WordPress page builders compared : Divi vs Elementor vs Brizy vs Thrive vs Gutenberg
In the early days of WordPress, all you had was a textarea in the WordPress admin in which you could type text. You could make a word bold or italic, give it a color and you could even add an image, but that was about it. The rest of your sites look and feel was controlled entirely by your theme, and if you could only change anything if you knew how to write PHP, HTML and CSS code.
In 2012 / 2013, the first themes with a build-in page builder came out, like Avada and Divi. These WordPress page builders finally allowed normal users to divide a page in multiple rows and columns, and add an image, text, slider and other modules on their pages. When Elementor got launched in 2016, and later that year Divi 3.0 featuring their Visual Builder, it became possible to adjust your pages and posts on the front-end, so you could see the effect of your modifications immediately the way your visitors see them.
On December 6th, 2018, all WordPress users got an early Christmas gift with the new Gutenberg editor, a visual page builder which would then become the default way of editing content in WordPress. But not everyone appreciated that gift; the Classic Editor plugin, which switch off Gutenberg and restores the old WordPress editor, has over 5 million active installations already.
In this article, we’re going to compare a few of the most popular WordPress page builders: Elementor, Divi, Thrive Theme Builder, new kid on the block Brizy and the default WordPress editor, Gutenberg. We are only going to look at the features in the page builder itself, so we’re not going to take third party plugins into account.
|Included in the free version|
|Included in the premium (paid) version|
|Drag & drop editor|
|Front-end editor (make adjustments live on the front-end of your site)|
|Draggable column width|
|Padding and margin adjustment|
|Draggable padding and margin|
|Max-width, max-height and min-height adjustment|
|Basic styling options (colors, alignment, font size)|
|Advanced styling options (borders, line-height, shadow)|
|Background image and video|
|Filters / blend mode|
|Google Fonts integration|
|Modules / Widgets||D||E||B||T||G|
|Contact form module|
|Newsletter subscribe module (for MailChimp and other providers)|
|Social media buttons (to link to your profiles)|
|Social media share buttons|
|Embed Facebook posts|
|Font Awesome integration (icons)|
|API (allows third party developers to build their own modules)|
|Header and footer builder|
|Sticky header (header stays in view when user scrolls)|
|Make your own templates for pages, posts, archive pages, 404 page etcetera|
|Dynamic content (get text, images and other data from the database)|
|WooCommerce page custom design|
|Undo and redo your last edit(s)|
|Duplicate sections, rows and modules / widgets|
|Copy / paste styles on the current page|
|Set a default style for a section, row or module globally (for the entire site)|
|Multiple global styling presets for sections, rows or modules (like CSS classes)|
|Global colors (adjusting a color in 1 place changes it everywhere it's been used)|
|Library with predesigned layouts|
|Save your own designs in the library to reuse elsewhere on the site|
|Global designs (modifications on a global element are adjusted everywhere on the site)|
|Export saved designs to reuse on another site|
|See how your design looks on tablet and mobile|
|Hide elements on desktop, tablet or mobile|
|Adjust certain styles for mobile and template (padding, margin, font size)|
|Show different content on mobile and tablet (different texts, images etcetera)|
|Free version available|
|Premium version for 1 website (price per year)||$ 89||$ 49||$ 45||$ 228|
|Premium version for 25 websites (price per year)||$ 89||$ 199||$ 89||$ 228|
|Premium version for an unlimited number of websites (price per year)||$ 89||$ 999||$ 179|
|Lifetime premium licence for an unlimited number of websites||$ 249||$ 349|
Bob’s favorite: Divi
Divi has been my personal favorite for years. As you can see in the table above, the Divi Builder is one of the most complete page builders for WordPress, with tons of features. And new features are added all the time.
The large number of features in Divi used to make it quite heavy (and therefore slow), but since August 2021 only the code for modules and effects that are actually used on a page is loaded.
Divi also offers a lot of styling options, which are also available for every module, row and section (which is not always the case with other builders).
In addition, I find the user interface of Divi to be the most user-friendly of all. That’s because of the visual representation of everything. For example, if you want to set a shadow in Divi, you can first choose from a number of presets, which you can then fine-tune to your liking.
Other builders like Elementor don’t offer presets, there you have to experiment with the values to get the shadow to your liking (see the screenshot on the right).
You can also see the difference when adding shape dividers; whereas in Elementor and other builders you only see the name of the shape (mountains, waves, clouds), Divi just has an image of the relevant shape divider so you immediately see what it looks like. In addition, Divi comes with hundreds of demo sites, all of which consist of multiple pages. A new demo site in a certain niche is added every week, which you can then download for free.
Divi Presets is also an unrivaled feature. This is a user-friendly version of CSS classes. For example, you can create a preset for a button with a blue background and white letters, which you call “button blue”. You can then create a new preset for that same button, but with a yellow background and black letters that you call “button yellow”. You can then set the “button blue” preset as the default look for all new buttons, but also simply select another preset so that the button in question gets all the styling characteristics of the preset (not only colors, but also padding, fonts, shadows and so on).
Furthermore, Divi is the only one to offer responsive content. Most builders allow you to hide elements on certain devices, and usually you can also adjust things like the font size per resolution, but only with Divi you can also adjust the content itself per resolution. So you can create a button with “request a quote immediately”, but on mobile you can adjust the text to “request a quote”.
Finally, the Divi license is also very beneficial for web builders: for a one-time investment of $249 you get a lifetime license, which entitles you to updates and (excellent) support for life at no extra cost. If you prefer to pay per year, you can, in which case the cost is $89 per year.
If you only have 1 website, Divi is a bit more pricey than the other builders in this article, but it’s definitely worth it!
Elementor : Bob’s choice for a free page builder
Elementor is active on more than 5 million websites, making it by far the most popular page builder for WordPress. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that Elementor was the first free page builder whose free version can compete with the paid version of other page builders.
The free version of Elementor even offers so many features that I initially wondered what the paid pro version could add, but the Elementor team still managed to add a lot of value there.
For example, with the free version of Elementor you can only change the content of the page itself, but not the header, footer, blog template, WooCommerce templates and so on. With the theme builder in Elementor Pro you can adjust all these parts as well.
Also, in the free version of Elementor, you can only save complete sections as a global element in the library. If you save an element as global, changes are automatically implemented everywhere on the website. So, for example, if you change the background color of a button, the background color of all other global buttons on the site is also automatically adjusted.
However, in the free version of Elementor you cannot save a single button in the library, you can only do that in the pro version.
The pro version also contains a popup builder, a contact form widget, various social media widgets (social share buttons, a facebook comment box, a facebook embed widget and a click to tweet box), a price table widget, a price list widget, a flipbox widget, an animated headline widget, scroll effects and so on. In addition, the pro version of Elementor gives you access to quite a few extra sample sites and sections (although some are already included in the free version).
Elementor can be used with almost any theme, and because of its popularity it is almost always supported by themes and other plugins. There are also many third-party plugins available that add extra features to the core version of Elementor.
Elementor is also reasonably priced for people who only have 1 website: for just $49 per year, you have access to the full version of Elementor Pro.
However, for web builders and other people who manage multiple websites, the price can add up quickly, reaching as much as $999 per year if you manage more than 100 websites.
If you look at the price per website, that’s not that bad, but still… Divi is really not inferior to Elementor and offers a lifetime license for an unlimited number of websites for $ 249.00.
Brizy was launched in 2018 and therefore it’s still a fairly young page builder. Despite this, they already have about 90,000 active installations. That’s because the free version of Brizy is even more extensive than Elementor’s.
For example, the free version of Brizy includes a contact form widget, various WooCommerce widgets, various social media widgets and so on.
Of course Brizy also has a pro version, which includes features such as a theme builder (for customizing header, footer and other templates), a WooCommerce builder and a popup builder.
Brizy mainly distinguishes itself by how you set the styling options. Instead of opening these options in a sidebar as with most other builders, Brizy shows a subtle toolbar above the element you want to edit, with only the options you need at that moment.
Because of that, the workspace is quite small, and they used a lot of icons to save space. That takes some getting used to, of course. More advanced options do open in a sidebar.
Another nice Brizy feature is “block conditions”, which allows you to set whether you want to show or hide an element from certain user roles (they call that “membership”) or on certain pages. However, that is a lot less extensive than the conditional view of Divi, where you can also choose to show an element only on certain days, or if certain products are in the shopping cart, or if a certain page has been visited and so on.
That’s also the case with other features: Brizy often does have a certain feature, but the (setting) options are quite limited. On the other hand, there are also things that Brizy does very well; for example you can add any desired module to a popup, the mega menu or the tabs module. The design quality of the demo sites and sections is also above average.
The pro version of Brizy costs about the same as Elementor’s, which in itself is fine. Elementor does offer some more value in the pro version, but Brizy is still a young builder.
Since Brizy doesn’t offer an API yet, there are no third-party plugins available to add features to Brizy core.
The prices for web builders and other people who manage multiple websites are a lot more favorable than Elementor’s, but a bit higher than Divi’s. Divi also offers a lot more features, so my choice between the two goes for Divi for the time being.
Nevertheless, Brizy is also a very nice builder that you should definitely try to see if it’s for you. And also interesting: Brizy also has a cloud version, similar to Wix, so you don’t have to worry about things like hosting and updates. That’s all included with Brizy Cloud.
Thrive Theme Builder
Thrive is a bit of an odd one out. Thrive Themes, the company that makes the Thrive Theme Builder, has a number of other plugins.
One of these is Thrive Optimize, with which you can do very extensive A/B tests.
A second is Thrive Leads, with which you can collect subscriptions for your newsletter in all kinds of ways. A quiz builder and a learning management system (LMS) called Thrive Apprentice are also part of their product range.
And with their latest plugin, Thrive Automator, you can automate processes such as adding a user who just bought something from your webshop to your mailing list, or starting a countdown timer with an offer for a course when a user achieves a certain result in a quiz.
There is nothing wrong with Thrive’s products, but the prices are on the high side.
In the past, the prices where quite competitive; a lifetime license for 1 of their products cost $59 back then, and for about twice that amount, you had 15 licenses.
But as of February 2021, Thrive only offers a membership (called Thrive Suite) that allows you to use all of their products on up to 25 sites for $228.00 per year ($19 per month).
Personally, I think that is quite pricey, but you do get great products in return and I don’t know any other company that offers such an extensive product range in this price range.
Gutenberg is the default block editor of WordPress itself. And although Gutenberg is slowly getting better, it really can’t be compared with the page builders above just yet. The huge number of red crosses above make that clear as well.
However, more blocks (= modules / widgets) are being added with every update, and from 2022 on, Gutenberg will even become a real theme builder with which you can also build your header, footer and templates.
However, especially the almost total lack of styling options – you can adjust the colors, but that’s about it – makes Gutenberg okay for writing blog posts, but certainly not suitable for really building a complete website in my opinion.
Although these kinds of plugins add a lot of features to Gutenberg, it still remains a backend builder that doesn’t give a good representation of what the website looks like for visitors.
Anyway, it’s the future of WordPress… and with a good theme you can go a long way 😉
Are you curious about a feature that is not yet listed in the table above? Please leave a comment below and I’ll figure it out for you!
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