Honest Review: Is Divi REALLY All You’ll Ever Need, or Just A Waste of Money?
It’s been over a year since ElegantThemes.com released any new wordpress theme, and that is because the last one that was published, Divi, was claimed to be an “all-in-one” solution for any website. The theme has attracted a lot of attention since its release, thanks to its attractive design and range of features including the Divi page builder tool. For a humble membership fee that starts from $69, you can lay your hands on ALL ElegantThemes material, including this theme. So, we decided to take it for a test drive and see if it really is as good as claimed…
After installing the Divi theme (Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload), a number of menu items are automatically added to the WordPress dashboard.
Divi Theme Options Control Panel
Divi uses the standard Elegant Themes control panel, which was looking awesome back in 2010, but today’s design trends make it look less “elegant”, compared modern competitors.
However, once you’ve used the epanel to upload the site’s logo, set a favicon, and a few other options, you can leave it alone. Thankfully, the main power of Divi — the page builder, is all accessed via a modern and functional editor integrated into the “Add New Page” screen.
As ElegantThemes have been going for some years now, with the collection now containing 87 themes, it’s not too unfair to say that many of the themes are looking pretty outdated, both in terms of appearance and functionality. Really there are only about up to 10 themes of that are going to appeal to most users. So while on the main screen you see that you get 87 WordPress themes for $69 , you will probably only end up using about 10. Which, still an all makes it a fantastic deal, compared to prices on ThemeForest, where authors sell a single theme for $69.
Divi is, undoubtedly, a big step forward in terms of design compared to previous theme (again, because years are passing) and its’ features include full width layouts, large sliders, attractive icons, a responsive design, full-length one page layouts, and much much more.
For eshop builders, Divi was a good news, because is also compatible with WooCommerce. In fact, the theme comes with a number of pre-inbuilt layouts for anyone wishing to create an online store on the fly.
Thanks to the wide variety of layouts that come with this theme, it can easily be used for any number of purposes. It really is universal, I admit. Creating a sales page, app sales page, a range of portfolio types, multiple blog layouts, and a whole lot more. You really need just a little time to get your head around it, and you will soon notice that there is really no page layout that this theme won’t allow you to build.
Overall, design and appearance of Divi is impressive and is versatile enough to be used for pretty much any type of website. However, the visual design and appearance of Divi isn’t its only great feature.
Divi Drag and Drop Page Builder
The flexibility of theme is what makes it so appealing to developers, and this flexibility is all thanks to drag and drop page builder, which we have already seen as a stand alone plugin released 2-3 years ago. The builder can be accessed from the standard WordPress post and page editor. Since the release of version 2.4 of Divi, the builder works with all post types, including blog posts.
Once clicked, the standard WordPress post editor is transformed into the new Divi page builder tool.
Using the page builder is very easy, simply click on one of the + symbols to then insert either a new row, set of columns, or a module. There are many column configurations to allow you to easily divide up a row as required. As the section can have multiple rows, and each row can have its own column configuration, you can get really creative with your page layouts.
If at any point you want to rearrange either the rows or the sections on your page, you can simply drag and drop them into their new slot.
After you’ve added a row which contains at least one column, you can then begin adding modules into those columns. There are 40 modules to choose from including images, text, pricing tables, portfolios, newsletter signups, and sliders.
Once you add a module to the page, you can then edit it by clicking on its icon on the page layout screen. From there you can customize it where necessary.
To get an idea of how the page builder screen translates to an actual web page, this side by side comparison shows the page builder view, containing the different sections, rows, columns and modules, next to the actual page that has been created:
While using the page builder is very straightforward, you can save a lot of time by using one of the 18 layouts that come with Divi (more can be downloaded via the website). These can be loaded from the page builder screen and once applied to your page, you can either add your own content, or edit the page layout by adding or removing modules and rows, or rearranging the rows by dragging them into their new position.
The bundled layouts are very diverse including layouts for homepages, about me pages, landing pages, portfolios, and even ready to use shops.
It is also possible to export your own layouts and share them amongst other users, or import them into your other sites that are using the Divi theme. This is an excellent feature for web designers who could in theory, just use this tool for creating new sites very quickly.
Divi 2.4 – Even More Features and Functionality
To prove that Divi is a long term priority for the Elegant Themes crew, their flagship product has been recently updated with the release of Divi version 2.4. While last year’s upgrade to version 2.0 saw some impressive additions to the theme, version 2.4 goes even further and is billed as the biggest update in Divi’s history.
Before we dive into the details of the upgrade in more depth, some of the highlights of Divi 2.4 include: using the builder on posts, creating a library of reusable content, new module design settings, more theme customizer controls, full width content, more header and navigation layouts, and improved custom CSS handling.
We know that your website needs to be readable on all devices while still allowing visitors to share your web pages. Monarch’s sharing icons are fully responsive and look great all the way down to even the smallest mobile devices.
Divi Builder Now Works with All Post Types
Prior to version 2.4, the impressive page builder tool of Divi only worked with WordPress pages. This was great for creating custom designs for your home page, about page, and landing pages, but what about your blog posts?
Now you can use the new and improved Divi Builder to give your individual posts a unique look and feel. Creating custom layouts, complete with your choice of dynamic modules and elements is no longer reserved for pages – now all post types can be given a makeover with Builder.
Fully Customizable Divi Builder Modules
One of the greatest features of Divi has always been the number of useful modules that can be inserted into your custom page layouts. Now these Builder modules can be fully customized to match the rest of your website.
With over 200 settings now available, each module is fully customizable. This covers details such as sizes, colours, loading and animation effects, and plenty more.
More Control over Your Page Layouts
To give your website more of a fluid and responsive look, Divi 2.4 sees the addition of more controls for setting the width, height, and spacing of the individual elements that make up your website.
The 100% fluid grid will ensure your website will look its best, no matter what screen size it is being viewed on; while pixel pushers will appreciate the ability to get the look and feel of their content just right, thanks to the new customizer controls.
Better Typography Controls
Divi 2.4 allows you to customize all aspects of your website’s typography. This covers all areas of your site, including: headers, footers, body, titles, links, and more. Change the size, color, spacing, height, weight, capitalization, and basically everything you want.
Improved Header Navigation Area Designs and Layouts
The header area is perhaps the most important part of your website and with Divi, making it look perfect is now much easier. Through the new and updated panel you can easily change the size and position of your logo and header area. You will also find more flexible options for making use of a fixed header area, as well as the ability to enable hidden scrolling for a greater impact on your visitors.
You can even set the transparency level of your header navigation area. This enables you to really let your background images and videos take center stage.
Full Width Content
While the other details of the upgrade covered so far are impressive, full width rows is perhaps the one that piqued my interest the most when reading the Divi 2.4 announcement.
By using this new feature, you can now insert full width content to your posts and pages. Through the new row settings of the builder, you can insert a full width row into your blog posts, and then populate it with custom content. This then allows you to insert large full width images into your posts, while still keeping a fixed width for your text area.
This isn’t limited to just images though, and any of the modules on offer and be inserted into a full width row. This allows you to create some impressive post layouts that simply aren’t possible with the majority of other WordPress themes currently on the market.
Create Reusable Content with the Divi Library
One particularly useful feature added with version 2.4 is the Divi Library. This time saving feature gives you the ability to easily save and reuse your custom modules, sections, and rows, as well as your entire layouts.
Your saved library artefacts can then be inserted into your layouts, directly from the builder. If you want to use the same row and content configuration on multiple pages on your site, this is a really useful feature.
However, if you are building websites for multiple clients, and want to create a repository of pre-built elements, that match your trademark design aesthetic, then the library gives you an efficient way to store and use these elements as you need them.
Unlimited Possibilities with Improved Custom CSS Handling
While Divi makes it even easier to build a unique WordPress website than ever before, for those that require even more control, the upgrade sees the arrival of a new Custom CSS tab. This feature has been added to all of the modules, sections, and rows of the builder.
Should you see something you want to customize, but can’t find the corresponding control, you can now easily add your own custom CSS to give it that personalize look. There’s now no need to create a new child theme – simply use the CSS input fields for the corresponding HTML element.
Overall, the Divi 2.4 update adds many more useful features, settings, and controls to the theme. This not only helps you build better, more personalized WordPress websites with less time and effort required, but also reduces your reliance of third party plugins.
Divi 2.0 – The Update
As part of the improvements that have been made to the theme for version 2.0, the Divi theme now includes 3 unique section types, 20 column structures, and 33 robust modules. The gives you even more options for adding column-based layouts to your posts and pages, while also having access to more modules or page elements that can be inserted into those layouts.
Other improvements and upgrades include an enhanced drag and drop page builder that makes the original version even easier to use and more powerful. The header section of the theme has also been revamped to give you more customization options, while the navigation options too have been updated to include an optional vertical navigation area.
With Divi 2.0, it is now possible to use a boxed layout instead of a full width page layout which gives you more control over how your site looks on larger screens. The updated theme also includes a blank page template which removes the header and the footer areas and is ideal for creating standalone landing pages. There even are a few new eCommerce store layouts for selling goods online with the free WooCommerce plugin.
If you thought the original version of Divi couldn’t be beaten, in terms of flexibility, features, and easy to implement customization options, then this new version will be a revelation. For those who missed the original Divi the first time around, now is the perfect time to join Elegant Themes and start making use of this powerhouse of a theme.
Support and Documentation
Purchasing this theme also gives you access to the 86 other themes by Elegant Themes. These themes are all supported via a private members’ only forum, with sub-forums for each of the themes, plus a few additional ones. Support tickets are in fact new posts on the theme-specific form. This means anyone can answer your query, but in practice it’s usually one of the hired moderators who will take care of your issue.
The Elegant Themes support service is often maligned but it seems that bad experiences are rare and most issues appear to be resolved swiftly via the forums. When it comes to setting up the theme, the online documentation for Divi covers all the necessary steps to get your site up and running and looking like the demo version, or allowing you to create your own layout.
The interface for the page builder is well designed and getting started right out of the box shouldn’t pose a problem to anyone familiar with WordPress or even those new to the platform.
- Personal: $69
- Developer: $89
- Lifetime Access: $249
The Personal plan includes access to all of the themes from Elegant Themes, including Divi, and those that are released while your subscription is active.
The Developer and Lifetime Access plans include access to all current and future themes and plugins from Elegant Themes. This includes the impressive Monarch social sharing plugin, and the powerful Bloom email list building tool.
The subscription period lasts for one year (apart from the lifetime access plan), after which you must renew the plan to maintain your access to support, theme and plugin updates, and access to new products. If you choose not to renew your plan, you can continue to use the products unsupported.
In addition to access to the plugins from Elegant Themes, the developer plan includes the layered Photoshop files for each theme, giving you even more customization options.
Both in terms of appearance and the features of the page builder, Divi is a really ALL-In-ONE WordPress theme. It’s easily worth $69, let alone all the other themes that are included for that price from Elegant Themes. However, paying the extra $20 to upgrade to the developer plan, in order to get access to the Bloom email list building plugin is highly recommended!
While the design looks very modern and clean, the page builder and the available layouts make it very easy to setup and build very attractive layouts for all manner occasions in almost no time at all. Even though Divi is marketed as a page builder, it’s still worth pointing out that this isn’t a theme builder. You don’t get that granular control that you do with a theme builder tool like Headway. So if you are looking for a way to easily edit margins, set line heights, and have pixel-point control over columns and sidebar positions then Divi isn’t for you.
But if you want a very easy to use page builder that contains lots of really useful and well-designed modules for adding page elements to your site, that in some cases would otherwise require the purchase of a premium plugin to gain access to, Divi is an excellent choice.
If you like the overall appearance of the Divi theme demo and would like something like that for your site, while also having the ability to easily change the layouts in terms of what goes where, then there is every reason to say yes to this theme. With each update to Divi adding new features and functionality into the mix, this is one WordPress theme that keeps getting better and better.
- Attractive modern design
- Lots of ready page templates and layouts to choose from
- Includes a massive page builder tool
- Regularly updated
- Good documentation.
- Fantastic and unbeatable price / quality (and quantity!) ratio.
- Very heavy in terms of size and option on the backend (if you are a developer)
- Due to its heavy structure, requires a CACHE plugin for better performance.
- Too many design options may overwhelm beginner users