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Transferring from Squarespace to WordPress

Switching from Squarespace to WordPress

The reasons to switch from Squarespace to WordPress may be numerous. You may have an intention to bring your website functionality to the higher level or set new objectives, realization of which may be a problem with your current Squarespace website.

You should realize that it will take time, effort and skills to migrate from Squarespace to WordPress CMS. Apart from the complex technical nuances, you have to make sure you forward the traffic properly to the new hosting with the old website domain. It’s also crucial to take care of the content, which should display well on a new platform.

The same is about preservation of the search engine ranking of your website as you don’t wish to lose website positions you have gained. If you are concerned with all these issues, have a look at the following guide to decide, if you are ready to get involved into the migration process.

There are several crucial issues to consider to make the transfer process fast, smooth and hassle-free. You’ll need to take care of proper hosting choice, domain name transfer and content migration to ensure correct and consequent growth of your website search engine positions.

Thus, the process of Squarespace to WordPress switch encompasses several must-have steps and important nuances that may have serious impact upon the result. It’s high time to discuss them in details right away.

1. Moving Website from Squarespace to WordPress – Is it Worth It?

Such an extensive variety of web design platforms may be confusing for those users, who have never had any website creation experience before. No wonder, many of them frequently pick trusted services and start their projects with them to further realize that these systems have limitations or just do not comply with their growing web design aspirations any longer. This is when they decide to look for a more feature-laden and flexible platform like WordPress.

Order Squarespace to WordPress Migration

To be precise, there may be several reasons to switch from Squarespace to WordPress. Here they go:

  • Restricted Squarespace functionality that prevents you from getting the most out of your project performance;
  • The need to look for a more feature-laden platform that would contribute to better development and promotion of your project;
  • Squarespace may come with features or options that may no longer satisfy you for some reason – you can find that out while exploring or testing the platform. This will eventually trigger the desire to transfer your website to another system.

Squarespace is a worthy website builder, which can be used to start and manage a rich variety of projects for personal and business use. The decision to switch to WordPress does not mean that there is something wrong with it. It just means that you are looking for another platform, the functionality and design customization options of which will come up to your need better.

2. Squarespace Versus WordPress – What Is the Difference?

Squarespace and WordPress are two quite different platforms, which is mainly manifested via their web design approach. While Squarespace is a website builder, the feature set of which still resembles the CMS, WordPress is the world-renowned Content Management System that abounds in integration options and design customization tools. However, both systems are worth user attention and both of them have much to offer to their target audience. Thus, comparison of these platforms is handy to the prevailing amount of web designers.

As a website builder, Squarespace is somewhat easier to use than WordPress (the open-source CMS). This is also confirmed by the fact that Squarespace initially targets the end user, while WordPress is geared towards the needs and requirements of those web developers, whose coding knowledge and skills are on a worthy level.

Squarespace Editor

When it comes to flexibility and feature set, both systems are great in their own niches. Squarespace has an extensive library of high end responsive and customizable templates, integrated blogging and eCommerce engines, abundance of design development and management tools, ready-made integrable widgets and hosting included into the cost of selected plans.

WordPress also excels at integration and design development options. The platform grants access to hundreds of free and paid plugins/add-ons, integrated and third-party themes you can edit to create unique project design almost from scratch. At the same time, WordPress doesn’t include hosting and domain name by default. This triggers the need to pick and purchase hosting and domain on your own. On the other hand, this approach gives you full control over your website and its performance.

WordPress visual editor

Template choice is also versatile in both systems. The only difference is that Squarespace has integrated responsive design collection, while WordPress allows choosing from hundreds of free and paid templates, most of which are developed by third-party web designers. WordPress themes also require installation before detailed customization.

Speaking about the pricing aspect, Squarespace and WordPress differ as well. The website builder has a free trial and four paid subscriptions available at reasonable cost. The plans include hosting and allow for free custom domain connection. The CMS, in its turn, is free for initial download and installation yet it implies the necessity to invest into plugins, templates, best hosting choice and domain provider.

To find out more information about Squarespace and WordPress features, parameters and tools that may affect website creation and management process, it makes sense to read a detailed Squarespace vs WordPress comparison that will help you make the unbiased decision.

3. How to Switch from Squarespace to WordPress – The Ultimate Guide

The must-have steps of transferring your website from Squarespace to WordPress are mentioned below.

  1. What you should know is that Squarespace hosts its websites on its servers. As opposed to it, WordPress hosts the websites launched with the system with the hosting of your choice. So, the first thing you should take care of is selecting the trusted WordPress hosting provider and learn the terms it offers.
  2. If your Squarespace website comes with a registered domain name already, you’ll have to transfer it as well to the hosting provider chosen. The transfer rules will depend upon the host you will work with. Check them in details prior to working on your website migration. The most popular domain name transfer options will be reviewed in details below.
  3. Install WordPress CMS on your hosting. The setup process is easy and quick. Newbies will appreciate the tutorial that describes the installation process in details. However, inexperienced users have to be careful about that. There are many nuances, underestimation of which may result in the problems in your further website functioning.
  4. Export Squarespace content, but mind that not all of it can be transferred automatically. The rest of the content will remain on your integrated Squarespace domain name and you’ll have to copy it manually.
    The content that can be exported includes the basic WordPress website pages, one blog page with all the posts it contains, gallery pages as well as image, text and embed blocks.
    The sections that will remain in your WordPress website include product, album and event pages; video, audio and product blocks; custom CSS and style changes; index pages and folders.
  5. Access the “Settings » Advanced » Import/ Export” Squarespace menu. Click the “Export” button to get started.
  6. You will further see the pop up WordPress logo window, the activation of which will launch the file export process. As the export process is completed, download the export file and store it on your computer.
  7. Import content. This is when you’ll have to import the downloaded files into your WordPress website. To do that, reach the WordPress admin panel and access the “Tools >> Import” page. You’ll be offered a list of services to choose from. Click WordPress to install the importer plugin.
    As soon as the download is completed, activate the plugin and run the importer link. The next step is uploading and importing files from the export file you’ve downloaded. In the import settings page, you will have to select the name for the available content. You can either select the existing admin user or create a new one.
  8. Import images. As far as WordPress doesn’t import images from your Squarespace website automatically, you’ll have to do that manually, if needed. Mind, though, that you’ll need to install the Import External Images plugin for WordPress first. After the plugin activation, reach the “Media >> Import Images” page to complete the task.
  9. Check and Customize Permalinks. To preserve your Squarespace website traffic, make sure your WordPress URL structure is correct. This shouldn’t be a problem as the platform is SEO-friendly and will let you customize the structure of your links as you need.
  10. Import the rest of the content. As mentioned above, not all Squarespace website content files are available to export. Check those that are left and transfer them manually to your WordPress website.
  11. Explore WordPress and start customizing your website. Don’t forget to check, whether you have transferred title and description meta tags for each page correctly once again.

We recommend keeping your existing Squarespace website active until you make sure the migration process is completed properly and your new WordPress website functions well. This is a surefire way to prevent the potential troubleshooting issues.

4. How to Transfer Own Domain Name from Squarespace to WordPress

As mentioned above, WordPress doesn’t offer integrated hosting and domain name solutions. Squarespace, in its turn, unveils the opportunity to connect custom domain name. So, what are the options, when it comes to switching from this website builder to the CMS? What about domain name transfer then? Actually, this is an urgent issue for most users, who think about moving their projects from one platform to another. It’s high time to review the available domain name transfer options below.

Transferring Your Squarespace Domain to WordPress

If you own a domain name registered with Squarespace, the process of moving it to WordPress won’t be that difficult. The system provides detailed guidelines on how to effectively complete the task without losing your website search engine positions. Before you actually proceed to the process of website migration, you have to make sure it’s been registered with Squarespace (or transferred to it) for more than 60 days. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to complete the procedure. You should also keep in mind that the entire process of website migration takes up to seven days.

In case you are going to move a Squarespace domain registered in in .de, .uk or .co.uk zones, you’ll need to initially review the transfer requirements and exclusions that go along with these domains. If your domain name comes with G Suite attached to it, the first thing you should do is to adjust MX records with your new domain name provider as soon as you are done with the transfer process. This is needed to prevent the termination of your email service.

Here is the list of steps you should complete to transfer your website away from Squarespace and then move it to WordPress:

  • Reach your Squarespace account first and go to the Home Menu to access the settings. Then find the “Domains” section or activate the Question Mark key to search the domains you own (if there are several of them);
  • Pick and click the domain you wish to move to WordPress;
  • Scroll down and then uncheck the “Lock Domain” tab;
  • Activate the “Send Transfer Authentication Code” button available at the bottom of the panel. Right after that, you will get the email that contains the unique authentication domain’s Admin Contact code;
  • Open the email and copy/save the authentication code to further enter it in the WordPress admin panel;
  • We’ll review the process of domain name transfer to Bluehost. Mind that you can transfer domains that belong to the following zones: .com, .net, .org, .us, .co, .info., .biz;
  • Check whether the domain is unlocked and don’t transfer the one, which was renewed within 45 days with the previous registrar;
  • Update the settings and disable your email privacy to let the registrar send transfer-related emails;
  • Adjust DNS settings (they cannot be edited during the transfer process);
  • Point your Domain Name Servers to Bluehost’s name servers (these are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com). It can take from 12 to 36 hours for the changes to take place;
  • Sign in to your Bluehost domain registrar account (or register the one, if you don’t have it yet);
  • Go to the “Domains” tab at the top of the screen. This is where you can either click the “Transfer” link in the submenu or go to the shortcuts, where you should click the “Transfer a New Domain to Your Account” section;
  • Enter the domain you wish to transfer to your account. The system will check the domain status to make sure it is completely ready for the transfer;
  • Enter the authorization code you’ve got from Squarespace and then click the “Check” button to continue the process;
  • Confirm the contact details or submit them if needed, add domain privacy if required and check the box agreeing to the terms of service;
  • Make the payment to complete the transfer procedure (if everything is ok, you will get the confirmation message from Squarespace and an email from new registrar), which will take around 5 days.

Transferring Your Own Domain to WordPress

If your domain was registered with another provider (not Squarespace) and you do not plan to change it after you move your website to WordPress, you have an opportunity to transfer it directly to the CMS to be able to manage the website and the domain name in the same place. What you need to get started is to upgrade your current WordPress plan to the one that allows for the transfer process. As soon as you do that, you can proceed to completing the following steps:

  • To get the authorization (EPP) code from the current provider, you should first sign in to your active account and reach the control panel;
  • Check whether your domain is eligible for transfer and unlock it by following the guidelines the provider generates;
  • Tick the corresponding tab to receive the authentication code by email;
  • Confirm the link you get in the email and memorize/copy the unique code available there;
  • Login to your Bluehost account or register the one, if you don’t have it yet;
  • Disable your email privacy to make sure the registrar can send emails to confirm the steps of the transfer process;
  • Take your time to make the required DNS settings as this cannot be done during the transfer process;
  • Point the DNS to Bluehost’s name servers, which are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com. All in all, it takes around 12-36 hours for the edits to take place;
  • Reach the “Domains” tab, which is found at the top of the screen;
  • Choose one of two transfer options – either the “Transfer” link available in the submenu or the “Transfer a New Domain to Your Account” section found in the shortcuts;
  • Type the domain name you intend to transfer to your account to let the system check its current status and transfer eligibility;
  • Enter the EPP code you’ve received from Squarespace and click the “Check” button to proceed;
  • Add domain privacy info if needed, provide the missing contact details and agree to the terms of service in the corresponding box;
  • Go to the shopping cart and make the payment to complete the domain name transfer;
  • If you do everything right, you will get a confirmation message from your provider and an email from registrar about current stage of your domain migration process. In this case, it is going to be completed in 5-7 days.

Mapping Your Domain Name to WordPress

Sometimes, domain names may not be eligible for transfer. If you still have the intention to use it for your new WordPress website, mapping will be the most suitable solution. Mapping implies that your domain will remain registered with the provider it belongs to, but it will point to your WordPress website to ensure the maximum performance and SEO positions. Additionally, you will have to pay for the domain use to the current registrar and you’ll also be able to edit the settings or make the required configurations in the current domain name account. Here are the steps to follow to map/assign your current domain name to WordPress (we’ve chosen Bluehost as the hosting provider officially recommended by the system):

  • Sign in to your Bluehost account (or register the one, if you don’t have it yet) and go to the Domain Manager panel or directly to the “Domains” section available on the top of the screen;
  • Click the “Assign” button in the submenu to get access to the corresponding section, where you should enter the details;
  • If you already have the domain associated to your Bluehost account, choose it from the drop down list. If you don’t have the one, pick the “Assign Domain” tab and enter the domain you would like to assign to the account;
  • Verify the domain ownership by choosing one of four options the system offers. You can change the DNS settings by pointing them to Bluehost’s name servers or enter the EPP code you should preliminary receive from your current registrar;
  • Choose addon, parked or unassigned domain type depending upon your domain transfer needs;
  • If you pick the addon domain, you will also have to choose the addon directory and the subdomain;
  • Go back to the Domain Manager section and check whether the domain appears there. If you do everything right, it should already be available there.

5. Professional Squarespace to WordPress Migration Services

Moving from Squarespace to WordPress shouldn’t be difficult, if you are aware of all the nuances of the migration process and can complete the task on your own. But what if you don’t? There are two alternatives you may choose from in this case.

  • The first one implies the application of special migration programs or tools, which are intentionally designed with this idea in mind.
  • The second option is to use the services of a professional, who is competent in this niche and can handle all the problems on time.

Which solution will work best in the long run?

Option 1. The prevailing amount of website migration apps are created to transfer websites from different services, without considering their special characteristics and parameters. Meanwhile, each website builder or CMS is unique and it’s crucial to be aware of the nuances of working with these systems.

As a result, automated website migration may trigger functional problems you’ll have to fix afterwards to retain your website performance. Apart from that, these tools are mostly paid, although, you cannot be sure on the successful return on investment.

Option 2. What’s the sense to waste your money and time, if you can hire a professional, who will cope with the same task in the best way possible? Experts from CMS2CMS possess deep niche expertise needed to complete the domain name transfer procedure for you without the risk to make a mistake. They are aware of all the nuances of the process as well as specific parameters of the CMS and the website builder to prevent potential problems on time. These experts also stay in touch with you after the completion of the migration process. This means that you can contact them any time to get professional piece of advice.

CMS2CMS Squarespace to WordPress

At the same time, you should realize that professional assistance is always more expensive as compared to the use of automated programs. Another aspect is that you should be twice attentive, when setting the task to let the system experts know what exactly you expect from them.

Bottom Line

As a Content Management System, WordPress open-source software provides greater functionality as compared to Squarespace. As soon as you are done with website migration process, take your time to make sure it functions properly and all the plugins are installed and set up correctly. Check out, if all the redirects to new web pages are enabled (if any) and test the website once again.

If you decide to give it a try and switch from Squarespace to WordPress, read the migration guide provided in the post. It offers helpful tips on how to prevent the potential problems and make the website transfer process smooth and hassle-free. To simplify the process, you can make use of the automated website migration programs or hire web design professionals from CMS2CMS, for example, to handle the task for you. They will take care of all the steps of the website migration process, including content and domain name transfer. It’s up to you to pick the most suitable option as each of them comes with its pros and cons you should thoroughly weigh to decide on the best solution.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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