Tired of the same old boring WordPress Editor? Page builder plugins let you build complicated designs on your WordPress site without needing to know the associated complicated code.
They’re…pretty dang awesome. And in this post, I’m going to give you a detailed look at some of the best WordPress page builder plugins out there.
3 Best WordPress Page Builder Plugins for 2017
There are a huge number of page builder plugins – many of them are quite good options in their own right. But…this post is not the “list of every page builder plugin,” so we tried to whittle that huge number down to something more manageable.
In the end, we ended up with just three page builders to feature. Again, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other page builders that also offer a polished product. All it means is that these three page builder plugins are the ones that we think are the best.
As an added bonus, all three of these page builders deliver clean, shortcode free code. Some page builders lock you up and/or leave behind a mess of shortcodes if deactivated – that’s not the case with any of the plugins on this list.
Let’s dig in…
1. Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is a popular page builder plugin with a thriving third-party community (I’ll tell you exactly why that’s important in just a second).
Let’s start at the beginning, though.
Beaver Builder is a visual front-end page builder which means that you design your pages in the same view as what your end users will actually see when they visit your site. That’s fairly standard for page builders nowadays, but not every single page builder uses that approach (as you’ll see with our third option on the list).
The visual builder interface utilizes a right-side sidebar that allows you to quickly add rows, modules, or standard WordPress widgets. To add any of those elements, all you need to do is drag and drop them onto your page:
Beaver Builder Module Selection and Editing Options
Beaver Builder offers a competitive set of modules that are divided into two different categories:
- Basic Modules – basic building blocks like text, headings, images, buttons, etc.
- Advanced Modules – more niche modules like contact forms, countdown timers, pricing tables, testimonials, WooCommerce products, and lots more.
For any module that you add, you can configure and style it by clicking on it to open a popup settings box:
The exact settings that you get depend on the specific module that you use. But you’ll always be able to configure styling and nitty-gritty details like margins and padding, as well as custom CSS.
Beaver Builder Templates and Third-Party Community
While you can always build a completely custom page from scratch, you don’t have to. That’s because Beaver Builder ships with over 30 pre-made templates. This isn’t quite as many templates as Elementor (next on the list), but it is a plenty solid list.
Beyond those included templates, Beaver Builder also has that vibrant third-party community that I teased in the intro. Third-party developers have cooked up a huge number of add-ons that tack on new modules, templates, and more. Some examples are PowerPack Beaver Builder Addon and Ultimate Addons.
While these third-party add-ons do cost extra money, they extend Beaver Builder in a way that it’s hard for more contained plugins to compete with.
Beaver Builder Pricing
For just the premium Beaver Builder plugin, Beaver Builder costs $99 for use on unlimited sites. There’s also a Beaver Builder theme that comes as part of the $199 Pro package that gives you more control over the design of your actual theme. And if you don’t want to use the Beaver Builder theme, the recently released Beaver Themer extension lets you use Beaver Builder to build your entire website layout (bust costs an extra ~$200).
Beaver Builder also offers a stripped-down free version – but for serious uses, you definitely need the pro version.
Elementor hasn’t been around as long as the other page builder plugins on this list, but it’s quickly made a name for itself thanks to a quality, lightning-fast page building experience. It also doesn’t hurt that Elementor has a free version that’s a little bit more flexible than Beaver Builder’s free version.
Like Beaver Builder, Elementor uses a front-end visual page building interface. You get a left-side sidebar from which you can drag over a variety of elements, as well as any of your existing WordPress widgets:
Elementor Module Selection and Editing Options
Elementor offers a bevy of different elements that you can choose from:
For each element, you also get detailed style and positioning options. The control offered by these options is actually one of Elementor’s key differentiating features.
If you’re willing to dig in, you can customize pretty much everything about an element in the Style and Advanced tabs:
If you’re a casual user, you might not appreciate this depth of functionality (nor do you have to use it if you don’t want to). But designers and power users will love how much control Elementor gives you over nitty-gritty styling options.
Elementor Templates and Unique Features
Like Beaver Builder, Elementor includes a number of pre-made templates that allow you to get started without needing to start from a blank canvas. You can also save your own designs as templates to quickly reuse them.
If you have the Pro version, you’ll also get access to more templates, as well as helpful features like global widgets and embed anywhere.
With global widgets, you can use a custom content block across multiple pages on your site. To edit every area where the global widget appears, you just need to edit the global widget once and the changes are automatically pushed out to all instances of the global widget.
Embed anywhere, on the other hand, allows you to use Elementor templates in your sidebar, footer, and other areas of your site.
As I mentioned, Elementor’s free version is fairly feature rich (as far as free page builders go).
But if you want all of the elements, features, and templates, you’ll be looking at Elementor Pro. It starts at $49 for a single site license and ranges up to $199 for an unlimited license. You can get the full report on this plugin in our Elementor page builder review.
3. SiteOrigin Page Builder
With well over a million active installs, SiteOrigin Page Builder is definitely one of the most popular page builders in existence. Unlike the two other page builder plugins, the core version of SiteOrigin Page Builder is also 100% free, though there is a premium extension.
Again unlike the previous two plugins, SiteOrigin Page Builder is primarily a backend page builder. That means you’ll build your designs with abstract “blocks”. Here’s a peek at what I mean:
SiteOrigin Page Builder has implemented a live preview function that lets you edit pages with a live preview. But it still doesn’t offer drag and drop inline editing like Beaver Builder and Elementor:
SiteOrigin Page Builder Elements and Styling Options
SiteOrigin Page Builder calls all of its elements “widgets”. You can build your pages with any of your existing widgets and SiteOrigin Page Builder also provides a number of widgets in the free SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle plugin.
These include widgets for elements like buttons, pricing tables, feature lists, and more. Plus, you can also find third-party plugins that can expand your widget collection even further.
For each widget, you can add custom CSS, margins and padding, as well as other styling like backgrounds, borders, and more:
SiteOrigin Page Builder Pre-Built Layouts
Like Beaver Builder and Elementor, SiteOrigin Page Builder also includes a Layouts Directory that offers a number of pre-built layouts for you to get started from:
And you can also quickly clone a page or post if you need to duplicate custom content that you created.
SiteOrigin Page Builder Pricing
SiteOrigin Page Builder and the associated Widgets Bundle are 100% free. For most uses, that means you can use SiteOrigin Page Builder without spending a single penny.
With that being said, you can also purchase SiteOrigin Premium for $29 to get access to social widgets, more form fields for the contact form widget, parallax sliders, a custom post type builder, and other helpful features.
Which Page Builder Plugin Should You Choose?
Even though we compressed the list down to three page builder plugins, you still might be struggling to make your final choice. I can’t make an overall choice for everyone, but here are a couple of suggestions for different situations.
If you just want something lightweight that won’t break the bank, SiteOrigin Page Builder is popular for a reason. That is, it helps you quickly create clean designs for your site.
Personally, I’m not a fan of using it for complicated pages – but for lightweight page building, it’s a great option.
But what if you do need to build complicated pages? Well…that’s a tough question. Both Beaver Builder and Elementor are great options – you really won’t go wrong. I personally use Elementor because I think its interface is a bit faster, but that’s just personal preference. I’ve also used Beaver Builder and enjoyed it almost as much as Elementor.
Both plugins offer a free version, so I recommend that you play around with the free versions using Addendio and then choose the plugin that has the best interface.