Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes Like Divi are NOT the Answer

Why multi-purpose WordPress themes like Divi are NOT the answer for non-coder graphic designers

Short on time?

Non-coder graphic designers who build websites are often lured into multi-purpose themes like Divi, Avada or X.

These themes certainly seem like attractive solutions for designers—at first. They promise visual drag-n-drop builders, full design control and ease of use.

But as most eventually discover, these themes are not the answer. They’re bloated, slow, hard to customise, and provide surprisingly little room for creativity or custom design—at least for my students anyway.

Read on to learn more… and discover a far superior alternative.

Everyone’s complaining!

Here at Design Build Web, I teach non-coder graphic designers how to build custom-designed, responsive websites quickly and easily, to their own custom designs.

My email inbox—and the Facebook groups I’m in—are overflowing with complaints.

Baby crying
Just to be clear: this particular little fella hasn’t been emailing me, nor hanging out on my Facebook groups. He’s just a baby.

But unlike this poor guy, they’re not complaining about wet diapers. They’re complaining bitterly about their experience using multi-purpose WordPress themes, like Divi, Avada or X.

Divi, Avada and X themes

And I totally understand.

Because I’ve used all 3 of those themes myself too.

Why do graphic designers choose multi-purposes themes like these?

If you’re a graphic designer and you want to build WordPress websites to your own design vision, then ‘pre-designed’ WordPress themes are a big no-no. Way too restrictive.

You’re a designer, for heaven’s sake!

So the lure of multi-purpose themes like Divi, Avada or X is very strong.

These themes certainly seem like attractive solutions for designers—at first. They promise visual builders, unfettered design control and supreme ease of use.

[box color=”blue”]So we’re all on the same page: No ‘bashing’ intended here. In case you’ve missed me mentioning it already, I’m recommending an approach I feel is best suited to my specific audience and their needs, based on lots of personal experience—mine and theirs. That’s all.[/box]

What’s so attractive about these themes for designers?

The feature lists on the sales pages of these themes look great. Let’s take a look at Divi’s, as an example:

Visual drag-n-drop builders

Divi's backend drag-n-drop builder
Divi’s backend drag-n-drop builder
Divi's front-end drag-n-drop builder
Divi’s front-end drag-n-drop builder

Tons of functionality

A list of some of Divi's modules
A selection of modules available with Divi

Design control without code

Divi's styling controls on the Text module
Divi’s styling controls on the Text module

The beautiful demos on their sales websites look amazing!

So what’s the problem?

Or: The broken dreams of multi-purpose themes…

Many of my students are Divi survivors who lived to tell the tale.

Just now, I took a very quick sweep of recent emails in my inbox, as well as a quick review of some Facebook groups I’m in.

Here are some of the complaints about these themes I found, in less than a minute of looking:

[box]“I thought Divi seemed the best way forward, but just felt the whole WordPress experience felt like designing in a strait jacket, and to push the boundaries meant becoming a guru in CSS. I’ve not touched WordPress for over a year. Divi just frustrated the hell out of me.”David, via email.

“I had tremendous trouble – after handing over a project – explaining how the client can use Divi. It was just too confusing for them.”Verdi, on Facebook.

“I get the ‘mechanics’ of Divi but I was so busy with the technical stuff, there was no room for creativity.”Mor, on Facebook.

“I’m so sick of fighting with Divi. On every project I’ve had to hire a developer to write custom code for me. He can’t believe how badly coded it is.”Jan, via email.[/box]

Don’t worry… It’s not all doom and gloom. Keep reading for a happy ending to this…

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7 Reasons Why Multi-Purpose Themes Like Divi are Not the Answer:

Let me be clear: these sort of ‘do-it-all’ themes are totally fine for the general public. There’s a reason they’re popular. They allow anyone to put great, functional websites together quickly and easily.

After all, Regular Joe doesn’t care much about design, creative integrity, page loading speeds, or future maintenance.

But, in my opinion, these themes are not suitable for professional graphic designers building websites.

1. They’re heavy, bloated and slooooooooowwwwwww

A giant tortoise

Because these themes try to be all things to all people, the sheer weight of code is huge.

This means that—in my experience—pages can take 5–7 seconds to load, not the 1–2 seconds that your pages should be loading in.

Page loading speed is massively important, even if you don’t personally care.


Because the success of your clients’ businesses depend on fast loading websites:

  • Their visitors want a fast experience. Better usability = more sales.
  • Google reward fast websites with higher rankings. Higher rankings = more customers = more sales.

Take a look at the size of the code from a well-coded, lightweight theme like GeneratePress, vs Avada and Divi’s codebase:

Avada: 19.4MB
Divi: 26.5MB
GeneratePress: 1.9MB

Avada is over 10x the size. Divi nearly 14x the size!

Now, the size of a theme’s codebase aren’t the only considerations for page speed, of course.

But also, because multi-purpose themes have so many bells and whistles, they need to include a heap of redundant code to power all those features you likely won’t even use.

This isn’t an in-depth page speed review or benchmarked comparison.

But I can tell you that, in my experience, websites built with themes like GeneratePress load in 1–2 seconds, while sites built in Divi or Avada load in more like 5–7 seconds.

These are sites with the same caching and speed tweaks applied, on the same server and with similar content and functionality. It’s like night and day.

Multi-purpose do-it-all themes are typically the opposite of lightweight and clean.

2. They include a ton of settings and features you don’t even need

The more features and options that come bundled in a WordPress theme, the easier it is for Regular Joe to use.

But the problem here is that it’s highly unlikely—on any one project—that you’ll need even a fraction of those features.

But the theme still has to load up all the code to support those features—even though you don’t need it. And that… leads…. to the…. slooooowwwww…. thing…. again…

And, because you’re tied into that theme’s particular implementation of those features, you often still end up having to pile on additional plugins to achieve what you want anyway! Unfortunately this increases the chance of the theme’s functionality conflicting with other plugins.

Totes messy.

3. You end up having to write CSS and Javascript code anyway—or paying someone else to do so

Multi-purpose themes promise ultimate flexibility.

Spoiler alert: they’re nowhere near as flexible as they’d have you believe.

The idea of drag-n-drop builders and a whole range of modules sounds lovely. In reality, as a creative designer, you’ll quickly butt up against the limitations of how the theme expects you to work.

I quoted David—one of my email subscribers—earlier. But his quote is worth repeating:

“With Divi, the whole WordPress experience felt like designing in a strait jacket, and to push the boundaries meant becoming a guru in CSS.”

I built my first website in 1998. I’ve been a professional hand-coder web designer and developer since 2003. And for every one of the 10-15 sites I built with Divi, I had to write a not-insignificant amount of additional CSS to achieve what I wanted.

And in 2 cases, I had to hire in another developer to help me figure out the additional PHP and Javascript required to accomplish seemingly simple customisations!

Do-it-all mega-themes simply aren’t as flexible as they seem. They certainly have ended up costing me in unexpected additional time and expense.

4. Your websites all look very similar

It’s dead easy to spot a site built in Divi (or Avada, or X).

If custom design and creative expression is important to you as a designer, you’ll likely be disappointed. These themes still ultimately have limited built-in styling options within the tightly defined parameters of the theme.

5. You might be locked in for the long haul…

Want to switch themes in future? You’re potentially in for a rough ride.

Let’s take a look at a site built in Divi…

The homepage of a website built with Divi
The homepage of a website built with Divi

Now imagine in future you decide to switch themes.

Let’s deactivate Divi…

Cover your eyes….

Here’s the same homepage….

The mess of shortcodes left after switching from Divi
Switch themes? This is what you’re left with. Shortcode hell.

Two words spring to mind: 



What’s going on here?

Well: these themes typically use ‘shortcodes’ in the background code, to achieve their layout and functionality. As a regular user, you don’t see them. But they’re there… and WordPress knows.

Imagine cleaning this mess up on a large website with lots of content!

I don’t have to imagine: I’ve done it. It’s an experience I’d rather forget.

Sure, there are potentially ways around it. But in my experience, it’s simply not that easy.

[box]Now, as pointed out by Stephen James on the Elementor Facebook group, the Divi builder plugin does help with this issue.

If you previously ran a Divi site built on the Divi theme and wanted to switch themes, you can—by installing the Divi builder plugin. This carries over your layouts and style settings to the new theme, without losing everything to shortcode hell. Good tip!

However, in the event you wanted to switch page builders too (to something like, say Elementor or Beaver Builder), then you’d have to deactivate the Divi builder plugin… and be back to the shortcode mess again. Hmm.

It’s not all doom and gloom thoughthis plugin loses the shortcodes, without losing your content. Perfect.[/box]

6. Not especially developer friendly

As a non-coder graphic designer, it’s likely you don’t care too much about code quality, future maintenance or making life easier for developers.

But how friendly a theme is to developers matters a great deal—yes, even for you.

At some point, you will need a bit of help from a developer. Or, you may need to just add a bit of copy-paste code to a site yourself.

I’ve found that multi-purpose themes like Divi and Avada can be unfriendly to developers. There are very few ‘hooks’ (meaning: built-in ways for them to get done what they need to, as quickly as possible).

The documentation for developers is typically lacking too.

Even time-served, experienced WordPress developers struggle—certainly the ones I’ve worked with. In my last role, we needed some sort of customisation on every single Divi project we built. Our developer – a seasoned WordPress pro – found the whole experience maddening!

7. Slow support

The quality of support is a major factor in the tools I choose—and the tools I recommend. If you’re stuck and in a bind, you want to know someone is there to get you unstuck and moving again quickly. After all, time is money.

Things might have changed these days.. and hopefully they have. But with Divi I had to wait days for answers to support questions.

Not good enough.

So if Multi-Purpose Themes are NOT the Answer… What Is?

If the problem is all-in-one, do-it-all, and multi-purpose, then the answer is…

The opposite.

Silly. 😉

Here it is:

  1. Use a very simple theme as a solid foundation and…
  2. Pair it with a separate page builder (like the incredible Elementor).

(Yes, those are affiliate links. Be assured, I’d be 100% recommending them both, regardless of the small commission I get if you buy.)

I’ve tested this combo with lots of non-coder graphic designers, as well as on my own projects. It works incredibly well.

Think of it like this:

  • The theme is the ‘picture frame’.
  • The page builder is the ‘canvas’.

A framed canvas in a gallery.

The separation of the two allows you to use the best tools for the job.

Keeping these separate (rather than ‘all-in-one’) keeps everything fast and lightweight.

It’s also much easier to use and allows you total design control – without having to know any code.

Use a lightweight theme like GeneratePress:

GeneratePress logo

  • It’s the foundation on which everything else sits.
  • Well-coded—to WordPress development best practice.
  • Super fast!
  • Developer-friendly.
  • Amazing fast, helpful support from Tom, the developer.

Read my full review of GeneratePress and see exactly why I recommend it for non-coder graphic designers building websites.

Pair with a drag-n-drop page builder plugin like Elementor:


  • Total design freedom—open-ended styling controls for everything.
  • Super-powerful features—but built thoughtfully and carefully. It doesn’t weigh down your website.
  • Completely drag-n-drop, in the way designers think.
  • Well-coded.
  • Very fast and very easy to use.
  • Fast for the visitors to your site too.
  • Switch themes or even page builders in future? Doesn’t matter—your content is still there, with no shortcode mess left behind. Goodbye shortcode hell.

Check out Elementor right now. You can thank me later.

I love a happy ending

I told you earlier about my 1 minute sweep for complaints about Divi.

Honestly, I hate complaining. The sun is shining, the weather is sweet! 😀

So now let’s round off with some quotes from Divi survivors, who made it to the other side.

[box]“Divi I know well. Elementor was new to me. Even with that in mind, it took my a third of the time using Elementor, a few less plugins, and much less of the custom code I was used to. I was instantly sold. Now, a few months later, I left Divi all together.”Verdi, on Facebook.

“Been using Divi for about 2 years, but once you go Elementor you never go back!”Karsten, on Facebook.

“Elementor fan now: Superior code, clean, SEO friendly, user-friendly, intuitive, robust, fast, not buggy, ultra-flexible, offer more control, etc….in a process of switching all my Divi sites to Elementor.”Hitch, on Facebook.

“Hell I am so happy to be using Elementor after years of Divi. I could never have banged this landing page out in a few hours without touching code. Elementor freaking rocks!”Jeremy, on Facebook.

“There is NO learning curve. Trust me. I have grappled with Divi for MONTHS – with GeneratePress – I was up and running in an hour. The documentation is SUPERB and Tom Usborne the developer’s personal hands-on support is amazing.”Mor, on Facebook.[/box]

Awww. All’s well that ends well, eh?

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148 thoughts on “Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes Like Divi are NOT the Answer”

  1. Awesome article and so very true. And I’m not just saying that because you surprised me with using two of my quotes 🙂

    I hope this helps starters make the right choice and not waste so much time as I had.

    Cheers Dave!

  2. I like Divi theme a lot and all my sites load in 1.5 – 2.0 seconds. There are too many factors for slow websites (hosts, plugins, etc) that you cannot blame the theme only.

    • Hi Andre. I’m comparing 2 sites with very similar layout, design and features, on the exact same host. In fact, the exact same box. I’m aware there are lots of factors that affect page speed. I’m delighted you’re achieving those sorts of speeds with Divi sites. Nice! 🙂

    • I thoroughly trialled Beaver Builder. It’s a great page builder. My graphic designer students couldn’t get on with it, whereas they instantly took to Elementor.

  3. I have to say, I like Divi and I like working with it. It helps me to build websites that do NOT look all the same and I can get a site done quickly without having to get to know a new theme or builder everytime.
    I am NOT a developer and NOT a designer 😉 I guess for people like me (who only build websites for fun or if the Dev is busy with the better paid projects…) Divi is a good solution!

    I will still try GP with a separate builder like you suggest the next time, Dave. (what about the divi builder without the theme by the way, does that make any difference?)

    • Great stuff Nik. I’m glad Divi works for you. It’s a good solution for many people, as I say in the article. The Divi builder still has the same restrictions, in my view.

  4. Hi Dave
    I’ve read of Facebook group members having issues with Siteground disallowing Elementor-built sites plans because of resource consumption. What’s your knowledge or experience of this?

    • Hi Chris – I think this is related to SiteGround’s ‘staging’ set-up (allowing you to create test sites quickly). It seems to be particularly under-resourced.

      I have a client with Elementor elements on every page of his site, on a different host, with 100k+ visitors per month. Zero resources issues.

      I personally love SiteGround—I host my own site on them. Granted, I only have a few 1000 visitors per month at the moment. But again—zero resource problems in my server logs.

      The issue seems to be their ‘staging site’ implementation. It’s seriously under-resourced, compared to their regular hosting environment. It seems their support are currently blaming any problems on 3rd party applications, and not just Elementor. I don’t think Elementor uses resources any more than any other WordPress plugin. In fact, Elementor’s architecture seems to be particularly fast and efficient, as far as I can see.

  5. What a load of rubbish. This is one of the poorest pieces of “journalism” I have ever seen. You have cherry picked, stated falsehoods, and grossly misrepresented the whole way through. I could dispute over 90% of your assertions with proof very easily. I don’t mind Elementor or GeneratePress st alll, but Divi and Avada have over 700,000 users combined so they must be doing a lot right. The truth is that there is no ONE RIGHT WAY to do web design and it’s very much personal preference. Avada is fast, well coded and many of the things you wrote about it were just plain wrong. You should go your research much better than that if you want to try to dismantle the best selling theme on Theme Forest. There’s nothing wrong with the approach you suggest, but the article is deceptive at best, and dishonest at worst.

    • Hi Geoff. Sorry you didn’t like it. Of course there’s no one right way. I do make it clear in the article that the approach I recommend is for my specific audience, who I know very well. Divi, Avada and the like are perfectly fine for all sorts of situations, even the best solution for a great many people. Totally. Deception and dishonesty – not intended. A recommendation for my own audience’s specific requirements, based on mine and their experience? Yes.

    • Oh Gosh… I agree so much! I don’t know why author is trying to misrepresent both themes. I am not a developer. Still, I had great experience with divi. I did not like avada much though. I think author’s suggestion is also quite good. I saw the tutorial and it seemed to work great also. I will certainly try it soon.

  6. Just to jump in on the siteground resource discussion… I also love siteground. And I have experienced the support blaming a 3rf party plugin, in my case it was Powerpack for a beaver Builder. Basically some script on a site I was building flipped out and maxed out my cpu and I got the dreaded site turn off with a bit of a less than polite email from support. This is well documented that they do this… You max out the cpu, they turn off the site and email you with a bit of a slap on the wrist attitude. I think it must be a different support department than their other stuff because usually they are fun and polite and friendly. The cpu Police are a bit more blunt.

    The guy claimed that Powerpack was not suitable for shared environments, in my case Gogeek (their most powerful shared plan) and this was a dev site with no traffic.
    Obviously this is not true.
    The basis was that the log showed a timeout on the Powerpack css file, which to be honest was just a file loading at time of an unrelated php Infinite Loop or timeout. I did call them out on this and said that siteground is the number one host recommended in the Beaver Builder forums and I would happily spread the word that we should look elsewhere if in fact it’s not a good match up. Quite quickly the statement about Powerpack being to blame was retracted. So apparently it wasn’t to blame.

    The siteground cpu police it seems will say anything to keep the shared environment running well for customers, but don’t take everything they say literally. I use Powerpack all the time and these plugins aren’t heavy. Same goes for elementor.

  7. Hi Dave!

    I’m WordPress developer, who created 40+ themes and also built few hundreds of clients websites (with our company) and I disagree with you.

    When you create clients websites, you need to have some kind of robust solution. Theme that allows you to create contact forms, sliders, use bootstrap, solves basic CSS taboos like vertical centering, matching height etc without touching code. Theme, that has some kind of nice pagebuilder, optimally supporting complete bootstrap with all the push / pull / columns /containers/ infinite nesting etc. You don’t want to use tens of plugins to every functionality, because these plugins just bloat your site and in general, they are shitty.

    For example, we developed Ark theme ( ). After 8 000 of man hours invested into this wp theme, I’m pretty sure that we figured out all the things stated in your article and in my comment. Since you are one of the leading experts, we would really be interested in your opinion.

    cheers, Thomas

    • Thanks Thomas. I’d say the approach I recommend covers your concerns, certainly for the requirements of my audience – clean, lightweight base theme; a separate (portable) page builder that handles additional styling/layout, etc; and then add any specific additional plugins you need for that project only. Strikes me as the most lightweight approach for non-coders?

      I’ll check out Ark theme. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. I use Divi and I can certainly relate to many of the things you mention here. But there is one thing missing here…

    You say when you have a Divi page and you switch themes then you are left with a mess of shortcodes. Solution is to install the Divi builder plugin. When you do that, you basically have the same setup as when you use the Elementor plugin you are raving about.

    What you didn’t discuss though is what happens when you disable the Elementor plugin. Does your page still look the same? Or are you left with the same shortcode mess as when you disable the Divi theme/plugin?

    • Hi John-Pierre – if you disable Elementor, you’re just left with the content, as if you’d used the standard WP editor. I’ll update the post to make that clear. Thanks for the question.

  9. Hey, I just watched the Generate Press intro video and it seems like some of those features would definitely leave behind shortcodes if you switched to a different theme. For example, the new sections you can add or the special header with video they show. If not, that’s great.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said here, btw. Generate Press looks kind of cool except it seems like it will leave short codes for those special features. At least the header navigation options are more interesting than Divi. That’s a good start.

    • Yes, shortcodes are inevitable for some things Nate. In fact, they’re a core feature of WordPress. The odd shortcode here and there is easy to clean up. But pages of huge amounts of shortcodes are much harder. 🙂

  10. Hi,
    I’m curious to hear how Elementor does not use shortcodes to produce it’s content and layouts. I had a look on the site, but couldn’t find any mention of it.

    Does it create HTML markup instead? If so, surely deactivating the plugin, or switching to another would remove all the CSS that Elementor uses to product it’s layouts / design.

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    • Hi Gavin – it creates HTML markup, stored in the database. So if you disable Elementor, you lose your layouts of course, but you’re still left with standard WordPress pages/posts, with clean content. I hope that helps?

      Thanks for your kinds words. Much appreciated!

  11. Graphic designers should stick to print media and not even try to pass themselves off as web designers if they find Divi confusing! Web design requires pragmatic UX design skillets (technical, people-centric & data-driven), more than visual design disciplines.

  12. Thanks for a great article! Just curious, if you have clients, how do you handle renewals for Elementor / GeneratePress– are they now responsible for shelling out money every year to update both? This is as opposed to something like x theme where updates/support/many compatible plugins are included for lifetime in your purchase.

    • Cheers Tony. Yes, I get clients to pay for their license, as I do for any software licenses related to their project. I think it’s really important they ‘own’ their own project as much as possible. And then that also makes it easy in future as they’re responsible for their own renewals. I think GP and Elementor’s model of annual renewals is far better in the end for everyone – we continually get updated software and the developers stay in business. 🙂

  13. I haven’t been exploring other builders outside of X, which I then thought was worth putting in the time and effort to master. It took your article and recommendation on elementor and generatepress for me to realise how much I was missing out. No matter how hard I tried, I simply hated opening up my wordpress backend to tinker around with X. Thanks!

  14. Dave – I have a blog that gets roughly 75k-90k pageviews per month, but I fear I’m losing a significant amount of traffic because my site is pretty slow. I just moved to a VPS in hopes that would help, but to no avail. My current theme conflicts with all forms of caching, minifying and java aggregation plugins, HTTP/2, and AMP.. I’ve literally tried everything I could research to speed up the page. I was about to switch to the Elegant Theme, “Extra” to see if it would help address the issues above and speed up the page until I read this post.

    I’d really like to make the site lean but I’m not a coder. I definitely need to change my site’s framework, but now I’m not sure if either Elegant Themes or GP / Elementor are the right for solution for me. What do you think?

    • Hi Bryan – it’s really hard to tell. Which host are you with? Seems odd that your current theme would clash with all those speed improvement tools.

      I haven’t use Extra, so I’m sorry I can’t really comment. From Elegant Themes I’ve only used Divi but I found that very slow indeed. I personally find GeneratePress fantastic speed-wise.

      Have you run your pages through GT Metrix speed test? It can tell you what’s loading slowly. The waterfall/timeline is great.

  15. Thanks, Dave – After a long night of research and updates, I decided to roll with GP Pro. I couldn’t get elementor to work but everything else is working great! I re-activated all my speed plugins and everything is humming along :). Still need to make some cosmetic tweaks but I’m pretty happy I went with this solution.

    To answer some of your questions: I use bluehost enhanced wordpress hosting…Pretty sure Extra is just a modified version of Divi for bloggers… I’ve been using Google page insights and have seen an improvement already. Issue was everything I did conflicted with my old theme… Seems like the runway is now clear.

    Thank you for your review! This post helped me with a solution that works at a 5th of the price!

  16. I really wish I’d seen this blog before I decided to get into WordPress, spent a lot of time, money and effort with different themes, but Elementor I’ve been hugely impressed with. OxygenApp is a new contender, and bought that before I knew about Elementor. What’s your opinion of it? It seems to be fairly handy to get to grips with but not convinced it’s there for the long term, in fact, just checked and it seems they’ve stopped paying their suppliers!

    • Hi Padraig. Good to hear from you! I’ve had a look at Oxygen and I’m not convinced either. Promising idea, I think the execution is lacking. Seems clunky to me. A shame if the signs are there that they’re not making enough money, but the market usually tells you what they want.

  17. Dave
    Great article. Largely based on your videos I now use GeneratePress Pro and Elementor for all my sites and my clients’ websites. I am a freelancer based in Guadalajara, México and work part time through Up work and Freelancer. By “mocking up” a potential prospective website using Elementor and Generate Press I am winning more jobs.


  18. Hi Dave,
    really interesting post! I’ve been a WordPress developer for a few years (I was in software development before that), and I’ve spent a lot of time journeying to find what the best workflow would be.

    First just using a regular theme but quickly I wanted to build my own stuff obviously. I built a few sites from scratch in underscores and sage, but that takes a lot of time. I then started working more with existing themes. Storefront by woo was amazing, but other existing themes are often a lot less developer friendly.

    I had just decided that I should explore Avada’s potential when I found your article. I will now be ignoring Avada in favour of exploring GeneratePress and Elementor!

    So I’ve got a question. You mention that GeneratePress and Elementor are a great solution for your students who are graphics designers. Would you also recommend those tools for someone who is primarily a developer? I don’t mind a solid learning curve. What do you yourself use? I’m interested to know if there is a tool you might feel is better, but which you may not have mentioned here because the learning curve doesn’t work for graphics designers.

    • Hey Mira – your journey sounds exactly like mine. Definitely GP + Elementor is also great for developers. I’m more of a developer myself actually. GP’s hooks feature allows you to do almost anything you want as a developer. Theme-wise, you might also want to check out Astra too, also a superb theme. Good luck!

  19. Hey Dave, thanks for your post. I wanted to ask – if I use a Generatepress theme and then implement the Elementor builder, could I somehow kind of copy all content that I already have in my WordPress theme to the Generatepress theme, and then it will all appear as is? I mean will text, font, buttons, images, objects, etc. still appear the same? Or will I have to recreate everything from scratch on the Elementor builder? Sorry if that’s a stupid question as I am a complete beginner in this stuff. Pretty much I need to convert an existing WordPress theme and all it’s content to a builder that I’ll be able to personally work with, instead of hiring a developer each time when I need help doing stuff on my WordPress theme.

    • Hi Jacob – sadly, I think if you want to recreate a site in Elementor you’ll have to pretty much re-build from scratch. It’s hard to say without knowing more about your individual situation, how your current theme handles content and styling, etc. My advice would be to set up a test site and give it a try. Good luck. 🙂

  20. Great article. I will be trying out your approach. I’ve been dabbling web sites since 1994. I went from Notepad to HotMetaL Pro to Dreamweaver/Fireworks to a bit of CSS to a 10 year hiatus to a few years ago when HTML5, WordPress, etc were now derigueur. What’s my point? In the late 90s early 00s it dawned on us that separating content and style and navigation is a really really good idea. And I get the feeling that with a trend towards page builders people are forgetting about that. Any thoughts?

    • I agree 100%, yes. This is I guess a compromise with tools for non-coders. Although I also dabbled in web dev from the late 90s, I’m really a child of the web standards movement. I think when Elementor release their new ‘theme builder’ feature (whatever form it takes), it’ll be easier to again work with templates, rather than static standalone pages.

  21. It’s not the theme that’s the problem. It’s the platform. WordPress can be good, but it’s not great. WordPress itself is not the answer.
    If you just want a blog, there are premade solutions that are easier to use (Tumblr).
    If you want a website that you can edit yourself, there are premade solutions that are easier to use (Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc).
    WordPress takes experience to set up properly (and securely). It’s not for people that don’t know what they’re doing, even though that’s what their site leads you to believe. Plus, there’s the constant stream of updates to WP itself, as well as any plugins. If you’re going to go with something like that you might as well use something like Concrete5, which runs a lot faster than WP.

  22. I watched the “How to Roll Your Own Custom Layout in Under 30 Minutes” video in your Elementor Mini Series and it left me with a question on this article: Why do you need GP? It looks like you can do everything with just Elementor. Am I missing something? (Admittedly, I haven’t designed a WordPress sit before, so I very well might be misunderstanding part of the process. That’s why I’m here.)

    • Hiya Brandon. Well, WordPress requires a theme. It’s the engine that produces the finished pages on the site. You need one installed anyway. You *could* just use Elementor. But you need at least a way to pull in your site’s sitewide header and footer. And while this can be done using Elementor templates, it’s not ideal. much easier to have the theme handle that job that it’s designed to do. You can replace your theme’s header and footer with Elementor templates, but the theme still does the job of displaying them. I hope that makes sense?

  23. Hi Dave

    Generally a nicely constructed article. I do however feel the fact this artical is aimed at non-coding graphic designers gets lost. The artical then turns into a general Divi bashing exercise.

    Divi for sure has it’s limitations however it is an amazingly versatile theme. I have found with every theme I have ever used an understanding of CSS is essential. Without this understanding of course your end result is always going to be limited. Using Divi as your base with a child theme means you can create amazing looking sites very cost effectively.

    Divi can also be fantastic when handing the admin over to nontechnical users as elements can easily be locked. You have featured several quotes from people that did not get on with Divi. There are also thousands of people that think it’s amazing. Elegant themes behind Divi are also extremely proactive on updates and new features.

    I have used Divi on many oaccasions as well as creating themes from scratch. My clients have been equally happy with both.

  24. I always find reads about themes interesting.

    If you’re a developer and you want to make more money by cutting your development in half. Use Divi.

    If you are a developer and want to have half the building process there for you with the ability to develop completely customized, unique looking and functioning sites… use Divi.

    Divi is a framework that is only limited by the developer and the client.

    As a designer and programmer I find Divi to be an amazing solution. I have over 2 dozens sites built in Divi and they are as different as I want them to be. A sites aesthetics is CSS… without CSS every site is boxes and modules and text.

    I have built sites in divi with completely custom mega menus that have include images. No plugins, just CSS.

    The reality is it doesn’t matter what theme you select, if you know programming, then the only crutch would be your abilities, vision or the client.

    Using divi just speeds up the development of sites. I use the same plugins for speed, all of my sites perform in the green on gtmetrix and google speed. Site speed is about optimization as much as markup.

    As long as I have been developing I have never had a client ask to “switch” themes. They may ask to switch look, feel and UX, which just means changing content and styling.

    Why would anyone ever need to switch themes? Unless a theme is not supported with updates anymore.

    I used to build sites that were taking 4 or 5 months. I am so efficient with divi and learned what plugins work well to speed it up, that I am now building sites in less than 2 weeks. That’s designing, creating content, development and testing.

    Divi is an amazing “tool”.

  25. I’ve been using Divi for over a year and have had to resort to some real css voodoo to make some very basic client changes. For a designer, this is the stuff that costs me money because I can’t bill you for and hour for a simple change. I’m looking for award to trying Elementor for a site I’m working on now. 🙂

  26. I’m not a designer or developer, but have always built my own websites and enjoy tweaking stuff a bit here and there – which comes in handy, as that is definitely needed with Divi/Extra…

    I left Avada for Divi/Extra a few years ago because it was getting really heavy. Now I am thinking about leaving Divi/Extra for the same reason: each update on the themes puts loads of extra stress on resources, it seems. I like their flexibility a lot, but their bloatedness is becoming increasingly problematic.

    Will now make a list of all the stuff I tweaked in these themes and will start seriously considering a move to GP/Elementor…

  27. I’m a web designer and as far as my experience with Divi, Elementor and Thrive Architect (Well even Pro) they have the same technology in drag and drop and rapid development technology. Most of the first page builder plugins (or theme builders) like Fusion Builder (Avada), Corner Stone (X) and Visual Composer (Other Themes) are heavy and bloated. On the other hand I would have to say that Divi is one of the page builders that are pretty much light weight because of the quality of code it generates which is in my opinion is the same with Elementor and Thrive Architect. I just disagree with Divi being bloated because same as Elementor, both use the same code quality. They have the same layering for div’s and containers and Divi Builder comes with compressed CSS and JS.

    I love both elementor and divi (also thrive architect and pro) because all of them offer rapid development that saves time (lots of time) in development compared to older frameworks. I think designers will have to delve with CSS one way or another to achieve that design goal and it’s perfectly fine to be a CSS guru if Graphic Designers what to thrive in the Web Design space.

    One thing that’s pretty much is solid with divi is the Pricing. Having an Elegant theme license gives you not just Divi but other themes as well like Extra and other elegant themes collection. It also includes Monarch for social media shares and follow and Bloom (which is brilliant) for lead management and email marketing. So far Thrive Architect offers the same service as Elegant Themes does but slightly higher price. Elementor on the other hand only offers the page builder plugin which is pretty expensive for the price but I have to say that it’s a pretty powerful plugin.

    As for Elementor I’ve used a couple of themes that works best for elementor and I do find Genesis Framework to be a better option because it’s a solid coded theme and pretty much made for SEO. Although I did use Generate Press, Ocean WP and Astra and it works pretty much great with Elementor which are also free.

    P.S. Divi also offers a free split testing feature for landing page and lead capture pages comparison that can pretty much help in determining UI and UX issues and improving conversion rates for sales and marketing pages and landers. It would also be great if Elementor has it but then again it would be another topic altogether.

  28. Great article Dave. When I decided to create my own web site, and my first web site, I quickly found myself using GP and Elementor. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled on your material. I have no experience with any of the other page builders or themes, and I’m happy about that.

  29. With Divi, it’s easy to remove those shortcodes after switching themes. There is a function to use. In general, if you are going to use any theme that needs a page builder, you would typically use it for a long time without switching themes. It appears that the author may not have entirely used Divi to the max that it can be used to. I am no code geek, but I can make any style of a website I wish easy. In fact, more comfortable than most themes out there.

    I noticed that he recommended a page builder.

    Pair it with a separate page builder (like the incredible Elementor).

    I would say that he stated the one thing NOT to use at the bottom. Yes, Elementor does not leave shortcodes behind, but it is still part of the other stuff he was ranting about.

    If you expect an answer within a few hours of requesting help, you are sad that you need help that bad. Most support places usually answer within a few days. As they often are over packed with support tickets.

    I understand Divi may not be the best theme out there, but it’s not as bad as the author is making it out to be. It’s not bloated with junk. The load speed is usually effected by something else. With Divi, my site loads up fast with only Divi activated and no other plugins.

  30. So, your solution is to switch from Divi to Another Page Builder.
    In this Case Elementor. Makes no sense to me and if your biggest concern is having the page builder separate from the theme, you can always use the Divi Builder Separate with any theme of your choice.

    In what way does Elementor fix any of these issues you have mentioned?

    Elementor is in the Page Builder Category and in any case, would be equally as bad with Code Bloat.

    The whole bit about having to write custom CSS and javascript would still be true in Elementor as you are still limited by the page builders modules.

    In Conclusion. Ementor is no Better Than Divi and does not resolve any of the issues you mentioned. Elementor is just another Option to building Websites in WordPress. As mentioned by the Elementor Developers, The builder does not even have Schema for the Header and Footers that it allows you to create. So much for SEO friendly.
    The answer to the concerns listed in your article cannot be remedied by a page builder.

    • Bob Kodi, could you please elaborate a little bit on this: The builder does not even have Schema for the Header and Footers that it allows you to create. So much for SEO friendly.

      – Thank you in advance 🙂

  31. Hello Dave, thanks for your article! Nice read and I also went trough every comment as I am in the same situation of choosing one option out of the many. It’s not an easy decision as I tend to go with one (and only one) solution. Many of my clients do want WordPress (despite the fact that a good old static HTML website would be the better choice as changes are only made every few months, but that’s a different topic).

    I did develop my own theme out of a barebone bootstrap 4 HTML template. After a lot of reseach I do wonder why there isn’t any drag & drop builder that only adresses the barebone boostrap components and leaves the Bootstrap HTML completely untouched?. Meaning a simple container dropper (switch for static or fluid), a column builder (with all the Bootstrap push, pull, offset etc options), a carousel etc.

    Hence, every possible Bootstrap element!

    Within every dropped element, I imagine having access on the HTML code snippet (only of that specific element) and being able to edit it. (Maybe the element could show it with an icon or border that tells us that the code has been editied somehow).

    The output within the loop would always be “native bootstrap code”. You could use boostrap material by only switching the major css and javascript file.

    For me this seems so much of a “Somebody must already have came up with that idea” idea. Or am I missing something? As Bootstrap is so popular it is meant to stay forever and there should be a simple builder without any premade design.

    If Divi is being discontinued there is not much you can do but start from scratch.

    Just some thoughts….

    Thanks again!

    • Oh definitely – that would be a really superb idea! Offhand, I don’t know of anything like that though. Would love to know if you find something. 🙂

      • Maybe have a look at

        No restrictions on development and with a lifetime license you can even use it to build, and sell, your own themes. You can customise all your ‘views’, ‘content templates’, and ‘layouts’ to use whatever barebone code/styling framework you wish (bootstrap, tailwind, etc).

        I don’t agree with a lot that has been said in this article BTW. Seems like a link-bait driven Divi-bash for affiliate sales of the recommended products. But, good on you, if you’re making money then that’s the whole point after all!

        To newbies reading this article, take it with a pinch of salt; do your own hands-on research and develop a workflow that suits you and your clients. Learn to develop, to code, and read the WordPress documentation on filters and hooks. If you can’t be bothered, stop complaining, stick to design and hand your designs over to a developer who can make a pixel perfect facsimile and ensure that the WordPress install is secure and optimised. Everybody wins.

        • Thanks for the tip Dave. My audience are non-coder designers. I can tell you from many years experience teaching them that Toolset, filters, hooks and code generally is a non-starter for the majority of them.

          No link bait intended. Not my style. Just relating my experience and the experience of my subscribers/students. Glad you have a different approach that works for you. We’re all different.

  32. Good article. Also I think WordPress page builders can be a good solution. I use Elementor a lot, in my opinion, the best page builder around at the moment. The only other page builder I use is beaver builder but this is only due to beaver themer the integration with custom post types is excellent. Elementor, however, do plan to release something similar if this happens I think Elementor will become my go-to page builder for every project.

      • No, Divi already knew him, I read a lot about this editor, but personally he does not convince me (this may be my lack of experience). In the course they recommend Themes Generator, which is what they use. I have tried it and I feel more comfortable, but being new in this sector, I can not be very objective either.

        I leave the link ( ) so you can give me a more professional vision. Thank you very much for the help to this beginner!!!

  33. Interesting article.
    Quoting the article:
    “The idea of drag-n-drop builders and a whole range of modules sounds lovely. In reality, as a creative designer, you’ll quickly butt up against the limitations of how the theme expects you to work.”

    I have combed through the article and the comments and one thing I don’t see addressed in the article is how does the use of the Elementor builder overcome the limitations of the Divi builder? Shortcodes aside, I still don’t see illustrated here how Elementor frees one from the design “shackles” of any other builder like Divi? From a design freedom point of view?

  34. Fantastic Article. I would love to contribute one day to shift the whole idea that Divi theme builder is somehow a scourge in the development world.

  35. How much effort was put into these two “exact” sites? All of my Divi sites load with A ratings near 100% in GT Metrix, Y Slow, Pingdom, and Google Page Speed.

    They’re image heavy, yet optimized. The caching is done right. The minification and combines are done appropriately.

    They all load within a 2 seconds.

    I’m just confused how these sites that were tested are being setup and furthermore if they’re optimized, at all, like you would a normal live environment during post-development and design phase.

  36. Dave, great article. We’ve been doing web design for less than a year and immediately fell in love with Divi because of the visual builder. But after nearly 20 websites built, I started feeling like Divi was really congested and lacked in a lot of elements I felt should be a priority (i.e. header, footer design). We’ve just started experimenting with Elementor over the past few days, which is how I ran across this article.

    I’m still going through a bit of a learning curve, but really feeling at Elementor may be my new go-to for web design. Thanks for a great, thorough article.

  37. Great article! Replace a drag-and-drop theme with a simpler theme, plus a drag-and-drop builder. Wow! *bangs head on the monitor repeatedly* Wow!

  38. Dave, I found your opinion interesting. It’s challenging putting something out for public consumption particularly when it is a “hot” topic such as which WordPress visual editor is best. So kudos for making an attempt.

    After evaluating Beaver, Elementor, Divi, and others we have standardized on Divi. (We’ve been in the business for 16 years and have seen it all including having developed one of the first visual website editors many years ago…)

    In head-to-head challenges I’ll say that the current version of Divi outperforms Elementor consistently. While Divi’s codebase is large for the theme, not all of the codebase is loaded for a given page being displayed. So that metric you’ve leveraged of evaluating the potential speed of a site loading is likely unintentionally disingenuous. Indeed Divi has a number of speed enhancing technologies built in that help it load faster. (It’s current incarnation of optimization is quite robust.)

    I’ll also say that Divi is probably the most widely supported theme with a vast array of help available to accomplish nearly anything one wants to accomplish to create visually stunning designs that don’t all have to look like a standard Divi design. and are great examples of this. The Divi community tends to be really helpful and friendly.

    Two final points…

    1) Divi brings gamification to design in a way that seems to shame all other builders. Divi’s control over special effects is legendary and can create truly interesting web pages that are both visually stunning and where the effects keep the visitor’s eyeballs engaged. At the end of the day that is one of the most important metrics because a website really isn’t about making the designer’s life easy… it is about helping the client get their message out so they can make more money. Google has shown that an engaged website visitor is the best and Google tracks for engagement. Site design that encourages engagement should be sought after.

    2) Divi’s A/B+ split testing are dead easy and allow for testing of virtually any element on a web page. Yes A/B split-test plugins exist. They often misfire or worse break website loading. With split testing built into Divi it is simply a no-brainer. And I say “+” because you can split test a C and a D as well… In fact you could go beyond that as well.

    I do appreciate that you’ve acknowledged what other folks have pointed out… that the code Divi leaves behind can be easily dealt with via the Divi Builder plugin. So folks shouldn’t fear moving a site to a different theme and having old content not be able to render… which seems to be one of the biggest complaints you had in the original “argument” you’ve made against Divi. However, I don’t know why anyone would want to move away from the Divi codebase. If Elegant Themes spontaneously combusts or if Divi goes away, sure. Otherwise, the only reason would be if they brought in a different designer that had an “opinion” that the underlying theme codebase should change.

    Finally, I’ll simply let some stats say why Divi is an excellent choice…



    You can see that Divi clearly outpaces both Elementor and Beaver Builder. You’ll also see that Divi’s pace is quickening. Indeed Divi is winning conversion from Genesis at a rate of 3:1. (Divi gains 3 sites from Genesis for every 1 it loses to Genesis.)

    The stats matter because again it comes back to the community at large. A bigger community means a better supported product.

    It sort of the argument of why someone should choose WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Joomla. Both Drupal and Joomla offer some great features. However WordPress is the king with the greatest marketshare and does so much right it is silly to work with anything else…

    Thank you for allowing me the space to share a different opinion for those who’ve made it this far in your comments. All the best!

    • John, thank you for this super thoughtful reply. I really really appreciate it. You clearly have gone into this in more depth than I did in the article.

      And you’re right: I definitely did not intend to be disingenuous.

      Thank you again. I’m delighted there’s this alternative, well considered view here.

  39. I’m someone who uses Divi and you make some valid points. That being said load times are not slow provided you know what your doing and have a respectable hosting service. My websites load within one 1-2 seconds fine. Yes the code is more bloated then usual and I wouldn’t recommend it to people with no web development experience (or you could run into load time problems galore). Either way a well written article enjoyed the read!

  40. I have had a love/hate relationship with Divi, and I’m firmly in the “love” column now. I think that you make a lot of great points, but, what I’ve discovered is that Divi is GREAT for non-technical customers. They just get it. They know how to make changes quickly. Also, more experienced coders will discover that the trick to Divi is IDs and Classes. If you name your modules with descriptive IDs and classes, you can overwrite them in the css editor. Many things can be changed, however, with Divi itself, and I have to disagree with you that all Divi sites look the same. They certainly don’t have to… if they do, it’s because of laziness. I love doing responsive design in Divi. I’m not a novice developer either, been doing this stuff for 23+ years. I build plenty of custom themes and I use ACF a lot, including with Divi. Divi with advanced custom fields can be a very powerful combo.

  41. You may want to revise this post to include Oxygen. I think you may be surprised at how much better it is than Elementor. No, I don’t work for them. I’m just a developer like you. I am redesigning my site now since it was built with Divi and is too slow.

  42. Hi, sorry for being naive (just starting a blog here) but would someone be able to please explain why you would need a theme if you have a page builder? They seem to have overlapping functions? If I were to get generate press and elementor, what would one do that the other doesn’t? Thank you.

    • WordPress needs a theme to operate at all. The theme is what eventually outputs the finished pages to the live site.

      A page builder sits on top of all that and allows you to basically take over most of what would have been the theme’s job. But even if you bypass most of the theme’s features, the theme still needs to be there.

  43. Hi Dave,

    Great share, thank you so much.
    Just a naive question, is GP a theme builder like Divi. My guess is that it is not and hence it needs a page builder (unlike Divid/Avada/X that incorporate a page builder – although i came across vids and websites suggesting to combine Divi with elementor (page builder) which confused the hell of me 🙂

    • Hi Don. GP is a theme. That’s it. Divi is like a theme + page builder combo all rolled into one. That’s why I recommend choosing a really simple lightweight theme like GP, and then choose a suitable separate page builder, like Elementor.

      You CAN use Elementor with Divi. But it kinda defeats the object. One page builder on top of another. 🙂

  44. Is there a way to take a divi child theme that was built on Divi and delete Divi and switch to generatepress as the basis on which to put that divi-built child theme and get rid of Divi? i tried on a staging site using the divi builder but the customizations are gone

    • You can keep the child theme folder on the server, but you’ll have to change the ‘Template’ reference in style.css to the parent theme file. It’ll be pointing to the Divi theme, not GeneratePress. Rename that as ‘generatepress’. Also change the theme name at the top too.

      However: CSS customizations you’ve made in the child theme likely won’t be relevant anymore, because they’ll be referencing Divi’s HTML structure, not GPs.

      Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  45. Hi Dave,

    I’ve been using both Divi and Elementor for years and more Elementor in the last year. However I looked back to Divi last week and I noticed that they included lots of workflow efficiency features into the page builder, which indeed seems to solve lots of problems I am currently having with Elementor. For example, in Elementor, if I need to adjust the overall color scheme, I would have to go into every single page and update the associated colors/background colors in all modules. I know leaving them as default and set the default in the theme is a way to solve it, but unfortunately the text in some modules just don’t get targeted by the selectors in the theme. In Divi, the Find and Replace feature comes quite handy in this case, not to mention its powerful option-specific style copy/pasting feature. I still want to stick with Elementor since it has much better themer feature than Divi. So I am just wondering how you tackled the problems I mentioned in Elementor, things like setting overall fonts and colors?


  46. Hi Dave – I felt like you were writing this article just for me. I’ve felt the pain of purchasing and dealing with Divi, Avada, X, and many others. I’m pulling my hair out just wanting 1 darn solution I can actually rely on. The recent PHP 7.2 upgrade left me with several sites that were not compatible and developers dragging there feet with updates.

    I’m on the fence with GeneragePress and Astra to both be used with Elementor. Any thoughts here?


  47. Well I’ve no idea how long it took you to write this post but blimey it’s amazing! You are one talented ‘salesman’ and have successfully summarised the apparent Divi problems for me in a way few other websites could. If I don’t get on with Elementor though, can I come crying to you? Only joking.

  48. Divi is a disaster for me. I must convert out asap. I am sick that I bought a lifetime account. It will take a lifetime to redo my sites. ET support has really deteriorated too. I hope I can replicate my site with a better base theme.

  49. Thanks for the insights. I have the opposite problem: I’m a novice developer, but I couldn’t design my way out of a paper bag. Is there any hope for me to build websites that don’t make people scream?

  50. I have 100+ sites I manage for everything, from hosting to SEO. I moved 14 sites in a batch to Divi and the SEO of all these sites crashed in a couple months (traffic and ranking). Restored the old sites and SEO came back. Divi is obviously a problem for people who actually care about traffic and people finding their sites. What’s the point of using a “code free” solution if it destroys the quality of your site and then you have to spend hundreds of hours fixing performance issues (which results in coding!)??? Divi has no future, it will be dead in 3 years or less.

  51. Hi there,
    I sincerely want to move to GeneratePress (I don’t know if to Elementor). First, the link to the function to clean Divi code is not there anymore (so I’m worried – I will search internet to find something out). Second, I don’t understand if this couple you all are suggesting (GP + Elementor) means that I can build something similar to what Divi allows me to do (it doesn’t have to be equal) only if I buy the Premium GP or if it’s enough the free version of GP (so I will consider licensing Elementor). But yes, I’m very tired about the slowness of my websites and as I’m starting to build a business online, I’d like to have fastness.
    Many thanks to whoever can answer my doubts.

  52. It’s just an matter of time before the pizzazz of Elementor (mainly animations, elements) reaches the level of some of the premium themes. Then those themes will either integrate Elementor or have to backtrack and make their themes more dev/design friendly.

  53. Biased bs article. Yes I agree that a lightweight theme is a better option, but there is only 1 advantage to Elementor compared to Divi Builder. No shortcode. Otherwise Divi Builder has a lot more options/variety and better support + regular updates. You are just biased cause sponsored

  54. I’ve inherited a few client’s websites that were built using Elementor and I find Divi to be vastly superior. This article is a few years old but even then, it misses out on the fact that you can still create child themes and write your own CSS and JS. The vast majority of sites I build are designed in Photoshop and then developed using Divi so that clients can maintain them without needing my help.

  55. I am taking your suggestion as an experiment. Building a site for a client who is an artist, so the site will be a portfolio for the most part.

    At the moment (first five minutes) Elementor seems entirely opaque to me, but GeneratePress looks good so far. Are some of the added features of the premium version of GeneratePress simply non-code control over what inspect-elements plus custom css does with any theme?

    Advice for free Elementor tutorial online welcome.

    Using Atomic Blocks also.

    As for Divi: yes on the difficult to switch away and then back. Yes on the lots and lots of code added to eah page. ET this, ET that… Reminds me of my frustrations with Dreamweaver way back when, all that excess code.

    But my experience with Divi support has been excellent.

    Interesting article.

    Thank you.

  56. I’ve used Divi quite a bit recently and many of your criticisms are certainly true. The code bloat is a big problem and so is the difficulty in changing things beyond the standard templates provided. I was impressed with how easy it was to get started with a nicely designed pre-built layout though. I think Divi is a good choice if you don’t want to deviate from the pre-built layouts too much.

  57. do you have any experience working with the Page Builder Framework theme? I’m curious how it compares to GeneratePress in your opinion.

    • I really like it. Can very highly recommend. The developer (David Vongries) is superb and a really great guy. I still tend to use GP for most of my own projects, simply because I’m comfortable with it and know it backwards.

  58. Hi. I’m trying to figure out the best way to build client websites and came across your article. My HTML/CSS/PHP is excellent and I enjoy coding. At the moment I graphic design the site in Photoshop, then convert everything to HTML/CSS within a blank WP theme based on Underscores, then use Advanced Custom Fields to make anything the client wants customisable to be customisable. I like that I have total control and I enjoy the process but it feels like I could do it a lot quicker in a visual editor, but would I totally lose my versatility, or end up taking just as long as I figured out how to tinker with the code to do what I could just write easily? Any advice would be very well appreciated, thanks!

    • So sorry for the late reply Chris. You got caught in an over-zealous spam filter.

      You can definitely still do this with Elementor Pro. The theme builder allows you to create templates for singles, archives and as many alternative versions as you like (for different post types, taxonomies, etc). Then you add placeholder widgets where you want the dynamic custom field content to appear.

      Much faster than coding those templates and you still retain control—clients can’t edit those templates and you can block access to Elementor for them completely.

  59. I have been looking around, investigating different theme and design options – I nearly selected Divi for the lifetime package. I had no Idea about the short code and if I potentially wanted to switch could fall into all types of trouble.
    Have some more options now 🙂

  60. Hi Dave,

    I run my own website on Divi and as you can see my page speed is great:

    I use speedup plugins like wp super cache and wp smush it. Works fine. I like the insights from your article though, it made me explore the possibilities and I’m happy I can keep using Divi and can offer my clients great looking and good performing websites.

    All the best!

  61. I am trying to export posts built in a site built with Divi theme with Divi Builder to use in a different site built on GeneratePress with Elementor. I got an error to the link for the elegant function you had listed above for removing the Divi coding so the posts are usable. Hoping there is another way to get my posts to import to a new site nicely without having to manually rebuild each one? Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  62. To be honest, I know you’re advertising it as something that requires no coding skills, but to be honest I don’t mind attaching my own CSS and Javascript. I don’t know if you can use FTP with Divi, but something I loved about hand-coding was being to use Brackets to see my website’s development in real-time, and then upload it to my server. Doing this with Divi Builder is an absolute nightmare, especially when trying to write media queries, I need to open up three different tabs! One with the Theme Customizer open, one without, and a resized window.

    Divi does have its own functionality for media queries, but it only has three settings which every single client has complained about. I don’t know why the hell Elegent Themes haven’t figured out that some people view their iPad in landscape mode too. So my question is how do the alternatives you suggest handle responsiveness? Do you know any courses or learning resources to ween myself off Divi the same way I weened myself off having sugar in my tea? I suck at PHP so that’s my biggest weakness, and biggest reliance on WordPress!

  63. i am using elementor pro WordPress theme builder, i found it very easy to use and made a lot’s of website for my client’s. I will try divi page builder also, it will take some time to know the fully uses of this plugin as i am new

  64. Thanks for the amazing article Dave! I’ve been using divi for about 2 months now. I have found it to be good for quick landing page setups, but for more customizable layouts that translate well over to responsive views…jesus what a mess! Only today have I caved and started google-king frantically how to solve basic responsive riddles that divi cannot achieve. I think I’m going back to elementor as my all time best wordpress builder for pure functionality.

  65. Hi Dave – awesome break down and so helpful for me to read. Wondering a few years later after you wrote it whether you could share on Generate Press vs Page Builder Framework? Would love to hear your thoughts on how they compare.

    • Thanks Joseph! I still LOVE GeneratePress. PBF is an excellent theme, and very worth trialling. I always end up coming back to GP. Just the right balance of speed and thoughtful features.

  66. Very interesting article. I used Divi fro almost 8 years and to me at some point it became ridiculous. I am primarily in branding and graphic design and learned ux for website design. I started using Astra and gutenberg and to me it works great and does not feel like it hinders any creativity. The main thing I always tell people is no matter what learn some css. No matter what you use it is a good idea to have some understanding of how something works.
    Also if doing web design I could not agree more. Learn UX design. it is so important now. What scares me is when I see posts in I will use the example of divi is people building websites for clients and having no idea how it works. Most humans do not know everything. That being said a decent understanding is key.

  67. I already use GP and love it.
    Unfortunately, recent designs in their library require either Gutenberg or other Page Builders.

    Which similar theme would you recommend when using exclusively Classic Editor and not any page builder?

  68. I have an old Wp theme that is no longer supported…and I want to move, and move up (cast a wider net) Was looking at Divi and then found out that if you have a large website, it is a no no. Since I have 15 years of a monthly blog, I don’t want to lose that. I have no SEO rankings at all (which has always surprised me) and figure it must be due to slow loading, etc. I have a custom site, which then went to a WP theme…that is now out of date. Is my only choice to hire an expensive coder, designer or whatever that can clean up my site code for faster loading? OR is there some other way to do this??? I have written code, but am not a coder.

  69. I’ve optimised a lot of Divi sites for speed and can get speeds of 2 seconds or less fairly easily. It’s not always the theme that slows down a site, more the images and the heaps of plugins people use. I’ve recently rebuilt a site using Divi and removed plugins for functionality that Divi already includes. Functionality like, a slider, a contact form, mega menu.
    Then there is the fact you don’t need to add a separate theme, it’s a builder and theme in 1.
    You can have any design you want – there is no restriction on creativity.
    If you are not sure then give it a go, I don’t think you will be disappointed (no affiliate link what-so-ever).

  70. Hi Dave,

    I am a graphic Designer and been building WP sites for about 6 years now. I started off with Joomla because i felt it gave me more freedom of placing my graphics and editing the page layout easy. I then i found wordpress templates with Bakery page builder built in that made design a site easier to use the Joomla. i purchased the theme from and have been using their themes ever since because i just select a layout and style i like (mostly the way buttons work and graphics are placed etc) and replace the content and customise the CSS where i need to.

    The problem i am starting to come across is some of the themes stop updates and some are even removed from theme forest site now where support ends for that theme. No i am left with several sites that i can’t update anymore and will eventually will probably cause issues as WP updates its versions into the future. The thought of buying a new theme and designing new graphics to match the new theme plus restructure everything will be time consuming. It doesnt seem like i am doing things the best way.

    I am a designer and thats what im good at. I’m in two minds at the moment thinking should i just get a lifetime license for DIVI theme and build all my sites with it from now on or find a basic theme that offers life support and just purchase a page builder license on it’s own and use it with the basic template and spend more time with my design then relying on a pre-made template.

    I found this article tonight while doing a google search for help and got to say this article has really got me thinking. Your advise could be a great way for me to start looking into. I like WP page builder and quite confident with it for what i need to do. i think i may have downloaded a template once that had the elementor one you talk about. From my understanding they are similar???

    I don’t usually write in forums however reaching out to people like yourself and reading some of the other peoples comments has made me think i need to re-think about how i do things. I spend over $100 for a theme each time and then have to pay for updates each 6 months. With more people now asking me to build them sites it would be great to hear any advise that could help better my WP workflow and eliminating less issues with my themes expiring into the future. Thanks. Scott


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