Hate is a strong word and I shouldn’t use it lightly. And in all actuality, I don’t even “hate” pagebuilders all that much, I simply hate how they’re used and the way they attempt to solve problems.
I’ll try not to offend anyone but most people don’t realize they’re not only non-coders, but also non-designers! They think pagebuilders are the [easy] answer to having great design and they’re wrong. 99.99% of the sites I see built with a pagebuilder look just as generic and amateurish as all the others. Seriously, it’s the same look over and over.
Let’s breakdown the shortcomings of pagebuilders and the mentality behind using them.
So why are pagebuilders so popular?
- WordPress users want to create their own designs. Part of this is for creative reasons (they just wanna do their own thing). The other part is they don’t want to pay for a premium theme, graphics designer, or coder.
- WordPress users want to have “cool” features. It used to be that you had to find different plugins for every little purpose. Want a calendar? Gotta find it. Want a countdown? Ask your friends for one. And so forth. But now you can just install one pagebuilder and get all the options in one place. One tool to rule them all!
- WordPress users want to change things themselves. They don’t want to pay a “professional” $50/hr to change one little piece of text or swap images. It sounds like extortion. They’re also terrified of being married to one design forever. The promise of flexibility is a sigh of relief.
These are all very legitimate points and ones that I personally agree as a non-designer and non-coder. I do want custom designs with all the cool features and the ability to change things myself. I even had to learn how to do it the old way (lots of code snippets, hack tutorials) and can now appreciate that there is a much newer way to go about it.
But while pagebuilders CAN be a useful development tool, many of their features are designed for the wrong reasons and for the wrong users.
What’s the problem with pagebuilders?
PROBLEM #1 – Pagebuilders don’t produce better designs.
Pagebuilders focus on features rather than content.
This is a whole can of worms in itself. Great design is centered around the content. It’s about making YOUR CONTENT look good. It’s not about deciding what cool features you need to have on your site. Think of all the popular sites and mobile apps you use on a daily basis. Google, Gmail, Facebook, AirBnb, etc. You’re not looking at what colors and fonts they’re using. You’re looking at their content and enjoying the feel that the UI gives you.
Pagebuilders seem to ignore the first rule in design, which is CONTENT FIRST! Open up a pagebuilder and it doesn’t ask you for content, it asks you for what features you want to use and where. Then again, we shouldn’t be blaming the pagebuilder because it all depends on the user, not the tool. But nonetheless, pagebuilders seem to encourage this mindset of bringing home everything from the store, and then returning the items you don’t want to keep. You always end up with more crap this way and only wander further away from what’s essential. People forget that WordPress was popular in the first place because it was simple and clutter-free!
Pagebuilders don’t offer you anywhere near the design freedom that you would think they do. When it comes to traditional WordPress design BEFORE the age of pagebuilders: Coders and expert-users could do anything they want. Intermediate users were picking and customizing themes. And beginner users were stuck with stock themes. But now, can beginners install pagebuilders and set up themes that are just as good? NOPE! Beginner users will be just as lost (if not even more so). You’d be giving them access to the entire cockpit. Too much control and too little experience on how to use it.
There IS a nice medium. Give them a pre-built pagebuilder theme and let them work off of that. But will these pre-built pagebuilder themes look any better than other non-pagebuilder themes? Still NOPE! But that’s as good as it gets…they get the same design as a premium theme but with the convenience of a pagebuilder.
I’m also possibly being overly-critical. You could say pagebuilders focus on layout…which in itself is a major part of “content”. The way you organize content is as much a part of the content as the actual inner bits of text/images.
Pagebuilder don’t allow enough creativity.
Sure some people can be “creative” with just some simple layout/color/typography options. But for an A-level designer trying to build million-dollar brands or update existing ones?…they really want a blank canvas, so to speak. There are so many simple tiny elements that can be done in 5-15 minutes by hand-coding but don’t have an option for in pagebuilders. This kind of tool is made for the masses to spit out generic template-ey sites in quicker time. It’s great if you reuse the same formula over and over…..hero, cards, transitions, change some colors/fonts, throw in content. But when you’re trying to create unique user experiences in web design, it feels like trying to make a toddler do calculus.
PROBLEM #2 – Pagebuilders conflict with other themes/plugins/caching.
Luckily, this is less and less a problem.
This is a real complaint made by everyone (professionals and beginners alike). Pagebuilders cause a ton of compatibility issues. One pagebuilder can load 100-200 scripts (JS) and styles (CSS) that conflict with scripts and styles used by other plugins. So much for having all the “cool” features, right? What’s the point of adding features that cost you other important features? Every update feels a bit like Russian roulette and you’re never more than one settings change away from breaking your site.
I would even say that pagebuilders conflict with WordPress itself. Not a conflict in terms of coding and incompatibility, but a conflict in the sense of mindset. The way I see it, pagebuilders should either become more inline with native WordPress user-interface (and not look so much like a separate 3rd party control panel)… orrrr they could just become their own CMS altogether. Why not take over the entire process and make everything seamless? And all plugins could be built off the pagebuilder and there would be no more compatibility issues ever. Yeaup, I actually like that idea the more I think of it. Elementor and BeaverBuilder should just become their own CMS. Can be a WP-fork even.
Compatibility issues might be a thing if you’re running just a small blog. But what if you have a store, or conversion-tracking, membership functions, forum, and other complicated matters? It’s annoying to imagine that your DESIGN could actually get in the way of your website’s normal functions. I would also add that pagebuilder conflicts tend to be more of a problem for newbies than for experienced WordPress users.
PROBLEM #3 – Pagebuilders slow down your site!
This is a mixed complaint with bits of truth from many angles. On a really fast server and well-designed site, pagebuilders will only slow your site down by about 100ms. But on a slow server and with poorly written code or complicated design, it can cost you an extra 10 seconds. The biggest kicker is that pagebuilders often conflict with caching plugins. And if you know anything about caching plugins, some of them are essential and can even do miracles. For a busy site, having a caching plugin can mean the difference between having to buy a bigger server (cost hundreds of dollars every month) or staying on a lean $50/month VPS.
So the question is…how important is page load to you? For a small business with very few website visitors, the difference of 1 or 2 seconds load time isn’t such a big deal. But for a professional business with thousands of daily visitors going, the difference of even 300 milliseconds is a huge and noticeable difference. I would personally avoid the pagebuilder if it cost me 200ms, caused conflicts, and hindered my caching ability.
Again, SLOW is a relative word. The moment you have any client hitting above 100k monthly visitors, you start to really feel the weight of that pagebuilder. Get to 1 million, and it’s a massive mistake. Get to 10 million, and you realize you would have saved so much money on the web-server alone had you fork up the time/cost to manually code in the beginning.
PROBLEM #4 – Pagebuilders are inefficient templators!
When you really think about it, pagebuilders are basically there for only a few reasons: 1) divide content areas into multiple vertical sections (cards) or horizontal sections (columns), 2) add visual effects, or 3) customize headers and footers. That’s pretty much it! And what a wasteful way to add and color <divs>. For this reason, I’m not surprised WordPress has decided to make these key design functions native with Gutenberg.
PROBLEM #5 – Pagebuilders are never the end goal
Pagebuilders are built for noobs!
This is probably one of the biggest offenses for me. BUILT FOR NOOBS, means BUILT FOR BEGINNERS. As a professional, we don’t want tools built for newbies. Don’t get me wrong. We love ease-of-use but we don’t love cluttered templates that feel cumbersome to get around. We don’t like using tools designed for people who don’t know what they’re doing. We don’t need “suggestions”. We just want an empty canvas so we can work. A lot of how professionals prefer their workspace is to have the freedom to organize things around their workflow.
What large established brand or website with over millions of visitors do you know, that uses pagebuilders?
I can’t think of a single one. Never seen any popular blogs or busy ecommerce stores using pagebuilders. Pagebuilders will always be removed eventually when you want to evolve your design to the next level or at least make your site leaner to serve millions of visitors without crippling your web server. Sure, if you KNOW you’re only using the pagebuilder to get your business off the ground and have a fast simple web presence, it’s great.
But if you’re looking to get that super polished look and get that A-level user experience ASAP, pagebuilders are definitely not the way to go. Again, it’s ok if you’re a newb who doesn’t know what he’s doing. But if you’re an experienced developer trying to get a brand moving asap and ready to handle massive traffic and give them unique web experiences…you already know the answer.
What are the pros to pagebuilders?
BENEFIT #1 – Pagebuilders are powerful/easy-to-use
No coding required.
Pagebuilders are lots of fun. Lots of power and freedom. Any beginner feels like they can do anything they want with a pagebuilder. No longer are beginners frustrated by not understanding code and having to pull out their hair to make tiny changes on their site. They are also pretty much your only resource if you don’t know how to code.
Pagebuilders let you customize other themes.
One of the greatest benefits of pagebuilders is not so much to completely design your whole site from scratch but to customer another finished theme to suit your tastes—all without having to code. Sometimes, a finish theme is ALMOST there, or maybe all you needed was a custom sales page design where you can tweak certain elements. Pagebuilders are great for recycling designs.
BENEFIT #2 – Pagebuilders save time.
Build sites quickly.
You can start from a template or start from a blank site. Pagebuilders help you fire up cards, and colors, and typography options in record time. This is much faster than starting from a blank framework or having to wrestle between parent and child themes, manually enqueuing assets, making slight adjustments, pushing viewport width settings around.
Want to save multiple versions of templates? Want to undo/redo your template changes? Want to move/copy templates from one site to another? It’s much easier with pagebuilders than with child themes. If you’re a high-volume development shop building generic sites for low budget clients, pagebuilders are fantastic!
BENEFIT #3- Easy for clients to use.
Common sense UI.
Many clients find it easier to edit content in pagebuilders than to dig through php template files custom theme settings UI. Why? Because pagebuilder content is usually edited right from the page in the backend. For example, editing the home page simply requires clicking “edit page” for the home page. With a custom page template, or custom theme, you may have to dig around in different settings panels or remember to pick different page templates or even occasionally edit code directly. It’s less intuitive for newbies and even hard-to-remember for busy developers managing hundreds of sites.
Can pagebuilders be improved?
Absolutely! They are the future and here to stay. I think they should become more modular, with options to edit only parts of the design or even taking over the entire site. But it’s important for users to be able to choose. They should also load only the required scripts and styles. That would be the first area to start, decrease the conflicts and speed issues.
The next objective should be to integrate pagebuilders better with WordPress and design practices. Premium/paid themes are absolutely NOT on the same level as an actual professional custom-design made by an agency. Currently, pagebuilders don’t actually help “non-designers” to learn how to design, or even to think like a designer. And I think that’s the most important step for pagebuilders.
Pagebuilders could also be improved for agencies. It’s unfortunate but most pagebuilders are built with the beginner-market in mind. With gimmicky features and marketing that appeals to the masses. Agencies don’t need that. They have a stock theme or template and then change fonts, colors, and layouts all on one go. Maybe apply a few custom functions and design aesthetics based on the client needs and that’s it. Beginner users on the other hand, want every toy, color, and latest trendy animation option.
But what would I personally recommend?
If you’re just starting out, don’t know what you’re doing and don’t have a lot of time or money, pick a *CLEAN* premium theme and change the color and logo and that’s it. Or you can just do what most people do…which is fool around with a pagebuilder for months, stress out, break things, fix them, get sick of your ugly design and then still end up buying a premium theme.
If your business is established or you’re trying to make an impact in a crowded playing field, it’s time to get a professional professional. Either go with agency who will take care of it all, or outsource every step…first hire a designer, then hire a coder. Will cost you some money but the results are so much better than getting a generic theme or trying to design things yourself based on other generic websites. I honestly think pagebuilders have a long way to go before they’re truly ready for the high-end production level. They have too many drawbacks, and don’t allow you to design as beautifully/uniquely as you think they do.
What if you’re a professional designer/development agency?
This is honestly the only scenario where I would approve of a pagebuilder. Professional developers can use pagebuilders to quickly turn designs into functional websites. Pagebuilders are great for low-budget clients or those who insist on changing things by themselves. They’ll know exactly which functions and scripts to enable and which ones to leave off. They’ll also know how to organize things so users can edit or make changes quickly without having to “figure out” where things are. But as always, I always recommend hard-coded themes as the gold standard for maximum performance and compatibility. And if the client really needs, you can allow custom fields for them to make changes.
Still want to use a pagebuilder? Here are my choices…
- 1st place is BeaverBuilder (stable and caters more to developers, not noobs)
- 2nd place is Site Origin (clean, clutter-free, very open-source vibe)
- 3rd place is Oxygen (clean, fast, stable, developer-mentality)
- 4th place is Brizy (upcoming pagebuilder that looks promising)
- 5th place is Elementor (trendy features, trendy designs…but I don’t like the interface or how it caters to every noob desire)
I loved and agreed with many of the comments here: https://wpshout.com/wordpress-page-builder-review/
You might really like Sandwich… I too dislike Pagebuilders for many of the same reason as you, but last time I checked a bunch of them (like 8 months ago)… Sandwich was friggin’ mean! I just remember it being so fast and slick and no lag and really friendly front-end editing without much loading. Maybe sandwich is still like that…
Hey Matt, thanks for showing me this! (One of the programmers on my slack group said it was cool when it first came out, nice UI compared to everyone else but the competition has caught up.) If I was to ever use one, my top picks are BeaverBuilder, SiteOrigin, Oxygen, Brizy. We’ll see if this one holds up in time!
How bad is Divi?
One of the most hated out there. Some people argue it’s quite usable if you can get over the shortcode lock-in issue.
Thanks bud! By the way could you install some “subscription to comments” feature? Hard to remember where I commented on your site, and I keep going through many posts to see if I commented and if there’s a response 😉
Great idea and I will do it! Thank you for requesting.
Don’t listen to this haters because Divi takes a bread from them so that’s why they will always complain. Divi allows to create professional websites even for plumbers.
I know you will block this comment, but I don’t care.
Looks like you’re wrong about me as I didn’t block your comment. I’m guessing you think there isn’t a single legitimate complaint against Divi. You’re welcome to explain what you like about Divi…and then if you can, explain away all the thousands of complaints that beginners and developer users alike have about it.
Oh and by the way…why is your name coming up on Google search results with you constantly bringing up Divi? Are you personally working for them? Or are you simply a biased fan and hate hearing criticism?
Elegant Themes did a great job marketing Divi but that’s their only forte, marketing. I speak from experience, there are a lot of downsides to using Divi. It’s not as intuitive as it is claimed to be, there really is a steep learning curve when you decide to design outside the “Divi Box.” If you want to accomplish more than the basic templates and layouts they offer up you’ll find that you’re going to have to at least know some CSS, and there are some things you just can’t do with the Divi theme.
I can spot a Divi site a mile away, they all look the same. Divi is buggy, I often had issues with it and the time spent resolving those was wasteful. Divi is full of distracting crappy options that will slow you’re page speed down if used. It just does not make the grade for a design tool. I defy any non-coder to get more than a generic site using Divi.
Brizy looks promising but it’s still in early development, can’t vote for it yet. Elementor is better than Divi by a mile but it has some page speed issues as well. I’m betting on Gutenberg for the future, I think it will kill Divi and Elementor.
I agree with everything you wrote. I do think Gutenberg (and more importantly, it’s compatibility with 3rd-party blocks) will eventually change the landscape for pagebuilders. I think they’ll devolve into bloated themes (but with better UI). I still like what pagebuilders can do but they will end up having to work so much harder to stay useful…either take over the entire template or custom-fit themselves into their allotted space.
I love the Elementor pagebuilder – but then I only use it for fast templating of CPT and not the rest of the “design” features .. Easiest way to build nice and dynamic CPT templates that goes in the content area only and it does not slow down the website more then a couple of ms. But that´s just me, lazy as ****, even if I love really fast websites to .. =)
Totally agree with your points!
My biggest peeve is the proprietary way most page builders store information in the database. Many don’t even store stuff in the wp_posts table but in the wp_postmeta table. So if you turn them off, you’re content is either gone or littered with shortcodes.
Pretty much every site is going to look dated in 2 years so we like themes that store info in the database the way it was intended and don’t cause too much trouble when switching from theme to theme (Genesis fans btw).
I would argue that Gutenberg, once more stable and “fully” developed, will be able to serve both beginners and developers both in terms of functionality and design.
It has the potential to become really good and especially so when front-end editing becomes available.
Absolutely. It’s a step in the right direction and I love that it’s native to WordPress. I’m a fan of the Gute!
It is true, hard-coded is the best, but why would I need WordPress then? When I hardcode everything I can as well just use html/php with js/css and spare all the WordPress overflow, no?
Thanks for a very useful article!
Please tell me. Is it possible to create blocks for Gutenberg with dynamic fields?
Dynamic fields – I mean add / remove fields.
If so, could you drop the link to the plugin to create Gutenberg blocks?
Sorry for my English. Thanks again for your article!
I can’t stand the div soup that BB and Elementor spit out.
To me, Oxygen is the winner.
seems elementor is slow with some causes.
Font Awesome drags the loading speed by a whole head so dequeueing it would save quite a lot of times. Why not try this out?
At least felt somewhat quicker on local wordpress. (using their theme builder and google fonts)
I don’t even bother with FontAwesome; it’s so bloated and wasteful. Just make custom font icon library or use SVG if you only have a few.
Thank you. I’ve been blogging for 15 years and only recently felt like I needed to get a pagebuilder. I tried both Site Origin and then Elementor. I felt like both slowed down my site and ME as a writer. I was looking for someone to agree with me and I happened on your post.
By the way, I found your site because of your post about translation plugins. You made some good points and, for now, you have convinced me to stay away from them and just focus on my primary, English-language content.
Hey Melanie, you can try GeneratePress with their awesome “sections” feature. It gives you most of the same layout features of pagebuilders but without the bloat.
Great article. I have this belief in the back of my mind, that many of the current batch of page builders are “making hay while the sun shines”. Many make it hard to revert or save work outside of their builder. In that I mean its not portable back to the WordPress editor even as basic content without the added bells and whistles. I believe this is on purpose, to make it hard for people to leave their fold or use other editors. WordPress is committed to develop Gutenberg as a full open source evolution of the previous editor. When that finally is realised, there will be a smaller need for third party page builders. It may take a while, but they have seen the writing on the wall.
Oh yeah! The pagebuilder days are already fading out for many developers. I already have a guide scheduled to release soon that’ll show you how to remove pagebuilders without any loss of design/function.
The reason why I am reaching out to you is that you are always super honest, this is why I would like to ask a little help 🙂
I am a non-techie guy, played with some CSS but super basic stuffs. I do not want to be a site builder, I do not plan to build sites for clients (maybe for friends if they would ask me) but I have a blog that I am planning to redesign, I would like to create a personal portfolio (job related stuffs) and one of my dreams is to create an e-commerce site once if the life wants it too 🙂
For these, I am looking for the best solution. Currently I am an Elementor user, I built my blog and portfolio with it, it’s slow but I know that the way how I built it back then is also a problem.
I am checking Oxygen in the past days, watched your review video on Youtube and so on but still kinda confused because there is Gutenberg as well, but actually I do not know much about it. I know there are blocks though.
Is it “dangerous” for a beginner that Oxygen disables the themes?
You mentioned that Oxygen is super developer friendly. But I am not a developer and I am not planning to be one, some basics of course are okay and I believe are needed as well 🙂 And… I love that you can create your header, footer, singular post templates, woo commerce styling and so on with Oxygen.
But for example I am not sure this for example will ever be available in Oxygen, see what happens once you add a product to the cart. Super nice animation and UX:
Or let’s say a timeline, or even some nice things like this…:
So the things I mentioned above make me super confused, I also read the following under you video: “Hey, Johnny, I was wondering if you know anyone who can communicate with Louis Reingold directly? I am just wondering if Oxygen is still alive at Soflyy & whether it’s a priority for the company. I see fewer and fewer Oxygen update releases & almost no staff activity over on their Github “bugs and features” repo, while the bugs/feature requests are rapidly piling up with absolutely no communication from the company. It makes me really worried that the project is slowly dying (possibly due to their pricing model, which may seem unsustainable). Would be good to hear from the man himself on whether everything is ok at Soflyy.”
Well, if they would stop everything, then……… Elementor will not stop their operations, I am almost sure.
What would you honestly suggest me based on my ambitions I described above?
I appreciate all your help a lot :)
Thanks in advance and cheers,
Oxygen can do everything if you’re a developer. But since you’re are not, you answered your own question…you have to stick to Gutenberg blocs. Please see my Gutenberg block library review.
Such great videos, thanks a lot for the reviews! Now I see and understand the power of Gutenberg. Qubely and Stackable are awesome… I am just realizing that Elementor and other builders maybe are in a trouble if they don’t do something…
As I am a beginner sorry for the noob question. Even if you use Gutenberg with these amazing plugins, you still need a proper theme behind such as GeneratePress, Astra, OceanWP, etc., right? And there you will control the header and footer and so on. Or maybe I am wrong.
But what’s the situation for example with Singular post layout and so on. Here is where Oxygen can be the tool for it or what do you think? And Oxygen also has Gutenberg builder.
You mentioned, as long as I am not a developer you would not recommend Oxygen but the Gutenberg Blocks. What’s the main reason that Oxygen is recommended more for developers? Because it disables themes? I think, there are some things that can be done with Oxygen even if you are a newbie. This is the last thing that I am confused about.
Thank you in advance!
Yes, the pagebuilder era will soon come to an end. Or at the very least, they won’t be page template builders but more like content block builders. Yes, you still need a proper theme. Use whichever one that has the features and UI you like. Header and footer can be controlled from theme or custom built using some pagebuilder-ish function.
As for custom page templates, I recommend you relying on theme options than to hack with Oxygen. Judging from your questions, I’d guess Oxygen would be too technical for you. Oxygen is harder for non-coders because it lays things out in programmer way. It’s not a cute little list of icons and features, it has sections and
and takes over your theme functions which might require extra work later if you need to do custom template overrides for WooCommerce and such. It’s hard for me to explain what you can find out for yourself from trying.
Thanks a lot, I guess all clear now with your detailed explanation!
– Forget pagebuilders
– Proper theme + Gutenberg Blocks are the best but unfortunately there is no possibility to design a singular post template for example. All these functions (+woocommerce, etc.) will come from the theme.
– Oxygen is great for advanced things, but you need to leeeearn a lot 🙂 And as I understand it is risky as well based on your sentence: “it has sections and and takes over your theme functions which might require extra work later if you need to do custom template overrides for WooCommerce and such.”
Actually I am not sure that I got it well, could you please tell just one example? What I can imagine, that e.g.: you need to design the whole woocoom things from product pages to checkout, and so on. Is this what you meant? Or what do you mean by overriding?
Thanks once again a lot and correct me if my takeaways are wrong 🙂
Your takeaways are mostly correct but lack some understanding. I can’t explain it any easier.
– Most pagebuilder functions are now easier done using Gutenberg blocks. Some are still not yet fully-replaced.
– Gutenberg blocks cannot do custom page templates. For that you have the same options as before (using developer’s help, or pagebuilder).
– Oxygen is great for everything if you have developer’s skill to do it. It’s “risky” only if you’re a non-coder.
Thanks Johnny, and your patience as well!
Actually I would love the power of somehow combining the theme main functions, e.g.: basket on the header or add to cart animations with the possibility to edit everything with Oxygen.
But yep, Oxygen disables everything.
I do also understand that you recommended to keep with the chosen, proper theme + Gutenberg blocks, I do like for example the Woocoomerce possibilities in OceanWP theme but I do not really like the post archive styling or the singular post template. These are the things where would be super nice to be able to customize and design these with Oxygen or let’s say a 404 page, but still having super clean code.
Do you think that something like this will ever be possible in WP? With Oxygen I am afraid not but maybe with something else…
That was my last, thanks for your patience once again, I already opened some articles to read on your blog. Keep it up!!!
Hey, what do you think Pinegrow? It is a visual code generator for backend PHP code. It gives you total freedom design freedom (but also the option to use css frameworks such as bootstrap if you want to).
I thought it looked interesting but a few developers I trust already pointed out some flaws which I can’t remember now. FWIW, I don’t like Bootstrap and CSS frameworks so that’s not a useful feature to me.https://wpjohnny.com/wp-admin/import.php
How long ago was that? I’m asking since I have owned it for two years now and it has gone through various important feature updates. I like it and I intend on using it to freelance. I personally like it very much, especially when paired when ACF. It enables me to do almost anything. Than again, I’m not a developer but more of a ‘hybrid’ designer who likes his backend code automated as much as possible.
About the bootstrap thing, I understand. I don’t use it either. I just pointed it out because some people tend to see the bootstrap thing and brush it off as nothing more than a bootstrap builder, which it isn’t.
We last chatted about it like a month ago on my Facebook group (link is here). If you really think I should review it more closely, I’ll be happy to play with your account. It certainly looks like another themebuilder (like Oxygen).
Honestly, you probably won’t need my account as the devs are really friendly people and I’m fairly sure that if you’d ask them they’d provide you with a review version. The reason I’d rather not provide my own license key is because on that particular practice the devs kind of frown upon and I’d rather not lose my key this way. Alternatively (if the above fails) you can always use the free trail which lets you play with it for a week (which I admit is not nearly enough time to fully get to grips with it. It took me a few months to be able to produce something solid and I find I’m still improving my skills with it as I finish more projects. But to me this just means it is solid dev tool that takes itself and its users seriously).
You can contact the Pinegrow dev team here:
or if you’d rather contact the founder directly, this is his twitter account:
I have also been reading the facebook comments and I’d say that (even if I dissagree with many of them) it is mostly a fair assesment. The takeway was (if I understand it correctly) basically that it is more developer friendly than Oxygen (which is true even though there are some similarities.) and that it is the best thing apart from coding directly, which is a statement I fully agree with. The critique that is also mentioned is that it doesn’t have a built in FTP solution, which is true. But I use a localhost solution in conjunction with it, namely local by flywheel (which the Pinegrow devs even recommend to use) so I just have to export my theme to the right folder within the Local by flywheel folder so it just takes me one button push to see the changes I’ve made in my local installation.
And it may look like a pagebuilder for the people who have never used it but I can assure you it’s not. I haven’t touched a prebuild drag and drop UI item since I’ve owned it and I’ve written all my HTML and CSS from scratch (I’ve even used it in conjunction with visual studio code for which it has a plugin to sync assets). Just the PHP code that makes it dynamic is done in pinegrow itself. And the fact that it makes my CSS easier to organise. It’s a bit like writing CSS in a webrowser with the dev tools open (select an element, see the CSS rules, classes and ID’s linked to it. Add a class, write new rules. No clutter…). Paired with ACF I can even fairly easily make custom designed gutenberg blocks.
Technically you could use it as a page builder if you really wanted to but that would negate most of Pinegrow’s potential.
If you are interested, I’ll post a link to my personal website below which I only recently put online. It was made using pinegrow. All html and css code as well as the design is fully custom made. I started the design in adobe XD and worked of off that (visual) example to recreate it in wordpress using pinegrow. I achieved around 95% accuracy which I think is pretty good.
Hey, I read your excellent piece and I completely agree with you on the pagebuilders in WP. With particular regard to Elementor, which is incredibly complex, and full of what seem like miniscule bugs but end up ballooning into real blockers. I’m not a dev by trade but I know my way around html and css. And i really, really hate Elementor and Elementor Pro. Thanks for the rec on Beaver Builder. Cheers, Simon
Excellent piece . I njust came off a 6 hour ordeal with Elementor and WP Bakery. Coding still rules.