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Squarespace vs WordPress (2021): Where Should You Start Your Website?

Are you planning to launch a website soon? Well, choosing between Squarespace and WordPress can be tricky. Both platforms approach website building differently, with one designed as a subscription-based out-of-the-box solution while the other, though free to use, requires technical skills and your own hosting solution. In this review, we compare the two’s features and pricing to help you see where you should start your own website.

Squarespace vs WordPress Comparison Chart

NameSquarespaceWordPress
 
PriceCheck Price at SquarespaceCheck WordPress hosting on WP Engine
TypeDrag and drop website builderFree, open-source content management system
Standout FeatureStunning and customizable templatesExtensive customizations and third-party integrations
HostingYesRequires self-hosting
Unlimited BandwidthYesDepends on the hosting plan
Custom DomainYesDepends on the hosting plan
E-Commerce FeaturesBuilt-inYes, via WooCommerce
Payment MethodsStripe, PayPal, Apple PaySupports third-party payment gateway via plugins like BigCommerce and WooCommerce
SEO ToolsBuilt-inAvailable through plugins
Mobile Responsive TemplatesYesYes
Third-Party PluginsYesYes
Customer SupportEmail, phone, live chat, help center, community answersOnline community and support resources

Website Building

Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder for beginners whereas WordPress is a content management system suited for those with coding experience.

Building a website using Squarespace is intuitive.

Starting your own website sounds daunting. Lines of codes and hours spent in front of the computer are typically the images we associate with the whole process.

Squarespace

But this “problem” is exactly what Squarespace aims to remedy. The platform is essentially an out-of-the-box solution for those who want to launch a website but perhaps may not have the technical experience to deal with CSS and HTML coding.

In this regard, Squarespace is similar to drag-and-drop website builders like Wix and even Shopify. For non-designers and non-developers, all you have to do is register, choose a theme, apply the built-in customization features, and publish your website live. There’s no programming needed for the basics.

Squarespace also takes care of the dirty, technical stuff. All subscription plans include free custom domain, unlimited bandwidth, and storage, as well as your SSL security certificate. Moreover, you get 24/7 customer support and several built-in SEO and e-commerce features.

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WordPress

WordPress, on the other hand, is on the opposite side of the spectrum. The website works as a content management system (CMS) where you build everything from scratch. It’s free to use, of course, but you have to spend on your own hosting, storage, and security. And while themes are available, building an actual site using WordPress requires knowledge in coding.

One of the cons of this approach is that WordPress isn’t beginner-friendly. However, if you’re familiar with the platform or know an expert who can navigate around it, expect to get endless customization options. Since you’re also responsible for hosting, you have full control of the website, too. With Squarespace, you’re like renting out an online stall compared to WordPress where you actually own the space.

Design and Customization

While Squarespace offers high-levels of customization for its themes, WordPress offers more potential to truly make a site your own through coding and site editor plugins.

Squarespace allows for easy customizations to your image content.

Perhaps the best way to take ownership of your website is to customize it. In this area, Squarespace succeeds by offering an impressive catalog of clean and professionally-designed themes.

Each of the templates is customizable, with fonts and page configurations open for modification. Color schemes can also be adapted to follow your branding. In addition, Squarespace headers can support video backgrounds for a more immersive visitor experience.

But how does Squarespace’s interface fare against other drag-and-drop website builders? Compared to the likes of Shopify or Wix, Squarespace does have a bit more of a learning curve. The platform follows a section-based approach, meaning users can only drag and drop content blocks within a given section. A benefit to this, however, is you get a more organized design and editing interface compared to other platforms.

WordPress similarly offers a solid selection of templates you can work on. There are thousands of themes to choose from, including those created by professionals and fellow users.

But if you really want to make the most out of WordPress, coding will give you more creative control. Indeed, the customizations you can make and the functionalities you can add are almost endless. You can also buff up your website using any of the theme customizer plugins available for the site. WooCommerce and SiteOrigin CSS are just some of the reliable site editors you can use.

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E-Commerce Features

Squarespace has all its e-commerce features built-in whereas WordPress relies on its powerful plugins.

WordPress boasts thousands of plugins to optimize and manage your website.

If you’re planning to build an online store, Squarespace also has you covered. Since it’s an all-in-one solution, the e-commerce features you need are built into the platform. From advanced check out options to mailing lists, social integrations to store inventory, everything is integrated into Squarespace.

Squarespace also comes with a plethora of tools to help you grow your website. Aside from e-commerce tools, you also have access to blogging, analytics, SEO, and portfolio features. And if you need features that are not available from the platform itself, Squarespace has a growing number of third-party extensions to help you manage your site.

Turning your WordPress website into an online store does take a little more work compared to Squarespace. But once you do, you’ll find yourself enjoying the benefits of one of the most powerful platforms for e-commerce. After all, WordPress boasts of over 57,000 plugins to optimize your website.

However, if you want to start selling today, WooCommerce is undoubtedly the best e-commerce plugin for WordPress. The tool has everything you need to set up your store โ€” from homepage design and payments to shipping and marketing integrations. You even get blogging features, too. It’s really a comprehensive plugin designed especially for WordPress.

Pricing

Squarespace offers subscription-only plans while WordPress is free to use.

Here’s a look at the how much you might spend using the platforms.

Squarespace follows a tiered pricing model, offering more features the higher you go up across their plans. Currently, the platform offers four plans. For beginners, a personal website will cost you $16 a month. You get most of the core features, including a custom domain, unlimited bandwidth, access to themes, and 24/7 customer support.

If you’re planning to set up a shop, Squarespace has two versions of its Commerce plans that include most of the e-commerce tools you need, on top of the core features found in lower-priced plans. Users can choose between Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce, priced at $30 and $46 per month respectively. To save money, you can opt for an annual payment scheme that should save you anywhere between 13% to 30% in monthly subscription fees.

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WordPress, on the other hand, is free to use. But that doesn’t mean there are no costs. Since you’re building a website from scratch, you’ll have to pay for your own hosting, domain name registration, and plugins. If you plan to hire a developer to build your site, you’ll also have to shell out money there.

Nonetheless, there are some solid hosting providers for WordPress. Bluehost and SiteGround, for instance, charge fairly affordable rates for shared hosting. If you only have one site to manage, a Bluehost plan can cost you as a little as $3.95 a month for a 36-month term. Meanwhile, SiteGround’s startup price for a single website on managed WordPress hosting is $6.99 a month at special rates.

Verdict

Squarespace is great for beginners and non-developers. But if you really want to grow your website, WordPress is the more comprehensive and scalable solution.

Squarespace

Best for beginners

WordPress

Best for professionals

Having your own website is almost the norm these days. Whether it’s simply to blog or host a professional portfolio, a digital presence can make all the difference.

For those familiar with coding and web development, WordPress will be the way to go. The platform is possibly the most robust today and enjoys the support of thousands of plugins. There are plenty of themes and templates to choose from as well, which can be used as the starting blocks of your website. So if you don’t mind spending time designing a website or paying for your own hosting, WordPress is indeed the better platform.

Beginners and non-developers, however, will probably be keener joining Squarespace. The platform combines an easy to use drag-and-drop website builder with a number of e-commerce features. Plus, the beautifully designed templates can be customized to your liking. While more advanced customizations may be limited, the process of building a website on Squarespace is seamless. If you want to go live as soon as you can and on your own, then Squarespace will not disappoint.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the main difference between Squarespace and WordPress?

Squarespace is a subscription-based website builder that comes with a drag-and-drop feature. Meanwhile, WordPress is a content management site that requires coding and web development knowledge to build a website.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Squarespace support coding?

Yes, Squarespace does come with a built-in CSS editor for deeper customizations.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are WordPress themes mobile responsive?

Not all WordPress themes are made the same, especially when compared to Squarespace. This means you might run into older WordPress templates that are not optimized for mobile devices. There are, however, WordPress plugins that enable themes to load faster on mobile devices.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Squarespace offer a free trial?

Yes, Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial so you can test out the platform’s features before choosing to subscribe.

Mari Bassig