In the world of web hosting and site-building, there are few names bigger than WordPress and Squarespace. Both are popular choices that offer a lot of functionality. So how do you decide which to use?
Why Squarespace vs. WordPress Isn’t a Fair Comparison
When comparing Squarespace with WordPress, it’s crucial to note that both have different objectives. As we’ll see, Squarespace offers comprehensive hosting solutions for websites hosted on their servers. By contrast, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that may be hosted on WordPress’s servers or downloaded and installed on your own server. This may not seem like a significant distinction, but it places the two tools in slightly different niches.
You’ll see what I mean as we go through the differences.
To help you decide which one to use, we’ll outline the differences between Squarespace and WordPress, looking at customizability, ease of use, pricing, and several other factors.
This is a resounding victory for WordPress. While WordPress is ready to use out of the box, it performs best when customised to your specific needs. You can choose from hundreds of themes (both free and premium), add tens of thousands of plugins, create a conventional website or a blog, and modify your site’s backend code as desired. It’s critical to emphasise that this is true of the software downloaded from WordPress.org, not of a WordPress.com-hosted site. If you use WordPress as your web server, your options are limited. There are no restrictions if you download WordPress and host it on your own server.
2. Ease of Use
Of course, such customizability comes at a cost. Unless you’re working with a minimal instance, WordPress might be difficult to navigate. And this is a huge disadvantage in the Squarespace vs. WordPress war. Squarespace is designed to be as simple to use as possible. In a matter of minutes, you can have a professional-looking website up and running. You can perform the same thing with WordPress, but your site will lack the gloss that Squarespace provides.
Consider the installation of a new theme. The ideal scenario in WordPress is that you search for and download a theme from the marketplace, then click Install. That is quite acceptable. However, you may come across a theme elsewhere, requiring you to download it, potentially pay for it, upload it to your server, and then install it. And there is no guarantee that it will operate in the manner which you desire. The term “troubleshoot WordPress theme” is a particularly popular one on Google for a reason. On the other hand, Squarespace allows you to browse their (albeit smaller) selection of themes and switch to a new one with a single click.
Their formatting tools are also straightforward to use, and the editing interface couldn’t be more straightforward. Click the item you want to edit, type, and click Save. That’s all there is to it.
WordPress has a lot of power, but you’ll spend some time getting used to it. Squarespace is easy from the start.
Squarespace has many pricing options:
- $12/month for a personal site
- $18/month for a business site
- $26/month for a basic online store
- $40/month for an advanced commerce
Each comes with different features. Most users will be beautiful with a personal site or basic online store.
Hosting your site on WordPress.com also gives you options:
- $0/month for a basic WordPress.com subdomain site
- $4/month for a personal site
- $8/month for a premium site
- $25/month for a business site
The only plan that allows you to install third-party themes and plugins in the business site.
All that being said, WordPress itself—the content management system—is free. If you have server space of your own or want to rent it cheaply from someone else, you can install WordPress on that server completely free of charge. It’s tough to beat free.
WordPress is an excellent platform for running an online store. There are numerous alternatives that you may use in conjunction with your WordPress website to sell virtually anything. However, there is a catch: you must link your WordPress site with another platform to operate your online store.
And Squarespace has that power built-in from the beginning. Both can handle a wide variety of products, and with the thousands of plugins, there’s a good chance you can get better store customisation with WordPress.
The default Squarespace store looks really nice, though.
But when you set up a Squarespace site, you automatically have access to an online store. You may, however, have to pay transaction fees, depending on the level of subscription you have.
5. Site Structure
You can use WordPress for large sites with many layers of navigation, various kinds of organisation, and complex category and tag systems because of the flexibility inherent in the software. This site includes a plethora of categories and tags, which WordPress manages admirably.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is best suited for smaller sites with only one or two levels of navigation. The interface looks better with a smaller number of pages, and trying to create a more complex site adds difficulty for creators and users.
WordPress powers some of the biggest websites in the world. Squarespace’s customer page focuses on smaller sites, like personal and professional sites of celebrities, restaurant pages, and the like. But there’s also a smaller site built by Nike hosted on Squarespace.
In general, if you want a big site, WordPress is best. It might also be more efficient to use WordPress for multiple sites, as you can manage them from the same installation without paying more (if you’re self-hosting). Squarespace requires additional subscriptions.
The flexibility of WordPress means you can find themes that match any aesthetic you want. Professional, artsy, avant-garde, modern, and traditional looks abound. It can be formatted like a blog, a more standard website, a portfolio… the possibilities are endless.
Squarespace, on the other hand, offers a smaller number of templates (92 at the time of this writing). Almost all of them are very stylish and require large, high-resolution images. If you want a great-looking, modern website, Squarespace has a template for you.
WordPress has a seemingly infinite number of themes, and Squarespace has less than 100. Are you willing to put in the time to find the perfect WordPress theme? Or do you want Squarespace to filter them for you?
7. Mobile Apps
While you’ll likely do most of your work on a website from your desktop or laptop, it’s nice to have some good apps at your disposal as well. Both services offer mobile apps, but their approaches are a bit different.
The WordPress app is an all-in-one mobile solution. You have basic blogging capabilities, and you can check notifications, some analytics, and comments. It’s rather basic, but it’s everything you’re likely to need from a mobile app for your site.
Squarespace, in contrast, has five different apps: Analytics, Commerce, Blog, Portfolio, and Notes.
Each is tailored to a specific part of your Squarespace site, and all of them have the same attention to visual detail as the rest of Squarespace’s offerings. (That said, the apps aren’t rated very highly on the App Store).
Choose the Best Website Solution for You
Squarespace and WordPress offer considerable benefits and some inconveniences. In general, WordPress is better suited to large or sophisticated sites, whereas Squarespace is better suited to smaller sites with an emphasis on physical detail. WordPress is an excellent choice for almost anyone and is the greatest option for anyone who wants to customise their site beyond the surface. Squarespace is ideal for freelancers, small business owners, photographers, and artists that require simple websites, blogs, or online portfolios with a limited number of pages.