Gutenberg VS Page Builder: A comparative review

The Gutenberg block editor is here and the development to full site editing functionality looks promising. This puts a question in the mind of a lot of users, whether we still need a Page Builder any more.

Page Builder’s are WordPress plugins that allow easy grid-based content building and editing. Back then, users preferred Page Builders over the WordPress Classic editor for its intuitive interface. As compared to the WordPress Classic editor, Page Builders had an intuitive drag and drop interface. The drag and drop functionality heavily appealed to the non-techy audience. 

But now with the launch of Gutenberg aka the block editor with drag and drop functionality, the scenario has changed a lot. The Gutenberg is aimed to help out all the non-techy ones with its full site editing features, without using a single line code!

So let us have a detailed comparative review on the Gutenberg Block editor and the Page builder.

How Page Builder works

Page builders are WordPress plugins that lets you easily build and edit grid-based pages. Page builders come with different widgets or elements that aid you with the design. Page builders have exploded in popularity since the first-page builder.

Page Builder adds an extra tab to the standard WordPress editor. Page builders give users the ability to perform jobs like creating new page layouts using different templates, adding widget areas, implementing new navigation menus and other tasks from the WordPress backend.

There is no need of knowing HTML, CSS, or even PHP and JavaScript and it allows to do things completely without any coding.

It offers a wide range of features such as image carousels, testimonials, pricing tables and social sharing buttons. Page builders enable you to start and design your page completely from scratch. 

What’s Gutenberg?

Gutenberg was the much-awaited update of the WordPress that came into existence on December 6, 2018. It was designed especially for enhancement of the media-rich sites, with a sole purpose to help users.

Gutenberg editor which is integrated with WordPress Core and works differently from the classic editor. Instead of using the text area for content, WordPress introduced the concept of blocks

Blocks enable to create dynamic layouts and media-rich sites using simple blocks.

Each block is a basic unit for adding content in the editor. Every component of content such as Paragraphs, Headings, Media, and Embeds are treated as individual blocks. It has made the tasks of adding shortcodes, embeds, widgets, post formats, theme options, meta-boxes, and other formatting elements much easier than before. All these can be done with little technical skills and without any coding!

Now, let us dig deep to compare and understand the differences.

Blocks vs Modules

Gutenberg, helps you build content based on discrete blocks. To add new content, you must open up a list of blocks and choose which block you want to insert. For example, a paragraph, heading, an image, a video all are separate blocks.

The page builders also add content similar to Gutenberg. The page builders use different terminology named modules or widgets instead of blocks. You can build your content using a diverse set of widgets.

Drag & Drop

The Drag and drop feature is the major advantage that page builders and Gutenberg have over the classic editor. Dragging and dropping features makes them appear pretty similar to each other.

With Gutenberg, you can add blocks and drag them anywhere you want. Similarly, page builders allow you to drag and drop any widget, module or element to the desired location.

Backend vs Frontend Editing

The biggest difference between Gutenberg and Page Builders is the back-end and front-end editing.Page builders offer a front-end editing feature while Gutenberg doesn’t have front-end editing. Page builders allow you to see a live instant view of all the edits that you make.

However, the Gutenberg offers a Preview option that helps you to view the exact design after you have made changes. Moreover, the back-end editing in Gutenberg editor works similar to the front-end editing.

Styling Options 

The major lacunae seen in Gutenberg as compared to the page builders are the lack of as many styling options.

Gutenberg offers limited options and they are much basic as compared to various page builders. Gutenberg offers styling options like the Drop cap feature, changing text and background colour etc. Gutenberg offers styling and customization options to just block level.

Whereas page builder offers full-fledged customization and unique styling options. It allows you to customize the individual widget, column, the entire page and much more. It gives full control over what you are designing. 

Page builders provide a lot of styling options such as changing background colours, using gradients, choosing custom icons, selecting fonts and much more. 

However, Gutenberg is not to stay back and is working to expand the styles and customization beyond the block level. You can expect the “Global Styles feature upcoming with the WordPress 5.6 update. Global Styles would provide a unified system for Gutenberg blocks (core + 3rd party) and themes to work well with each other. 

Layout Functionality

Gutenberg allows you content customization; however overall look of the page is constrained within the core layout of your theme. 

Page builders, on the other hand, allow you to create some unique pages by breaking the layout of your theme. They offer more flexibility and allows you to create your headers, footers, content layout with page builders. 

Disadvantages of page builders

Too many elements 

Page builders come loaded with various elements, and sometimes there are multiple elements for creating the same output. You need to scan out the one you need. This makes them complex when it comes to managing the website content. All these create unnecessary bloat to website and impacts performance. 

No Standardardization

While Gutenberg follows the standard WordPress way of editing content, a page builder replaces it with a totally different interface and a different process. 

There is no standardization in page builders and each page builder works differently. So, getting familiar with each different page builder’s working process is a tedious learning process. 

Switching to any different page builder is not an easy process. If you have to manage any WordPress website that uses a different page builder, then you must train yourself all over again for working with the specific page builder.

Compared to the page builders, Gutenberg and takes a minute to figure out and learn.

Page builders affect performance

While page builders come with a lot of appealing features, all of these come with a cost. All that extra code can be doing bad to the performance of your site. To achieve their layout, many page builders create a lot of nested HTML and non-semantic code. Numerous files such as style sheets, scripts, font file not only slow down the backend but also the front end of the website. All of these significantly adds up to the load time for a web page.

Hard to Change Systems 

In some page builders, switching to another solution is not possible. You might be left off with broken page design and a mess of code on your site. Sometimes the whole design can even collapse breaking your entire website. You might need to clean your entire website and create it all over again.


So we just compared what Page builder and Gutenberg are and also pointed out the differences and disadvantages in each.

Although Gutenberg does not yet provide that level of visual design as visual Page builders, yet they are great when it comes to content creation. A large number of Gutenberg block plugins can enhance Gutenberg’s default collection of blocks. It would offer plenty of space for customization. 

Moreover, Gutenberg appears to be way more standardized and advanced way of content creation. There are some limitations, yet more features are on the path of development and its worth waiting. Moreover, the future seems, even more, promising from the Gutenberg’s full site editing perspective.

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