Bob The Web Builder builds and improves websites bob@bobthewebbuilder.com
If you’re a bit active in the WordPress community, you’ve probably heard about Oxygen builder. It’s a new drag & drop page builder, trying to compete with other builders like Divi and Elementor. In this review, I’ll tell you what you can do with Oxygen and whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

Oxygen : a powerful site builder

Oxygen builder interface

Oxygen 2.0 launched on June 20th, and since then I’ve been reading more and more comments from people who are switching to this new builder. That’s not without good reason, cause the Oxygen builder is a really powerful tool. Oxygen is not just another page builder; it’s a complete site builder! You can’t just edit your sites content, but you can also edit the header, footer, sidebars etc. So you can decide where you want to have your logo, search and menu.

All of these parts are available as a module so you can add them easily. Oxygen lets you choose from more than 60 different modules, that are clearly divided. You have modules to add a navigation menu, a login form and a search bar, but all the standard things are there as well, like sections, columns, text blocks, buttons, links, images, gallery’s, pricing tables, testimonials, progress bars, tabs, accordeons and font awesome icons.

When you click on a module you see 2 tabs: primary and advanced. Under the primary tab, you’ll find the basic settings for that particular module. So with a text module, you can adjust the font color, font family, font size and font weight here, en with a progress bar you van set the percentage, animation and colors.

You can set any color as a global color. If you want to adjust a global color, you only have to adjust it in one place, and that color will automaticly update everywhere on the website.
Editing the text of each module is done in the visual builder itself, just click and type!

Clicking on the advanced tab reveals a diversity of styling options. This is where you set the background, padding and margin (although you can also just drag the margin to the desired spacing in the visual builder), borders, box- and text shadows and some nice filter effects like blur, sepia and grayscale. You can also add your own custom CSS and javascript code here.

Oxygen builder also lets you make templates that you can assign to pages, posts, archive pages, WooCommerce pages, your 404 error page etc. With each template, you can choose where it will be used (for example only for single posts, or for posts and pages), and you can even choose to use a template only for a certain category so your posts in the category “news” can have a different look than posts in another category.

Oxygen isn’t the only page builder that has this functionality; Elementor and Beaver themer have had this option for a while already too. But where Elementor and Beaver let you adjust the header and footer of an existing theme, Oxygen lets you build a complete new theme without depending on another theme. Your current theme will be completely replaced by Oxygen.

Another very powerful Oxygen builder feature is Dynamic Data. This feature will let you add dynamic content anywhere on your site, which comes in very handy with building a template. For example, if you want to build a single post template, you can use dynamic data to insert the post title, publish date, featured image and of course the content itself automatically. Oxygen also lets you put in widgets anywhere – widgets that are created by other plugins too.

Just like most other page builders, Oxygen lets you save every single part of your design to a library so you can reuse it somewhere else on your website. So for example, you can make a call to action button once and reuse it on all your pages without having to style it every time.

The library also holds a number of so called “design sets”; complete standard web designs you can import with one click. That way, most of the work is already done so you only have to adjust the colors and content. At the moment, there are only about 10 design sets available, but every set holds multiple templates to choose from. So within one design set, you can choose between multiple headers, footers, blog designs, contact pages etc. Every part within the same design set fits nicely with all other parts, so you can mix and match header #1 with footer #3 and blog design #5 and still get a coherent design.

All of these designs are responsive, so they’re also optimized for tablets and smartphones. Optimizing your own designs for smaller screens is also quite easy; Oxygen lets you adjust every element per device, so you can have another background color on a smartphone, or a  smaller font size, of hide that element all together.

Update: Oxygen 3.0 with WooCommerce builder, Gutenberg integration and conditional view

On September 3th, 2019, Oxygen 3.0 launched. This version features the long awaited WooCommerce Builder, which lets you style your WooCommerce webshop exactly the way you want. You can adjust things like how many columns your shop page should have and which colors the buttons should have, but also if you want a shadow on those buttons or which fonts they should use. You can even adjust all those things for elements like the “sort on” dropdown menu. 

The same goes for all other WooCommerce pages, like the cart page, the checkout page and even the my account page. You can’t adjust the content of those pages, but you can style a lot of elements on those pages.

You CAN adjust the content of the product page though. So you can decide where you want the product image, the “in cart” button, the price, the reviews, the related products etcetera. You can add – of leave out – every element wherever you want it, and of course style it the way you like.

The second important function in Oxygen 3.0 is the possibility to make every section or page editable with Gutenberg, the default WordPress editor. This comes in pretty handy for web developers who don’t want to give their clients acces to Oxygen (you can set that access for each user role). 

The web developer can design a page and checks the box that says that page (or section) should be editable in Gutenberg. Next, the client can edit things like text, images and icons in Gutenberg. However, the clients options are quite limited; for example, he can’t adjust the colors, add animations or change the order of elements. And Gutenberg works in the backend, which is a big drawback compared to Elementor, Divi and Oxygen itself of course. But many web developers don’t want their clients to be able to adjust too many things – 
and a lot of clients don’t want that either.

A third important addition – that was added a few months ago in version 2.4 – is conditional view. That lets you control exactly when a certain element should be visible. For example, you can show an element only for logged-in users with a certain user role, or only on a certain page, or only in a certain category, or only on Mondays… and you can even combine as many conditions as you want. A very powerful addition!

 

Attractive pricing

Oxygens pricing is very attractive as well; for just $ 99,00 you have a licence with lifetime updates and support, that also lets you use Oxygen on as many sites as you want. 

The development team did choose to release the WooCommerce builder and Gutenberg integration as separate add-on modules. That’s mainly to prevent bloat: if you don’t have a webshop, there’s no need to load the WooCommerce builder code. That would just slow down the builder and the website. Same goes for Gutenberg integration. 

However, this add-on module model also gives Oxygen the possibility to raise their prices: if you want the WooCommerce builder, you pay extra, and if you also want the Gutenberg integration you pay even more. That’s only for new clients though; if you already owned a licence for Oxygen 2, you get these new add-ons for free. 

Build for developers

So the Oxygen builder offers quite a lot of features for a very attractive price, but still this relatively new page builder probably won’t conquer the market just yet. That’s mainly because the user interface just isn’t user friendly enough yet for the average WordPress user. For example, they use a lot of CSS terminology like “float”, “overflow”, “clear”, “position” and “text-transform”, you can work with CSS classes to apply the same styling to multiple elements at once and you’ll have to set “display” to “none” to hide an element on a smartphone.

That’s all good for experienced website builders and others who know a bit of CSS. For them, Oxygen is one of the most powerful tools out there and it will make their jobs a lot easier, because you can adjust just about anything without writing a single line of code yourself. For that reason, you can use Oxygen without any CSS knowledge as well, but the learning curve will be probably be a lot steeper than with more user friendly page builders like Elementor or Divi.

The documentation for Oxygen is quite good though, and includes extensive video tutorials.

Conclusion

Oxygen is an extremely powerful tool if you’re a bit familiar with CSS terminilogy, but it’s probably not user friendly enough for the average WordPress user.
The new Gutenberg integration does make Oxygen a lot more suitable for website builders who have clients that want to be able to adjust their text and images themselves.

If you just want to edit the content of your pages – for example divide it into multiple columns, adjust colors, add animations – you’re probably better of with a more user friendly page builder like Elementor or Divi.

But if you want full control over your website, and determine how the header, footer and every other element of your website will look, and you’re willing to invest some time to understand how Oxygen works? Then it’s a really powerful tool with a very attractive price.

Still doubting if Oxygen is right for you? You can try Oxygen for free at https://oxygenbuilder.com/try/. And they also offer a 60 day money back guarantee!

Want even more control, like editing the HTML code of each element and even export the HTML and CSS to a static site? Check out LiveCanvas.

Need help with Oxygen builder or another site builder?

Do you need help with Oxygen or another builder like Divi or Elementor? Or are you looking for someone that can build a website for you with these tools? Look no further!

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