Two of the Biggest Website Building Platforms Out There Have a Lot to Set Them Apart
Looking to create a stunning website? Then it’s no surprise you’re choosing between Squarespace and WordPress.
Squarespace is a website builder with the highest quality designer templates on the market. It’s hosted for you, so you don’t have to worry about managing updates or finding a hosting provider. You don’t even need to know code, although the option is there if you want.
WordPress also allows you to build your own website, but it’s not a website builder. We’re reviewing WordPress.org, which is an open source platform and is what most people are referring to when they say “WordPress”. WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com, which is hosted for you and designed more like a website builder. You’ll have to find your own hosting for your WordPress.org website (we recommend Bluehost). And unlike Squarespace, you’ll also definitely need to know how to code. The upside of this is it gives you the ultimate level of customization.
There really is no limit on what you can build with WordPress, which makes it extremely popular. In fact, 32% of the whole internet is powered by WordPress!
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), whereas Squarespace is your typical drag-and-drop website builder. A CMS generally has more in-depth functions than a website builder, meaning you can scale and customize your WordPress site on a more technological level.
On the other hand, Squarespace takes care of complex design functionalities for you, so you can focus on the more artistic aspects of building a website.
Squarespace aims to allow people with creative ideas to succeed without needing coding skills. WordPress aims to give people total freedom to think outside the box and achieve their goals, rewarding more technically-minded creators with greater functionality.
In this article, we’ll compare these two stylish and powerful builders side by side. By breaking down their strengths, weaknesses and differences, we can give you the best idea of which builder is the best for you.
Squarespace and WordPress are very different platforms, so it makes sense they each appeal to different people, and are suitable for building different types of websites.
Like we mentioned earlier, Squarespace is a website builder, with all your templates, features, security measures, SEO tools, and more all ready and waiting. In contrast, WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System), where you’re responsible for every aspect of your website.
Squarespace comes at a set monthly fee, and offers in-house features – everything comes included, so you know exactly what you’re getting, no nasty surprises. Your options are a little more limited than with WordPress, but the trade-off is that it’s all easier to manage. With WordPress, you have full control, from finding a theme to installing plugins, running updates and managing your site’s security. It’s more work, but comes with the perk of total customization!
So just who are they best for?
Squarespace is the best choice for anyone who wants a professional, creative website without committing all their time, effort and tech skills to learning a tricky software. Squarespace’s aim is to help creatives succeed, whether you’re a coding pro or not!
Squarespace’s all-in-one platform is easy to manage, giving you time to focus on your goals. If you want a host of high quality tools right at your fingertips, and don’t want to think about hosting, security, or coding, then Squarespace is ideal!
Squarespace is best if you want a site that looks like it was made by a developer, without needing any advanced tech skills yourself. However, WordPress is the ultimate choice if you’re after complete customization, total control, and a real hands-on approach to your website. It’s perfect if you want a challenge – whether it’s coding, updating, installing, or just learning your way around.
You can build whatever site you like on WordPress, choose any theme or plugin to make it 100% unique, and even use coding to really customize it. You have total ownership over your WordPress site – and in return for your hard work, you get all the power and endless resources that come with this popular CMS platform.
WordPress is best for really complex websites, and can’t be beaten for blogging. However, it’s not ideal for beginners or quick-build websites.
We have an exclusive Squarespace offer code for our readers that will save you 10% on the cost of any Squarespace plan! To redeem this discount, simply enter the offer code: WBE at the checkout and enjoy!
|Ease of Use||Pros||Cons|
The first thing to say is, Squarespace is easier to use than WordPress. It’s not the most beginner-friendly website builder on the market, but if you’re not confident with coding, it’s still the easier choice.
Squarespace Ease of Use
Because Squarespace is a website builder, you can pick, switch, and personalize your templates using drag-and-drop. You simply choose an element like a text box, drag it to where you want it, and drop it – and that’s exactly how it will look once your page is published.
This is called “What You See is What You Get,” or WYSIWYG editing. It makes it super easy to make changes because you’re seeing everything right in front of you, exactly how visitors to your site will be seeing it once it’s live.
WordPress Ease of Use
WordPress is slightly different. Because it’s an open source CMS platform, you use code and third party plugins to customize your pages. This gives you lots more creative control, but makes the whole process a lot more difficult, especially if you’re not tech savvy.
You don’t see your changes as you make them like you do with Squarespace. Instead, you make edits in the backend. This is like flipping switches backstage. You can walk round to the front to see which lights you’ve turned on, then go back behind the curtain to change the settings.
However, WordPress does also offer a builder-like feature: the “Gutenburg editor” helps you compose the text and media on each individual webpage. Instead of typing out custom code or plugins, you’ll use “blocks” that allow you to quickly add elements like a paragraph, quote, image, or header image.
You’ll likely still need additional plugins, but this editor helps bring WordPress a little more in line with the ease of use that Squarespace offers.
WordPress is highly customizable. It’s a powerful and flexible platform, which is great if you’re confident with code. If you’ve got money rather than coding skills, you can hire a developer to help you at around $100 an hour. This will raise the cost of your website, but reduce the amount of tech you need to deal with.
Beginner and Budget-friendly Building
If you don’t want to hire a developer or don’t have time for the steep learning curve that comes with WordPress, Squarespace offers a much more beginner-friendly experience.
Although it has less freedom in its customization, Squarespace still offers super flexible and stylish designs. More importantly, it affords you lots of creative control, whether you’re a tech guru or total code-phobe.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Ease of Use: The Verdict
Squarespace is easier to use than WordPress. With Squarespace, you can easily modify your design, while WordPress requires coding. This makes Squarespace much more beginner friendly, as you can simply drag and drop features onto your pages.
- Read our Squarespace Review for a fuller look at this builder’s ease of use
- How hard can it be? Read our WordPress.org Review to find out more about this popular platform
- Find out about the Easiest Website Builders in our in-depth review
- Neither of these sounding right for you? Check out our comparison chart to see other leading builders side by side
If you want a website builder but don’t want to compromise on design, don’t worry: Squarespace has the best quality designs of any website builder on the market. Its designer templates are clean, modern and professional. You’ve got over 60 to choose from, covering a variety of categories from online stores to blogs and podcasts.
If you’re up for the coding side of things, WordPress has even more to tickle your fancy. Thousands of themes mean you have nothing to worry about besides picking one! And that’s not all. You can browse commercial themes, or even upload your own theme to host on WordPress and be downloaded by others.
The great thing about WordPress is anyone and everyone can create, share and add new themes to the platform. But that can also be risky! There’s the chance of downloading malicious code contained in themes, which then opens up your site to security breaches.
So keep watch for faulty WordPress themes, and make sure any you’re downloading are safe, secure, and reliable.
Once you’ve chosen your theme, you want to have fun with it! Make it yours and change things up by adding images and videos, or changing the fonts and backgrounds.
With Squarespace, you can customize to your heart’s content. See all your changes right in front of you and easily add galleries, slideshows, video backgrounds, and more with just a few clicks. If you want to go even further and really get creative – and technical – you can use the built-in custom CSS editor. This lets you apply custom code to your template.
Of course, WordPress has quite rightly made a name for itself in this area, giving you ultimate control over your website. It may not be quite as easy as drag-and-drop, but there are no limits on what you can change in your template.
One of the most important parts of picking a template is making sure it looks great on all devices. When you’ve put so much hard work into giving it that wow factor, you don’t want your site to be the ugly duckling of the mobile world. Mobile responsive templates make sure your website still looks stunning on, you guessed it, mobile devices.
All of Squarespace’s templates are fully mobile optimized. Every template design has a mobile view automatically built in, which makes sure your website looks great on all devices. This even includes any emails you send.
WordPress is slightly different. Because there are so many themes to choose from, there are different levels of quality. Some themes will be older than others, meaning they don’t have mobile optimization. In a world where over 50% of traffic comes from mobile users, you’d be missing out by choosing an outdated theme.
One way of ensuring a better experience for your mobile users is to enable AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This just creates lightweight, simplified versions of your pages, meaning they load much faster on mobile devices. Not only that, Google actually works with AMP to prioritize these mobile-friendly pages in search results.
You can quickly and easily enable AMP on both Squarespace and WordPress. All Squarespace pages are automatically ready for you to enable AMP. With WordPress, you just need to install an AMP plugin, and then you’ll be good to go!
With so many designs to choose from with both Squarespace and WordPress, it would be too hard to pick just one and stick with it forever. Luckily, you can change your template any time you like!
This is a more complex process on WordPress, so it’s a good idea to backup your website before you set out to switch your theme.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Design Flexibility: The Verdict
Squarespace has better design flexibility than WordPress. While WordPress has more themes than Squarespace, they’re not as high quality. All of Squarespace’s themes are designer and mobile optimized. It’s much easier to switch templates with Squarespace, and it supports best practice in user experience and branding.
You don’t just want your website to look good. Beneath that attractive design, you want it to pack one hell of a punch. That’s where features come into play.
Squarespace has tons of built-in features. Squarespace has top quality customization, ecommerce, blogging, and design tools, to name just a few! The list goes on and on, but here’s a sneak peek at just a handful of the features included with Squarespace:
- Free Typekit and Google fonts
- Adobe Image Editor
- Install multiple templates
- Audio collections
- Dropbox file synchronization
- Social integration
- Blogging features
- Email campaigns
- Product quick view
- Sell unlimited digital and physical products and services
All of these plus much, much more all come as standard automatically included in your Squarespace editor. You don’t have to install extra apps or plugins – simply go to your dashboard and select the feature you want to use. Easy! You’ll be blogging, selling, creating and sharing in no time.
WordPress is known for its powerful functionality. A lot of this is down to the endless plugins you can install, but there are in-built features to make the most of too. Some of these include:
- Customizable designs
- Publishing tools such as scheduling
- Password protected pages
- Multiple contributors
- Image editing tools
- Comments management
- Multilingual options
These features aim to make publishing your website with WordPress simple and effective. Although there are fewer intuitive features than Squarespace, WordPress isn’t left in the dust.
The multilingual option means you don’t even have to publish your site in English: in fact, you can choose from over 70 languages!
It’s not enough to just have loads of features – there needs to be quality as well as quantity. Squarespace updates and introduces new features every few months. This keeps current features from becoming outdated, and gives you new tools to play with when they come out. Everything you need is right there at your fingertips.
WordPress is a little different. Because you’re managing your own site, you need to check for new releases and update your website to keep up. This is really important because an outdated site is more at risk of being hacked. However, hosting providers like Bluehost carry out automatic WordPress updates for you on their tailored WordPress plans, making your life easier and keeping your website secure.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Features: The Verdict
Squarespace offers more robust features than WordPress. WordPress relies more on its vast range of plugins rather than quality in-house features, whereas Squarespace comes with everything you need to create a stunning and powerful website. What’s more, it came top in our research for the quality of its features.
|Apps & Plugins||Pros||Cons|
WordPress is an open source platform, meaning that its codes are open to everybody to use and customize. Any developers or programmers can use WordPress to create their own tools (such as templates, themes or plugins) to share for free, or sell to other WordPress users.
There are more than 55,000 WordPress plugins, and that number is only going up. This is an amazing range of choice! You can expand the functionality of your site in any way you can think of. Sell through your WordPress site with WooCommerce, add contact forms, open comment sections, improve your Google rankings with SEO plugins… the possibilities are endless.
There are free and premium plugins on WordPress, so there’s something for every site – just be aware that quality and cost often go hand in hand. For one, paid plugins often come with more support. Another important thing to consider is how faulty plugins can make your website far more susceptible to being hacked.
With such a large community, it’s impossible to police the quality of all the products being created and downloaded. Some plugins are being created by developers at the top of the industry; others are being made by rookies, who can make mistakes and leave gaps which hackers can use to gain access to your site.
We’re not saying this to scare you, or put you off! But it’s an important thing to remember when you’re faced with thousands of plugins to choose from. Make sure you’re choosing relevant plugins from reputable sources, and make sure they provide a service you really need; keep the number to a minimum.
Squarespace doesn’t have a separate app store, or offer extra plugins to add to your website. It does have apps, such as the blog app, analytics app, note app, and portfolio app, but they are all integrated already.
This means you know for certain that you can trust these apps, that they’ll work seamlessly with your Squarespace site, and that you’ll have hands-on support in case you need help.
How Do They Compare?
Think of Squarespace like a restaurant. Your food is prepared and cooked in-house. Your waiter knows the menu inside out, and is there to answer questions. You can pick and choose what you want, but all the food arrives from the Squarespace kitchen.
WordPress is more like a fancy buffet. It’s got dishes from all different places and all different kitchens. You don’t know exactly where some of them were made, and some are better quality than others.
With WordPress, you have to put the dishes together yourself. This is perfect if you know all about which flavors work best together, but the waiter can’t help with all your questions because the food was made somewhere else.
Either way, you can end up with a delicious meal – it’s just how you want it to end up on your plate!
Squarespace vs WordPress – Apps and Plugins: The Verdict
WordPress has a better range of plugins than Squarespace. WordPress has thousands of plugins, while Squarespace has a smaller variety of in-house apps. With WordPress you have more choice, but you must be careful when you’re choosing. Squarespace has less choice, but less risk.
What is SEO?
You’ve perfected your stunning designs. You’ve got the features and apps of your website running like clockwork. Now all you need is an admiring audience to appreciate all that hard work. Time to become an SEO pro!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this is what gets you found in Google search results. If your website has bad SEO, it could stay stuck in the 100th results page forever. With amazing SEO, you could get to number one.
But who wakes up one morning ready to be an SEO expert? That’s where your chosen builder can help you.
Squarespace has built-in SEO tools to boost your website. This includes indexed and searchable pages, automatic tagging, canonical tagging, clean URLs, robots.txt, automatic redirects, automatic Google Sitemaps, and more. All of these are totally integrated, so you don’t need to download any extra plugins for total SEO power.
If none of that made any sense, don’t worry! Squarespace does that all for you, so you don’t have to spend a second thinking about it.
WordPress creates SEO-friendly websites, but there’s more you can do to reach the masses. As always, it comes down to plugins, and some of the most popular plugins on WordPress are for SEO.
For example, Yoast SEO has a five star rating from over 22,000 reviews, and has over 5 million active installations. Yoast guides you through the best SEO practices, from creating cornerstone content to adding keywords and meta descriptions. This takes care of your WordPress SEO, unlocking powerful features for you to tackle.
Best SEO for You
So which is best? This really depends on you. WordPress certainly has more room for powerful tools with these hefty SEO plugins, but this is no use if you can’t get to grips with it.
Squarespace’s in-built SEO features do a lot of the work for you, plus anything you need to do yourself will be more guided. Either way, you won’t be languishing in the dregs of Google’s search results.
Squarespace vs WordPress – SEO: The Verdict
WordPress has more SEO power, but Squarespace is better for beginners and in-house tools. By installing SEO plugins on WordPress, you can choose powerful tools like Yoast. But if you want built-in features and much less work, then Squarespace is the better choice.
If you want to sell online, you can! Both Squarespace and WordPress have the tools to let you create a powerful online store. Squarespace lets you create an all-in-one store, with all your sales tools at your fingertips. WordPress relies on plugins like WooCommerce to add ecommerce to your site.
The Business plan is designed for small stores, and charges a 3% transaction fee on every sale you make. You can create promotional pop-ups, sell unlimited products and accept donations, have a professional email and more.
For serious selling, you’ll need to upgrade to an ecommerce plan – you can choose from the $26 per month Basic plan, or the $40 per month Advanced plan. With these, you unlock a whole range of advanced ecommerce features, including:
- 0% transaction fees
- Inventory, orders, tax, and coupons
- Label printing
- Product listings on Instagram
- Gift cards
- Abandoned cart recovery
All of this is automatically included – you don’t need to install, activate, or update anything to access these features. Just upgrade to the best plan for you and start selling!
Selling with WordPress – Plugins
You can create a really powerful online store on WordPress using the ecommerce plugin WooCommerce. WooCommerce is specially designed for WordPress users, to help them sell online!
Because it was built for WordPress, you don’t need to worry about WooCommerce not being compatible with your website or your plugins – it’s easy to install, as well as free!
WooCommerce has every tool in the box, making it a powerful way to kick-start your ecommerce business. Some of those features include:
- Digital and physical products
- Payment and shipping options
- Hundreds of themes
- Inventory management
One of the main benefits of WooCommerce is that it’s totally customizable – so you can align your branding, sell whatever products you want, and even integrate ecommerce with powerful blogging tools.
Other Ecommerce Plugins
Of course, WooCommerce isn’t the only plugin out there, but it is the most popular and most highly recommended. But, other plugins can give you a more tailored service – for example if you need a membership service or only need to sell digital downloads.
A few of these worth checking out include Ecwid and Easy Digital Downloads. You can even use an ecommerce website builder like BigCommerce or Shopify to build your store, then easily integrate it with your WordPress site
Safe to say, you’ve got lots of options!
How Do They Compare?
Squarespace gives you all the tools you need to run a small to medium sized store successfully, for a set price per month. Its high quality designs are easy to customize, which is perfect for branding and really making your products shine. It’s easy to budget for and manage day to day.
WordPress has a range of options for setting up an online store – the most highly recommended is the plugin WooCommerce. This gives you a totally customizable platform to build your store on – this is great as it means you can tailor it to your needs.
WooCommerce will take longer to build from scratch unless you already have a WordPress site, and is harder to budget for because of the range of extra features (such as hosting) that you need to factor in per month.
Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting plans make the setup process a whole lot easier. With prices for new customers starting at just $13.99 $6.95 per month, you get:
- WooCommerce auto-install
- WooCommerce Storefront theme pre-installed
- Free domain name and SSL certificate
- 24/7 support from in-house WordPress experts
If you already have a WordPress site, then WooCommerce is the clear choice. If you’re looking to set up an online store from scratch, then Squarespace can give you a professional site in about half the time.
Squarespace now offers an integration with Square, meaning you can sell products offline, take card payments, and keep everything synced with your online inventory. WooCommerce also offers an integration with Square, so you’ve got options with either platform – all you need is the Square card reader ($49) and the relevant apps to get started!
Squarespace vs WordPress – Ecommerce: The Verdict
Squarespace beats WordPress in ecommerce. Squarespace’s sales features are all built-in, so you’re ready to start selling right away on any of its ecommerce plans. You must install a plugin before you can start selling with WordPress, but this can give you a more powerful store than with Squarespace.
- Does Squarespace sound like the right option for you? Read our Squarespace Ecommerce Review to find out more.
- Do you want something between the simplicity of Squarespace and the power of WooCommerce? Read our Shopify Review to see what a dedicated ecommerce builder has to offer!
- Find out about The Best Ecommerce Website Builders to make the best choice for your business!
- Want to compare Squarespace to other top ecommerce website builders? Read our article on the Best Ecommerce Platforms to choose the right one for you
A blog is a great way to connect with your audience or simply document your work online. But not all websites are built to display a regularly updated stream of articles. Squarespace and WordPress are both up to the task of supporting a high-quality blog, but they offer slightly different tools to help bloggers create a website.
Squarespace Blogging Tools
One of Squarespace’s best blog-friendly features are its free blogger templates. Users can pick from a variety of modern interfaces that display blog posts on the homepage either in a single reverse chronological feed or in a more compact magazine-style grid of blog posts. Many allow multiple authors to contribute, making it easy to run a blog with friends or coworkers.
Within Squarespace, blog posts can be tagged, categorized, and edited. They can also be excerpted, and a link to each new post can be automatically sent to social media feeds like Facebook and Twitter.
In other words, Squarespace lets you accomplish all the basics needed to easily operate a sleek blog.
WordPress Blogging Tools
Like Squarespace, WordPress has plenty of free templates aimed at bloggers. The service also has built-in features that include all the tagging and categorizing ability a blogger needs, and a variety of plugins to help bloggers connect to social media.
For serious bloggers who want to design their own look, WordPress also lets users access HTML directly — an ability Squarespace doesn’t make available. Granted, you’re unlikely to need to go into the code very often thanks to the plugins the website platform lets you use, but it’s there if you need it.
Another big differentiator is the blogging community that WordPress has to offer. Anyone with a WordPress account can comment on any other WordPress blog, provided that blogger doesn’t disable the ability. Since WordPress already powers nearly a third of the websites on the internet, there are plenty of WordPress accounts that might stumble upon your blog and leave a comment without any of the friction of needing to log into a new commenting account first.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Blogging: The Verdict
WordPress has a better blogging platform than Squarespace. Blogging is at the core of what WordPress is built for, and thanks to abundant plugins and a commenting ability built into every WordPress account, it’s just a little easier to get your blog off the ground with WordPress than with Squarespace, despite Squarespace’s solid array of blogging templates and tools.
When you’re on the go, your website needs to be as well! You don’t have to be chained to your desktop to run your website anymore – now you can just put your site in your pocket and manage it wherever you go.
Squarespace Mobile Editors
Squarespace has various apps to let you manage your site on the go, from updating content to posting on your blog or tracking your site’s performance, all from your phone. There are four mobile apps available:
- Analytics (iOS and Android) – View key statistics for your website
- Blog (iOS and Android) – Write, edit, share, and manage blog posts
- Commerce (iOS and Android) – Manage your store
- Squarespace App (iOS only) – Update pages, add images to galleries, write and edit blog posts, review pages, and track analytics
For actually editing pages you’ll need the Squarespace App, which combines certain functions from across the other three mobile apps. The Squarespace App includes functions such as writing blog posts, adding images, and reviewing traffic analytics.
You can easily download any of these apps for free, from either the Apple Store, or Google Play depending on your device.
WordPress Mobile Editor
For managing your WordPress site on the go you’ll need WordPress Mobile Apps. Choose from iOS, Android, and Desktop apps to update and draft blog posts, track your site’s stats, keep up with notifications, and more, all from the palm of your hand.
All you need to do is install the right app for your device (it’s free!) and you’re good to go. Simply connect the app to your website and say hello to on the go management.
Here’s a few things you can do with the WordPress Mobile App:
- Add, edit, or remove pages and posts
- Analyze stats
- Manage comments
- Add, edit, or remove pages and posts
- Snap photos or videos on your phone and add to a post
Why Use a Mobile Editor?
Once upon a time, you had to be chained to a computer just to check your emails, but nowadays that’s blissfully not the case. Not only can you send emails, enjoy social media, and surf the web from your phone, with mobile editors you can even manage your website on the go!
This is the freedom mobile editor apps give you.
Mobile apps are especially important if you’re running a business site, because it means your visitors don’t have to wait for replies or new content while you’re out and about. Time is money, and as any blogger will tell you, consistency and frequency are other super important factors for a successful site.
There are lots of benefits to using mobile apps – from managing your content, quickly checking your site’s stats, or even replying to comments, it’s a great way of staying connected to your site and on top of your to do list.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Mobile Editor: The Verdict
Squarespace and WordPress tie for mobile editors! This really comes down to personal preference – Squarespace gives you more choice about which app suits your needs best, while WordPress offers a fuss-free single solution. Both offer options for iOS and Android, and are free to install.
One important thing you should know is that WordPress is continuously updating its platform to fix bugs and improve security. This means that whenever it rolls out updates – which could be multiple times a year – you may also need to update your WordPress site.
Thankfully, some reputable theme and plugin developers will also update their products to make it easier for you to update them within your website and remain compatible with WordPress updates. The real headache comes when you have a custom theme and are also using multiple plugins.
Dangers of Outdated Sites and Plugins
While some developers will bear WordPress updates in mind when updating their own products, this is not always the case.
Without the right updates, you run the risk of these tools causing conflicts, harming the performance of your website, not working properly with the updated version of WordPress, or even crashing your site.
Here is an article from WPEngine, one of the premier WordPress hosting services, about replacing a security plugin with its own in-house built security system. This security plugin is quite commonly used by WordPress sites, but has not been updated for over two years – meaning security risks have increased significantly.
In Securi’s report, they’ve identified that in most instances, WordPress websites that were hacked had little, if anything to do with the platform itself.
The reason the websites were hacked had to do with improper deployment, configuration, and overall maintenance by the webmasters and their hosts.
Do It Yourself Updates
While WordPress is a fantastic 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).
Also, when you receive a notification from WordPress to update your version of the site, you should do so quickly as outdated versions of WordPress may present security risks (just as this website has been hacked to display spam messages). Keep in mind that when you update your version of WordPress, this may potentially conflict with your other tools and website features.
Bluehost’s WordPress hosting plans include free automatic daily WordPress updates, to ensure your website is kept secure. Prices start from just $2.95/month – a small price to pay for protection against hackers!
By contrast, with Squarespace, ongoing maintenance is simple. All updates are tested and pushed to your website automatically; Squarespace takes care of all that for you, so you can focus your time on other things that may be more important for you.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Ongoing Maintenance: The Verdict
Squarespace beats WordPress when it comes to maintenance. It’s much less work than WordPress because all updates are managed for you. There’s no danger of downloading an outdated plugin like there is with WordPress – instead, everything is automatically handled in-house. With this low maintenance system, Squarespace saves you time and effort.
The internet is a wonderful place. It can be fun, exciting, educational, and social. But it can also be scary. Just like in the real world, your website needs security to keep it safe from intruders. You wouldn’t leave your front door wide open, and your website is no different.
With Squarespace, it’s like having a bouncer standing in front of your house. Squarespace looks after the security of your website for you; it’s the platform’s responsibility to make sure your website is safe from hackers, and that the system stays online and running smoothly. And overall, Squarespace does a pretty stellar job!
You also get an SSL certificate included in all Squarespace plans. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and encrypts data which is entered into your site. This is incredibly important: not only does an SSL certificate build trust with visitors, but it helps you rank higher in Google. It’s even more essential if you’re selling through your website, as it protects customers’ payment details.
The only drawback is that big ships attract pirates. As Squarespace has become more popular, it has suffered from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These are basically attempts to disrupt normal traffic and prevent it from reaching a server.
WordPress is not as liable to these DDoS attacks, but it really depends on the hosting provider you choose. With WordPress, it’s your responsibility to look after the security of your website. This includes sorting out your own SSL certificate, carrying out regular backups, and regularly updating your WordPress site. There are plugins to help with some of the running of your site, but ultimately it’s down to you.
Web hosting providers, like Bluehost, provide free SSL certificates, automatic updates of your website, and backups, to help you manage your WordPress website’s security.
Another thing you must do is carefully choose reliable plugins. We’ve already mentioned how outdated plugins can weaken your site, or even make it crash. But that’s not all. Some plugins can actually contain harmful code which will affect your website’s security.
How Do They Compare?
The main difference between WordPress and Squarespace is what happens if something does go wrong. If Squarespace is under a DDoS attack, it’ll let you know while its in-house experts sort everything out for you.
If you install a faulty or malicious plugin to your WordPress site and get hacked, you’ll be putting out fires on your own.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Security: The Verdict
Squarespace is more secure than WordPress. It’s less vulnerable than WordPress because all its features are in-house, resulting in less security breaches. Squarespace has expert support and handles everything for you. You don’t have to manage your own security, whereas with WordPress you manage your own security and are responsible for everything from SSL certificates onwards.
If you create a website through any online platform, it’s a good idea to check up on their content ownership policies: You don’t want to accidentally give up the rights to your own work, after all.
The biggest online companies know that they can’t steal content without a huge backlash, of course, and both Squarespace and WordPress try to keep their customers as happy as possible. Here’s how each company approaches the content ownership issue.
Squarespace Content Ownership
Everything you upload to Squarespace remains your content, and you can take it with you if you leave Squarespace in the future. You don’t own the website template however: technically, it’s just licensed, even if you paid for it, and you won’t be able to keep your site looking exactly the same if you choose to leave.
There’s one catch, too. According to the fine print, everything you upload to a Squarespace website is actually being licensed to the company. You’re giving them a “right and license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works of, communicate, publish, publicly display, publicly perform and distribute User Content for the limited purposes of allowing [Squarespace] to provide, improve, promote and protect the Services.”
It sounds scary, but it’s not actually any worse than the fine print you’ve likely already agreed to for Facebook, Twitter, or another other major online service. The bottom line is that Squarespace won’t use your content, unless it’s to promote or feature your website… and you can even opt out of that if you’d like.
WordPress Content Ownership
All WordPress.org websites function thanks to the free WordPress.org open source content management system. As with any open source software, all the source code is available to all and can be redistributed and modified at will.
It’s behind WordPress’ strengths, since it means the software is incredibly flexible and adaptable, and it’s also behind its weakness, since the software can be complex and require coding knowledge.
But since it’s meant to be used freely, the company doesn’t impose the same content licensing terms that Squarespace uses. Your content remains yours, and isn’t even licensed.
Granted, there’s still one catch: If you use WordPress, you’re still responsible for your hosting service, and most good hosting services do include the same licensing terms that Squarespace uses. Either way, you’ll still mostly retain control of your content.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Content Ownership: The Verdict
WordPress is better than Squarespace when it comes to content ownership. Both companies offer roughly the same deal: they won’t gain any rights over your content, but they also won’t give you any permanent rights to their templates should you choose to leave their platform. However, WordPress’ status as an open source software means you’re completely free from licensing terms – although it’s wise to check if the same is true of your hosting provider.
What happens if you choose Squarespace or WordPress, but then change your mind later down the line? Do you get trapped forever, with your content held hostage until the end of time? Thankfully, the answer to such dramatic questions is no.
You can migrate your website to a new platform, whether you want to move from WordPress to Squarespace, or the other way around. While your platform won’t hold you hostage, it is usually harder to export content than import it, so it won’t always be a hassle-free task.
Also, be prepared for a fresh start in more ways than one – you can’t migrate audio, video, events or product pages, or the styling of your website. That’s the same with both WordPress and Squarespace, so you’ll need to redesign your site when you migrate.
Migrating from WordPress to Squarespace
So how easy is it? Well, Squarespace has a built-in import tool for moving your WordPress site across, as well as helpful guides to walk you through each step. It’s pretty straightforward – set up a Squarespace site, pick your design, then use the Advanced import option to transfer content from your WordPress.org site.
Make sure you disable any plugins first, and transfer using .xml files.
Squarespace will import all of your:
- Blog pages, posts, and authors
- Categories and tags
- Site Pages
Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress
Exporting content from Squarespace is a little more tricky. If you don’t already have a WordPress site, you’ll need to set one up (including finding hosting, installing WordPress, and registering or transferring your domain name).
Once you’ve done this, you can export your Squarespace content. You’re more limited in what you can export from Squarespace – here are the main things you can move across:
- Regular pages
- One blog page and all its posts
- Gallery pages
- Image blocks
- Text blocks
So, you’ll have a lot more work to do if you’re moving from Squarespace to WordPress. But Squarespace still gives you step-by-step guides to help you complete your migration. How simple or complicated it is will depend on the content of your site, for example if it’s an online store.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Site Migration: The Verdict
It’s a tie between Squarespace and WordPress for site migration. Squarespace makes it easier to import from WordPress, but WordPress is easier to export content from than Squarespace. At the end of the day, they both allow you to migrate your site, giving you the freedom to leave if you want.
|Help & Support||Pros||Cons|
WordPress Help and Support
When it comes to support, WordPress has a massive community and vast amounts of resources and tutorials to help you. However, in our experience, it’s hard to find good and relevant help due to information overload.
This is mainly due to the fact that anyone can develop tools for WordPress, so the quality of the tools are not monitored. Most of the time, only the original developer of the tool can help you – and that’s assuming they are even willing to help.
One alternative is to hire a contractor who is skilled in WordPress to help you configure your website, but that can get expensive very quickly – even if you outsource to the likes of India, Eastern Europe or Asia where wages are not as high.
Squarespace Help and Support
Squarespace, meanwhile, has a centralized support team dedicated to its own website builder. This team has developed a library of help guides, workshop videos, and a community forum to help you build your website. You’ll also be able to talk to a member of the support team via get live chat and 1-hour email support.
Furthermore, since Squarespace creates and tests its own tools, the chances of your website running into issues are fairly low.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Help and Support: The Verdict
Squarespace outdoes WordPress in the help and support category. While WordPress has a larger community forum, Squarespace’s knowledge base is much easier to use. In-house support means you’re guaranteed an answer to your question, unlike on WordPress. Squarespace has a strong support system including guides, videos, and email support.
|Pricing & Value for Money||Pros||Cons|
Squarespace vs WordPress Pricing Overview
Squarespace has four pricing plans ranging from $12 to $40 per month. These are set prices with no hidden fees. In contrast, WordPress is a free platform requiring paid extras such as hosting, plugins, and themes, for context, Wix’s pricing starts at $13 per month for their Combo plan. To conclude, pricing for WordPress is more flexible, but Squarespace pricing is easier to budget for.
Before building a website, it’s important to consider how much you’d be willing to invest in it. How much to invest in your website is definitely a very important consideration.
All of Squarespace’s plans have unlimited storage and come with a free domain name for the first year (worth $10-15). The dedicated 24/7 support included in your Squarespace plan is a valuable feature, as it could save you hours if you’re ever in need of some help.
Squarespace offers 4 premium pricing plans, ranging from $12-40 per month (billed yearly).
If you sign up to an annual plan, you can save between 13% and 25% compared to signing up to a month-to-month plan.
|Squarespace Pricing Plans||Monthly Plan ($/month)||Annual Plan ($/month)||Savings (%)|
The cheapest Personal plan costs just $12 per month (billed annually) and gives you all you need to create a simple and stylish website.
The next plan up is the Business plan at $18 per month. Perfect for businesses, it supports ecommerce and has over double the features available on the Personal plan.
The remaining two plans are aimed at creating online stores. The $26 per month Basic plan includes all the features from the Business plan, plus advanced ecommerce tools. The most expensive plan is the Advanced plan at $40 per month, which is aimed at growing businesses.
Don’t forget: all Squarespace plans come with a 14-day free trial so you can give it a go before signing up to a premium plan.
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WordPress is a free platform, but you’ll still need to get your wallet out to help cover other aspects of your site. Five main factors to think about when working out your costs are:
- Hosting – paying a hosting provider for space online where you can install and store your WordPress site
- Themes – while some themes are free, for top quality it’s worth thinking about investing in paid themes, or a designer
- Ecommerce integration – if you want to sell through your site, you’ll need ecommerce tools
- Plugins – reliable and trustworthy plugins can expand your website and are worth paying for
- Developer costs – are you building this site yourself? Are you hiring a developer to help you? This decision will affect your overall budget
WordPress will require you to sort your own hosting, which generally costs around $7 per month (so roughly $84 per year). WordPress recommends using either Bluehost, Dreamhost or SiteGround (click to read our reviews of them). Bluehost is our top-rated WordPress hosting provider, scoring an impressive 4.8 / 5.
On top of this, you will most likely need to purchase a theme, which on average could cost about $30-80 per theme. How much you spend will depend on how reliable and reputable the theme developer is (as a rule of thumb, the more expensive the product, the more reliable it is).
If you want to add more functions to your WordPress site, you may need to add a few free or paid plugins. This could come to around $15-50 per plugin, again depending on the reputation of the developer.
So the initial investment for a WordPress website could range from $139 to $200 or higher, depending on how many paid plugins you decide to pick up. Also, remember this does not come with support.
Depending on your WordPress needs, you may also have to hire a contract developer or designer to implement them – which could end up costing you thousands.
1) Cost of Building a Website – we share our own experiences and our own pricing guide here
2) See our video guide on how to set up a WordPress site with your own hosting
WordPress Estimated Costs
All in all, the estimates we have provided for the cost of setting up a WordPress site are at the lower end.
According to Elegant Themes, a popular WordPress theme developer, setting up and running a WordPress site (without hiring any external help) could cost you anything from $200 to $1,000+.
The main costs are attached to purchasing premium themes and plugins. Premium themes typically range from $50-200 a month, while premium plugins can vary from $15-200.
A standard domain costs roughly $12 per year. Hosting is very dependent on the provider you choose, but on average, hosting prices tend to fall between $10 and $30 a month.
Note that this does not factor in ongoing costs; if you need to hire someone to help you make modifications to your WordPress site or to help troubleshoot, this will inflate the cost even more.
Elegant Themes also estimated that a custom WordPress theme will cost you around $3,000-6,000 (for design and development), while a custom WordPress website will be around $6,000-15,000 (for design and development plus custom plugins). You can see their estimates here.
Squarespace vs WordPress – Pricing: The Verdict
WordPress has better pricing than Squarespace. It’s a free platform, unlike Squarespace, so your spending is totally under your control. You can choose hosting, plugins, and themes to match your budget. However, even these essentials can increase your costs. Unexpected price hikes aren’t a danger with Squarespace’s set plans.
- Read our Squarespace Pricing Review for more details on this builder’s plans
- Want to find out more about WordPress Hosting? Check out our review of the Best WordPress Hosting Provider for more information.
- Read our Bluehost Review to find out more about pricing, features and more.
Squarespace and WordPress are both design giants of the website building world. Either will help you create a beautiful and powerful website. But there are some big differences too.
Squarespace is aimed at people who lack expert tech skills. You don’t need to code to create a website on Squarespace, but with its high quality designs, people will have a hard time believing it! You can code if you want to, but thanks to its drag and drop editor, it’s not essential.
WordPress is only suitable for the more technically confident. You will need to code, and you will need to be happy managing, updating, and protecting your own website. The results will be satisfying, though; WordPress is extremely popular, and if you’re on the technical ball, you can create a website that’s stylish and packed with features.
Overall, Squarespace offers an encompassing package that’s suitable for most people. Squarespace is easier to use than WordPress, but still builds impressively professional websites. It’s less vulnerable to threats, and is much lower maintenance than WordPress.
On the other hand, WordPress has undeniably earned its reputation as the power platform of the internet. But for an advanced and accessible all-around builder, Squarespace is the real deal.
Here is a summary table of our comparison above.
|Squarespace vs WordPress|
|Ease of Use||A very user-friendly, drag-and- drop website builder. You can build a website without knowing how to code or hiring anyone for help.||Steep learning curve, especially if you are a beginner. You need to know how to code and be technically savvy, or hire someone who is.|
|Design||Stunning, customizable designer templates built with great user experience in mind.||A lot of choice when it comes to themes, but none are quite as state-of-the-art, and you’ll need to have some coding skills to reap the full benefits.|
|Features||A range of in-built features with impressive quality covering a variety of areas. New features are regularly added and updated.||Smaller range of in-built features – more reliant on third party plugins for extra functionality.|
|Apps and Plugins||No external apps or plugins to install, as they’re all fully integrated into Squarespace already. This means they’re all compatible and updated.||Thousands of plugins to choose from to install to your WordPress site. Endless extra functions available. However, this can be risky due to outdated and poor quality plugins.|
|SEO||SEO features already built-in and managed for you.||SEO plugins can add powerful tools and guides to your WordPress site.|
|Ecommerce||Built-in sales features, including great inventory size, but slightly lacking in apps and payment options.||Difficult to navigate and lacking in customer support. But if you can figure it out, it’s a powerful, customizable platform.|
|Blogging||Good choice of blogging templates and tools to get you off the ground, but simply not as robust as the blogging resources that WordPress has.||Tailored for blogging, with a wide supply of plugins and built-in features. Also has a community of bloggers, and lets you leave comments on other WordPress blogs.|
|Mobile Editor||Mobile apps are free and easy to install. You get four different options to choose from, so you can tailor the experience to suit your site’s needs.||Also free and easy to install. Only comes with one option for each device – which is ideal if you’re looking for a straightforward solution.|
|Ongoing Maintenance||Very little – Squarespace is a “closed” environment, meaning they control all aspects of the platform and manage all the updates and maintenance work for you.||Requires frequent maintenance, especially if the platform, theme or plugins are updated by their developers. You are responsible for maintaining all aspects of your website.|
|Security||All security and updates are managed for you. If there is a security issue, Squarespace’s experts will deal with it.||You are responsible for managing the security of your website.|
|Content Ownership||Won’t gain any rights over your content. However, you’ll have to make the effort to opt out of the fine print, which just states that Squarespace can use your content to promote or feature your website.||Won’t gain any rights over your content, and has none of the licensing terms that Squarespace does. However, you’ll need to use a hosting provider, which probably will have licensing terms similar to that of Squarespace.|
|Site Migration||Allows you to migrate your site if you want to. Also easy to import from WordPress.||Allows you to migrate your site if you want to. Also makes it easy to export content.|
|Help and Support||Dedicated support team with organized tutorials. You can also get help through live chat or email.||Big community with resources and tutorials, but not well organized. Most users end up paying developers for help.|
|Pricing||4 premium plans, ranging from $12 per month to $40 per month.||Could range from $200 – $15,000, depending on various factors (hosting, themes, plugins, hiring help, etc.)|
When to Use Squarespace Instead of WordPress
Are you still unsure whether you should use Squarespace or WordPress? Here are a few of the key reasons you’d want to pick Squarespace over WordPress:
- You want a stunning website without hassle or fuss
- You need a site up fairly quickly
- You’re after an easy to manage site
- You want transparent, set pricing
- You’re not confident coding
- You value the convenience of Squarespace’s all-in-one solution
- You want to focus on your goals rather than upkeep
- You like the security of dedicated, 24/7 support
When to Use WordPress Instead of Squarespace
Perhaps you’re tempted by WordPress, but aren’t convinced it’s right for you? Here are the main reasons people choose WordPress – if these sound familiar, WordPress is probably your best choice:
- You’re building a complex website
- You want full customization
- You’re after a hands-on approach to running your site
- You’re happy coding, or learning to code
- You want really powerful blogging tools
- You don’t need a site up super soon
- You’re not put off by technical tasks such as hosting, security, or updates
- You like to choose what tools or features your site needs
- Squarespace Review
- WordPress.org Review
- WordPress.com Review
- Squarespace Pricing
- Squarespace Templates
- Squarespace Ecommerce Review
- Squarespace SEO Review
- How to Use Squarespace
- Wix vs Squarespace
- Best WordPress Hosting Provider
- Bluehost Review
- Wix vs WordPress
- Squarespace vs WordPress: The FAQs
Who is Squarespace aimed at?
Squarespace is designed to help anyone create their own website, no matter their technical ability. You don’t need to code – but you can if you want – and it comes packed with built-in features to make your life as easy as possible. It has stunning templates for all the design-lovers out there.
Who is WordPress aimed at?
WordPress is aimed at anyone who wants total control over all the nuts and bolts of their website, from security to updates, coding, and beyond. You’ll need to have some technical confidence, or be comfortable learning as you go. WordPress gives you total customization over your site, so you can create whatever you want!
Is WordPress better than Squarespace?
The answer to this question lies in your personal preference. If you’re looking to create a really complex site and would like total flexibility, WordPress will be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you’re a smaller business or a one-person team, Squarespace will be your best option. You can create a smart, elegant website very quickly without needing to know any code.
How much does Squarespace cost?
Squarespace’s monthly pricing plans start at $12 per month. You do have the option to try it out for free for 14 days before you commit to a plan. Check out our pricing review for a deep dive into the true cost of Squarespace, and to find out which plan is best for you.
How much does WordPress cost?
WordPress is technically a free open source platform. What you’ll need to remember when building a website with WordPress is that you’ll need to pay for a domain name, hosting for your site, and potentially a theme on top of that. You can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $1,000+ to get a WordPress site up and running. Check out the pricing section of this comparison for more detailed information.
Which website builder is easier to use, Squarespace or WordPress?
You can use Squarespace without needing to know a line of code, which makes it great for the non-technical among us. It’s definitely the easier option compared to WordPress.
Is Squarespace or WordPress best for multilingual sites?
WordPress is better for creating multilingual sites than Squarespace, because you can install specific plugins to translate and globalize your content. You can create create a multilingual site with Squarespace, by duplicating your pages into different languages.
Is Squarespace or WordPress best for blogging?
While Squarespace does have some great built-in blogging tools, no platform can really beat WordPress when it comes to blogging! That’s what it was made to do and comes with tons of very powerful blogging tools.
If you want something less tricky to get to grips with, check out Weebly, Wix, or WordPress.com – see how they compare to Squarespace and WordPress.org in our review of the best platforms for building your blog.
What can you use instead of Squarespace or WordPress?
This really depends on what type of website you’re building! For blogs, WordPress.com is a great alternative. For online stores check out Shopify, and for stunning designs take a look at Wix. For small businesses and portfolios, Weebly is a top contender too!
See our in-depth review of the best website builders for a full look at all the top builders.
If you’re a small business, check out our top 9 best small business website builders guide to find which one is right for you.
Do I need to find hosting for my Squarespace site?
No, you can sit back and relax, because Squarespace is fully hosted for you. You don’t need to find your own provider, sign up to a separate plan, or worry about plan limits. All Squarespace plans give you fully managed cloud hosting, as well as unlimited bandwidth and storage.
How much control do you have over your site’s content?
Can you switch your site between WordPress and Squarespace?
Yes! You can move your Squarespace site to WordPress, or move your WordPress website over to Squarespace. So even if you start off on one and then change your mind, it’s not the end of the world! You don’t have to stick with your first choice forever.
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