Elementor vs Divi (and why we don’t recommend either)

Which is better for web design: Elementor or Divi? There are a few elementary differences between Divi and Elementor. Learn why neither of them is ideal.

Elementor and Divi websites with a question mark
Patrick Mitter

Patrick Mitter /

March 11, 2021


Which is better: Elementor or Divi?

It’s probably a matter of faith between WordPress web designers. And honestly, there’s no one right blanket answer to this. However, you’re here because you want an answer (or you just like reading our GREYD blog).

That’s why I wrote this article for you. You’ll learn more about Divi and Elementor, and more importantly, why both tools are not the real deal for professional web designers.

The Differences: Divi vs. Elementor

The two tools don’t have much in common. So it’s hard to say whether Elementor is easier to use than Divi.

While the Elementor WordPress page builder initially started out as a plugin for WordPress, Divi has always been a WordPress theme. However, they both fall into the category of WordPress page builders.

There is one fundamental difference between Elementor and Divi:

Elementor is aimed more at WordPress with little to no experience in web design, who want to build a website by themselves. Divi, on the other hand, is used by professional web designers to build websites for their clients.

To help you see the differences between Divi and Elementor in detail, we’ll briefly go over them one by one.

Video: A visual comparison

A comparison between Divi, Elementor and the native WordPress Site Editor.

Elementor

Elementor started out in 2016. Their mission was to make it easier to build WordPress websites. Since it’s been used over 5 million times it’s no surprise that Elementor is often considered the best page builder.

Elementor is a free plugin in its basic version. Once installed, you can easily go to your WordPress backend and build your pages just the way you need them.

Elementor is a so-called “What You See Is What You Get” editor (WYSIWYG editor). As the name suggests, Elementor delivers the design exactly as you see it during your building process.

GIF Elementor

The WYSIWYG feature is probably the reason Elementor is so popular with web design beginners. In the past, websites were of course built using code only. During your coding stage, you weren’t able to see what your code would look like in the end.

Not very user-friendly, right?

Elementor Pros and Cons

The WYSIWYG factor is one of Elementor’s biggest advantages. And, of course, people like that there’s a free version available that lets you build basic websites.

But nothing is perfect, right?

Elementor has a huge drawback: Final websites are pretty slow. Elementor has some great features, but they bloat the code a lot. This leads to longer load times.

This is a no-go in terms of user experience and in this case Elementor is actually bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Also, Elementor isn’t suited for web designers who build client websites regularly. They just don’t have all the features needed for a professional website – not even with the pro version. But we’ll get to that later.

When it comes to tricky topics like GDPR-compliant contact forms, you need to be careful.

Elementor’s focus is clearly building pages that are beautiful. But, because it lacks many features, it isn’t necessarily suitable to build professional business websites.

Just by looking at its feature page, you might get the impression that Elementor can do almost anything. However, if you take a closer look, most features only work on a superficial level. Design clearly comes before function.

There’s a way to use Elementor in combination with Gutenberg, but you’d have to switch back and forth between editors. This hardly counts as an integration. Elementor offers its own plugin that lets you insert Elementor blocks into Gutenberg. However, this is actually nothing more than a shortcode generator for templates built in Elementor.

Elementor Pro

Elementor Pro consists of several paid plans with premium features.

There are five different Elementor Pro Pricing plans, the costs of which vary according to their scope.

  1. Essential Plan: 59$/year for 1 Pro website
  2. Advanced Plan: 99$/year for 3 Pro websites
  3. Expert Plan: 199$/year for 25 Pro websites
  4. Agency Plan: 399$/year for 1000 Pro websites

So is Elementor Pro worth it? 

While this isn’t an article about Elementor Free vs. Pro, we would argue that of course, the more expensive packages only make sense if you have an according number of websites to build each year.

Elementor Pro also includes a Theme Builder that gives you control over headers, footers and some general templates like 404 pages.

Earlier, we briefly touched on form builders. With Elementor Pro, you can build contact forms, embed them in your website and connect them to email marketing tools.

Our blog post “How to Create a WordPress Contact Form Without a Plugin” goes into detail about why form builders from Elementor and other plugins just aren’t the real deal.

Are you ready for some Divi facts? We are. Let’s jump into it.

Divi

Divi is a multipurpose theme from Elegant Themes and has been around for several years.

Unlike Elementor the WordPress Divi builder is not a plugin that can be downloaded and installed in the WordPress backend. It’s only available on the Elegant Themes website and can later be installed in WordPress.

Website Divi

Divi is particularly popular among web agencies and freelancers.

Divi Pros and Cons

Since Divi is a theme in itself, you don’t need to install a separate custom theme as you do with Elementor.

Admittedly, this is not a huge advantage, because there are many suitable themes for Elementor – Astra, OceanWP, or GeneratePress, to name just a few.

Divi is also a WYSIWYG editor, which makes it easy for beginners to get started with the tool and help them design beautiful websites.

Divi has one big advantage over Elementor, and that’s page speed. The fact that it’s a WordPress theme makes Divi less code-heavy.

So, these are the advantages compared to Elementor. Let’s get to the disadvantages.

Divi doesn’t nearly have as many features as Elementor Pro. The website lists just a little over 40 features.

Also, Divi doesn’t have a free basic version. That’s probably exactly why it doesn’t have nearly as many users as Elementor’s basic version.

Divi Pricings

Most web designers have no issue with Divi’s prices, as this gives them a professional tool for their day-to-day work.

The Page Builder Theme is available as a yearly plan and as a one-time payment:

  • 89$ yearly access
  • 249$ lifetime access

Both packages enable you to use the Divi license for an unlimited number of websites. If you want to run a website for more than three years, choosing the lifetime access license will save you money in the long run.

In terms of cost, Divi is much more attractive than Elementor Pro because their licenses are not tied to a certain number of websites.

In theory, you could use the WordPress Divi builder in combination with the Gutenberg editor, but that would be pretty pointless. Why? because many web designers choose Divi so they’re not dependent on Gutenberg.

This leads us to our next point, which we doubt die-hard fans of Elementor or Divi will particularly be happy about.

A difficult business model?

Another aspect that tends to be forgotten about Divi Theme is the business model, which could be a problem in the long run.

As mentioned above, Elegant Themes offers a lifetime license for Divi. For a one-time payment of only $249, I as a customer get lifetime access to all the features and updates Divi has to offer.

Really nice for the customer side!

But why is this a problem exactly?

Simply because as the number of customers increases, the number of support requests will also multiply, which after the one-time payment will only cost the company money. 

In other words: With my one-time payment for the lifetime access, Elegant Themes has to cover all possible costs for future support requests, as well as for further product development.

Sounds difficult, if you ask me. 

And as a user, I frankly don’t want to expose myself to the risk that Divi will eventually no longer be available to me – and in the worst case, to my agency clients – because it can no longer fund its own day-to-day operations.

Why Divi and Elementor have no future

Let’s admit it: Gutenberg is the future of WordPress.

I’ll give you a minute to digest this.

Divi and Elementor have certainly been good alternatives to the classic WordPress editor. But since Gutenberg has been gaining more and more momentum, it’s time to rethink your tool selection.

Given the latest WordPress developments, page builders will become obsolete sooner or later. Gutenberg already offers many of the features that come with Elementor’s basic version.

By using a page builder that is NOT built on Gutenberg, you’re asking for trouble in the long run.

As a plugin, Elementor can’t keep up with what’s coming. Divi, as a theme, could still make the switch and become a Gutenberg-oriented editor. But whether this will actually happen is still in the stars.

Backend

Fortunately

Divi & Elementor vs. Gutenberg

Alright, but how exactly is Gutenberg actually better than Elementor or the Divi Theme?

The main ways in which Gutenberg is ahead of page builders like Divi or Elementor are as follows:

  • Page Speed
    No external page builder for WP will ever have better page speed than the Gutenberg editor. This is simply because Gutenberg requires the smallest possible amount of code that needs to load in the browser.

    Of course, this is only true if you don’t use additional plugins for page speed optimization.
  • Gutenberg is a WordPress Product
    While Gutenberg is a tool by WordPress, other page builders are developed for WordPress. This means that WordPress will be considering Gutenberg for all future developments. External tools have to follow and will always be a little behind. In other words: Gutenberg makes the rules. External tools will have to follow them if they want to stay relevant to WordPress users.
  • Live Preview
    To see changes you made to your website in Elementor, you have to update to see them live. Gutenberg, on the other hand, offers live preview that lets you see revisions for the final version WITHOUT having to publish those revisions.
  • Blog Posts
    If content is one of your website’s long-term marketing pillars, page builders won’t do you any favors.

    WordPress started as a platform for bloggers, which is clearly evident in the Gutenberg editor. Even the classic editor for WP was more enjoyable than Elementor for adding articles to the backend. Gutenberg, however, takes the game to a whole new level. While there is a way to create a template with Elementor (or any other pagebuilder) to make all blog articles look similar, even then editing is not as easy as with the Block or Classic Editor.

If after everything we’ve said you still think Elementor or Divi is the only true solution for you, of course, you can stick with them. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bottom Line: No improvement in sight

This article was first published in early 2021. Since then, a lot has happened in the WordPress community. The Gutenberg project has made great strides in the meantime, but Divi and Elementor have also introduced new products, such as dedicated hosting for WordPress.

Nevertheless, when updating this article (more than 2 years later) we had to realize that many of the original arguments still apply.

With one major difference: compared to Gutenberg, the two alternatives, Elementor and Divi, are in a worse position than ever before. And there is no change in this course in sight. Which is why we have to point out once again that especially if you’re a professional WordPress web designer, you should go for Gutenberg!


Patrick Mitter

By Patrick Mitter

Patrick loves good texts. Preferably about topics concerning online marketing and WordPress. Having built websites by using well-known page builders on his own and being very experienced in the SEO industry, he is very familiar with any kind of problems regarding those plugins. This is the reason why he adopted GREYD’s mission to simplify work for web designers as well as agencies.

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