I’ve been on a quest to find the best webpage builder to go with WordPress, this makes life comfortable and allows you to construct web pages without manual code editing. My criteria are speed and simplicity.
Did you already know WordPress gets used on over 75 million websites? I’d love to know how many prefer SquareSpace, Wix and Jimdo, by the way, I’ve used them and like them too, they are not part of the comparison here though, but, do please let me know if you have some statistics. Want to see some beautiful WordPress sites, then check out https://wordpress.org/showcase/
For those hungry to not waste time, here is my personal list of the best page builders.
They are all very good tools and urge you to try each, to find your personal favourite, because there are differences in usability, which is why you might choose Divi or Elementor over Beaver Builder. One details regarding Visual Composer, as good as it is and I think it is excellent, to change the size of heading elements and such, you will need to write a little CSS, but there are plenty of tutorials.
So how did I come to my conclusion, go to my “Go Amazon” page and you’ll see the layout which I designed. It contains a lot of YouTube videos. The testing truly surprised me, more than once. For example, what seemed to be the killer feature in Divi, image overlay on video, what I thought was for load speed, actually seemed to make no difference, at least at the time when I tested it, but, perhaps there was a bug or optimization missed on my part.
I only heard about this through a WordPress group on Facebook. You’ll need to download it from their website, then upload via the plugins screen. It takes about 5 minutes to download stuff when you first install. It’s not one of the faster editors to load. However, it more than makes up for usability and final page speed. I found my page was about half a second faster than all the other page designers I tested. A couple of times I got my page layout messed up but was quickly able to recover. The only negative for beginners I already mentioned, you might need to know or learn a little CSS to manipulate the font types and sizes of heading tags and such. For learning that you get a highly optimised page.
An extremely good plugin, I don’t think they have a free trial edition, but, I think you have to try it. The design interface is really good and you’ll be happily building pages within minutes of installation. Their customer services are quick too. If your looking for something that just works, then you’ll really be a very happy customer. I lay particular worth on mobile rendering of pages and here I had no problems, unlike the with some of the other page builders.
There is something to be said about plugins appearing on the second page of the WordPress plugins list – try them – you may be surprised. Although, I found it a little tricky to get started because the menu was not always visible. Once getting used to the drag and drop interface, I was able to accelerate along and found it very good. The editor sometimes felt a bit slow, but you’ll also find that with my current favourite page builder tool. One button I missed was for duplicating/copying content.
First I wasn’t sure it was activated, but, it is visible as a new tab. You design the layout similar to other page builders, which is by defining rows and columns. I liked how you can give each block a title. The rich text editor requires you to install the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle (an extra plugin), but, I think it was worth it and I really like the live page editor. I also installed their North theme which allowed me to make full-width pages. I like the widgets menu where you can activate more features like social icons & icons. The amount of video & code I found while googling showed me they care a lot about their product and this is actually a very good page builder – it was one of the fastest.
I liked that it has an integrated tutorial on first use, however, after 5 clicks I was getting a little annoyed. Like many other products, it is not long before you realise you need to buy something and for only 199$ you get the theme which would provide full-width page layout. I wanted to try the designer, so took a theme CustomPressVersion by TwoPoints that was free, according to the description it is optimized and has a very small stylesheet which is just 20kb (that really is tiny). The layout work was initially a little awkward the further I got down the page, I had problems adding content, eventually though I figured it out. They get plus points for the save and exit button: I found on other page builders that I lost work because I had forgotten to save.
Easy to find because it is number one on the plugins search screen. It has 300’000 active installations and at the time of writing nearly 500 five-star ratings. Its easy to use, the pages are fast and think it has everything you need to make great pages. It is number one on my list because it is slick and the easiest to learn. Note that I don’t use it encountered a problem with the look of my page on mobile devices. I couldn’t get them to look the way I wanted which could have been a problem with the 3 column layout I chose. I then switched to Visual Composer, it’s nowhere near as user-friendly though. I great feature on Elementor I really liked, was being able to add shadow to boxes, which made the page look great and I liked their drag and drop interface the best over all others I tested.
A common problem I had was getting full page design. I tested a few more page builder tools and they didn’t make my list because they commanded money for that or for a widget to add social icons. In the end, I got my social icons for Instagram, YouTube and Facebook via the plugin AccessPress Social Icons which is free at the time of writing.
You are going to have to pay something to get a good page builder. I think I found my favourites and would urge you to go out there and test them all. It will take you a day, but, it is time well worth spent.
As a final note, I want to mention I do not have any affiliate links here. I do not make money from recommending any of this software.
This document lists the steps required to prepare a Linux server to setup your server on Amazon for running one or more WordPress sites. If you decide to have the database on the server, then the architecture is known as “LAMP” which is an acronym for “Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP”.
If you’re setting up your first machine, then write down the commands and any connection information into a journal. It will help you remember the steps and internalise anything you learn along the way. You should add knowledge to it as you go along and will see that it will become more valuable than any book you can buy.
You have created an EC2 instance on Amazon and know how to connect to the machine using Putty or SSH.
You have chosen to run the database on the same server or use Amazons RDS service.
You have a domain name configured for your website on Route 53 or another DNS provider.
Step 1: Ensuring Machine Is Up To Date
When you log in to the machine, you will see information about how many packages and security updates are available. You should never ignore those messages.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
First update which refreshes the list of available packages and their versions, but does not install or upgrade any packages. The upgrade command installs newer packages and security updates. Neither of them runs automatically; I recommend a monthly calendar reminder, so you keep your server safe.
If you run the server over a couple of months, then dist-upgrade will bring the operating system up to date and is known to clean up better after itself.
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
If you are asked a question with a “Y/n” answer, type in “y” and otherwise follow any instruction.
Step 2: Install Apache Web Server
sudo apt-get install apache2
It will start installing. You will be prompted to Press Y and hit Enter to continue, so do that for the installation to advance.
Step 3: Checking the web server is running
Type the IP into your browser and check the web server is running. If you haven’t created an A record to point to the IP of the server, then do it now. You should get the default page, if so, then congratulate yourself.
Step 4: Configuring Your Access Rights
We want maximum lockdown later on and for you to be able to work without using the “super user do” command sudo all the time. Ignore this step, and you’ll be using sloppy access commands later on like “chmod 777”, then you could end up in a situation where you have an unprotected directory, and that’s not good.
The Apache server on Ubuntu will be running under www-data here is how you can double check that:
Assuming the user is “www-data” we’re now going to add you to the apache user group.
sudo usermod -a -G www-data ubuntu
We need to logout and login again for the change to show. To check the changes are in place you can now run.
You should see the “www-data” group listed.
Step 5: Setup Database On Server (The low budget option)
If you have decided to use Amazon RDS, then you should follow their instructions and have the instance connection information ready.
BUT, if you follow a backup strategy, then I think there is nothing bad about running the database on the server while the site is small.
I suggest you use MariaDB over MySQL. It took me a lot of time to get used to the idea of MariaDB, as I had been using MySQL since I built my first web server 15 years ago. I now realise what MariaDB is and its development is more open and vibrant, don’t believe me, then check out the activity on GitHub. Also, it’s said to be between 3 and 5% more performant, which is very relevant for web server backends.
The command to install the database and client is.
The certificate needs to be replaced regularly. We can setup automatic renewal using the scheduler. You only need to do this once.
sudo crontab -e
Choose NANO as editor it’s the easiest to use, then add the following line and Ctrl+X to both save and exit. This will make the server check for a new SSL certificate every morning at 03:15am and is something you only need to setup once.
15 3 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew --quiet
Check the settings are stored
sudo crontab -l
Finished! GO CHECK OUT YOUR WEBSITE.
Miscellaneous: Unable To Install Plugins In WordPress
This will be a permissions problem. Run the commands to set up the ownership.