Last updated 1/1/2020
Some page builders are better than others. It is not just a matter of quality because once you get to the top tier, it is also a matter of what you need, want, and value. In the post I am going to look at the 11 popular options, compare them across a set of characteristics and features, and try to make the choices clear.
Holy PHP Batman, will reading about 11 page builders really help me choose?
Yeah, I know. It can be overwhelming. There are thousands of online discussions comparing page builders. I’ve identified the most common characteristics that are important in the decision and created an interactive filter to help you find the best WordPress page builder (for you). These are the filters you can use:
WordPress is GPL and many people think that themes and plugins should also be GPL. In the past couple of years, a few of the page builders have adopted a commercial “closed source” license. The GPL is an end-user focused license that is more permissive. Commercial licenses are developer-focused and more restrictive. In both cases, the developer holds the copyright and end-users have to respect that, but with a GPL license the end-user has the right to modify the code for their own use, share it unchanged, or fork it if they want to redistribute their changes. Commercial licenses, on the other hand, try to stop people from sharing the code so that the developer’s work is more protected. Some people feel strongly that WordPress themes and plugins should be GPL. Other people don’t care much. Does the page builder have to be GPL?
People sometimes don’t have any money and those that can afford it would like to maximize the benefit and minimize the cost. There are three pricing options out there: free, lifetime licenses, and annual subscriptions. Each of these options have their proponents and detractors who make cost a pivotal consideration. There is also a fourth class of customer, those who are OK with any of those options up to a reasonable threshold. The costs are shown for 1 site for 5 years and for 10 sites for 5 years. When there was more than one purchase option, the cheapest one was chosen. What are you willing to pay?
All page builders only allow you to “build” in the content area. Some also let you create headers and footers, or even create theme templates with the builder, overriding the theme without any PHP. There are a lot of tools out there that do “theming” and people have their preferences and often piece together a solution from more than one. However you look at it, though, theming functions add a huge amount of flexibility and freedom. Do you need just a content builder, or also full theming?
As page builders began to gain traction, one concern that arose was content portability. That is because some builders, when disabled, left the content mixed into a shortcode soup that had to be manually sorted and others keep the content in the database in areas other than the content area. When you disable these, the content appears to be “gone.” This seems to be a major consideration for some, but others don’t think it is a big deal. Is it important to you to have the content cleanly present in the content area when the builder is disabled, or do you not care?
Community and 3rd Party Addons
A large user community means that it is sometimes easier to get help and lots of 3rd party addons means that it might be easier to find an existing solution that matches your needs. On the flip side, 3rd party addons may introduce instability during update cycles and the need to purchase extra premium addons ups the cost. How important is a large community and 3rd party addons?
No one want to deal with bugs and issues, but some have more tolerance than others. If you need to test new releases on a staging or development site before updating, it can take a lot of time, especially for people caring for lots of sites. Sometimes people juxtapose stability with new features, but there are some products that have regular releases and maintain stability. In any event, is the product known for being stable?
WordPress Builder Comparison Matrix
|Stability||Cost 1 Site|
|Cost 10 Sites|
|Beaver Builder + Themer||Y||Subscription||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||$836.40||$836.40|
|Brizy Pro||Lifetime||Y||Y||Y||$245||$299 lifetime|
|Divi Builder||Y||Lifetime||Y||Y||Y||$249 lifetime||$249 lifetime|
|Oxygen||Y||Lifetime||Y||Y||Y||$169 lifetime||$169 lifetime|
|Themify Post Type Builder||Y||Lifetime||C||Y||$249 lifetime||$249 lifetime|
C = content template only
Table by WebTNG
David – the use of the checkboxes to change content is brilliant – an on page form that doesn’t require page reloading. I’ve tried to learn how to do this from your other posts on custom fields and post types but can’t figure it out. Can you tell us how you did this? Thanks!
It is a Toolset View. This one was created a while ago before they introduced Toolset Blocks, so it uses the “classic” Views interface, but I think you can do it now with a Toolset View created with Gutenberg also.