Can You Use Elementor Without A Theme? (No – Here’s Why)

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Elementor is a fantastic WordPress page builder plugin. It changed the website building experience forever by letting you design your website any way you want to. So it is quite natural that ever since Elementor’s launch, many people get this question…

Can you use Elementor without a theme? No, you cannot use Elementor without a theme. You at least need a blank WordPress theme, like the Hello theme from Elementor itself, to create a website using Elementor. Elementor cannot build a website on its own without a theme. Alternatively, you can use Elementor’s Canvas page template to remove all elements of a WordPress theme, like header, footer, and sidebar, to create a page. But even with this method, you will still need to use a WordPress theme.

Let’s understand why Elementor needs a theme, and how you can reduce your dependency on a theme if you want to use only Elementor to design your website. But, before we begin, let’s first understand…

Why WordPress Needs A Theme?

WordPress Theme is basically the framework that gives structure and sets the base design elements of a website like the fonts, colors, etc..

In other words, a WordPress Theme creates a shell in which all the content of your website resides, like the header, footer, sidebar, content area, menus, etc.

And usually, all of the WordPress themes control the design of the header, footer, sidebar, menu, etc.

So what you are left with is the core content area where you can place your content. And that content area can be created using the Gutenberg Blocks of WordPress or by using a page builder plugin like Elementor.

Here’s a diagram to illustrate which areas can be built using a page builder plugin like Elementor.

Page with Sidebar
Page with Sidebar
Page without Sidebar
Page without Sidebar

As you can see, Elementor can control only specific parts of the page. It cannot control the entire page unless the theme allows it, or you use Elementor’s Canvas template. More on that in just a second. But first…

Now that you know why WordPress needs a theme and which part of the page Elmentor can control, let’s talk about why Elementor cannot replace a theme.

Recommended Further Reading: Elementor Review – Only One Thing Matters In Elementor, Nothing Else!

Why Elementor Cannot Replace A WordPress Theme?

As you can see in the above diagrams, Elementor can control only the content area of the page. There is a caveat to this though. We will discuss it in just a bit.

But, from the above diagrams, you can conclusively say that Elementor needs a WordPress Theme to operate. It cannot build a website on its own.

Just like any other WordPress plugin, Elementor can only enhance the functionality of WordPress. It cannot replace a core WordPress functionality, like a WordPress theme.

Nor can it control the fonts, font sizes, colors, etc. across the website.

In short, Elementor cannot replace a theme.

Now, having said that, let’s talk about the caveat that I just talked about.

Elementor comes with a page template called Canvas.

You can read more about the Canvas template over here.

This page template will erase all the theme elements like header, footer, and sidebar, and will give you complete control over the page.

You can use this template to design a page as per your needs.

But, it is not ideal to use this template as such because most modern-day themes do allow you to hide the header, footer, sidebar, or at least give you enough options to design them as you want to.

Moreover, this template can only be used on a page-by-page basis. Meaning, it cannot override all of the theme elements at a site-wide level in one go.

You can use this page template to get complete control over a specific page that you are editing, and design that page as you want with Elementor. However, this page template cannot replace a WordPress theme.

And if you really want to use Elementor without a theme, then you can use the below method.

Interesting Further Reading:

How To Use Elementor Without A True WordPress Theme?

Elementor has released Hello Theme that you can use along with Elementor.

It is a bare-bones theme. What I mean is that this theme is not like other typical WordPress themes.

It is truly a blank theme, and so it will let use Elementor to design each and every aspect of your website.

If you don’t want to use any WordPress theme with Elementor, then you can try Hello theme.

You can get Hello theme over here on WordPress Themes Repository.

It will let you design your website with Elementor without getting in your way as other themes would.

But, in the end, you are still using a WordPress theme.

You cannot stop using a theme because WordPress needs a theme to operate.

One day when WordPress moves away from themes, maybe that day, you would be able to use Elementor without a theme.

But for now, you need to use a theme with Elementor.

Interesting Further Reading:

Why Is It Not A Bad Idea To Use A Theme With Elementor?

I know that some WordPress themes are too overwhelming to use and often do not provide a streamlined experience to use Elementor.

But, there are some great WordPress themes like Astra, GeneratePress, etc. that play very well with Elementor.

Using such themes will give you all the control you need to design your website as well as give you the necessary freedom to use Elementor on all parts of your website. You will be able to use Elementor without any hindrance.

That is why it is not such a bad idea to use themes.

Just make sure that you do not use themes that will try to control all aspects of your website.

An ideal theme for Elementor is the one that will give you enough design freedom to use Elementor wherever you want to.

Parting Thoughts!

Contrary to what many people say, you cannot use Elementor without a theme.

WordPress needs a theme to function properly, and so Elementor cannot replace a theme.

However, there are some themes that will give you enough flexibility to use Elementor where you want to use it.

Using such themes is not a bad idea.

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