We have been working with WordPress for many years now and in our years of endeavour, we think the biggest abomination that has happened on the WordPress ecosystem is the rise of WordPress page builders. We remember the old days when there were no page builders and then came Visual Editor a.k.a WPBakery Page Builder and suddenly in few years page builders are everywhere. Many people jumped onto these page builders as they are the holy grail and they still do the same as there are so many page-builder options now.
When we look back it seems Wix and Squarespace were the main contenders who brought the drag-and-drop page builder to the mainstream. Then soon hundreds of page builder plugins for WordPress popped up. But despite all that when we truly look at the main reason behind WordPress page builder being used so much, the reasons seem clear and almost all the blame goes to the people who barely know to program yet claim themselves as WordPress programmer / developer / designer and making people’s website at dirt cheap price using some multipurpose theme and some drag and drop page builders. In future when these websites needed to scale up, the page builders start to show its limitations and the client has to rebuild their website with proper coding.
Several Problems with WordPress Page Builders
There are so many problems and issues with page builders that it is impossible to count them all. They are the most disgusting thing in the entire WordPress world and yet so many people are doing a tutorial on YouTube and other places showcasing these page builders while they should be making videos telling people not to use them But then again, they themselves don’t know to program so how they can tell others not to use page builders? Let’s look at some the problems with WordPress page builders:
Bloat and Garbage Code
The main problem with WordPress page builders is bloat. If you look at the code generated by these page builders you will see so much bloat code being added on the webpage which the web browser needs to parse to show the web page. Also, when any problem happens in future it becomes really difficult to figure out the exact origin of the problem due to all these bloat and garbage code.
You will see so much unnecessary classes HTML child trees being used in these page builders that sometimes it makes us think why. Moreover, as page builders uses a generic approach for all, you can’t do conditional loading of scripts and styles. In most of the time you will see a website using these page builders are loading so many styles and scripts on a webpage but most of them are not needed on that page. But the browser needs to parse them all.
Despite these page-builders claim that they are super-fast and they are going to make your website fly, but they can’t do that in reality. As you start making complex pages with many options, your page is going to become slower and slower.
Impossible to Scale Up
Most of the times people make a website with only the features they need at that point and as their business grows, they start asking for new features on their website. Now on a page-builder based website, it is almost impossible to do custom programming element as most of the items are coming from a page builder element. So, if you wouldn’t have used a page builder you can write some PHP code for that page to do as many custom things you want. You can run custom query loops for your custom post types, do as many custom checking and programming you want to do without any issue if you didn’t use a page-builder and instead just used WordPress native features and best coding practises.
As people make sites using page-builders they often overlook how the website looks on a smaller screen. This leads to really bad looking website for mobile devices. We have seen so many WordPress websites which looks good on a desktop but really bad on mobile devices. This mainly happens due to the nature of customization options in page builders. As most page builders gives you option to change the style on the page builder itself, you are not writing custom CSS for those elements and on smaller screens these elements look really bad.
Sudden Website Breaking
Another problem we have seen with websites using page-builders are many times when you update your theme or page builder plugin, suddenly some parts of the web page stop working due to some issue or bug somewhere on your website of in the page builder. But it is so hard to find out from where the error actually coming from that you will tear your hair out in order to find it.
Alternatively, if you would have used WordPress native solutions and programming, it would have directly told you from where the problems are coming from and the development team can easily fix it instead of spending hours to figure out what is causing the issue.
Due to the lots of dependency and bloaty code structure often times page builders have some security loop holes. Moreover, due to the fear of breaking website, many website owners don’t update their themes or page builder plugins which make those websites even more vulnerable to security threats. We have seen many websites with page builder getting hacked just because the website owner didn’t update the theme and plugins in fear of breaking the website.
What do We Use on Our Projects?
Since WordPress 5.0, the WP core team has made Gutenberg the default WordPress editor which is immensely powerful and super secure. If you know programming or if you are using a good development agency, they can easily make all the custom features you want as a Gutenberg block, which will use the WordPress native elements, without the need for using a plugin and you can do almost anything with Gutenberg.
On all of our web projects we strictly follow the WordPress coding guidelines and tend to use a hand few plugin as installing a plugin means adding a third-party dependency. Also, to ensure our clients can easily edit the content of their website, we create several Gutenberg blocks so that they can easily use them inside the native WordPress editor.
Using this native approach allows us to do any number of custom programming we want without hampering site load speed or code security. Also, in future, if any problem happens, it becomes really easy to solve them due to the native approach.
Why Some People Hate Gutenberg?
Honestly, the main reason many people don’t like Gutenberg is because to add a custom block, you need to learn programming and also how to write custom blocks. So, basically you have to invest time to learn Gutenberg programming. This is what people hate, as they were in their comfort zone for many years using the old TinyMCE editor in WordPress and they don’t want to learn new things as technology changes.
As we have been working with WordPress for many years, we can happily say that Gutenberg is way more powerful and can do almost anything if you know how to code it. Once you learn how to write custom Gutenberg blocks, you are going to love it so much that you will become a Gutenberg lover from a hater. Even now there are many people who build their WordPress website with the old classic editor instead of embracing the new Gutenberg editor.
We really think that the page builders should be abolished from the WordPress ecosystem and people should use Gutenberg more than the page builders. But the main responsibility lies on the premium theme authors, if they stop making multi-purpose themes with page builders and the non-technical person stops claiming to be WordPress expert, many WordPress websites can be free from these page-builder shackles. What do you think of WordPress page builders? Let us know in the comment section below.