Responsive Landing Page Builder: Instabuilder or Thrive Architect?

Updated: January 25, 2017
by Ray Alexander

I've written a review of both Instabuilder 2.0 and Thrive Content Builder (now called Thrive Architect) in the past. Both WordPress plugins have a very responsive landing page builder function, and both are very popular among internet marketers, but I often get asked which one I'd recommend more. Instabuilder or Thrive Architect? My answer is that it depends what kind of products you're looking to promote, and how you're going to promote, i.e. what kind of website you wish to build. all honesty, these plugins are two different things - I use them both and love them both! So today I'll tell you why and share my thoughts with you.

Responsive Landing Page Builder: Instabuilder or Thrive Architect?

Mutually Exclusive

I've just said I use them both but you can't create a page using both the plugins. Once you've started to use one, you can't open the same page with the other one. Nor with WordPress Visual Editor. Both the plugins can only be initiated from a blank page.

  • On a draft page using WordPress visual editor: The page will be "view only" in Thrive Architect, you can't add contents. If you load Instabuilder, it will only prompt you to choose a new landing page template.
  • On a draft page using Thrive Architect: If you load Instabuilder, it will only prompt you to choose a new landing page template. If you add any contents in WordPress Visual Editor, the contents will appear at the bottom of the page (after the contents created using Thrive).
  • On a draft page using Instabuilder: You cannot open the page in Thrive (black screen). You must not add any contents in WordPress Visual Editor - as soon as you add a single letter and "save", the original work done by Instabuilder will be wiped out.

Loading Speed

"Responsive" specifically refers to the fast loading speed and the conversion focused concept that both plugins have, and they're brilliant in these areas. In terms of the loading speed I've tested several of my sites before & after the installation of both the plugins.

Pingdom speed check

The above is one of my loading speed tests on Pingdom tool. A site speed is always affected by various other factors such as the time of day and image/media rendering in the particular page, so I can only say this was one of the typical results.

This site originally had one image background and a few words displayed - it took 0.774 second to load. I installed Thrive Architect and also Instabuilder 2.0, activated both the plugins, loaded one of the Thrive's landing page templates, edited a little, and ran the speed test gain. It took 0.92 second to load...virtually with milliseconds of difference showing that the activation of these plugins will not affect the loading speed.

Instabuilder or Thrive Architect?

Sorry, I've dragged. I should really get to the point now - which one is better, and why am I using both?

Thrive Landing Page Templates

Thrive Landing Page Templates

Instabuilder is a landing page builder with 100+ templates. Whereas Thrive Architect allows you to create webpages in any format (e.g. with sidebar, full width, etc) and it also offers 150+ landing page templates.

Instabuilder Landing Page Templates

Instabuilder Landing Page Templates

You can create a beautiful blog of your choice using Thrive, plus as many landing pages as you like. Whereas Instabuilder is a pure landing page creator, only allows you to create sales pages, opt-in pages, and "thank you" (for signing up!) pages.

There's one supposedly "effective" function that Instabuilder equips. So does Thrive but not quite the same.

Do you want to leave this site?

"Are-you-sure-you-want-to-leave" message popup. As a reader nothing's more annoying than a page you're about to leave who dares to ask you to "think again". The only time the message comes in useful is with a lengthy web application form, where it can stop you from closing the tab accidentally in the midst of filling in.

But that's my (and a lot of others') opinion as a reader. The message is one last attempt by the site owner to trap exiting readers for a half more second. Some may actually click "stay" and have another look at the sales page. So this is supposed to be effective, however I've tried this popup in my sales campaigns many times and have not seen any clear improvements in opt-in rates. The trick can be old & tacky, there's no point having it if there's no clear advantage to the site owner, so I can only suggest that you try the feature and test yourself.

Sales Page Builder

Thrive has a "lightbox" feature instead, a smaller box to slide in (or zoom in or out) to the middle of the browser which is much more sophisticated design-wise. (Also another amazing product Thrive Leads that offers variety of in-page campaigns.)

You can get this box to popup when a visitor is about to leave the page. A slight problem with Thrive Lightbox's exit feature is that, it cannot pop up when a visitor attempts to close the tab, but it pops up when the mouse hovers outside the browser window any time.

An automatic new tab popup is another function that Instabuilder equips but Thrive doesn't. For example when a visitor leaves a page, a new page will automatically open up to say "by the way, we also have this product".

This can be another spammy feature but I actually find this to be effective. Quite often the visitors would take a look at the extra page shown up unexpectedly, whether they're annoyed by it or not, they would read it and often opt in. Depending on the context of the page, and the relevance to the previous page, I find 25% - 50% of the readers click and scroll.

Again you can have a similar feature with Thrive using the "Lightbox". A box will pop up to say "Do you want to view another page?" It's the user's choice whether to open a new tab or not. Alternatively with the Lightbox, you can display another campaign within the box itself.

Quality Of Templates

In a sense you don't need the most modern, cutting-edge landing page "in order to sell". All you need is to keep your prospect buyers interested and a good call-to-action.

I'd say Thrive has a superior quality and wider range of landing page templates. Especially for a segmented page where you need several ways to promote, for example a diagram, followed by testimonials, followed by FAQ. It's suitable for promoting any products with a lot to offer in multiple dimension.

Whereas Instabuilder is more straight-forward and in-your-face. Therefore I'd say it's suitable for promoting simpler products.

My Recommendation

I recommend Thrive Architect to anyone thoroughly for building any kind of websites - blogs, e-commerce, news sites, the possibility is endless. But of course you can do without; if you're looking to create a simple sale funnel, Instabuilder 2.0 is an essential addition to your existing WordPress website.

The Price Comparison

Instabuilder 2.0:

3 Site License


  • Install on 3 domains that you own
  • One year support & update

Unlimited License


  • Install on unlimited domains that you own
  • One year support & update

For $299/year or $99/quarter

Thrive Suite Includes:

  • Thrive Theme Builder: Visually create your WordPress website
  • Thrive Architect: Drag & drop page builder for WordPress
  • Thrive Quiz Builder: Boost website engagement through quizzes
  • Thrive Leads: Call-To-Action plugin, build your mailing list faster
  • Thrive Ovation: Gather & display testimonials for social proof
  • Thrive Comments: Make commenting fun and engaging
  • Thrive Optimize: A/B testing for landing pages
  • Thrive Ultimatum: Countdown campaign plugin
  • Thrive Apprentice: Build professional online courses
  • Thrive Automator: Automate workflow to increase sales 
Recommended Alternative: Thrive Architect Plugin Only - $97 per year

About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. Landing pages are a key component of online marketing campaigns. They are focused on conversions, helping businesses to make improvements and see good results. I fully recommend Thrive Architect, because it has great landing page templates to acquire more customers with less costs. They are fully optimized in order for users to make maximum conversions. It will definitely encourage any kind of entrepreneurs to work on digital marketing and gain great results from it.

  2. Hi πŸ™‚

    Offer $147 for 15 sites in Thrivethemes is only for my website or I can make Landing Page on my client website?

    1. Hi Marcin, the price includes for your clients’ websites too (Thrive used to charge an agency license for higher price, but no longer!) Obviously your clients cannot transfer it to another website domain. 15-site license means any 15 domains that you build and then maintained by you or your clients thereafter.

      I hope it explains. Any more questions don’t hesitate to ask any time πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

        1. Hi Marcin, sorry, they’ve changed the pricing structure recently. Thrive no longer offers 15-website license (I’ve updated the pricing table as above). You can still buy 5-website license and use it for your clients, but I guess the annual membership is better value for money. Thanks for finding this out, I appreciate it!

          1. But still I am not sure if i use on me client website. In Instabuilder i can if I buy developer license.

            Are you sure that Thrive architect (5-website) can I use on me client website?

            1. Hi Marcin, thanks for your question again.

              I’m waiting for the further clarification from Thrive Support. Meanwhile, have you ever used Elementor (free version)? If you are creating a simple sales funnel, Elementor can do a decent job. Better than Instabuilder in my opinion!

              1. For me better will be pro. What is the difference between IB than Elementor Pro?

                Can I use Elementor to build and sell Landing Page?

                1. Hi Marcin, Elementor Pro is good because it definitely allows agency use for the same price. Yes you can use Elementor to build a landing page. You can download it free via WordPress and give it a try, and if you like it, you can upgrade it to the Pro version perhaps?

                  IB has not been updated for a while, and it looks dated now in my opinion. It’s still easy to use and great for a 2-3 paged sales funnel, but definitely not for blogs.

                  About Thrive’s agency licenses – I just received a reply. They still haven’t said “you can’t use a standalone license for your clients” and their Terms & Conditions don’t specifically say so, so I’ll point that out to them (just for the sake of it!!!)

                  Thanks again for your visit & comment Marcin πŸ™‚

                  1. Thank You for your engagement πŸ™‚

                    I have use IB from 1 Year for my personal website, but I want to change for something PRO, like Thrive Architect – loooks prooofesional – but 49 per month is not a good deal – What if I make a website and after stop paying him? Clients can use the Landing Page still?

                    I used Elementor free, but only for editing existing website – for landing better is IB in my opinion. For example, I don’t see the option to hide “menu”.

                    It’s hard to choose the right builder πŸ™‚

                    1. Hi Marcin, I see, yes to remove a menu from posts, you need to tweak the css in WordPress, as I understand. You can create pages without menu though? When you create a new page (on WordPress editor), choose a blank page from the right-hand menu first. Then on Elementor, you’ll see a completely blank canvas.

                      Yes $49 per month is pricey… If you stop paying (quit the annual membership), the sites what you’ve already built and sold to your clients are free to use. They cannot have any more updates, but the current version will be freely usable. Thrive confirms this.

                      About the standalone license, I’ve requested to them to put it on their website (to say, you cannot buy 5-website license and use them for your clients). Because the support team said to me they wouldn’t allow you to do it, but their terms & conditions don’t actually say it.

                      Thanks again Marcin!

  3. Hi, I hear that Insta-builder is too old to use. Is that true? If so is Thrive Architect the best plugin to use? I don’t want to spend too much money but want to try out a visual editor.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. Instabuilder is a little outdated, but I wouldn’t say it’s “too old”, it’s still usable. If you don’t want to spend money, try Elementor page builder, it’s free. My No. 1 recommendation is still Thrive Architect though, for so many features that you can use.

  4. Hey, great post. I want to create a website to promote Forex Trendy but which one is more suitable? I want a simple site so that people can instantly recognize it as an investment opportunity and buy the product. I’d like to know what they can do and they can’t do. Please check the site and advise. Thanks.

    1. Hi Yunus, thanks for your comment. Are you an affiliate for this product? Then either of the two plugins will do a perfect job. The main thing, always, is how you promote the product you believe in. A variety of features is there and how you effectively use it. On looking at the site, it looks a little dated so it may be a little let-down for the users. However great your site looks, they’ll then be redirected to this outdated site before they decide whether to purchase or not.

      My personal recommendation is Thrive Architect; it’s constantly being updated and new features are added (such as new landing page templates), whereas Instabuilder hasn’t had a major update for a while, although still many marketers happily use it.

  5. Hi, thanks for the great post. I definitely prefer Thrive Content Builder now called Thrive Architect. It has a lot more features and more user focused. Instabuilder is pretty much one way, just sell, sell, sell. As a user I can instantly tell if a page is made using Instabuilder. They all look the same.

    1. Hi Karthik, thanks for your comment. I personally agree with you. Instabuilder hasn’t had a major update for a while, whilst Thrive Architect is on top of all the trends at all times, GDPR for example. Elementor is very similar to Instabuilder and is available for free. My up-to-date opinion is that Instabuilder is no longer worth paying money for, unfortunately. I thoroughly recommend Thrive Architect meanwhile. Thanks for your visit!

  6. Hi, Instabuilder gives a great versatility and I love it. Everybody loves this plugin and it’s brand new. You can do a lot of stuff and sell your products of as an affiliate. I’m so glad Instabuilder has just been out in public. It already has thousands of customers who are happy with it.

    If you want to transform your business, Instabuilder is the top of the industry.

  7. Thanks for this article, i have been using instabuilder for a while now but am considering switching to a plugin that i can use to build full width site. I came across elementor recently and i will like to know your view on it. Do you think it’s a great tool to build full site?

    1. Hi Henry, thanks for your comment.

      I think Elementor is fantastic and it’s free. The only two things I find are; firstly Elementor cannot be used on certain themes, or Woocommerce. I particularly use Thrive Themes on most of my sites and they’re not compatible with Elementor. Secondly I find Thrive Content Builder (now called Thrive Architect) much faster.

      Otherwise Elementor has all you need to build an awesome, professional landing page by drag & drop, I’d recommend it to anyone. Thanks Henry for your visit, I appreciate it.

  8. Thanks Ray,
    I got Instabuilder and I am able to get exactly what I want but, the load speed just went crazy. I initially had a static html which was perfect but I needed a pop optin form so I went for IB. From around 850ms, the load time is now 4 secs. Just crazy. I will have to tweak to get better results. I heard Facebook is also going to start using page load speed to show links.

    thanks for this great post though.

    1. Hi Vince, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to know it wasn’t just me – my Instabuilder landing pages were definitely receiving less optins comparing to the pages created using Thrive. The loading speed seemed a little slower but there could be other factors such as designs, so I was wondering for a while. But the result said it all, I decided to ditch IB and switched all to Thrive recently. (I wish I was technical enough to be able to tweak my Instabuilder speed somehow!). Having said that, perhaps a new version upgrade should be overdue?

      Facebook’s plan to prioritise links according to the load speed – it’s interesting but now potentially everyone’s going to blindly focus on the speed of the link destination (?) Thanks again Vince for your comment πŸ™‚

  9. Hello Raymundo,

    For me, I’ll get Thrive over Instabuilder for few reasons. Price as I only have one particular site to work on and focus, in spite of reasonably cheaper of 77 bucks for three sites if I get Instabuilder.

    Further, my site is based on news and thoughts, giving knowledge to visitors and my particular targeted audience which is people who keen to know what are the latest exclusive soccer shoes, so, I think it’s unwise to have a pop-up or any sales related messages as that is not suitable for my approach. Anyways, that’s just my preference if I have the option between these two landing page builder. Cheers!


    1. Hi Tar, thanks for your comment. Yes it sounds like Thrive would be more suitable for your particular site – if a landing page was needed at all. The only time I specifically choose Instabuilder over Thrive is when I want “one more push” to get visitors to buy/opt-in, otherwise I prefer Thrive for its overall versatility. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  10. HI there Raymundo,

    Great article and perhaps built using thrive content builder itself! Thanks for creating this article and sharing it with us it is really appreciated.

    Thrive looks really good and smart use for those that are creating professional sites either for selling their own products or affiliate selling other peoples. I really like the more distinctive and far better-looking pages and call to actions that thrive has. Sadly I missed out on their developer licence that they used to offer! Still very well priced at $147 for 15 sites!

    As a question how much does Thrive content builder improve conversions as opposed to the regular WordPress editor?

    1. Hi Derek, thanks for your comment! Yes Thrive’s pricing structure has changed recently. But I sill think the annual membership is the best option to go for…all the Thrive products and any new products that may be released during the year will be free. Also the annual fee may or may not increase in the future but the amount you pay now will be locked and unchanged every year (indefinitely).

      In terms of conversion rates… I’m checking something right now with a very simple squeeze page. I was receiving 40% optin rate on Thrive Content Builder and its call-to-action button. I used Instabuilder with the same words for the same products and tested for a few days, the optin rate dropped to 25%. But this may be due to a large image background I used, which slowed down the loading speed to 3 seconds… It’s too early to say! For now I’ve quickly changed it back to Thrive, and Thrive is a clear winner for me for now. I’m planning to test something else…

      Thanks again Derek for sharing your thoughts.

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