WordPress page builder plugins have brought simple drag-and-drop website building to the web's most popular content management system. Now, anyone can design and build their own pages without ever have to write a single line of code.
Many page builder plugins have sprung up throughout the years, but we're going to focus on three: Elementor, Divi and Beaver Builder. Other page builders exist for WordPress, but these three page builder plugins have risen above the rest.
An Overview of the 3 Best Page Builder Plugins for WordPress
At over 5 million active installations on WordPress.org, Elementor is definitely the most popular page builder plugin available for the CMS. It launched in 2016 and changed what page building in WordPress could look like by incorporating a frontend editor that allows you to see your changes in real time.
It now has dozens of content modules, hundreds of templates, advanced theme editing and form building features as well as its own free companion theme. Plus, there are a countless number of third-party themes and plugins that exist for this page builder or integrate with it due to its popularity.
Divi is available exclusively as a premium product. It's a WordPress theme with advanced page building capabilities, but the developers have also extracted the page builder and repurposed it into a plugin in case you'd prefer to use your own theme.
Divi has a moderate number of content modules, an unbelievable number of templates, advanced theme options and built-in split testing. Although it originally had a backend editor when it first launched in 2013, it now has an intuitive frontend editor for live editing.
Beaver Builder is another freemium page builder plugin. It's grown exponentially since it launched and now has one of the most user-friendly frontend editors in the WordPress page building scene.
It has a moderate number of content modules and landing page templates but also offers a suitable number of premade content module templates for you to use. It even has its own companion theme and theme editor.
WordPress Page Builder Comparison
Let's start this showdown by comparing the most prominent feature you'll be using within each tool: the editors themselves. We'll briefly touch base on how each editor handles page building before delving into their user interfaces.
Each one integrates with virtually any WordPress theme and can be used on pages, posts and custom post types. They also allow you to view the classic WordPress edit page prior to launching the editors themselves. This gives you the chance to choose a page template in the Page Attributes section.
Elementor has two exceedingly useful templates for you to use before you begin building: Elementor Canvas and Elementor Full Width. Canvas allows you to start with an entirely blank page, meaning it does away with your theme's header and footer. Foregoing these two elements is incredibly effective when designing a landing page for a specific purpose, such as selling a single product.
Divi, being its own theme, has similar templates to these. Beaver Builder, on the other hand, has no such templates. You'll either need to upgrade to a plan that includes the Beaver Builder theme or switch to a theme that has these templates natively if your current one does not.
All three editors use more or less the same page building setup even if their UI's and settings are different. You can start from scratch or import a template. The overall structures are the same as well: pages are made up of sections stacked on top of one another; inside those sections are rows, and inside those rows are modules.
Elementor splits the screen by placing your settings in a side panel to the left and your content to the right. Having the side panel open does shrink your page ever so slightly, but you can view it in full by toggling the UI's hide/show button on and off.
Divi and Beaver Builder both use pop-up windows in place of a side panel. This feels cleaner in a way as it does not make the page slightly smaller as Elementor does. You do, however, need to minimize or move windows when they get in their way, which can be tedious at times.
All in all, whether or not these UI's are good or not up to par will likely come down to a matter of preference for you.
A well-designed web page cannot be defined by its style or overall appearance when it comes down to it. It should instead be defined by how effective it is at achieving the marketing goal it was built for.
We should therefore judge these page builders based on their ability to help us design well-optimized landing pages rather than on the number of content modules or templates they offer.
With that said, each of these plugins offers a different number of content modules, but you can achieve the same landing page design no matter which one you choose. This is partially what makes comparing them so difficult.
They all offer more or less the same types of modules: text, headings, buttons, calls to action, forms, images, pricing tables, portfolios, etc. Elementor does technically offer a few you won't find in Divi or Beaver Builder, such as Reviews, Price List and Flip Box, but the absence of such modules does nothing to detract from what you can accomplish with the other page builders.
One thing Elementor and Divi both have over Beaver Builder are their extended WooCommerce features. Yes, you can technically add WooCommerce products and Add to Cart buttons to Beaver Builder pages, but doing so is a little complicated.
Elementor and Divi, on the other hand, offer several WooCommerce modules that not only allow you to add WooCommerce products to pages but also completely redesign product pages from the ground up with stunning, highly-engaging designs.
Landing Page and Module Templates
Calling back to the same message shared earlier, these plugins vary widely in the number of templates they offer. Beaver Builder has 40, Elementor has over 300 while Divi has a whopping 1,100+.
Nevertheless, the number of templates a page builder plugin offers shouldn't be as important as what those templates can help you do. Consider the types of landing pages you want to build instead as well as how you want to build them.
All of these plugins offer a variety of landing page and content page templates, content pages being About, Services, Contact, FAQ, Team, etc. Landing pages are typically homepages or marketing pages designed with specific goals in mind, such as selling a product or getting someone to fill out a form.
If you don't want to build from scratch, your best bet is to use a template. You should therefore consider which types of pages you'll be building with your page builder, then look through each plugin's library to see which one has designs that suit your brand best.
If you want to use a page builder to design every page on your website and don't want to build from scratch, use Elementor or Divi. Both of these plugins offer “website packs” or “kits.” These are collections of pre-designed templates for your Home, Contact, Services, etc. pages that use the same styles.
Elementor and Beaver Builder also have module templates. These are pre-designed and styled modules or sections you can add to pages if you don't want to start from scratch but also don't want to start with full templates.
Let's talk about a few additional features each plugin offers outside of their editors, starting with companion themes. While each page builder integrates with third-party themes seamlessly and has third-party themes built exclusively for them, they all have their own dedicated themes.
Divi is already marketed as its own theme with page building capabilities. You can use the Divi Builder plugin with any theme, but when most people talk about Divi, they're more than likely referring to the theme.
Elementor has the Hello theme, which you can download and install for free directly from the official WordPress theme repository. Beaver Builder bundles its companion theme in its higher premium tiers.
The next feature we're going to talk about are theme builders. Theme builders give you more customization options for your header and footer, and they also allow you to change certain aspects about key theme elements, including your search, 404 and archive pages. When you combine this feature with a page builder, you're able to redesign these pages yourself without code.
Divi's theme builder is designed for the Divi theme itself, though it's also included in Elegant Themes' Extra theme and the Divi Builder plugin. You can use Elementor and Beaver Builder's theme builders with almost any theme that supports the theme elements each builder allows you to customize.
Elementor also offers form and pop-up builders you can use to design unique and fully-optimized opt-in forms. Divi has these types of tools as well. In fact, your purchase of the theme will give you access to Elegant Themes' form plugin Bloom and their social sharing plugin Monarch. Plus, the Divi Builder has a built-in split-testing feature you can use to test two designs against one another for better conversions.
Lastly, all of these plugins offer libraries that allow you to save modules and even entire pages as templates for use on other pages. You can even export templates and import them on another site.
These three page builder plugins vary widely in price, so much so that this may be the deciding factor for you. Elementor and Beaver Builder both have free versions that allow you to use most essential content modules.
Elementor offers a small handful of pre-designed templates in its free version, but you'll need to upgrade to Beaver Builder premium in order to have access to their library. This costs $99 for unlimited site licenses. You'll have access to premium support and updates for one year and can renew at a 40% discount.
You'll need to upgrade to the next tier up at $199 if you want to use the official Beaver Builder theme. Plus, Beaver Builder's theme builder Beaver Themer is only available as a premium add-on for $147. Fortunately, this also renews annually at a 40% discount.
Elementor's pricing is based on the number of site licenses you need as every plan offers the same set of features. That said, pricing starts at $49/year for a single site license.
Divi can only be purchased as part of Elegant Themes' membership program. This costs $89/year for unlimited site licenses or $249 for a lifetime membership.
Deciding on a WordPress page builder is not easy, especially when you're choosing between the top three plugins in the industry. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can consider to help you narrow your options down.
Elementor has the best bang for your buck if you're looking for a cheap way to build a WordPress site or a few landing pages. It's compatible with almost any theme, including our own MH Magazine theme. Plus, it's own companion theme is free, and you'll have access to its theme builder and entire template library for only $49.
Divi is another cost-effective option, especially if you need a page builder or theme for multiple websites. For $89, you get access to the Divi theme and Divi Builder plugin, the Extra magazine theme, and marketing plugins Monarch and Bloom.
Beaver Builder is also a cost-effective option if you need a page builder or theme for more than one website, even if it is more expensive upfront. It renews at a 40% discount year after year, which means you'll pay $99 for the first year and ~$60 for every year after that for the first tier and $199 for the first year and ~$120 for every subsequent year for the second tier.
However, you should ultimately consider each tool's UI and template library. Divi and Beaver Builder both have demos you can try out, but you'll need to install the free version of Elementor on your site to give that one a trial run.
We have reviews for each of these plugins if you'd like more information on them:
Or visit their websites directly:
- Elementor Homepage: Elementor