Thrive Architect is a powerful front-end, visual page builder for WordPress. There are many similar plugins available on the market, but Thrive Architect was one of the first. So, what makes this powerful tool so special and quite different?
On one random rainy day, during the month of June of 2015, I stumbled upon an ad on Facebook about a plugin called Thrive Content Builder.
If you’re new to Thrive Architect or any of Thrive Themes products, you probably won’t remember Thrive Content Builder.
Just in case, let me fill you in.
Thrive Content Builder was the very first form of what we now know as Thrive Architect.
This was the first time I’d ever come across a true “front-end visual page editor” for WordPress.
Thrive Content Builder gave WordPress users the power to build powerful, attractive, and conversion-focused landing pages using drag-and-drop editing.
Zero coding was needed, and so when this thing started making noise, a lot of folks started to take notice.
I purchased Thrive Content Builder with the intention to create a nice and simple landing page to promote my ebook.
However, I soon discovered that I could use it to create any kind of page. It was around the same time that I thought, heck, I could build a custom homepage for my blog too, which at the time, not very many users were doing.
Thrive Content Builder changed everything, giving me, and many of its users, complete creative freedom and flexibility.
No coding skills or knowledge was required. No money was needed to hire an expensive designer or developer, you could do it all yourself with Thrice Content Builder.
Then, Thrive Themes superseded this amazing plugin with what we now know as Thrive Architect, which is available as part of the Thrive Suite membership package.
As I said at the start, I started using Thrive Content Builder when it was in its infancy, before it became known as Thrice Architect.
The complete existence of this amazing plugin has made so many things possible, for me, at least, both as a web designer and as an online business owner. It truly has been a huge part of my small online success.
So – the burning question is:
Is Thrive Architect really that good and should YOU consider investing in it yourself?
Short answer, yes. However, you cannot purchase this plugin on its own anymore. It now comes as part of Thrive’s yearly membership fee known as Thrive Suite. Which is the sad thing.
But, I do continue reading to understand why I think investing in Thrive Architect via Thrive’s membership will be the best thing you ever do for your blog or online business.
I will also explain why “I think” this particular page builder plugin is way ahead of any of its competitors out there.
It’s a drag-and-drop, front-end, visual page builder, and content creation tool for WordPress. Don’t mistake Thrive Architect for Thrive Theme Builder. Although they’re similar, one is a theme builder, the other is a page builder.
Regardless of what type of website you have. Thrive Architect will help you solve three types of problems you might be facing with your business. Let’s take a look –
OK, I think I know what you’re thinking: Why haven’t you come across this plugin before, right?
Well, by now, hopefully, you have because it’s been around for a good few years. All I’m doing here is updating an old review of Thrive Architect!
The short answer is… No.
Whilst I absolutely love using this tool in my business, there are some design limitations and things that you simply cannot do with Thrive Architect alone.
One thing that I see a lot of users trying to use Thrive Architect for is creating a full-blown website.
I can’t begin to tell you how many clients I’ve had over the years requesting for their websites to be built using Thrive Architect.
It’s not possible and users shouldn’t even try. Unless, of course, all you’re creating is a single-page website, then yes, it’s possible to use Thrive Architect for a one-page website.
The reason you cannot build a full-blown website with Thrive Architect is that there are no options for creating and designing global and custom page templates.
By this I mean, a blog template, a blog archives template, custom page templates for header, footer, and sidebar sections, 404 pages, search results page, etc.
Note: Thrive Themes has since released its Theme Builder plugin that aims to solve this problem. Click here to learn more.
Over the years, I have used Thrive Architect on both personal and client projects. I’ve listed some of the pages that I’ve created using this plugin above.
CONTENT UPDATE: Magnet4Blogging’s design was upgraded in 2019 upgraded the design of Magnet4Blogging and all of the above pages are now built with Oxygen Builder.
In the video tutorial below, you can watch me create a custom blog homepage design from complete scratching using Thrive Architect. The video is a few years old, but still provides an insight into the amazing capabilities of this tool. Take a look.
The UI in Thrive Architect swaggers a clean, simple, and intuitive layout.
Navigating around the design elements and options takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the knack of it, it’s a real pleasure to work with.
Over the years, the interface has improved dramatically, and it’s really nice to see the Thrive Dev Team take into review their user’s feedback to come up with a great interface like this.
And yes, there are quite a few elements to choose from in Thrive Architect, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can use the nifty Search Elements box at the top.
When you launch Thrive Architect from any page or static post, a new browser tab will open with the editor interface and design options. See images below.
Thrive Architect is a joy to work with on larger screen sizes.
I use a 13″, 27″, and 34″ screen when developing sites and working with Thrive Architect, so I have plenty of screen space to work with.
However, if you’re working with smaller screen sizes, like a 13″ or 15″ laptop, I’d recommend minimizing the main editor sidebar to give you more screen space.
To start editing a page, all you do is find and add an element from the right sidebar, and drop it into the center canvas.
You’ll notice the left sidebar options will change depending on what element you want to edit. See the images above again.
The UI also has a helpful navigational breadcrumb feature at the top of the page to let you know what element you’re working on and also where.
This is extremely useful when you’re working with multiple elements inside of content boxes, placed inside of columns, and nested divs. See the image below.
Before you build any kind of page with Thrive Architect, you have the option to make some changes to the default settings according to your preferences.
Under Settings, you have some global options which include –
Note: If for any reason you don’t see some of the features displayed above in your version of Thrive Architect, it may be that the Thrive Team has since decided to make them redundant, or you don’t have the latest updated version.
Before we look at the elements and design options in detail, with Thrive Architect, you get access to the landing page template library, which is, by the way, awesome if I may say so!
All you have to do is pick one, drop it on your page, customize it, and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Heck, you don’t even have to customize any of the templates if you don’t want to, as most of them look great just as they are. You can just add your own content and you’re ready to go.
But, I’m sure you’ll want to keep your design consistent with your brand.
To add a pre-designed template to your page, you simply click on the small cloud icon in the right sidebar menu, you’ll see a pop-up with a bunch of templates for you to choose from.
These templates are stored in the Thrive Template Cloud, and not on your website.
So, let’s now look at the full list of design options and features in the Thrive Architect plugin.
I won’t dive too deep into each of these elements, I’ll leave you to discover them for yourself.
Foundation Elements –
These are the basic elements that you will probably use most often when creating content in your landing pages.
Building Blocks –
These are some advanced building blocks which you can use depending on the type of landing page you’re trying to create.
Important notice – Please note that whilst I’ve done my best to keep this review fresh and updated, there will be many more features added to Thrive Architect that might not have been mentioned here.
Once again, with almost all of the elements in Thrive Architect, you have multiple options to customize them even further, giving you complete creative freedom and control over the entire design and layout of your pages and content.
One of my favorite features in Thrive Architect, of course, is the Custom CSS and HTML boxes.
As a designer and front-end dev working with WordPress, I love having the best of both worlds – In this case, using visual editing with custom code implementation.
Using the HTML and CSS features is really easy and fun as they also support Syntax. See the image below.
Custom HTML added to the Custom HTML building block element.
Custom CSS added to the CSS feature under settings > advanced settings
Another useful feature in Thrive Architect is the mobile responsive design modes.
You can use these modes to tweak or completely redesign your landing pages for mobile devices, however, as useful as this is, you can only tweak your design for portrait orientation and not landscape, which is a bit of a shame.
It would have been nice to have multiple breakpoints and orientations with this responsive feature, but for now, it will have to do.
This feature is located at the bottom of the screen along with the review option. See the image below.
Whilst on the subject of responsive design, many of the design elements come with a Responsive option. In other words, you can choose to switch certain elements off so that they don’t appear on mobile devices at all. See the image below.
I’ve already listed some of the pages I’ve been able to create for my website using Thrive Architect, but here is a list of other types of landing pages you can create.
OK, now for another bit of awesome news.
What makes Thrive Architect even more powerful and unique is the add-on plugin that is available from Thrive called
You can check out my review of Thrive Optimize here.
With the Thrive Optimize plugin, you can perform simple but effective A/B split testing campaigns for every landing page you create using Thrive Architect. It truly is awesome.
If you’re a Thrive Themes member, this plugin is available in your membership dashboard. If you are not a member and only have Thrive Architect, you’ll need to purchase this add-on separately.
(Update: Now only available with Thrive Suite membership)
OK, time to have some fun, especially if you’re new to this page builder plugin.
I’ll keep this as short as I can.
Once you have the plugin installed, activated, and your license key activated too, you can go straight ahead and begin using Thrive Architect.
To create a new page or post, you simply go to page/post > add new > add a title and save draft > click on the green Edit with Thrive Architect button.
A new tab will open up and you’ll see the front end of your page or blog post – you’re now ready to start adding elements and creating your content. See the image below.
Adjusting the layout and position of your elements is easy too. With each element, you can open up the Layout & Position tab adjust both margins and paddings. See the image below.
If you want to get a better idea of how to use some of the elements in Thrive Architect, check out the video tutorial above where I use this plugin to create a custom blog-style homepage in WordPress.
When you have finished creating or editing your pages with Thrive Architect, you can simply hit Save Work and close the tab.
If you make a mistake you can use the Undo and Redo buttons or click the clock icon to view recent saved versions of your saved work. See the image below.
OK, so you’re probably thinking that all this comes at a heavy cost, right?
Well, it actually doesn’t. There are actually two pricing options that will give you access to Thrive Architect.
Thrive Themes Membership will give you access to not only Thrive Architect but all of the conversion optimization plugins too. Please check out my full review of Thrive Themes Membership.
Now, let me finish this Thrive Architect review by sharing what I love and what I dislike about the plugin.
As I said at the start, I started with the original Thrive Content Builder plugin back in 2015, so I’ve kind of transitioned through the five-year journey as a user.
Of course, Thrive Architect is a huge leap forward from those early days.
And sure, there are a few small niggles here and there that still need ironing out, not so much from a technology standpoint, but more from usability.
Something I should have mentioned earlier, actually, is the Thrive team’s ability to provide exceptional support, updates, and fixes for its software and customers.
I can’t fault this company at all in that respect, and that’s another HUGE reason why I love using Thrive Theme’s products in my business.
They understand their customers more than any other WordPress software company I’ve come across, so far…
I was excited when I first discovered Thrive Content Builder back in 2015, and I’m still very much excited about Thrive Architect today in 2021. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Thrive Team will do next to this plugin, although we already have Thrive Theme Builder now.
Thrive Architect has some tough competition ahead, especially whilst there are so many other similar page builders to explore as alternatives.
Let’s see now, we have Elementor and Divi, both of which are fantastic tools, but these tools now offer more features and flexibility.
Elementor is a close rival to Thrive Architect, except it is used by 3 million users.
Divi is also a very powerful and popular theme builder and not just a page builder. The tool comes with a host of advanced features, hundreds of templates, and layout styles.
That said, when it comes to ease of use, flexibility, the level of customization, support, and documentation, for me Thrive Architect ticks all of the boxes.
No. Not at all.
Whilst I have a lot of love and will always find plenty of use for Thrive Architect, it simply cannot replace a web designer or developer.
Besides, this is not a web design tool, this is merely a content creation tool, and a powerful one at that.
Sure, you will not need your web designer for simple page design tasks, but anything complex, Thrive Architect cannot replace.
If you’ve just purchased Thrive Architect for yourself and are in need of some practical tutorials, check out my YouTube channel as I frequently add new Thrive tutorial videos there.
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