Possibly impossible request: can I make a free Frankenstein Elementor?

I’m a UX designer who’s getting into WP as a way to improve my portfolio site while learning the platform so that I can offer WP sites as a service to potential clients.

I discovered Elementor and I really like it, but I’m a cheapskate and don’t want to pay for Pro (another reason why I moved to WP). Outside of WP, I’m also experimenting with Framer, and if push comes to shove, I’ll end up paying for one or the other (they have similar pricing and each comes with pros and cons).

However, I thought of asking more experienced WordPress users: is there a way to accomplish the same stuff that Elementor does in WP (or Framer would outside of WP) by adding multiple free plugins instead of one expensive plugin?

I realize that the “one in all” editing experience is something I would probably have to sacrifice and that’s ok, as is giving up a little bit of the WYSIWYG build features, but if the learning curve is not too steep and the results end up as sophisticated as what these platforms produce, I an willing to experiment.

Thanks in advance!

  1. Elementor doesn’t do any magic at all, it simply outputs HTML/CSS code – and under the hood not so very clean, for that matter. You can certainly achieve very similar looks with free block collections (Kadence Blocks, Greenshift, GenerateBlocks etc.) The underlying code will be different, the user interface will be different – but in the front end you can achieve very similar things. And they will probably load a little bit faster than with Elementor. You just need to learn the blocks and choose the ones that you like. And just like in Elementor, you will simply use containers (divs), images and text elements. The rest is details.

  2. I’m surprised at the misconception that you have to pay for basic Elementor. The whole reason for its popularity (the only reason in my estimation) is that you can build complete websites with the free version. It’s why Elementor has been replacing WPBakery as the builder of choice for ThemeForest-style shovelware themes.

    You can get Elementor in the free WordPress plugin directory and there are plenty of free Elementor addons in the directory as well.

    There are things in the pro version that are more desirable, obviously. But it’s bizarre how many people, including Matt Mullenweg who really is getting out of touch, who aren’t aware that you can build whole websites with Elementor for free.

    I don’t *like* Elementor. It not only performs poorly even against other old builders like Divi and Avada, the developers clear preference for features over stability or security means there’s always tension between updating for critical vulnerabilities vs holding off because of updates that break sites. But! It’s free. And there are a number of equally free extensions.


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