9 of the Best WordPress Page Builders for Custom Designs
WordPress powers an astonishing 34% of all websites worldwide (source). There are a lot of reasons for WordPress’s incredible popularity, and one of the biggest reasons is the community of users that it has developed.
The WordPress community is far more than simply people who use WordPress as a content management system. Thanks to the community, countless themes and plugins are available, not to mention many services that have been created specifically for WordPress users.
All of the resources that have been created by members of the WordPress community make it and even more flexible and powerful platform that can be extended to create just about any type of website.
In recent years, one of the most significant developments within the WordPress community has been the improvement of page builders that allows users to customize the look and layout of their site without the need to touch any code. For end users, these page builders make it possible to create custom layouts without the need to hire a designer. And many designers choose to use page builders for speed and convenience.
There are a growing number of page builder themes and plugins available for WordPress, and choosing the right one can be a little confusing. This page will cover the details of the 9 best page builders (in my opinion). If you’re looking for a way to save time and create custom websites and blogs, hopefully the information here will help you to decide which is best for you.
Divi is an incredibly popular theme from Elegant Themes that features a drag-and-drop builder. In addition to being a standalone theme, the Divi Builder can also be used as a plugin, which gives you the ability to easily customize page and post layouts, regardless of what theme you are using.
Divi replaces the WordPress post editor with a completely new visual builder that allows you to design pages on the front end, right in the browser. It’s perfect for business websites, portfolio websites, blogs, personal websites, and just about any other type of site.
You can control your site’s look with global options that will set the colors and other features of the entire website, and you can also create page layouts and designs individually.
There are more than 40 different elements or modules that are available in Divi, like sliders, galleries, forms, testimonials and much more. You have full control over the design and style of each element, and you can easily arrange items with the drag-and-drop builder.
Divi currently includes more than 800 pre-made designs and more than 100 full website packs, giving you incredible versatility. And of course, you can customize any of these designs or simply start from scratch.
In addition to the features and functionality of Divi, there are a few other things that make it extremely attractive:
- The standard license allows you to use Divi on multiple websites, including client websites.
- The pricing includes access to all of the themes and plugins created by Elegant Themes.
- The lifetime pricing options is one of the best values you’ll find anywhere.
The themes and plugins from Elegant Themes cannot be purchased individually. The only way to get access to them is through an Elegant Themes membership (they offer 2 themes and 2 plugins). The good news is, the membership is available at an amazing price. You can get a membership for $89 per year, or pay $249 for lifetime access.
Both the annual membership and the lifetime membership are tremendous values, especially considering the fact that you can use the themes and plugins on an unlimited number of sites.
I’ve been using Divi, as well as the Extra theme from Elegant Themes, for years and I consider the lifetime membership that I purchased to be one of the best investments I’ve made for my business.
Beaver Builder is one of the most popular drag-and-drop WordPress plugins, and it has been used to build an impressive 1 million websites.
Like Divi, Beaver Builder is sort of a combination theme and plugin. It can be used as a plugin with any WordPress theme, but it also includes a framework theme if you don’t have a separate theme that you’re using.
Beaver Builder is loved by end-users who want to be able to easily adapt their existing website without any coding and without hiring a designer. It is also loved by designers and developers who use the framework theme and Beaver Builder to quickly create custom websites for their clients.
Although you can easily create custom pages from scratch, Beaver Builder includes dozens of pre-made templates that you can use as starting points if you prefer. You can easily replace the filler text and images and tweak the design as needed.
Beaver Builder features a front-end drag-and-drop builder that makes the process easy and fast.
One of the nice features of Beaver Builder is that if you ever decide to stop using it, your content will get ported back to the standard WordPress editor, so you won’t lose the content that you’ve created.
Beaver Builder gives you three different pricing options. The standard license ($99 per year) includes just the plugin and not the framework theme, but it does allow for use on unlimited sites. The pro license ($199 per year) includes use of both the plugin and framework theme on an unlimited number of sites. The agency license ($399 per year) includes a white labeling feature for designers. With this feature, you can change all instances of “page builder” and “Beaver Builder” in the WordPress dashboard of your clients so it appears to be your own custom product.
The main reason I prefer Divi over Beaver Builder is because of the pricing, especially with the lifetime option.
Thrive Architect is a plugin created by Thrive Themes. As a plugin, it will work with any WordPress theme, allowing you to create your own custom page and post layouts with the drag-and-drop visual builder. You can use Thrive Architect for any of your pages, including landing pages, sales pages, and squeeze pages that are intended to get more email signups.
Thrive Architect comes with 276 landing page templates that you can customize with your own text and images, or use the templates as a starting point and make whatever changes you’d like. Of course, you can also start from scratch and create a completely customized design and layout.
When you’re creating your designs, you can easily apply hover effects on any element or container. Thrive Architect also takes an aggressive approach to allow you to customize design elements for mobile visitors. You can tweak the layout and design of elements to be different on different screen sizes (and of course, your designs are mobile responsive by default).
A single-site license for Thrive Architect is available for $67 per year. A 5-site license is available for $97. You can also get access to Thrive Architect with a Thrive Themes membership for $19 per month, paid annually. The membership gives you access to all of their themes and plugins (they have several great plugins) and you can use them on 25 websites.
Elementor has become immensely popular in the past few years, with more than 2,000,000 users. There is a basic version of the plugin available for free, as well as a premium version that includes far more features.
The free Elementor plugin includes the drag-and-drop page builder and 30 basic widgets. The premium version comes with an additional 50 widgets, a theme builder, a popup builder, a form builder, and more. The popup builder is a really nice feature that can also replace other plugins for creating popups.
Elementor also comes with more than 300 professionally-designed templates that you can use or customize if you don’t want to create a design from scratch. Like Thrive Architect, Elementor also has the capability to allow you to tweak the design for any device to make your designs work best for mobile.
If you try the free plugin and decide that you want to upgrade, you’ll have 3 different choices, and the only difference is the number of websites you’ll be able to use it on. The personal license is $49 per year and allows you to use it on a single site. You can also pay $99 per year to use it on 3 sites or $199 per year to use it on 1,000 sites.
Elementor is a great plugin, but what makes it stand out (in my opinion) is the popup builder, form builder, and advanced widgets. Those are features that you don’t get with most of the competing plugins.
Visual Composer is a plugin that is available in free and premium versions, and it’s been a popular option for several years. The free plugin will allow you to use the drag-and-drop builder to create custom layouts and designs for your pages, but of course, the premium plugin provides far more features. With the premium version, you can also design headers, footers, and sidebars, making it a full custom theme.
The premium version also gives you access to Visual Composer Hub, which provides hundreds of elements and templates that you can use in your design, and new elements are added regularly.
The premium version gives you your choice of 3 licenses. The only difference is the number of sites that you can use Visual Composer on. You can use it on a single website for $59 per year. Or 3 websites for $149 per year. Or unlimited websites for $349 per year.
Themify Builder is available as a free plugin that can be used with any WordPress theme. The Builder is also built into all of the themes created by Themify.
The free Themify Builder plugin comes with more than 40 pre-designed layouts that can be a starting point for your pages. You can use the drag-and-drop editor in the WordPress dashboard and preview and edit from the front end. Although it does offer front end editing, the functionality is not quite as great as some of the options that I have rated higher.
Themify Builder also comes with more than 60 different animation effects that can add something extra to your site.
Although the plugin is completely free, there are some add-ons that can be purchased (you’ll get all of the add-ons for $39). The add-ons include WooCommerce compatibility, Slider Pro, a pricing table option, and more.
Themify Builder is a great free option, but the features and usability of the plugin can’t compare to the premium options that are rated higher.
X is a hugely popular WordPress theme. How popular, you ask? This theme alone has crossed more than $10,000,000 in sales with more than 200,000 customers!
Since X is a theme and not a plugin it’s a bit different than many of the other options listed here. In fact, it’s probably an extremely versatile theme more so than it is a page builder.
The X theme comes with 4 different stacks, which are basically different theme layouts and designs. When you purchase X, you’ll also get Cornerstone, a page builder plugin created by Theme Co, the company that also created X. With the combination of X and Cornerstone, you’ll have a highly flexible setup that gives you all kinds of possibilities.
Cornerstone allows you to edit your posts and pages on the front end so you can see exactly what your designs will look like. It’s not quite as feature-rich as some of the higher-rated options, but the combination of X and Cornerstone gives you a lot of potential at a great price.
X can be purchased for $59, which includes 6 months of updates and support. For a full 12 months, the cost is $76.63 (and remember, that also includes the Cornerstone plugin).
One of the downsides to X is the fact that they only offer a single-site license (with the prices listed above), or an extended license for $3200. There is no multi-site license option like you’ll get with most of the other plugins/themes on this list.
WP Page Builder offers a limited free version as well as a pro version that includes far more features and functionality. The pro version comes with 60 different blocks, 38 add-ons, and 27 layout packs that you can use.
While WP Page builder offers drag-and-drop building as well as some pre-designed elements, the selection of elements and pre-designed templates is not as large or impressive as some of the higher-rated options.
The available add-ons include things like forms, carousels, progress bars, tabs, alerts, and more.
WP Page Builder is one of the lowest-priced options on this list. A single-site license is just $39 per year, a 5-site license is $59 per year, and an unlimited license is $99 per year.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is a completely free plugin. Unlike the other free plugins on this list, there is no pro version or add-ons available. As far as free plugins go, Page Builder is pretty awesome. It gives you a powerful drag-and-drop editor that will work with any theme.
However, when you compare it to the premium or pro versions of the options listed above, it can’t compare. While you can use the live editor to see your changes in real time, there is no true front-end editing capability. The features and functionality (naturally) are not as advanced as what you will get with Divi, Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect, or Elementor.
If you’re working with a tight budget and you need a free option, Page Builder can be a good choice. But if you have some money to spend, you’ll get much better results with the higher-rated pro options.
As you can see, there are several page builders that are more than capable of getting the job done. Honestly, a big part of it has to do with familiarity. If you use one of these themes or plugins for a while, you’ll probably prefer it over the others. There is also a learning curve that comes with each one. Once you’ve used it for a while and become familiar with how to get the most out of it, you’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently.
I’ve done my best to rank the themes and plugins covered in this post, but honestly, the top four are all very close in my opinion. A big part of the reason why I have Divi ranked #1 is because of the pricing. At just $89 per year for use on unlimited sites, it’s an amazing bargain. You can even get the lifetime unlimited license for around the same amount that you’ll pay for a one-year license with some of the other options.