Squarespace vs WordPress | 5 Differences For You To Know

Here are the 5 items you should consider when evaluating Squarespace vs WordPress:

Top Choice Top
Choice
Squarespace
Top Choice Squarespace

Squarespace

8.6out of 10

WordPress

7.4out of 10

Squarespace:

Squarespace is a website builder designed to help creatives get their ideas online. From its range of high-quality template designs to its large collection of powerful features, Squarespace offers the full package for creating a sleek, professional, and stylish website quickly and easily. It's drag and drop approach to website building makes it much more accessible than WordPress, and it's free trial allows you to give it a go to see if it's right for you.

WordPress:

WordPress is an extremely popular website building tool. It's an open source platform which means you have complete freedom to edit your site's code, allowing you to create a website that's entirely your own. The tons of WordPress plugins available on the market also enable you to add extra functionality to your site. You do need a certain level of technical confidence to make the most out of WordPress, though, making it unsuitable for beginners.

Squarespace:

Squarespace is not an open source website builder, so only their in-house developers are responsible in creating their tools.

This means that all their website building tools are built by the same team to ensure that none of the tools will conflict with each other and are of high quality.

All the tools provided by Squarespace are closely controlled, monitored and tested within their own operating environment, so you won't have to worry about certain functions not working, conflicts with your website, or even breaking/crashing your website.

But this does mean that you won't be able to easily integrate non-Squarespace tools (though not impossible if you really want to, to a certain extent).

If any issues arise, Squarespace has a dedicated, 24/7 support team to fix them for you (more details below).

WordPress:

WordPress is an open source platform so you can customize your website however you want to - provided that you are a capable coder (or if you are working with a strong coder).

There are thousands of free plugins you can use to add more functions to your WordPress site. But not all plugins are well built and can expose you to security hazards, or can conflict with / break your website.

The free plugin developers may or may not help you when issues arise. Buying premium plugins will entitle you to support, but that does not guarantee that they will troubleshoot all issues for you as the conflict may be caused by other plugins (which is beyond the premium plugin developers' control).

There are really good WordPress plugins out there, but just be careful and test them thoroughly with your site before using them, or they may have negative implications on the performance of your website.

Squarespace:

Squarespace is a much easier website builder to use, compared to WordPress.It is a drag & drop website builder, so you can place content almost anywhere you want to, without touching a line of code.

Squarespace is ideal for people who are not tech-savvy, don't have interests in learning codes, or just don't have the resources (time & money) to deal with codes or building highly customized sites.

It also provides you with a comprehensive library of user guides (video & text formats), so becoming good at building websites with Squarespace is not too challenging.

But don't be fooled that only beginners use Squarespace, as this platform is used by all levels of website owners (including very advanced users, or large organizations).

WordPress:

The learning curve of using WordPress is much steeper than learning how to use Squarespace.

WordPress is not a drag & drop website builder, so if you want to reformat your page layout (such as inserting a slideshow on the top right corner, or moving a piece of content to an exact spot) you will have to modify your template codes in order to do so (or hire a capable developer to help you do that).

Although WordPress is a very powerful platform, to be able to use it effectively, it's inevitable that you will need to modify some codes to achieve what you want.

If you are proficient with code, or working with a good coder, WordPress can definitely deliver a much more customized site than Squarespace.

Squarespace:

Squarespace provides you with a dedicated, 24/7 support team to answer your questions should you have any.

They provide 24/7 email support (in which they respond within 1 hour), user guides (video & text), live chat (Monday - Friday, between 3am - 8pm EST), and also forum support.

As mentioned above, since all the tools are built by Squarespace themselves, they will be able to take ownership of issues and resolve them (instead of shifting this responsibility to other developers).

Since they have a dedicated support team for you, all questions from you are answered, and it does not matter how many times the same questions were asked by others before (unlike the WordPress forum).

WordPress:

WordPress has a massive forum that includes millions of posts where people are asking questions in search for answers.

A lot of questions are answered, and a lot of questions are also not answered. Also, just because questions are answered, does not mean that they are solved effectively, or at all. Getting questions responded to also might take days.

The challenge is due to the volume of questions being asked, and a lot of the questions have been discussed before. So if you post a question, it might be ignored as it has been asked in the past. So you may have to dig through volumes of forum postings to find some sort of answer to your question.

As mentioned above, no one really "owes" you an answer unless you pay for it. And given WordPress.org and a lot of its plugins are free to use, getting someone to respond can be difficult (unless you hire a good WordPress developer to help you).

Squarespace:

As mentioned above, Squarespace is a "closed" system so they manage all the performance and security updates for you.

You don't have to click any update buttons, or worry about any potential conflicts. All updates are tested by the Squarespace team and deployed to your website automatically.

Having all this managed for you, frees up your time to focus on other things that are more important to you.

WordPress:

WordPress is continually updating its platform to fix bugs and improve security. When there are updates, your WordPress dashboard will alert you, and you just have to click the update button to update your WordPress version.

That is the easy part. The challenging part is that when WordPress updates, your theme and plugins will also need to be updated.

While a lot of theme and plugin creators will also update to ensure they adopt WordPress' latest updates, a lot won't (especially for free themes & plugins). So this potentially exposes your website to user, performance or security issues.

So the ongoing maintenance work, especially if you don't have a person / team dedicated to managing your website, can be an additional burden to you.

Squarespace:

Squarespace offers you 4 price packages (Personal $12/month, Business $18/month, Basic Store $26/month, Advanced Store $40/month). The higher the plan, the more tools you get.

The monthly plans include the drag & drop website building interface (no coding required), designer templates for you to choose from, hosting services, and dedicated support team.

It's pretty much a one-stop-shop service where you pay a monthly fee to get a full serviced package, without having to piece together bits and pieces like you would have to with WordPress.

If you sign up for an annual plan, Squarespace gives you a free domain for the first year ($10 - $15 value).

The ongoing cost of using Squarespace can range from $144 (Personal Plan) to $480 per year (Advanced Store Plan). However, we do have an exclusive Squarespace discount code that will save you 10% on the price of any plan, making the annual cost far cheaper.

Unless you are in need of an advanced ecommerce store set up, you will most likely only need to use the Personal or Business plans. So the price per year will usually range from $144 to $216.

I would say that just the 24/7 dedicated support (with 1 hour email response time & live chat), as well as having all the technology managed for you to free up your time, is already well worth the monthly plans (getting good help on the internet nowadays is difficult and rare).

WordPress:

With WordPress.org, you will have to find your own hosting services which can cost about $7 per month (being very general here, as the range really varies depending on the quality of the hosting services provider. Here is a special rate from Bluehost).

If you purchase a premium theme, this can cost you anywhere from $30 - $80 per theme (depending on how reputable the theme developer is).

While a lot of plugins are free, some of them are paid as well (ranging from $15 - $50 per plugin), depending on what you need and if you want support (as mentioned above).

You will also need to purchase your own domain name ($10 - $15 per year).

The initial investment can range from $139 to over $200, depending how many premium plugins you pick up.

If you hire a developer to help you build your site, make modifications or for troubleshooting, your cost will go up substantially on an ongoing basis, and can be a challenge to budget for.

Don't forget that the learning curve of using WordPress effectively is also fairly high. So you should factor in the cost of your own time as well (this is a "hidden cost").

Squarespace: Easier to use (no need to know code), less maintenance and lower cost and ongoing commitments in the long run.  Costs are very predictable and you get dedicated 24/7 support.

WordPress: More flexibility and highly customizable (if you are proficient with code). But higher maintenance, higher learning curve and most likely higher financial commitment in the long run.  Costs are less predictable, depending on whether you need to hire a coder to help you (no dedicated support), the frequency of hiring, and the quality/caliber of the coder.

Our overall ratings are based on the average score of all ratings combined.

Our scores give you an at-a-glance overview of which service offers you the best features, value, and more.

squarespace 4.3 / 5
wordpress 3.7 / 5

Website Builder (Squarespace) vs WordPress SEO Guide – see our opinion about SEO with website builders such as Squarespace and how it compares to WordPress.

Considering other website builders?

Take a look at our Website Builder Comparison Chart, or take a Free Quiz to see which website builder matches your needs.

You may also find it useful to look at what we think are the Top Website Builders and our reasons why.

Thinking of selling online but not sure which builder to choose? Read our article on the Best Ecommerce Platforms to help you make a decision.

Also see our Comparison Chart of Website Builders for more detailed differences

Not sure which website builder works best for you? Try our Website Builder Matching Quiz

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24 comments

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  • Avatar
    Prashant
    Hey Jeremy, How capable is Squarespace from an SEO and affiliate marketing effort point of view (considering my website will be more like a blog). I've read of some limitations. Prashant India
    1 reply
    • Tom Watts
      Tom Watts
      Hi there, So long as you are creating excellent content that is written for your target market, then you will be putting yourself in a good position, SEO-wise. Squarespace can do quite a lot to help boost your search engine rankings. It does this by generating a crawlable site map for your site, using clean HTML tags for your pages, allows alt tags on images, meta tags for pages and can even help you create AMP pages (which Google looks upon favorably). Your best bet is to create your site, do a little research into basic SEO principles (and I don't mean keyword stuffing!) and use this information to optimize your site. Squarespace has you covered on the technical SEO side. The content side is up to you. Thanks, - Tom
  • Avatar
    Gregory Lucy
    Hey there, Thanks for your nice description on Squarespace vs WordPress and you have shown 5 differences for knowing the users. I hope users will get benefit from your guideline.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Thanks, Gregory. I hope so, too!
  • Avatar
    Tzvi Ben Elya
    One of the big advantages of SquareSpace is their stability, you can count on their features to work. Unfortunately they appear to be changing their strategy by slowly removing key features without first consulting with users. For example, they recently announced a surprise decision to remove their Post by Email feature without first checking with their customers. This was a feature that I actually requested that they expand on. Their response had been that they will consider it for a future release.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hi Tzvi, Thanks for sharing this update with us. It is unfortunate I suppose. For those reading this comment who aren't familiar with this "Post by Email" feature, it allows you to write your blog post in an email, send the email and Squarespace will post the blog post for you. I guess the reason why they removed this feature is that you can actually download an Apple or Android app (the Squarespace Blog App) and create and post your blog posts using this app. I'm guessing that the app is much more integrated with your Squarepace website (compared to just an email) as it is built from the ground up just for blogging purposes. Sometimes, website builders will trim their features if they are outdated and/or not highly utilized by users to remove / reduce bloat. Perhaps they are re-channeling their focus to the blogging app. Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Nurhaida Hanapi
    Hi! I have my own domain and it's powered by Wordpress and after reading up on the benefits of Squarespace, I was wondering if I could use my current domain for Squarespace? Any way I can convert?
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hey Nurhaida, Yes you can. You can just connect your domain name from your domain name registrar to your Squarespace website. Squarespace's support portal will have tutorials on how to do that. Just search for "domain name". You can also see our domain name guide here for more in-depth discussion. Hope this helps! Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Bert
    Hi Jeremy, Great comparison article. I would be a newbie building an author website. Just so I'm clear, with Squarespace, I would have unlimited ability to upload content changes I make to the site, right? And Squarespace itself is doing the hosting for the $8/month personal price? Thank you, Bert
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hey Bert, Yes - you can make unlimited changes to your Squarespace website. For the $8 plan, you everything Squarespace lists out on their pricing page for that specific plan. Note that the Personal plan is $8 / month only if you subscribe for a full year. If you choose to pay on a month-to-month basis, it's $12/month. Hope this helps! Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Tori
    Hey Jeremy, This is SO helpful thank you very much : ) I am considering using Squarespace since I am a beginner and have been trying to figure out wordpress for too long with little progress. I want to start with a very affordable plan and then upgrade as my business grows and I can afford more. Do you know if it's possible to start with a personal squarespace site and then upgrade to a squarespace business site with minimal effort or would I have to start over? My website will be for a therapy and life coaching practice and I won't really be trying to sell much on there so may not need to upgrade but would like to know I have the option if needed. Thanks in advance!
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hi Tori, Glad our comparison here is helpful to you! It's probably even more meaningful as you've had first hand experiences with WordPress. WordPress is a very powerful and awesome website builder, but it only works well if you have the technical skills to use it effectively. Squarespace enables users who are not technical, and who don't want to invest a lot of time to hit the ground running and have a great looking site published quickly. Most business owners are way too busy managing a business, and don't have too much spare time to learn how to code. Or, not everyone has a reasonable budget to hire a designer and coder to help set up WordPress in a professional way. To answer your question - Yes you can definitely start with the lower Personal plan, then upgrade as necessary. You keep your existing site and you just upgrade (or downgrade) your plan. So your website and content will not be affected in anyway way. Hope this helps! Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Nancy
    Hi Jeremy - I'm interested in setting up a personal website for purposes of being an affiliate of an established business. I've secured a domain name through GoDaddy and need to now set up a simple website so that people can order the business' product via my website. I was under the impression that there are "free" websites ... but am not sure this is true. I don't need a complicated, fancy website - more of a utilitarian, functional website with information about ordering the product through me, but with a link to the established business. What do you advise? Many Thanks.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hi Nancy, If you are looking to use a free website builder, Squarespace or WordPress.org will not work for you. Squarespace only has a 14 day free trial period, and WordPress.org require you to get your own hosting solution. Take a look at Wix, Weebly or WordPress.com. All of them have free plans, but they will not allow you to use your own domain name unless you upgrade to one of their subscription plans. I suppose this is a limitation so they can advertise their platform, in return for allowing people to use them for free. Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Dr. Lonnie Jones PFMP
    From a developers perspective: I have worked in both environments and think all of these are valid points. Setting up an initial site is easier on Squarespace (SP) than WordPress (WP) but not by much. There is a steeper learning curve for WP considering that it isn't just drag and drop (unless you have the visual composer or equivalent). WP is cheaper for an initial build compared to SP; however, if you are building an enterprise environment and are familiar with code be prepared to fix a lot of errors. WP is built on PHP (for CMS content) with language injections. You can find Jeff's review of PHP here: http://blog.codinghorror.com/the-php-singularity/While SP is built on HTML5, CSS, and JS with code (block) injections. If you have your MCSD: Windows app store (HTML5), transitioning to SP is effortless, comments are in the content, and code blocks are easy to understand. Learning PHP was similar to the scene in Demolition Man, "He doesn't know how to use the three seashells!" Additionally, MSSQL to MySQL is a completely separate beast that would need to be tamed.
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Thanks Dr. Jones for sharing your thoughts! Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Chris
    Nice comparison. Although I don't think your cost cost comparisons are fair. WP offer so much stuff for free that the initial cost of launching a site is hosting and a domain name. I have build more than 50 wp sites and never once paid for anything premium - this I feel you are neglecting in your comparison. The other one and maybe more important one - what happens if square space goes belly-up? Then you will loose everything that is a risk to consider when choosing a closed setup
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment and fair points. Upgrading to premium plugins or not, is a personal choice and of course depends on each user's own needs. For a couple of our business websites that are built with WordPress, we do have a number of premium (paid) plugins, as we needed the extra functions, and also wanted a plugin provider that will stay updated with WordPress upgrades so that the plugins remain in good working function. So it's really driven by what you need, and what gives you a peace of mind. But I'd agree that generally speaking, most plugins are available for free (but are also exposed to certain risks as discussed in the chart above). As for the potential of Squarespace going belly up - it is a possible risk for sure. One thing I usually look at, is the history of how long a business has been operating for, how reputable they are (businesses with poor reputation has a higher risk of shutting down), who's funding the business, etc. In the case of Squarespace, they have been around since 2004 (over a decade ago), have a very strong brand / reputation, including broadcasting Super Bowl commercials 2 years in a row, and reputable investors have invested in the business. WordPress' parent company, also has a very strong reputation, branding, and are funded by reputable investors as well. I agree that all businesses do have bankruptcy risks, but in the case of Squarespace, my own personal opinion is that they are in a good trajectory to serve even more people who want to build websites, for years to come! Thanks for bringing up your points and adding to this discussion - they're very helpful indeed! Best, Jeremy
  • Avatar
    Jim Tilley
    Hi Jeremy, I have a host for my website and other IT items in Wisconsin. Can SquareSpace sites be hosted on my current host and not use the hosting part of the SquareSpace services? Thanks much, Jim
    1 reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy
      Hi Jim, Squarespace includes all the hosting requirements for you to power your website. So you can't use their drag and drop website builder, while have your own hosting services. The benefit of this, as mentioned in the discussion, is that they take are of all the technical parts of building websites, such as security upgrades, bandwidth management, etc. Hope this helps! Jeremy