The Seven Best Drag-&-Drop WordPress Page Builder Plugins – Compared

To be honest, I was never that convinced of the idea of using a drag-and-drop WordPress page builder plugin on my site. Although not because I didn’t see the value in it: clearly, with a drag-and-drop plugin you can create nice-looking, complex pages relatively easily — and certainly much quicker compared to working with raw source code.

What I was actually worried about was the output quality of using one. I can still remember the early days of Microsoft FrontPage and the HTML mess it was constantly creating. That source code was truly unbearable…

Then something got me thinking: all of the top three best-selling WordPress themes at ThemeForest feature some form of drag-and-drop page building functionality.

Moreover, the #1 best-selling plugin at CodeCanyon is none other than Visual Composer — a drag-and-drop WordPress page builder plugin that we’ll be looking into later in this post.

Clearly, people want some of that drag-and-drop magic!

So, the question is this: has drag-and-drop technology for the web matured enough? And more importantly: can drag-and-drop page building plugins actually be useful on a real website — rather than being just a novelty you read about on some blog or other?

To find out, I’ve taken a detailed look at 7 of the most popular drag-and-drop page builder plugins for WordPress, reviewed each of them, and given them all an out-of-ten rating.

Here’s what I found:

Themify Builder

Themify Page Builder

Price: $39 | Official Website

The Themify Builder plugin is a flagship plugin by the people over at Themify (among their other products). It’s a feature-rich tool that allows you to do your work both on the back-end (the Builder functionality is available for any page or post in the wp-admin), as well as the front-end (you can enable Builder via the WordPress admin bar).

Both editing interfaces (front- and back-end) are based on having a range of modules to choose from and then dragging and dropping them onto the canvas. The canvas is divided into rows, and each row can be further divided into columns.

Features

  • Front-end and back-end editing
  • Full drag-and-drop support (front-end and back-end)
  • Works with third-party themes
  • Pre-defined content modules for things like accordions, boxes, dividers, galleries, images, maps, portfolio blocks, blog posts, sliders, testimonials, text, videos, and more
  • Styling options for all modules (backgrounds with parallax scrolling, video backgrounds, additional CSS classes and styles, etc.)
  • Complete pre-designed layouts for various kinds of pages, like blogs, magazines, portfolio pages, product pages, etc. (you can still adjust everything after selecting the layout)
  • Import and export your layouts
  • The output is responsive, SEO friendly, and translation-ready

Pros

  • It’s a really versatile solution. Based on your requirements, you can use it for a whole spectrum of things, starting from building simple pages, to creating whole websites on top of minimal WordPress themes.
  • It has a great getting-started tutorial that takes you by the hand through all of the basic features of the plugin.
  • Every module is adjustable. You can set every aspect of how the module appears on the screen (even including column gutters).

Cons

  • Relatively fewer types of content modules compared to the other solutions here. That said, all of the most commonly used stuff is there, so it’s probably not such a big deal.
  • The front-end editing feature doesn’t look exactly like the final output due to all the borders, editing buttons, and so on. This forces you to save your changes and switch to preview to see the actual page.

Final Score: 10/10

Check it out!

Elegant Themes Divi Builder

Divi Page Builder Plugin

Price: $89 (full access pass to Elegant Themes) | Official Website

Elegant Themes’ Divi Builder Plugin is a slightly different solution compared to the other plugins on this list. The main difference here is that instead of a front-end editing panel, you get a new canvas that’s displayed on the standard post/page editing screen.

You then select individual content elements and put them on the canvas, with the possibility to adjust each element to your liking. This creates another level of abstraction, which can be useful if you want to take a more high-view look at your page.

Features

  • Drag-and-drop support when editing your content
  • Pre-designed content blocks, including those for text, lightbox images, quotes, testimonials, image sliders, videos, tabs, boxes, columns, and more
  • Custom styles for various page elements (buttons, lists, boxes)
  • Integrates with every page or post on your WordPress site

Pros

  • It allows you to turn any post or page into a custom-built landing page.
  • There’s a big selection of blocks and styles.
  • The canvas provides a good overview of the page and individual blocks on it.

Cons

  • The design looks a bit dated in the current age of flat interfaces and minimalism.
  • The plugin forces you to go back and forth between the editor screen and the preview of your page.

Final Score: 8/10

Check it out!

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

Price: $99+ | Official Website

Beaver Builder is a solution mainly marketed towards agencies and designers working on client projects. This definitely doesn’t mean that bloggers won’t find it useful, though.

The plugin delivers a great drag-and-drop page editing functionality that comes inside a completely custom interface (not through the WordPress customizer). It also helps you jumpstart your work by delivering a set of pre-made templates.

Working with the plugin is really straightforward. You just proceed step-by-step… start by adding rows, then adding content to each row, customizing, styling, and so on, until you have a finished product.

Features

  • Full front-end editing — edit what you see
  • Full drag-and-drop support
  • Mobile responsive and SEO optimized output
  • Comes with pre-made templates
  • Works with any theme
  • Extensive docs and video tutorials
  • Import/export feature
  • Supports posts, pages, and custom post types
  • Tons of content blocks available (tabs, slideshows, buttons, pages, forms, testimonials, pricing tables, and more)

Pros

  • No coding skills required.
  • Great interface that takes you by the hand through the whole process.
  • True what-you-see-is-what-you-get front-end editing.
  • Works with standard WordPress widgets.

Cons

  • You can’t nest columns within other columns.

Final Score: 9/10

Check it out!

MotoPress Content Editor

MotoPress Page Builder

Price: $29+ | Official Website

While most plugins on this list enable their functionality through the default WordPress customizer interface, MotoPress Content Editor delivers its own custom interface.

Under the hood, the plugin enables you to adjust the layout and content on any page within the wp-admin. There’s full drag-and-drop support and no programming skills required to make your work look great.

Features

  • Can be enabled on any post or page
  • Full drag-and-drop support when editing content
  • Custom front-end editing interface — not placed within the WordPress customizer
  • Compatible with all WordPress themes
  • Responsive and mobile-ready layouts
  • Custom post types support
  • Multiple content blocks available (for text, images, videos, buttons, and a lot more). You can also lock certain blocks so they can only be viewed by registered users

Pros

  • No programming skills required.
  • The customization interface itself is one of the easiest to use on this list.
  • It’s got a clever mechanism for customizing styles, based on tags. Just like you would add a tag to a blog post, you can add the tag “red” to a button element, and the button becomes red. You can make elements big or small, rounded or square, and more in a similar manner.
  • The cheapest premium drag-and-drop plugin on this list.

Cons

  • To use it, you have to go to the wp-admin, select a given post or page, and only then click the MotoPress Content Editor button. When viewing the page normally (in the standard wp-admin interface) all you can see is a bunch of shortcodes.

Final Score: 9/10

Check it out!

SiteOrigin Page Builder

SiteOrigin Page Builder

Price: $0 | Official Website

This is a great plugin by the SiteOrigin team. I’ve spent quite a while looking for the catch on this one, trying to finally get to the part where some feature is locked and requires me to buy the premium version. But it’s not there. This is simply a free plugin that’s on par with the paid solutions out there.

That being said, it does introduce some abstraction in terms of editing your pages. You don’t get an entirely usable front-end editing feature. Instead, you get to work with a canvas and a range of individual content blocks. Each content block has its title and settings — where you adjust the actual contents of that block.

Features

  • Full drag-and-drop support on the editing canvas
  • Can be enabled for any post or page
  • The content blocks available are based on the widgets you have installed on your site. It also integrates with the SiteOrigin Widget Bundle plugin, so you can get whatever block you need
  • Works with any theme
  • Version control
  • Responsive, grid-based output
  • Multiple customization possibilities (change spacings, borders, colors, styles, classes, add custom CSS, etc.)

Pros

  • It’s the best free solution on the market.
  • It works with widgets from other plugins (like Shortcodes Ultimate).
  • There’s version control, which isn’t a feature I found with any other plugin on this list.

Cons

  • You can’t nest columns within other columns.

Final Score: 9/10

Check it out!

Conductor Plugin

Conductor Plugin

Price: $49+ | Official Website

Conductor is an interesting plugin for bloggers, designers, and developers who want to speed up their content creation processes when it comes to custom pages in WordPress.

The current version of the plugin has been optimized to work with the Symphony framework (and with some licenses, you even get Symphony included in the package), but it also performs well with other themes.

You can enable the plugin’s functionality for any page within WordPress, and then change the layout, content, and the overall appearance through the WordPress customizer.

Features

  • Works in any WordPress theme, and lets you customize the layout on any page
  • Drag-and-drop support — you can drag content elements around the page you’re currently editing
  • Works with custom post types and custom fields
  • Built to work with other plugins, like Jetpack
  • Add-ons available that integrate Conductor with other plugins and themes (Genesis, WooCommerce), plus there are also exclusive Conductor add-ons

Pros

  • No coding skills required.
  • You can see your changes in real-time through the customizer.
  • There are many styling options when it comes to fonts, alignments, sizes of elements, etc. You can also choose to exclude some elements such as author links, “read more” links and so on. This lets you fine-tune your creation until it’s 100 percent what you need.

Cons

  • Seems that the people over at Conductor focus on supporting the Symphony framework first, and only then work with all the other themes. There’s nothing bad about this in itself, but it might cause some compatibility issues along the line for those of us using other themes.
  • Add-ons seem to only be available with the Power User license ($199).

Final Score: 9/10

Check it out!

Visual Composer

Visual Composer

Price: $33 | Official Website

Finally, let’s close the list with the best-selling plugin at CodeCanyon. And not just the best-selling drag-and-drop content builder plugin, but the best-selling plugin overall. Visual Composer clearly has to be doing something right.

In short, the plugin is very impressive. It has a ton of features, yet everything is easy to grasp and intuitive, thus erasing any learning curve almost entirely.

Moreover, it seems that its creators have taken care of integrating the plugin with other popular solutions out there, like the SEO plugin by Yoast or WooCommerce. All this adds up to a great drag-and-drop content building experience.

Features

  • Full drag-and-drop support
  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • Works with posts, pages, and custom post types
  • Access to both front-end and back-end editing
  • 40+ pre-defined layouts available
  • 45+ content elements available, including rows, text blocks, tabs, accordions, carousels, sliders, charts, WordPress widgets, videos, images, buttons, and even raw JS and HTML blocks. Plus much more
  • Responsive and mobile-friendly output
  • Compatibility with WordPress SEO by Yoast and WooCommerce
  • Multilingual interface

Pros

  • It allows you to match your current theme’s color scheme by doing a scan and then adjusting the styles of the plugin’s content elements/blocks.
  • Very affordable.
  • It’s got a ton of content elements and pre-made layouts to choose from.

Cons

  • The front-end editing feature is almost perfect. The only downside is that most of the text editing happens in a separate pop-up, so you don’t actually get a true edit-what-you-see experience.

Final Score: 10/10

Check it out!

Conclusion

This part sums up my take on the top drag-and-drop page building plugins for WordPress. In short … boy was I wrong to worry that those fancy drag-and-drop plugins were only a toy or novelty. At the end of it, I’m really excited about what’s available these days in terms of solutions that make WordPress even more usable than it already is.

Who knows, maybe drag-and-drop plugins are indeed all you need to build yourself a quality website on top of just a very minimal WordPress theme.

Lastly, if you’re interested in using a drag-&-drop page builder plugin specifically to create a landing page for your site, take a look at this earlier post of ours detailing a number of WordPress plugins aimed at helping you do exactly that.

Which would you say is the best – and why? Thoughts?

By Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, About.com, Optimizely.com, Adobe.com, ProBlogger, and others.
Comments (policy)
  • David Bell

    It would be nice to see Thrive Themes included with this review :)

  • Marco

    no way! Visual composer is the best! I use from many time and really is impressive and very usefull!

    • Have you tested some of the other ones also?

  • Hey Karol! Great overview. Thanks for mentioning Beaver Builder. We really appreciate the plug. :)

    • Thanks. That’s a cool plugin! :)

  • You should test the Avia Layout Builder of Kriesi. Imo by far the best builder. Only con: it is not a stand alone plugin. It’s build inside the themes of Kriesi. (For example Enfold)

    • Considering the Avia builder can’t be purchased or used separately from the themes it is bundled with AFAIK, that makes it a poor choice regardless of it’s capabilities.

      This article thankfully didn’t suggest any builders that aren’t standalone plugins. I have nothing against Avia specifically as I’d say the same about nearly any theme only builder.

      As good as Divi, Layers, Enfold, etc may be, you’re essentially accepting a self imposed long term theme lock in if you use it. Why do that to yourself if you know better let alone do it to a client.

    • Exactly like Matt said in his comment, the idea here was to list only builder plugins, so everything that’s delivered as part of a theme was excluded from the get-go.

  • One more perk of Beaver Builder is they made it very extendable. I found it easy to make my own drag-and-drop widgets that blend in perfectly with their system.

  • Hey Karol, thanks for taking a look at Conductor!

    Few things I wanted to note:

    1. We actually built Conductor to work on any theme, first and foremost. For instance, we have a Genesis add-on to make Conductor compatible with that framework. We only introduced Symphony as a starter theme, from user request.
    2. Our most popular add-ons, Genesis & Custom Fields, is included in the $99 plan.
    3. Symphony & Note can both be downloaded for free from WordPress.org if folks want to play with our code :)

    We’re really trying to abstract the content display from theme with our product. All of the products mentioned here are great and we have customers that use a combo of many. An example would be, Beaver Builder, as we have clients using both of our products at the same time. Fun stuff!

    • You’ve got a great plugin there Matt. Thanks for stopping by. ;)

  • kainerweissmann

    Visual Composer and other plugins with the same purpose brings much more complications and problems than they help doing work. Get rid of them as soon as you can. Do not look at them again and do not give them any PR. Themes who have e.g. the VC built in wont be bought by me or my team anymore. They are worse than anything WordPress has brought to life in the last 10 years. Same is valid for marketing jokes like “Divi” Theme from ET. My 2 Cents.

    • Dave Stevens

      I have to agree with you up to a point – but for those of us who don’t code, such as graphic designers who have had to learn to create websites, WordPress in conjunction with a good page builder allows us to make a site with advanced features that would otherwise be almost impossible.

      Visual Composer in particular is definitely hampered by being built into a theme. I have found that the built in versions are usually lower in version number than VC added separately and as a result, can be exposed to security issues in addition to missing features more up to date versions might have.

      Elegant Themes has created DIVI Builder recently, which works in any theme. I found it faster to use, more intuitive, and overall better in interface design than VC. Using it with the DIVI theme actually works rather well in my opinion, although I had to buy a third party product called DIVI Booster to get better flexibility out of the theme. No front end builder available, however.

      Where I agree with you is that these builders can create frustration and time consumption in their basic functionality, and are certainly not the optimum method for building a WordPress site. But for those without coding skills, they can make the difference between being able to build a good site or not.

      I completely understand your frustration. I went over to Live Composer as a result. Free and accurate. Certainly worth looking at for the price. :)

  • Dave Stevens

    Having used Visual Composer for a year and a half on several sites, I have found it amazing in it’s richness of available features, but overall frustrating in it’s inaccuracy and, more than anything, the amount of time I actually waste overall making adjustments. The front end builder seemed great, but does not accurately show the final product often, resulting in many adjustments, and sometimes consulting with the authors of the plugin to be able to get the final result. Even just waiting for a module to activate can take several seconds – a huge time sucker on a large site, or even a smaller one. The backend builder is more accurate, but then you are bouncing back and forth between the backend and refreshing a frontend window to see results.

    Elegant themes has recently created DIVI Builder, which is far better than their original builder, faster than Visual Composer, but less feature rich. That being said, they include practically everything you need to create a good website (as does Visual Composer and most other page builders, though VC has a huge contingent of third party addons). It does not have a front end component, however.

    I would actually recommended this builder over Visual Composer in many ways, especially for speed. It initially costs more, but the cost comes with a huge range of themes available for use, several useful plugins, and DIVI Builder works with any theme, although best with the DIVI Theme it was initially created for.

    I have touched on other builders mentioned in this article, but have turned away from them because they either seemed to be more of the same with regards to potential frustration due to inaccuracy, lack of features, or speed issues. I always felt that I was only going to get about 80% of the way there with most of the other builders and their respective addons. Motocross was promising, but would fall short in many basic ways such as color settings, text adjustment, column spacing, and other areas. Otherwise, the costs involved were a huge turnoff. And having to pay higher costs to use a builder on more than one site is just unacceptable to me, given that there are alternatives.

    The best page builder I have used to date is Live Composer. It is a front end builder that consistently produces accurate results – in fact, exactly the same results that one sees while creating and editing a page. I originally bought it on Themeforest.com, but found it a little confusing. This was my fault because I didn’t spend enough time learning it, as I had others.

    The interface threw me off a little because it was very unusual. Then it was pulled from Themeforest, and between that and not quite getting it, I went back to Visual Composer and DIVI Builder, largely because I had a huge investment in Visual Composer, and was getting good results faster with DIVI Builder.

    My frustration levels were getting higher and higher using the previously mentioned two builders – Visual Composer because it was so much slower and inaccurate to build with (editing isn’t so bad once you have things in place), and DIVI just because despite being faster than VC, it was stilt only a backend builder, and bouncing back and forth between the front end and backend was never going to be my favorite way to build a page.

    On a whim, I did a search for Live Composer – I had found out that many plugins that ceased to be available were simply taken somewhere else – and I found it on it’s own site. And it went from being $29 US to completely free!

    I decided to take a closer look at it, and to be patient with it. After all, the promise of accurate page building in the front end of a WordPress site deserved another look, especially after what I considered to be failures overall with other methods I had employed otherwise. And the price was certainly right!

    The result? After taking the time to get to know how to properly use it, I am planning to use Live Composer for all future websites I build. In conjunction with Live Composer friendly themes, it truly shines, although it will work on any theme. It is accurate, fast, flexible within reason, and can be used in conjunction with other page builders in certain ways. It also works with shortcodes, so adding elements using other plugins is possible, which extends the use of Live Composer even further.

    It comes with a pile of features right out of the box with a small handful of added plugins that are either free or low cost that you could use if desired, though not necessary since there are a ton of free WP plugins available otherwise that could do the same things.

    The big deals for me are that it is accurate as a front end builder, can be used with backend elements in a limited way – and so can be used with some back end builders in a limited fashion, takes shortcodes, is fast to work with (once you get to know it), and is COMPLETELY FREE in it’s initial form. You can use it on as many sites as you like without further cost.

    I have been using it with a free version of the WEST theme. With slight modifications to the style sheet I can make it do what I need. There is a pro version of the West theme that allows further, easier modifications. It is reasonably priced.

    The most enjoyable aspects of working with Live Composer are when making adjustments in text size, line spacing, and general module spacing. To see it happening live in front of your eyes while adjusting a few sliders almost brings tears to my eyes. I save hours on this alone!

    I should state that I have no affiliation with Live Composer in any way. I was compelled to write this to help others who might be having the same issues as I have had.

    I hope this helps someone out there.

    • – Nice comment (and an interesting read). Thanks. :)

      • Dave Stevens

        Thank you Brian! Happy to get involved – I truly hope this helps someone. I have gone through hell dealing with Visual Composer, it’s third party addons, and other paid-for plugins that only go partway to solving the problems they profess to. Live Composer isn’t perfect, but it is far better than the alternatives I have used.

        All my opinion, of course. Others will have to try it out and see how it works for them. At least it is free.

        I spent literally hundred of dollars in Visual Composer, addons, a few themes, and other plugins from Themeforest that fell short of my expectations. I would love to prevent others from going that same painful route.

    • Dino Lopez

      I like your in depth review on those page builders. I agree with you with Visual Composer. Just because it has a lot of features, doesn’t mean it’s the best like what I’ve been reading after searching “best page builder for wordpress” on google.

      Their front end builder is hopeless. Plus, I exported one of my sites once and everything got messy! I got discouraged and I don’t plan on using VC again anytime soon. I’m no experienced developer and so far, Haven’t found the best builder yet. I’m willing to pay if the product is worth buying.

      Anyway, I recently found this new page builder I saw on a thread on reddit. It’s called PB Sandwich (http://pagebuildersandwich.com) and I tried it. I was wondering if you’ve ever tried it and if you did, what you think about it? You seem to know a lot about this. PB Sandwich is in the top of my “consideration list” right now. Thanks!

      • Dave Stevens

        PB Sandwich is a good find! Thank you for listing it here!

        Bearing in mind that I only took about 10 minutes to review their live demo, then popping back and forth into the demo while I wrote this to confirm some things – I did wind up buying PBS to experiment further within themes I like to use, since it claims to use the theme settings a lot as part of it’s own functionality…

        PB Sandwich seems to have an interface similar to Beaver Builder, just on the left side of the page instead of the right (I think you can change this in Beaver Builder, but can’t recall for sure). IT is easy to navigate, and is intuitive once you know what everything is, which takes no time to learn. I prefer the bottom layout and visual appeal of the Live Composer module bar better, but that is subjective. LC’s module bar can be cumbersome sometimes because you have to scroll left and right a lot to get to the settings, but not terribly so. Still, the PBS UI may be faster to use overall.

        PBS seems to have an undo feature of it’s own, which I think may be lacking for the most part in LC overall. You can do Control (or Command on a Mac)-Z here and there, but not everywhere in LC.

        I like the way PBS highlights the sections of editable content as you hover over it. It reminds me of a plugin called Synoptic Web Designer, which does a similar kind of thing (this is a tool you can use to edit page content beyond what you might be able to do with your regular pagebuilder, including Woo Commerce elements).

        A few familiar layout elements from Visual Composer are present in PBS for margin, border and padding adjustment, which is cool. I like the sliders from LC better, but that is also subjective. You can click into each field in PBS and then hit the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to similar effect, which is also nice.

        The method of text editing in PBS is sublime. nothing beats editing text directly on the page. Live Composer is getting back to the text editing directly on the page without the middle step of popping up a text editor, but that may not be until next year sometime – funny because LC used to do that, but the feature got pulled because some complained that it lacked certain abilities like hyperlinking and such, which PBS does not. LC are possibly re-implementing that feature as an additional module in the near future. You can cheat that feature using another module, but technically it doesn’t edit text like PBS at this time without a workaround.

        PBS’s graphic scaling feature is awesome! click and drag a corner and your on your way! This is superior to the Live Composer method.

        Adding and subtracting columns edges out Live Composer a little, but are similar. Being able to drag columns into other columns was a nice touch in PBS. Oddly, I didn’t see any way to simply drag a text block from one column to another. I could do it with other columns and images, but not with text. It may be that columns are considered the text “blocks” as such. I will have to delve further to understand that fully. I guess you have to copy and paste it otherwise? Although, I ran into a weird glitch trying to copy and paste some text from one column to the next – the text I copied and pasted simply left the column of text I pasted into and appeared below the entire row to the left. There are still some bugs in PBS, but so are there some in LC, although LC has text block dragging, copy and pasting figured out. PBS is still looking good here though for the most part.

        LC has a slider, with the option to use a field instead to determine text size. This is excellent in my opinion. PBS’s button method is still great, however. For some reason LC does not allow a top margin individual adjustment on most elements. Nice to see this in PBS.

        Both LC and PBS have several modules you can add to the layout. I prefer the drag and drop method of LC to PBS’s position-your-cursor-and-click-the-module method. You can drag and drop them after they are on the page, as far as I could tell. PBS modules are shortcode-based, which is excellent in many ways. LC handles external shortcodes, but not always smoothly.

        I do not like that saving changes in PBS kicks you out of the front end builder. You have to re-activate the Page Builder again to continue. LC kicks PBS’s ass in this regard. Not only does LC allow saving and continuing, but also allows you to save the latest changes without committing them to the final presentation until later.

        Both seem to be missing a built in basic contact form option. LC is working on one. Both seem to prefer Contact Form 7 as a plugin option to add forms, which is fine. But sometimes it is nice to just drop in a simple form, similar to what DIVI builder from Elegant themes does. Visual Composer has an excellent third party add-on for creating forms, btw. This can be short-coded in wherever you like, and as such could be compatible with LC and PBS (and others). I have done this successfully with LC. the downside is owning and installing Visual Composer AND the form plugin (which I personally already have) to get the final result. Any form builder will work though.

        Live Composer has a few duplication features I didn’t notice in PB Sandwich with regards to recreating layouts across multiple pages, including the ability to copy and paste entire full page layouts from one project to the next.

        PBS is now just under $27 US at this time in beta mode (which I bought so I can examine it further). It will go up to just under $90 apparently at some point, putting at about the same level as many page builders are on average. LC is free, with a few added modules you can pay for if you require the features.

        I didn’t see any particular layout options directed specifically for responsiveness on tablets or mobile phones on PBS – LC has this functionality. You can optionally rearrange text sizes and positioning particularly for 3 options – Desktop, Tablet, and Phone which has been very helpful personally.

        I think that, in the world of paid-for WordPress Page builders, PB Sandwich is an excellent option, if not the best I have seen to date. But you still can’t beat free. Live Composer is compelling option for a free product, and I still urge anyone interested to try it out. PBS allows a demo on their website, so you can compare it all for yourself if you wish.

        • Dave Stevens

          Finally took some time last night to experiment further.

          An update to the previous comment would be that dragging and dropping text in PBS is just a matter of clicking and holding down the mouse button for a fraction of a second, then you can drag and drop text blocks.

          I built two test pages duplicating a few sections of the PBS website home page.

          It took me 20 minutes to do it in LC, and 10 minutes in PBS.

          For the basic elements like creating and editing text, PBS is very quick to use. It lacks some features that are built in to LC, but you can add most elements via shortcodes with other plugins.

          So I may be bouncing back and forth between these two page builders, depending on the nature of the project and it’s requirements.

          • Gambit

            Hey @disqus_V7D9Ui6W92:disqus & @disqus_gkw3uqGuLt:disqus!

            Gosh it’s just been 2 months since I last commented here about PBS. Thought it was longer than that!

            Oh yea, Page Builder Sandwich has been updated recently (especially with the UI and Shortcode Mapper feature). But since we’re still in the process of revamping everything, I’ll be forwarding your in depth insights about it. What are your social media accounts so we could credit you for improvement? :D

            Sincerely
            Patricia (Trixie)

      • Gambit

        @disqus_V7D9Ui6W92:disqus Hey man, we just updated PBS with more features! Hope you’ll like it! :)

        – Trixie-Gambit

    • Dan

      Hi Dave,

      I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Beaver Builder. In my opinion, it is the king of all builders. It is a real front end experience and doesn’t clog up your content with shortcodes. I prefer it to Live Composer, PBS, VC, Divi and all the others out there. There is also an amazing community of developers using Beaver which is always a good sign.

      • Dave

        SHORT ANSWER:

        I liked the functionality of Beaver Builder. I frankly do not prefer their UI, although I think it may be faster to use than Live Composer. A large developer community is always a nice plus. I didn’t like the pricing and the usual licence restrictions based on price. I would probably be using it if it weren’t for the pricing.

        I found that Live Composer offered me a fantastic free alternative with licence free, unlimited use. It does have a limited developer community but does allow for third party development, which some have taken advantage of. I have also been able to extend it’s use through other plugins and themes that allow shortcodes.

        LONG ADDITION TO SHORT ANSWER:

        I am glad you have found Beaver Builder to your liking. It is an excellent tool for frontend building.

        Beaver Builder does have it’s own range of Shortcodes that one can use through the HTML module. Given this fact, it could be logical to assume that BB actually does use shortcodes otherwise in some capacity.

        The BB shortcode info I found is at the following link:

        https://www.wpbeaverbuilder.com/knowledge-base/shortcodes/

        I find shortcodes quite useful personally (it’s all very subjective and prone to personal preference), because I don’t code as much as some (prefer to avoid it generally), and plugins that utilize shortcodes allow me to add cool features I couldn’t achieve otherwise – potentially adding in several locations on a site where required quite easily.

        Although I understand what you mean by shortcode clutter, an alternative viewpoint might be that the potential to easily repeat a feature in various parts of a site via shortcode should, in theory, prevent clutter in that sense.

        I have even been able to add elements from Visual Composer into a Live Composer layout via shortcode use. I don’t prefer this, but there are some things that I like about Visual Composer that I don’t have access to in Live Composer.

        Shortcodes or otherwise, if your site requires the page builder you are using to be active after the site is complete in order to see the site in its completed form and structure on the front end, then it is adding extra reliant code whether you like it or not.

        In other words, if you deactivate Beaver Builder and everything in your site falls apart, I would assume shortcodes or similar additional code are in effect. BB might just be doing it better than others. With or without shortcode. i do like how BB leaves the text and image content behind if you turn it off, even if you do lose the layout and such.

        Chances are you wouldn’t turn off your page builder anyway, because you will want to add and edit later.

    • Liam Hayes

      Thank you Dave!!!

      I’ve been up for many many days and hours researching the plethora of theme builders trying to decide which is the best one for me. Live Composer was my first choice, but I’ve been told that DIVI and Beaver Builder are the way to go. Then I looked at Velocity and a million other ones.

      http://livecomposerplugin.com

      Now I can stop looking and just install Live Composer and start purchasing the add-ons that are available.

      http://livecomposerplugin.com/add-ons/

      There aren’t very many add-ons available here, and that makes me nervous that perhaps this plugin won’t get the support it needs to blossom, but with their offering it for free, I’m sure it will catch on a lot faster now. Especially since it is such a great looking and intuitive front end composer.

      Well here goes nothing. Time to dive in and learn WordPress.

      Cheers and thanks.

      • Dave

        I have been in touch with the LC developers and they are moving LC eventually to a different UI that is similar in structure to the CUSTOMIZE feature built into WordPress. I personally like the existing UI, but it seems slower to navigate through than other UI’s such as the BB one, or PBS.

        PBS has become more user friendly and more fully featured lately. It has a low price point at $39 US for one site licence including one year of updates, or $89 US for one year of unlimited sites and updates (still not free like LC). The price for the unlimited site licences includes a free basic theme to work with. It is definitely worth looking at as it is similar to Beaver Builder with a nicer UI and similar features. Maybe not a full-featured as BB, however.

        I should note that I have had great success using multiple Front End Builders within any given single WordPress project. You just have to keep track of what you are using on which pages.

        I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing so if you don’t have to, but when Page Builder doesn’t have a feature that another does have, it is possible to install and use more than one to get to where you need to go.

        I have used the DIVI theme from Elegant Themes, which has DIVI Builder built in (not a front end builder). I have used Live Composer on one site using the DIVI theme, but installed Visual Composer to get access to a drag and drop VC form builder plugin I like. So far so good.

        On another site using a theme I created in Artisteer, I used Beaver Builder to build the bulk of the site, but after transferring the site to it’s final destination, a page that I used BB accordions on failed to the point where if I even tried to use an accordion it caused BB to fail on that page (this may have been a problem with the hosting service somehow or the plugin I used to transfer the site over – not sure), so I used Live Composer to rebuild the one page almost identically to the BB version, used the LC accordions and all was well. I like the LC accordions better anyway.

        LC being free makes it easy to add to the mix, however Frankensteinian this may seem.

    • Hi Dave, you’ve worked with so many page builder plugins and your experience is really valuable. I understood that you’ve already experimented with MotoPress, but we’ve made many significant updates and will really appreciate if you try it again and share your thoughts. There is even no need to buy the plugin, you can use the free version which contains almost all pro features https://wordpress.org/plugins/motopress-content-editor-lite/ Thank you in advance!

  • Dave Stevens

    Agreed.

  • scott

    I agree, these are 2 very important missing criteria that heavily factor in my choice of builder tools. That’s why I’m focused more on Beaver, Make Plus, and Layers WP, of which I think all provide some means of porting content back into wordpress posts. Now if I could just find some page load speed comparisons…

  • Andrew Worsfold

    Another plugin that attempts to find the balance between ease-of-use and powerful features is Tailor. It’s also free and open source ;) https://wordpress.org/plugins/tailor/

  • Amica Catherine

    One more WordPress page builder I want to recommend here is this TemplateToaster https://wordpress.org/themes/templatetoaster

  • Navin Talawant

    Enfold page builder is by far the best. So sad it is not included in this list.

  • Aaron Ware

    I was wondering if anyone has used CloudPress before?

  • johnspeed

    We’ve been using Fusion for a couple years now for anyone looking for a free option which can power enterprise type wordpress installs. Our experience with most page builders (we’ve tried over 20 of them) is that they are amazing for end users, but not always powerful enough or easily extensible when you get into larger business or enterprise style wordpress builds. You can check it out here https://wordpress.org/plugins/fusion/

  • graffig

    Hi folks, just wanted to raise awareness to KingComposer, a relatively new page builder on the scene: https://youtu.be/eFietqQAISY

    From a graphic designer’s point of view this plugin is a game changer, allowing me to get on with the designing of client sites whilst not being bogged down with code.

    Added benefit that even after I deactivate plugin all my content is still displaying correctly!

  • István Márton

    http://wp.lanaprojekt.hu/blog/wordpress-plugins/lana-editor/
    Lana Editor – Page Builder primarily made for Bootstrap 3 based WordPress template.

  • Gary

    I just recently purchased the Visual Composer plugin. I was wondering which themes you might suggest I use in a Parallax design along with the VC plugin. Which premium theme would you suggest? And which free theme for Parallax?

  • Ben Pines

    What about Elementor?

    • Dallas79

      Just asked the same thing. See a few entries on this list that elementor puts to shame. Chalk it up to being the new builder on the block, and the author probably just hasn’t given it a spin personally.

  • Dallas79

    How is Elementor not listed here? I’ve used all of these, and none of them are close to the speed and UI of Elementor – even its free version. I have no affiliation, but it’s silly to leave it out when some very weak competition is listed here.

  • Dallas79

    It’s not, actually. That’s how it’s done by lazy shops, or those wanting to create an ecosystem for their builders – but that’s not best practice at all.

    Beaver Builder and Elementor are among the only builders who took the time to design backwards-compatible fallback-friendly solutions that output valid HTML instead of a mess of shortcodes.

  • The Biker Yogi

    no elementor? you must be joking right? the free version puts some of the paid plugins above to shame. please see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKIyQwwtHnE

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