» Comparisons » HostGator vs Squarespace: Which is Better?

HostGator vs Squarespace: Which is Better?

Hostgator and Squarespace are two web platforms that have notable distinctions in terms of functionality, applicability, flexibility and pricing. The major difference between the systems, though, is their initial implication and the goals they are used for.

HostGator – is one of the most popular hosting providers, which is extensively used for website storage. The system offers high end hosting solutions as well as different packages to comply with the needs of its subscribers. It allows creating websites with various website builders and CMS, including WordPress.

Squarespace – is a trusted feature-rich cloud website builder, which offers the all-in-one approach to the process of website development, customization, hosting and its further promotion. The software makes it possible to set up and manage any type of project from scratch, being a nice pick for newbies and web design experts.

The choice between the systems doesn’t seem quite complex at first sight. If you need a hosting provider, then HostGator is what you should pick. Wish to set up a website and host it at once? Then go ahead to use Squarespace. That was also what I thought before testing the platforms. As I dived deeper in details, I found out that each service has its special features that may affect the user’s choice. Hopefully, this comparison will help simplify your choice.

A Quick Comparison

The major distinction between the platforms is the purpose they serve. As stated in this comparison, HostGator is mostly focused on your project resources, offering sufficient storage space for media and content. Squarespace, in its turn, initially serves as a website builder, having a variety of built-in design customization tools and ready-made templates for any niche.

HostGator was founded in 2002, having won credibility and popularity over the years. According to recent stats, it currently exceeds 2,078,453 users. The system has won such an impressive reputation due to its advanced functionality and flexibility that do not compromise with affordable pricing policy.

HostGator Usage Statistics

The host allows picking VPS and shared hosting as well as a dedicated server and even a special plan for WordPress projects. It scales from easy to expert hosting plans, guaranteeing high end credibility, 99.9% uptime rates, free SSL certificate connection, flexible pricing, professional customer support, easy WordPress installation and other advantages that make the platform stand out from the crowd.

Squarespace belongs to the list of the most trusted and feature-rich DIY website builders. It works equally great for non-techies and web experts, having much to offer to both user categories. The system allows starting quality projects for commercial and non-commercial use, including business websites, landing pages, portfolios, blogs, digital stores, restaurant and cafe websites etc.

The software entered the market in 2003 as the all-in-one web design solution. As the time went by, it evolved into one of the most popular website builders. No wonder, it is currently included in the list of the best web design systems. Recent reports tell about 5,335,869 Squarespace subscribers. This is more than impressive. The website builder adheres to contemporary web design trends, offering responsive website development approach, powerful integrated functionality, advanced customer support and reliable hosting all in one place.

Squarespace Usage Statistics

The Winner

My personal conclusion in this section is as follows: there is no absolute winner here. The systems just differ. While HostGator is a trusted host that can be also used for website development in conjunction with WordPress, Squarespace provides hosting and web development solutions by default, which sometimes helps save time and effort.

Which One Is Easier to Use?

As a web developer, I’m sure that ease of use is critical for all users. That is why, this is the first point I’m going to review in this HostGator vs Squarespace comparison.

HostGator stands out from the crowd due to its powerful website hosting services as well as the opportunity of WordPress CMS integration. The software ensures enhanced security measures, trusted customer support options and high end integrations. This allows setting up, customizing and hosting quality websites, using the toolset the system has in stock.

HostGator WP Dashboard

As a popular hosting provider, HostGator allows for free website transfer, free domain name connection and use for the first year after the sign up process, unlimited bandwidth, utmost uptime guarantee, one-click WordPress installation and other advantages. What you need to get started is to register for a personal account, enter the dashboard and adjust the settings available there. You will be able to register/transfer a domain, pick the required hosting type, choose and integrate extensions from the built-in marketplace, register a custom email address for business use etc.

When you log in, there are alternatives for you: you can enter either the Portal or Website Builder section. By logging in to Portal, you can manage your hosting settings, but not only them. The HostGator dashboard has a modern interface with convenient menus. It will also allow you to maintain your payments and ask for assistance. Besides direct links to Live Chat and phone numbers you can use to contact the team, there’s a FAQ menu, where loads of useful info in the form of educational videos, illustrations, and such likes can be found.

HostGator offers a handy cPanel to maintain your site. You can quickly access your Databases, Email Accounts, and the File Manager. You can install WordPress with one click here as well as add domains.

HostGator cPanel

You can sign in to the Website Builder with the help of your login or through a social networking account. You’ll also see a similar dashboard, all equipped for creating a professional site from zero ground and making it work for your business’s good. You’ll be suggested a couple of questions so that HostGator can offer you an optimal set of solutions for your incipient project. The necessity to interact with several platforms like WordPress or WooCommerce may scare you away from the website constructor. But in fact, this is a truly easy-to-use platform that will let you develop the exact site you want with all the necessary options.

Possibility of WordPress integration allows creating web projects and hosting them on the system servers without the need to look for a third-party host. You can set up a feature-rich website from scratch here. If you encounter any problems, you can contact the customer support team to avail professional help. It is possible to get in touch with web experts via Live Chat and phone. To find out more about the host, you can browse the integrated Knowledge Base as well as the Blog section with multiple posts and extra resources available there.

Squarespace ensures advanced usability, trustability, smooth website browsing and hassle-free project development process. The website builder offers multiple web design solutions to beginners and web experts without requiring deep coding skills. This becomes simpler with the built-in WYSIWYG editor available by default. At the same time, it allows for code editing to let users create unique web projects from scratch.

Squarespace - website editing

To start working with the system, you need to sign up for a personal account first and to access the dashboard with a toolset available for web development. To upload the required files and to proceed to your project customization, you’ll have to access the Style Editor. This is where you will be able to add and customize content blocks, upload new files, adjust elements and their positions, create your project layout.

When planning an eCommerce site like an online store, an agency, etc., be sure that Squarespace is one of the best solutions for these purposes. So, its multi-functional dashboard is tailored to let you build a site and supply it with a professional storefront, convenient payment menus, a shopping cart, feedback forms, and so on. Right from your initial steps on the platform, you’ll sense the ease of using Squarespace. The best thing about the site builder for beginners is that it offers useful prompts at every stage of your work.

Read also: Squarespace Review.

If there is anything you would like to figure out during the web design process, you can get in touch with Squarespace support team, when required. The system offers a Live chat to interact with users, email ticketing system as well as extensive Knowledge Base. The latter includes numerous posts, video and text tutorials, manuals, guides and online resources as well as a local Community Forum.

The Winner

When it comes to simplicity, Squarespace can be defined as a winner. This is a website builder offering quite an intuitive web design approach. It has a WYSIWYG editor by default and allows setting up all types of projects – from personal ones to complex eCommerce sites. HostGator is a functional hosting solution that implies the skills and expertise to work with WordPress. This may pose a problem to non-coders.

Design and Flexibility

While ease of use is important for beginners, the issue of design customization and functionality matters a lot for we experts working on customer projects. It’s no secret that Squarespace allows creating, managing and hosting websites at a time, without the need to look for a third-party host. HostGator, on the contrary, excels at versatile hosting solutions, making it possible to use WordPress to set up full-featured projects. With this aspect in mind, I decided to complete a thorough review of both systems in terms of eCommerce, blogging, integrations and templates editing features. Let’s get started now.

eCommerce

HostGator is not a website builder and, thus, it doesn’t offer eCommerce functionality by default. Instead, it can be used in conjunction with WordPress, making it possible to integrate specialized eCommerce plugins. There are many of them out there, but the most well-known and popular extension is WooCommerce. This is a free shopping cart plugin, which allows starting all types of small-to-large web stores. What you can do here is creating and managing product galleries, designing show windows, using inventory management tools, choosing shipping/payment details etc.

HostGator WooCommerce

With HostGator, you can create mobile-friendly online stores. No matter which of the three available plans you will choose, expect to get access to 100+ templates, which will make your site look solid on whatever device. With the cheapest plan, you can run a 6-page site, while the other two will allow you to add an unlimited number of pages to your website.

For the lowest cost, your site will be supplied with such important functions as Drag & Drop for working with templates, SEO, PayPal integration, social media connections, etc. However, we recommend opting for one of the more expensive packages since they will extend your abilities. Thus, you will be able to improve your eCommerce platform with embedded videos from Youtube, integrated Google Analytics instruments, etc. Your site won’t have to contain any HostGator links or ads.

Setting up a web store with HostGator:

To launch and run a web a store with HostGator, get ready to complete the following steps:

  1. Sign up for an account and select a hosting plan that complies with your web store creation needs;
  2. Register a new domain or connect the one, if you already have it;
  3. Install WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin for eCommerce integration. This will enable you to create product listings, manage orders, products and inventory tools, process payments etc.;
  4. Start designing your web store. Select a template from the available catalog that reflects your brand and products.
  5. Add products along with images, descriptions, specifications and prices. Divide them into categories for simpler navigation;
  6. Adjust payment gateways, choosing from the available methods like PayPal, Stripe etc. to securely process transactions;
  7. Configure the most necessary shipping settings such as rates, carriers, delivery destinations. By the way, you can offer special services like free or real-time shipping, flat rates or individual customer quotes;
  8. Ensure that your web store, customer data and all the transactions are protected by SSL encryption. If the certificate is not connected yet, take your time to do that as HostGator offers this very feature.
  9. Before launching the store, test it to ensure that all features are working correctly. Pay special attention to the checkout process, payment gateways, integrated apps, plugin performance, updates etc.
  10. Once everything is set up and tested, go ahead to launch the project. You can promote it in social media or via email marketing to drive traffic and sales.

Squarespace doesn’t require any third-party plugin integration to get started with a quality web store. There is a built-in eCommerce engine here, which makes it possible to connect small/medium online stores to further update and customize them. The toolset is provided out of the box.

The website builder allows creating product catalogs, setting up product parameters, adjusting item descriptions and special details, uploading and managing multiple product variations, and assigning their major characteristics, adding videos/images, pricing etc. If needed, you can introduce discounts, loyalty programs and special offers to new and regular customers. An important detail is that Squarespace has a separate section of eCommerce templates to cover versatile niches.

Squarespace eCommerce

The software additionally has multiple eCommerce features in stock. These include integration with popular third-party platforms, abandoned checkout recovery feature, CSV product import/export, Xero integration, multi currency support etc. To effectively manage your web store, the system allows scheduling appointments directly on the website, using built-in bookings and calendars, sharing news/updates/events in social networks. If needed, you can also embed Google maps and online forms in your project, create mailing lists for quality interaction with customers, connect advanced eCommerce tools etc.

Setting up a web store with Squarespace:

All in all, the process of web store creation is easy and quick here:

  1. To get started, you just have to add a “Store” collection and fill out the major project parameters (URL, chosen currency, name etc.).
  2. The system will offer to pick a suitable plan. Keep in mind that not all Squarespace features are available in one subscription. Their choice varies with regard to the plan you go for. The more features you need and the larger web store you are going to set up, the more budget you will need to invest.
  3. Create a catalog structure and fill it with products, adjusting their characteristics and special parameters.
  4. Add/modify payment methods and shipping options.
  5. Publish a digital store and customize SEO/marketing/promotion parameters.

The Winner

Starting a web store with Squarespace is simpler and more convenient, especially for beginners. Due to the integrated eCommerce engine, you can pick and adjust special parameters for your digital store. HostGator makes it possible to set up a digital store with WordPress yet this requires extra plugin (WooCommerce) integration and further customization.

Blogging

HostGator works well for blog creation, management and hosting, when used with WordPress. The thing is that CMS was initially created with a blogging focus in mind and, thus, it offers an extensive range of niche-related tools and features. Here is what you can do with HostGator:

  • choose from dozens of blog templates and numerous plugins to enhance blog design and performance;
  • add new posts;
  • update the existing publications;
  • integrate media files;
  • adjust blog promotion settings;
  • host the project on the system servers.

HostGator WordPress Blog

Squarespace comes with a built-in blogging engine, which grants access to the variety of niche features without the need to search them elsewhere. The available options include:

  • set up and customization of personal and business blogs;
  • versatile blog management options;
  • opportunity to add and edit new posts;
  • ability to customize and update the existing posts;
  • a feature to schedule new publications;
  • commenting feature;
  • special blog configurations etc.

Squarespace-Blog

What’s important, there is an opportunity to select a suitable blog template to create personalized blog design. Mind that if you already have a blog started with Tumblr, WordPress or any other blogging platform, you can transfer it to Squarespace servers, when required.

The Winner

Squarespace is certainly a better pick for newbies willing to set up blogs for personal use as the system does not require a deep learning curve to get started with a new project. Using HostGator in conjunction with WordPress will be a more complicated solution as the CMS implies the necessity to learn coding basics as well as integrate niche plugins.

Third-Party Integrations and Special Features

HostGator makes it possible to browse its Marketplace as soon as you sign up for an account. You will have an opportunity to choose and integrate dozens of extensions available in stock here to boost your project functionality. Some of the most popular widgets include CodeGuard, Office 365, Constant Contact, Google Workspace, SSL Management, SiteLock etc. Apart from Gator and WordPress, users also have an opportunity to install other website builders and CMS, such as Weebly, Joomla, Magento etc. Additionally, you can integrate social media services, if you plan to promote your website content on the web.

HostGator Integration

When used with WordPress, HostGator allows extending your website functionality by means of integrating third-party plugins. The choice depends upon your website specialization and the goal you intend to reach. The CMS allows picking from multiple free and paid integrations online to further add them to your project.

HostGator – in integration with WordPress or another CMS – is a fast solution. Use it to create a pro website with free hosting, a free SSL certificate, and a 12-month free domain, fully optimized for mobile devices, fast-loading (CDN techs), and approved by Google search engines. You will get access to the quality image library, enough analytical tools, and many more.

Another HostGator highlight is Merch Market. This is where you can create promotional products for your business – just pick the available items for further customization and print on demand with Zazzle integration. What you need is to select and add a design, choose a product template, customize it and order from Zazzle.

Along with Merch Market, you can use the integrated AI Logo Builder to independently design and create your own professional brand logo. By using a set of built-in logo elements and tools, you can get a unique logo, then export it in various formats and add to your site, business card etc.

Squarespace does not imply the opportunity of external plugin integration yet there are many widgets available in stock here. Even though you won’t find a built-in App Market here, the system still lets you choose and add some of the extensions it offers by default. Thus, you can add widgets to create appealing image galleries, social media buttons, contact forms as well as stats tracking and analytics tools.

Squarespace Integration

One of the notable Squarespace highlights is its Unfold App – a high end storytelling tool applicable for the creation of stories and posts in social networks. The app is downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store for free yet there are premium advanced features you can opt for, if required. Finally, the website builder lets you work with its Logo Maker tool to create unique website logos to make your project stand out from the crowd.

Another Squarespace highlight is the Scheduling Platform, which makes it possible to make appointments online, when required. Thus, you can schedule upcoming events, meetings, shows, presentations etc. to make your project interesting for users. One more way to attract the attention of visitors and to keep them informed about your business news is to share posts in social networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Google+, Behance, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Dribbble, Dropbox, Yelp, Twitch, Tumblr etc.).

In case your website implies the necessity of creating presentations, then Squarespace Video Studio App will certainly be a helpful tool. The service allows creating and sharing video presentations to showcase your business, talents, creativity and best samples of your products (if any). This feature will work best for portfolios, digital stores and business projects.

What’s more, Squarespace unveils an opportunity for professional email marketing. It lets you send brand emails to existing and potential clients. This makes the process of organizing and holding email marketing campaigns effective for all user categories.

The Winner

In terms of integrations, HostGator unveils greater functionality and flexibility as compared to Squarespace. This is mainly achieved due to the powerful plugin integration options WordPress is known for. Likewise, the host allows choosing widgets from its built-in Marketplace. As opposed to it, Squarespace does not have an App Market yet there is still an opportunity to use its integrated extensions as well as Video Studio App, Logo Maker, Unfold App and other tools.

Template Editing

HostGator has won extensive popularity due to the availability of Gator website builder. Nowadays, however, the site builder is unavailable for new signups. Users, who have already purchased its plans, can keep working with the system.

Apart from built-in Gator website builder, HostGator allows installing popular software (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Concrete5 etc.) as well as getting some of the most impressive themes. Their cost constitutes $59 per sample.

The use of the system with WordPress grants access to hundreds of free and paid templates specially developed for the CMS by third-party experts. They are available on special resources and vary with regard to their parameters, cost, quality, safety etc. Whatever type of project you intend to set up and whatever niche it belongs to, you will definitely find a theme to customize here. Mind that premium templates are more secure and professional than free ones because of the reduced malware threats they may include. Before opting for a theme, you may preview it first. This is a handy solution for everyone.

HostGator WordPress Themes

The prevailing amount of WordPress templates available online are responsive by default. Their cost generally ranges between $29 and $200. WordPress boasts powerful HTML/CSS editing options, which require deep programming proficiency, however, yet allow creating unique website design.

Squarespace grants access to the rich template collection available in stock. It includes over 100 responsive designs, which are free and customizable (see best Squarespace website examples). For user convenience, the designs are divided into niche categories based on the topics they belong to. A handy preview feature will help you see the design you are interested in closely to help you make the right choice.

Squarespace Templates

The platform also allows exploring its collection of ready-made themes, which is a nice option for non-techies. This is where they can select and customize any template without any coding proficiency required. If you possess programming knowledge, then the system will let you work with codes to create personalized website design. Mind, though, that code editing feature is viable for Business Plan users only.

The system also allows working with its Cover Page Builder. This is a handy tool for subscribers, who intend to design one-of-a-kind landing pages and one page websites. All in all, you can choose from over 30 pre-designed layouts here. To give the selected layout individual design, you can access and use the Page Editor. It allows picking from numerous blocks, typography tools, visual/animation effects and other elements.

In case the selected template doesn’t match your website style or requirements for some reason, Squarespace allows switching to another theme. You can do that on any stage of the project customization process without any content loss.

Another option available to the software users is the opportunity to hire a web design expert, who will independently create a website with regard to special parameters and tasks. This can be done on the separate “Hire a Squarespace Expert” page.

The Winner

As to template editing, Squarespace is a simple and more convenient solution to go for. It comes with a collection of ready-made templates as well as built-in design customization tools to give the selected theme individual design. HostGator used with WordPress implies the need to pick third-party themes, which are available online and can be customized with regard to users’ needs. This, however, is frequently impossible without deep coding proficiency.

General Pricing Comparison

HostGator pricing is reasonable and versatile. This makes it possible to pick a suitable plan with regard to the type of project and special requirements you have. The software offers three types of subscriptions that come at various prices and include diverse terms/services. You may go for a monthly/annual/2-year plan. The longer the duration of the plan is, the more budget you can save in the long run.

If you plan to use HostGator with WordPress, you will appreciate one of the following plans:

WordPress Hosting

  • Baby Plan ($3.05/mo) – 2 websites, 20GB SSD storage, phone and chat support, unlimited bandwidth, basic email included, free domain for the 1st year, basic email, free SSL, pre-installed WordPress, malware scanning, Cloudflare CDN, enhanced performance etc.;
  • Business Plan ($4.67/mo) – 3 websites, 40GB SSD storage, free domain name, free SSL Certificate, daily website backup, domain privacy for the 1st year etc.;
  • Pro Plan ($9.95/mo) – 5 websites, 100GB SSD storage, free domain name, free SSL Certificate, maximum performance, daily website backup – free for the 1st year etc.

Pro Hosting Solutions at HostGator include Dedicated, VPS, and Reseller hosting packages. Each of them has three pricing variants, with different sets of options but with the same discount flexibility, for which HostGator is famed. Let’s observe all the options displayed in the following chart.

HostGator Dedicated Hosting Plans
Value Server
Power Server
Enterprise Server
$91.98
$121.88
$141.99
HostGator VPS Hosting Plans
Snappy 2000
Snappy 4000
Snappy 8000
$36.99
$53.99
$95.99
HostGator Reseller Hosting Plans
Aluminum
Copper
Silver
$19.95
$24.95
$24.95


Prices for domain registration range from $0.95 (.site) to $15 (.me). Domain transfer prices also vary. For instance, the transfer of a .com, .net, .info, or .org domain will cost you $7.95 a year, while you can transfer .website or .space domains for $12.95.

An important issue I should emphasize: all prices are introductory. That is, they will be valid during the initial period. HostGator does not offer free trials or free versions of its services.

Whatever plan you will go for, there is the 45-day money-back guarantee, if you are not satisfied with the selected solution for some reason.

Squarespace doesn‘t offer a completely free plan yet there is an opportunity to test the system during a free 14-day trial period. The platform does not require your credit card data yet you will have to sign up for a premium account upon the end of the trial. Have a look at them now:

  • Personal Plan ($16/mo billed annually) – up to 20 pages, 2 contributors, free custom domain, SEO features, 30 minutes of video storage space, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SSL Security, integrated website metrics, Squarespace extensions, 24/7 customer support etc.;
  • Business Plan ($23/mo billed annually) – unlimited pages and AdWords Credit, premium blocks and integrations, professional email from Google, fully-integrated eCommerce, 3% transaction fees, advanced website analytics, unlimited contributors, CSS/JavaScript design customization etc.;
  • Commerce Basic ($28mo billed annually) – unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, powerful eCommerce analytics, domain checkout feature, Instagram synchronization, personal customer accounts, Instagram store integration etc.
  • Commerce Advanced ($52/mo billed annually) – real-time carrier shipping, subscription sales, advanced shipping and discounts, limited availability labels, gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, APIs for order and inventory etc.

The cost of domain name registration with Squarespace starts at $20/year, depending upon the selected domain zone. The price of using automation tools ranges between $14 and $50 per month. This also depends on the selected plan and services it includes. If you intend to use the Unfold app, get ready to pay from $2.99 to $12.99 per month, while the price of the integrated email service starts at $5/mo to reach $68/mo.

The Winner

Squarespace offers fixed prices for its subscriptions and this is what simplifies the budget calculation for users. HostGator has separate plans for shared and WordPress hosting as well as for other hosting types. However, the system may additionally require extra integrations, which will affect the final project cost. This is not quite convenient for most users.

Which One Is the Best for SEO?

HostGator allows picking and integrating numerous SEO tools to enhance your website positions in the search engine results. Application of these tools will also have a positive impact upon your website traffic. If you are going to set up and promote a project with WordPress, you will additionally get access to numerous SEO plugins. Yoast SEO is the best solution to go for here. The plugin will let you set up a project to make it well-optimized for the search engines. Just follow the instructions and fill out corresponding fields to get started.

HostGator SEO

Squarespace with a set of built-in SEO tools that make it possible to correctly optimize your website for effective promotion. What you can do here is edit title and description as well as your project URL to make them SEO- and human-friendly. You can also fill out meta tags for website pages and hide them from indexing until your project is ready for publication. To simplify the SEO process for non-techies, the website builder offers a detailed checklist. There is also an opportunity to consult Squarespace experts, who can help you select a suitable SEO strategy.

Squarespace SEO

The Winner

When using HostGator with WordPress, you can access and integrate SEO plugins to properly optimize your website. This definitely requires baseline coding proficiency. If you decide to give preference to Squarespace, the system will provide you with a set of integrated SEO tools as well as guidelines on effective project optimization. This is definitely a simpler solution.

Comparison Conclusion

Now that you are a bit familiar with HostGator and Squarespace, you realize how different the platforms are in terms of goals and initial implication.

As a hosting provider, HostGator makes it possible to store all types of projects on its servers. When used with website builders or CMS like WordPress, it also allows building and customizing websites. This is quite a worthy solution for most users.

Squarespace, in its turn, is the all-in-one website builder, which already includes hosting and web design tools in one place. There is no need to look for third-party web developers or hosts elsewhere. No deep coding proficiency is required here as well.

The question is: which software is still more preferable and which of them complies with your needs most? The results of my comparison show that both platforms deserve user attention. If you are looking for an all-in-one DIY system without the need to pick an external host. The Squarespace is what you should try first. Need trusted hosting with WordPress access? Then HostGator will be a smarter choice.