Thrive Architect and Elementor are two of the most WordPress page builders. Elementor is a full-featured free plugin that replaces the basic WordPress editor with a live frontend editor, making it ideal for portfolio websites and general web design. On the other hand, Thrive Architect is a WordPress page builder that is ideal for any type of website build and is especially suited to marketers.2 Its templates and modules help optimize conversion rates all over your funnels, and its integrations power-up your marketing efforts.
Thrive Architect is focused more on giving marketers powerful conversion-focused features, such as email list building/sign ups, animations, etc., while Elementor tries to provide almost any element you could possibly need (in the pro version of the plugin).
Elementor has the ability to output custom CSS to external files, which is better for performance, while Thrive Architect embeds all the CSS inline in the source code of the page, resulting in a larger code footprint for the page. However, Thrive Architect excels at granular control to fine-tune every little styling detail specifically for all devices (phones, tablets, desktops).
What makes Elementor so special?
Elementor is a drag-and-drop page builder for WordPress that serves web professionals, including developers, designers, and marketers. It’s available in a capable free version, as well as an even more advanced Pro version.
With over five million active installations, Elementor is the most popular WordPress page builder, enabling users from everywhere the globe to create everything from simple landing pages to entire websites via its intuitive drag-and-drop editor. With no limits of design, Elementor allows users to create high-end, pixel-perfect websites at record speeds. With a new website created every 10 seconds (!) on its platform, Elementor is the de facto go-to choice for many designers and business owners to create professional websites.
Thrive Architect = Marketing & Money-Making
Here’s a purpose-built page builder for online marketing – including a boatload of marketing-specific landing page templates and conversion-focused site building blocks that you can use for fast success online.
Thrive Architect, and especially when integrated with its siblings Thrive Leads, Thrive Headline Optimizer, Thrive Ultimatum, Thrive Quiz Builder, etc: offers a really powerful combo not found else in the WordPress page builder space! Thrive Architect will give you multiple ways to generate leads online, in addition to expected standard features such as testimonials, lead gen popups, lightboxes for videos and images, and of course: fully customizable lead generation forms.
There’s even an element for “Guarantee boxes”, so you can show your clients a 30-day money back guarantee.
Thrive Architect replaced Thrive Content Builder – and is the only visual page builder for WordPress so specifically targeting business websites – with a huge online marketing emphasis.
It truly shines for marketers due to its heavy marketing focus. Because Thrive Architect (and Thrive Themes the parent company in general) prioritizes conversions (sales) more than anything else, it is indeed an interesting option (and easy choice) for marketers.
It’s not a perfect web design tool though! Hence Elementor is recommended for most other use cases, where a more polished website builder is desired. Read more further below, as to what makes me say that.
Full-width backgrounds and such
Not all WordPress themes include a full width “blank canvas” page template. That’s a problem when using a WordPress page builder. When designing your pages, you want section backgrounds to span the full width of the browser viewport.
But what if your theme doesn’t include an adequate page template for that purpose?
And what if you’re overall happy with your theme and not in the mood for a time-consuming switch to a more “page builder friendly” WordPress theme?
Are you out of luck?
Nope. Fortunately, both Elementor and Thrive Architect have good solutions, literally “at the flick of a switch”.
However! When it comes to the ways you can use and style those full width backgrounds – a proper Elementor vs Thrive Architect vs Beaver Builder battle begins to rumble.
Hint: one can do more than the other two. And one can do significantly less.
I get into all that, and even a very 80s Taekwondo rock concert (yes, you read that right – and it gets even more bizarre than that) in the video below. Enjoy!
Those color gradients in Thrive Architect are really nice, right? More flexible than Elementor’s implementation, with its layers and separate control of opacity/transparency for each color.
Such fine-grained control is great to have!
Why color gradient overlays are cool
Whether gradient or solid, color overlays will help text and icons stand out and be legible on pretty much any image background. They do this by lowering the overall contrast of the image.
Stylistically, color overlays look great as well. Modern and bold. Your brand colors become a downright statement – conveying a the overall vibe of your brand, immersing your website visitor in it – by almost drenching them in color.
Solid color overlays are cool – but color gradient overlays add an extra dimension – a depth that has to be seen (and felt viscerally) to be fully appreciated.
Another reason color overlays are great, is that you can use the same background image multiple times on a page, but visually make it interesting by alternating the color overlays. Why do that? To load only a single image vs multiple images, drastically speeding up your page. Cool tip? Indeed:)
Below, I’ve created a few examples of the color overlays you can achieve in Elementor vs Thrive Architect vs Beaver Builder. As you’ll see, there’s a vast difference in their capabilities, when it comes to color overlays.
As you can see above, Thrive Architect wins our little color gradient overlay contest with its flexible options for color transparency/opacity. It’s trailed by Elementor which does well, although lacking the extensive flexibility of Thrive Architect. That said, Elementor strikes a good balance between power and ease-of-use!
Last is Beaver Builder – not offering any color gradient overlays – only solid color overlays. As you can see in the examples, solid color overlays are fine, but far from as useful and foxy as color gradient overlays.
Does that make Beaver a loo-hoo-ew-ser / lewser? Nah, not really. Where Beaver Builder wins, is in overall ease-of-use. On that scale, Thrive Architect comes last. Elementor in the middle.
Perhaps Elementor is the best compromise then? That’s really up to you to decide. If you want a WordPress page builder giving you maximum design freedom and flexibility: Thrive Architect is a powerful choice. But so is a Smith & Wesson Magnum (trust Dirty Harry on that one). Yet that’s not always what you want to carry around in a small Gucci-bag – right?
Do you need Thrive Architect’s flexibility? It often comes at the cost of complexity. Still, you may want that – I personally do, but I’m a professional web designer, and enjoy Thrive Architect for its integration with their other marketing plugins, too.
Thrive Themes (the parent company of Thrive Architect) are super marketing / conversion focused. For marketers Thrive Architect is certainly an alluring option!
However, as a website builder, it’s not as refined and elegant as could be desired. Perhaps part of the reason most WordPress users choose Elementor instead – which is recommended for most website projects, that’ll benefit from a more polished page builder experience.
If, on the other hand, you want the easiest page builder for your WordPress site? Beaver Builder has your back!
Which page builder do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below! I’m as curious (and cute – I’m told) as Curious George:)
Questions or comments? Feel free: you're welcome!