Your website needs to stand out of the crowd, not only with its great and unique content but with its design as well. If your site can’t catch the visitors’ attention, they’ll leave immediately. For this reason, you need to create outstanding pages. The easiest way to do that is to find the best free WordPress page builder plugin for your website.
Comparing the best free WordPress page builder plugins
In this article, I’ll compare the most popular free WordPress page builders. Of course, there are many great free builders out there, but I’ll only take a deeper look at four of them. The page builders I chose to compare are Gutenberg, Elementor, Beaver Builder and Brizy. I’ve picked them because they’re popular amongst WordPress users. So I’m curious to figure out which one is the best free page builder for WordPress from these four. I’m going to analyze them based on the following criteria:
When you choose a page builder for your site, you always need to consider how easy it is to use the plugin if you trust it to help you build beautiful pages for your site. So the free WordPress page builder plugin you choose can’t have a clumsy interface. The options need to be laid out logically, they can’t be all over the place. In other words, you need to be able to find your way around quickly. So the best free WordPress page builder needs to have an interface that’s a joy to work with.
2. Available Elements
Unless you have the right tools at your disposal, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to create a stunning website. Page builders need to give more than only the basic heading, text, image and button elements. If these basic elements are not available, the page builder isn’t a good fit for a modern website.
3. Styling options
If a plugin wants to be the best WordPress page builder, it needs to offer more than just the ability to add content. It needs to provide options to style or design this content to create something unique.
Being able to create what you imagined is great. But having premade layouts to choose from is always welcomed. That’s because these layouts save time and effort. Additionally, they can teach you about what you can create with each plugin, and how to do it.
Most plugins have a paid version with extra features. Even if this article is about the best free WordPress page builders, I have to mention the premium plugins. I’ll compare what more you get, and how much you need to pay for it.
The keys to a successful site are: good content, nice design and fast loading. This is why I want to compare the speed of each page builder. I’m curious to see which page builder loads the page that has the same layout, content and images the fastest.
Gutenberg is WordPress’ built-in, block-based page and post editor. It arrived with WordPress 5, back in December 2018. Gutenberg editor has come a long way since its initial release. As a result, today and in the future, it can compete with the best free WordPress page builders.
Interface of Gutenberg ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gutenberg looks simple and minimalistic, maybe a bit basic. This makes it fast to learn and easy to use. While it’s a visual, drag and drop editor, it operates on the backend. As a result, you might not see everything the same way as they’ll appear on the frontend during editing. Although, themes can style Gutenberg’s backend editor. As a result, the backend and frontend can look as similar as possible.
Gutenberg has an inline editor, which feels natural to use. Additionally, you can paste long text with basic formatting into the visual builder. Gutenberg is capable of automatically creating the paragraphs, headings and lists. You don’t need to create any element before. Very handy.
Available elements ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gutenberg calls its elements blocks. Adding a new block is super easy, and there are more ways to do it. First, there’s one at the top left part of the fixed toolbar. Additionally, you can find one plus icon right below every block you added.
Styling options ⭐⭐
Gutenberg offers minimal styling options for the elements. You can adjust the font size, color, and background color. But apart from these, there aren’t many options you can tweak. Nonetheless, they’re useful and nice to have, but it would be great if more were available. For example, I would have loved to be able to adjust the font family of the content I added. Unfortunately, Gutenberg offers no way to do that, it can only inherit it from the theme.
Gutenberg offers a few selections of block templates under the Pattern tab. These are simple, but great looking layouts that can give you a head start. The designs are simple and there’s not much you can choose from. Nonetheless, they help you save time when you build your page.
Final thoughts about Gutenberg
Gutenberg is a simple, but easy to use tool WordPress offers to create nice looking pages. It works best with a theme, that does the heavy lifting when it comes to styling the page. Paired with such a theme, Gutenberg can beat any competition. However, if you pair it with a minimal theme, you’ll probably have a hard time creating the designs you want.
Elementor – the most popular free page builder plugin
Elementor is the most popular page builder in WordPress.org’s repository. There are currently 7 plugins there that have more than 5 million installations, and Elementor is one of them. So it’s safe to say Elementor is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. Having so many users, Elementor managed to keep an impressive 5-star rating out of 5,465 reviews.
Interface of Elementor ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Elementor offers a visual frontend editor to create pages. Many users prefer frontend editing, because they can see how the page is going to look like while they edit it. So, frontend editing saves time, because it removes two editing steps. You don’t need to save and refresh every time you want to take a look at the page you’re working on. Additionally, you can edit textual layers inline which is a great addition.
The editor is divided into two main sections. First, there is the Elementor panel on the left side, where you can find the configuration options. For example, this is where you can name your page. Then there’s the wider section, which is the actual editing screen. This is the place you can drag widgets to from the left panel and see what you’ve created.
The Elementor panel has a handy search field to quickly find widgets. This helps speeding up the workflow, as you won’t need to locate the widget you want. Although, you might need to be a little familiar with the elements to use it effectively.
Available Elements ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Page builders need to provide at least the most basic elements to fit into a modern website. Since Elementor is one of the best free WordPress page builder plugins, it offers them. You can create headings, add text, images, and buttons. Additionally, you have other handy widgets at your disposal. For example, the image carousel, counter, progress bar or tabs at your disposal. So Elementor doesn’t only offer the most basic widgets, it gives so much more.
There’s a huge list of widgets you can choose from to create your amazing looking Elementor page. These elements will help you create beautiful pages for your website in the long run. Additionally, if you would need more widgets, there are many plugins that offer them. Moreover, there are plenty of these plugins which are available free of charge.
Styling options ⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you’ve installed Elementor on your site for the very first time, I recommend setting up the typographies first. You can find them at Elementor Editor’s Settings Panel > Hamburger Menu > Site Settings. After that you can select these at any widget you add, speeding up your workflow.
There are many options you can use to style every element to your heart’s content. Although there are many settings, they are easy to understand. Even if you aren’t sure what an option does, you can try it with confidence and undo the change if you wouldn’t like them. While there are many styling options, there were a few things which I missed being able to set. For example, the line height can only be a pixel or em value. I’d have loved to simply set it to 1.5, but I couldn’t. The custom CSS giving option would have been a workaround for this. However, that option is available in Elementor Pro only.
Elementor offers a huge template library, but first, you need to create a free account at them. After that, you’ll have access to a bunch of great looking designs. You can import full pages which then you can customize to your heart’s content. Or you can import separate blocks and assemble the page piece by piece.
There’s an incredible amount of beautiful designs you can choose from. It can be time-consuming to look at all available templates. Luckily, there’s a search option so you can try to find blocks or pages by related keywords. Additionally, at the right side of the Block templates, there’s a category selector. If you’re looking for contact or pricing sections, you can choose it there and see what’s available.
But there is one thing I don’t like about the templates popup. It’s the fact that pro templates are seamlessly mixed with the free ones. You can’t filter for the Pro or Free ones only. As a result, you can spend too much time trying to find a template you both like and can import.
You can also save your own designs as templates which you can easily import later. It’s handy when you have the same looking elements across your site, like a subscription or contact block.
Final thoughts about Elementor
Elementor is an exception page builder. It’s easy to learn to use, although it might take some time to master. In any case, Elementor allows you to build modern and great looking websites. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a professional
Beaver Builder – one of the best free WordPress page builder plugins
Beaver Builder is another popular free WordPress page builder plugin. It powers over 300.000 websites, and has an impressive 5-star rating on WordPress.org out of 342 reviews. So, a lot of people use and like this plugin. Let’s see what the hype is all about!
The interface of Beaver Builder ⭐⭐⭐⭐
You can use Beaver Builder to build pages for your site in two ways. The first way is using the floating Content panel which you can drag anywhere. The second way is sticking the Content panel to the left or right sides of the browser. As a result, you can add and configure the elements on the left side, and see the result on the right.
Beaver Builder offers inline editing, which is very convenient to use. It’s easy to figure out how to add new elements, and configuring them is just as effortless. However, adding a new element makes a loading icon appear in the area where you drop it. Although it only lasts for a few seconds, I found it irritating. Additionally, I felt it was interrupting the editing process. Also, the drag’n’dropping of the modules sometimes produced interesting movements.
Available Elements ⭐⭐
Beaver Builder offers the bare minimum of elements, or modules as they call them. There’s only 5 available: audio, HTML, photo, text editor and video. Additionally, you can create rows to place content into. The WordPress widgets are also available, which gives slightly more tools to work with. Still, this free WordPress page builder plugin has very few elements to offer.
You can use the Text editor to create headings, so you can structure your content properly. What’s more frustrating is that there’s no button module, at least in the Lite version. That’s a bummer because CTA plays an important role in a website’s conversion. Of course, if you have coding knowledge, you can create buttons using the HTML or Text Editor modules. But let’s face it: if you wanted to write code to have a button, you wouldn’t have used a page builder.
Styling options ⭐⭐⭐
Beaver Builder seems to expect the styling to be done from the theme’s end. By default, it inherits the layout the theme sets nicely. If you want to create a custom layout, you can use Beaver Builder’s options to do so. However, there’s no global, or page level styling. At the rows or columns you can only set text colors, but not font specific options, like size or family.
Many WordPress plugins offer quick access to some templates, which users can use to get a head start. It’s useful for those who are new to the plugin, or don’t have much design knowledge, or are in short of time. In Beaver Builder, templates are available only after purchasing a paid plan. So users of the Free page builder plugin won’t be able to import any templates.
Final thoughts on Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is a nice and easy to use free WordPress page builder plugin. However, it seems it’s aimed for the developer, who works for their client, rather than the average WordPress user. In the free version, it’s not possible to create a Hero header, because there’s no option to create a button. Unless you code the button yourself, and I don’t think that’s acceptable from a visual page builder in 2020.
Brizy is a relatively new plugin, released in April 2018. The page builder plugin market is full of big fish like Elementor or Beaver Builder. On the paid front, there are plugins like Divi or Visual Composer. So new page builder plugins need to offer something more, something new to be able to attract users. And that’s not an easy task.
Yet, Brizy has managed to earn more than 60.000 people’s trust in just two years. Additionally, it promises to offer a new and intuitive way of visual page building. This makes me curious to see if this free WordPress page builder can keep its promise.
Interface of Brizy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Like the other page builders, Brizy also has a visual frontend editor. It has a narrow panel on the left side of the browser window. This is where you can add new elements, adjust the order of the added blocks, or set the styling. The large right-hand side is for placing the content. As a result, the interface offers plenty of space to see the content you’re creating.
Brizy has inline text editing by default, which is very convenient to use. In fact, Brizy’s solution feels as natural as Gutenberg’s. And that’s a big achievement. I’ve tested Elementor, which also has inline editing, but it doesn’t feel as seamless.
Available Elements ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Brizy offers a handful of elements to create content with. You can create headings or paragraphs with the text module, or add a button to your page. You can also add images, icons, or videos. There are cool extras, like the counter or Google map elements. To sum it up, Brizy has all elements you’ll need to create a content rich website.
Styling options ⭐⭐⭐
Before you start creating your pages with Brizy, make sure you set up colors and text styles first. This will make the editing experience faster. In the text settings, you can find the most essential options. You can set the font size, family, weight, line height and letter spacing. Other options, such as the text-align, are available at the text element.
The page creation in Brizy starts with adding a new block. First, you need to choose whether you want to start from a template or create an empty block. In case you chose to add with an empty block, you can build your content from scratch. But even if you start with a template, you’ll be able to tweak anything you want.
There’s a total of 502 blocks you can choose from, and you can use them to build your page piece by piece. There are also 41 full-page layouts ready for importing. The only downside is that pro and free templates are totally mixed. As a result, it can take time to find what you can import in the free page builder.
Final thoughts on Brizy
Brizy is easy to use whether you have any developer knowledge or not. Additionally, its inline editing feels like a breeze and is very easy to get used to. Of course, there’s plenty of room for improvement. For example, I’d love to have more styling options. Nonetheless, I feel Brizy has created something unique.
Speed of the best free WordPress page builders compared
There are three key factors for creating a successful site: a good copy, an eye-catching design, and a fast loading time. Most plugins you add to your site have an impact on your website’s speed. So you need to choose what you install carefully.
When you choose a page builder for your site you need to consider how much impact it has on your page’s loading time. A resource heavy page builder will have a negative impact on your site’s speed. And you haven’t even added your content yet.
To help you find the best free WordPress page builder plugin, I’ll compare their loading speed. In other words, I’ll check how fast the page you create with these plugins loads. Additionally, I’ll test how much weight they add to the page speed, and how many requests they make.
I wanted to run the speed test on a page that had the same content. So I built the layout of the Healthcare template in each page builder. I run the test using the Hello Elementor theme. I tested each page builder with no other plugins being active at the same time. All images and fonts were the same in each builder. Additionally, I’ve cleared the cache before each speed test.
First I ran the speed test on the WordPress Sample page, to give you an idea about Hello Elementor theme’s speed. The internet speed used for the tests was 10Mb/s.
Speed test results
Gutenberg is an obvious winner here. It loads faster than any of its competitors, weighs less and makes fewer requests. Of course, it’s much more limited than any of the other page builders in terms of styling. So, if we want to name the best free WordPress page builder plugin based on its speed alone, then it would be Gutenberg.
But we should look deeper than the page speed. Take the styling options and available elements into account as well. In this case, Gutenberg won’t keep its first place. With these in mind, the best free WordPress page builder plugin is either Elementor or Brizy. Elementor loads slower, but it weighs less. Brizy, on the other hand, is faster, but heavier. So, if you need a page builder for your site, I recommend giving Elementor or Brizy a try.
Which one is the best free WordPress page builder plugin?
If you still haven’t decided which page builder to pick, here’s how the scores stack up (in order):
Based on these scores, the best Free WordPress page builder is Elementor. But it’s closely followed by Brizy. If you start a new project, I recommend checking these out first. But it’s also worth considering whether Gutenberg would be enough.
As mentioned before, I wanted to take a look at the paid version of the best free WordPress page builder plugins. You might want to go pro later, even if you’re satisfied with the page builder now. Or you might upgrade because you want to support the developers of the plugin.
As Gutenberg is part of WordPress core, it has no premium plan you could upgrade to. But if you should need more blocks or templates, you can find a bunch of free or premium plugins to help you with that.
However, there’s a premium version of Elementor, Brizy and Beaver Builder. You can choose from the following pricing options:
What more do you get if you buy the premium plugin?
Elementor: You get 50 more widgets to build. Also, 300+ more templates, and 10+ full website kits. The Theme, WooCommerce and Popup Builder is also available in one of the paid plans.
Beaver Builder: Each Beaver Builder package is different. In the cheapest plan you get Premium Modules & Templates, and pro support. Additionally, in the middle package, you get the Beaver Themer and multisite compatibility. What’s more, the highest package offers White Labeling.
Brizy: The Pro version of Brizy gives you access to 250+ Premium Designs. You can also access Brizy Cloud, where you can get amazing new templates from.
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Choosing a WordPress page builder plugin for free is never easy. There are just too many options, any not all plugins are equally great. Additionally, they might not be a good fit for your website.
So, what’s the best free WordPress page builder? Either of these four plugins can be the best for your project. If you have a theme with nice styling, Gutenberg would probably be enough for your site. As a result, your site would load faster than with any other page builder.
But if you don’t have such a good theme, or you prefer to create everything by yourself, you still have good options. You can choose Elementor or Brizy as the free page builder for your site. Both plugins offer a great number of features to create an amazing website.
I’m Ramona Nemeth-Csoka and I’m a member of Nextend‘s awesome support team. You’ve probably chat with me if you’ve submit a support ticket. When I’m not answering support emails I read a book or go cycling. I enjoy writing as well, both for our blog and for my private projects.