Page builders changed the way WordPress works.
If before you had to count on clunky CMS customization options and a basic theme, now with a page builder you can take your website development to the next level.
On the cheap side too.
So today we’re doing a showdown between one of the most used page builders for WordPress: Elementor vs Thrive Architect.
TLDR: Thrive Architect vs Elementor
The difference between Thrive Architect and Elementor is in the target audience. Elementor works wonders for portfolio websites and general web design.
Thrive Architect is a very good page builder for marketers. Its templates and modules help you optimize conversion rates all over your funnels, and its integrations power-up your marketing efforts.
Thrive Architect vs Elementor: Features Comparison
9 times out of 10, there’s not a huge difference between what Elementor and Thrive Architect can do. You get similar modules, similar integrations and both builders have developer tools (although Elementor fares a bit better in that latter category).
So when talking about Thrive vs Elementor, it’s not like there’s a bad choice.
Both of them can help you build a decent website.
However, we’re going to look at the slight differences between each feature so you can understand which tool is right for you, weighing the pros and cons of both builders.
User Interface and Getting Started
With Elementor it’s really easy to get started.
You just search for the plugin, install the free version from the plugin market:
And then upgrade to a paid plan if you know for sure you want to use it.
With Thrive, you’ll need to purchase the plugin externally:
And install it on your own.
Honestly, it’s not a very complicated process, and if you’re well versed in WordPress you should knock it out in a few minutes.
But it’s still easier to get started with Elementor when compared to Thrive Architect.
Once everything’s installed, Elementor has an easy to navigate tab on the left side.
It can be confusing to get back to the main screen after you’ve edited a pre-made block.
Other than that, it’s very easy to find the modules you want to drag onto the page, and all the tabs and menus are intuitive.
Thrive Architect is similar in terms of learning curve, but its design is a bit more cumbersome. For example, all of your options are spread out on two tabs, and the screen can be cluttered at times.
Besides, the design feels bland:
The contrast of light black on grey can make it hard to discern between options.
It’s not the biggest possible drawback, but it’s something to take into account
In all fairness, it should be easy to get started with either Thrive Architect or Elementor, and both of them have a minimalist interface, which makes it easy to hit the ground running.
But Elementor is slightly better, both for getting started, and thanks to its stellar user experience.
Blocks And Modules
When it comes to blocks and modules, both tools have a pretty decent variety.
But there are slight differences between Elementor and Thrive Architect.
For example, Elementor has more general modules and portfolio-specific elements, like testimonial carousels.
On the other hand, Thrive Architect has more templates for landing pages.
And with Thrive Architect you get more leeway in terms of full-width elements.
But you can achieve any website design with either of the tools if you got the web design basics covered.
Templates-wise, Elementor comes a bit on top.
They’ve got a lot of entire website templates, and decent element templates.
Again, Thrive has elements more focused on marketing optimization and lead generation.
But this doesn’t have a huge effect for developers or professional web designers – this is only relevant for the small guy getting started.
Chances are, if you want to take it to the next level with your website, you’ll rely on these templates less and less.
Landing pages on the other hand…
Templates for your lead magnet or sales page are very important for anyone, especially if you’re working as a freelance web designer and need something to satisfy each client.
So Thrive Architect will be better for landing pages, especially thanks to its templates.
If you want to paste a footer, a testimonial section, or an about us block all over your site, both tools seem to have a decent option.
With Thrive Architect, you can save widgets as “global”.
It’s that little Save Icon next to Thrive Elements. Just remember, you can’t use it for WordPress elements.
And you have the same option in Elementor:
But you do get a slight benefit in Elementor – you also have an entire screen for editing and managing global elements.
So at times, it’s going to be easier to paste blocks across your site with Elementor, but that doesn’t mean Thrive is bad at it.
This may seem like an inconsequential feature for a page builder.
And for a small youpreneur it won’t matter as much.
But again – for agencies building tons of WordPress websites or a conversion-focused page for each client, features like pasting global widgets are one of the unseen functionalities that help them make the best out of a WordPress page builder.
Mobile optimization has become very important for Google.
In fact, if you go to Google Analytics right now and check your traffic source, it’s very likely that most of your visitors use a mobile phone to navigate your pages.
Google knows this too, so having responsive pages is both important for SEO, and for your conversion rate.
Can you do that with Elementor and Thrive Architect?
Both tools have tabs for previewing the front end of your page as it’s seen on mobile.
And both page builders let you modify display options for mobile visitors.
For example, you can modify the padding or margins of a section if it clutters a mobile screen too much:
Granted, responsive editing also has a lot to do with your WordPress theme, site features, page options and plugins, but it’s great that you can be covered on that front with both builders.
At first glance, lead generation seems easier in Elementor. It’s got more integrations, and most of the tools you can add to your toolset are famous and easy to use.
But marketing is where Thrive Architect really comes into its own.
Being a conversion focused builder, you can use Thrive for a lot of marketing purposes, including lead generation, conversion optimization, and using beautiful landing page templates.
And now’s the best time to talk about the guys behind Thrive – the company that created Thrive Architect builds other WordPress focused products as well, including Thrive themes, and a lot of marketing plugins.
For example, you get advanced support for using analytics scripts:
But for a real marketing power-up, you can pair Thrive Architect with tools like Thrive Leads.
Thrive leads is a lead generation tool packed with helpful insights and conversion optimization features, and it’s one of the many tools that make marketing in Thrive Architect considerably better.
- Advanced targeting options
- A/B Testing engine
- Actionable Reports
And a ton of other functionalities.
So when it comes to online marketing, Thrive Architect is a really good choice.
But do remember that when you pay for Thrive Architect, you don’t necessarily get all the other tools.
Whereas with Elementor, everything we talked (and will talk) about is in the box from the get go.
Remember that for the full marketing benefits, you need a Thrive Themes vs Elementor comparison – it’s about more than just the builders themselves.
And since we’re only reviewing the builders themselves now, it’s more or less of a tie.
And for a counter to that marketing advantage – the developer tools in Elementor.
At first, it does look like a landslide win for Elementor: You can see CSS changes in real time here, while you can’t do that in Thrive Architect.
But with Thrive, you can access the source code of your pages, which isn’t possible in Elementor.
So if we left it at that, Thrive would also take the cake.
But we need to take into account a few other things as well.
First, in Elementor you have dynamic fields and blocks which can take your landing page design or site functionality to the next level.
Second, the APIs compatible with Elementor are well optimized and easy to integrate with.
Sure, Thrive Architect has a decent variety of APIs you can take advantage of:
But Elementor takes it to the next level both visually on-page and in terms of ease of use.
So if you’re a developer (or if you work with one and want more customizability for your site or page) Elementor can serve you better in most cases.
But Thrive also has the option to request an integration, so it does look like, at least when existing support for integrations is concerned, Thrive Architect does a bit better.
Blogging is a very important part of any online business.
So it’s important that you are able to build a beautiful blog with any page builder you purchase.
Thrive Architect comes with its own Thrive themes and “wordpress ecosystem” so you could be well taken care of.
But if you want 100% compatibility, you’ll need to pay up for all the Thrive extras and Thrive themes.
On the other hand, Elementor is compatible with OceanWP when it comes to blogging.
They have a special integration, and OceanWP is a pretty decent theme, so you’ll be able to blog with no worries.
You could blog with either tool, but if you want to make sure you have 100% compatibility and support, you’ll either choose Elementor and OceanWP, or pay a bit more for Thrive themes.
So again, you can see there’s a bit of an issue with Thrive Architect doing the best job…
Only in conjunction with other paid Thrive products.
On the other side, Elementor works well with any WordPress theme, all the time.
That’s not to say you can’t use Thrive to create an awesome blog page – it’s good on the front end, so you’re covered here as well.
It’s just that Elementor does it slightly better.
What both tools lack is an in-house social media sharing tool, which is available in Divi for example. Tools like that one aren’t a necessity for everyone, but in specific cases (like if you run a news website) they could be important.
And if we’re honest, blogging and SEO are best-taken care of by specialized tools like RankMath so it’s not the most important metric.
Plus, both builders make up for that lack in blogging tools with other extra features – like Elementor’s theme builder – so let’s talk about that.
So far, we looked at all main elements of each page builder.
But there are extra features that could be important in your case.
So let’s tackle them one by one.
Elementor has shortcode elements, which is a way to quickly add pre-designed blocks on Elementor pages.
And that’s different from global widgets.
With global widgets, you can place blocks made in Elementor around the site.
With shortcode, you can even add pre-designed elements that are made in third-party tools, like form builders.
A small caveat though: don’t make shortcodes a habit, especially if you use it for adding external elements from third parties.
Remember that visually friendly builders, whether they’re page builders or form builders, have their own internal coding paradigm.
And mixing too much of that can make your code messy, in turn making your site (or just page) hard to load, or harder to crawl by bots. That’s both problematic for SEO and an obstacle for conversion optimization.
Besides shortcode, Elementor comes with its own theme builder, popup builder and Woocommerce integration, which is more than what Thrive has to offer.
Extra features can make the difference for a lot of people, especially when the two tools are pretty tied, so Elementor seems to get ahead comfortably.
One way Thrive Architect makes up for that is through a better pricing, special support features, and some extra customization options.
For example, when you’re editing a page in Thrive, you’ll also see the WordPress elements displayed besides the page builder canvas.
That’s at least one thing you can’t do in Elementor.
Besides, it’s easier to edit the structure of a page with Thrive Architect:
You get more options for column display, and you can edit it on page.
But again, Elementor has a counter to that benefit as well.
As far as we could tell, there are considerably less options to edit global fonts and color palettes in Thrive when compared to Elementor
And that type of feature is important for your WordPress website.
One way you can make up for that is by managing your global design options from your theme, not on-page.
So Elementor still takes the cake thanks to its shortcode feature, but only slightly.
Like most things in this showdown, no tool is a bad choice. It’s just that one of them does a marginally better job.
The pricing of Thrive Architect and Elementor seems similar, but there are a few differences, so let’s talk about each pricing scheme.
First, Thrive Architect is priced as follows:
The Thrive Membership gives you access to all Thrive products, including their plugins, themes and the builder itself.
It’s $19 per month if you pay for a full year, and you get unlimited updates for the duration of your subscription, as well as the ability to use their tools on up to 25 websites.
It’s not an uncommon model, and it’s a good choice if you like their tools and want to make the best of what Thrive Themes can offer.
If you just want the builder, you can either pay for a single license, which includes lifetime updates, and one year of support, or you can buy a 5 license pack, which gives you the same product, but you can add it on up to 5 sites.
The single license will cost you $67, and the 5 license pack is $335, but at the time of writing they had an offer selling it for as low as $97. Both tiers also come with 267 landing page templates, great to help you hit the ground running with your online marketing needs.
As for Elementor, this is what you’ll have to pay:
The first thing you’ll notice is that Elementor also has a free plan.
We’ve worked with both paid and free versions of Elementor, and the difference is noticeable. You only get basic elements with the free version, and you lack a lot of helpful features like the Theme builder, Popup builder or WooCommerce integration.
But for a very basic version of a site, or a simple WordPress page, you can make due with the free version.
Not to mention, you can install element plugins that work on the shortcode we mentioned earlier:
So the free version can be adapted for a bootstrapped online business, with elements like the ones available in the pro tiers of Elementor up for grabs free of charge.
But if you really want to experience the builder to its fullest, you’ll have to pay for the Pro version.
Features don’t change with each tier. Whatever you’ll pay, you get the full website builder with landing page templates, complex blocks and modules, 1 year of support and updates and the three builders mentioned earlier:
- Theme builder
- Popup Builder
- Woocommerce store builder
The only difference is how many sites you can install a license on.
The personal version only works on one site, the plus version works on 3 sites, and the Expert version has support for 1000 sites, which makes it perfect for agencies and professional developers.
So which page builder has better pricing?
On one hand, Elementor is a bit cheaper for one site and it also has a free version.
On the other hand, Thrive is a bit more expensive, but it also features lifetime updates, even if you have to pay for another year of support if you purchase the single license.
There’s no Elementor Pro lifetime choice, so that’s one way Elementor lags behind Thrive.
But for some people, it makes up with tools like the theme builder, or landing page templates.
So it all has to do with what you need.
If you’re a small youpreneur, either option might be good, it’s all down to what you need in terms of features.
But if you’re an agency or professional developer, Elementor is the only choice that works long-term.
With Thrive, the most expensive option is almost $240 for a year, and you only get to install Thrive elements on 25 sites.
With Elementor, a bit under $200 has you covered for 1000 sites, so choose that as a professional.
The knowledge base for both tools is impressive.
And both tools are famous enough to have an active community of web designers and developers ready to lend a hand.
What about the times when you need personalized help?
Elementor has a live chat system on their website and they get back in a matter of minutes:
Thrive Architect, unfortunately, doesn’t feature live chat support.
You’ll have to send a ticket the old fashioned way:
But we do want to mention that Thrive has a system in place to give the developers access to your site:
So while you’ll most likely wait longer for a response from the developers of Thrive Architect, you can expect more hands-on support for your issues.
What would be great for both tools is an on-page chat system that works in WordPress.
Surfer has one that works in Google Drive:
So having something like that on hand while you’re building a page would be helpful.
Thrive Architect vs Elementor: The Winner
Deciding an all-around winner between Thrive Architect and Elementor is tough.
You get more blocks with Elementor
But you also get better marketing integrations with Thrive Architect.
There’s a free version for Elementor.
But you can get all Thrive tools for under $20 a month.
You get better ecommerce integrations in Elementor.
But the templates of Thrive architect can make up for most people, especially if you need landing page templates.
Overall, Elementor is a jack of all trades, best for portfolio websites and very developer friendly.
While Thrive Architect is focused on marketing, landing pages, and optimizing marketing funnels.
When we draw the line…
Elementor is our final winner. Due to its versatility, accessibility and developer support, it’s the better page builder.
However, don’t just up and buy it. It’s not like Thrive Architect is a bad choice.
It may actually be better suited for your page and site building needs.
What Page Builder Is Right For You
Sure, most times Elementor is the better choice.
Especially if you’re a developer, or if you’re just getting started and want to make due with the free version.
But if you’re an online marketer…
Hey, even if you’re just a brand consultant, and you want to make the best out of your website, Thrive Architect could be a better choice.
Especially if you have the money to buy all the Thrive tools available.
But other than that, you’ll be happier with Elementor, whether it’s the free or the pro version.
Page builders can help you take your WordPress site to the next level.
For most people, they’re actually a necessity.
And if you’ve been wondering what to choose between the two page builders mentioned today, we hope our Thrive Architect vs Elementor roundup helped.