A Detailed Review Of The Oxygen Builder (Agency Perspective)

Published: 8 months ago

In this article, we are going to review the Oxygen Builder (currently v3.7), which is a WYSIWYG page builder for WordPress. As an agency, we have used this tool as our main WordPress website builder for around a year, and feel qualified to discuss the ins and outs of it.

In this review, we will be discussing everything from functionality to plug in compatibility to pricing to learning curve, and more.

Something else to note is that this platform doesn’t have an affiliate program, and all of these opinions are ours, formed over around one year of developing dozens of client websites (everything from major did your magazines to basic portfolio websites). This agency website is also built with Oxygen.

Oxygen Builder Features

The main thing to note when it comes to Oxygen is that it disables the built-in WordPress theme system — Keep this in mind as you read through this review.

Oxygen is your standard drag and drop builder which gives you access to a hefty library of elements and widgets. This includes everything from accordions to table of contents elements to standard sections and divs.

You can use these elements to create virtually any aspect of the website, as this builder can be used on pages, posts, custom post types, and templates.

With Oxygen, if you are building a dynamic website, you utilize the template library. Here, you can assign layouts to archives, post types, individual pages and more. You can also build out your header and footer.

With the WooCommerce addon, you can add and style the basic WooCommerce elements within Oxy. Keep in mind, this add-on is required if you want to do anything related to a Woocommerce with Oxygen, as there are no themes available.

Oxygen Builder has global rules for the styling in relation to Wu commerce, global colors, texts and fonts. All of this can be controlled directly within the builder, with no need for custom CSS. This used to be a major defining feature, but other competition realized this, and incorporated their own global features. However, this still stands on the top, as there are no bugs with it.

Where this tool shines, and dwarfs competition in functionality, is in regards to its developer oriented tools. You can easily write PHP, CSS, and JavaScript live in a code block element. No other page Builder, or WordPress them allows you to write PHP directly onto the page.

The dynamic data functionality allows you to grab data from WordPress, plugins, or PHP, and populate it directly into an element. You also get access to repeaters and loops, along with deep integration with Advanced Custom Fields.

The advanced custom fields Integration isn't really talked about, but this is the main thing that allows you to build virtually whatever you can dream of in the oxygen page Builder. All field values can be pushed into text elements, conditional visibility rules, and more. This also makes it easier for your clients to use on the backend, as all they need to do is add a data to the advance custom fields value.

Oxygen Builder Usability

Oxygen Builder is a more advanced platform than most others out there. Because of this, it requires you to have a basic understanding of how websites work. You'll need to understand HTML and basic CSS (grid and Flexbox specifically). Also, if you understand PHP and JavaScript, your life will be a lot easier.

This tool forces you to either understand, or learn how these work because it gives you a graphical user interface to everything that CSS has to offer. If you don't understand how CSS works, then it may be a bit difficult to use the builder.

The upside of this is the fact that this is a much more flexible platform than anything else out there, and it outputs code that is a lot cleaner and less bloated then competing page builders.

So, you'll need to learn how to use this builder, but luckily there is a great official library of tutorial videos, Facebook community, and support that you can fall back on during this period.

Oxygen Builder Support

The support quality that Oxygen Builder has to offer is one of the best in the industry. Everything is done through ticketed emails, and you get a response within two business days. Unlike some other builders to say they have support, but never actually offer it, oxygen has agents that know what they’re doing, and get back to you promptly.

As an agency, we typically don’t need support, as we have a good handle on PHP, CSS, and anything else that may pose an issue to a typical user. However, we’ve been stumped on several things regarding the builder in the past (Attempting to create complex functionalities), Reached out to support with really difficult questions (that our devs couldn’t even figure out), and had our queries resolved within a few days.

These guys know what they’re doing. 

In addition to the official support, Oxygen Has a Facebook group of around 18,000 individuals. If you have any question, you can ask it in that group, and you will most likely have an answer within a few minutes. (We chat more about the community in a later section of this article)

Oxygen Builder Pricing

One of the main Selling points of this plug-in is the pricing structure that it follows. Instead of operating on a subscription model, like most other page builders and plug-ins out there, Oxygen Offers developers a lifetime unlimited deal. What this means is that there’s a one time payment, and unlimited updates and support.

Because of this, the tool is a has a higher initial invesment than other offerings out there - for example, Elementor is $49/year. 

At the same time, once you on the product, You own it for good. You also get access to unlimited updates, lifetime support, and can install it on as many websites as you want (infinite license).

Now, there is one thing that worries us about this pricing model. Will Oxygen be able to keep up the support and update quality that they have shown for the past couple of years, as the user base grows and the platform becomes more complex — without recurring revenue?

Only time will tell, but after being a part of the community for around a year, experiencing the support quality and development quality of the plug-in, we can definitely say that the lifetime deal is worth the meager risk of something like this happening.

Oxygen Builder Plugin Compatibility

Many major plugins are compatible with Oxygen Builder, but some are not, due to the fact that the tool does not initialize WordPress themes.

Most plugins work, but some won't have CSS styles applied to them, unless you explicitly call them. however, as long as you can embed a plugin with a shortcode, you can most likely use it in your Oxygen website.

Worst case (which isn’t terrible), you can add the plugin by using a Code Block. The code added with Code Block element behaves just as if you wrote it in a standard WordPress template file.

A Different Development Mindset

One of the major things that says oxygen apart from its counterparts is the fact that it completely disables the theme system in WordPress. What this means is that you’re typically building a website from scratch, with no theme framework to go off of.

For us, this gives the mentality of a blank canvas. On this canvas, we can create anything that is technically possible with HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript.

You're a lot more on your own with this tool, and there's definitely no handholding. At the same time, you have an amazing community to fall back on if you have any questions.

The Ecosystem Surrounding The Builder

The WordPress CMS has dozens of page builder offerings out there, each acting like its own little kingdom. Surrounding the kingdom are a collection of add-ons, template packs, on third-party plug-ins that extend the functionality of the tool. The best page builders out there have the largest ecosystems, offering the most functionality.

Oxygen has a well developed ecosystem. As we write about in this “Oxygen Builder Addons” article, There are around 10 plug in offerings that are actively maintained, and offer value to anybody with the Oxygen Builder Plugin.

Many of these plug-ins are aimed at solving some of the drawbacks to come with the Oxygen Builder. Most are dedicated to making your workflow quicker, more efficient, and easier, so you can build a website faster and better.

Compared to other ecosystems out there, these tools are more in the utility field, rather than the addon field (like Elementor). Instead of giving you premade elements (and there are some out there), offerings instead include frameworks, shortcuts, and ways to implement third-party JavaScript libraries easily.

This keeps up the mentality of low bloat, low plugins, immense flexibility, and a development-oriented mindset. 

Some of our favorite plug-ins and Oxygen addons are:

The Community Surrounding The Builder

We briefly touched upon the community in the support section of this review, but would like to revisit this topic, as it should be a major selling point of this builder, but isn’t mentioned (or even known about) during the presale research process. 

The community, most prominent on Facebook, consists of every day users, website developers, plugin developers — Basically, most people in this group know how to answer any one of your questions. Instead of using the great Support and Oxygen has to offer, you may be able to get an answer quicker through this Facebook group.

This group isn’t just for support, it’s also for idea generation, and discussions about WordPress in general.

Many developers of third-party addons actively contribute to the community, and because of this, if they identify and need that would offer value to the individual consumer, chances are they will make a plug-in to address it.

There are also many content creators within the group with heavy development experience that publish detailed tutorials on how to do complex functionalities in oxygen. The community is really a flurry of great ideas, great content, quickly answered questions, and knowledgeable members willing to help with anything from basic questions to complex coding concepts.

Oxygen Builder Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve run through most aspects and areas of this builder, Let’s do a head-to-head comparison of the pros and cons that come with it. Oxygen is a great tool, but with every great tool come drawbacks. After using this for a year professionally developing websites, we’ve identified a couple of issues, as well as a couple of notable pros.

First, A major pro with the oxygen builder is the pricing structure, as we discussed above. We are not married to a subscription, Instead, it’s a one time payment. This keeps our cost down, which we can pass on to our clients.

Another benefit with oxygen is the fact that the code output is incredibly low bloat, and results in very fast websites, even before performance optimization.

This is also the fastest page builder that we have ever used, and this efficiency is enhanced by our must have add-ons.

A major downside to this tool is the fact that you need to spend some time learning how to use it. If you don’t understand basic HTML, CSS, and a bit of PHP, you may have difficulty utilizing this to his fullest extent. At the same time, if you want to use this tool, it forces you to understand how websites actually work, instead of spoon feeding you. Once you understand how to actually develop, you will always make better websites.

It also takes a bit of getting used to the fact that you do not have access to WordPress themes anymore. However, as discussed above, we see this as a benefit in the long run.

If you were only looking at buying the core builder, there are a few things that need to be improved (but aren’t yet, as of 3.6). The drag and drop functionality of the Structure panel definitely needs work. There’s no right click menu (though Hydrogen Pack adds this). The design sets are limited (you only get access to a couple), though there are third party offerings to offset this. 

The other major consideration is that some plugins don’t work out of the box when installed on a website created with Oxygen. Typically, with some ingenuity, you can get the plugin working, or find an adequate replacement. However, this is something to think about, especially if you have a WordPress website that you were thinking about migrating to Oxygen, that utilizes a plugin that is not currently compatible with the builder.

Vs Competition

In our opinion, the main builder that Oxygen is competing with is Elementor. If interested, we wrote an entire comparison article here:

To Conclude

Oxygen Builder is an amazing tool. It comes with advanced features, outputs incredibly quick code, and once you understand how to use it, your workflow is improved tremendously. At the same time, it requires a little bit of education on how websites work, and disables the WordPress theme system, resulting in a new development mentality.

The pricing cannot be beat by anybody, due to the lifetime purchase, the official support is great, and the community that surrounds the product is even better.

After switching to this builder around a year ago, our workflow increased tremendously, and we haven't looked back. If you have any specific questions about the Oxygen Builder, or have any comments related to this review, leave them down below.

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