Squarespace and WordPress are two reputable web design platforms, which have millions of active users around the globe. The systems target various user categories, covering a broad range of tasks. They differ from each other by their integrated functionality, design customization options, pricing policies, approaches to the web development process and other aspects that matter a lot for both system users.
The major distinction between the platforms is that Squarespace is a cloud website builder, while WordPress is the open-source software. This fact defines the general web design approach, the ease of use and convenience as well as functionality of both systems.
Website Builders Comparison Chart
|Best for:||Blogs, small business websites, professional portfolios, web stores||Blogs, business websites, portfolios, landing pages, small/medium web stores|
|Templates:||Dozens of free responsive templates||Hundreds of free and paid themes|
|Technical Support:||Live Chat, Email Support, Community Forum, Ticketing System, FAQ section||No official customer support, extensive worldwide user community|
|Blogging Options:||Integrated blogging CMS||Built-in blogging platform|
|SEO Options:||Advanced SEO parameters||Powerful SEO options|
|Pricing:||Starts from $12/mo||Free yet requires paid integrations/themes|
|More info:||Squarespace Review →||WordPress Review →|
The systems are quite controversial yet feature-laden and professional. Choosing between them may be a challenge for most users. No wonder, that one day you can find yourself deciding between these two services for your next online project. So, which one to give preference to- Squarespace or WordPress? Which platform has more to offer and which of them will come up to your web design needs most? Read this review to find out the benefits and disadvantages of these web publishing solutions.
Squarespace vs WordPress: General Overview
Squarespace is a popular cloud website builder, which covers a broad spectrum of users’ web design needs and makes it possible to launch different types of web projects. The system works best for small business websites, portfolios and small to mid-size eCommerce projects. While browsing it, you will encounter a broad selection of features and tools that allow completing a rich spectrum of web design tasks based on personal/business requirements of its subscribers.
The launch of Squarespace dates back to 2003 – that’s the year the system was first introduced to the web design market. It has evolved a lot since that time to currently power around 2.1 million websites. Alongside, the number of active projects started with the website builder keeps growing, which makes it possible to include the system into the list of the top web building platforms in the world.
WordPress is the most popular free Content Management System, which can be used to run web projects of diverse complexity levels. The platform stands out from the crowd due to its high end integration options as well as abundance of design customization tools you can use to launch your personal/business website. Regardless of the necessity to deal with plugin integration nuances, it’s not quite difficult to work with WordPress. Beginners, though, will spend more time to get used to the platform’s features and special characteristics.
WordPress was created in 2003 to be used for blogging purposes. Since that time, it has become the world-renowned platform applied for a broad variety of website development needs. The CMS is a great pick for portfolios, small business websites, web stores, landing pages and other high end websites. The number of live projects launched with WordPress has reached 27 million and it’s not the final figure. Hundreds of thousands (if not even millions) of new websites are currently under development.
Squarespace and WordPress were created in 2003 and they are both referred to the category of the most popular and full-featured web design platforms. However, the number of active websites launched with WordPress impressively prevails over that created with Squarespace. This can be explained by the flexibility of the platform, which is the result of its powerful plugin integration options. Both systems, though, are in demand with users featuring high end performance.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Which One Is Easier to Use?
Squarespace is quite an easy DIY website builder. Its latest version ensures more simplicity, ease of use and convenience, which especially matters a lot for newbies. The interface of the system is clean and quite intuitive even for first-time users. To start a website with the platform, you don’t have to know how to code. Unless you want to get under the hood, the builder is completely code-free. The website builder features a slight learning curve offering a WYSIWYG editor that simplifies the entire website development process. The only problem here is that the platform doesn’t have a preview option. This makes it impossible to see the result of your work until you go live with your project. As a result, you will be able to make the edits after your website is published. This somewhat complicates the web design process.
If there is anything you don’t understand about the website builder, you can search for the system-related answers in the powerful and informative Squarespace knowledge base. It encompasses lots of text and video tutorials, email support feature, live chat and in-person workshops. Additionally, there is an opportunity to browse multiple sections of the Community Forum providing detailed answers to the most popular questions and problems users encounter, while mastering the website builder.
WordPress is a rather intuitive CMS, but it still has a slight learning curve. If you know what it takes to get a site online, WordPress can be a great option. However, if you’re looking for an ‘all-in-one’ platform that supports WYSIWYG and drag-and-drop editing, you’d better opt for a site builder.
The open-source nature of the CMS makes it a perfect solution for professional web designers, who work on projects of diverse complexity levels. The system unveils extensive design customization options letting you pick and edit its integrated and third-party themes. There is no need to use coding skills to launch a simple website here, but awareness of the programming nuances will be a bonus in most cases. This is explained by the need of plugin integration that adds to boosting website performance.
As an open-source software, WordPress doesn’t offer customer support. Instead, you can benefit from dealing with its impressive user community that will surely help you find answers to all the CMS-related questions. There are multiple community forums, manuals, video guides and other sources of WordPress-related information.
When it comes to the ease of use aspect, Squarespace has some prevalence over WordPress. The key advantage of the website builder is its coherence: you get everything you need to design, customize, publish and maintain a website in one place, with all the heavy lifting done by the system (hosting, maintenance etc.). WordPress requires more time to be mastered to the advantage, which is explained by its powerful plugin integration options.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Design and Flexibility
Squarespace and WordPress grant access to myriads of integrated features tools and design customization options. Each platform has much to offer to its subscribers and each of them delivers high end functionality that does not compromise with flexibility. To define the system, which prevails in terms design and functionality it’s high time to compare the major parameters and features they have in stock.
Squarespace gives the ability to sell both tangible and digital goods, integrate ShipStation, Stripe and PayPal support, export website data and create coupon codes. There is also an opportunity to customize order confirmation emails and add store managers who’ll have control over inventory, but not the rest of your website, data export, coupons, taxes, and more.
The website builder additionally lets you pick and customize quality web store templates with regard to the eComemrceniche you specialize in. These are the features that make it possible to launch and manage small and medium online stores with Squarespace. If you need a large eCommerce project, it makes sense to look for specialized platforms.
WordPress allows creating small and medium web stores, but its eCommerce functionality is realized by means of integrating specialized niche plugins. Their number is pretty extensive and you can pick those eCommerce plugins that come up to your financial needs and functionality expectations. Some of the best examples include Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart, Cart66 Cloud, BigCommerce WP Plugin, WP eCommerce, WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store to mention a few.
The most well-known WordPress eCommerce plugin is WooCommerce, which allows starting and managing full-featured online stores. WooCommerce is a free open-source extension, which delivers a bunch of high end eCommerce features. These include geolocation support, opportunity to sell physical and digital products, set up the main shopping/payment/shipping parameters, create and manage product catalogues and many more. Additionally, you can pick and install extra eCommerce plugins that contribute to worthy performance of your web store.
Speaking about the eCommerce aspect, WordPress ensures deeper flexibility and functionality due to its versatile and high end plugin integration options. Squarespace also allows starting and managing online stores, but its functionality somewhat lags behind that offered by WordPress.
Squarespace blogging engine supports scheduled posts, built-in Google Author Rank, tag support, post display options, multiple author support, geo tagging, customizable URLs etc. You can import your blog content from WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or Posterous. Import products from Big Cartel and Shopify. You may also export your Squarespace content to WordPress.
The website builder offers an opportunity to assign blog access rights to different user categories. These include Administrator, Content Editor, Billing, Reporting, Comment Moderator, Trusted Commenter, and Store Manager. The feature will be of great importance for web design agencies, who work on the development of client projects. Squarespace provides Dropbox file synchronization, simultaneous posting (auto-posts to Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr). Moreover – you can import your blog from WP to Squarespace.
For power users, Squarespace offers the Developer Platform, where you get full code control, from the opening doctype tag to the footer. Besides, all templates are exposed via Git, meaning that you can work with a team and roll back changes easily. Likewise, the website builder has a rich template gallery, where you can select free blog themes to further customize them as you need.
WordPress has initially distinguished itself as a quality blogging platform and, thus, its blog development/management features/tools are quite impressive. The CMS allows browsing blog designs either in its integrated template collection or among those available on the web. To enhance your blog performance, you will also have to choose extra extensions based on the functionality level you would like to achieve. Some of the best blogging plugins include NextGEN Gallery, User Registration, Akismet, Maintenance Page, Jetpack and WPDiscuz, UpdraftPlus, Easy Social Sharing, Everest Forms etc.
If you decide to start a blog and are ready to invest some effort and time to make it a success then using WordPress will be a more preferable solution. The CMS will definitely surprise you by the range of blog-related plugins and tools offered. Squarespace, in its turn, also allows starting a quality blog, ensuring simple and convenient web design process.
Third-Party Integrations and Special Features
Squarespace is a feature-rich publishing platform. It offers a decent selection of in-house apps and widgets, and also leaves enough room for customization. You can pick and use special widgets for image galleries with regard to the project type you work on.
What’s more, it is possible to apply analytic and statistics tracking tools like Squarespace Metrics App and Google Analytics, for example, to control your website performance.
WordPress is very flexible. Whether you need to build a webstore, a portfolio or a blog, WordPress can be the right choice. Thanks to the extensibility of the platform, you can create almost any website imaginable. What you should know is that almost any new feature in WordPress requires a plugin, be it an SEO pack, a social media plugin or a commenting system.
Though these are quite easy to install and configure, the flipside of this concept is that over time your website accumulates many plugins which can overlap and also make your WordPress website heavier. Another demerit is that some of the third-party plugins may come with malicious codes, which may threaten the entire website security.
As to the availability of third-party integrations, WordPress hardly has any rivals. Squarespace doesn’t have to counterpose to the CMS as WordPress functionality is all about powerful plugin integrations. However, if you do not plan to start a feature-laden project, then Squarespace will also work great for this purpose.
Squarespace offers 105 beautiful templates for websites and around 12 templates for online stores. Every design automatically includes a mobile version that matches the overall style of the theme. Custom CSS can be applied to any template design. All Squarespace designs feature high quality and deserve user attention due to their appealing look.
For greater user convenience, the designs are divided into several categories based on the niches they belong to. You can switch Squarespace templates, but it’s important to note that certain changes may not carry over to new templates. So, we advise you to test several templates before final choice.
WordPress offers plenty of free and paid themes. Many of them are included into the system’s catalogue, while many more are available on the web. These themes are specially developed for WordPress by third-party web designers. However, it can take you a while to learn the basics of their customization.
The best place to find quality WordPress themes is the official theme directory. In case you decide to go with a free WordPress theme, make sure it is devoid of malware, suspicious backlinks and scripts. Theme customization requires at least basic knowledge of CSS and HTML. In some cases, you need to know PHP language for deeper customization.
To sum it up, Squarespace designs work seamlessly and they don’t require installation. WordPress offers a greater selection of themes, but their quality is sometimes arguable, while the choice of the best template should be done wisely with regard to your web design and business needs. Make sure you get a WordPress theme from a trusted provider.
Squarespace vs WordPress: General Pricing Comparison
Squarespace doesn’t have a free version, but you can try it free during a 14-day trial. They offer four packages in case of annual subscription. The final cost depends on the type of subscription chosen as well as on the terms the plans imply. Mind that all annual packages include free hosting and domain name. If you already own a domain name purchased from the third-party provider, you can transfer it to Squarespace to keep working with it. Here is the list of Squarespace subscriptions along with the services they offer:
- Personal ($12/mo) – 20 web pages, 3% sales transaction fee, free custom domain name;
- Business ($18/mo) – unlimited web pages, AdWords credit, 2% sales transaction fee;
- Basic ($26/mo) – unlimited number of products to sell, integrated accounting options, unlimited amount of storage and bandwidth;
- Advanced ($40/mo) – real time carrier shipping, abandoned checkout autorecovery, label printing.
It is possible to buy monthly and annual subscriptions, with the latter being more affordable for all user categories.
WordPress is free. However, you may encounter extra expenses (paid templates, plugins, etc) when working on your project development. The cost will eventually depend upon the amount of plugins you will choose for your website as well as on their prices. If you have no prior webmastering experience, you may also want to hire a WordPress developer.
Additionally, you’ll have to pay for hosting and domain name. In this respect, choosing Bluehost will be a more preferable solution. The company is officially recommended by WordPress due to its credibility, reputability and broad range of features provided. Bluehost ensures fast website load speed, strong uptime rates, integrated app market and eCommerce functionality, powerful SEO features, Site Access Blockage tool, enhanced DDOS protection as well as bonus domain name and other advantages. The cost of Bluehost plans ranges between $2.95 and $13.95 per month depending upon the terms and services included.
Squarespace plans include free hosting with unlimited storage and bandwidth. The cost of Squarespace, however, may grow, when creating commercial projects. WordPress CMS is technically free, but in the long run you’ll still have to pay for extra functionality, plugins and hosting.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Squarespace is a SEO-friendly website builder, which allows for individual set up of parameters that affect the quality and efficacy of the website promotion process. The system lets you adjust SEO settings with regard to the result you wish to obtain in the long run. Squarespace automatically generates headings for products and posts and it further uses them as SEO titles for the required web pages. At the same time, the platform does not allow for manual set up of SEO settings and website titles. One of the undeniable advantages of the website builder is the fact that it makes it possible to hide separate web pages from indexing by the search engines. This is done in the corresponding section of the system’s dashboard.
WordPress SEO promotion options are on the high level. The CMS lets you independently adjust search engine optimization settings by integrating corresponding SEO plugins. You can pick any of them with regard to their pricing, integration complexity, integrated functionality, ease of use etc. There are multiple SEO plugins designed for WordPress out there, namely Google Search Console, Yoast SEO, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Rank Math, Broken Link Checker, SEO Press, All In One SEO Pack etc. The most popular and functional WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast SEO.
When it tackles the issue of SEO optimization both platforms are on a worthy level. While Squarespace offers integrated SEO functionality, wordPress allows setting up the major Search Engine Optimization parameters via the use of specialized niche plugins, the choice of which is quite extensive and versatile.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Which One Is Better for a Small Business Website?
Squarespace is a website builder that can be used for the development, management and further promotion of small business websites (see examples). The platform grants access to multiple advanced tools and features you require to start a worthy project that tackles your business niche. There is a pretty good choice of quality templates here, which are responsive and customizable. What’s more, you can browse and integrate versatile add-ons and widgets that come up to your website specialization and can notaly boost its performance. Squarespace boasts extensive social media integration options, analytic and statistics tracking tools. When it comes to starting business websites, special attention should be devoted to the Acuity Scheduling platform – the advanced online appointment system, which makes the sales processes and interaction with clients much simpler due to the powerful integrated toolset.
WordPress can cope with your business website development process as well. Apart from the rich collection of business templates, the CMS grants access to multiple plugins. Their integration allows starting a website for entrepreneurs, which will feature high end functionality. Some of the best plugins you can use for this purpose include RafflePress, CSS Hero, Constant Contact, WP Forms, MonsterInsights, Sucuri, MemberPress, OptinMonster, UpdraftPlus, WP Rocket and Beaver Builder to mention a few.
Squarespace and WordPress can equally be used for small business website development, while each of them utilizes diverse approaches to this process. Squarespace mostly delivers integrated functionality, while WordPress allows for the integration of external plugins and designs. This obviously requires more knowledge, time, effort and patience.
Which One Is the Best for eCommerce – Squarespace or WordPress?
Squarespace lets you start small and medium online stores, while building a large eCommerce project will be quite complicated here. The website builder offers a set of customizable, responsive and free eCommerce templates as well as access to multiple design customization tools/features. Some of the most remarkable eCommerce options include an opportunity to create manage and update product galleries, add product descriptions, upload their images implement special offers and discounts, enable user commenting feature embed Google Maps etc. Take a look at these Squarespace eCommerce websites for more details.
WordPress eCommerce functionality is mostly realized via integration of niche plugins. The system does not have its own eCommerce engine. This is what makes plugin integration a must for web store creation. There are lots of them available out there, but WooCommerce still remains the most popular one. The plugin is free, but it’s also quite functional as it lets you launch professional online stores without investing too much time, knowledge and effort. What’s more, you can choose other free and paid plugins to use along with WooCommerce to give your online store enhanced performance.
Whatever type of online store you would like to create, both platforms will be a good choice for this purpose. Squarespace is a bit simpler to use as it comes with its own integrated eCommerce engine. WordPress in its turn allows for greater design flexibility due to its powerful integration options.
Which One to Choose for Blogging – Squarespace vs WordPress?
Squarespace comes with the integrated blogging engine, which makes it possible to start and customize an appealing and feature-laden blog (see the proofs here). The website builder makes it possible to choose a nice blog template and proceed to its customization then. What you can do to give your blog the desired performance and worthy appeal is adding and editing blog posts, uploading and inserting media files, setting up geolocation parameters, embedding user commenting feature, adding RSS feeds etc.
WordPress is initially known due to its blog creation focus. The CMS doesn’t have any rivals when it comes to professional blog development, offering high end features and tools. Along with advanced blog development/management tools like post writing and editing, media files integration, adjustment of social sharing options and SEO parameters etc., you can also integrate special plugins that can boost your blog popularity. WordPress blog plugins are free and paid. The most popular of them are Akismet, UpdraftPlus, Everest Forms, WPDiscuz, Maintenance Page, Jetpack etc.
WordPress prevails over Squarespace in terms of blogging options. This is no wonder, considering strong blog focus of the CMS. At the same time, Squarespace lets you start a feature-laden blog as well, using its integrated toolset provided by default.
Moving from Squarespace to WordPress
Squarespace is a worthy and full-featured website builder, which lets you complete a stunning variety of tasks. The platform occupies one of the top places in the list of modern web design systems, adhering to the needs and requirements of web design pros and first-time users. As your Squarespace-based website keeps developing, you may realize the need to switch to a more flexible and feature-laden system like WordPress. This is where you may encounter several problems associated with website transfer.
When it comes to switching from Squarespace to WordPress, you will have to properly handle content and domain name transfer as well as some other nuances, including traffic redirection and hosting preservation. This might be a problem, if you lack coding skills or web design expertise. Obviously, accessibility of the detailed guide will come in handy to you, especially if you intend to complete the process on your own.
Do you feel that you might need help with your website transfer process? In this case, it is reasonable to hire a special website migration service, which will cope with the task in the best way possible. They are aware of all the special nuances of both platforms as well as the must-have steps of the migration process. This is what ensures the best and quality result.
Key Differences Between Squarespace and WordPress
|Ease of Use:||Squarespace is a simple drag-and-drop website builder. The website builder works great for users with various coding skills, making it possible to start blogs, web stores, landing pages, business projects etc.||WordPress is the CMS, which is quite complicated for first-timers. However, it’s quite easy to master it, if you have some time, patience and skills.|
|Functionality:||The website builder comes with the integrated WYSIWYG editor, blogging and eCommerce engines, Logo Maker, social integrations, statistics tracking, SEO tools, Cover Page Builder, advanced marketing as well Google Maps embedding features and high end Acuity Scheduling platform.||The platform is quite feature-laden. It offers advanced integration options, which let you start and manage almost any type of website, such as blogs, business websites, web stores or landing pages.|
|Design:||Squarespace template collection is a bit limited, but the themes are still quality and responsive. They make it possible to set up different projects, which are fully-customizable and professional.||WordPress has a set of built-in themes, but there are hundreds of third-party templates available on the web. They are free and paid and they are well optimized for mobile viewing.|
|eCommerce:||Squarespace eCommerce engine allows launching and updating small and medium web stores, assigning their crucial parameters.||The CMS allows starting a web store by means of eCommerce plugin integration. The most popular shopping cart plugin created for WordPress is WooCommerce, which is free for everyone.|
|Blogging:||With Squarespace, you can also start a quality blog. It’s up to you to update it when required as well as to customize its design based on your niche preferences.||WordPress started as a blogging platform. The set of its tools and plugins meant for blog development is rich and versatile to let you start and post feature-laden blogs.|
|Small Business:||The platform works well for small business website development. It allows integrating multiple business widgets, media files, Acuity Platform as well as useful email marketing and statistics tracking tools.||WordPress grants access to lots of plugins, which were specially designed for the creation of small business websites.|
|Pricing:||Squarespace has a 14-day free trial and several pricing plans for standard and eCommerce websites. Their cost starts with $12/mo.||The CMS is free, but get ready to invest into paid plugins, templates, hosting and domain name to go live with your website. The cheapest Bluehost plan costs $2.95/mo only.|
|SEO:||Squarespace is a SEO-friendly website builder. Apart from filling out the main SEO parameters for better project promotion, it also allows hiding your website or its pages from indexing by the search engines.||Websites created with WordPress rank high in the search engines. The CMS lets you choose from multiple SEO plugins, integration of which has positive effect upon website promotion.|
|Customer Support:||24/7 Live Chat, Email Support, FAQ section, Ticketing System, Community Forum.||No official customer support, extensive worldwide user community and multiple forums.|
Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?
Squarespace and WordPress CMS are two powerful, feature-laden and quality web development platforms. They differ a lot from each other due to their web design nature and approach to the website creation process.
Squarespace is a website builder, which makes it a bit simpler solution for all user categories. It comes with advanced functionality, design customization tools, integrations as well as built-in eCommerce and blogging engines. WordPress is a CMS that requires time for exploration and mastering of the system basics. This is a scalable web design solution that stands out from the crowd due to its advanced plugin integration options.
If you have no idea about how to find a reliable hosting provider, install and configure a theme or use plugins, you’d better opt for Squarespace. It will help you focus on what really matters – your product/service, rather than technical details. However, if you require a flexible and powerful web design system that ensures creative freedom, then WordPress will be a better solution to go for. The final choice will eventually depend upon your web design goals, tasks, skills, budget, requirements and expectations. Test both platforms to figure out what exactly you need.