5 Best WordPress Theme Builders and Website Builders Compared 2017

/5 Best WordPress Theme Builders and Website Builders Compared 2017

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With the slow death of Headway Themes, the WordPress website and theme builder market lost one of its biggest participants. Don’t despair, though. While Headway Themes might no longer be a viable option, there are still some awesome WordPress website builders out there.

In fact, part of the reason behind Headway Themes’ death was an inability to keep up with the stellar competition.

So if you’re looking for a WordPress theme builder or website builder that isn’t named Headway, what are your options? In this post, I’ll dig into five of the best WordPress theme builders.

As much as possible, I’ll try to focus on true theme builders, rather than mega themes that just come with a ton of different demo content.

Note – I’ll use theme builder and website builder interchangeably in this post because, as far as I can tell, they mean the same thing to most WordPress users.

5 Best WordPress Website and Theme Builders

Below, I’ll dig into each builder in more detail. But if you’re interested in a quick overview, here’s what you can expect to see in this post:

Beaver Themer

Oxygen

Divi

Themify Flow

Layers

Type

Plugin

Plugin

Theme

Theme

Theme

Difficulty Level

Easy for beginners

Best for developers

Easy for beginners

Easy for beginners

Easy for beginners

Price

$147

$99Pro version

$89

Free

Free / $59

Now, let’s get a little more detailed…

1. Beaver Themer

best wordpress theme builder beaver themer

Overview

Beaver Themer is a new’ish release from the team at Beaver Builder. It brings the same stellar Beaver Builder interface to bear on your entire theme. While you can do something similar with the Beaver Builder theme, Beaver Themer is unique in that it functions as a plugin.

You can essentially use it to build your headers, single post templates, archive pages, and more…all using custom elements for dynamic data, as well as all of the original elements from the Beaver Builder.

Note – Beaver Themer is an add-on for Beaver Builder, so you will need the original Beaver Builder plugin as well.

Beaver Themer Core Features

  • Create theme templates for core pages like archives, post types, WooCommerce products, and more.
  • Build theme parts to handle your header, footer, and sidebar
  • Uses the same drag and drop Beaver Builder interface
  • Can easily connect with fields to display dynamic data

Beaver Themer Pros

  • Uses the familiar Beaver Builder interface – very easy for beginners to pick up
  • Lets you build your entire site with drag and drop – headers, footers, archives, and more
  • Makes it easy to connect with custom fields for dynamic data

Beaver Themer Cons

  • Requires the premium Beaver Builder plugin to work, which can get expensive
  • Not all themes support custom headers and footers out of the box – currently only works with Beaver builder theme, Genesis, GeneratePress, StoreFront, and some smaller themes.

Pricing

Beaver Themer itself costs $147. But you’ll also need the $99 Beaver Builder page builder plugin to use it.

2. Oxygen

oxygen wordpress website builder for developers

Overview

Oxygen is a new website builder from Soflyy, the team behind the popular WP All Import plugin. Like Beaver Themer, Oxygen is technically a plugin, but it actually lets you build out your entire WordPress theme using an in-dashboard visual editor.

You can either build your theme from scratch or use a variety of pre-designed components. Unlike some of the other theme builders, Oxygen is geared a bit more towards developers with a focus on easy in-dashboard code and CSS editing.

Oxygen Core Features

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Build designs from pre-built components or basic HTML blocks
  • Easily insert dynamic content from WordPress to create templates for your content
  • In-dashboard code editor for JavaScript, HTML, PHP, and CSS
  • Works with other page builders for more power

Oxygen Pros

  • Pre-built components make it easy to get up and running if you like their style
  • Super flexible for developers
  • Edit code directly in your dashboard
  • Easily find CSS selectors and add custom CSS</l

Oxygen Cons

  • Not drag and drop
  • Need at least basic code skills to really get the most from it – it’s definitely focused more towards developers

Pricing

Oxygen currently costs $99 for lifetime updates and unlimited sites. The Soflyy team may raise the price in the near future, though.

3. Divi

divi from elegant themes

Overview

Divi is an incredibly popular theme and page builder combination that makes it easy to quickly build out a variety of website designs.

I hesitated to include Divi on this list because it’s not a “true” theme builder in that you can build your header and archive pages with it. But you can still accomplish that with a little elbow grease – and Divi’s massive community makes it easy to find tips and tricks you can use to create a fully customized site.

Divi Core Features

  • Flexible theme with integrated Divi Builder
  • Visual drag and drop editing
  • Tons of helpful elements including post grids
  • Pre-made templates to base your designs on
  • Huge support community and resources

Divi Pros

  • Divi Builder is one of the best page builders out there
  • Huge Elegant Themes community makes it easy to find help
  • With the exception of headers and footers, building complex layouts is super easy

Divi Cons

  • You can’t use the Divi Builder on your header, footer, or sidebar
  • Not a “true” theme builder like Beaver Themer or Oxygen

Pricing

Divi is available as part of the $89 Elegant Themes membership. As part of your membership, you also get access to all of Elegant Themes’ other themes and plugins for use on unlimited sites.

4. Themify Flow

wordpress theme builder free and open source from Themify

Overview

Themify Flow is an open source and free WordPress theme builder from Themify that promises “complete design from header to footer.” With it, you can build as many templates as you want using a drag and drop visual editor, as well as easy CSS styling.

Then, once you have some templates, you can assign them to posts, pages, custom post types, and more.

Unlike Beaver Themer and Oxygen, Themify Flow is a WordPress theme, rather than a plugin.

Themify Flow Core Features

  • Beginner friendly CSS style tool to build global styles
  • Drag and drop theme builder
  • Build your headers, footers, and sidebars
  • Build templates for single posts, pages, archives, and more.

Themify Flow Pros

  • Free and open source
  • Drag and drop interface is based on the Themify Builder
  • A true theme builder – you can easily customize every single part of your site
  • Beginner friendly when compared to something like Oxygen

Themify Flow Cons

  • Uses shortcodes over clean HTML, though does its best to avoid shortcode bloat.
  • Requires extra database queries to render templates, which slightly degrades performance

Pricing

Themify Flow is 100% free.

5. Layers

layers WordPress theme

Overview

Like Divi, Layers is a WordPress theme packaged with a drag and drop page builder that makes it possible to build out your entire theme. While you won’t have quite as much control over your design as you would with something like Beaver Themer, Oxygen, or Themify Flow, it’s also easier for beginners to use.

Layers does offer a free version, but you’ll need the Pro version for the most flexibility.

Layers Features

  • Build your theme using drag and drop widgets
  • Style widgets using a built-in design bar
  • No custom code required

Layers Pros

  • Layers’ widget system makes it easy for total beginners to build designs
  • The design bar helps you make style changes without needing to know CSS
  • Layers uses the WordPress Customizer for real-time previews

Layers Cons

  • While you have a good deal of control over your header, it’s not drag and drop like Beaver Themer or Themify Flow
  • In order to achieve user friendliness, you sacrifice some flexibility.

Pricing

Layers does have a free version. But to get access to the full version, you’ll need to buy Layers Pro for $59. There are also other premium extensions that you can purchase to further extend its functionality.

Which Website/Theme Builder Plugin Should You Choose?

Beaver Themer

Oxygen

Divi

Themify Flow

Layers

Type

Plugin

Plugin

Theme

Theme

Theme

Difficulty Level

Easy for beginners

Best for developers

Easy for beginners

Easy for beginners

Easy for beginners

Price

$147

$99Pro version

$89

Free

Free / $59

For true total theme building, you really have three options:

  • Beaver Themer
  • Oxygen
  • Themify Flow

Of those three, I’d say Beaver Themer and Themify Flow are the most beginner friendly, while Oxygen offers the most control and features for those who already know at least some basic code.

Divi and Layers, on the other hand, sit in a gray area between page builder and theme builder. Neither are true theme builders like the first three, but they both offer that functionality if you’re willing to get your hands dirty when it comes to headers and footers.

All in all, my personal favorite from this list is Beaver Themer – but I don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of them – it just depends on your specific needs.

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