WordPress beginners have difficulty customizing their websites past simple text changes, especially if they have no background knowledge of HTML or CSS. WordPress page builder plugins allow just about anyone to build a stylish or professional looking web page, through a user-friendly interface – quickly, and without knowing HTML or CSS.
Though it may seem like WordPress page builder plugins have usefulness mainly for the technically unsavvy, they can also make a WordPress developer’s job a bit easier. Using these tools makes it hard for you (and the client!) to completely break the code, and streamline the process for making simple changes. But rest assured, they are no replacement for a WordPress developer. Your clients will still need your help for anything past simple page changes.
Here are the 5 best WordPress page builder plugins, based on their value, ease of use, flexibility, and design output. Note that some of the best page builders are part of theme frameworks, but this article will focus on standalone plugins that can be incorporated with any theme.
BEAVER BUILDER ($99/YEAR)
Beaver Builder starts at $99 for a year’s license on one website. It’s often marketed for agencies and designers working on projects, but is also quite easy to use for beginners. Beaver Builder’s user interface makes it possible to see how the page looks as you build it, with live drag and drop features.
Beaver Builder has a number of existing layout templates that you can edit and save according to your own project needs. There are also a number of unique content block options not necessarily available on other such plugins, with everything from slideshows to pricing tables.
Beaver Builder makes it easy to import or export content, and from a technical perspective, allows for a mobile-friendly and SEO-optimized final product. Beaver Builder offers an extensive library of video and text tutorials, and no coding skills are required to get basic functionality out of Beaver Builder.
Beaver Builder is a WordPress page builder plugin that is best suited for a beginner, thanks to multiple levels of assistance, or an agency/designer that needs to be able to make quick changes on the fly for multiple projects. It comes highly recommended from individuals and companies in either situation.
Elementor is easily one of the best of free WordPress page builder plugins. Though Elementor’s free options are sufficient, there are also paid options available that include a life form editor, and WooCommerce integration. The upgrade is an affordable $49 for a single site.
Elementor is known for quickness and responsiveness, and is even faster if you work with the premade templates provided. In this regard, and with the live pagebuilder functionalities, Elementor is similar to Beaver Builder. What makes it different are Elementor’s mobile editing tools, which allow you to preview a website’s mobile look, and the ability to nest columns, which isn’t often included with other page builders.
If you’re looking for advanced functionality, Elementor does provide custom CSS support. It is designed to work with any theme, but results will ultimately depend on the theme’s structure. Elementor is the ideal solution for those looking for simple designs with a lot of customization options.
PageBuilder by Site Origin is free, and available as a fully-functional plugin (no need to pay extra for additional features). Currently, there are more than 1 million active installs. Obviously, the fact that this plugin is fully functional at it’s free level helps this number, but it can also be attributed to the fact that it’s easily one of the best WordPress page builder plugins, with a rating of 4.8/5.
PageBuider is simple and uncomplicated, and it comes with its own WordPress widgets – but you can also install your own. Mercifully, it also comes with a history tool, which makes it easy to undo or redo changes.
PageBuilder does offer live editing, but it’s not as useful or comprehensive as Beaver Builder and Elementor. With this WordPress page builder plugin, you don’t get an entirely usable front-end editing feature. Essentially, you work with a canvas and a range of individual content blocks. Content blocks have an editable title and setting.
PageBuilder is available in 17 languages. It is ideal for someone with a bit more technological savviness than the aforementioned WordPress page builder plugins, who doesn’t need much hand holding.
Divi is a popular WordPress page builder plugin by Elegant Themes, which starts at $69 per year. The main difference between this plugin and the others already mentioned is that instead of a live, on the spot editing experience, you work on a new canvas or popup that is displayed on the editing screen. To some, this can be a hassle.
Divi allows you to turn a post or page into a custom landing page, which is useful for those who require frequent and quick access to this feature. Divi offers a library of 20+ layouts (also known as templates), and 46 distinct content modules (or blocks).
It’s important to note that Divi uses shortcodes, which will make it hard to work with other themes or page builders in the future. So Divi is probably best used if you’re an aficionado of Elegant Themes (or your client is), for easy compatibility as far as future changes. That said, it was built to work with any theme.
VISUAL COMPOSER ($34)
Visual Composer is offered at a one time cost of $34 (per website), but is also included with most themes on ThemeForest. Visual Composer is both a frontend and backend page builder. It’s main selling point is that it is intuitive, and is very easy to use. It lives up to this promise by performing a scan, which then allows you to match your current theme’s color scheme, and adjust styles of page elements or blocks.
Like Divi, Visual Composer is shortcode driven. This means that when the plugin is disabled, it will display shortcodes on your pages which you will have to sort out and correct. Some users note that Visual Composer has a negative effect on page load time.
Visual Composer is compatible with Yoast SEO and WooCommerce. It results in pages that are responsive and mobile-friendly. For WordPress developers who speak languages other than English, you’ll be happy to know that Visual Composer offers a multilingual interface.
Visual Composer is a good fit for those who frequent Envato Market for their themes purchasing. With so many other awesome WordPress page builder plugins on the market, it’s probably not worth defaulting to this option if you can’t live with the potential of slow page load, or if clients like frequent theme changes, which would be hard to sort out with a shortcode-driven page builder plugin.
Ultimately, there’s no single best page builder. Each of these WordPress page builder plugins appeals to a certain type of person or company, and is affected by certain use scenarios. After reading through this article, there should be one or two that immediately pops out at you.