Ever built your website using a certain page builder or website builder, only to later regret your choice and wish you could ditch the dedicated tool and just go back to the regular WordPress block editor (AKA Gutenberg)? Or, maybe you started with one page builder, but now wish you would’ve used Elementor?
I think most of us have experienced this at some point or another, but there’s always been one big problem with that – lock-in.
Let’s say you build your content using your favorite WordPress page builder plugin. Well, if you ever want to disable that plugin, you’re going to lose all of your design. At best, you’ll end up with a bunch of unstyled text and at worst you’ll see a soup of random shortcodes.
Nelio Unlocker is a new plugin built to solve that pain point. It lets you input any design and convert it into the WordPress block editor (or Elementor, in an update that will be launched soon), whether the design comes from a WordPress builder or a non-WordPress CMS/website builder.
In a nutshell, it eliminates lock-in and lets you convert any site into the native WordPress block editor (and other editors in the future).
It’s a bold goal – but does it work? After testing several designs, I can say that I was surprised by how accurate it is, especially when converting content from a WordPress page builder to the block editor.
Keep reading our hands-on Nelio Unlocker review to learn how this tool works and see several examples of before/after conversions.
Nelio Unlocker Review: How Does It Work?
The basic premise of Nelio Unlocker is simple:
You choose an input page. It could be a page on your WordPress site that you built with a page builder or a page from a non-WordPress website builder such as Squarespace, Wix, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
Then, Nelio Unlocker converts that page into a design built with the native WordPress block editor. For example, you can take a page that you’ve built with Elementor and convert it into the same design in the block editor with a single click.
The developer also plans to add support for Elementor as a destination quite soon, with potential support for other page builders. For example, you’ll soon be able to convert a Divi design into an Elementor design.
Most importantly, there’s zero tech knowledge involved – all you have to do is click a button.
To handle the actual conversion, Nelio Unlocker sends the HTML of your source page to Nelio’s servers for processing. Then, it sends back the finished block editor design.
How to Use Nelio Unlocker + Examples
Now, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how Nelio Unlocker works and also test a few different types of conversions.
To set up my test site, I used the Astra theme and several of its page builder test demo sites (2X Elementor and 1X Beaver Builder).
I’ll also test converting an external page built with another CMS (Squarespace) to see how effective Nelio Unlocker is at converting non-WordPress content.
How to Convert Content
Nelio Unlocker is super easy to use – once you install and activate the Nelio Unlocker plugin from WordPress.org, you’ll get a new option at Tools → Nelio Unlocker to perform conversions.
First, you’ll choose the Source piece of content that you want to convert. You can either select an existing piece of content on your site by choosing from your page/post list. Or, you can also enter a direct URL to any piece of internal/external content, even if it’s not built with WordPress:
Then, you can choose the Target content, which is where Nelio Unlocker will add the finished block editor design. You can either overwrite the source page to replace the existing design with your block editor design. Or, you can create a new page or post.
Currently, Nelio Unlocker only supports the block editor as a destination. But the developer also has plans to add popular page builders as a target destination including Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, Visual Composer, and WPBakery Page Builder. The Elementor option should be released within a few days of publishing this post.
Once you’ve made your choices, you just click the Convert Now button and Nelio Unlocker will take care of the rest. The conversion process is quite fast – it took less than ten seconds to convert all of the pages that I tested.
Then, you’ll see a prompt to edit the page:
Now, let’s look at some before/after examples…
Test #1: Elementor to Block Editor
In my first test, I converted a page that was built with Elementor into the native block editor.
Here’s the original page in Elementor:
And here’s the converted page:
You can see that the conversion is almost perfect. There are just a few issues that would require touching up:
- It’s showing a different part of the image as the background, so you might want to change the placement of the background section to get the exact same design.
- There are a couple of spacing issues. For example, the “mission” text needs some padding/margin on the left and the first text section could use some padding/margin on the top.
In the case of the Astra theme, you would also need to update the page-level settings to use the same full-width layout. I didn’t make those changes for this first test, but I will for subsequent tests.
Other than those minor corrections, it’s remarkably accurate and would save you a ton of work. It’s a lot easier to just make a couple of corrections here and there than it is to rebuild the page from scratch.
On the backend, here’s what the page looks like in the block editor. You can see that the backend version is pretty much pixel-perfect:
Test #2: Another Elementor to Block Editor
Next, I converted another Elementor page to the block editor, pulling from a different Astra starter site.
Here’s the original page:
And then here’s the converted page (this time I adjusted Astra’s page-level controls to give you a better comparison):
Again, you can see that it’s almost 100% accurate. You would still need to manually adjust the spacing a little bit for a few parts of the design, but all of the building blocks are there.
And then here’s how it looks in the backend editor:
Test #3: Beaver Builder to Block Editor
So far, I’ve established that Nelio Unlocker works quite well for converting Elementor designs to the block editor. But what about a different page builder?
This time, I set it up with Beaver Builder to see how it does.
Here’s the original design in Beaver Builder:
And then, here’s the converted design on the front-end:
This one is pretty much perfect. Again, you’d only need to adjust some spacing and a few other minor tweaks, which should only take a few minutes.
Here’s what it looks like in the backend editor:
Test #4: Squarespace Design to WordPress Block Editor
So far, I’ve focused mostly on converting content from a WordPress page builder to the block editor. However, as I mentioned in the intro, you can also use Nelio Unlocker to convert non-WordPress content into the block editor.
For example, let’s say you’ve built your site with Squarespace. While it is possible to kind of migrate Squarespace to WordPress, you still lose the design of your Squarespace content…until Nelio Unlocker.
With Nelio Unlocker, you can enter the URL to your existing Squarespace site and then convert it into a page on WordPress. When you import it, you can choose to do so as either a post or page:
I chose to import the Carmine demo site from Squarespace:
And then here’s the converted page on WordPress:
You can see that all of the content is there and in the right order, but it would need a bit more cleanup than the WordPress conversions. I tested several different Squarespace and Wix layouts with similar results – none of them were quite as good as the WordPress conversions.
It will definitely still save you time vs trying to do things yourself, but you’ll need to make more than just a few tweaks when converting designs from third-party website builders.
Even so, it’s much better than the normal Squarespace to WordPress migration process which wouldn’t maintain any part of your design.
Here’s what the page looks like in the block editor – you can see the block editor layout is pretty accurate, so it might not actually be that much work to finish things off:
Nelio Unlocker Pricing
Nelio Unlocker uses pay-as-you-go pricing. That is, you’ll pay based on the number of pages that you want to convert.
Pricing is just $19 per page, which I think is quite competitive given the amount of time it can save you.
For example, let’s say you have a five-page website that you’ve built with Elementor and you want to convert it to the native WordPress block editor. That would cost you $95 total, which would be a lot cheaper than “spending” your own time.
Final Thoughts on Nelio Unlocker
Overall, I was impressed by how accurate Nelio Unlocker was at converting designs, especially for existing WordPress content built with various page builders.
It’s definitely solving a very serious pain point. I see this issue of needing to switch builders all the time and the current solution is pretty much to just rebuild things from scratch, which obviously takes a lot of time.
For just $19 per page, Nelio Unlocker lets you skip all of that.
Your converted design isn’t 100% ready to go right away. But I would say that it’s 95%+ of the way there, at least in my testing. The main adjustments seem to be tweaking the spacing a bit to match the existing design. But all of the content, structure, colors, etc. came through pretty perfectly in my tests.
Right now, you can only convert to the native WordPress block editor. But I think it will get even more powerful when the developer adds the ability to convert to a page builder. Imagine being able to convert from Divi to Elementor with a single click – that would almost completely eliminate page builder lock-in. The Elementor destination option will be added quite soon, so it may even be there by the time you read this post.
Overall, if you’ve ever suffered this issue, you should definitely give Nelio Unlocker a look. Or, if you want to see what your content might look like before you pay, you can reply to this Twitter thread and Nelio will run the conversion for you to let you see how your content will look.