An In-depth Performance Comparison Of 5 Popular WordPress Page Builders

If you feel somewhat restricted by the flexibility of layouts provided by WordPress themes, you might be interested in building your WordPress webpages with a page builder plugin.

WordPress page builders have become wildly popular because they let anyone, even those without the gift of code, build a beautiful website or landing page using a simple drag and drop, WYSIWYG editor. As you research which website builder or WordPress plugin would be best for you, you’ll look at a number of important factors: ease of use, pricing, page layout templates, etc. In this post, we’re focusing on comparing these page builders on one factor: speed.

Are the finished products that page builders put out all the same when it comes to performance? Or, are these builders creating inefficient code bloat that slows down your WordPress site’s performance and harms your UX? A beautiful, pixel perfect page isn’t worth much if your users bounce because your site takes 5 seconds to load.

How quickly your website loads is tied to its success. Statistics indicate that every 100 milliseconds of load time creates an approximately 7% increase in your bounce rate.

But unless you want to take the time to build identical landing pages with different page builders and test their performance, it’s hard to know for sure how each page builder stacks up.

Well… we took the time.

I built near-identical landing pages with five popular WordPress page builders and then ran them through a bevy of speed tests to find the best WordPress page builder in terms of performance. Now, I’m going to share all of that data with you.

Here’s How I’m Going To Test These 5 Page Builders

To test each page builder’s performance, I’m going to build a landing page using each of the five page builders. I’ll base this roughly on the Pagely landing page, with a few elements added and removed.

These landing pages will be, as much as possible, perfectly identical, though this isn’t always achievable because of the elements available in each page builder.

Also, don’t expect them to look as good as the original Pagely homepage because I’m… well, not a professional designer (or even an amateur designer).

Once I build the landing page with each page builder, I’ll collect data using three different tools:

  • WebPagetest – gives a detailed performance analysis, including load time and a “speed index”
  • Pingdom Tools – provides page load time, page size, number of requests
  • Query Monitor plugin – shows how many database queries the plugin makes and how long those queries take

I’ll also time how long it takes me to build the demo landing page, but I recommend that you take these numbers as rough estimates, rather than absolutes. Here’s why: Going into these tests, I’ve used some of these page builders more than the others, so it’s not scientific for me to declare one “easier to use” than the others.

Here Are The Technical Details Of My Test Setup

For these tests to hold any value, they need to be consistent. And you need to trust that they’re consistent.

So before I jump into any actual testing, let’s run through how my test site is set up:

  • Hosted on Pagely
  • Running WordPress 4.9.2
  • Using the Astra theme, a popular option for developers to pair with page builders
  • No sidebar. Full-width stretched container (these are Astra theme options)
  • Query Monitor plugin installed
  • No other plugins installed
  • No page speed optimizations beyond those automatically implemented by Pagely hosting

And here are the page builder plugins that I’ll be using:

  • Elementor – version 1.9.2*
  • Beaver Builder Pro – version
  • Divi Builder plugin (i.e. not the theme version) – version 2.0.31
  • WPBakery Page Builder – version 5.4.2 (formerly known as Visual Composer)
  • SiteOrigin Page Builder – version 2.6.1 plus SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle version 1.11.3

*Because Elementor Pro is an add-on, rather than a standalone plugin like the other premium versions, I think it’s fair to test using the free version of Elementor.

Running The Tests For Each Individual WordPress Page Builder

Now that you know what these tests are built on, let’s jump in and look at the data!

For each page builder, I’ll include:

  • A screenshot of what the tested landing page looks like
  • Pingdom performance data
  • WebPagetest performance data
  • How long it took me to create the page (remember – this is just a rough guideline – don’t take it as a hard comparison)
  • A screenshot of what happens after deactivating the page builder, to give you an idea of how much “lock-in” there is

Then, at the end, I’ll put it all together in one, easy-to-compare table and make some conclusions! If you’d rather skip the play-by-play, you can click here to skip straight to the summary table.

Elementor Performance Test

Like all the page builder plugins featured here, Elementor makes it easy to create great looking webpage quickly without having to know any HTML, CSS, or Javascript.

Elementor offers a unique feature called “Elementor Canvas” which allows you to build a web page completely from scratch — completely separate from the WordPress theme. There’s no footer inserted, no menus, no sidebars. It’s the ultimate flexibility in WordPress design and very handy for creating drag and drop landing pages in particular (which often use non-standard layouts and require minimal distractions from the call to action).

What The Landing Page Looked Like:

elementor test landing page

Time To Build Page: 22:09

Pingdom Test Data:

elementor performance test pingdom

WebPagetest Test Data:

elementor webpage test data

Query Monitor Data:

elementor database queries

What Happens After Deactivating The Plugin:

what happens if you disable elementor

Beaver Builder Performance Test

Beaver Builder is a popular website building plugin used by over 175k websites. It’s famous for its ease of use and intuitive UI.

It also offers some advanced features like keyboard shortcuts and the ability to save rows and columns so they can be easily reused. Beaver Builder is built on the Bootstrap framework and claims to be fast and lightweight. Let’s see how it performs in the real world…

What The Landing Page Looked Like:

beaver builder example landing page

Time To Build Page: 20:37

Pingdom Test Data:

beaver builder performance test data pingdom

WebPagetest Test Data:

beaver builder webpagetest data

Query Monitor Data:

beaver builder database queries

What Happens After Deactivating The Plugin:

what happens after disabling beaver builder

Divi Builder Performance Test

Divi, by Elegant Themes, is both a WordPress theme and a standalone page builder plugin. Here we’re reviewing the performance of the website builder plugin not the WordPress theme.

You can create pages and posts in the WordPress backend or even design your site using WordPress’s frontend with a WYSWIG editor. Divi offers hundreds of child themes and pre-built page templates. True to its company’s name, Divi offers a truly elegant page building experience with lots of polish, eye candy, and intuitive features.

What The Landing Page Looked Like:

divi builder test landing page

Time To Build Page: 21:02

Pingdom Test Data:

divi builder performance test pingdom

WebPagetest Test Data:

divi builder webpagetest data

Query Monitor Data:

divi builder database queries

What Happens After Deactivating The Plugin:

what happens after disabling divi builder

WPBakery Page Builder Performance Test

Like Elementor, WPBakery is often bundled in with many popular WordPress themes. WPBakery stands out from many of the other page builders because of how many add-ons and enhancements are available. You can choose from over 200 add ons that do everything from slick CSS animations to improving your WooCommerce product pages.

What The Landing Page Looked Like:

wpbakery page builder landing page

Time To Build Page: 27:18

Pingdom Test Data:

wpbakery opage builder pingdom test data

WebPagetest Test Data:

visual composer webpagetest data

Query Monitor Data:

wpbakery page builder database queries

What Happens After Deactivating The Plugin:

what happens if you disable visual composer

SiteOrigin Page Builder Performance Test

SiteOrigin is completely free. While many page builders install their own widgets, Site Origin is unique in that it plays nice with default WordPress widgets.

What The Landing Page Looked Like: *SiteOrigin Page Builder doesn’t have a counter element, so I used static HTML instead which gives it a slight advantage in the performance tests.

siteorigin page builder landing page test

Time To Build Page: 19:51

Pingdom Test Data:

siteorigin page builder performance test pindom

WebPagetest Test Data:

siteorigin webpagetest data

Query Monitor Data:

siteorigin page builder database queries

What Happens After Deactivating The Plugin:

what happens if you disable siteorigin page builder

WordPress Page Builder Speed Comparison

After all the tests were run and the data crunched, here’s how things shook out.

Let’s look at the good first. Here’s the overall winner from each category:

  • Fastest Pingdom Page Load Time: SiteOrigin Page Builder at 390 ms
  • Fewest Pingdom Requests: SiteOrigin Page Builder with 13
  • Lowest Pingdom Page Size: SiteOrigin Page Builder with 245.0 kB
  • Fastest WebPagetest Fully Loaded Time: SiteOrigin Page Builder with 578 ms
  • Lowest WebPagetest Speed Index: SiteOrigin Page Builder at 500
  • Fewest Database Queries: Divi Builder with 8
  • Lowest Database Query Time: Divi Builder at 0.0039 s

And now let’s look at the worst performer in each category in our tests:

  • Slowest Pingdom Page Load Time: Beaver Builder at 665 ms
  • Most Pingdom Requests: Elementor with 28
  • Highest Pingdom Page Size: Divi Builder at 532.7 kB
  • Slowest WebPagetest Fully Loaded Time: Divi Builder at 1.294 s
  • Highest WebPagetest Speed Index: Divi Builder at 901
  • Most Database Queries: Elementor with 30
  • Highest Database Query Time: Elementor at 0.0123 s

You can view the full dataset below:

For all of the data in this table, a lower number is better:

Elementor Beaver Builder Divi Builder WPBakery Page Builder SiteOrigin Page Builder
Pingdom Page Load 489 ms 665 ms 463 ms 401 ms 390 ms
Pingdom Requests 28 20 15 15 13
Pingdom Page Size 530.7 kB 416.6 kB 532.7 kB 435.7 kB 245.0 kB
WebPagetest Fully Loaded 1.254 s 943 ms 1.294 s 849 ms 578 ms
WebPagetest Speed Index 574 700 901 610 500
Database Queries 30 14 8 10 9
DB Queries Time 0.0123 0.0059 0.0039 0.0042 0.0042
Time To Build Page 22:09 20:37 21:02 27:18 19:51

What Conclusions Can We Draw About Page Builder Performance?

The data is there for you to interpret yourself. But here are some conclusions I think are worth considering:

Page Builders Are, To An Extent, A Balancing Act Between Performance And Features

Unsurprisingly SiteOrigin Page Builder had the best performance in nearly all of the tests.

But here’s the thing:

SiteOrigin Page Builder isn’t just lightweight when it comes to performance – it’s also lightweight when it comes to features.

You get better performance than the other page builders by, in part, sacrificing functionality.

For the performance-focused, that trade-off might be well worth it.

But other people might be willing to trade a bit of performance for a more powerful page building experience, and I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.

The average user will be able to build a more complex page with one of the other four page builders.

For that reason, I think it’s best to look for a page builder that has the features you need and then compare the performance of page builders that meet that criteria.

There Aren’t Major Differences Between The High-Powered WordPress Page Builders

If you exclude SiteOrigin Page Builder and just focus on the more feature-rich page builders, you’ll notice that there isn’t a ton of difference between them.

You can certainly spot some differences – Elementor is a bit heavy on database queries and requests, while Beaver Builder offered the smallest page size.

But overall, all of these plugins have clearly worked to optimize performance, which is probably why they’re the market leaders in the space.

Shortcode Lock-in Is A Real Consideration

If you’re choosing a page builder for life, you don’t need to worry about this.

But if you think there’s a chance you might switch (or stop using) page builders down the road, it’s important to point out that only two of these page builders leave behind completely clean code.

The two plugins that leave behind 100% clean code are:

  • Elementor
  • Beaver Builder

SiteOrigin Page Builder leaves behind mostly clean code, but it does leave a few shortcodes, notably showing up wherever I used buttons.

Finally, both Divi Builder and WPBakery Page Builder leave behind a heap of shortcodes that you’ll need to find a way to remove.

What Are Your Experiences With WordPress Page Builders Performance?

Of course, the speed of your WordPress website is only one factor to consider when it comes to finding the best page builder for your site. Things like ease of use, the quality of page templates they include, how easy the styling of the pages is, pricing, level of support, and many other factors come into play.

But, what you’re ultimately trying to produce is a beautiful website that loads quickly so the performance of these different page builders is a critical consideration.

What are your own experiences with these WordPress page builder plugins and performance? And more importantly, where do you think the balance should lie between features and performance? For another in depth opinion piece from Pippin Williamson on page builder plugins, check this out.

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  1. No mention of AMP and elementor blows all the others out of the water with woo commerce functionality and their video training library – if I’m on a $3/mo server none of those numbers matter

  2. I have used all this page builders and I don’t like them : too little possibilities or bloated code. I I personnaly use Oxygenapp since few month and I like it. Unfortunately it seems that very few people know it. This page builder don’t use a theme, all the design is stored in the database. I don’t know if it’s good for page speed but after deactivating the plugin, the design still exactly the same. I love the way I can add or edit code or CSS, this is the most powerfull page builder I have used. I would love to see a technical test of it.
    Hope my comment is understandable … English is not my native language 😉

  3. Very unexpected but awesome review of WP Page Builders. I’m a BeaverBuilder Fan but I have to say the competition is heating up.

  4. First of all great article!

    I have been using WP Page Builder and my WordPress Admin is super slow. I’m using a shared hosting account which is not helping the situation. I used to build websites using PHP HTML includes only. Then I got lazy and switched to WordPress. It has made some things easier but overall I just get sick of building pages with WP Page Builder as its slow and takes forever to update a page.

  5. Wow, that’s a great test – thanks for that. I recently switched from Visual Composer to Elementor and i do not really get familiar with it. I have the feeling, that it is more complicated. But from my feeling i would say: Elementor pages seem to be a little faster. Btw:The advantages, to create product and shop pages with Elementor are a huge advantage over the others…

  6. Hi there,

    What do you think of Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)? Would they be a good alternative to page builders? Could a non-developer create and customise page layouts using ACF rather than page builders?

    I have to decide between using ACF or a Page builder. The agency that will develop my website recommends ACF, but I think it’s because they want to push me to use them again in the future, since any changes require the involvement of a developer.

    So, I’m a non-developer, I’m the typical digital marketer who knows some HTML/ CSS and I know how page builders work, but I’m not sure about ACF…

    I’s important for me to have the flexibility to customise page layouts if needed. For instance, would I be able to create a new page with a new layout by copying existing sections from other pages (e.g. create page #3 using the “testimonial” section from page #1 and “customer logo” section from page #2)?

    Let me know what you think,

  7. Great job! This is exactly what I was looking for. It is a difficult balance choosing a good theme with page builder and enough options to make a site unique yet load quickly. WP Bakery does seems to take a long time to develop and front-end editing is not accurate. Thank you!

  8. We have a multi-site license for Elementor and absolutely love it. We use it on almost every website we build now. Sits over the top of Genesis Framework a treat and it so much fast to build than WP Bakery.

  9. If You care about performance, use caching plugin – especially if You use page builder. I use WP fastest cache + cloudflare and it resolves all of the issues with database response or number of requests. Pagespeed Insights score is about 98-100 (on Elementor Pro + Astra theme)

  10. Nonsense. You clearly wanted to promote siteorigin. Not including a counter on one site (which will be one of the performance affecting parts of the page) is just silly. For a proper test, take the counter off the other sites too.

    And your final data doesn’t make sense anyway. Clearly Webpagetest Speed index is wrong for Divi given the other numbers in that table.

    The only reliable thing your report shows, if the numbers are correct and are representative, is avoid Elementor due to the clearly excessive requests and db queries.

    Finally, the idea of testing any of them with the plugin turn off makes no sense. That’s not what any of them are designed for. There are other ways to make web pages if people don’t want to have those plugins.

  11. i “feel” it’s true, i’ve websites using site origin page builder and with elementor too, i feel site origin page builder feel faster, and i’ve tested too with website speed tester, and the result is good (this kind test without “my feeling” anymore),

    but elementor (free version) interface and option “feel” much more “fun” for me, i think elementor have more wide options if we compare to site origin page builder, and their red color maybe affect my feeling more passionately :))

    why i read this article, because i’ve one new project, and i want to know, is my “feeling” right or wrong? 2nd my question, is “Hello” theme with elementor faster between site origin page builder? (but i’ve the problem, my money is limited, so I am a bit heavy if I have to subscribe to Elementor Pro, which “Hello” theme need)

    thanks… your article is suitable information for me, it is time to doing trial and research again (y)

    (sorry if my english not good)

  12. Thanks — This was really eye opening, and the best comparison by far of any I’ve read. My sites are small but heavy on images. I’m not happy with Divi; tried Thrive Architect; like Site Origin best.

  13. Hey Colin,
    Please repeat this test again now we’re in 2020 and these site builders have bee through a lots of updates.

  14. I used both Elementor and BB. Elementor is more functionality than BB has. E.g. Elementor support slider, popup and live edit better BB do. One point that I concern Elementor let users upload SVG and can view all the system information of website. This function I don’t want allow my users see.
    And, Google Speed score on BB is better Elementor.

  15. Why coding from scratch when we have a page builder with a really decent performance and resources? Man, seriously, coding from ZERO takes too much time for the same or even worse results. Very nice review though. We better devoting our times on conversions though UI/UX. lol

  16. Very great comparison here. I use siteOrigin page builder for over 3years, it is very light weight. I have switched to the Gutenberg block and I would like a technical review in terms of speed and page load.
    On a final note, a light weight theme like Astra, plus cloudbased hosting platform with CDN can make a huge difference. Cheers.

  17. Well…It seems to me that SiteOrigin is the best preferred in terms of page loading speed. I was using Elementor free for 4 years and now I wish to try SiteOrigin. Thanks for the great insights.

  18. Can you do a comparison with Zion Builder plugin ? I heard that this is the fastest WordPress plugin right now, even better than Oxigen.

  19. I love this review, unfortunately pagebuilders change very fast, so I’d love to see a up2date review with current versions of those pagebuilders

  20. Thanks a lot for the comparition. I was searching Internet to find something cool for landing pages for my ads campaing.

  21. when you have used siteorigin page builder, the website file size was comparatively half than other website file size, so if the file size is small then it will directly boost its speed and performance because the server would get less request from the website, so obviously, siteorigin will win this test..