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I have used PageLines Platform 5 (Pro version) for years on several of my personal and business sites. A few months ago I realized that Andrew Powers, the brain behind PageLines, had abandoned the page builder I had so heavily invested in. So it was time to find alternatives.
Based on a recommendation from one of the other users of the PageLines Forum, I decided to give Thrive Themes and the Thrive Architect a try. In this blog post, I describe my journey and migration from PageLines to Thrive Themes.
A brief history of PageLines
Then PageLines released Platform 5, a WordPress plugin that would work with any theme and in any browser. That was incredible because I could finally ditch Chrome and use Safari instead for making changes to my websites via the built-in front-end editor.
Instead of using a third-party theme, I decided to stick with the new PageLines Framework, a clean and mobile-friendly WordPress theme that PageLines had optimized for Platform 5.
At some point last year it occurred to me that none of the PageLines plugins and extensions had been updated in a while. Fortunately, I had not run into any major bugs or issues, and so the lack of updates wasn’t a significant concern. But I kept wondering about potential code vulnerabilities that I didn’t know about and that hackers could exploit.
The only issue I encountered as related to the PageLines Custom LESS plugin not saving UNICODE characters correctly. For example, when I wanted to use font-awesome icons via CSS, PageLines would strip out the leading backslash and break my character code.
As a result, I ditched the Custom LESS extension and loaded my CSS code from a separate file instead. No big deal.
PageLines was trying to keep the lights on
Many of its customers became inpatient and expressed their frustration on PageLine’s support forum. In an attempt to keep the appearance, some folks suggested that Andrew was working on a new project that required all hands on deck. Thus PageLines had taken a backseat. Others had hope that a new version was just around the corner.
As a result, customers stuck around for longer than they should have. In October of 2018, I concluded that it was time to move on, cancel my paid subscription, and prepare the migration to Thrive Themes.
PageLines Alternative – What I was looking for
Once I knew that it was time to move off PageLines, my primary focus was to find a platform or theme that was SEO friendly.
I was willing to give up features and convenience if that meant getting a faster-loading site that would score better on Google’s new PageSpeed Insights.
From a technical perspective that meant:
- Ability to intelligently load images (lazy-load and optimized for size)
- Responsive, and mobile-friendly without requiring additional code
- Minimalistic and flat layout
- Ability to use web safe fonts
- Functionality that I could customize given my limited coding skills
After having tried several products, I settled for Thrive Themes and its page builder, Thrive Architect.
Thrive Themes and Thrive Architect
- Well maintained and frequently updated
- Incredibly easy to use with a low learning curve
- Flexible enough for web developers and novices alike
- Replaces several third-party plugins
- Thrive Architect is a plugin and thus has limitations on what you can edit on the front-end
- Shortcomings in the area of SEO
- Requires a paid membership
Thrive Themes is a platform that consists of multiple products, including the ones I use:
- Various premium themes – I use the Rise premium theme
- Thrive Architect – a drag and drop page builder