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Divi sets out to do one thing, and do it well: turn WordPress into a site builder. In that, it succeeds quite admirably. If you want to build lots of WordPress sites, Divi is absolutely worth the investment of time and money required. Those looking for a simple, cheap way to build their first website should probably look elsewhere first (like our list of the top website builders in 2021).
Divi is a site builder from Elegant Themes that’s designed to work inside WordPress, just like Elementor. The whole idea is that just by installing the Divi theme (or alternatively, the Divi Builder plugin), you’ll be able to drag and drop your way to design greatness.
Unlike many site builders, Divi doesn’t come with loads of extra content management or marketing features. The idea is that WordPress can handle all of that anyway, so Divi focuses on making web design in WordPress easy. Now whether the app succeeds in that goal, well… that’s what this review is all about.
Is Divi right for you? Is it worth the not-exactly-cheap price of entry, considering you’ll already have to pay for your site’s hosting? Is it worth the time it takes to learn? Or would you be better off with one of the options that made our list of the top website builders in 2021? Let’s find out.
What You’ll Need to Use Divi
A WordPress website. To be more specific, you’ll either need a WordPress site on your own server, or you’ll need to pay for the Business plan on WordPress.com, which allows you to install custom themes and plugins. Let me tell you, self-hosting WordPress is definitely the cheaper option, in this case.
Then, you’ll either need to install one of the two Divi themes, Divi (an all-purpose starting point for web designs), or Extra (a magazine theme). Both of these themes come with the actual site builder built into them, and you don’t need to install anything else.
However, if you want to use the Divi builder with a WordPress theme you already have, you can totally do that. The appropriately-named Divi Builder plugin can theoretically work with any theme, though there may well be compatibility issues with the way fonts, colors and things are styled. But then, that’s the risk you take whenever you use code from two different developers side by side.
Divi calls its website templates “layout packs”. Basically, a layout pack is just a collection of pre-made layouts and designs that can be applied to any page on your site. Because of how this system works, you can actually mix and match layout packs if you want to.
I wouldn’t, because the different layouts from different packs wouldn’t visually match. It would look confusing at best. But you can.
There are a total of 195 layout packs at present (and they’re free to all customers), which include 1,440 individual page layouts. These range across nearly every category from art to tech to stores to education. The designs themselves are universally pretty good. I have yet to come across any that actually look bad, you know?
I built my own demo/test site in about 40 minutes, based on a simple design meant for animal shelters.
Divi is pretty much laser-focused on design functionality and complete control over your design’s customization. Thus, there’s not much to do here but dive into the most interesting/important features.
The Builder Is Pretty Darned Good
Aside from letting you lay out content almost however you like and drag and drop it around, Divi allows you to control:
Font and text styling – You can set global styles to be used all over your site, and then set new fonts and styles for individual elements, if that’s something you want to do.
The color, size, shape of every element – You can even add pseudo-3D transformations to make things, heh, stand out.
Effects – This includes everything from simple drop shadows and text shadows to visual filters on any of your images.
Animations – Add and customize animations for any element on your page. (My usual disclaimer: don’t overdo it. Too many animations can make your page run a lot slower.)
All of Divi’s layout features are made with responsive design in mind, and there’s even a device preview function, so you can see what your design will look like on different screen sizes. I know, this is a feature in most site builders now, but it’s nice to see it added to WordPress.
You can also edit multiple parts of your page at a time, allowing you to easily change things like sizing, positioning, and the visual aesthetic of a whole bunch of content at once.
Lastly, there’s custom CSS for individual page elements. If you know and love (or even just kind of like) CSS, you can use it for some very fine control over every aspect of your design. Personally, I do love it when coder-friendly features are included.
It takes some setup and there’s a learning curve, but you can configure Divi so that it saves you a lot of time when designing new pages.
A Massive Collection of Third-Party Add-ons and Themes
Yes, there’s a library of third-party add-ons to extend the functionality of your Divi site, including extra layout packs to change its look. In fact, there are presently over 500 add-ons. You can use them to add event calendars, fancier image galleries, Under Construction pages, fancier menus, listings, FAQs, and pretty much anything your heart could desire.
The only downside? Fewer than 20 are free: for the rest, you’ll need to pay extra. The most expensive add-ons and themes can cost over $200, though most are much cheaper.
Now, you could use free WordPress plugins to replace any one of these, but there’s no guarantee that they’d be completely compatible with Divi. Just something to consider. But then, if you develop your own layout, theme, or extension for Divi, you can make money off it, too.
WooCommerce Integration Galore
If you want to run a store on WordPress, the WooCommerce plugin is looking better than ever. Why? Because Divi has specific features that allow you to build fancy-looking WooCommerce-compatible store pages.
Simply put, your store doesn’t have to look like all the rest. Just make sure people can still find the Buy Now button, and you’re good to go. Want to know what else you can do? Take a look at our WooCommerce review.
Advanced Undo and Revisions
Okay, this might not seem like much if you’ve never worked with a design app before, but it’s actually a huge deal. If you accidentally mess something up, you can go back through your entire editing history. All of it.
Accidentally deleted half a page’s content in several steps over several hours? Just go back to an earlier revision. Such a simple concept, such an important feature. It’s more than an Undo button, it’s a Save my Job button.
If you’ve ever used a site builder before, then Divi will be familiar to you. If not, then it’s still mostly dragging and dropping things to where you want them to be. A complete beginner will have to spend some time learning the ropes, but it’s not difficult.
From a more technical standpoint, though, I found that using the actual visual editor can be finicky and imprecise when dragging and dropping things around. It’s easy to make mistakes and lose text formatting, especially when using pre-made layouts from the library.
For example, applying a pre-made layout pack (aka site template) to your page won’t automatically change the Divi theme’s default styles, fonts, and colors. In other words, some of your content will look like it belongs in the new layout, but some might not. You can use a layout to change the global default settings for your website, but it takes extra work.
Thankfully, there’s a tutorial on that in the Elegant Themes blog. After some prep work, every page you make and every element you add to those pages with Divi will fit your new layout pack.
To be fair to Divi, it’s a whole site builder on top of an already huge CMS platform. Not everything is going to go smoothly. And the advanced Undo function works, so I can’t complain too much.
Plenty of Documentation and Tutorials
Speaking of tutorials, there’s a whole proper documentation site (pictured above), in addition to what you can find on the Elegant Themes blog. Given Divi’s depth of features, I’d strongly recommend browsing through it before you try building your website. Honestly? It probably would have saved me some time.
Okay, a lot of time. At least ten whole minutes of my life that I could have spent actually playing with my cat, instead of dragging pictures of her around a screen.
You don’t have to do everything manually in the drag and drop editor. A lot of your site configuration can happen in the convenient and fairly extensive settings menu. Again, before you actually try designing your site, browse through this screen and see if there are any options that’ll save you time.
So this is a little specific, but being a Divi customer – on any plan – gets you access to two plugins: Bloom and Monarch.
Bloom is a newsletter opt-in plugin for WordPress designed to help you generate leads and generally keep your visitors’ attention for longer. It lets you place the opt-in form pretty much anywhere on your site, including in pop-ups (but please don’t do that). It integrates with MailChimp, HubSpot, AWeber, and a whole lot more.
The Monarch plugin is much smaller in scope. It mostly just lets you add all kinds of social network Share This buttons anywhere you like. Simple and useful.
So my experience with Divi’s support team was great. The agents I talked to were (mostly) fast, (always) polite, and helpful. However, there’s only one way to reach these wonderful people, and that’s by the 24/7 live chat.
Now, you can leave your email address with the team, so if they don’t get back to you right away, you can get answers via email. Mostly, this wasn’t necessary. Most of my interactions took place within minutes, even though the expected response time is sometimes listed as “a few hours.”
My first chat went really well. I asked if there was a free trial, and they answered in minutes, even though it was late in the day. (Spoiler: there isn’t, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee.)
Later, I asked if there was a list of third-party themes known to be compatible with the Divi Builder plugin. Sadly, as I found out in my email a couple of hours later, there is not.
Lastly, I asked about a problem I was having with the actual editor:
Hi, is there any way to apply text styles and colors from a Layout pack to my whole site, permanently? Because right now, when I import a layout, then create new content, the styling isn’t consistent.
And this is when I found out about the aforementioned tutorial on turning newly-imported layout packs into defaults:
All in all, I’m quite happy with the customer service I received.
You can pay the fairly reasonable price of $89.00 every year, or you can pay a one-time fee. It’s a hefty fee, about 2.7 years’ worth, but then you never pay again. For lifetime ongoing support, that’s a good deal. But then, you’ll want to be darned sure that you like Divi before you choose that option.
Membership with Elegant Themes gives access to all of the company’s products, forever. I can’t find much to complain about in terms of pricing, except that it’s kind of expensive if you’re only running one site, and you already have hosting costs to worry about.
Cancellation & Refunds
If you’re on the yearly plan, you can cancel whenever you like. Even better, if you cancel either plan within the first 30 days, you get all of your money back with no hassle, no fuss. You just have to request a refund from customer service.
This policy is becoming an industry standard, and as a reviewer who often has to ask for his money back, I could not be happier. Still, I wish there was a proper trial. Dropping nearly $100 to try out a product, even if you’ll get it back, isn’t an option for everyone.
Divi sets out to do one thing, and do it well. Aside from the occasional hiccup, and small learning curve, I’d say this site builder succeeds. If you’re planning to build a lot of WordPress sites, and want an easy, drag-and-drop way to customize your designs, it’s worth learning Divi.
However, if you’re looking for a generally cheaper option to start with, and if you don’t want to bother learning the ins and outs of WordPress, I’d say to go with Wix or Squarespace.
What is Divi?Divi is a theme and plugin that turns WordPress into a full-blown site builder, much like Elementor. It’s focused on allowing WordPress users to create highly customized, responsive web designs quickly and easily. It can be installed on your own self-hosted WordPress site, or on WordPress.com if you have the Business plan or higher. How much does Divi cost?At present, Divi costs $89.00 per year for unlimited updates, premium support, and the rights to use it on as many websites as you like. If you can see yourself using Divi for more than two years, then you should go for the Lifetime Access plan.You get all the same benefits as the yearly subscription, and you only pay once. It’s a pretty solid deal, if you plan to use WordPress and Divi for all of your projects.There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can upgrade to the lifetime plan at any time. If you want an even better deal on Divi (or any other site builder) you should have a look at our coupons page.Is Divi better than Elementor?That depends. I’ve had my good and less-good experiences with both. I think Elementor might be a little more intuitive to use in some ways, but Divi can be very efficient once you learn how it works.Then there’s the cost analysis: Elementor has a solid yet limiting free plan. If you pay, it’s cheaper to use on a single site. Divi, on the other hand, does not limit the number of sites you use it on. Pay once for the lifetime fee, and it’s a lot cheaper in the long run.So yeah, if you’re just building one website for yourself, Elementor might well be the better choice. Building lots of sites? Go with Divi, and you won’t regret it.Or, you know, check out our comparison of the best website builders in 2021. One of those might work better for you.Is Divi the best WordPress theme?It’s one of the best themes with a site builder built into it, that’s for sure! What counts as “the best WordPress theme” should depend entirely on what your needs are. Some people will only need a simple blogging theme from WordPress’s own repository, and that’s fine. If you need a full site builder with control over your site’s whole design, though, Divi is hard to beat.
Ezequiel Bruni is biologically Canadian, legally Mexican, and self identifies as a total nerd. He’s been a web and experience designer off and on since he was a teenager, and loves sharing the kind of beginner’s advice he really wishes he’d had when he first started. He also loves video games, tacos, open source software, video games, sci-fi and fantasy in all their forms, and video games. He does not love writing in the third person.