Online Market is full of DIY (Do It Yourself) visual page builder for WordPress CMS. Popular ones like Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Avada Fusion Builder etc. are having thousands of downloads. It means lot many people are using these plugins or probably themes with which these builders are shipped with. In this article, I am trying to find out whether the page builders are solving a short term problem or may create long term issue on your WordPress site.

Why People Install a Page Builder?

The basic feature of any page builder is to allow you create a nice looking, multi-column pages with different elements without writing any piece of code. If you are a non-technical person, still you can use the drag and drop method to create nice landing pages with these builders. Visual Composer plugin is having limited elements whereas Divi builder comes with more elements including Pricing Table, Multiple Circle Counter etc.

So basically people who are not comfortable with coding or don’t want to invest time on designing a landing page, use page builders. It helps in putting call to action button, maps, accordion text, sliders, multi-column feature showcase by just dragging these modules and configuring the same.

What are the problems of using a Page Builder?

There is no doubt that a Page Builder makes life easy for newbies or people who do not want to hire someone for designing a page. But at the same time there are few important cons of using a page builder. For example,

  • Compatibility Issues with other plugins
  • Theme Compatibility Issue
  • Page Load Time
  • Not Future Proof

Now I will explain each points individually.

Compatibility Issues with other plugins

Page builders are one of the most reported plugins for compatibility issues. When Elegant Themes released Divi 3.0 recently with Visual Page Builder, many Divi users reported compatibility issues with other plugins. Divi Team released 5 updates in just 10 days and mostly to fix the compatibility issues with third-party plugins.

Theme Compatibility Issues

If you are using a Page Builder which was shipped along with the theme, you may find less compatibility issues between the builder and theme. Developers test the scenario in most caes before releasing the theme to make the builder more compatible. For example, Avada theme is having less compatibility issues with Fusion Builder. But in most cases, people use a Page Builder Plugin on their old WordPress theme of course because of the benefits of a builder. It is very common ti find people reporting about CSS or JS conflicts on their site.

Not all themes are compatible with Visual Page Builders and they may break the pages because of the JS and CSS conflicts.

Page Load Speed and Time

All the fancy things come with a price. Page Builders allow you to create a nice landing page but at the same time, it loads multiple scripts and functions on the page too. Everything that you drag and drop creates a shortcode and it takes time and effort from server side to execute the same and load the page. For every 1 second that your page takes to load, you lose 7% visitors on your site. There are certain ways to make your WordPress site fast but still, these page builders can be a culprit behind your slow page load speed.

Not Future Proof. What If.

Think of a scenario when the Page Builder you are using is no more. All the Page builders put multiple shortcode inside the page content area. If the developer of the particular page builder that you are using is not in business anymore and stops releasing updates, what will happen to the pages created using that Page builder. Initially you will start facing compatibility issues and then it will start breaking the page. You can not just copy and paste the content as it must be full of shortcodes. One should check the “Text” tab of the editor to see the exact content of the page created using Page builder. You will find too much HTML for a simple content area.

I have seen people creating posts using a Page builder to make that look good. What if you have hundreds of such posts on your blog and you start facing issues with the Page builder. That situation may create panic for you and in that case, probably you will have to hire a developer.

Founder of Easy Digital Downloads and WP Affiliate, Pippin Williamson feels that almost all the Page Builder WordPress plugins are terrible and creates more problems than solving one.

Syed Balkhi, founder of WP Beginners and OptinMonster came in defence of Page Builders by saying that Page Builders are solution for those who want to build pages by themselves without hiring a developer.

Read the complete conversation between Pippin, Syed, Brian Gardner and Nathan Rice here,

Should I Use a Page builder?

A nice landing page converts very well, its a known fact. If you don’t have budget to hire a developer to create such a page, you can use a Page builder to start with. Once you start getting good conversion and revenue with the page, hire someone and get out of the Page builder plugin. For blog posts, never use a Page Builder. Utilize the features available in WordPress editor to create a nice blog posts but do not depend on a Page builder for posts.

Page Load Time is very important, so install these recommended plugins to make your site load faster. Also make sure that you check all the pages created with Page builder once you update the plugin or theme.

Update

Lot of discussion happened on the Advance WordPress group on Facebook and also received many comments on this topic. I really like to thank community members for discussing this thread positively and putting your views in ethical ways. Based on the discussion, Beaver Builder seems to the best Visual Page Builder for WordPress as of now. It doesn’t populate the content area with shortcode which will help in migrating the content to other platform or even you can discontinue using Beaver Builder anytime. Apart from that, Beaver Builder is also recommended in terms of performance as compared to other Page Builders for WordPress.

17 thoughts on “Visual Page Builder for WordPress Creates More Problems than It Solves

  1. PageBuilders hark back to the bad old days where every page was individually coded in HTML.

    Why bother having a database if you’re just gunna shove all the content into a page – where it’s not re-usuable on any other page? Why not just use RapidWeaver et al.

    Without a page builder, if you change themes, your posts and content displays without you having to do anything more than tweak the layout and re-style it maybe.

    But what happens if you were to change page builders? Working for an agency that has tried 3 or 4 page builders, over the last couple years, I know it would be a nightmare and massively time consuming.

    Page Builders may save time today, but just think forward a couple of years when it’s time to redo the site, and you want to use whatever’s in vogue then. You’re going to be doing a lot of copy and pasting – if you’re lucky!

    And they may be great for DIYers, but good luck when you have to take over and rebuild their site one day!

    Use custom content and plugins that can display that content. Then if you change plugins, you don’t have to re-enter the content. And all your content is re-usuable.

    Page Builders are just glorified HTML editors that neuter the power of CMSes.

    1. To give just some short comments:

      • plugin compatibiliy issues is a non-issue, if using variable names unique to the plugin everyone could create, including pagebuilders (without problems)

      • theme compatibiliy: same thing, and if you use a pagebuilder you could use very simple basic themes and child themes, so even less of these issues. Pagebuilders take care of 80-90% of the creative design. So what is left for a theme?

      • we tested page load times, with small themes and various pagebuilders, the time is almost the same compared to (heavy) high-end themes without pagebuilders.

      • nothing is future proof, not even WordPress itself

      This article has been bases on assumptions.

      Kind Regards,

      Peter Luit

      1. Hi Peter,

        The only assumption is that the site will remain live for a long time say 3 – 5 years.

        Regarding the compatibility issues, please check the other article on this blog talking about the release of 5 updates in just 10 days by Divi team for compatibility issues fix for their New Visual Builder.

        I agree that Page Builders are helpful, but one should not depend on these builders for creating 20 or 50 pages.

    2. That’s 100% true. Along with WordPress which itself is getting bigger and bulkier with every update, you will have to carry the Page Builder as well for the life of your site.

      One should not depend on multiple platforms for a single website.

  2. Sorry but I can’t share all of it. There is the SiteOrigin PageBuilder, which is on github and has the best code I’ve seen among page builders.

    We never experienced compatibility Issues with other plugins or themes.
    It uses own very unique classes and CSS structures while depending on the WP_Widget class that comes with WordPress.

    And the page load time? Well I don’t care about that until it reaches 10 seconds because there is caching and varnish. So this is not a problem. Okay you are forced to do some front-end caching but why not?

    I keep it future proof by just forking the github repo into an own build. This is how every company should handle open source software. Pull everything in your domain and leave it there. Having external dependencies always sucks.

    Customers pay for that freedom and easy to use backend. Even for customization on each widget. And three years later there is a relaunch. I see no pain in this. More efforts for wealthy contractor and a happy customer.

  3. Page builders are tools.
    As all tools, their usefulness depends on understanding them, their strengths/limitations…
    So…no tool is very useful, in the hands of someone incompetent…

    Pippin is mainly drawing attention to that page builders make more incompetent people believe they are excellent designers/developers/business builders…and that may be a bit optimistic…methinks.

    1. Yes, but he is also drawing attention towards the performance issues because of these builders as they put too many shortcode inside the content area. And he himself keeps getting support tickets because of the compatibility issues with many popular Page Builders.

      Through this post, I just tried to highlight the cons of using Page builders extensively on their sites.

      1. Not all page builders (e.g. Beaver Builder) use shortcodes. Instead, you can convert most of a Beaver Builder page’s content (sans layout) right back to standard WordPress page content with ease. I agree that relying on shortcodes for a page builder is a poor design choice, but it’s not one that every option falls victim to.

        Also, caching (which you should be doing anyway) alleviates most of the performance problem. For example, my personal site’s (Beaver Builder) homepage is nearly 6MB due to large images and video. Yet a performance test with pingdom consistently yields load times of 1-2 seconds at most.

        Page Builders aren’t a panacea, and as a developer, part of me misses building everything inside custom plugins and themes all the time. There are definitely downsides. But if you’re trying to make money building websites, a page builder almost becomes a must (unless you have high-end clients willing to pay $30K+ for a website).

  4. Maybe you’re right about Divi 3 builder, but Divi is bloated with shortcode anyway.
    Builders (especially based on a CSS framework) work beautifully for both pages and posts, so I don’t see a reason to discourage the use of them.

  5. Total utter nonsense! Modern WordPress page builders are fantastic.

    I have Page Speed optimized websites I built with Beaver Builder & Visual composer that are as fast as any website on the internet.

    What a big pile of hot steaming BS this article is.

    1. Probably you know how to optimize the pages and aware of plugins such as WP Super Cache and CDN Implementation. But think about those who are just creating multiple pages with such builders and not aware of the negative performance issues or multiple scripts getting loaded in Head area.

      For those people, this article will be an eye opener. I agree about Beaver Builder, but tell me how you are going to migrate (if required) the content created out of Visual Composer shortcodes inside the editor to some other platform. And also assume that you are having 20+ pages built with Visual Composer. And now think of a situation that you built that site for a client using Visual Composer and he is willing to migrate the content to another platform.

      Can he just copy the content from WordPress to some other CMS? So not just performance issues, but this article also highlights the other cons of using a Page Builder.

  6. All WordPress page builders are NOT created or function equally. Some are 4-letter-words (literally) and some are Jewels (Beaver Builder). A blanket condemnation is totally unprofessional.

    That being said, as was pointed out to us in one of our Facebook groups, if the author is so averse to WordPress page builders, one wonders why he using one on the very WordPress site where he dooms them. From the source code of THIS very page:

    “rel=’dns-prefetch’ href=’//i2.wp.com’>img#wpstats{display:none} <link"

    Doublespeak?

    1. Yes, this site is using a builder but it’s not about this site or the sites owned by the author. Probably the author is prepared with a backup plan or aware of the cons.

      But with this article, he tried to make newbies aware of the extensive use of such builders. There is no doublespeak as I, myself is a frequent user of such builders. And in the same Facebook group, I said that Builders are need of this hour when we have developers charging huge amount for building such pages from scratch.

      I really appreciate that you highlighted this point that the author is using a builder. And gave me opportunity to explain that even if I use Page builders on my pages, I am aware of the cons that may appear later.

      As mentioned in the conclusion part of this article, once I will start making good amount of revenue from this site, probably I will hire someone and get rid of the Page Builder from my site. Till then, page Builders are just WOW for me. 🙂

      1. I agree with Brenda, not all page builders are equal. I have used most of them and found major differences in “code bloat, server requests, and sites left with short code placed everywhere”. I dropped them all and now use Beaver Builder exclusively, and love it!

  7. intersting read. but at least try to get a mobile designed page here. without 0px edge…..

  8. Sadly ironic that this post has an advert at the top with a discount for the 20% of the Divi 3.0 theme.

    Which co-incidentally, uses a page builder.

    1. Divi is a great theme with lot many features including a Page Builder. This site is promoting the offer for visitors and I hope that should be fine. Now the article is about the issues people may face because a page builder and should take a note of the same.

      It is not at all like the author or the site is against a page builder. We are trying to highlight the issues one should take a note and probably get ready to face the challenges and not just the convenience.

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