.
However, Gutenberg is not yet a match for the classic page builder.
And that’s because of a few reasons:
- Page builders let you edit the backend of your site as well, with things like source code access and integrations
- Page builders have considerably more premade widgets and blocks
- Page builders offer access to entire page templates (thousands in the case of Divi builder), while the vanilla Wordpress platform doesn’t
- Responsive editing is not possible with Gutenberg
- Complex projects like building an online store go much better with the dedicated integrations of popular Wordpress plugins
- You can’t preview the actual page in real time with Gutenberg
- The dedicated communities and support of any Wordpress page builder trump what you can get on Wordpress forums
And we could go on, but I think those are enough reasons for why Gutenberg is still no match for classic builders like Divi Builder, Elementor or Beaver Builder.
But let’s talk about where each option shines because it’s not wise to discredit the WordPress editor just yet.
Building A Page With Each Option
Gutenberg is still a good choice if you want to stylize a blog post. It has enough features to let you add crucial blog post elements like callout boxes, FAQ sections, images and dividers.
However, anything more than that and you’re in a bit of a stump.
For example, imagine building a complex landing page with Gutenberg.
Technically, it’s possible.
But give it your best and you still won’t be able to match the complexity, beauty and effectiveness of a simple Thrive Architect landing page template. It makes sense, since that’s what Thrive is focused on.
Similarly, you can get a lot of mileage out of Gutenberg, but you’ll never have the control over a page layout and design you get in Oxygen.
Lastly, Gutenberg is a big improvement for WordPress, and you might be inclined to pick it because it’s free. The thing is: so is Elementor, at least in a limited capacity. Even the free version of Elementor lets you do so much more than Gutenberg.
So keep Gutenberg as an option for when you’re in a rush, but definitely don’t discard drag and drop page builders just yet.
Gutenberg has something going for it: pages built with it load much faster.
Templatemonster ran an experiment about this, and they found that pages built with Elementor load 20% slower than pages built with Gutenberg.
And it makes sense – Gutenberg has less flare, less flashy options, and it doesn’t have that big library to load every time, so most times it will load faster than a page built with other popular page builders.
But building and maintaining a site is not just about minimizing the amount of rows and columns.
So as of writing this piece, drag and drop page builders are still very much in the game.
But WordPress came a long way since the only content editor you had access to looked like this:
In fact, the previous iteration of this article had a really long rant about how bad WordPress editor was.
But that was scrapped in this version, because WordPress is making progress.
So maybe someday they’ll run page builders out of business.
But it’s not today.
Website builders for WordPress have reinvented how people build their site.
If before you could only count on your WordPress theme, nowadays you have access to a full coding playground with the drag of a simple element.
If you want to.
If not, premade widgets are just as easy to use, and they let you build amazing websites in a matter of hours or days.
In our opinion, the page builder that takes the cake is Elementor. When you draw the line and consider pricing, features and templates, it’s just the best option out there.
Has been for a few years.
But it’s not the only WordPress page builder you should consider. Other drag and drop page builders like Divi Builder, Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect and Oxygen Builder have their place in the market, and they’re outstanding plugins.
We laid the facts out for you.
But the choice is yours to make.