WordPress vs. Squarespace — what is better for me?
WordPress or Squarespace isn’t that the question?? Chances are you landed on this post because you are not sure which platform to choose. Well, you are not alone.
If you look around the internet, you will find many opinions, some of them very biased telling you that you “have to” choose one or the another for whatever reasons. That is why I decided to give you a non-biased list of pros and cons depending on your current situation. Make the best decision FOR
Let me tell you this…I used to be a huge sucker for WordPress. I mean sure, it is not the absolute best way to build a website in general (because of course, a custom coded website will be always the best solution, but who has the time and resources to pay that, am I right?), but it can get very close to the best one.
Exactly, it CAN. But it doesn’t mean it WILL. Not every time at least. 🙂
So…Is WordPress really the best?
WordPress community is like a cult. Either you believe in it, or you don’t. No questions asked. And if you are very bold, you will go door to door just to explain how big
I used to be one of them. If you asked me 6 months ago, I wouldn’t blink twice while naming all the advantages of WordPress, all the great themes you can use, and all that customization you can do with it. But…BUT. Like everything, even WordPress has its problems. And its number depends on how experienced you are with it.
Nothing is black and white, and WordPress specifically has all the colors of the rainbow.
The truth is, WordPress IS the world’s most popular content management system. According to www.w3techs.com “WordPress is used by 32.4% of all websites. Squarespace is used by 1.4% of all websites.” That is a huge difference. Sure, Squarespace is much younger, but if it was a better solution for everyone, there would surely be a smaller difference than this, don’t you think?
And that’s exactly it. Neither WordPress, not Squarespace is for EVERYONE.
Please note (just to make it a little bit more confusing):
There are two WordPress versions, Wordpres.com (a commercial site that offers basic hosting and maintenance using the WordPress platform, and it is not what I would recommend using), and WordPress.org. Unless otherwise noted, when I say “WordPress” I am referring to the WordPress platform, available on WordPress.org.
squarespace: a quick overview
My clients often need to be adviced which CMS to use for their upcoming website project. To determine which one is better for their needs is never easy because it depends on how they plan to use the website right now, but also what their future plans are.
Let’s take a look at the quick overview, comparing 5 main things:
1. Initial Set Up
WordPress set up requires a bit of work. First, you need to purchase hosting and domain. WordPress on only a platform that is installed on your already purchased hosting. I personally recommend Siteground hosting services for their quick support and great services, but I have a personal experience with hostings like Bluehost or Godaddy as well. An of these three will do.
Once you have your domain and hosting ready, your hosting provider will allow you to install WordPress. Most likely you can do that in the hosting account, and it will only take as much as selecting that option and clicking the install button. Fairly simple.
The biggest difference here is that Squarespace will host your website for you. You can purchase a domain with them as well, or you can connect your existing one, but they will always host your website. That is a good thing in case you want to have all things in one place.
SUMMARY: It is easier to set up a site with Squarespace if you want to use one of their pre-built templates. If that’s the case, your website can be up and running in a matter of hours. However, if you plan customizing the look and feel of your site, you will have to learn how to do it the same way as with WordPress.
The truth is, WordPress requires regular maintenance to ensure the security of your website. What you need to take care of is:
- Theme and plugin updates
- Security (By installing plugins like Wordfence, and by following steps mentioned here.)
- Regular Backups ( They will be your savior in case your site gets hacked, which can happen. You can install a backup plugin that will automatize this job for you.)
Because Squarespace handles your hosting, it takes care of maintenance as well. That alone is a huge plus especially for those that don’t have the expertise or resources to continually maintain a site.
SUMMARY: This is why Squarespace plans are more expensive. You can read about that in the next paragraph.
WordPress itself is free. What you need to pay for is the hosting, domain, theme and possibly plugins. Yes, you can get free themes and plugins, but from my experience, they are often full of bugs and security holes, and it really is worth to pay for the premium ones.
The biggest advantage of this traditional hosting is that you pay a fairly small amount per month, no matter how big your website gets. You can always upgrade if your monthly visits go over a certain number, but for most small business websites basic packages are enough.
– Domain: $10-15 a year
– Hosting: With already mentioned Siteground, the StartUp plan is a $48/first year.
– WP Theme: The better ones are mostly between $39-$89 fix price. I personally recommend Divi theme or Avada theme, as they both are multipurpose themes suitable for ANY kind of WordPress website. They also have amazing reviews, support and any problem with them is solved somewhere on the internet already. All you need to do is Google a bit.
– Additional plugins: ??? (you may not need any at all depending on what plugins are already included in the theme itself)
– Maintenance: Depending on who and how often takes care of it. If you do it yourself, it is free. If you decide to pay for it, then min $25/month
= Lowest price estimate for the first year: $97 (without paid maintenance)
– Domain: about $20/year
– Squarespace hosting has several plans where you pay for the features you get.
- They have a personal plan (no e/commerce, no pop-ups etc.) for $192/year
- They will charge you more for a business hosting account (with e-commerce, email integrations, popup windows, and other perks) for $312/year
- And even more, for big commerce accounts with social media integrations (between $360-$552/year)
That means, the more complicated site you have, the more you will pay for its hosting.
= Lowest price estimate for the first year: $309
SUMMARY: Even though it looks like WordPress is cheaper, it really depends on its customizations and maintenance expenses.
4. Content Ownership
Okay, you own your content no matter what. The problem is that not every platform allows you to move them elsewhere.
Not that this is a competition, but in this case, WordPress is THE winner. Everything you upload, you can export and move elsewhere.
Of course, not everything will be compatible with different themes or platforms, but at least you can export it and save it.
SUMMARY: If you decide to use Squarespace, be aware of this. In case you decide to move it to WordPress in the future, you will have to recreate some pages and some content from scratch there. That’s the deal.
Note: There seems to be an option to pay for full migration here but I haven’t tested it yet.
WordPress has thousands of plugins that you can download for free or purchase. Each of them can provide different functionality that you can add to your site. Not every one of them is high quality though, so I would highly recommend reading their reviews and customer ratings first.
All functionality is already built-in and there is no marketplace where you could buy more features. There are third-party providers that will allow you (for additional price) to use their functions together with your website.
For example: In case you want to add membership to your Squarespace site, you need to use a third-party provider. I personally tried Memberspace.
SUMMARY: With WordPress, you have more choice, but you must be really careful about what you’re choosing. Squarespace has less choice, but also no risk.
That is why it really depends on your preferences, website functionality requirements, and obviously your budget.
If budget is not an issue and you are able to invest into proper theme, plugins, and maintenance, then WordPress is a better choice for you. If you need to DIY your website and you are good with premade templates, then Squarespace is a safer choice for you.
And if you want to read my super biased opinion about Squarespace and my very first Squarespace website I designed on it, click here: