WordPress is the leading CMS, currently powering over 40% of the internet. What began as a simple open-source blogging platform with free web hosting has evolved into the most widely deployed and best-supported CMS in the industry.
Divi is the leading WordPress Page Builder currently powering 2,369,753 websites. Elegant Themes (the authors of Divi) have always had a “Simple By-Design” approach to building professional web design tools.
At this point, we won’t deliberate the rationale for moving from a non-enterprise building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly – to WordPress but assume that the reader is either planning a new venture or at least considering a change in current operations.
Depending on how deeply you search, you won’t find many options. Divi is WordPress’s top theme and page builder, followed by Elementor, Avada, Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, and dozens of others, with WordPress’s own editors, Gutenberg, and WordPress Classic, being the out-of-the-box solution included with WordPress.
WordPress Core Editor
Beneath it all lies TinyMCE, an open-source plain-text to HTML editor/converter and principal component of WordPress for managing content. TinyMCE is a modularized programming core that achieves its editing functionality through external modules that can be added or removed in combination as needed to create almost any editing environment. As such, TinyMCE can be used by virtually any UI to create a custom text editor.
TinyMCE will continue to be an integral part of WordPress beyond Gutenberg and into the future.
The Gutenberg editor is a product of Automattic, creators of WordPress.
Gutenberg is a “BLOCK Editor,” introduced along with WordPress 5 as the next generation of WordPress editors claiming ease of use “whether you’re building your first site or write code for a living.” The WordPress “Classic Editor” is still available in WordPress 5 but is scheduled for removal in 2024, with Gutenberg completely replacing it.
Gutenberg has been a disappointment for the WordPress community. The user interface is vastly different from the Classic Editor, keyboard shortcuts don’t work, and the BLOCK paradigm is anything but perceptible to new users.
- 300,000 active installations from 38,539,556 live WordPress websites.
- Gutenberg’s current rating is 2-Stars with 2,377 1-Star and only 779 5-Star reviews.
- The module is currently in a beta state, under development.
- 29 of 47 issues have been resolved in the past two months.
Gutenberg is just another competitor with no more advantage than any other challenger. The fact that Automattic built WordPress gives them no advantage, WordPress is open source, and there are no secrets. The most significant WordPress improvements, and security and bug fixes have come from the open-source community. With its competitors having years of a head start, Gutenberg will have a tough time taking the lead.
Gutenberg is a back-end editor, not WYSIWYG, seriously reducing its efficiency.
Elementor is currently the second most popular WordPress page builder, created by an Israeli software development company founded in 2016 by Yoni Luksenberg and Ariel Klikstein.
Elementor installs as a WordPress module letting users create and edit website content for almost any WordPress theme using a simple, drag-and-drop interface. Elementor is currently getting great reviews, even from Divi users who acknowledge Elementor as a close competitor.
New users of website creation tend to like Elementor because of its simplicity and straightforward design. Since it works with almost any WordPress theme, it is relatively easy to install along with a theme to create a quick WYSIWYG website ready for content.
Although Elementor has a free limited edition, it is extremely limited to page content with no dynamic content, making it impossible to use for evaluating the full potential and usefulness of Elementor.
Elementor Pro is the paid module costing:
|Cost (USD/yr)||Max. Websites||Each (USD/yr)|
Ref: Elementor Pro Plans – Mar 27, 2023
This is expensive for a user wanting only to build a website for themselves, especially when added to the cost of a theme and hosting. For developers, this cost is a little more tolerable but must be passed on as a subscription cost (maintenance fee) to clients.
Elementor’s most unique feature is its Popup Builder, which uses the same WYSIWYG interface to edit custom popups that can be used for eMail opt-ins, contact forms, promotions, or login and registration dialogs.
Although I am not a fan of popups, I can appreciate where they come in handy, Divi’s free Bloom plugin provides many similar features for eMail opt-ins, and other modules provide similar operations.
Elementor supports the WordPress WooCommerce plugin.
Examples of Elementor Stores are on The Elementor Blog. Check these against the Divi samples (below) for builder comparisons.
Customer Support – Support is by far Elementor’s greatest source of complaints.
Elementor’s support staff are poorly trained, and after offering a series of canned suggestions if the problem is not resolved, blame hardware or network issues.
Bugs – Almost every day, new issues are reported with Elementor that the support staff either don’t know about, or are unable to explain.
The Divi Change Log shows no date for Divi’s 1.0 initial release, but the Divi 1.2 update was released on Dec 23, 2013. This puts Elementor (2016), who calls itself “the original page builder,” second in startup date as well as usage.
Like Elementor, Divi can be used as a module for the WYSIWYG editing of most WordPress themes, but Divi’s own theme is integrated into the page builder (as are all Divi Layouts), making them a perfect combination for custom-built themes. Many third-party providers offer custom-designed themes specially built for Divi, but like Divi’s own Layouts, these will require customization and styling to be made unique before use.
Divi has seamless integration with Gutenberg. After creating a page from the WordPress dashboard, you set the page title and WordPress page options, at which point you select whether you wish to edit the page with Divi or with WordPress’s editor. After selecting your choice, you have the full capabilities of your chosen editor.
Divi’s visual interface is a much more modern design with floating, draggable command groups and a less cluttered appearance. This allows editing the page in a true WYSIWYG fashion as opposed to Elementor’s sidebars distorting the visible page. It’s a matter of taste if it even matters at all, but as a web designer, it matters to me.
The Divi Builder Gutenberg Update updated Divi as of WordPress 5 to work seamlessly with Gutenberg.
Divi is not available as a FREE limited edition, the best way to ensure that Divi can handle the task is to put it to full use under a normal workload. This way, the tester can also evaluate how easy Divi is to work with, and there will be no surprises.
Elegant Themes offers an unconditional (Trustpilot endorsed) no-questions-asked, satisfaction guarantee for 30 days after purchase. Purchasing options are:
|Cost (USD/yr)||Max. Websites|
For any serious web developer, this is a one-time cost that includes any future Divi products (ie Divi 5..6..7..).
Divi’s most unique feature is the (A|B) split-testing which allows you to try two different approaches to determine which gets the better response. Divi does so by alternating options between successive visitors and tabulating responses. This feature can make Divi one of your favorite marketing tools.
Divi has inbuilt CSS and JS minimization (available as a module with Elementor).
Divi assists web designers and web design teams by providing the Layout Cloud with unlimited storage where designers can store their custom pages and templates, making them available anywhere. Divi teams can share libraries, or each have their own unlimited-size libraries. Like all Divi features, the libraries can be controlled and organized right from within the WordPress Divi control panel.
Divi also includes the Bloom eMail Opt-In and Lead Generation Plugin and Monarch Social Sharing Plugin for free, allowing you to extend the features of Divi where needed.
These features show Divi as more suited for a team management scenario for both web development and website management and marketing.
Divi has extensive integration with WooCommerce, allowing direct editing of product pages using the theme builder.
Some examples of Divi Stores can be found on The Elegant Themes Blog.
Complexity – One of the more common complaints about Divi is its complexity. There are settings and adjustments for virtually every aspect of presentation and operation for almost everything. Although plentiful, these are grouped into associated commands, and all options have sensible defaults that can easily be changed. The more advanced settings rarely come into use with regular website operations, they are primarily design tools used by the web designer.
Speed – In many reviews, particularly older publications, Elementor has been tested to be faster than Divi. This is correct, Elementor has been tested to be faster than Divi – Not surprising since Divi is a more complex system with more features and options.
The 2021 Massive Divi Performance Update took care of the speed issue, but Divi didn’t stop there, shortly after, Elegant Themes announced Divi 5, and all tests (Alpha Release) indicate that Divi 5 is about to change the entire WordPress page builder game.
Read an in-depth review of Divi 5 describing Divi 5 features.
From my own experience, I know that there are few software development companies that offer better support than Elegant Themes; they should be a role model for the industry. Not only does their Live Support work, but it is very responsive, and if your support agent can’t answer your question, they will connect you with someone who can.
Divi also has eMail support, several active user groups, and many resources and references as easy to find as Google.
Trustpilot ranks Divi Customer Support as 5.0/5.0.
Training & Resources
- Beginning with Elegant Themes – Learning The Basics, Elegant Themes has published in-depth articles on virtually every aspect of using Divi.
- The Divi Blog has an excellent selection of Divi training resources updated regularly.
- The Elegant’s Tips & Tricks section is a general collection of great tips for improving both Divi and non-Divi websites.
- The best collection of the most authoritative tutorials is Divi Theme Documentation.
- YouTube has an extensive collection of Divi training material from some well-known Divi specialists.
- Udemy has some paid courses, but if you search the web first. you may find many of these same courses available free elsewhere.
The Elementor Kits Library shows just over 100 website kits (complete website layouts) with static snapshots for previewing them.
The Divi Layouts & Layout Packs Library shows 307 Layout Packs with 2252 Total Layouts, with every layout having a live preview where you can browse the website to see it in action.
– Browse both libraries to compare the features, aesthetics, and overall appeal of the various designs.
I’ve been programming computers and building websites since before 2000. Although I can create a website with nothing more than a text editor, I appreciate the speed and efficiency of a page builder.
My use of a page builder is for designing, building, and maintaining websites and web services for clients. Divi is a better fit for my needs and my workflow. I find the structure and capabilities of Divi better suited for professional web developers and especially web development groups.
The icing on the cake is Divi’s elegant UI, with moveable floating controls so you can see the entire page you are editing (true WYSIWYG) without sidebar obstructions.
If you are having your website built by a professional web designer, the choice of tools is best left to the designer. Results are what matters, and that includes once the website is built and live, how easy it is for a non-designer to add or edit content, and manage it. It doesn’t get any easier than with Divi.
I am currently a Divi Pro – Lifetime Unlimited package holder, so my website builder is not a subscription and is no longer a cost to myself, or my clients – no matter the number of clients, or websites I create.
- TinyMCE – GitHub Project, (github.com, live)
- Gutenberg and the New Divi Builder Experience, (elegantthemes.com, Dec 11, 2018)
- Divi Performance Update 2021, (Aug 18, 2021)
- Divi – Changelog, (divinotes.com, latest)
- WordPress Usage Statistics, (builtwith.com, latest)
- Gutenberg WordPress Plugin, (wordpress.org, latest)
- Divi WooCommerce Modules, (elegantthemes.com, latest)
- Divi Usage Statistics, (builtwith.com, latest)
- Trustpilot – Elementor Reviews, (Trustpilot, latest)