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Custom-Built Themes vs. Pre-Built Themes

Built-in WordPress Themes Vs. Theme Builder: Which is better

Are you looking to build a WordPress website and are confused about whether to go for WordPress Themes or Theme Builder? Read on to gain more clarity!...

Do you think running a successful business without a website is possible? In this internet era, a strong digital presence is necessary, no matter the size, location, type, or industry of your business.

Whether you are building your WordPress website from scratch or using readymade themes, you need a website that’s up and running already! So, should you choose a theme builder that offers faster page-loading and enhanced security or WordPress pre-built themes that you can set up in a jiffy and not worry about your ‘not-so-great’ coding skills? 

Let’s explore each of these options in detail, understand the pros and cons, and help you identify, ‘which is better?’

What is a WordPress Theme Builder?

WordPress Theme Builder offers you the freedom to build your website from scratch. It is like being provided with a blank page. You can add anything and everything (images, videos, banners, featured blogs, sidebars, etc.) that’s relevant to your company, its values, and its offerings. To build a custom WordPress website, you will need expert help. You can either build an in-house design team or hire reliable and experienced WordPress website development professionals who can build an attractive site to churn conversions.

Are you wondering if it will take time and a bigger budget to create a custom WordPress theme? This is when you can take advantage of the Pre-built Themes in WP. 

What is a WordPress Theme?

WordPress Theme is a very popular feature of WordPress CMS, where you can build and manage your website without worrying about coding. You can build a brand new website just by installing one from tons of ready-made themes.  There is room for customization. However, it’s limited. You can change colors and fonts, tweak the alignment, and more!

WordPress themes come with a certain amount of flexibility that allows you to build a performance-friendly website without having to build from the ground up. 

So, which one should you choose? WordPress Theme Builder or Theme? Let’s dive deeper into a comparative study to understand the pros and cons of each of these methods.

WordPress Built-in Themes Vs. Theme Builder

Let’s Consider an analogy. Say you have to choose between freshly-brewed coffee and instant coffee. After consideration of various factors like aroma, taste, prep time, and cost, the winner is almost always fresh brew! But instant brews take the spot if you are rushing to work and need a quick caffeine fix.

Similarly, to understand whether a custom WordPress theme suits your business or you should opt for the built-in options, we have to consider the following factors and your business requirements.

Website Control

Building a website from zero to the finish line always comes with its perks. When creating a Custom-built WordPress theme, you get full control over the website design, layout, features, colors, and everything. You can build a website of your choice that aligns not only with your budget but also with your business goals. 

But, to achieve this, you need the help of WordPress website design and development professionals or have a sound knowledge of code in CSS and PHP.  You need to work on a budget to hire a team to get the task done. 

However, in a Pre-built setup, you can create a good-looking website with zero cost for installation in WordPress. But, this freebie has its limitations as they come with pre-coded, already installed plug-ins. To make your theme look different, you need to tweak the code. While you can change various aspects like adding/deleting elements, typography, background, color, images, videos, and more, in most of the premium themes, you don’t get the full access or functionality like in a custom-build.

Performance & Page Load Speed

One often cited issue with a pre-built theme in WordPress is that it can hamper the Page Load Speed in the long run. This is because of the possibility of unwanted features and redundant codes in the pre-built ones. A custom-made WordPress theme is chiseled to meet business requirements, and so there is very little room for unused/unwanted features. Also, as it involves the hands-on efforts of a Web development team, regular testing helps remove redundant codes. This makes custom-built themes lighter and faster to load.

According to a 2022 study by Portent, the conversion rate takes a hit by 50% after a 5-second load time. Hence, opting for a feature-rich theme can have a direct impact not only on your website performance but also on your conversion rate. Always look for light-weighted themes keeping speed and performance in mind, when opting for Pre-built WordPress themes.

SEO Performance

SEO performance is crucial for beating the competition on the world wide web. Feature-heavy themes are known for interfering with SEO performance. Pre-built themes with pre-existing add-ons tend to come in the way of page crawlers.  This is the reason why custom-built websites outperform pre-built ones in SEO. Ensuring your website is optimized to rank on the top of SERPs calls for a collaborative effort of the in-house SEO and Web development teams. A custom website design aids in better organization of internal links and content structure.


Privacy and security pose major concerns when it comes to establishing an online presence. Both readymade and custom-made websites are vulnerable to security threats. But, the ability to take control of the situation is broader in a Custom-built website than in a Pre-built one. Firstly, a custom-built website poses very less vulnerability to security issues as it is less bulky. Also, it is easier to rule out security threats in a custom-built site even after launch.

While Pre-built WordPress themes are hosted with a high level of security on the cloud, installing an SSL certificate is not enough to secure your website from malicious traffic and DDoS threats. It is important to follow some of the WordPress best practices, like regular website backup, limiting login attempts, staying on top of WP updates, and much more to ensure security. Unused plug-ins, third-party add-ons, and default settings of a Pre-built theme can make way for malicious content to seep into your site in no time!

Time to Develop

Building a website from the ground up takes a minimum of 4-6 months for it to get fully ready. It is a time-consuming and challenging team activity. Investing the time and energy in a custom-build is quintessential for bringing out the quality of business through your site. Rushing the process will only affect the progress. 

Nevertheless, this is not the case with a pre-built WordPress theme. Select the theme you feel best suits your business, drag and drop widgets and features, customize, and launch. Are you pressed for time? Do you want a website ASAP? Pre-built is your savior.

Cost of Creation

When speaking of business decisions, the cost is a major deciding factor in many cases. Pre-built themes top the preference as you can create a feature-rich premium WordPress theme out of it for <$100. On the other hand, a custom-built website on WordPress is an expensive choice. From planning out the entire development lifecycle and research to hiring specialist teams, high cost is involved in every step.


While cost can be a major concern, the biggest advantage of a custom-built site is the ability to create a unique website. Even though you have opted for a premium pre-built theme, the chances of the same theme being used in multiple WordPress websites are high. Your website is the face of your brand. Creating a unique website gives you an added edge to stand apart from your competition.

Design and Functionality 

WordPress Themes offer a plethora of options to choose from. Tens of thousands of premium themes come with dynamic designs and functionality. You have freedom of customization in Pre-built themes as well. However, these are pre-coded, and hence, there will be limitations. Businesses prefer a Website that resonates the most with their offerings and values. Custom-built websites provide a seamless route to achieve the same. Although there are limitations, creating an attractive and dynamic website with Pre-built themes is not entirely impossible.

As we approach the end of this article, let’s quickly look back.

FactorsCustom-Built Themes /Theme BuilderCustom-Built Themes /Theme Builder
Pre-Built Themes / WordPress Themes
Website ControlFullPartial
Performance & Page Load SpeedFasterSlower for bulky themes
SEO PerformanceLess interferenceMore interference
SecurityTimely threat aversionVulnerable due to third-party integrations
Time to Develop4-6 MonthsShorter period of time
Cost of CreationExpensiveCheap
Design & FunctionalityEnhancedLimited

Wrapping Up

Should you choose to custom-build your website or take advantage of the Pre-built themes on WordPress? Well, the decision entirely depends on your business requirements and budget. What matters is that you need to create an attractive digital presence and do it now! While the hands-down winner has a Custom-built WordPress website, you cannot ignore the comfort of the Pre-built themes. 

Uplers offers custom WordPress development services that add comfort and expertise in custom building. We not only help build your SEO-smart, robust WordPress Website but also help maintain it when things get tricky later. 

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Prajakti Pathak - Content Writer

Prajakti is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Mavlers. She brings with her a rich content creation experience of over 10 years. A creative mind and a good hold on syntax make her traverse her writing through different forms of content including blogs, interviews, infographics, case studies, etc. While writing is her first love, she’s also an avid birdwatcher.

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