A question we get a lot is: Does Shifter work with theme builders?
The short answer is, yes!
The longer answer is, yes and they are a perfect fit for Shifter. Theme builders on Shifter are a perfect fit for a few reasons.
Static WordPress sites on Shifter don’t rely on the WordPress database
As you customize your site using a page builder tool, the number of database queries and overall database size can grow.
In a traditional hosting environment that’s backed by and depends entirely on that database, it can create a bottleneck slowing down the site.
Sure you can cache your site to minimize those database queries but there is always a limit to how much you can do that before it’s no longer cost-effective or continues to offer performance improvements at all.
Static WordPress sites load faster than complex PHP backed WordPress sites
Using a page builder like Themify you can create complex layouts which include custom post type archives, sliders, embedded media and more. In addition to the database queries, some of those features may also be taxing on PHP.
Ideally, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice what you want on the page over concerns about PHP performance. Even running the latest version of PHP, the code to process those layouts can be expensive.
Generating a static version of your WordPress site using Shifter and your favorite page layout tool takes that concern out of the equation.
Update your WordPress site on-demand, anytime, anywhere
It’s all available from the WordPress admin and Shifter! Like a lot of developers, we head to our favorite text editor and command line to create custom themes. Everyone has their own workflow and if you want to create a site without writing code or going back to the same terminal you can also do that entirely in the browser.
Shifter runs WordPress in a container environment that’s on when you need and as long as you are editing content. When you launch that container and begin to edit your site with your favorite theme builder plugin or tools that container will continue to run.
Some theme builders offer revisions or snapshots too! Keep a record or mark the changes as you make them all before going live.
We decided to put one of these to the test by trying the Themify drag and drop themes and page builder tool.
Themify, like other page builder tools, gives users with no coding experience the ability to layout beautiful response sites fast and easy.
Using Themify you can import one of their free starter themes like we did for this demo or you go for a subscription to get access to their layout library or premium themes.
We started by searching for Themify in the plugin directory. From there you can install the Lite version of their builder: Themify Builder Lite.
Themify Builder Lite works with your existing theme and offers options to add elements like Accordions, buttons, call to action elements and more.
While the functionality is basic (or lite) as the name suggests you can do a lot with it if you take the time and learn how to use it.
Taking it a bit further we opted to try one of their free themes as well. For this, we gave Themify Simple a try.
The process for adding their Simple theme to our WordPress site on Shifter was the same as installing any other theme for WordPress.
Download the custom theme and upload it directly to the Admin Dashboard as a zip file. After the upload was complete we were prompted to import demo or sample data. Sure, why not!
We headed over to Unsplash to look for a new hero image. Naturally, we searched for Dogs because dogs are always sure to enhance a website by at least 2 to 3 times if not more.
Downloading that and heading back to our WordPress Dashboard we dive into the style settings within the Themify builder and upload our new hero image.
In addition to that, we also update the text.
Here’s how it looks!
Now that we’ve made our changes let’s create a new static version of our site and deploy.
That’s about it. We’ve created a custom site that hosted, backed by a CDN, includes HTTPs with no setup or config and we don’t have to sweat getting hacked.
Themify is just one of many theme builder tools and products out there. Feel free to use any of them on Shifter!