Finding the right WordPress theme can be a tiring affair. There are thousands of WordPress templates available online and it can be difficult to know which one to select.
Since Elegant Themes recently updated Divi with a host of new features, we thought it would be good to revisit the theme and look at what the theme offers.
Rather than compare Divi with Genesis, in this article we are comparing Elegant Themes’ flagship design with X the theme. With around 62,000 total sales, X the theme is one of the most popular designs on ThemeForest.
Let’s take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of these two versatile WordPress themes.
X – The Theme
On paper, X does not offer anything that cannot be found in other WordPress themes in the ThemeForest marketplace. It comes with multiple responsive styles, it includes a page builder for creating custom pages, and it has a portfolio custom post type.
However, its feature list does not tell the whole story. What sets X apart from most of its competitors is that everything it does, it does well.
Since its release at the end of 2013, X has added many new features and as I write this, the theme has reached its fourth version.
Once you have activated X on your website, you will be asked to register on the developer’s website. This ensures that you the theme can be automatically updated through the WordPress admin area. Registering an account is also necessary in order to download extensions such as Cornerstone.
To get started, I suggest installing the demo content. The demo feature modifies the WordPress theme customizer to showcase what can be achieved using X. There are dozens of demos available for all four designs (known as stacks, but more on that later). Example posts and portfolio items can be imported too.
Installing the demo content will help you see what X can do firsthand as you can look at settings and see how a certain look was achieved. You are not required to import posts and portfolio items. Importing the demo data simply changes all the settings defined in the WordPress customizer.
So what can X do? Let’s take a closer look 🙂
Cornerstone – The WordPress Page Builder
Cornerstone is the page building extension that is included with X. Whereas Divi’s page builder operates in the back end, Cornerstone works in the front end. This lets you customize things on the front end on the fly. The page builder can be used with blog posts and pages.
A total of 40 elements are offered in Cornerstone (in many other page builders, these are referred to as modules or blocks). Elements include post accordions, Google Maps, videos, audio, image sliders, and more.
You can easily add new rows (known as sections) and then decide on the column structure. Templates are available too. You can then drag and drop any element you wish into your content area. Once you do so, you can edit an element by clicking on it, which loads up configuration options on the left panel.
The size and look of columns and rows can be easily modified. You can change background colors and define margins, padding, and borders.
Once I got used to how Cornerstone worked, I was really impressed with it. The ability to change things on the front end of your website means that you can see exactly how elements and design modifications will look on your live website.
The WordPress Theme Customizer
X allows you to change aspects of your website design using the WordPress Theme Customizer. You are not presented with as many design options as other WordPress themes, though most things are covered over the thirteen categories.
In addition to design specific settings, you can modify things such as typography, page widths, your header and footer, buttons, blog, portfolio, and social media sharing.
As I am sure you are aware, the WordPress theme customizer lets you see any changes you make in real time. If you spend some time modifying settings, you should be able to get the design that you are looking to create. Thankfully, the demo content is available for people like myself who lack the visual inspiration needed to create a good website design. All you have to do is load up one of the many demonstrations and then modify it as you see fit.
Four Unique Designs Included
X includes four unique designs which the developers refer to as “Stacks”. I like to think of the four stacks as unique canvases rather than four custom skins.
Each stack has a unique page structure that was designed with different types of websites in mind. Different features and options are available for each stack.
You can select what stack you are using in the WordPress theme customizer. Options for a particular stack are displayed underneath the stack selection box.
When you change stack, different options are displayed in the box below (though all other options in the theme customizer remain the same).
- When you choose Integrity, you can change the design from light to dark, change transparency settings, edit the blog header or turn the blog header off, and change two basic portfolio options
- Renew allows you to change multiple background colors and link colors and offers some basic blog settings such as editing the blog title and changing the color of icons
- Icon lets you enable and disable post icons and change the text colors and background colors associated with post formats
- Ethos allows you to customize background colors, configure your post carousel, and configure your post slider for your blog and archives – You can also define the side padding for navbar links and remove categories from your blog index
When it came to editing stacks, I found some options were a little inconsistent. For example, with the Integrity stack I could edit the blog header text or turn the blog header text off altogether. Renew allows me to edit the blog header text, but there is no option for removing the text. The other two stack designs, Icon and Ethos, do not even display a blog header.
I appreciate that each stack has unique features, however it was strange to me that something such as a blog header is only offered in two stacks and only removable in one. This is a minor criticism, but hopefully the developers will make more theme options standard across the board.
If we take a closer look at each stack, you begin to understand why each design has different options available in the WordPress customizer.
Integrity is an all purpose design that comes in a light and dark color scheme. It can be used to create blogs, portfolios, online shops, businesses, and more.
Renew has a more creative look and feel to it, though it is still versatile enough to be used for any type of website.
Icon is a minimal design that has great support for blog post formats. This is my favorite design (though I love minimal designs!).
Ethos is a magazine design that features post sliders and post carousels.
Most themes, and frameworks such as the Genesis framework, feature one design structure. Developers are able to design many wonderful skins from this one design structure, however they are still limited by the constraints of that one structure.
X has four unique design structures. That opens up a lot of possibilities that would not be possible with other themes and frameworks without a lot of custom work. Without doubt, the inclusion of four unique design structures is one of the theme’s best features.
Multiple Extensions Available
Introduced in the third version of X, extensions add additional functionality to the X theme. One extension I have already spoke about is Cornerstone, the page builder that can be used to create beautiful posts and pages.
Integration with Third-Party WordPress Plugins
Plugins are one of the main reasons WordPress is such a versatile platform. Plugins add new features and functionality to your website that you did not have previously.
Theme developers do not always build their designs with plugins in mind. It is not uncommon for theme developers on ThemeForest to respond “It is the plugin that is causing the error” whenever a user notifies them of an error when their theme is used with a particular plugin.
Thankfully, you do not need to worry about that occurring with X as it has fantastic support for third-party WordPress plugins.
All four X design stacks have been designed to work with WooCommerce, bbPress, and BuddyPress, right out of the box (an example of BuddyPress using the Integrity stack can be seen below). This means that you will not need to edit X in any way to build an online shop or start a community.
X comes with styling for popular contact form plugins Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms. It natively supports languages that read right to left and it has built-in support for the WordPress Multilingual Plugin.
One of the things that really impressed me was the inclusion of the Visual Composer extension. This allows you to use Visual Composer to create custom pages instead of Cornerstone. I cannot think of any other theme that comes packaged with a page builder that gives you the option of using an alternative page building solution. It’s a great feature that I am sure existing users of Visual Composer will appreciate.
Support and Resources from Experts
Their knowledge base has tutorials about every major feature of X. If you cannot find what you are looking for there, you can post a question in their support forum.
Theme.co took an interesting approach to support with X. From the very beginning, they consulted with established internet marketers and developers about how X should be developed. These successful entrepreneurs helped contribute to X training resources such as articles, resources, and videos.
A Great Package
X theme got a lot of attention last year when Envato revealed that it was their fastest selling WordPress theme. The developers, Theme.co, had managed to rack up one million dollars in sales in less than six months.
One of the reasons X has sold so well is because it offers so much in one package. This makes it a flexible theme solution that can be used in a wide variety of situations.
Thus far, I have only touched upon what I consider to be the main features of X. Below is a short list of other features you will find in X.
- SEO-friendly semantic HTML5 markup
- A versatile portfolio custom post type that can be used to create beautiful galleries and portfolios
- A copy of the popular slider plugin Slider Revolution (worth $18)
- A responsive design that looks great on any device, whether it be a mobile, tablet, or desktop
- Retina ready designs that have been created with high pixel density devices in mind
- A whopping 400 icons are included with the theme
- Great support for custom backgrounds
- Social media support for all major social media services
- Fantastic navigation options including an option to build mega-menu navigation bars
- An option to create stylish one-page websites
- An optional enhanced search feature
- Beautiful typography with a selection of over 600 Google fonts
- Dozens of shortcodes to help you style your content
- Support for adding custom sidebars
- Amazing features for bloggers with full support of all WordPress post formats
- Import and expert functionality for transferring theme settings
- Every purchase of X comes with all original Photoshop PSD files (a nice addition for developers who want to customize X further)
As you can see, X is a capable WordPress theme that is packed full of features. More features does not necessarily translate to a better theme, however I was impressed with how X worked. Settings were easy to configure and everything worked in the way you expected it to. Without doubt, it is one of the best WordPress themes on the market.
The Divi WordPress Theme
When Divi was first released at the end of 2013, Elegant Themes were widely known for providing over eighty WordPress themes at the same price that many companies charge to download one WordPress theme. The company completely changed their direction once Divi was released and started focusing on quality, not quantity.
Without doubt, it was the best decision Elegant Themes ever made. The company still provides a huge number of themes and plugins through their membership plan at an affordable price. However, whenever someone mentions Elegant Themes in 2015, they are undoubtedly referring to Divi.
Divi deserves to be recognised as one of the best all in one theme solutions for WordPress. It is a beautiful theme that offers many great features. Since we compared Divi to the Genesis framework last year, a host of new features have been added.
The recent release of Divi 2.4 was the biggest upgrade of Divi since its launch. It has added a host of new features to what was already a refined WordPress theme. In total, Elegant Themes added over 1,000 new settings in version 2.4.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these features and see how they have shaped Divi.
The Drag and Drop Page Builder
At the heart of Divi is its drag and drop page builder. It’s a user-friendly page building solution that can be used to create unique pages.
In previous versions of Divi, the page builder could only be used on pages; which restricted what you could do with it. Thankfully, Elegant Themes have removed this limitation. You can now use the page builder on any WordPress post type, whether it be pages, blog posts, or custom post types.
Divi still offers a great selection of modules. These allow you to easily add images, videos, tables, blog posts, and more, directly into your content area.
Divi 2.4 adds six new modules: Fullwidth image, fullwidth code, fullscreen header, fullwidth post title, regular code, and regular post title.
Divi has always supported the WordPress theme customizer; however Version 2.4 has also added a new module customizer. It looks and works in the same way as the WordPress theme customizer you know and love. You can change a host of settings including fonts, colors, margins, padding, and more.
There are over 200 settings available via the module customizer. It’s a great new feature that makes the Divi page builder even more versatile.
Elegant Themes has improved the way that rows and columns are added and modified. You can now instantly change the column structure of rows. There are also options to make rows full width, add custom spacing to columns, add column background colors, and ensure that all columns have the same height.
Another great new feature is the Divi library. The Divi library lets you save customized modules, sections, rows, and layouts. This can be used to sync full layouts, or partial layouts, across multiple areas of your website.
Global library items can be displayed throughout your website. You can do this with modules, rows, and sections.
The WordPress Theme Customizer
Every part of your website design can be modified via the WordPress theme customizer. There are ten top-level categories available, such as header and navigation, blog, and color styles. When you select a category, you are presented with multiple sub-categories and in those sub-categories you will find a host of options for styling your website design.
Divi 2.4 added a huge amount of new options to the theme customizer. For example, you can now change the width of your pages and sidebars.
The area in which Elegant Themes has really expanded Divi is navigation. There are new options to change the height of your logo, make your logo center and inline, and modify your font type and style.
If you select a fixed header, you adjust how the menu looks once a user scrolls down the page. You can also hide your navigation menu and display a call to action. Your navigation menu will then be displayed once a user scrolls down.
24 Header Layout Possiblities
In my last comparison post about Divi I mentioned that there were 18 pre-made layouts available. These layouts are still available in version 2.4.
2.4 also added many more layout possibilities. There are now 24 structures available for your header and 9 structures available for blog post headers.
Support, Tutorials, and Updates
Elegant Themes have a solid reputation for support. They have a large documentation area that explains every feature of Divi. These tutorials are high quality; with many detailed videos and images being used.
General questions can be asked in their support forum. They have a support team who works on the forums every day to ensure that response times to support queries are quick.
Divi – The All-in-One Solution
Like every all in one solution, there is a little bit of a learning curve with Divi. It will take you less than 30 minutes to familiarize with how everything works, but you need to spend more time with the theme in order to get the most out of it. Once you have a better understanding of all the features of Divi, you will be in a position to create beautiful and unique pages and content.
With 18 responsive pre-made layouts and great post format support, Divi has something for everyone. It has native support for 32 languages and supports languages that read right to left.
I have spoken about Divi in articles many times in the past. One of the difficulties I have had speaking about Divi in the past is how to review it. There are so many features in the theme that I unable to list them all. Therefore, the hard work for me is to decide what to mention in my review and what to omit.
Elegant Themes have made my job even more difficult. With over 1,000 new settings and options added to the latest version of Divi, it was simply not possible for me to list everything that it can do. To read more about what Divi can do, I encourage you to read the main Divi theme information page and the recent announcement post about version 2.4.
Which Theme is Cheaper?
X and Divi have two very different pricing models. X is available from ThemeForest for a one-time fee of $63.
Despite being the largest premium WordPress theme marketplace online, ThemeForest is not a GPL friendly service and X is not fully GPL compliant either. In order to download all extensions, you need to register for an API key. The problem with this is that you need to define the domain you are using it with in order for the API key to work. The developers of X do not permit you to use X on more than one website. If you want to use X on more than one website, they expect you to purchase a second single license. Developers of WordPress products are not permitted to restrict use in this manner since it is against the terms and conditions of the General Public License that WordPress is built upon.
X allows you to download the Cornerstone page builder, Slider Revolution, and Visual Composer extensions, without entering an API key. You can therefore use X on as many websites as you wish, but unfortunately you will not be able to get automatic updates or install extensions on more than one domain. You could, however, transfer the theme and extensions to other domains manually (as per GPL rules on usage, you are permitted to do so).
The issue of X not being GPL compliant may be a minor concern for many WordPress users, but it is a black mark against X in my eyes. Here’s hoping the developers fully embrace GPL in the future and do not make it restrict usage of their products.
Thankfully, Elegant Themes are a GPL friendly company that do not restrict usage of their themes and plugins.
Elegant Themes have three different membership plans available. Their cheapest option is the personal license. For $69 per year you will gain access to all 87 Elegant Themes WordPress themes. This includes Divi and other high quality designs such as Nimble.
Upgrading to the developer license only costs $20 more. For $89 per year you gain access to all 87 Elegant Themes WordPress themes and 6 premium plugins. Premium plugins include their email opt-in plugin Bloom and their popular social media sharing solution Monarch. The developer license also includes all original Photoshop PSD files.
The lifetime access license offers the same features as the developer license. It costs a one off fee of $249 and once paid, you do not have to pay any more yearly renewal fees. If you think you will use Elegant Themes for more than two years, this is the license to buy.
X VS Divi: Which One is for You?
There are more similarities between X and Divi than there are differences; certainly when you compare these designs to a framework theme such as Genesis. Both themes include a page builder for styling page content and both themes utilize the WordPress theme customizer for styling your website.
The Divi page builder and Cornerstone page builder are great solutions for creating beautiful content. Truth be told, there is not much between them. They work in different ways, however they share many of the same modules and features. It therefore comes down to which interface you prefer and whether you prefer to use your page builder in the back end or edit things live on the front end.
When it comes to styling your website, Divi is the clear winner. It has hundreds more configuration options on offer in the WordPress theme customizer that are simply not available in X. This gives you a much higher level of control over how your website is styled and designed.
Divi comes with 18 pre-made layouts, however the demo content feature of X offers a total of 33 different layouts for its four design stacks. Therefore, when it comes to layouts, X perhaps takes the lead.
Both X and Divi are incredibly versatile WordPress themes that allow you to create beautiful and complex websites easily. Therefore, from a functionality point of view, there is little between them. It really comes down to which interface you prefer and which designs you think look better.
X and Divi are great all-in-one solutions that allow anyone, regardless of their technical experience, to create professional looking website designs. It is difficult for me to say that one is better than another as it really comes down to which you prefer.
That being said, Elegant Themes offers much better value for money. In addition to Divi, you will gain access to 86 other themes and 6 high quality WordPress plugins; all for around the same price as X. And with Elegant Themes, you do not have any restrictions on how many domains you use your products on.
Due to these reasons, I feel that Divi is the better option for most WordPress users as you get a lot more for your money and you can use Elegant Themes products on as many websites as possible. If, however, you only plan on using X on one domain, the GPL issue should not be a concern for you and you should perhaps take a closer look at the features of X and see whether it has features you need.
I hope that this comparison article has helped you see what features X and Divi offer. I have done my utmost to talk about the best features of both theme solutions, but this is difficult with products such as X and Divi as they are packed with so many options and unique features.
When it comes to my own personal opinion on these themes, please do not take my words as gospel. It is up to you to look at both themes more closely and decide which one is better for you.
What’s your opinion on these popular themes? Please let us know in the comment area below.
Thanks for reading.
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