Live Composer Review

By Sean Ondes | Last updated: July 20, 2019

First released in 2014, Live Composer has long been just under the radar. But with more than 50,000 active users, a lot of people are already sold on this page builder. After using it for a while, I found that there are a couple of things to like about it along with a few notable turn-offs.

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Live Composer WordPress Page Builder Review
Overall Rating

2.6/5

Live Composer Review at a glance

Pros

  • 40+ page elements in the free version
  • Open Source

Cons

  • Annoying UI
  • No inline text editing
  • New post types added with no option to disable
  • No pre-built layouts
  • No content remains after uninstall
  • Basically no support without purchasing either the Pro Extension Pack or WooCommerce Extension

Live Composer compared to other page builders

Live Composer WordPress Page Builder Review

Live Composer Review

Overall Rating

2.6

Elementor Pro WordPress Page Builder Review

Elementor Pro Review

Overall Rating

4.8

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Beaver Builder Pro WordPress Page Builder Review

Beaver Builder Pro Review

Overall Rating

4.7

Read More

Usability

2/5

A Different Take on the Page Builder UI

At first glance, it’s obvious that Live Composer has decided not to follow the rest of the page builder herd. It’s developers have taken a fairly original route with their user interface.

Live Composer distinguishes itself by not using the sidebar style dock of elements used by most (if not all) of the other page builders. Instead, Live Composer houses all of it’s elements in a colorful ribbon (that’s what I’m calling it) that is fixed to the bottom of the editing screen. You can scroll through the elements using the arrow buttons on the far right of the ribbon.

Live Composer - Colorful, visually appealing interface. Bottom bar takes some getting used to
Live Composer – Colorful, visually appealing interface. Bottom bar takes some getting used to

I very much appreciate questioning common approaches and Live Composer’s attempt to try something new with the interface. However, after a few minutes of repeated clicking to scroll through the available elements I concluded that they should have done a usability study.

I’m fairly convinced that any user testing would have shown that no one wants to click, click, click, click to move along one element at a time. Happily, a mouse wheel will also scroll along the visible elements. Using the wheel is much faster but my experience was still unsatisfying since because what I really wanted to do was to see all the options at once — or at least a larger group of them.

Working with the settings of the elements can also be frustrating. The settings are all found in the same ribbon so getting to all of them means that you’ll be scrolling horizontally a lot.

Text Options Overwhelm and Annoyances

The Text element has quite a bit packed into it. With just the one element, you can add and style headings, paragraph text, buttons, blockquotes, links, and inputs. Regardless of whether you want to add a headline, a blockquote, or body copy, you’ll be using the same text element.

Live Composer - The Text element overwhelms with options to style just about everything
Live Composer – The Text element overwhelms with options to style just about everything

Live Composer’s text element settings area has options to turn off individual style overrides for the element. These options allow you to decide if you want to override your theme’s text settings for an individual element. The options settings were

Overall, editing text in Live Composer seems clunky. By default, adding a text element to your layout also (annoyingly) adds a paragraph of Lorem Ipsum giving you the extra step of deleting it before adding your own text. There is no true inline editing. Editing is done in a popup that uses WordPress’s built in text editor.

Live Composer is Giving Me Extra Work

“Extra work” is the most pleasant way I can describe using Live Composer. Every element preloads a number of styles that mostly look awful. The Posts element pre-styles the post title, meta info, excerpt, and continue reading link with four different fonts. That means that anyone with a pinch of design sense has to first change those settings.

Live Composer Features

3/5

Presets

It’s super handy to be able to quickly save an element preset and reuse it on another element. This feature is present in Elementor but sadly lacking in Beaver Builder.

Tons of Elements

Live Composer’s free version available in the WordPress repository has a ton of features included. The extension plugins available on the developer’s website add even more.

Custom Post Types

Installing Live Composer also adds a few new post types to WordPress. Depending on your needs these new post types might be useful. Regardless, there should be an option to remove them without uninstalling the plugin.

Live Composer

Overall Rating
2.6/5

Layouts and Templates

1/5

Nothing to See Here

Live Composer doesn’t include any pre-built layouts like you get with other page builders. All that is included are a few blog and services type layouts. Adding any of these designs will overwrite anything else on your page without warning.

Theme Compatibility

4/5

Finally Some Good News

Live Composer just works. To customize your layout, all you’ll need is a theme that includes a full width template.

Installation and Removal

1/5

Installing Live Composer follows the standard WordPress process. No problems there. However after installing, you’ll notice that Live Composer has smuggled in six new post types. You don’t have any option to disable these later either.

Uninstalling Live Composer leaves you with a pristine blank screen. Absolutely nothing from your layout remains. This is the most extreme lock in that I’ve seen from a page builder.But at least there’s no shortcodes left over. Right?

If you build your site with Live Composer and then later change your mind and move to another page builder then you’ll have to do some extra work to make the switch.

Performance and Updates

3/5

Live Composer’s editor loads quickly and performs smoothly with very little or no lag. The documentation advises that your PHP memory limit is set to at least 96M. That’s fairly modest for a WordPress site in 2019.

Since December 2018, you can see on the GitHub page that there has been a definite uptick in development for Live Composer. This is a good sign for the future of the plugin. So far though, most of the issues have been bug fixes and minor feature improvements. What Live Composer needs is a from-the-ground-up overhaul.

Customer Support and Documentation

4/5

Live Composer uses Help Scout to power it’s knowledge base. This is generally a good call. There’s a good chance that you’ve used a Help Scout based knowledge base in the past so the setup should be familiar.

Compared to the user interface, the documentation is suprisingly helpful. There are a few good articles and videos to help a new user get started. There are also some useful troubleshooting articles for more advanced users.

Virtually no support is provided for the free version of the plugin outside of the documentation. The Live Composer’s support page in the WordPress repository directs you to Live Composer’s GitHub container to report bugs. Keep in mind that this is the same bug reporting tool used by the developers. Don’t expect much of a reply. There is a section that mentions free email support for Live Composer but the link points to a login screen on the Live Composer site.

Premium support is available by purchasing the Pro Extension Pack or their WooCommerce Extension plugin.

Cost

Live Composer is free. The developers offer two premium plugins that extend Live Composer’s capabilities.

The Pro Extension Pack is available in a year;y, auto renewing subscription that includes premium support.

  • 1 site – $49.00
  • 2-5 sites – $79.00
  • Unlimited sites – $99.00

Their WooCommerce Integration plugin adds fucntionality to customize product pages and the checkout process. It’s available on the same terms and at the same prices.

  • 1 site – $49.00
  • 2-5 sites – $79.00
  • Unlimited sites – $99.00

Conclusion

Live Composer promises big but does not deliver. The page builder includes some good ideas but mostly it underwhelms. At some point in late 2018, Live Composer was acquired by Bandicoot Marketing. This coincides with a recent surge in development and bug fixes. So maybe there are some good things coming in the future for Live Composer.

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About Me

Sean Ondes

My name is Sean. I've been building websites for more than 15 years. For the last 6 or 7 years, I've been working almost exclusively with WordPress (and some Shopify).

I've read the blog posts that review the "Best WordPress Page Builders" or the "Top 5 WordPress Page Builders". They can be helpful but after I finished reading, I still didn't know which one to choose.

The only thing left to do is try them all. I've spent hundreds of dollars and almost as many hours testing every WordPress page builder that I can get my hands on. I'm putting all this together because I personally have needed a resource exactly like this for a long time.

I'm not really pushing any one page builder over another. I'm not really even pushing WordPress. This guide is for people who have already decided that WordPress is the right fit for them and also want the flexibility of using a page builder.

If you're not quite ready to take the plunge and buy a new page builder, you can still support this project by buying me a cup of coffee (or a beer).