What is a Page Builder in WordPress?

If you are new to WordPress or just starting a site, this article will go over the details of what page builders are and how they work. My years of building websites has allowed me to play with many builders.

What is a page builder in WordPress? A page builder is a plugin that extends WordPress functionality by allowing pages and post types to be built using easier methods that are not included in WordPress. Often these builders are using visual blocks to build the pages which makes the process much easier. Newer builders are even allowing full site control for things like headers and footers.

In this article we will briefly discuss what page builders are, how they have grown and what you can expect in the future. We’ll even talk about how WordPress is now copying them and why that’s important.

What is a page builder

A Page builder as mentioned above is a way of designing inside of Wordpress that is much simpler than what is included in the WordPress frame work. Often these page builders include blocks or a visual way of designing the pages.

Over the years page builders have grown in popularity and also community. Most page builders now have huge thriving communities on social media channels.

This has lead to more growth for WordPress because of the ease of use to build a website. There has never been a time in the history of WordPress where it was easier to build a website. 

Page builders often called WYSIWYG (Wizy-Wig) what you see is what you get, has gotten a bad rap in the WordPress community from developers (hand-coders). They often view page builders as tools for newer designers and while this may have been true years ago, it’s no longer so.

Page builders have not only increased in complexity and speed but also their ability to control more of the WordPress website functionality.  Page builders are now at a point where they come with their own learning curve.

A list of page builders

Since page builders have grown over the years the number of companies that have entered the market have doubled and tripled in size. Original builders are still around but below we will go over some of the biggest builders and what some advantages of these builders over others.

1. Elementor (1+ million users)

Elementor is both a new kid on the block and a big daddy page builder in most people’s eyes. Elementor has really made a name for itself with its ground breaking features and solid updates over the years. It did not take them long to pass other more established market page builders, but it’s one of the best I know on the market that allows full site design. 

2. Divi from Elegant Themes (?? Unknown not on WordPress Repo)

Divi from Elegant Themes has been a long-time favorite of many people. I used it for several years before dropping it for Elementor. Occasionally I will work in it to see what has changed, but I have found the updates to be subpar and many times they break sites. Also Divi has in just this year promised a lot of features that have never happened such as headers and footers. But besides that, Divi has a solid community and plenty of support that if you ran into a problem, it would be rare if you can’t find a solution. Still not my favorite.

3. Oxygen Builder (100 installs)

Do not let the lower number of installs fool you. This is a builder to watch out for. It has been in an Alpha/Beta testing for different updates but overall it’s come a long way. Louis the owner sometimes rubs people the wrong way but unlike builders such as Elementor or Divi which are code heavy Oxygen is lean and made for developers. You need to have knowledge of CSS to fully use this builder to its potential. Of all the builders on the list this one has a high ceiling which means if the developer wants to be included, he will find a way. Watch this one, It has a strong supporting.

4. Beaver Builder (500,000 installs)

Beaver is a long time champ in the page builder space. While I have not used Beaver Builder a lot, I know that it has all the features of the builders listed above. It’s also another favorite among the community for builders which means you will find solid updates and support. Beaver Builder also have a wide variety of additional add-ons you can buy that will extend functionality.

5. Page Builder by Site Origin (1+ million installs)

This is another very popular page builder but I assume it’s like because of the free version and less so for the paid. I haven‘t experienced very many websites that run this builder but just researching it, it looks behind the curve. Builders above are all working with visual technologies while this appears to be a back end builder meaning you are working with blocks and then saving those blocks to see what the pages looks like once you hit save or publish. This is a very ineffective way of doing design and with superior visual design of Divi and Elementor I can’t explain why this is so high other than people just don’t know.

6. Brizy (30,000 installs)

Brizy is a newcomer to the page builder market. It’s not as big or developed as Beaver Builder nor any of the others and yet it has features that really make it stand out from the rest. Brizy’s biggest problem from my experimenting with the builder is it is still so new that most updates break things. Not to mention the development cycle is too long. In another year it might be in a good place but it will put Brizy that much more behind the big dogs like Elementor or Divi. For now, I would rate Brizy another wait and see but unlike Oxygen, my hopes are so what dimmed by the lack of development on this plugin.

7. Thrive Architect (?? installs)

This is another popular builder among the WordPress community. Thrive has a lot to offer to more simple designer which makes the whole process easier. I have never had to use it for a website, I would like to use it and I know it offers a decent amount of support. I would consider it one of the bigger builders on the market.

8. Gutenberg (WordPress 5.0 – 300,000 installs)

You might say to yourself Gutenberg but wait, it’s not a page builder? I have a sneaking suspension that WordPress is watching the page builder market closely and they want a chunk of the pie. Gutenberg is their first attempt to make a builder that is super easy for people to build pages. It will not take much time before the functionality happens in headers, footers, and even 404 pages. Once this takes place you will see a free page builder which will probably affect prices of some higher end builders. They will need to compete with WordPress directly.

Which page builder is the right page builder?

This option often comes down to choice. Different people have different personalities and page builders are much of the same. I know personally I really enjoy Elementors UI (user interface), the second would be something like Oxygen or Brizy which has a very simple design.

Most of these builders offer some free trial or a way to test the builder without spending a bunch of money.  I would recommend you try as many as you can and see if any of them feel right to you.

Related Questions

Which page builders offer lifetime licenses? Most page builders require you to pay yearly anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the builder. Right now Brizy offers a lifetime license, so does Divi and Oxygen. All the rest of the builders are monthly.

Do I need to buy pro? Most builders offer and free and pro. While the free can be great for very basic websites. You can not beat most of the features and extras that comes with a pro license. I can’t think of one of these builders I would recommend to just use basic on. Pro is often worth its weight in gold.

I hope this post has helped you better understand page builders. We will do more in-depth articles on how most of these builders work with tutorials showing you how to do cool things. If you liked this article please share, sharing is caring.

Patrick McCoy
Patrick McCoy

Patrick is a web designer with over 20 years experience in websites and design. He spends most of his days writing content and enjoys tinkering with anything web or design related. When he isn't work he is often watching a good movie.

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