Squarespace vs WordPress: Which Is Best for You in 2024?

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4.6

out of 5

3.4

out of 5

Squarespace and WordPress are two website builders often distinguished for their design capabilities, making them excellent choices for creatives. Squarespace offers some of the most impeccably-designed templates in the industry, while WordPress, though not as straightforward to use, lets you have the most control over your site’s design, down to the minute detail.

Of the two, we recommend Squarespace. Its great design is only heightened by how accessible it is to use, turning even beginners into website-designing maestros. WordPress may be harder to use, but its highly specialized blogging tools and endless customization shouldn’t be overlooked either.

But which one is best for you, and why? We’ve pitted these two against each other with a full breakdown across each important category to find a definitive answer, so let’s jump in!

Who Do We Recommend Each Builder For?

Squarespace Has the Best Building Experience WordPress Is the Best for Blogging
If you want to build a website with the least amount of hassle and time spent, but still get fantastic results, then Squarespace is the builder for you. Its super clear drag-and-drop editor lets you customize your site in conjunction with one of Squarespace’s fantastic templates. Beginners and experts alike can create something professional-looking with it. If you want the most amount of creative control over your website and don’t mind spending the time to achieve it, or you simply want the best blogging features available, then WordPress is the builder for you. Coding knowledge is certainly appreciated, and you’ll need to use plugins for many features, but you can get some truly amazing results with WordPress if you stick with it.
There are actually two versions of WordPress out there! In this comparison, we’re talking about 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 designed more like a website builder but lacks a lot of power and resources.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Comparison Table

If you’re looking for a quick roundup of all the points we cover in this guide, here’s a side-by-side comparison table of WordPress and Squarespace. It weighs up the platforms in each category to help you decide which one is best for your site’s needs.

Squarespace WordPress
Editor The easiest to use website builder we've tested thanks to its intuitive drag-and- drop editor. You can easily build a website without knowing how to code or hiring anyone for help. Steep learning curve, especially if you are a beginner. To get the most out of WordPress without installing a drag-and-drop builder plugin, it helps to know how to code and be technically savvy, or hire someone who is.
Templates Stunning, customizable designer templates built with great user experience in mind. A lot of choice when it comes to themes, but there are some poor quality ones to watch out for. And it helps to have some coding skills to reap the full benefits.
Price Four premium plans, ranging from $16 per month to $49 per month. There is a 14-day free trial to help you get started initially. Much more flexible pricing! WordPress itself is free, but you pay for various factors (hosting, themes, plugins, hiring help, etc.) You can find cheap options, or it could cost as much as $200 – $15,000
Blogging Good choice of blogging templates and tools to get you off the ground, but simply not as dedicated to blogging that WordPress is. 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.
Features and Apps A range of in-built features with impressive quality covering a variety of areas with new features regularly added and updated – plus increased app market functionality, with the most important apps fully integrated into Squarespace already. Smaller range of in-built features – but with thousands of plugins to choose from with endless extra functions available.
Selling 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.
SEO SEO features already built-in and managed for you, but with less control than WordPress. SEO plugins like Yoast can add powerful tools and guides to your WordPress site., giving much finer control (but more management).

You can also read our Squarespace Review and our WordPress.org Review for a more in-deth look at each platform.

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Best Editor: Squarespace

How quickly you can grasp how your website builder’s editor works can be the difference between a masterpiece and a mishap. As a creative, your website’s looks will, in the minds of visitors, reflect your actual creative prowess. It’s best practice to find a builder that can not only provide the creative customization you seek but that you can also find your way around.

In terms of the latter, Squarespace is the best option as it has the highest ease of use score in our research with 4.7 out of 5. Its aptly named Fluid Engine maps a grid over your website onto which everything from images, videos, text boxes, and sign-up forms can be placed and organized.

You can then move these elements around in whatever way you like – and better yet they keep their place when moving other elements. When we tested Squarespace ourselves, we found it difficult to make a bad site. The Fluid Engine ensures whatever elements you pick fit in aesthetically with the rest of the page.

WordPress, on the other hand, does not have a drag-and-drop editor – at least, not initially. WordPress is a CMS (content management system), meaning it is designed for the posting of regular content. As such, many of the specific website editing that could be done in seconds with Squarespace must be done with code.

With HTML code, the training wheels come off and you can edit on a far wider and more detailed level than even Squarespace can manage. However, if you are a beginner who doesn’t know code, the WordPress editor will simply seem obtuse, frustrating, and awkward. You may need to hire a professional designer if you really want a good-looking site.

Demo text in WordPress' Gutenberg editor in action
With WordPress.org's Gutenberg editor, I could create something really unique and much easier than before. Source: Website Builder Expert

There are workarounds, however – WordPress brought a ‘block editor’, called Gutenberg, that works in a similar way to a drag-and-drop editor. There are also plugins available like Visual Composer or Elementor that you can use to build your site, though in our research Elementor only got 1.7 out of 5 for ease of use.

The Winner

Squarespace has the best building experience thanks to its superior editor

Squarespace pulls ahead of WordPress thanks to its drag-and-drop editor, which seamlessly places all the elements onto your site without corrupting the template, leading to a well-designed website every time.

Best for Templates: Squarespace

Squarespace’s 100+ templates are renowned for their aesthetic quality, covering a range of industries from artist websites, portfolios, online stores, and blogs. Squarespace has even partnered with famous photographers for its Magnum Collection, showing that it puts the design sensibilities of its users first and foremost, making it perfect for creatives.

Page sowcasing three of Squarespace's Magnum Collection templates
The Magnum Collection features templates designed by famous photographers like Steve McCurry and Bruce Gilden, bringing their unique voices to Squarespace. Source: Website Builder Expert

WordPress templates, or themes, can’t hold a candle to Squarespace’s level of dedication, which is a shame as many WordPress templates are very well designed, though you may have to pay for the better ones, with some costing a one-off payment of up to $500 while all of Squarespace’s are free to use. WordPress can also often require code to make your design stunning. It’s more work, but you get unlimited customization.

On the upside, while you can choose from hundreds of Squarespace templates, WordPress has thousands – so you’re very likely to find at least one that meets your criteria. The problem there is that not all are created equal. You will find a few good WordPress templates but probably a few duds too. Squarespace meanwhile has all its templates vetted by professionals, meaning you can always guarantee high quality.

But if you consider yourself indecisive, then Squarespace Blueprint can make you a personal template. Answer a short questionnaire and make a few design choices and Squarespace will have a full template ready for you to edit.

The Winner

Squarespace has the best-designed templates

Squarespace’s templates are some of the best-looking in the industry, making it a clear win. Combined with its easy-to-use editor, creatives can get a professional-looking site no matter their skill level.

Best for Pricing: WordPress

When you’re building on a budget it’s important to fully understand the costs involved in creating your site. Squarespace uses set pricing, giving you a good idea of how much you’ll spend over the year but locking you into at least its $16 per month plan. WordPress is free but comes with essential extra costs to run, meaning you can shop around for a lower fee as long as you’re happy to put a little more effort in.

WordPress Pricing

WordPress’ pricing is different from other website builders in that it’s not collected in one payment. WordPress itself is free, but you will need to source everything else needed to make a website an actual website, like hosting and a domain name. Squarespace on the other hand includes everything in one payment, which you pay in one pricing plan.

As a creative, you most likely have a budget you want to stick to. While Squarespace is simpler, you also don’t know what you are individually paying for. With WordPress’ approach, although it requires more work, you can keep better track of each element and adjust how much you pay as your website grows. 

The most important cost for WordPress is web hosting. Without hosting, your site won’t be online. WordPress itself recommends Bluehost as a hosting provider, and we agree. It’s our best-ranked WordPress hosting provider with a score of 4.8 out of 5 in our research, providing and provides plans for websites of all sizes and even WooCommerce-specific plans. Its prices range from as cheap as $1.99 per month to $161.98 per month.

Four shared hosting plans on Bluehost's website
Bluehost has a number of different WordPress-specific plans, all for less money than Squarespace. Source: Website Builder Expert

Aside from hosting, WordPress has other costs. Here’s a checklist of other expenses you might need:

  • Themes: While some themes are free, for top quality, it’s worth thinking about investing in paid themes ($30-$80)
  • Plugins: WordPress plugins can add all kinds of additional features to your website, from email marketing to ecommerce checkout tools ($15-$50)
  • Domain names: Squarespace gives you a free domain for your first year, but with WordPress, you’ll have to purchase your own domain name from a third-party registrar like Domain.com ($10-$12 per year) or pick a hosting provider that offers a free domain for your first year (like Bluehost)
  • Developer costs: If you’re building a large and/or complex website, you may even want to hire a developer, which could end up costing thousands of dollars

For creatives, we recommend the WordPress Online store plan on Bluehost for $6.99 per month. Not only do you get 40GB of storage for images but you also get the option to sell if you want, plus a free domain for a year. This plan gives you the most freedom possible and is a whole $10 cheaper than Squarespace’s cheapest plan.

Squarespace Pricing

With Squarespace’s pricing, you pay for the luxury of having to only pay one payment, with four premium pricing plans ranging from $16-49 per month (billed yearly, as you can save between 25% and 30% compared to a monthly plan).

Four Squarespace pricing plans on its website
Squarespace has reliable set pricing, with the cheapest plan costing $16 per month. This comes with your free template and hosting included in the overall price. Source: Website Builder Expert

In our research, Squarespace scored the second-highest for value for money with 4.2 out of 5. All the plans provide an excellent range of features and tools for creatives, but which plan is for you all depends on your likelihood of selling. Only the Business plan and above are able to sell, meaning a minimum cost of $23 per month (billed annually). There are also transaction fees to consider, with the Business charging 3% on every transaction.

However, if you don’t plan to sell and just want a portfolio to share your art or create a blog, then the Personal plan will absolutely suit your needs. If these plans seem too expensive, Squarespace has a 14-day free trial for you to try the builder out and see if it’s a perfect fit. We’re also proud to present that our readers can get an exclusive 10% off at checkout if they use our code ‘WBE10’.

The Winner

WordPress is the best value provider

WordPress is the best value provider as it is technically free to install and use. What you will actually be paying for are all the necessary features, such as hosting, themes, plugins, and domain names. These can certainly pile up, but if you keep a cool head and stick to a sensible budget, you can certainly get more out of WordPress as a creative than paying for the luxury of an all-in-one builder like Squarespace.

Best for Blogging: WordPress

A blog is a great way for creatives to connect to their audience, as well as offer a bit of monetization. If you are interested in finding the best blogging platform, then WordPress should certainly be in consideration. It’s a CMS that lets you create multiple blog templates, schedule hundreds of posts at a time, and have access to hundreds of blog-specific apps and plugins. You can even have multiple authors work on your site at once.

WordPress backend dashboard
This was the first sight that greeted me in WordPress.org. It can look confusing at first, but it's been designed for blogging. Source: Website Builder Expert

Squarespace’s blogging tools are great, but just not as heavy-duty as WordPress’s. You can still accomplish a lot, however, such as scheduling posts, having multiple authors, and even creating blog tags. Plus, in combination with Squarespace’s simple-to-use editor, it’s a much easier way to blog for beginners.

However, what really sets WordPress above the rest is its community. Anyone with a WordPress account can comment on any other WordPress blog, provided that the blogger doesn’t disable the ability. Comments help build a community and can lead to dedicated fanbases, which is what all bloggers aspire to. 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.

The Winner

WordPress is built for blogging

WordPress was built with blogging in mind. Every WordPress site includes commenting abilities, plus helpful plugins to achieve creative, content-heavy blogs.

Best for Features: Squarespace

Squarespace comes with more built-in features than WordPress. These are just a few of the ones we found most useful:

  • Analytics: Track website visits, traffic sources, visitor geography, and more
  • Social accounts: Import content to your site from social platforms like Instagram and Twitter
  • Social feeds: Embed feeds from your social accounts directly onto your site
  • Podcasts: Host a podcast on your Squarespace site, and publish it to Spotify or Apple Podcasts
  • AI tools: Squarespace released a host of new generative AI tools, from an AI writer to auto-generated product libraries for sellers and even hyperreal AI photo environments.
  • CRM: Manage and take online bookings and schedules with new and improved customer management tools
Squarespace AI setup in action
You can use Squarespace AI for any text on your website. Here’s the selection of prompts it gives, which are less restrained than other builders. Source: Website Builder Expert

The best part about these features is that they all work with the Squarespace Fluid Engine, meaning you can simply pick them out from a menu and drag them onto your site, effortlessly combining usability and design. 

WordPress is better known for its large library of plugins, and is very reliant on these integrations for adding functionality to your site. But that doesn’t mean it had no built-in features. Here are some choice features:

  • Password-protected pages: You can lock certain pages with passwords, making it ideal for creatives who want member-only content
  • Multiple contributors: Have different authors and admins manage your site and produce content
  • Image editing tools: Edit images in WordPress, freeing up storage space and improving SEO
  • Comments management: Other WordPress users can leave comments on other blogs. Reply and create a community!
  • Multilingual site options (70+ languages): Make your website accessible to viewers all over the world
The Winner

Squarespace has the best in-built features

Squarespace provides numerous quality features suitable for many, many kinds of websites, from blogs to restaurants to online stores.

Best for Apps & Plugins: Squarespace

It’s fair to say WordPress has a plugin for everything – from SEO, ecommerce, drag-and-drop editors, and scheduling, there are over 59,000 plugins available for WordPress users to download and add to their site. The open-source nature of WordPress encourages you to download as many plugins as you need.

WordPress featured plugins in the plugin library
I could easily browse WordPress' plugin library, although the sheer number is overwhelming! Make sure to use filters and read reviews to ensure you get good quality plugins. Source: Website Builder Expert

Think of it like building a Lego house from a big, mixed tub and grabbing all the bricks you find most interesting. Some of these bricks you may have to pay for, with an average WordPress subscription costing around $50-$70 per year, though some can cost much more.

Squarespace is more like a Lego set. It has all the cool bricks you need included, you just need to follow the instructions. There are qualities to both methods, but in regards to actual plugin quality, Squarespace is the winner. With 59,000 WordPress plugins to choose from, not all are going to be the best quality. In fact, we’ve covered news stories of WordPress plugins getting hacked due to vulnerabilities. To avoid risk when choosing a plugin, check the ratings to see what other users say and if it’s been updated recently, and most importantly make sure it’s compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

With Squarespace Extensions, you have a choice of 31 plugins, but each has been vetted and approved by Squarespace itself. It’s quality over quantity, and the extensions are exactly that – made to extend an already quality product further. No extension is necessary for Squarespace to work, whereas they are for WordPress.

Eight extensions in Squarespace's extensions library
I found Squarespace's Extensions Library to be small but easy to navigate. I found it easier to quickly find suitable apps than when browsing WordPress.org's directory. Source: Website Builder Expert
The Winner

Squarespace has the best apps and plugins

In an upset I expect many readers were not anticipating, Squarespace actually has the best apps and plugins with 4 out of 5 in our research, beating WordPress’s 3 out of 5. Squarespace’s quality is more consistent with its only 31 choices, making it just way more user-friendly.

Best for Selling: Squarespace

If you want to sell online you need certain ecommerce features, such as accepting payments and listing products, as well as guarantees around security. Squarespace offers built-in sales capabilities, although you need to choose the right plan, while WordPress relies on a plugin, such as WooCommerce. Which is right for you?

Selling on Squarespace

To sell on Squarespace, you will need to upgrade to an ecommerce plan – you can choose from the $23 per month Business plan, the $27 per month Commerce Basic plan, or the $49 per month Commerce Advanced plan. With these, you unlock a whole range of advanced ecommerce features, including:

  • Unlimited inventory, orders, tax, and coupons
  • Label printing
  • Product listings on Instagram
  • Gift cards
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Video storage
  • Subscription selling
  • Advanced web analytics

If your services are more appointment-based, say like a professional photographer, then Squarespace’s new Acuity Scheduling service can keep your customers up to date on when you’re available and then let them book you for gigs.

While Squarespace ecommerce certainly dazzled, earning 4.4 out of 5 for sales features in our research, there were a few things we’d like to see done better. While it has a good selection of third-party payment options, you can’t use Amazon Pay or digital wallets to accept payments. Also, compared to WordPress, the limited extensions mean you have less flexibility for niche ecommerce options like tax forms or international shipping – though Acuity is certainly a net positive for online sellers.

Selling on WordPress

With WordPress, you are going to need the ecommerce plugin WooCommerce in order to sell your work. WooCommerce is a full ecommerce platform, used by international brands like ChiaPet and Nutribullet.

WooCommerce is also free to install, making it seem the perfect platform for selling on a budget. However, as well as paying for hosting, WooCommerce is reliant on plugins for many of its sales features. On the plus side, it means you have unlimited customization to adapt your store however you want. The downside is that the costs will add up, especially for ecommerce plugins which can cost an average of $79 – $299 per year for each one.

There are also only three free themes on the WooCommerce marketplace. A paid theme can cost anywhere from $39 – $79 per year.

The Winner

Squarespace has the best sales features

Squarespace’s ecommerce features are built into the builder, meaning that you can simply add it to your page and you’ll have an online store. You will need to be on an ecommerce plan in order to sell, however.

Best for SEO: Tie!

Both Squarespace and WordPress have access to a fantastic range of SEO tools, such as:

  • Customizable meta titles and descriptions: These are the titles and paragraphs that describe a page in Google search results.
  • Customizable URLs: You can clean up your URLs to make them more readable to search engines (for example, squarespace.com/pricing is a clean and simple URL!)
  • Image alt text: Alt text just describes what an image is showing, and it makes your website more accessible because anyone using a screen reading tool won’t have to wonder what each image shows. Alt text also helps search engines understand the purpose and relevance of each image.
  • Page redirects: If you change a page’s URL and someone tries to visit the old one, Squarespace will let you automatically send them to the new one!
  • Automatic sitemaps: A sitemap is a list of the different pages on your site, designed to help search engines figure out how they’re all related. Squarespace generates one of these for you automatically.
  • Hide a page: If you don’t want a certain page to show up on search engines just yet, you can simply hide the page from Google!
  • Control social image: You can control which image appears alongside your content when someone shares it on social media.
Squarespace dashboard showing SEO settings
Squarespace made it easy for us to edit our test website’s SEO settings in the backend, offering handy links to resources too. Source: Website Builder Expert

The major difference between the two is that Squarespace’s SEO features are all built-in, while WordPress relies on the plugin Yoast. While Yoast is powerful, WordPress can have greater control over SEO thanks to a hosting provider.  Hosting gives you more control over your site’s technical details, such as deciding how much storage to assign to your site, which affects your loading speed – an important factor for SEO.

Plugin results on WordPress for search term "SEO"
I easily found these SEO plugins when I search for "SEO" in the WordPress plugin library. I always check which version of WordPress the plugin is compatible with, and number of good reviews before installing. Source: Website Builder Expert

With Squarespace, you won’t be able to change technical SEO factors like you can with WordPress and Yoast, but you do get a lot of the work taken care of automatically, meaning less work and more time to spend on other areas.

The Winner

Both Squarespace and WordPress have equally good SEO tools

Both WordPress and Squarespace scored full marks in our SEO-specific testing. WordPress is better for controlling individual details, while Squarespace prides itself on having more built-in features. By installing SEO plugins on WordPress, you can call on powerful tools like Yoast. But if you want less work, then Squarespace is the better choice.

How We Test

When we pit two website builders against each other, we make it a top priority that all the information about each builder is as accurate as possible by testing them against our website builder research methodology. Not only do we have researchers, but our writers have hands-on experience with all our builders, creating their own websites and getting to grips with every category we cover.

For this article, we took special care to consider who was the primary customer for each builder. As they both have deeper creative and customization tools than other competitors, we focused this article on what creatives look for in builders, taking care to cover blogging and SEO due to their importance to the reader.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Summary

Overall, Squarespace is the winner of this head-to-head. Its superior editor and built-in features simply mean it’s more recommendable than WordPress – even for those with website-creating experience. If you want an enjoyable building experience alongside a great-looking website, Squarespace is the builder you need.

WordPress, with its complicated editor and open-source nature, can certainly be trickier to get used to. But if you want the best blogging capabilities and Squarespace didn’t scratch your customization itch deep enough, WordPress could be for you. It’s also cheaper on the whole than Squarespace, even if it requires a bit more setup.

If you want a deeper look at both these builders, check out our full Squarespace Review and WordPress.org Review for more.

FAQs

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 for a separate plan, or worry about plan limits. All Squarespace plans give you fully managed cloud hosting, as well as unlimited bandwidth and storage.
With WordPress, you have total control over your website. There’s a very low chance of your site being taken down unless you have a conflict with your hosting provider. Squarespace has terms of use policies that your site needs to comply with. You still have control over what you do with your site, but you will need to follow Squarespace’s conditions.
While Squarespace has templates for a number of different sites, it’s most often praised for its design and ease of use qualities. Therefore, you can expect to see most Squarespace sites being used by self-employed entrepreneurs as ways to showcase their work or small businesses.
Written by:
headshot of Sam Jagger
Being a Writer for Website Builder Expert isn’t just typing words on a laptop. Each day, I’m finding new and innovative ways to help you get online in a mode you feel comfortable with. And it’s a task I do with enthusiasm and gusto. Not only do I have experience building with all the providers we talk about - creating websites such as this Strikingly demo - but we also have our wonderful, constantly updated research fielded by our researchers, so you can be reassured that what we say is an honest reflection of our professional opinions. I’ve written articles and featured guest posts for apps like UXPin on web design in the modern age, as well as answered over 100 user comments on the site and delved into the world of choosing a domain name and adding Bitcoin payments to your site in my own pitched articles. All of this is to say that when I want to get you online - I mean it! Outside the office, I have attended the eCommerce Expo and built up a ton of industry knowledge through talks, workshops, and guided learning sessions with noted experts. The internet is made for everyone, so come online and let us help you get there.
Researched by:
natasha_willett
I love to understand human behavior and the cognitive biases that drive us to do what we do. For over nine years I have worked as a mixed method researcher – research using a mix of numerical data and personal experiences – across a range of sectors, from insurance and policy development to finally arriving at Website Builder Expert five years ago. Fascinated by consumer decision-making, I meticulously built our leading ranking methodology to explore where providers like Wix sit within a competitive industry and what value they truly bring to our audience.
As a member of the Market Research Society, I’m an advocate for high ethical, commercial, and methodological best practices. All of this combines to give you the most ethical recommendations based on real data.

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