The last thing you want to do is commit a lot of time and energy to building a website, then finding out that you have to re-build it again because you picked the wrong website builder.
Both Wix and WordPress are good website builders (see our detailed review of Wix here), and the differences between Wix and WordPress is fairly significant.
Each has its own pros and cons and being able to identify these pros and cons is important in understanding which one of them will be better for you.
In this review, we’ll compare Wix vs WordPress in the following 5 categories, plus a final conclusion at the bottom.
Here is a summary table of our comparison and the detailed analysis and breakdown of each category is below the summary table.
|Flexibility||Limited customizability, but all their features and functions are closely controlled, monitored and tested to ensure they are working properly.||Very flexible & customizable but could be very problematic if your custom tools or plugins breakdown.|
|Ease of Use||A very user-friendly, drag & drop website builder. You don’t need to know how to code as Wix is catered to non-technical users.||Steep learning curve (not beginner friendly). It is best if you know how to code and that you are technically savvy, or hire someone who is.|
|User Support||A dedicated support team with organized tutorials. You can also get help through the phone or email.||A large community forum full of discussions, but not well organized and getting a timely response is inconsistent. Most users end up paying developers for help.|
|Ongoing Maintenance||Since Wix doesn’t open its platform to external developers, they control all aspects of the platform so they manage all the updates and maintenance work for you.||Requires frequent maintenance and monitoring especially if there are updates to the platform, theme or plugins. You are responsible for maintaining your website.|
|Pricing||5 premium plans, ranging from $4.50 per month to $24.50 per month (based on annual plans). You can also use Wix for free, but with certain limitations.||Could range from $200 – $15,000, depending on various factors (hosting, themes, plugins, hiring help, etc.)|
Now that you’ve browsed through the summary, let’s get into the details so we can better explain how we arrived at our conclusions, and how they could potentially affect you.
1. Wix vs WordPress – Flexibility
WordPress is an open source platform, this means that their codes are open to everybody to use and modify. Any programmers / coders can use WordPress to create their own themes or plugins for others to download for free, or to be purchased for a fee.
This is exactly one of the main reasons why the WordPress community has expanded to more than 60 million websites as of 2012 (and most recently powering about 23% of all websites on the internet as of 2015). As more people / businesses build websites online, WordPress is expected to continue to grow.
At the time of this review, there are over 44,000+ WordPress plugins that are downloaded more than 1.2 billion times – this shows you how extensive the WordPress community is.
But before you conclude that WordPress is better, the fact that WordPress is so large is also a potential problem.
You can imagine, anyone with a little bit of coding knowledge can build a theme or plugin for WordPress – which is dangerous. The quality of these tools could be fantastic, or could be junk. Based on our experiences, there are more junk than fantastic plugins.
As you can imagine, since the WordPress community is so large it’s almost impossible to have good quality control.
So from this perspective, while WordPress gives you tons of flexibility with tools, a lot of them are mediocre or worst. This is not to say there aren’t any good WordPress plugins available – in fact, there are lots, but you will need to sift through a lot of them to see which ones are good.
Securi – a leading WordPress security firm – conducted a study of over 11,000 hacked websites. In their report, they suggested two findings that you should be aware of:
- The growth of the internet and websites introduced a lot of unskilled webmasters and service providers who have contributed to a lot of websites being hacked.
- They studied 11,000 hacked websites, and found that 75% of them were built with WordPress. (Note: to be fair, WordPress is the most popular website builder so this contributes to the higher percentage).
Here is an excerpt from their study:
“This user adoption however brings about serious challenges to the internet as a whole as it introduces a large influx of unskilled webmasters and service providers responsible for the deployment and administrations of these sites. This assessment is amplified in our analysis, which shows that out of the 11,000 + infected websites analyzed, 75% of them were on the WordPress platform and over 50% of those websites were out of date. Compare that to other similar platforms that placed less emphasis on backwards compatibility, like Joomla! and Drupal, the percentage of out-of-date software was above 80%.”
Here is another article from WooThemes – a leading WordPress theme developer – on the dangers of too many faulty plugins in WordPress.
Wix is not an open source platform so their codes are not available for people to modify. This means that only their private development team can produce website building tools – this results in Wix’s tools being fully integrated into their website builder, and will have a much lower chance of being “buggy”.
Wix is also expanding their Apps Market so you can add a lot more functions to a Wix website (these Apps are fully integrated so you don’t have to worry about installation – See our full Wix App Market review here)
If you were to experience technical issues with Wix’s tools, they will fix it whereas with WordPress, a lot of plugin developers may or may not help you (unless you pay to purchase their plugins).
The primary concern with WordPress is that a lot of tools / plugins may not be built by good developers. Using a poorly built plugin may slow down your website performance, cause conflicts or worst, crash your website.
When this does happen, you won’t have a central location to go look for help and the plugin developer may not help you (especially if the plugin was for free).
With Wix, everything is tested and controlled by their private development team to ensure quality, and they also have good, centralized support functions (more below).
2. Wix vs WordPress – Ease of Use
When it comes to Wix vs WordPress in terms of ease of use, the learning curve for WordPress is definitely a lot steeper. As mentioned above, a lot of people choose WordPress for its flexibility, but with this flexibility comes complexity.
If you know how to modify codes, you can potentially do a lot of customizations with WordPress that you can’t do with Wix.
But are you a skilled developer? If not, you can still customize WordPress but you will need to hire a skilled WordPress developer which can cost quite a bit.
While there are customization limits to using Wix, Wix is designed and built specifically so it is easy for non-developers to use with ease. You can definitely learn how to use Wix a lot faster (and with a lot less headaches).
Wix is a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) website builder, so you can drag and drop paragraphs, pictures, slideshows, shopping cart buttons, etc directly into to the website builder to start building your website. How you place these content in the website builder is how it will look when the site is published.
As for WordPress, the downside is that whatever content you insert into the editor, you won’t see what it looks like “live” until you preview or publish the page.
With Wix, you just drag and drop any content into the screen, and you don’t need to know how to code or need any special external tools to enable you to do this.
Whereas for WordPress, if you want to make what seems to be quick adjustments such as the spacing of where the images or slideshows are positioned, this can get tricky and technical. You’ll need to modify codes to do this or spend time looking and testing for the right plugin to help you do what seems to be a simple task. In addition, you won’t know if the plugin you found would cause conflicts with your website.
Wix makes it easy for all levels of users to build websites quickly as it enables you to drag and drop content wherever you want. With WordPress, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a lot of time to learn how to use it.
WordPress is indeed the more powerful platform, but it comes with complexity. Of course, you can always hire developers to help you, but this takes time to hire and manage the person, and will cost money. If this seems like too much of a burden, I’d suggest you give Wix a test run to get started quickly.
3. Wix vs WordPress – Support
If we were to describe WordPress’ support, the words would be “information overload”. WordPress has an enormous community of users and an overwhelming amount of tutorials to help you, so it’s a challenge to figure out which help articles are good, and which are bad.
One option is to hire a skilled WordPress developer to help you set up, configure or modify your website but this gets expensive very quickly (even if you were to outsource this work to developing countries where prices are cheaper).
With Wix, they have a focused support team to help their users troubleshoot. They’ve also created a lot of help articles and videos, and forums to support you to build your website. Wix also offers email and scheduled phone support as well.
Wix’s support team will save you precious time since everything used in their website builder is built by Wix itself, so the chances of your website running into serious issues will be minimal.
You can find helpful WordPress tutorials but you will need the patience to search and it will take a bit of time as help is scattered everywhere.
Hiring a WordPress developer to help you works, but you need to consider the time it takes to hire the right developer (searching, interviewing, evaluating), and the cost of hiring. It might feel like going to a car mechanic to fix something but you not knowing the first thing about cars. It’s not an easy process.
With Wix, if you can’t find help in their library of tutorials, you can post your question in their support forum for their dedicated support team to help. They also offer email and scheduled phone support. If you sign up to their VIP plan, you also get VIP one-on-one support and priority phone support.
In conclusion, as powerful as WordPress is, it’s more difficult to find relevant and good help. But on the other side of the coin, WordPress does allow you to create amazing websites with the right resources.
With Wix, you can always get good help by reaching out to their dedicated support team, get your website up and move on to doing other important things.
4. Wix vs WordPress – Ongoing Maintenance
From a maintenance perspective, WordPress is always updating its platform to improve security and to fix bugs. When this happens (a few times a year), you will also need to update your WordPress website.
The challenge appears when you are using a custom theme and/or using a few different plugins. Some larger / reputable theme and plugin developers will update their products for you, but not all of them will do so.
If the theme and plugins that you are using are not updated by the WordPress developer, you may risk these tools conflicting and potentially hurting the performance of your website.
(Here is an article from WP Engine, one of the best / premier WordPress hosting service about replacing a security plugin with their own in-house built security system. This security plugin is quite commonly used by WordPress sites, has not been updated for over 2 years and so security risks have increased significantly.)
In Securi’s report (which we mentioned above above), they highlighted that even though majority of the hacked websites were built with WordPress, this does not mean that all WordPress sites are doomed to be hacked.
The reason the websites were hacked had to do with improper deployment, configuration, and overall maintenance by the webmasters and their hosts.
While WordPress is a good website building platform, if you are not monitoring it all the time, your website could become vulnerable to attacks. You have to take charge of your own website maintenance, which is another layer of work (unless you pay someone else to do it).
Further, when WordPress updates its platform, you should do so as soon as possible as outdated versions of WordPress may present security hazards (just as this website has been hacked to display spam messages). Keep in mind that when you update the version of your WordPress, this may potentially conflict with your other existing website tools / features.
With Wix, all updates are carried out by their technical team and automatically deployed to your site – you don’t have to lift a finger (and you probably won’t even know the updates took place). This is a real benefit especially if you are not technically savvy and prefer to work on other important things.
Despite WordPress being more powerful versus Wix, WordPress does require quite a bit of maintenance work to keep your WordPress website in an up-to-date condition. If you don’t update your theme or plugins, you run the risk of harming the performance of your website, or even crashing it (rare, but does happen).
With Wix, they manage all the updates so you don’t have to do anything. This is a real benefit especially if you work in a very small team (or even just by yourself), without the benefit of a dedicated website team to support you.
5. Wix vs WordPress – Pricing / Ongoing Commitments
The amount of money to invest in your website is an important consideration, and this can vary widely depending if you use Wix or WordPress.
Wix offers 5 premium pricing plans and 1 free plan. As you move up the packages you get access to more features.
The packages start from $7 per month to $30 per month – if you sign up on a month-to-month payment plan.
If you sign up for a 1-year or 2-years plan, you can save from 18% to 43% per year, depending on which package you select:
|Wix Pricing Plans||Monthly ($/month)||1-Year ($/month)||Savings (%)||2-Years ($/month)||Savings (%)|
So the ongoing annual cost for Wix could ranges from free to $48 per year (2-year Connect Domain plan), to $360 per year for the month-to-month VIP plan.
For the Combo, Unlimited, eCommerce and VIP plans, Wix gives you a free domain name ($10 – $12 value every year) and $300 in advertisement vouchers (Google Adwords and Facebook Ads) for the Unlimited, eCommerce, and VIP plans. So if you use the vouchers, you can make your annual fee back very quickly.
For more information and analysis about Wix’s pricing plans, see our full Wix review here.
With WordPress, you will need to get your own hosting service which will be about $7 per month ($84 per year). Further, you will likely need to purchase a theme since WordPress doesn’t come with attractive free themes. A pre-made WordPress theme costs around $30 – $80 per theme, depending on how reputable the theme developer is (general rule of thumb is, the higher the price, the more reliable it is).
If you want to add more functionality to your WordPress site (such as fancy slideshows, widgets, etc), you can install some free or paid plugins which may cost around $15 – $50 per plugin, again depending on the reputation of the developer.
You’ll also need to purchase your own custom domain name when you are using WordPress, which will cost about $10 – $12 per year.
So the initial investment for a WordPress website could range from $139 to $200 or higher, depending on how many paid plugins you pick up or if at all.
This does not factor in the cost of hiring a WordPress developer if you want to make customizations to your site, which can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Cost of Building a Website – we share our own experiences here
See our video guide on how to set up a WordPress site with your own hosting.
Based on some other leading experts, one can argue that our cost estimates are a bit on the lower side.
Elegant Themes (one of the leading WordPress theme developers) estimated that to get your WordPress website setup (without even hiring someone for help, which assumes you are a bit more technically oriented and somewhat comfortable with codes), may range from $200 – $1,000+.
Keep in mind that this does not include any ongoing expenses if you hire someone to help you make code changes to your WordPress site or to help troubleshoot.
They also suggested that a custom WordPress theme will cost you about $3,000 – $6,000 (for design & development), and a custom WordPress site will be around $6,000 – $15,000 (for design & development, with custom plugins). You can see their estimates here.
Based on our experiences, while WordPress does cost more to set up, another huge issue that is less discussed is how difficult it is to find good help.
As mentioned, there is way too much information about WordPress, and the quality of the information can be good, or terrible.
When we were starting to learn WordPress, at times it took hours to research just to fix one issue. Imagine if you have a lot of issues to fix.
Hiring WordPress developers can definitely help, but the hiring process can be a hit and miss. We’ve hired some WordPress contractors before and we’ve had good ones, and really terrible ones (the terrible ones charge just as much as the good ones too!). It’s very difficult to tell if a contractor is good or bad until you actually pay them.
This is a real cost of using WordPress as hiring the wrong contractor will cost you money and time.
On the other hand, if you have the time and money to invest into learning WordPress, you can do a lot more with WordPress than with Wix.
So at the end of the day, choosing Wix or WordPress is a very personal decision. If you prefer to invest your time on other things outside of website building, Wix is the better solution for you.
6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Picking Wix vs WordPress is a very personal choice – WordPress is powerful and flexible, but it also takes time to sort through all the tutorials and plugins to find the right tools to help you build a good website.
Hiring a WordPress developer for help is also very common, but the cost can really add up over a few years. The hiring process can be stressful and tedious, and a lot of times you’re not going to know what you get until the developer starts work (after collecting upfront money / down payment from you). Moreover, when WordPress updates its platform, you may need to hire the contractor again to make sure the custom work remains compatible.
With Wix, they help you manage all the updates and support. Despite not being as flexible as WordPress, Wix makes the whole website building experience easier and more pleasant (especially for non-techies).
So in conclusion, our opinion is that if you are a one person team or don’t have dedicated technical resources to help you build, maintain or troubleshoot a website, we recommend using Wix.
If you are technical or have someone that’s technical on your team, and you want to create a website that goes beyond what Wix has to offer, then using WordPress is the more flexible way go.
Just be aware that time and resources are the key considerations here:
- Wix – less maintenance and lower cost over the long term
- WordPress – more flexibility, but more maintenance, higher learning curve, and costs more over the long run
For us, we built this site using WordPress because it fits our purpose better (writing articles and blog posts), and also we’ve already spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in hiring WordPress contractors and learning from them in our other projects. So for us, using WordPress is not very difficult, after paying the price to learn.
For you, this might not be realistic. So choose according to your available resources.
We hope that this discussion about the difference between Wix and WordPress have been helpful to you!
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