Thrive Theme Builder Review 2021: A New Simple Way To Build WordPress Sites

Last Updated on February 3, 2021 by Fabrizio Van Marciano

Thrive Themes have finally released its long-awaited new visual WordPress Theme Builder. So, was it worth the wait? Is it all that it's cooped up to be? Is this the best theme builder now available for WordPress? Or, is it just another 'brick in the wall' - Let's find out!

I remember the first time I discovered Thrive Themes for myself way back in late 2014. To be honest, I didn't really pay much attention. I just thought they were 'yet another WordPress company.'

My first real experience with a Thrive Themes product came with the launch of Thrive Content Builder. That experience blew my mind! I instantly fell in love with the company.

Thrive Content Builder was an early version of what is now known as Thrive Architect. A powerful visual page editor like nothing else! You can check out my review here of Thrive Architect here.

Since that time, the company has created and released a suite of amazing, conversion-focused marketing tools for bloggers and businesses. Thrive Themes seem to be going from strength to strength.

Over the years, I've built all of my online business ventures with Thrive Themes products, and I couldn't be happier. One of the best decisions I ever made was to invest in their tools.

All that being said, when I heard that Thrive Themes were working on a Theme Builder, almost two years ago, I got very excited. I was a massive fan of Thrive Content Builder, and then Thrive Architect came along and blew me away, and so I was ready to fall in love all over again!

I know what you're thinking, what a geek!

So, now that Thrive Theme Builder is finally released, I've spent a decent amount of time playing around with it. Am I still as excited as I was two years ago?

I'm somewhat excited, but you should be very excited, especially if you haven't used it before!

Thrive Theme Builder Review 2020

Why I'm only 'somewhat' excited about using Thrive Theme Builder?

Well, I've used quite a few WordPress theme builders and drag-and-drop website tools over the years. For the most part, this technology is still quite new. But, I've tried Beaver Builder, DIVI, and Elementor.

Nowadays, I only use one theme builder, which is Oxygen Builder. However, as a web designer and devoted WordPress developer, it's always nice to have those extra tools in your toolkit. So, I wasn't hesitant to include Thrive Theme Builder in my bag.

The other reason why I'm only 'somewhat' excited about Thrive Theme Builder is that I consider myself to be reasonably savvy when it comes to WordPress.

Not to blow my own horn, of course, but I enjoy writing code and combining my workflow with visual design, which is why I'm a big fan of Oxygen Builder.

That said, if you're totally new to WordPress and website design, you should be very excited about Thrive Theme Builder.


Well, I get the big impression that this tool was designed for the none-techy. Even so, I think techies and developers will also enjoy using Thrive Theme Builder too.

By far, Thrive Theme Builder is one of the easiest website builder tools I've ever used for WordPress.

Yes, there's a little bit of a learning curve involved in using anything new for the first time, but I'm pretty positive that you'll get to navigate this new theme builder in no time.

OK, let's start this review properly, shall we?

What is Thrive Theme Builder and what can you do with it?

It's in the name. Thrive Theme Builder, or TTB for short, is a fully-loaded WordPress theme builder tool.

It was created by Thrive Themes, a reputable WordPress software company based somewhere in Europe that's had massive success over the years.

Thrive Theme Builder, has been in the works for almost two years, whilst other similar software such as Elementor, Divi, and Oxygen Builder has been out for some time, gaining traction and momentum.

I remember first hearing about TTB and being part of the Alpha Team testing the software on some dummy sites in the early stages. It was a lot of fun, and I got the chance to watch the software transform to what is the final release today.

Thrive Theme Builder brings you the technology and familiarity of Thrive Architect into a super user-friendly drag-and-drop front-end visual theme builder. One of a kind, I would say.

Literally, every page component of your WordPress website can be built and customized using drag and drop editing. TTB is truly the WYSIWYG design tool for WordPress websites in 2021.

Thrive Theme Builder works with WordPress hosted sites and not sites. This means you'll need to have your own hosting plan, a domain name, and WordPress installed. Click here to learn how to get all these.

What problems can you overcome by using Thrive Theme Builder?

Firstly, and probably the most important factor is that Thrive Theme Builder can be used by anyone.

None-techies will find this theme builder very appealing and a huge time saver. Its user-friendly and intuitive interface boasts all of the features you need to create a personalized website or blog from complete scratch. Zero coding skills are required.

This solves a second problem:

You won't have to fork out thousands of dollars to hire a designer or developer to build your website; you can do it all yourself without waiting around.

So, to recap. Thrive Theme Builder will -

  1. Make it very easy for you to design and build your WordPress website from complete scratch. Or, you can use a ready-made, customizable theme. At the moment, there's only one complete template, the Shapeshift theme, which we'll talk about later.
  2. Save time and money by not having to hire and wait around for a web designer or developer. If you have the time, you can do it yourself.

What are the main features of Thrive Theme Builder?

Now, let's take a quick look at the awesome features that Thrive Theme Builder has to offer -

  • It's User-friendly - Yep, now even your grandma can start building websites, instead of knitting.
  • Lightweight - TTB is built predominantly on CSS for optimum performance and fast loading.
  • Friendly User-interface - Beautiful and clutter-free, simple-to-use interface.
  • Feature Packed - Thrive Theme Builder boasts all the tools and options you need to build a fully-functional professional website or blog for your business.
  • Pre-designed Theme - So far, only one, which is the Shapeshift theme. This theme provides all the page components such as post, page, error-404 page, archives page, the home page, etc.
  • Content block feature - Packed with lots of block types including a content marketing pack.
  • Site Creation Wizard - A step-by-step guide to customizing global elements such as the header, sidebar, etc.
  • Front-End Visual Design - A true WYSIWYG, front-end, theme builder using the same technology found in Thrive Architect.
  • Non-destructive design - The undo and redo features allows you to have full control over your design. There is also a
  • Dev Tools - Some simple blocks for adding custom HTML, CSS, class, and IDs.
  • Seamless workflow with other Thrive products - With Thrive Architect installed, you have complete control and power over the overall design of your site, and the design and layout of your content.
  • Great Support - One of the best support and knowledge base in the business of WordPress themes.

Core features

Now, let's take a closer look at Thrive Theme Builder's core features.

1. Site Wizard

ttb wizard 1
ttb wizard 2
ttb wizard options

Thrive Theme builder comes with a powerful site wizard feature. Many of the theme builder tools that I've used are missing a feature like this, which makes Thrive Theme Builder appealing to none-techies.

You first begin with the 'Site Structure.' You can upload a logo, then choose a predesigned header, followed by a footer. Next is the homepage, and for this, you have several options -

  1. Choose from ready-made home pages.
  2. Display one of your existing pages.
  3. Display your blog as homepage.

The next step in the Site Wizard is selecting the Single Blog Post Template and the Blog Post List (Archives). After this, you can select a template design for your page.

Finally, the Wizard will walk you through selecting menus for the header and footer.

You're done! Your site is ready for launch.

Again, for none-techies and business owners that don't want to spend a great deal of time getting their site up and running, this is ideal. However, the more time you spend using Thrive Theme builder, the better you will be at improving your site customization over time.

2. Branding

Next up is the branding feature.

ttb branding

Branding is an important element of making your website or blog unique. A lot of bog-standard WordPress themes make it difficult to customize simple things like colors and backgrounds.

With Thrive Theme Builder, you can easily set your theme colors and add a dark and light version of your logo and a Favicon with just a few clicks.

3. Typography

ttb typography

In the typography options tab, you can create and edit your website's fonts. You can edit every part of your typography, in fact -

  • Headings
  • Paragraph
  • Lists
  • Hyperlinks
  • Blockquotes
  • Plain text
  • Preformatted text

You can also select the font style from web-safe fonts and a full library of Google fonts.

4. Templates

ttb templates

Templates are another one of Thrive Theme Builder's core features. Here you can manage your theme's templates all in one place. These are all of the pages used on your site, essentially.

The Shapeshift theme comes with essential pre-designed templates for you to use. These are also customizable, or you can create your own from scratch. The custom templates you create can be used on different types of posts and pages and list pages.

ttb add new temp

5. Template Editor

The template editor is where all the magic happens. Thrive Theme builder's visual editor takes the technology and familiarity of Thrive Architect. All of the essential building blocks are included here, and many more new additions.

You can click on any of the pre-designed templates in your template manager to customize, or you can create your own from scratch.

ttb template editor
ttb template editor 2

Once again, if you are familiar with the Thrive Architect plugin, then you'll find your way around the Theme Builders editor quickly. If you are brand new to the software, the editor is very user-friendly.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you have your main tabs for accessing the elements and blocks, as well as the style editor and reset button.

On the left-hand side, you have the edit options tab for each element. Depending on which element you click on, the design options will change accordingly.

Here is a full list of design blocks included in Thrive Theme Builder -

Content Block - Content block is a new feature that allows you to easily add a custom block with a pre-designed conversion or CTA element.

The Shapeshift theme includes a 'Content Marketing Pack'. This is a large library of blocks ready for you to drop into your page. You can also customize these blocks to match the branding and goal of your site.

ttb content mark pack

Thrive Theme Builder elements are organized in categories -

Theme Elements category includes -

  • About the author
  • Business social links
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Calendar widget
  • Widget area
  • Dynamic styled list

Article Components category includes -

  • Post title
  • Featured image
  • Post content
  • Author name
  • Author image
  • Post date
  • Post categories
  • Post tags
  • Author social links
  • Post meta

Foundation category includes -

  • Text
  • Image
  • Button
  • Columns
  • Background section
  • Content box
  • Templates and symbols
  • Logo

Building Blocks category includes -

  • Custom HTML
  • Custom menu
  • Disqus Comments
  • Divider
  • Facebook Comments
  • Icon
  • Lead Generation
  • Social share
  • Star rating
  • Styled list
  • Tabs
  • Testimonial
  • Toggle
  • Video
  • WordPress content
  • Audio
  • Contact form
  • Numbered list
  • Post list
  • Search
  • Styled box
ttb elements

The categories that are available depends on which template you are editing.

It's also worth noting that if you don't have the full version of Thrive Architect installed, you won't be able to access some of the pre-designed elements, such as testimonials, tabs, etc.

6. Theme Manager

Theme Manager is a useful feature that gives you options to duplicate, export, and previews the currently active theme. You can also add a new theme.

ttb template manager

Likes and don't likes

OK, so there's a lot to get excited about when it comes to this new Theme builder for WordPress.

Having used it for a few months now, testing out the features, there's not much I can say that I don't like.

However, it is very early days, but I plan to build a complete website for my wife with Thrive Theme Builder in the coming months.

That said, here are a few things that I like and don't like about Thrive Theme Builder, so far.

Likes -

  • It's brand new - It's always a joy to add another website builder tool to your toolbox.
  • It's so easy to use - This is really a theme builder that everyone can use. Anyone familiar with Thrive Architect, will find using Thrive Theme Builder a breeze. The Site Wizard is a unique feature that will get new users set up quickly and effortlessly. It only took me a few days to get familiar with all of the features and options.
  • Intuitive UI - The user-interface is remarkable. It's intuitive and makes for easy navigation around all of the essential options and features.
  • Thrive Architect ready - If you have the Thrive Architect plugin installed, you have the option to edit content using TA. It is also beneficial to access some of the predesigned elements.
  • Fast and responsive - This went beyond my expectations. Navigating around the options and even loading up and using the template editor was lightning fast. Customizing a website has never been so much fun!
  • Good choice of elements - Thrive Theme Builder includes everything you need to build your website. The four main categories include many customizable components, and knowing the Thrive team, they'll just keep adding new stuff in time.
  • Good choice of templates - As a starting point, the page template library that comes with the Shapeshift theme is good and I'm sure more will be added in the future.
  • Marketplace potential - It's only a matter of time before we see companies creating Thrive Theme Builder templates in the masses. Just like we saw happen with Thrive Architect.
  • Great support - Having been a Thrive Themes member since 2015, I know just how wonderful and knowledgable their customer support team is.

Don't like (This was hard, but here goes) -

  • Poor choice of themes - OK, so The Shapeshift Theme is the only theme available, but I'm very confident that more will be added in the future.
  • Lack of sitewide layout options - Unsure about this one, I could not see where I could make changes to sitewide layout such as page width, container width, etc. I will have to explore deeper I think and update this review in the future.
  • Few responsive design options - Not enough breakpoints for mobile responsive design. You get the basic screen sizes and that's about it. I would love to see more responsive menu design templates for mobile too. Also, some template elements for responsive menus would be nice.

Where can I get Thrive Theme Builder and how much does it cost?

Thrive Theme Builder is only available as part of the Thrive Suite membership package. I already reviewed Thrive Suite here, if you want to check it out

Pricing of Thrive Suite -

  1. Thrive Suite Yearly - $19 / month, billed yearly at $228.
  2. Thrive Suite Quarterly - $30 / month, billed quarterly at $90.00
  3. Thrive Suite Agency - $49 / month, billed annually at $588

Recommended Post: Thrive Theme Membership Review: Powerful Conversion Tools To Grow Your Business

Thrive Theme Builder Review: Thoughts and Verdict?

So, to wrap up this review of Thrive Theme Builder, this is a super positive start. Things can only get better from here on, and no doubt that the Thrive Themes team will make small improvements in good time.

The ability to customize pages and posts via the Site Wizard is not available at this time, but it's coming soon, it would appear.

I, personally, would like to see more options added for responsive design and additional breakpoints for screens. In particular, a landscape mode.

Working with the Thrive Theme Builder installed on a local WordPress test site, with no other plugins active, is fine, and I ran into no bugs or lag issues.

It will be interesting to see, however, how stable and compatible Thrive Theme Builder will be in the real world. Installed on a site with other plugins active, and also, the page load time as well.

I'll be sure to update this review soon, especially as I use Thrive Theme Builder more.

I will also be creating new tutorial videos in the coming months, so if you're not subscribed to my YouTube channel, be sure to do so.


My verdict?

Thrive Theme Builder is a rock-solid theme builder for non-techies wanting to create and launch a custom website quickly and effortlessly. It's a great start.

Recent Updates to Thrive Theme Builder

  1. Page Blocks Feature - You can now access all the landing page templates for the Shapeshift Theme in Thrive Theme Builder using the Page Block's feature. This feature was originally added to Thrive Architect, it is now also available in Thrive Theme Builder.

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