Thrive Architect Review 2019 – What is the Successor of Thrive Content Builder Worth?

thrive architect review

Thrive Architect is the content editor we use here at Authority Hacker and on the majority of our sites. We love it and find it superior to other alternatives but it’s not perfect. In this review we’ll show you the good, the bad and the ugly.

Starts at $67


Capable of recreating virtually any design + integrates seamlessly with other Thrive products.


No free option but still one of the cheaper page builders on the market at only $67 one-time.

Ease of use

A very intuitive builder on the whole, but it could do with some slight interface tweaks here and there.


Thrive isn’t known for having the best support, but has promised to change that moving forward.

  • Great user interface
  • Inline text editing and formatting
  • Inline text editing and formatting
  • Improved HTML and CSS editors
  • Hotkeys for fast actions
  • Response view and device-specific styling
  • Very flexible layout options
  • Significantly improved element styling options
  • Better management of content templates
  • Backwards compatible
  • No content lock-in and editable WP content
  • List Element
  • Crowded properties panel
  • Elements not freely draggable
  • No new elements have been added
  • Cannot save/use global content templates
  • No new page templates (currently)
  • Still some bugs to iron out

This is it.

After refreshing the Thrive Themes blog roughly 24,281 times (I didn’t count, promise), it finally happened.

The page builder we’ve all been anxiously waiting for since the first mention back in October, 2016… is here!

First mention of Thrive Architect

Despite the original ‘Thrive Content Builder’ becoming pretty much standard in the marketing world, it didn’t come without it’s drawbacks. (Bugs, limitations, cartoony designs, etc.)

And, as the page builder market matured, it didn’t take long for other, many would say better alternatives to make an appearance.

So, with Thrive promising a vastly improved iteration this time around, it’s a chance for the ambivalent plugin to make a comeback, and ultimately win back the hearts (and wallets) of countless online marketers.

Believe me when I say nobody is more excited to dive into this than me. It’s party time 🎉

What Is Thrive Content Builder Architect?

Thrive Architect is a ‘what you see is what you get’ — or WYSIWYG — WordPress editor.

Basically, instead of using this to create content…

WordPress editor

(Which makes it virtually impossible to do anything creative, since WordPress is limited to basic HTML.)

You use this…

Thrive Architect

This allows you to get far better engagement on your content.

Old (Thrive Content Builder)

Thrive Content Builder

New (Thrive Architect)

Thrive Architect

A significant upgrade. No doubt about it.

And, if you’ve been around the block, you’ll probably find Thrive Architects interface weirdly familiar. (Have you caught it yet?)

Well, it’s clearly inspired by Elementor’s interface.

Thrive Architect

Is that such a bad thing?

Not really.

As someone who quickly fell in love with Elementor, I’d absolutely put the interface as one of the key drivers of it’s success. It’s intuitive, clean, and most importantly, it works.

If bringing this experience over to Thrive Architect means getting a bit of stick from Elementor fanboys, so be it. As a user, they get my vote.

You got my vote baby

Now, nice aesthetics are one thing, but let’s dive into the “usability” aspect of the new user interface.

Getting elements onto the page works the same as before. You can either drag and drop to a specific location, or just click to add it to the end of the page.

Thrive Architect

Notice how, when I drop an element onto the page, the sidebar panel automatically switches to element properties.

This is fundamental shift from TCB, where changes to elements were made in an intrusive, obstructive floating window.

(Seriously, that thing was more annoying than 3 hours of Meowmania. I was drunk, okay.)

Thrive Content Builder (original)

Thrive Content Builder

Thrive Architect (new)

Thrive Architect

From here, you can control various properties for each element, as well as few advanced properties rarely found in other page builders.

Thrive Architect advanced properties

One thing I didn’t like about Thrive’s sidebar, however, is that there are too many options stacked on top of one another.

(Elementor breaks the properties into three tabs, which prevents you having to scroll a LOT to find what you’re after.)


Elementor properties

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect properties

Might not seem like a big deal, but when even a few of Architects tabs are expanded out, it quickly feels cluttered.

Fortunately, not everything is handled from the sidebar.

If there’s one thing I dislike about Elementor, it’s the fact that paragraph and heading content can’t be edited inline.

With Thrive Architect, you can directly edit text inline, as well as apply some basic formatting. (After coming back over from Elementor, this feels like freakin’ witchcraft.)

Thrive Architect text inline editor

The only gripe I have is the obstructive element label, partially covering the first line of my paragraph, but I have no doubt this will be fixed in a matter of days. Fixed.

Thrive Architect paragraph edition

One final thing I’d like to point out here is how much element selection has been improved in this version.

With TCB, it was often difficult to select certain elements buried deep within other elements (like content boxes, tables, etc.) — there was just too much going on in one small space.

Thrive Architect table editor

Thrive Architect fixes that with the inclusion of what I’ll refer to as an “elements breadcrumb navigation”.

So for example, if I wanted to select a content box and NOT the contents of that box, I can just select it from the breadcrumb trail.

Thrive Architect Content Box

As much as I like this, it would be nice to have to option of disabling it, purely to free up screen space at the top (which may be a preference for some people).

And that brings me nicely to the next section…

Shiny New Settings & Options

While there are a ton of new settings for individual elements, there has also been a number of upgrades to page-level, and even builder-level configurations.

As before, you can choose which side to display your sidebar — something you can’t do in Elementor.

Thrive Architect

(Unlike Elementor, you actually can’t expand or contract the sidebar, though it’s not really necessary with Thrive Architect since you can edit text inline.)

Also, as before, you can directly edit page HTML and CSS — except the editors themselves have finally been lifted into the 21st century.

Here’s the HTML editor:

Thrive Architect HTML editor

And here’s the CSS editor:

Thrive Architect CSS edotpr

Colors. Colors are good.

I don’t know about you, but Thrive’s previous HTML and CSS editor nearly landed me in a mental asylum. This is a very, very, very welcome change.

(It’s also worth noting there is absolutely no HTML editor in elementor. At all.)

It get’s better though.

Thrive Architect brings a refresh of the ‘Page Events Manager’ — allowing you to create page-level events more easily and faster than ever.

Thrive Architect Page Event Manager

At the moment, you can use this to trigger popups created with Thrive Lightboxes (which comes bundled with Thrive Architect), but I have a feeling we’ll see some additions to this new events manager.

As for the secondary menu, “Template Setup, there isn’t too much to point out that you haven’t already seen.

Thrive Architect Template Setup

That said, the page settings now include a bunch of new settings for things like fonts, custom scripts, and yes… content width.

Thrive Architect Landing Page Options

This alone scratches a MASSIVE itch I had with Thrive Content Builder, in the sense that it was a bit of a nightmare controlling content width on the page-level.

Last but not least, we’ve got some controls at the bottom of the sidebar.

Thrive Architect Building Blocks
Thrive Architect Building Blocks options

The first thing you’ll probably notice is the undo/redo functions, something we did already have in the previous version.

What’s new this time around is, we can now use the respective hotkeys (Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y) to trigger these actions.

Such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in productivity output. Plus, it’s super satisfying to use. 😄

Thrive Architect respective hotkeys use

Finally, you can click the little arrow on the sidebar panel to collapse it, which allows you to see a fuller preview of your page.

This is something I first saw Elementor do, and I fell in love with it immediately.

Thrive Architect takes it a step further, because even though I referred to it as a way to “preview” your page, you can continue to edit your page inline.

Thrive Architect editor

That’s everything from:

  • Adding, removing and editing text
  • Formatting (including lists, headings, and hyperlinks)
  • Moving and reorganizing elements
  • Duplicating and deleting elements

Seriously, I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this. I LOVE THIS.


One thing I haven’t talked about yet is how Thrive Architect handles responsiveness.

This has to be one of the biggest issues with the original Thrive Content Builder, because even though it was responsive by default, it didn’t always get it right on mobile.

Thrive Content Builder table responsiveness

I never blamed TCB for not being able to perfectly adapt my design to every possible display. That’s a big ask.

What I did blame it for, however, was not allowing me to effectively adjust my design for those different displays.

Well, Thrive Architect deals with the issue head on.

First of all, you can now view your responsive design within the builder itself, based on either a tablet or mobile display.

Thrive Architect responsive design

The best part?

Not only can you continue to build and edit your design in this view, but certain styling changes will only apply to mobile, leaving desktop unaffected by any necessary tweaks.

(It cascades, meaning changes on desktop also affect tablet and mobile, but changes on tablet only affect tablet and mobile, and so on…)

For example, I can add a color overlay to an image on mobile, and it will not affect my desktop design.

Thrive Architect responsive view

But wait, there’s more. 😁

Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to show every element of your design on a smaller display.

It can get a little crowded.

Previously, you’d have to be a CSS ninja to sort out that problem, but Thrive Architect takes another leaf out of Elementor’s book.

You can now hide elements exclusively on different devices with the click of a button.

Thrive Architect tablet view

A nice little touch here is the ability to keep hidden elements visible within the editor, if of course you need to.

Thrive Architect hidden elements

Overall, Thrive Architect is an enormous step up from what was previously a very limited page builder when it comes to responsive design.

Creating Different Layouts

Your layout is the foundation of your design, and if a page builder falls short in this respect, you’re gonna have a hard time doing anything meaningful with it.

So, how does Architect perform?

Well, unlike Elementor, which houses it’s elements within “sections”, Thrive Architect actually feels a lot more fluid.

For one, elements don’t have to be contained — you can drag them onto your page however you like. No sections necessary.

If you want a simple column layout, you can do that by adding in a column element.

You don’t have to plan ahead, though.

By simply dragging something into position, Thrive Architect will automatically create a column layout for you.

See what happens when I drag a text element beside another text element in both builders:

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architet dragging element


Elementor dragging element

Thrive is a lot more accommodating.

In fact, using Thrive Architect, you can create complex layouts in a matter seconds, just by dragging and dropping.

And while columns are spaced evenly by default, you can easily get your cursor in there and start causing havoc. (The good kind, that is.)

Thrive Architect complex layouts

Now, even though I told you elements in Thrive Architect don’t need to be contained within sections, that’s not to say sections aren’t useful in certain situations. They are.

And it’s also not to say Thrive Architect doesn’t allow you to leverage sections when necessary. It does.

They’re called “background sections”.

Thrive Architect background sections

The obvious benefit of using a background section is to easily contain several smaller elements in a single row.

But, there are other layout-oriented benefits that make background sections useful, since they come with some additional layout properties, such as:

  • Stretch to full screen width
  • Content maximum width
  • Section minimum height
  • Match height to screen
Thrive Architect section options

It’s also worth noting that some of these properties can also be found in other elements, like content boxes and columns.

In fact, using one of these properties with the columns element is what allows to create a layout previously IMPOSSIBLE with Thrive Content Builder.

Vertical split layouts.

Thrive Architect vertical split layouts

This was covered on the Thrive Themes blog prior to release, but I wanted to highlight it here because it just shows how much of a step up this is from the earlier version.

A Deeper Look At The Elements Library

So far we’ve looked at how Thrive Architect works on a fundamental level, but not much at the individual elements (or widgets) themselves.

If, like me, you were hoping for a bunch of new elements to play with, you won’t like what I’m about to tell you.

That’s right, no new elements…

The truth is, as it stands, we’ve actually lost a few of the pre-styled elements, like the guarantee boxes and pricing tables. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


Thrive has gone on record to say these elements will be added back into the builder very soon. It’s still early days.

Thrive Architect elements
  • Paragraph / text
  • Heading
  • Image
  • Button
  • Columns
  • Background section
  • Content box
  • Content template
  • Click to Tweet
  • Content reveal
  • Countdown
  • Countdown evergreen
  • Credit card
  • Custom HTML
  • Custom menu
  • Disqus comments
  • Content
  • Divider
  • Paragraph / text
  • Heading
  • Image
  • Button
  • Columns
  • Background section
  • Content box
  • Content template
  • Click to Tweet
  • Content reveal
  • Countdown
  • Countdown evergreen
  • Credit card
  • Custom HTML
  • Custom menu
  • Disqus comments
  • Content
  • Divider

Now, while some elements were left behind during the transition to Thrive Architect, the elements that are included have been MASSIVELY overhauled.

I’ll give you a few examples.

Example #1: Icons

Before, not only did you have to select your icons through a separate interface (outside of the builder), but you were limited to a dozen or so free icons.

Thrive Icon Manager

Not anymore.

Thrive Architect moves away from the icon manager, giving you access to hundreds of free, searchable icons from within the page builder itself.

Thrive Icon Manager

The icon properties have also had a facelift, including a few new properties like shadows and background patterns.

Thrive Icon Manager

Example #2: Styled Lists

Styled lists in Thrive Content Builder were nothing short of a virtual nightmare.

The first issue was that you had a grand total of 6 different styles to choose from, which essentially means 6 different “list icons” you can use.

Thrive Styled List

If that wasn’t bad enough, you could only choose between 8 colors and adjusting the size of your icons was near enough impossible.

(The icons were actually images. Lol)

In Thrive Architect, you can pull from the same icon library I noted in the first example, and have them display for your styled list.

Thrive Styled List

What’s more, you can change the icon and color for each individual list items, if you need to.

Thrive Icon Manager

Finally — and this is something I needed in my life — you can now drag to reorder the list items however you want!

Thrive Styled List

Example #3: Buttons

Buttons were another common pain point for most TCB users.

Previously, adding a button to your page left you with a limited number of button styles (and even sizes) to choose from…

Thrive Button Menu

Now, you create your own styles from scratch. That’s right, no more presets.

Thrive Button

The new properties panel allows you to create buttons of literally any size, shape and color without having any styles forced upon you. Updated.

Since this review went live, Thrive rolled out a few tweaks to the button element to make adding and customizing them a bit easier. While most of what I’ve said here is still true, they have replaced the size slider control with size presets and allowed individual styling of button icons.

Anyway, back to the review…

You also get access to panel options like gradient backgrounds, rounded corners, letter spacing, line height and shadows — as well as some additional settings, like video popups.

Thrive Button background options
Thrive Video popups options

(While the video popups were possible using Vimeo embeds , it now supports Vimeo and YouTube as well.)

Example #4: Tables

I’ve saved the best example for last.

The table element has seen a significant upgrade, and one that’ll finally provide an alternative to TablePress. (It’s a love, hate relationship.)

In fact, the new tables element might even be my single favorite thing about Thrive Architect. #seriously

Let’s take a look at the core changes.

Inserting tables…

Thrive Content Builder Table
Thrive Architect table

The table interface…

Thrive Content Builder table interface
Thrive Architect table interface

And finally, the table manager….

Thrive Content Builder table manager
Thrive Architect table manager

Virtually every aspect of the table element has been improved, and the side panel gives you even more control over the styling.

I mean, just look at how quickly and easily I can make changes to this thing:

Thrive Architect table options

I feel like I could write an entire review on this element alone, but I think you can already see why I’m so excited about this one. :)

As a final note…

Even though I’ve only covered a handful “element upgrades” in this review, I’d like to make it clear that every element has essentially been upgraded in some way.

The main reason behind that is due to the vastly improved properties panel:

Thrive Architect table options

So, while not every element is hugely different to it’s previous state, just having this kind of granular control over the small details makes a huge difference to what you can actually achieve.

Content & Page Templates

Let’s start with content templates.

Saving sections of your content to reuse later was always possible in Thrive Content Builder.

The problem? It was notoriously bad at organizing them.

Thrive Content Builder Templates

There was no way to categorize the templates or preview you them, not to mention accidentally deleting something and not knowing what it was.

It was awful, and I had high hopes for Architect to crush these issues.

The first thing I noticed was, thankfully, categories are now a thing.

Thrive Architect Styles and Templates

And once you’ve added your template, you can use the “Content Template” element to add it back into any layout.

(Oh, and you now get a search box as well. Woop!)

Thrive Architect Content Template

As for managing your templates?

You now get access to a dedicated template library on the backend of your site, where you can organize and even preview your content templates.

Thrive template library

It’s 100x times better than it was before, no doubt.

If I had to criticize anything, it would have to be the inability to preview and delete templates from within the builder itself, like you can with Elementor…

Elementor template library

Slight hindrance, but nothing too soul destroying.

I did also find a bug with my existing content templates, in a sense that they don’t work anymore…

Thrive Architect template library

If this isn’t fixed, it’ll be a slap in the face for sure. (I have faith.)

Moving on, another thing I really wanted to see here was the inclusion of global elements — as in Elements that could be edited/styled from a single location.

This is something that some other page builders support, and Divi takes it even further with “Selective Sync”…

Divi template library

Unfortunately, any of this is yet to be seen in Thrive Architect, but I’m pretty confident it’s in the pipeline. (Hopefully with some inspiration taken from Divi *wink wink*)

So that’s content, what about full page templates?

As I mentioned earlier, Thrive Content Builder was bundled with Thrive Landing Pages — a comprehensive library of landing page templates.

While I wasn’t always a fan of the designs, there were always a healthy number to choose from:

Thrive Landing Pages

And Thrive Architect?

Currently, only a fraction of the templates you had in Thrive Content Builder have been added into Thrive Architect.

The good news is, they have began adding in a bunch of new and improved template packs, like this one, and this one.

Thrive Landing Page Templates

It’s not quite up to scratch yet, but it’s looking hopeful.

I also know they are placing a lot of emphasis on templates moving forward (mostly because they said so).

Paul McCarthy about TA templates

Digging Deep For Compatibility Issues

Thrive Architect isn’t just a slightly better Thrive Content Builder, it’s an entirely new plugin.

Knowing this, it’s perfectly reasonable to concern yourself with current, and potential compatibility issues.

There’s a few different aspects to cover here, so let’s break it down:

Backwards Compatibility

The first thing I’ll say is, Thrive Architect is backwards compatible — meaning it will work with almost anything you’ve created in the old builder.

Opening a TCB-built page in Architect will keep everything intact, however, you’ll need to migrate some of your elements.

TCB element migration to TA

The element will look more or less the same as it did before, except now it can be edited with Architects extensive properties panel.

They’ve no doubt done an excellent job at transitioning elements from the old builder to the new, but it’s not 100% seamless.

For one, you will likely see a shift in the positioning of your elements after migrating.

Notice how my button shifts upward:

TCB element migration to TA

And, like I said, not everything is fully editable.

The pre-styled elements that aren’t yet in Thrive Architect — like guarantee boxes and pricing tables — will have some limitations. At least for the moment.

Apart from a few minor inconveniences, there have been some reports of serious bugs as a result of transitioning, and we even felt the full force of that ourselves during our recent launch.

Content Lock-In

Content lock-in refers to the problem most page builders have when you deactivate or remove them. The problem being, pages built with it promptly fall apart.

Did You Know

Check out what happens to your deactivated page builder content when using Divi, for example:

Divi page after deactivation

Thrive actually published a blog post about content lock-in prior to Architect’s release. You can read the whole thing here.

To summarize, the old builder didn’t handle content preservation at all, and so you were pretty much required to keep the plugin installed and activated if you didn’t want your content to disapear into oblivion.

Architect is different.

While no builder will be able to fully preserve your content since the WordPress editor can’t handle anything remotely complex, Thrive Architect is able to mitigate the damage. A lot.

Here’s what happens to content in Thrive Architect:

Judgement Media homepage
Judgement Media homepage

As you can see, the layout and styling settings are corrected to maintain a clean and almost usable layout in the default editor.

It’s also worth noting that, aside from Elementor, few other plugins can pull this off without leaving a trail of mess behind.

If you were at all worried about content lock-in with Thrive Architect, it honestly doesn’t get much safer than this when it comes to content builders even if obviously it’s a good idea to edit your site a bit after deactivating a content builder.

WordPress Content

Finally, let’s talk about how Thrive handles content that was created with the default editor — also known as ‘WordPress content’.

Previously, Thrive Content Builder would display WordPress content at the end of your post or page.

You couldn’t edit it directly. You couldn’t move it. And you couldn’t add anything below it.

The whole thing was very rigid and inconvenient if you wanted to update an older page with your new page builder.

The way Thrive Architect handles WordPress content is MUCH better.

Instead of having to leave the editor, you can now open the default editor from within the page builder itself:

Thrive Architect WordPress content

But not only that, you can now move the content block freely between your Thrive Architect elements.

Thrive Architect content blocks

This change really takes the pain out of editing existing pages that have never been touched by a page builder. (Something I was always reluctant to do, until now.)

Rebuilding Trello’s Homepage

For each page builder we review as part of this series, we decided it’d be a great idea to recreate an existing page using each tool.

That way, it would give us (and you) a much clearer comparison of what each tool is capable of in practical terms.

As for the page, we settled on Trello’s homepage because it’s an excellent example of a modern layout that makes good use of different elements.

Check out the video to see how I got on with Thrive Architect:

Where It Performed Well

  • Saving colors
    Thrive Architect allows you to save colors to the color pallette, which ended up saving me a lot of time having to go back and find hex codes
  • Inline editing
    As expected, the inline editing made it really easy (and enjoyable) to add and change text on the page. The efficiency of it also offered a slight productivity boost.
  • Button shadows
    Though I wasn’t overly keen on the number of clicks it took to apply a drop shadow to buttons, it was nice to be able to achieve this effect in the first place — something not all page builders are capable of.
  • Section overlay
    Sliding one section over another was really easy with negative margin, as was adjusting the opacity of the top layer. It was also nice to be able to control the layer order with Z-index, which saved the day in this case.
  • Independent width control
    Being able to adjust the width of individual elements without being in a dedicated container came in really handy. For example, I could shrink the width of a text element inside a wider container, saving on time and complexity.
  • Gradient background
    The ability to set a gradient background was crucial to a particular section of this build, and Thrive allowed me to apply a 2-color gradient with little fuss.

Where It Fell Flat

  • Cluttered sidebar
    I mentioned this in the review but the properties sidebar was a real pain to navigate at time, particularly because it takes you back to the top once you click off and on a given element.
  • “Auto” value
    Once you enter a value in a given field (like button width, for example), it loses it’s auto value even if you remove it completely. I later found at that you can fix this by typing in a value of “auto”.
  • Button alignment
    For some reason, I just couldn’t the button alignment to work for the top navigation bar, which forced me to use columns as a workaround. (I was able to align two images side-by-side in a later section, however.)
  • Content alignment
    I couldn’t figure out how to vertically align content with a given section, which forced me to use margins in situations they probably shouldn’t be used in. Again, not ideal. Updated. You can now vertically align content within content boxes and background sections.
  • Background image positioning
    I couldn’t find a way to adjust the position of my section background outside the basic options, which lead to the wrong part of my image being shown (too low down). Updated. You now have more precise alignment options for background images within a background section.
  • Small bugs
    There were, as expected, a number of small bugs that had to be tolerated throughout this experiment. These have been highlighted in the video but I expect many of these will be squashed in due time.

Is Thrive Architect Right For You?

Now that I’ve covered all the different features and functions of Thrive Architect, weighing up the pros and cons and giving my experience along the way — let’s talk about YOU.

As with any tool, Thrive Architect isn’t going to be the right choice for everyone, so I’d like to get to the bottom of who exactly this page builder is suitable for.

Budget Bloggers

Thrive, as a company, is pretty-well known for delivering high-value at a very reasonable price point.

Here’s a breakdown of cost across popular alternatives:

Page Builder Free Version Premium Version
Thrive Architect No $67 lifetime
Elementor Yes (some limitations) $49/yr - $199/yr
Beaver Buil​der Yes (heavy limitations) $99/yr - $399/yr
Divi Builder No $89/yr or $249 lifetime
Visual Composer No $43/site

Aside from a one-off fee, Thrive also has a membership option at $228 per year, which gives you access to ALL their themes and plugins.

Since Thrive Architect doesn’t offer a free plan, it already loses points in the ‘budget-friendly builder’ department.

That being said, a $67 one-time fee is still a very worthwhile investment if you can afford it, especially given how ROI-focused the builder is in comparison to others.

Is it the best option for budget-conscious marketers?

No, probably not.

From my testing, the only page builder that stands up to Thrive Architect in any category is Elementor. And in this case, Elementor wins every time. You simply can’t beat it on price.

So, if funds are tight, I’d recommend going with a free Elementor plan and switching to Thrive Architect when you’re ready to invest more into your business.

Though Elementor PRO is slightly cheaper than Architect, I’d recommend pushing your budget that little bit further to get something that’s equally as capable, but a lot more tailored to marketers.

Beginner Bloggers

So you’re fresh off the boat, huh?

Well, from all the page builders I’ve tested, Thrive Architect was by far one the easiest to use, alongside Elementor.

If I had to recommend one for a complete beginner, I’d probably say go with Elementor because the user interface is a bit nicer overall, but there’s not a whole lot in it.

As someone starting out, you probably won’t be interested in some of the more complex marketing elements Thrive Architect has to offer, which is why I’m reluctant to recommend it over Elementor in this case.

There is one caveat, however…

If you’re reading this blog, it’s very likely that you’re an online marketer (or aspiring), and if there’s one thing Elementor lacks, it’s having focus on ROI.

This is something Thrive does very well.

Even as a beginner, if you already know you want to make an impact with your marketing at some point in the near future, I’d recommend going with Thrive Architect instead.

High-Level Marketers

This is where Thrive Architect really shines.

If you’re at all familiar with Thrive, you’ll know that their mission is to create an entire suite of marketing tools.

Thrive marketing tools

The goal behind this is simple:

Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh‘s Note

To not only make these tools work together conflict free, but to go several steps further. To build a smart, high converting, next-generation website.

It’s about having these tools talk to each other in a way you just don’t get with other mix-and-match setups.

Want to collect emails on your website?

Of course you do. And that’s why Thrive Architects integrates seamlessly with Thrive Leads.

Want to run an evergreen marketing campaign when someone opts into your email list?

No problem. Thrive Ultimatum integrates seamlessly with Thrive Leads.

Thrive Integrations

See where I’m going with this?

Like I said, this is where the power of Architect comes into play, and if you’re serious about marketing your online business, you’ll LOVE what you can do with Thrive’s growing suite of tools.


It’s still very early days for Thrive Architect, but there’s no denying that it’s already a strong contender in the WordPress page builder market.

The power of this page builder can only be strengthened by its ability to seamlessly and effortlessly communicate with other Thrive products, and that’s something it’s competitors are currently unable to compete with.

If you’re serious about building profitable websites, Thrive’s suite contains some of the best products in the business for helping you achieve that — and, of course, your page builder is a crucial component to how these tools interact.

Despite some features on my wishlist not making it to the release version, a few inevitable bugs and some subtle UI inefficiencies, I genuinely can’t wait to see how this develops over the coming months.

All in all, I highly recommend giving Thrive Architect a try. (It does come with a 30-day guarantee).

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  1. Lewis, do you go with the per plugin payment or the monthly payment with Thrive?
    I see they finally made the change over to lifetime updates vs the 1-year updates they offered in the past.

    1. if you buy any Thrive product at any time it’s a one time price, the membership just gives you access to new installs but the updates keep rolling in even if your membership is innactive.

    2. Hey David.

      You could just buy the single plugin but if you end up buying the other products and installing on more sites, it quickly ends up costing more than the membership option (which gives you access to everything, on unlimited sites.)

      Considering one of the strongest aspects of Architect is the integration it has with other Thrive products, I’d say shoot for the membership option if you can. If not, the single option is still worth it IMO, and that’s actually how I got my feet wet with Thrive in the beginning.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Lewis,

        Thank you so much for your the information that you have shared here.

        Can you please advise what tool are you using for Illustrational Arrows on the images that you have shown above.

        I will be looking forward to hearing from you soon on the same.


  2. Lewis & Gael – Thanks for the insight :)
    Yeah I have on the membership plan for the past year so far so good just thought maybe there was something I was missing.

    That being said – I agree with you about their support sometimes it is better than others but you need to give it to their support staff for their timely responses and actually logging into your backend to diagnose the issue that is going on in the site. It has been a lifesaver more than once :)

  3. Lol – “Thrive’s previous HTML and CSS editor nearly landed me in a mental asylum.”…. I feel that pain., however I suspect we’ll still be copying and pasting into Notepad++ (or tool of your choice) to correct any quirks with the auto-generated HTML.

    Really useful post, thanks Lewis, you’ve saved me some time digging through Architect to find out what’s actually better from a users perspective!

  4. I purchased the membership which I believe is a good value since I have multiple sites. I can install whichever plugins or themes I need. I agree with Lewis, people should shoot for the membership option.

  5. I can’t check out I get the error below. Also there is no other option than Paypal for payment despite there is a note says: “You can pay with your credit card if you don’t have a PayPal account.”

    We can’t use because Paypal has stopped operations in Turkey. (

    How can I buy this theme?

    Here is the error message:
    Computer Says No! Message from Paul: Percentage type coupons aren’t currently supported on our billing system due to the latest tax changes. They can be supported going forward, but to limit the time and resource for getting our site EU Digital Sales Tax compliant, I had to remove %age coupon discounts. Normal $ discounts still work.

  6. Hello Lewis,

    great review, thank you! Question: this post page has a few marketing modals, like the ‘special Architect discount’ red ribbon at the bottom of the page, with the count-down element. Are you using Thrive Leads for those? Thank you again!

  7. I use TCB on 3 websites. I upgraded to Architect and tried to make the transition. I had to give up and roll back to TCB. Here is why.

    1. All my templates were not editable. I could not add columns, sections or change sizes in the table templates. I could not resize any template. So OK, I will build new templates right?

    2. Wrong! I could put content in content containers or I could build a new table but the new content container or table with multiple elements in it would not save. Individual elements would save but not a complex template.

    3. I could not wrap text around images. They want you to use a 2 column system. I am sorry but that is not cool since no two paragraphs are the same size. I do not want a paragraph that doesn’t fit around an image just because the software doesn’t allow for it.

    4. In TCB I would pull the html for Amazon product images and place them in the html element. You could then click on the image and adjust its size. This was eliminated with Architect. So now if I want to use an image, I am stuck using the smaller image sizes that comes from Amazon. Again this is not friendly to site design of product reviews.

    5. When editing bullet points or single line text the small inline editor popup would cover the text. This was hugely annoying.

    6. When editing in the text editor, when you backspaced to correct a typing mistake, it had a bug where when you backspaced the last letter of the word, it would erase the space between that letter and the previous word. This was annoying too. They did fix this bug in the 3rd or 4th update but it shows that they did not do very good A/B testing prior to release because anyone who actually used the text editor to type and produce content without copying and pasting would have noticed this problem immediately.

    7. Finally when I brought these problems up on the support forums, they did not respond. When I finally told them I reverted back after almost 36 hours of waiting and that I was connected to a large promoter of their product, they apologized for the delay but still did not offer 1 fix for my problems.

    I love TCB, but I doubt I will convert over to Thrive Architect. I will more than likely cancel my subscription when they stop supporting TCB.

    Like you said, TA might not be a good fit for all people, and you obviously really liked it. However I was not impressed.

    1. I totally agree with this sentiment, I found it buggy and very hard to use, I am back to TCB, it has its issues but I love that it is minimalist and very easy to use!!

    2. I recommend waiting a few months and then upgrading. It’s true that they seem to have released Architect while still unpolished, but they are also publishing bug fixes literally every day. In several weeks they should hopefully be done fixing bugs and then upgrading should be less of a difficulty. The new editor does definitely feel much easier to use than the previous one, except for the bugs.

    3. Just an update.

      After update 2.07 they have fixed all but the image issue with Amazon and their html code. They decided to place that problem as a feature request which until they add that “feature” which was part of TCB I won’t be converting over.

      All in all, the support was slow, tried to blame plugins, and claimed that the issue couldn’t be recreated but mysteriously got fixed in the next updates. I am not impressed. I removed my recommendation for their plugin from my website. Not what I expect from an expensive premium plugin.

    4. Completely agree with you — I cannot STAND the Thrive Architect.

      So, how did you roll back to Thrive Content Builder!?! I want my TCB back … now!!

  8. The problem with editors like this, or the thing you should know up front…

    If you ever plan on changing themes or builders, it is a nightmare.

    Basically if you build something in thrive then you need to always keep the plugin active on that site.

    I did this and then growthemecame out. It’s what is on my blog now, content how. I loved growtheme so I installed it. Well thrive and grow didn’t play great together at first. They do now, but my about us page and tons others were just gone.

    1. Yeah, we have considered that and if you check the review you’ll see that while it’s not perfect, Architect does transfer most of the content to the original WP editor and the pages remain ‘usable’.

  9. This is a thorough review as always from AH. I was using thrive content builder for a year. After the switch I feel that it is definitely more user friendly. Maybe it’s the design interface look, but I think it’s more than that. They thought about this do sure. I love there background section feature update the most. Although they didn’t add really any new features, the change was definitely good. They are updating it frequently regarding the bugs. I’m looking forward to see what t becomes in another year. I started using thrive after joint AH Pro over a year ago. There’s no going back for me.

  10. Upgraded over the weekend and love the new slick design. I actually use this with the plugin yellow pencil (css editor)if i cant get something perfect i Setup with thrive architect and save then edit with yellow pencil grab the css and paste in. Seem to help.


  11. Great review guys. Just for clarity, is this a completely different product to Thrive Content Builder? As someone who already has Thrive Content Builder installed, will I have to pay for Thrive Architect, or can I just update to the new system at no cost?


  12. Great review. As a former software developer I must say they released Architect too early. The first version was very buggy and has already had to go through several updates to iron out the obvious issues. It seems as if they used the public to test their product rather than hiring an internal testing team.

    Having said that, once Architect is stable it will be an awesome product. Compared to TCB, it’s much more intuitive and fun to use and the features are unrivaled.

    1. Hey AJ,

      I understand the feeling yep, although you could argue there is an infinite amount of setups possible in WordPress and there’s only so much testing you can do before release. I must say though the pace at which they’ve been fixing bugs is great.

  13. Hey Lewis,

    wow, that is an fantastic review of Trive Architect. Thanks for that!

    How long did you spent to write and format it? This blog post has over 5.000 words, so I guess at least a week. Am I right? Or maybe I am wrong.


  14. Hello Guys,

    I’m a big fan of your website and I actually bought Thrive Content builder through your review. And I loved it from the first second. Since then I designed all my posts with it. It helped me a lot.

    However, since Thrive Content Builder updated to Thrive Architect, I need three times as long to upload my articles. Some good features are gone and a bunch of completely useless, complicated stuff has been added.

    You might not publish this comments because it’s negative, but keep in mind that I’m a huge fan of Thrive Content builder. But I absolutely hate Thrive Architect. I have the feeling that they are destroying their own company with it. I spoke to a lot of bloggers and they all agree with me on that.

    Could you please forward this comment to the guys from Thrive Content Builder. I would do anything to get the old version of Thrive Themes back. I hope there is a way…


    1. I couldn’t disagree with this more. TA is a huge step in the right direction and it’s the fastest builder (of it’s kind) out there so far

  15. I don’t understand why you are rating this new thrive architect, I’ve built more than a dozen websites in the past with thrive content builder, it was easy fast. I just upgraded to thrive architect and I was totally disappointed with the new GUI, its extremely hard to use and I think you are never going to accept this post but still I’m writing this for anyone reading this Thrive architect is a PIA.

  16. Hi guys, any idea whether Thrive is fully compatible with CSS Hero?

    I’m going insane trying to do basic things like change the footer color and menu fonts (outside of their weird preset colors).

    Any clues?

  17. This product is an absolute DISASTER. It is advertised as a PRODUCTION product. NOTHING could be further from the truth. The Marketing department at Thrive would have us believe that this is a real product, ready for rapid development and deployment. An utter and complete lie.

    I have been using this for weeks and I am no closer to having a simple website (a whopping 4 static pages) than I was when I first signed up. No less than three times have I had to redo EVERYTHING from scratch. Each update has completely destroyed all of my page layouts without fail. And support? Right now, forget about it. They are so busy putting out fires that it is literally a 1 to 5 day wait for each reply. And the replies are never helpful. Just lip-service. Half the time they don’t even read the details. Example: Just today, after a four-day wait on a problem, they get back to me and say, “We are addressing the table issue” in the next release. “TABLE ISSUE?” What an idiot. The bug report was for a “TABLET ISSUE on an iPad.” They DO NOT READ the support requests. NEVER have I seen a product with so many bugs and such horrible and virtually non-existent support.

    Another “gem” from this product is their so-called “Content Menu” element. What a winner that one is. Since Thrive Architect pages suppress the use of the WordPress menu system, you can’t have a site with navigation menus. They offer this “Content Menu” element that doesn’t even work. It puts up a nice little menu in “text” mode on your page, e.g “Home About Contact”, but just wait until you collapse that into an icon drop-down menu on a tablet or phone. See what happens. Doesn’t even work.

    I could go on and on about the limitations of this product. It has great potential, but right now, it’s just a BETA filled with BUGS.

    And if anyone thinks this is just a rant, they’re half-right. I’m ranting at what I was sold as a full-featured PRODUCTION product and was clearly lied to. The other half of the rant is trying to warn others about NOT BUYING INTO THIS UNTIL ITS READY.

    Trust me, don’t make the same mistake I did. I now have NO WORKING WEBSITE because of this. And I doubt I’ll have one working any time soon. If anyone tells you to buy this now and you expect to get a working site quickly, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM THAT PERSON. They are lying and are likely getting an affiliate payment for selling this product.


  18. Wow, you really gave an incredible review. It’s obvious you’re actually doing extensive use of a variety of builder plugins. I appreciate that you did that and showed so many screenshots and references, rather than just regurgitating the marketing message from the affiliate company, lol.

    Kudos and thanks!

  19. Hi Guys,
    Purchased this based on your recommendation but it’s not working on Newspaper Theme. I think they have major compatibility issues.. :(

  20. Would you mind giving your opinion on Igloo Reloaded vs Architect?

    Igloo has higher entry point. Is it better? More versatile or user friendly?

  21. Thanks for the comprehensive and well thought out review as always Gael. To give my two pennies worth I must say after the release of Architect I have gone from loving Thrive and being a very satisfied customer having purchased Thrive Content Builder, Thrive Leads and a landing page- to being pretty fed up and unhappy with them.

    I have experienced numerous issues and broken features since changing TVB to Architect. I have also found the customer support from Thrive to be appalling, in fact, non-existent.

    Example: One of the broken features for me in Architect is the add Wordpess elements feature is not working. This is a pretty big deal for me as it means I have no way of adding content from plugins I rely on for my site such as ThirstyAffiliates etc when creating a page using Architect. When I have emailed Thrive asking for support, I get a stock reply saying because I am out of the 1 year support window, they can’t help unless I pay another $40 for extended support.

    Ay!?? I have to pay them to help fix a broken feature caused by, well, THEM? Go figure…

    The fact they have removed countless really useful design features that were in TCB such as pricing tables, feature boxes, quote boxes etc baffles me also. Their fix for this is very unrefined – you have to create a blank page, go into Landing pages, select the element you want and manually save each separate one as a template. And the great thing? Not even this work around is working currently. The page is just hanging and not loading.

    Thrive Architect could be so amazing, but it seems to me they have rushed it and now cannot handle the fixes that need to be done. I’m writing this in November 2017 and it was released months and months ago. If they cannot fix all the issues by now, they never will. And I’m left with a sub-standard plugin I now sadly wish I hadn’t purchased.

    Keep up the great work guys. Love your podcast btw and listen to it walking the dog for inspiration. :)


  22. Your review is very kind. Probably You have not had the chance to stresstest Architect. I have. Two client pages built in a thrivethemes theme using Architect has caused me more trouble than all my client pages all together (wordpress webdesign agency during 9 years).
    Every time I need to service the pages, install something new, maintain other aspects, Architect kills all elements added and goes back to zero. This happens even if I at forehand deactivates all plugins (usual suspects).

    I have contracts one year ahead with both clients, thus it is crucial for me to stop the disaster and find a pagebuikder that actually works. Please, guide me!!!

  23. I totally agree with this sentiment, I found it buggy and very hard to use, I am back to TCB, it has its issues but I love that it is minimalist and very easy to use!!

  24. hi
    this is a great and detailed review,

    agree on what said . what i dont like also is the mobile responsiveness , you need to tweak a lot a get a NOT bad mobile design.

  25. Hello,

    Great review about Architect.

    Is Architect 100% compatible with YOAST SEO plugin ?

    keep up your good work !

    John S.

  26. I think they have worked on most of the compatibility issues or errors on Thrive Architect. Been using it for about 2 months now and have not experienced any problems so far upto now. Great review!

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