“A large rodent” with “webbed feet” and “beautiful fur“. This is how the dictionary presents the subject of our new post.
Do not close your browser. You are indeed on WPMarmite, and I'm going to tell you about the most famous beaver of the WordPress environment.
Dear readers, let me introduce you to Beaver Builder!
Its creators present it as a “flexible page builder, working as a front-end on your WordPress website, based on the principle of drag and drop.”
Launched in 2014 by three friends, Beaver Builder has become, in four years, one of the most renowned page builder on the market.
In order to tame the animal, I suggest you study its premium version in detail. The idea is not to rub him up the right way, unless he deserves it. I'm going to concentrate on showing you what it's made of.
At the end of this test, you should be able to form your own opinion about Beaver Builder, and decide whether or not you want to adopt it. I'm talking about the page builder. Because a (real) beaver in your house, I can't imagine the mess!
Without further delay, here is the overview.
Foreword: The various links to Beaver Builder and its paid extensions are affiliate links. Basically, WPMarmite will receive a commission if you go through one of them to buy the product. Thanks to this, we can reward the research and writing work of the editors. That does not mean that our opinion is biased. If we don't like a plugin, we sure let you know about it.
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How does Beaver Builder work?
What is Beaver Builder?
Beaver Builder is a freemium, drag-and-drop page builder. Technically, it's a plugin that helps you design customized WordPress pages, thanks to pre-conceived modules and templates… all of this without touching a single line of code!
1 Beaver, 2 possibilities
If you want to choose Beaver Builder, there are two main options:
- Use the plugin, called Page Builder plugin. It allows you to build pages by dragging and dropping modules wherever you want directly on the website. Small disadvantage: you will need a theme and will not be able to intervene on the header and footer, but only on the content area. This plugin works on pages, posts and your other custom post types (custom content types).
- Use the Beaver Builder theme. Delivered with its child theme, it allows you to build a page from A to Z, by coupling it with the in-house plugin (it is impossible to acquire the theme alone). To do so, you'll have to pay a price, one of the main drawbacks of Beaver Builder. I'll come back to that at the end of this post.
A large choice of templates, but smaller than the competition
In total, you can choose from 56 templates in the premium version. They can be found in the “Template” section of the plugin. This section is divided into two parts:
- Landing pages: ready-to-use pages for different types of activities (sports, catering, online business, photos, luxury, music etc.).
- Content pages: You will find several choices of pages such as About us, Services, Team, Blog or Contact.
In the end, the choice is quite large, but smaller than with two of Beaver Builder's main competitors. Visual Composer, for example, offers more than 80 templates for free download.
As for Divi, it's far ahead, with 188 templates!
A “classic” library of modules
Now that you've chosen your page template, you'd like to customize it to your liking. And add a video and some testimonials.
No problem, go to the Modules section. And here, little disappointment. We're still scrolling for hidden modules. There's 30 of them. Not one more.
Of course, you'll find all the classic paraphernalia (button, audio, contact form, call to action, price table, testimonials, etc.), and you can even integrate your WordPress widgets directly (that's great!).
But gluttony is a nasty sin, and we would have liked to have a little more! 😉 I assure you. This can be remedied by getting your hands dirty. Let's look at that in the next section.
Add-ons to boost Beaver Builder
To give it a boost, you can use add-ons. They will add templates and modules to those already existing in Beaver Builder. To make sure it's serious, Beaver Builder has shared its best resources. Among others, we can mention the following:
- Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder. A sure value that I had the opportunity to test for some projects. It offers 118 templates, 194 sections and 41 modules! Now you'll have no more excuses not to customize it to your liking. Price: $55 for the one-year license, usable on an unlimited number of websites.
- Power Pack Beaver Addons. Price: $69 for the one-year license, also usable on an unlimited number of websites.
How easy to use is it?
A reactive and fast drag-and-drop interface on the front end
Unlike Divi and Visual Composer, which can also be used from the administration of your WordPress site (on the back-end), Beaver Builder only works on front-end.
To use it, simply drag and drop the module or template of your choice directly onto the page. There is no loading time, which is still appreciable, and all your changes are viewable in real time, thanks to a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) interface.
At first glance, one is a bit surprised by the austere interface. Here, no flashy colours that jump out at you, or big buttons to catch your eye.
Beaver Builder is all about minimalism. And that's not bad. The plugin is very simple to use. It takes 5 minutes to understand the location of the menus and the functioning of our dear Beaver.
How does it work? You add a row, which contains one or more columns. Then, you drag the modules of your choice (text, button, video, HTML, etc.) into the container(s). You can easily change the size of the modules by resizing them in real time.
Simple and efficient. If needed, the documentation is very complete.
On the user side, I noticed two main drawbacks. The first is the location of the main menu of the plugin, where the modules and templates are located. It impinges on the contents, making handling a bit less comfortable.
The second downside is the lack of customization of the modules. Let's take the example of an icon. You will be able to set its base color, hover color, a gradient or its size. And that's pretty much it.
You want to customize its contour, add shadows? You will need to add a CSS class (possible via the Beaver Builder editor), and insert a piece of code to achieve your goals. It's not the end of the world, okay, but that's a pity…
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The ability to import/export created designs
I'll tell you something: I hate wasting my time. I think it's the same for you, isn't it?
Good news: Beaver Builder has thought of us clock neurotics (yes, I include you among the neurotics so I don't feel too lonely).
To save us precious time, it is possible to create all its modules and page templates. Then save them for later use. Believe me, it's very convenient. Example: you design landing pages for your customers.
Thanks to this feature, you can thoroughly prepare a template in advance with the necessary content (forms, call to actions, etc.). A model that you will only have to modify according to your customer's expectations. Not bad, right?
What about the Beaver Builder theme?
So far, the Beaver Builder plugin, also called Page Builder Plugin, has been helpful.
Now let's see what the in-house theme is all about. The first good news is that the GUI, available in Appearance > Customize, integrates with the WordPress customizer. At least it doesn't feel like we're in uncharted territory.
Another good point: it only takes a few minutes to customize your header and footer, thanks to the variety of options available. For example, on the header side, you can, among other things:
- Manage the location of your navigation (right, left centered, with logo or not etc.).
- Its style (text color, link color, hover color, choice and size of font).
- Insert your logo.
At the footer level, we appreciate the fact that we can directly modify the credits of the site, by typing the text we want.
This saves a lot of time. So we validate the theme!
And if we don't use the in-house theme, how bad is it, doctor? Nothing like a little reminder shot to get back to you!
How does it adapt to themes and plugins?
Compatibility with themes
As explained at the beginning of the article, Beaver Builder is both a theme and a plugin in its own right. You won't find it embedded on premium themes, as is the case with Visual Composer, for example.
According to its developers, Beaver Builder is compatible with almost all market themes. Only very few exceptions are listed on this resource.
Nevertheless, some themes are more appropriate than others to draw the full power of the plugin. For example, those that offer the ability to display across the entire width of the screen will allow you to take advantage of all the flexibility of Beaver Builder.
Another feature to take into account for your original theme is the possibility to easily customize your header and footer. Don't forget that only the Beaver Builder theme lets you get your hands on these two elements. Not the plugin.
Finally, the plugin is regularly updated. I use it on my personal site and have had no problems with previous WordPress updates. Its stability is clearly a serious advantage.
The developers even make the Alpha and Beta versions of the plugin available for you to discover the new features. Pretty cool, as long as you don't play with it on a published website. Alpha and Beta versions, we said.
Compatibility with plugins
Some features of famous plugins such as Yoast, JetPack and ACF, can block the loading of the builder. But don't panic: the Beaver Builder team has found solutions to solve these small incompatibilities. You will find them by following this link.
Moreover, Beaver Builder integrates perfectly with WooCommerce, the plugin that allows you to sell products on your WordPress website. After installing it, you will find a module on the front-end editor.
How about when you disable the Beaver?
I bet you all know Mr. Clean, don't you? You know, that bald fictional character with a hole in his left ear that you sometimes wish you had on hand to help with household chores.
Well, Mr. Clean has one thing in common with Beaver Builder: both have a reputation for leaving no mark! Well, it sounds far-fetched – not Mr. Clean's – I'll give you that. But for a page builder, it's serious: it's a significant asset.
If you are using Beaver Builder and want to disable it, it will leave no mark. It is totally independent of the theme you install.
Much like its competitor Elementor, by the way. As a result, your content will always display correctly in the WordPress text editor.
Visual Composer and Divi, for example, leave a mash of shortcodes all over the place. To find your content, once the builder is uninstalled, good luck!
Conclusion: well done Beaver Builder for that!
What's the user experience for a website using Beaver Builder?
The user experience (UX) is a really important element for a website. If you want your visitors to stay on your great WordPress creation, you'll have to pamper them with a consistent, efficient, easy-to-use interface that's searchable on all types of media. Not to mention SEO, of course.
So what if we use Beaver Builder, we shoot ourselves in the foot, in terms of UX? Let's take a closer look.
Influence on site performance
If you do some research on your favorite search engine about Beaver Builder, you'll see a lot of resources coming up about how clean and well coded it is.
For those interested, the Beaver Builder theme is built on Bootstrap and LESS. Even if the plugin includes many modules and templates, the rendering is always immediate during the creation process.
Regarding the performance of your website, don’t forget that it can be impacted by several factors such as image compression, caching, fonts chosen, plugins installed and hosting of the website. About that, go and check Thibaut's post about speeding up a WordPress website.
Speed up your website with WP Rocket
First, Beaver Builder is designed and optimized for SEO. It uses compressed code and Schema.org structured data tagging, which structures the content of web pages so that search engines can process their content more easily.
Then, you don't learn anything if you are told that it is crucial to choose the right title tags (hn), in a page or a post. On-page optimization is not to be neglected. Beware of the impact on your natural referencing.
When using a builder, one is sometimes disappointed by its lack of flexibility and options SEO wise.
Beaver Builder is pretty good at this. The text modules give you the possibility to act on your hn tags, either in a text version via the editor, or directly via a drop-down menu.
Beaver Builder also offers a module simply entitled “HTML”. Thanks to this, you'll be able to code as you wish. Mr. Clean will thank you! 😉
Apart from that, I can only recommend a plugin developed by Thierry Pigot, a very active member of the French WordPress community.
It's called Beaver Builder Toolbox. As Thierry explains on his website:
One of the drawbacks of the Beaver Builder page builder is that everything happens on the visitor side and not on the WordPress administration side. It is therefore impossible to change the page title, the permalink, the SEO data … without going back to the classic editing mode.
No more problems with Beaver Builder Toolbox, which allows you to manage everything directly via the Beaver Builder interface.
Finally, if you make SEO a priority – thankfully! – I also recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin and reading Alex's article that tackles the subject.
More than 50% of total web traffic comes from mobile browsing, and this figure is expected to only continue to rise in the coming months and years. You get it: today, it is no longer possible to design WordPress websites without taking into account the responsive aspect (optimal display on smartphones and tablets, in particular).
Not to mention that Google's Mobile First index, which considers the mobile version of your website to be its “real” version, continues to be deployed.
With Beaver Builder, there's no fear on that side. The theme and plugin are perfectly responsive.
You can check the rendering from the editor's frontend, or reduce the size of your browser to get a real-time rendering.
With regards to the text, you can also choose whether or not to display it on a particular device.
The headers (titles) modules also allow you to directly manage the font size on mobile phones, for example.
What's the value for money of the plugin?
Beaver Builder is available for all budgets. The price range is from 0 to $399.
At the beginning of the article, I told you about a theme and a plugin to characterize it. To be completely exhaustive, there are 5 ways to use it.
The Lite plugin
Free Beaver Builder? This is only possible thanks to the Lite plugin, available on the official WordPress directory. We want to warn you: compared to the paid versions, the functionalities are very limited.
For example, the number of modules is scarce (audio, HTML, photo, video, text editor), and you don't have access to page templates.
For a very targeted addition or use on a website, why not. But if you really want to take advantage of the power of Beaver Builder, you should at least consider the Standard version.
The Standard Version
It gives access to the Page Builder plugin, which allows you to act on the whole “body” of your website, except the header and footer. In this case, remember that you'll need a theme that allows you to change them easily, or you’ll have to get your hands into the code.
FYI, I made my personal website thanks to the Page Builder Plugin combo + a child theme from the Genesis framework.
If you already have a website in production or have a good theme, the standard version will be ideal. It costs $99/year.
As with all paid versions of Beaver Builder, you have access to support for 1 year and you can use the plugin on an unlimited number of sites. If you wish to renew, you will automatically get a 40% discount.
The Pro version
It gives access to the plugin AND the theme (+ its child theme). With the theme, you will have control over your entire WordPress website, and will be able to use it on a multi-site installation. Price: $199/year.
This version is particularly intended for webmasters and professional web designers.
The Agency version
As the name suggests, this package targets agencies first. For a freelancer, the price can be (very) high ($399/year).
The first asset in this pack is the “White Labeling”. This allows you to replace the words Page Builder, Beaver Builder, and the Beaver Builder logo with your company name/logo on the administration.
The second characteristic is the multi-site. You can configure all your multi-site settings in the same place, and apply them to each website (the Pro version requires you to make your settings on each site, individually).
This plugin, more recent, is little highlighted on the Beaver Builder site. However, it is a very powerful add-on that allows you to create your own headers/footers and page templates thanks to the drag-and-drop interface of the Page Builder.
As a general rule, to do this, you need to edit the PHP files of your theme, which requires some skill.
Here, we are entering a more technical and advanced use. But it may be of interest depending on your needs. Beaver Themer costs $147/year but you can't use it without the plugin (the Page Builder in Standard version).
Build your website with Elementor
How's it stacking up against the competition?
After this overview, we can judge, at first glance, that Beaver Builder remains more expensive than its main competitors. To start taking full advantage of its features, you need at least $99. It's not cheap.
As a comparison, the basic version of Visual Composer starts at $49. Divi costs $89, but also includes 87 Elegant Themes from the Elegant Themes store, and the Bloom and Monarch plugins.
Can this high price be an obstacle to purchasing? Personally, I think it's a good value for money. The Standard version allows you to do almost anything you want on an unlimited number of websites.
Even if it's not a Beaver Builder vs Elementor comparison, you should know that you'll have to count over $100 more for Elementor ($199/year), to use the unlimited option (on the other hand the basic Pro version is at $49.
And it's not the only one, as we'll see in the next part.
Our final opinion
Beaver Builder strengths
- Very easy to use: you don't need to know how to code to build a WordPress site from scratch. The learning curve is extremely fast.
- A WYSIWYG front-end interface that allows you to visualize the creation process in real time.
- Compatibility with almost all market themes.
- Possibility to “customize” it thanks to paid add-ons.
- A fast, well coded and SEO friendly theme/plugin.
- Use on an unlimited number of sites in premium version.
- Beaver Builder does not leave any shortcodes if you uninstall it.
- A large community where you can find many resources and answers to your questions. The Facebook group has more than 15,000 members, the Slack community has more than 4,500 users.
- Ability to create your own templates and modules and reuse them.
- Reactive and attentive support. Don't expect a return within an hour either, the company is based in San Francisco. I asked them several times for personal projects, I always got an answer and a solution to my problem within 24 hours.
Weaknesses of Beaver Builder
- Its price.
- Modules are a little too “classic”.
- A slight dependence on CSS to customize some modules.
- Some rather successful templates but which suffer a little from the design level comparison with Divi, for example.
- A free version that is too basic compared to all the possibilities.
Beaver Builder, for whom?
- Beginners will be seduced by the simplicity of use, and the fact that they can take control of the content of their pages from the front-end interface. Nevertheless, if you plan to use it to create your first website without any experience, it may be more judicious to couple the theme and the plugin.
- More experienced users, and professional marketers, will appreciate the time and productivity savings that Beaver Builder provides. In addition, they will then be able to offer their customers a turnkey, easy-to-use solution to change the look and feel of their website.
If you would like to learn more about Beaver Builder, or if you would like to purchase one of the versions of Beaver Builder, please visit the official website via the button below.
Beaver Builder is a page builder that I really like. If you don't think its few weaknesses are too pronounced, I can’t recommend it enough to you.
What do you think of Beaver Builder? Do you use it on your site? If so, which version did you choose?
Or, on the contrary, you can't stand it?
Tell me why in a comment and feel free to share your feedback with me.
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