- Editor Rating
- Rated 4.5 stars
- Divi Builder Plugin
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
- Last modified:
- Ease of useEditor: 85%
- FunctionalityEditor: 90%
- PriceEditor: 100%
- Support & documentationEditor: 90%
In March of this year, Elegant Themes finally released version 2.0 of their Divi Builder plugin. The standout feature that many people have been patiently waiting for is the new visual builder — something we first saw introduced in the well-known Divi Theme several months ago.
I’ve been using the Divi Theme for almost 2 years and the Divi Builder plugin since version 1.0. Suffice it to say this review is being written with a reasonable amount personal experience to support my opinions.
While I certainly wouldn’t call myself an advanced user, I can tell you that I’ve used this plugin on many projects and have developed a love/hate relationship. When it comes to getting a new WordPress website up and running in record time, Divi Builder can make your life easier in many respects. It also has the ability to cause a few headaches along the way.
In this updated review we’re going to take a closer look at what version 2.0 of the Divi Builder plugin has to offer as well as discuss the new features introduced since our last review.
Let’s get to it!
Installing the Divi Builder plugin
Whether you’re performing a fresh installation of the Divi Builder Ppugin or upgrading from the previous version, Elegant Themes has made the process seamless (as it should be). Download the plugin from Elegant Themes, navigate to Add New Plugin in your WordPress dashboard, upload the Zipped file, activate and you’re ready to go.
If you remember to add your Username and API key to the Divi Options Menu, you also receive automatic updates.
It’s also important to note that Divi Builder requires all previous versions of the plugin be removed from your cache before you can get started. If you miss this step, you’ll be greeted by an annoying popup message until you resolve the issue. For me, that process entailed clearing both browser cache and performing a flush at the server level. With those steps out of the way, things were back to normal.
Once the plugin has been installed and activated you’ll find the signature, big purple button above both the page and post editor.
Clicking that button will swap out the default WordPress post editor with Divi Builder as well as present an option to use the visual editor.
General plugin setup
For a plugin with so many features, there is very little setup or configuration involved. If you navigate to the main Divi plugin Options screen you find three tabs. The first option allows you to enter API keys for either MailChimp or Aweber.
This is an area where I wish Elegant Themes would make some changes. There are several more powerful email marketing platforms that deserve some attention here (Drip, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft and Campaign Monitor to name a few). It seems like Elegant Themes is behind the times on this one.
The other two tabs are for entering both your Elegant Themes username and API and your Google API Key for Maps. An added feature of note here is the ability to toggle the Google API Script on and off.
Standout features of the Divi Builder plugin
There is no question that the Divi Builder plugin is packed full of features. So many in fact that it’d be difficult to cover them all in a single review. In this review, we’re going to focus on the main features as well as what’s new in version 2.0.
A quick feature recap
The Divi Builder plugin allows you to create customized layouts with virtually any third-party theme (my favorite combination is Genesis and the Divi Builder plugin). The only restriction being that the content you create with Divi Builder will sit within the confines of your theme’s content area.
What this means is that if your content area is 880px wide, the Divi plugin will display content within that space. If you require more space in which to create your layouts or want to use a full-width layout you may need to create a page template to meet your needs.
Other than that one restriction, Divi builder facilitates creating great looking responsive layouts with relative ease. Below is a simple landing page that was created with a combination of the Divi Builder plugin and a Genesis theme.
You can create a virtually endless combination of layouts using either the back-end drag and drop builder or the new front-end visual editor (more on that later). The Divi Builder plugin currently includes 46 content modules that you can mix and match when building post or pages. A few of the more popular modules include:
- Buttons and Calls to Action
- Contact Forms
- Photo Galleries
- Social Media
- Text & Video Modules
- A WooCommerce Shop Module
- Email Optins
While all these individual modules allow you to create custom layouts from scratch, there are also dozens of pre-made layouts available as well. Even more can be found on the Elegant Themes blog if you do a little searching.
Using both layout and content modules, the Divi Builder plugin allows you to create customized sections, rows and columns that contain your desired content. Each module, whether it’s a section containing multiple rows or an individual column can be completely customized using the setting available in the Divi Builder plugin. It sounds confusing at first but once you dive in, the learning curve is short.
For example, with just a few clicks, you can access the settings for a row module that include:
- The ability to make the row full–width
- Setting a custom width
- Adjusting gutter width, padding and margins
- Adding background images and color
- Parallax effects and column height
- Adding custom CSS
The control and flexibility you see in this row module are indicative of virtually all the modules available in the plugin.
Features you’ll probably miss
Remember when I mentioned that it’d be tough to cover all the features included with this plugin? Here are just a few things you’re likely to glance over but which contain the potential for some real value:
- Divi Leads Split Testing allows you to test and measure unlimited versions of pages and posts. Experiment with different headers, background images, text and CTAs. Measure bounce rates, specific goal and more. Implement what works, discard what doesn’t.
- You can create your own library of custom modules and layouts for use across multiple projects.
- The Divi Role Editor gives you control over who has access to what. You can create unique privileges for administrators, editors, authors and contributors.
What’s new in version 2.0
Before we jump into version 2.0 of the Divi Builder plugin, there are a few mid-release features that deserve a quick mention.
Have you ever been the victim of a mid-project browser crash or a server the inadvertently went offline?
It always seems to happen just before you remember to click “save” right?
The Divi Builder plugin now has some convenient auto-save options that function at both the server and browser level as well as a “failed save warning”. Combined, these features significantly reduce the risk of losing your last 20 minutes of hard work.
One more feature that I really appreciate is the automatic syncing between multiple instances of the same page or post when using the plugin. I frequently have both the visual editor and back-end editor open at the same time and always had to be careful not to overwrite the wrong version. Problem solved!
The Visual Editor
By far the most anticipated new feature of the Divi Builder plugin, the visual editor adds a new level of convenience to building custom page and post layouts. The thing I like best about the visual builder is that it can be used in conjunction with the default editor. Although the front-end editor was a long-awaited feature, I don’t feel like it’s the plugins main attraction.
Don’t get me wrong, the visual editor can be very useful at times—especially when messing around with padding and margins or trying to get a “big picture” view of how a particular layout is going to look.
However, the visual builder can also feel a little finicky at times and I find using the back-end builder to be more convenient (faster) for many applications. Like I previously mentioned, I frequently have both versions of the builder open in two separate windows.
Aesthetically, the visual builder looks great and overall, it’s easy to use. Sections, rows and content modules are all color coded. Building a layout or adding new content usually takes just a few clicks and feels intuitive. However, it does take some practice. The learning curve for the visual editor is definitely longer than for the back-end editor.
Anything you see on the screen can be dragged and dropped to the desired location and all the formatting options available in the back-end are also available on the front-end.
Overall, I think Elegant Themes has done a great job with the front-end editor and I find it to be a welcome feature addition.
At the same time, if the visual builder was the only way to use this plugin, I think it would be a deal-breaker for me personally.
Divi Builder plugin frustrations
No plugin review would be complete without discussing a few pain points. As much as I enjoy using the Divi Builder plugin, it’s not perfect. I touched on a few of these briefly but in case you missed them, here are my primary areas of frustration:
- Lock in is always a concern. If you format your pages and posts using the Divi Builder plugin, you’re going to find it difficult to stop using the plugin without creating an enormous amount of work for yourself. That said, if you’re building your website using a theme from Genesis and you rely on plenty of custom functions and CSS for your child theme, moving to another theme will also be a bucket of work. No matter what you do, there is always a degree of “lock in” that can’t be avoided.
- Styling for third party forms needs work. It would be nice if the plugin would include styling options for some of the more popular forms that are available. In addition, although the Divi Builder plugin includes integrations with MailChimp and Aweber, they seem to have forgotten about some of the more popular email marketing platforms.
- A disconnect between support and development. Customer support at Elegant Themes is excellent overall. However, there seems to be a disconnect between support and development. I frequently see the same issues coming up time and time again in the forums and when a new release is pushed out there’s no resolution or fix. I think there comes a time when Elegant Themes should stop pushing out new features and spend more time making this great plugin rock-solid.
Deciding whether the Divi Builder plugin is right for you is a question I am unable to answer — you’ll have to discover that on your own. What I can do is share my experience that comes from working with the plugin over an extended period of time.
The page builder plugin market is a busy one indeed. There are many options to choose from, which we’ve covered right here on WP SuperStars. And here’s the thing: You won’t be able to find a perfect solution because it doesn’t exist. Most of the page builder plugins work really well and Divi Builder is no exception. But at the same time, every page builder has some kind of small quirk or feature that could use improvement.
In doing some research, I chose to (for now) commit myself to the Divi Builder plugin and Elegant themes in general. Divi Builder is a great plugin that makes creating custom page layouts easy—especially after a little practice.
It’s definitely not perfect (if you skipped to the conclusion you can read about my dislikes above) and there are some things that I wish Elegant Themes would address.
That said, I plan to continue using Divi Builder for the foreseeable future. If you’re in the market for a page builder plugin, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in choosing Divi Builder. It’s a solid choice that I think is more than capable of meeting your needs.
- Competitive pricing and if you can pick up a subscription on sale, I think it’s a steal.
- Great customer support.
- The learning curve is relatively short.
- Having both a front-end visual editor and a traditional back-end editor is really nice.
- Lots of layout options and great customization flexibility.
- Once you know your way around the plugin, it’ll save you a ton of time.
- Some of the Divi Builder modules can feel a little buggy.
- Once you commit to using the plugin, it’ll be a daunting task to move to a different plugin or even stop using the plugin.
- Sometimes I wonder whether the bugs or complaints in the forum actually make it back to the development team – There are several small bugs that seem to persist despite new versions being released.
Summary: Divi Builder Plugin 2.0 represents a great feature set upgrade from the previous version. The addition of the front-end visual editor is both useful and practical for many situations. At the current price point, I think Divi Builder represent a great value and that doesn’t include all the other extras that come with an Elegant Themes subscription.