Bluehost vs Squarespace: Which is Actually The Better Option?

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Bluehost and Squarespace are both platforms we rate highly. While they both help you to build a website, they’re both extremely different.

  • Bluehost is a hosting provider*. It lays the foundation for building a website through another platform, typically WordPress. It’s the best option if you’re confident working with WordPress, or willing to put in the time to learn.
  • Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder. You pay a (higher) monthly fee, but can build and publish a great site within the platform itself. It’s a faster, more beginner-friendly option for bringing your website to life.

*Bluehost actually does have its own website builder – the Bluehost Builder – but this is pretty basic. Most people use Bluehost as a hosting provider, and go on to actually build their website on a stronger platform, like WordPress. 

Bluehost vs Squarespace: What's the Difference?

As we’ve touched on above, Bluehost (a hosting provider) gives you the foundation for building your website, while Squarespace (a website builder) offers an end-to-end solution for getting a website live. But which type of platform is right for you?

comparison quiz

Bluehost vs Squarespace: Pros and Cons

Bluehost Pros and Cons

Pros Cons 
  • A cheaper way to build a website than Squarespace
  • When you go on to build with WordPress, options are basically limitless – it’s the most customizable platform for building a website
  • More difficult to get to grips with, plus you need to get different components from different places
  • Having some design experience, or coding knowledge, will be very helpful (but not essential)

Squarespace Pros and Cons

Pros Cons 
  • Anyone can use Squarespace to make a beautiful website in just a couple of hours
  • Great selection of Squarespace’s own templates to work from
  • An all-in-one solution – you won’t need to buy or organize anything outside of the platform
  • Likely to work out more expensive than Bluehost
  • More limiting for those looking for a completely custom or complex design

Pricing and Value for Money

Bluehost is better value for money than Squarespace. Part of what you’re paying for with Squarespace is the convenience of having everything in one place, whereas Bluehost is a more ‘bare bones’ option.
  • For $2.95 per month, Bluehost gives you a space on its servers, and the essential resources – like bandwidth and storage space – that mean you can receive plenty of visitors. The annual plan includes a domain name, too.
  • For $12 per month, you can build and publish a website using one of Squarespace’s templates, hosted on its own servers. Squarespace also includes a free domain when you pay for the annual plan upfront.

Here’s a quick look at how their introductory prices line up:

Bluehost Squarespace
Cheapest plan $12/month** $12/month**
Cheapest plan features Free domain for one year
50 GB storage
Unmetered bandwidth
Basic website builder
Free domain for one year (with the annual plan)
Unlimited storage and bandwidth
Award-winning templates to design your site
Help and support
Full price range $2.95 - $119.99/month $12 - $40/month

* This price applies to your first term with Bluehost (i.e. however long you decide to pay for upfront, with 1-, 2-, and 3-year contracts all available). After this, the price rises to $7.99 per month.  

** Take an extra 10% off this by entering the discount code WBE at checkout

Both Bluehost and Squarespace offer really good value for money in their own way. 

Of the two platforms, Bluehost provides the cheapest way to get a website live, and has really strong features at a very affordable introductory price. We’ve already mentioned that we don’t really recommend the Bluehost Builder to actually design your website, but if you go on to build a site with WordPress instead, you can get away with paying very little extra to build a site. WordPress is free, but some optional extras are not:

  • WordPress theme: $0 – $130+ (on-off payment)
  • WordPress plugins: Free – $10+ per month each

Squarespace offers a different kind of value. Not only is bandwidth and storage uncapped with all plans (ideal for media-heavy sites), but it also offers a much quicker and easier way to set up a site using one of Squarespace’s own templates. A WordPress site will take longer to set up and edit in the future, so Squarespace definitely offers value in the form of time saving and all-in-one convenience.

Ease of Use

Squarespace is easier to use than Bluehost. Bluehost is an easy-to-use and supportive hosting provider, but Squarespace is the easier route to building a site.

It’s particularly difficult to compare Bluehost and Squarespace when it comes to ease of use, again because they’re both offering something so different.

As hosting providers go, they don’t get much easier to use than Bluehost. The dashboard is easy to navigate, and the help and support options are really strong. You can install WordPress from your Bluehost dashboard in just one click.

Squarespace isn’t the easiest to use website builder. Our users found it took a little longer to get to grips with Squarespace in user testing than it did with other website builders, like Wix and Weebly.

However, if you’re looking for the easiest way to build a website, Squarespace wins hands down. No, it’s not the easiest website builder on the market – but it does make the process of building and designing a website simpler by its very nature. You can see below how easy it is to work from one of Squarespace’s templates:

With a website builder, it’s really simple to make design changes to your site. It’s just a matter of moving elements around and adding new ones in. When you build your site with a platform like WordPress, it’s a little different. Customizing the design in front of you often requires some code workarounds, or adding additional plugins. It doesn’t have to be really complicated, but it will almost always be longer and more difficult than using a website builder.

Website Design

It’s a tie. Squarespace has the best ready-to-go designs, but Bluehost (combined with WordPress) offers the most design flexibility.

When it comes to designing a website with Bluehost, we’ll assume you’re ditching Bluehost’s own builder and going straight for the WordPress option.

There are over 3,900 themes in the WordPress theme directory, and plenty more available via third party websites like ThemeForest (which has over 50,000) and more boutique options. You’re definitely not short of choices!

If your site is in quite a niche industry, there’s more chance of you finding a close ‘match’ to the look and feel of what your site needs with the Bluehost plus WordPress combo. And if you have a really specific site look/structure/features in mind, it’s easier to bring this to life with WordPress. You may need some extra web development support at some point, but you’ll be able to get there.

Squarespace, on the other hand, has a curated selection of templates that look great – in fact, they’re the best of any website builder we’ve tested – and which make it easy to add in different elements. Ultimately you don’t have as much flexibility when it comes to customization as you would with WordPress, but the vast majority of website types are well covered, so you’re unlikely to notice unless you’re building a more unusual website.

Features

It’s a tie! Squarespace offers great built-in features, but there’s a glass ceiling. Bluehost has the potential to add almost anything, but you’re starting with a blank slate.

Resources

When we look at the core resources that Bluehost and Squarespace offer, there isn’t much to tell them apart:

Bluehost Squarespace
Domain name Free for first year, then
$15.99 - $72.99*
Free for first year, then $20 - $70
Storage 50GB - Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

* Rare but valuable TLDs (the end part of a domain name), such as .credit and .creditcard will cost more than this. Standard .com renewals cost only $17.99.

Ecommerce

Squarespace has everything you need to get started with selling straight away. You just need to make sure you’re on the Business plan ($18 per month) or higher. You’ll incur 3% transaction fees on this plan, but none on either of the two dedicated ecommerce plans – Basic Commerce ($26 per month) or Advanced Commerce ($40 per month).

Squarespace’s ecommerce section is easy to configure, and you can start selling really quickly. It’s suitable for digital and physical products, and you’ll need to be on the Advanced Commerce plan to sell subscriptions.

We recommend Squarespace for anyone with a more curated selection of products, rather than a really large inventory (although there’s no official limit on the number of products).

Bluehost combines best with WooCommerce to offer ecommerce. WooCommerce is a powerful, popular, free WordPress ecommerce plugin suitable for larger inventories.

The extra costs can quickly add up, though. Here are just some extras you could have to pay for with WooCommerce:

  • WooCommerce Bookings: $249 per year
  • WooCommerce Pre-Orders: $129 per year
  • WooCommerce Subscriptions: $199 per year
  • Shipment tracking: $49 per year
  • PayPal Pro: $30 per month

Check out our guide to WooCommerce’s pricing for a more detailed breakdown.

We also recommend you upgrade to one of Bluehost’s VPS plans if you want to start taking payments, since VPS hosting is more secure. Bluehost’s VPS hosting starts at $18.99 per month.

Marketing and Extras 

Squarespace comes with plenty of marketing features built-in. These include: 

  • Create pop-ups and banner notices
  • Make the most of SEO for a site boost
  • Create email marketing campaigns
  • Design content for Instagram stories
  • Easy-to-interpret analytics
  • Add a blog to your site in just a few clicks

And there’s more. As well as having its own built-in tools, there’s a new library of third-party extensions to link up with. This is really helpful for things like accounting and shipping support.

If Squarespace doesn’t offer the functionality you need via an inbuilt feature or an external integration, things get a little trickier. You can add custom code blocks within Squarespace, but it just takes things to a slightly more technical level than you might be hoping for – and plus, the Squarespace team won’t offer support if you can’t get these to work.

Bluehost offers all of the above and more via the WordPress plugin directory. There are actually over 58,500 plugins within the directory, but these aren’t made by Bluehost, or even by WordPress; instead, they’re added by developers. This means there’s not the same level of quality control as with the Squarespace features, and also there’s a cost attached to some of them. It can also be quite overwhelming to sift through the multiple options for each feature, and it definitely takes some time – but you can be sure there’ll be an option for anything you need, even if it’s more niche, industry-specific stuff.

Performance and Security

Bluehost has better performance and security. This doesn’t mean Squarespace is a poor performer, or is unsecure – far from it. But Bluehost is built to withstand more intense pressure.
Bluehost Squarespace
Domain name Free for first year, then
$15.99 - $72.99*
Free for first year, then $20 - $70
Storage 50GB - Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

Bluehost and Squarespace seem to match up pretty evenly when compared side by side in these key areas, but the differences are likely to show under more intense traffic pressure.

Bluehost offers dedicated server hosting plans up to the value of $119.99 per month. These are designed to hold huge amounts of traffic at the same time. Squarespace does offer an enterprise solution for the largest sites (Squarespace Select), and proudly declares that its own (busy) website copes just fine on the Squarespace servers. But it’s not quite a match for the variety of hosting types and plans that Bluehost offers, which means you’re never overpaying or under-resourced.

Help and Support

Squarespace has better support than Bluehost. Bluehost’s support is fantastic, but there’s only so much they can help you with when you’re building your website. Squarespace, on the other hand, can support you with everything from technical difficulties to design queries.

Here’s a quick overview of how the format of help and support looks for each platform:

Bluehost Squarespace
Phone 24/7
Email
Live chat 24/7 Monday - Friday, 5.30am - 8pm EST
Knowledge base

Bluehost has the best help and support of any hosting provider we’ve tested. Responses are quick, friendly, and helpful, and surpassed our expectations of what ‘good’ service looks like.

But there’s a limit to what Bluehost can help you with. Site downtime or technical hosting questions? Sure. Help customizing themes or managing plugins? Not so much. That’s simply not within Bluehost’s remit of support, and as WordPress doesn’t have its own support team either, you’ll largely be reliant on forums with other WordPress users. The good news is that there are a lot of WordPress users, and there is a real ‘sharing is caring’ attitude within the community.

Squarespace, on the other hand, has a support team there to help you out through all stages of the website building (and management) process. They aren’t available 24/7, or over the phone, but they can assist with a much broader range of queries. One thing they can’t help you with is troubleshooting any custom code blocks you add to their site, but it’s by no means a given that you’d have to add these.

Bluehost vs Squarespace: Summary

Bluehost and Squarespace are different types of platforms, and both performed well in our research for their respective areas. The right one for you depends on your preferred approach to building a website.

To recap, let’s look at the key differences:

Bluehost Squarespace
Pricing Winner! Starts at $2.95/month Starts at $12/month
Features Tie! Add almost anything from the WordPress theme directory, but nothing inbuilt Tie! Inbuilt design tools and features, but can hit a glass ceiling
Ease of Use Not the easiest or fastest way to create a website Winner! Ready-made templates make the website building process really quick
Design Tie! Limitless customization Tie! Quick and easy, but still stylish
Performance Winner! Secure and powerful servers, very scalable plan options Unlimited storage and bandwidth, but not the same range of server options
Support 24/7 phone and live chat support, but only with the hosting side of things Winner! Live chat support within certain hours, plus email. Able to help with all stages of building and maintaining a website
Are You Ready? Visit Bluehost Visit Squarespace

Who should use Bluehost?

  • Anyone with very specific site requirements in mind (who is prepared to pay a designer/spend time learning how to build this themselves)
  • Anyone looking for the cheapest way to build a website
  • Anyone starting an online publication or blog, and who anticipates having hundreds of pages/posts
  • Anyone planning to sell a large inventory of products

Who should use Squarespace?

  • Anyone looking for a quick way to pull together a professional-looking site, and who doesn’t mind paying a little more money for this inconvenience
  • Anyone who’s really not confident with technology, and ideally wants dedicated support on hand
  • Anyone who is looking to sell just a few products

Already using Bluehost or Squarespace and want to share your experience to help other readers? Let us know in the comments!

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About Hannah Whitfield

Hannah Whitfield

I’m Website Builder Expert’s Content Manager, which means I’m in charge of checking everything written for our site, as well as writing my own articles.

I started writing about the wonderful world of the web around two years ago, and haven’t looked back since. Put simply, there’s never been a more exciting time to get online. Having tested all of the best website builders and ecommerce platforms on the market, I’m in a great position to help you do just that!

I hope you find our articles helpful, and please feel free to pop me a message with anything else you’d like to see here on Website Builder Expert.

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