How to switch WordPress Page Builders

How to switch WordPress Page Builders

A typical situation for web developers to find themselves in is that the WordPress Page Builder being used is no longer in fashion, and a Page Builder change is required.  There is a common misconception that switching Page Builders is not possible, or will result in loss of data. Due to the popularity of Elementor, recently, I’ve encountered several clients moving to Elementor from other Page Builders (Fusion, Visual Composer, etc.).

It is essential to understand that Page Builders generate code for your website (PHP).  When using a builder to generate code, it is crucial to distinguish between the Page Builder plugin (For example, Fusion or Elementor), and the code that the Page Builder has created.  When uninstalling a Page Builder or adding an additional Page Builder, this will not have any effect on the PHP code that was created for your website. 

Let’s look at a specific example:  If a page was created in Fusion, which is a visual “drag and drop” page builder, it is unlikely (and unwise, unless you are comfortable reading PHP code to resolve any issues that may arise) to try to edit a page with a Page Builder that was not used to create the page, for example, Elementor.  Page Builders generally do not understand visual elements built by other Page Builders.

To be clear, when installing additional Page Builders, or switching Page Builders, data loss will not occur.  Your pages will still be available, and functionality will not change.  However, pages created with your “old” Page Builder can be considered to be read-only.  That is, if you uninstalled your prior Page Builder, and recently installed and began using Elementor, it won’t be possible to make changes to visual elements with the new builder.  It would be necessary to recreate the legacy page that requires changes, with the new builder.  In this way, you will provide your clients with an optimal, smooth, reliable, high-performance experience for your clients.

I generally don’t recommend working with multiple builders at the same time; however, I do know of some people that do it.  I find that occasionally data can be corrupted, and unexpected results are sometimes observed. 

Remember:  Be sure you understand your backup strategy before making sweeping changes to your builder.  Many hosts provide free backups nightly.  Reach out to your host to know when the backups run, and what types of backups run on which days of the week. Keep this in mind when making drastic changes to your site.  Also important is to understand how long backups are kept.  Seven days is somewhat standard.  If you determine that data corruption or loss has occurred, act quickly.

What do all unemployed IT/Web Developers have in common?  No backup!

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