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Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builder Plugins

Carlos Pinho
By | 2017-09-07T12:47:14+00:00 May 9, 2017|WordPress|

In this roundup article, we will showcase some of the best WordPress Page Builder Plugins, as this kind of plugins are getting more and more a trend within not only the non-pros but also for many pro designers and developers. Why? Without any code skills, anyone stills able to customize almost from scratch any theme. This is good for pros as well, cause it saves a lot of time.

The WordPress Page Builder Plugin: What is and what can you do with it?

The drag and drop page builder concept came more popular after companies like Weebly start to offer something different in the market. While WordPress was the most popular blog platform, this kind of product was something not available in it and most part of times, users struggled to create personalized and professional websites with their own deep customizations unless paying to agencies or freelancers to do it for them. Even when using some premium WordPress themes, those are extremely hard to tweak.

Today, the same concept is available for any WordPress user, either as free solutions or as premium. The main difference between the free and premium WordPress Page Builder plugins solution, it relays into two main facts. The diversity of plugins/features available and support. Please, do not confuse support with customization services.

There are WordPress page builders plugins with both frontend and backend features, other only with one of them. Any of them are good, but I would prefer to have both alternatives since it is painful working on the backend and need to refresh the theme all the time we make changes. Viewing the changes on the go it saves a lot of time and problems.
Another relevant aspect to bear in mind is the fact that a WordPress Page Builder can be offered as a plugin and work with any theme or at least most of them or as part of a WordPress theme framework.

It is also important that before using a WordPress page builder, you should consider first to understand the needs regarding hosting since some might need extra resources which the usual shared hosting do not provide. We recommend you to find a reliable hosting solution capable of delivering what is need. The Managed WordPress Hosting might be the best for non-developers and a Cloud-based Hosting for developers.

Today, we bring you the best WordPress page builders. Some are totally free solutions, other not, but all of them really good and worth a try.

The main aspects we would look for to evaluate each solution are ease of use, design output, flexibility and value for money.

Elementor

Elementor WordPress Page Builder Plugin

Elementor is a Free and Open Source frontend page builder for WordPress. With a fluid live editing which is really on of the best available, enabling the user to edit the front-end page with no lag or glitching. Design is responsive, great icons and widgets, allowing you a full control over styling and dimensions.

The page builder UI is intuitive and clean, very easy to work with.

They have a pro version which extends the number of widgets available, like a countdown, price lists, carousel, countdown and some integrations for woo commerce and MailChimp. Some more are expected so, we will keep an eye on them.

Another major point of Elementor Pro is the fact that price is one off and not as a recurring monthly payment, although on the other hand, they are offering only one year of updates, which is not good if you want to maintain the site of client updated for 3 or 4 years., this means you would need to buy a license every year!

But what we really enjoy in the Elementor WordPress Page Builder plugin is the fact that if we uninstall the plugin, theme will still work and you will not face any shortcode hell, since the original content stills available without any changes.

In sum, a really fast page builder plugin, easy to use with lots of features and get’s your back covered just in case.

Price: Free – Pro Version USD 49

SiteOrigin Page Builder

Siteorigin page builder is the most popular WordPress page builder in the market. Why? Well, there is a free version fully functional. It works with any theme and it comes with lots of widgets. A good feature available in this plugin is the ability to go back to and forth to undo changes you have made. This is really a good feature as it saves you a lot of time when you need to revert changes you have made.

Although, Siteorigin’s Page Builder plugin, only works on the backend and as mentioned at the beginning, this is an issue as you will need to refresh the preview page, every time you made changes to your theme, so you can see the result.

A good point of this alternative is the fact that all modules are fully responsive and it comes with a huge widget bundle.

The premium version gives you the ability to remove the footer SiteOrigin’s attribution, several premium add-ons, and some extras widgets bundle.

Price: Free – Pro Version $29

BeaverBuilder


BeaverBuilder is one of the top popular page builders in the market. User-friendly interface, easy to understand, becomes intuitive. Besides, it is awesome that you can use it in unlimited websites and it comes with the awesome diversity of models and widgets.

Although, it might hurt your wallet, since it is more expensive than most of its competitors, especially when we look at the pro and agency license which don’t think it worth’s the price gap when there are other alternatives in the market which are able to fulfill this need at a much lower price. Another thing on cons side is that, unfortunately, there is only front-end editing on this one. So, if you want to make some other adjustments on the back-end, afraid that will not be possible using this one.

Price: Starting at $99

Page Builder by WooRockets.com

With over 145000 downloads, this free WordPress Page Builder by WooRocket team is a powerful plugin to get the job done easily. Besides it is free, it comes with a nice collection of elements, like a progress bar, content list, pricing table and more. The good think about this one? Live preview, so you don’t need to go back and forth which saves you a lot of time.

Price: Free

Visual Composer

Visual composer in also one of the top 3 page builders. You can use it in almost every theme, even on Theme-Fusion’s Avada, one of the most popular themes nowadays.

It is cheaper than Beaver Builder, frontend and backend editing are available and it comes with one of the most complete bundle of modules in the market. Besides, if this is not enough, you can still get additional plugins to add extra functionality to it.

The problem is the Envato Licensing system, as either regular or extended License it allows you to use it in a single “end user work”. But technically you can use it in an unlimited number of sites.

Price: $34

MotoPress

MotoPress Page Builder it’s was one of the first and most popular drag’n drop WordPress page builders when there were no alternatives in the market. This plugin provides a great frontend mode, giving the ability to build pages on live. It is fully compatible with most of WordPress Templates and supports responsive layouts. SEO Friendly, and is compatible with WPML and WooCommerce.

Although, when experimenting this tool we got some constraint like taking a long time to load the page builder, besides adding containers and columns is a bit difficult too compared with other alternatives. Another fact not good is the few number of free elements/modules made available together with the page builder.

Some popular elements like countdown or pricing table are sold as an extra add-on while in other page builders are made available as a standard. Another point is that MotoPress Page Builder has Frontend edit mode only.

Price: Starting at $29

Live Composer

Live Composer Plugin is another free Page Builder, but this one has both frontend and backend production mode, which is awesome. Quick and intuitive. In our opinion, the only major cons are about usability falling in the fact this tool uses a wide horizontal ribbon which makes us sometimes feeling a bit lost looking for the right element/tool.

Although, it works good, is fast and comes with several content modules and elements which give a lot more functionality besides, it is completely free.

Price: Free

Themify Page Builder

Themify let’s front and backend editing, it comes with pre-built layouts design to make things, even easier and to run faster, it is simple to add animation effects and to customize fonts, colors, parallax scrolling, etc. No CSS knowledge need at all.

It has a lot of additional add-ons which enable to extend your range of options for customized page content. The add-ons bundle costs $39, which is a nice price for the number of add-ons it brings.

Price: Lite version Free, Premium Version starting at $39

Divi

 

It is common to compare Divi with Avada and X | Theme which are the actual most popular WordPress themes, although in our view that’s something like comparing pears with apples. Why?Because while Divi can work with any theme, Avada and X are framework themes, that only work within its own theme. If you are interested to know more about the best WordPress Multipurpose Themes, check out our comparison table and the details of the results we could get on the top #12 WordPress themes.

So, despite these two have a page builder integrated, you are unable to use other WordPress themes with it, besides their own pre-built demo examples. This doesn’t mean Avada and X are bad options, but only that shouldn’t be compared with Divi or any other WordPress Page Builder plugins.

But concerning the features, Divi offers the best of both worlds, this is, frontend and backend editing, access to a full set of templates, and for 20 bucks more, a huge bundle of plugins, which let you do anything, from niche websites, or something more general.

In sum, the result is responsive and pro websites, flexible and fast, and the more websites you build, the cheaper they are.

The UI is easy to work with, several options that let you change almost anything in a theme.
Furthermore, like any of the above mentioned Page Builders, this is a good option for those that like to tweak the core of themes. Something not possible (at least for the most part of the people) on Avada’s theme.

Price: USD 89 / year Usd 249 / lifetime

Conclusion

It’s is important to mention that the price strategy by Elegant themes is a bit different from all the other as there is a recurring payment which let you use it in an unlimited number of sites and access to all ElegantThemes available, besides 12 months support. This is good and bad, depending on what you need.

Example:

If you are a developer and delivering 5 websites a year, you will spend $69. While for instance, using Visual Composer, you would expend $34 x 5 = $170.

If you build only up to 2 websites/year, with Divi you would expend $69 and with Visual Composer $68

But if you need one site updated during several years, you would need to pay at least $69 / year with Divi, while the others it would be free for lifetime. Then the option with Divi would be a lifetime single payment.

So things are not so clear, as it will depend on what best serves your needs.

You should also bear in mind, that if you use some page builder elements in the post content, most probably a change of theme/framework in the future might turn a tremendous challenge as you can get into a shortcode hell.

In this case, we would suggest that you use standalone elements plugins, so you can use the same shortcode, even if you change the plugin for some other (as long as the plugin gives you that alternative).

As you have seen, there are plenty good choices around Page Builders. So for the free options, the winner is definitely Elementor. For the premium solutions, our choice goes to Visual Composer plugin as you are able to use it on standard themes as on the most part of framework themes either and at a low cost, although a warning for shortcode hell.

For multisite, due to the Envato’s Licensing system, our choice goes to Divi, as it gives us good chances to deliver similar quality content, at a lower cost.

If you have used any of these Page Builders let’s know what you think.

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About the Author:

Carlos Pinho
A father, a husband and a geek... Carlos was the founder of projects like The Tech Labs and Flash Enabled Blog. He is the founder of TekTuts He is passionate about technologies. Their main skills are in analytics, transport & logistics, business administration. He also writes about programming resources, trends, strategy and web development.

5 Comments

  1. Nick DerAvedissian May 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Divi is a theme to begin with, the Divi builder however, is the page builder plugin found in the Divi theme. It is so unbelievable to me that for years, the so called “WP” experts keep saying that Divi can work with any theme. Technically it is true. BUT, if you want to have the fullwidth sections to work, your theme MUST be 100% fluid, which most themes ARE NOT. You won’t get any error messages, or anything like that, but visually you will never get fullwidth content unless your theme is 100% fluid. That said, 3 of the page builders mentions in this article, HAVE the ability to break thought the divs and you can have fullwidth content UNLIKE the Divi builder. The 3 page builders are: Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, and WR Page Builder by WooRockets. Visual Composer is by far the best, but in reality, a little bit problematic on shared hosting accounts, SiteOrigin is the second best, but probably the best choice on slow servers, and the WR Page Builder last from these 3 page builders, for the simple reason that it is far too slow compared to the others.
    I stand by my opinions 100%. This Divi deception has to stop. It’s good, not as good as Visual Composer, and also slower than Visual Composer, but it’s definitely NOT fully compatible with every theme, that is an absolute lie… fake news !

    • Editorial
      biitlog May 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Nick

      Thank you for your interesting opinion. As you may understand it is impossible to test all plugins with unlimited themes. Besides tests, we must also relay on the information and details from each plugins authors. Divi has a plugin that can be applied to several themes. Therefore I’ve made the comparison with Avada and X since these are different things.

      Although, I’ve asked to Elegant Themes to provide an answer on your statement. Allow me to quote it, as follows:

      Quote
      Hi Carlos,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us!

      Our plugins are designed to function alongside any theme that is coded according to Standards For Good Coding as defined by the makers of WordPress.
      The Divi Builder’s content will be confined inside the theme’s content container so in order for the content to be fluid, the theme needs to have a full width page template. I’m afraid we have no control over how 3rd party themes and coded.
      Unquote

      Hope it clarifies.

      By the way, when using Visual Composer, you will get your pages, posts, etc full of shortcodes. If you change to other page builder, you will face a shortcode hell! And it will be a true nightmare to move on. And this is something that I’ve mentioned in this article. Of course that this is relatively important, depending on the use you will make from it. It is good for non dynamic content. Although for blogs or CMS with regular content, it is my opinion there are other options, since most likely the layouts will change on every x years.

      Best
      Carlos

      • Nick DerAvedissian June 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply

        The author is not only lying about the Divi builder is fully compatible with all themes, but now is blaming the theme authors that are not compatible. Most of the Elegant Themes themes, have fixed width. Most of their themes are not fully compatible, so how ironic is their ridicukous statement.

        Also, 99% of the times, if one decides which page builder plugin to use, they stick to it, specially a perfectly good one, like Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, and even the Divi builder, so leaving behind shortcodes when deactivating the used page builder is not a real problem. But once again, Elegant Theme deflects the real issue and shortcomings of the Divi builder. What really bothers me, is that for years they are not telling the truth, and reviewers are repeating these lies, without actually reviewing the Dici plugin to the fullest.

        I’m surprised they did not also blame the media, the Russians and climate change, it’s that ridiculous… lie, deflect, blame others. Bottom line, the Divi builder is not fully compatible with every theme as they so openly claim and advertise!

        Thanks,
        Nick.

  2. Greg July 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Carlos, I read somewhere that all the code on these page builders is extremely bloated which negatively impacts on page load speed….can you provide some insight please…
    Rgds, Greg

    • Carlos Pinho
      Carlos Pinho July 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Greg

      Thanks for your comment.

      Well, the problem might be from the page builder, but most part of the times, it comes from the huge multipurpose wordpress themes with their own layout builders. Anyway, we start to see some nice page builders like Elementor that gives the ability to create good customizations and use of elements, without having big speed issues, neither facing a shortcode hell. The same doesn’t happen with the most popular page builder Visual Composer, and that’s why i personally have some concerns with the use of it.
      If you check page source of websites using any page builder, you most immediately see some differences. Mainly because of what shortcodes do to the page, resulting in problems in PageSpeed and sometimes SEO optimization.

      But in the future, guess that the trend is Page Builders authors will start looking to this kind of issues and solve it in the best way. Also Automatic will have an important position to open more the WordPress platform to more and better customization for non developers.

      Still, Page Builders might be good but not as good as a Fron-End Developer.

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