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Squarespace vs WordPress – Which one is better? (Pros and Cons)

Squarespace and WordPress are two popular website builders that allow you to easily create a website without any technical skills or programming knowledge.

Recently, our readers asked us to compare Squarespace vs. WordPress because they were seeing a lot of commercials on TV for both platforms.

In this article, we will compare Squarespace vs. WordPress with the list of pros and cons for each platform. Our hope is that after reading our comparison, you can pick which one is better for you.

Squarespace vs WordPress comparison

Note: This comparison is between Squarespace vs self-hosted WordPress (not WordPress.com). See the difference between self-hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com.

Since we want to create the most detailed WordPress vs Squarespace comparison, we have broken down the article into multiple sections. We will look at each section and see which platform offers the most benefit to a beginner level user.

  • Ease of use
  • Costs
  • Design and templates
  • Extensions and integrations
  • E-commerce
  • Data portability
  • Languages and internationalization

Ready? Let’s get started.

Ease of Use and The Learning Curve

Most business owners and beginner-level users are not familiar with HTML, CSS, and other code related things. They want a platform that helps them easily create a website without hiring a developer.

Let’s see how both WordPress and Squarespace stack up in this category.

WordPress

WordPress is the top choice among users who want to start a blog or small business owners building a DIY website. Over 32% of all websites are powered by WordPress.

While WordPress is fairly intuitive and easy to use, there is definitely a slight learning curve.

Beginners will need to familiarize themselves with WordPress terminology and concepts such as difference between posts vs pages, categories vs tags, understanding themes and plugins.

The default WordPress content editor is fairly easy to use. It comes with custom blocks to add content elements to your pages, so you can build beautiful layouts with media-rich content.

Default WordPress editor

Despite the slight learning curve, in our experience, most users quickly adapt to WordPress.

Squarespace

Unlike WordPress, Squarespace does not come with a lot of choices. This lack of choice makes it very simple and easy to use. Even the absolute beginners can quickly write content and publish it.

Squarespace page editor

Squarespace also uses a block editor similar to WordPress. Adding images, videos, and audio files is simpler than WordPress. There are plenty of content blocks, and layout control choices in the block editor.

Squarespace lets you customize your templates and pages using a visual editor. However, you are limited to the options available in the customizer. It is a controlled environment, which means your options are limited.

Conclusion

Squarespace fares a little better than WordPress out of the box in terms of ease of use for absolute beginners. However it’s limited features might not be ideal for all business owners.

On the other hand, WordPress offers beginners a lot of choices right from the beginning which might be confusing at first, but it is a lot more flexible in the long run.

There are several WordPress page builder plugins that you can use to create completely custom websites with drag and drop (without hiring a developer).

The Costs

Knowing how much each platform cost is important in making a business decision. Let’s look at how much Squarespace cost vs. how much WordPress cost.

WordPress

WordPress itself is free. You are free to download, use, and build upon WordPress. It is an open source software with a GPL license which gives you all the freedom and control.

In order to build your website with WordPress, you will need to registar a domain and signup for a web hosting account.

Depending on your needs, you can choose a shared hosting plan, VPS hosting, or even managed WordPress hosting. Shared hosting plans work for most small personal and business websites.

See our guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting.

The cost of web hosting and domain name vary depending on which hosting provider you go with. You are in charge of how much resources you need for your website, and how much you will pay for it.

With over 6800+ free templates and 54,000+ free plugins, you can run your website for as low as $2.75 per month (which includes your domain name and hosting – we recommend Bluehost or SiteGround).

One of the reasons for WordPress’ popularity is that the overall cost of building your website with WordPress is very low.

Apart from that, you can change your hosting plan as your site grows. This means you will only pay for the resources you actually use, so it’s easier to control the cost of your website.

We have a detailed article on the cost of building a WordPress website and how to keep it under budget.

Squarespace

The personal plan for Squarespace starts from $12 per month (billed annually) or $16 month to month. That’s a little more than a shared hosting plan for WordPress.

Squarespace pricing plans

However, unlike a shared WordPress hosting plan, this personal plan comes with very limited features. You can only add only two contributors to your site, and you cannot sell products.

Whereas you can start an online store with WordPress for less than that.

Squarespace business plan starts from $18 per month (billed annually) or $26 month to month. It includes eCommerce support, but they charge a 3% transaction fees. The business plan comes with unlimited contributors, pages, and additional advanced features.

They also have separate plans for online stores starting from $26 per month with no additional transaction fee.

Conclusion

WordPress beats Squarespace with flexible pricing plans available from a variety of web hosting services from around the world.

The cost depends on how much resources you use, and you get access to all WordPress features right out of the box.

Design and Templates

Both WordPress and Squarespace come with ready-made templates and design tools to make it easy for you to create a custom website.

Let’s see which one offers you more choices and tools to create well-designed websites.

WordPress

WordPress offers access to thousands of free and paid website templates. These templates are highly customizable, allowing you to use your own website logo, colors, upload your own images, and more.

Many WordPress themes come with multiple layout choices, drag and drop page builders, sliders, photo galleries, and tons of other features.

No matter what kind of website you are building, you will find hundreds of professionally designed templates for the job.

Wordpress themes

Many beginners find this abundance of choices a bit overwhelming. Here are some of our expert-picks of the best WordPress themes for different kind of websites.

For more on this topic, see our article on how to choose the best WordPress theme for your website.

Alternatively, you can also start with the Divi Theme which is a master theme with a lot of custom skins and complete drag & drop control.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers ready-made website templates neatly organized into different categories. There are themes for all popular website categories, with professional designs that look good on all devices.

Squarespace templates

However, this is a big area where Squarespace seriously falls behind. The number of pre-made templates are very limited, and your design options are also limited to the set of features available in the Squarespace customizer.

Themes come with a limited number of layout choices with each template. You can still do basic colors, fonts, website logo, and other things, but these templates are not as customizable as WordPress themes.

Conclusion

WordPress comes out as a clear winner in terms of design choices, customization options, and flexibility. Squarespace offers great looking templates, but they are limited in numbers and are not very flexible.

Extensions and Integrations

Extensions

All website builders come with a collection of built-in features. As your website grows, you would want to add more features and connect your site to work with third-party tools and services.

Let’s see how WordPress and Squarespace perform in this regard.

WordPress

The real power of WordPress comes from its massive ecosystem of plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress site that you can install to add new features or change the default behavior of your site.

There are currently more than 54,000+ free WordPress plugins listed in WordPress.org plugin directory alone. There are also thousands of premium WordPress plugins available from third-party websites.

WordPress plugins

If you can think of a feature, there is a good chance that you’ll easily find a WordPress plugin that does it.

WordPress plugins are so robust that many of them are full-fledged platforms with their own add-on plugins and a thriving community built around them.

We have a list of the essential WordPress plugins that every website should have.

Then you have specialized plugins to create ecommerce websites, build membership community, sell online courses, and more.

To learn more see our article on how to choose the best WordPress plugin.

Because WordPress is the most popular website builder, most third-party services and tools have their own WordPress plugins which integrate their services to a WordPress website.

All top email marketing services, SEO tools, live chat software, and lead generation tools offer seamless integration with WordPress.

Squarespace

Squarespace comes nowhere close to WordPress when it comes to extensibility and integrations.

It is possible to add third-party integrations and customizations but unlike WordPress, Squarespace doesn’t have powerful APIs that developers can build upon.

Squarespace integrations

They do provide some official third-party integrations, but even those are limited and not all popular services are supported.

For eCommerce, you can use their built-in platform, but you cannot extend it in any way.

Squarespace lacks the functionality to allow custom websites that you might need for your online business idea.

Conclusion

WordPress is the clear winner here with an incredible ecosystem of thousands of plugins and integrations at your fingertips. Squarespace, on the other hand, has very few integrations and many of them are very limited.

E-commerce

Are you building an online store? Let’s compare the eCommerce functionality of WordPress vs. Squarespace.

WordPress

WordPress allows you to integrate and use any payment processor or platform you want.

There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to easily accept online payments using Stripe, PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Payoneer, Skrill, and even Bitcoin.

eCommerce

WordPress has plenty of eCommerce plugins that can turn your website into an online store within minutes. World’s most popular eCommerce platform, WooCommerce, is a WordPress plugin.

WooCommerce comes with its own ecosystem with its own WooCommerce add-ons and thousands of WooComemrce ready themes.

There is no limit on how many products you add to your website, how you display them, or how you sell them. You can run your own affiliate program and use all the tricks to grow your sales without any restrictions.

Squarespace

E-commerce is limited on Squarespace. You can only use Stripe and PayPal for payment processing, which are only available in select few countries.

There is no other payment system available which restricts your ability to accept payments from a larger global audience. For a growing business, starting with such limitations is not a great idea.

Squarespace commerce

Apart from that, you can only sell products in Business or Commerce plans.

Let’s say you want to sell only one product, you will still have to pay for the Business plan, and the yearly costs of hosting a site with just one product to sell will be way higher than a shared hosting plan or VPS for WordPress.

As for third-party services, there are very few external services that you can integrate with your Squarespace website. This affects how you promote your website and the things you can do to make more sales and grow your business.

Conclusion

WordPress is way ahead of Squarespace when it comes to running an eCommerce website. The limitations of Squarespace are not so good for the growth of an online business.

The neat part about WordPress is that you can also use it alongside with Shopify. See our comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Data Portability

When signing a business agreement, you always have safety clauses. Such as if you’re not happy, then you can leave without any hassle.

This concept extends to online businesses as well, and it is called data portability. If you’re not happy with the platform, then you should be able to take all your work and move it somewhere else.

Let’s look at how WordPress and Squarespace compare in data portability and the freedom to switch.

WordPress

WordPress comes with built-in tools to easily export all your data. Not just your content and images, but you can also backup your themes, plugins, and the entire database. See our list of the best WordPress backup solutions.

Exporting content in WordPress

You can then easily move this content to any other Content Management System you want. You can store your content anywhere else and change web hosts at any time you want.

Squarespace

Just like everything else, the export feature on Squarespace is also very limited. You can only export certain parts of your content in a XML file. This includes your pages, galleries, and one blog page with all its posts.

Your product pages, album pages, text, audio, and video blocks will not be exported.

Conclusion

The content you create on your site is yours, and you should have the freedom and tools so that you can move it elsewhere. WordPress again beats Squarespace with easy to manage tools to export your entire site.

Languages and Internationalization

We live in a global world and many businesses cater to a multilingual audience in different geographical locations. Let’s see how Squarespace and WordPress handle languages, multi-lingual content, and geographical locations.

Languages and localization

WordPress

WordPress is fully translated into dozens of languages. Users on a WordPress site can choose their own language from their profile settings.

Most WordPress themes are translation ready and all popular WordPress plugins are also translated into many languages.

Basically, you can build a WordPress website in any language you want. You can even translate WordPress yourself if your language is not yet available.

WordPress does not come with multi-lingual functionality out of the box. However, there are excellent plugins to create multilingual websites that are SEO friendly and incredibly feature rich.

Squarespace

Squarespace platform is fully translated into six languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese). You can change your site language and choose different timezone / country.

You can only use currencies supported by Stripe or PayPal for your store products.

You can create multilingual pages by basically duplicating your pages. You will have to manually create a site structure or create different sites for each language (You will be billed for each site separately).

Conclusion

WordPress is way ahead in terms of languages and localization options. Squarespace again comes out as very limited and totally inadequate to create multilingual websites.

Summarizing Squarespace vs WordPress Comparison

WordPress is a far superior platform than Squarespace when it comes to building a website. Here is a quick breakdown of pros and cons of both platforms.

Pros of using Squarespace

  • Easier to use for small websites
  • Polished user experience
  • Hassle free website setup

Cons of using Squarespace

  • Costs higher than shared hosting website
  • Limited design choices
  • Limited set of features
  • Limitations put you at disadvantage in growing your business

Pros of using WordPress

  • Easy to use with a slight learning curve
  • Incredibly flexible to create anykind of website
  • Massive collection of themes and plugins
  • Truly powerful eCommerce platform
  • Can be started at a very low cost

Cons of using WordPress

Weighing in the pros and cons, we can confidently say that WordPress is a better platform to start a website.

The freedom to grow your website as you see fit, is important for all businesses. You should not trade that for any cost. WordPress provides you with this freedom at an much lower cost than all other platforms.

We hope this article offered you a side by side comparison of WordPress vs Squarespace. You may also want to see our complete WordPress review for a detailed overview of the platform.

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Reader Interactions

36 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Another great article! One little thing I think you could do better. Please don’t say “the slight learning curve”. I think it would be best to use simply “the learning curve”.

    I realize you want to encourage people, and to let them know that if they are a capable computer user they can get this, no problem. But you don’t know about your readers’ learning curves. For some folks, depending upon what they want to do, WordPress can be a huge learning curve!

    Thanks for all your excellent work!

  2. Great article! I used to use WordPress but have been using Squarespace more and more recently. Finding I can really push the design a lot with some custom CSS and javascript, and clients really like the Squarespace admin experience.

    • Each user has their own needs, while we prefer WordPress if your users prefer Squarespace they can certainly use it :)

      Admin

  3. Good article – but I might add – WordPress can be extremely complex or simple – but that is the beauty of it. You can create a wordpress custom (which takes lots of coding experience) or you can create a simple site using a pre made theme. WordPress may take more to learn – but learn it once and you can use it on many different types of websites for a long time. Learn squarepace – and you can only build squarespace sites. You wont have a clue how to run a wordpress or other opensource platform – which MAY limit you in the future. Also read squarespace terms – there is NO GUARENTEE of protection on your site. If your squarespace site disappears for whatever reason (employee error etc) there is no guarantee you can get it back. The backup system is crude – No REAL backups you can take offsite and hold in your hand and limited snapshots.

    Having said that, I find the cost of hosting irrelevant when comparing the cost of creating content, layout, graphics and branding. When considering labor it costs the company many many thousands to do it RIGHT and there is the SEO campaigns. It doesn’t make sense to invest all the above into a platform you don’t own. With wordpress – its yours. With squarespace – its theirs and you cannot move it.

  4. I have a question on this topic that I don’t see mentioned in your article. The SSL certificates are included with Squarespace, but I’m not sure about WordPress. Maybe you know if it is, because I helped a friend on a completely different builder and we had to figure out the process of getting those certificates and it was not easy.

  5. I would definitely recommend using WordPress. The argument against it is that it is more complicated to use, but I slightly disagree. With all of the restrictions and higher prices from Squarespace, I think it is better to watch a few YouTube tutorials to better understand WordPress. After all, I don’t think it is very difficult to use, and it allows users more access into code-editing and provides more plugins.

  6. I guess it comes down to preference and what your specific site needs are. I’m not too sold on the limits Squarespace has, but that’s probably because I love WP. All of our clients’ sites are built in WordPress and I love how custom you can make the sites. Yes, it does take some back-end knowledge, but hey, knowledge is power!

  7. Why are people getting so flustered over the two! It’s personal preference and what your requirements are at the end of the day.

  8. I was doing research on whether or not to move my personal blog site from Squarespace to WordPress. A lot of my clients used WordPress, so I thought I may have been losing a big opportunity to adopt what I’ve learned from an agency for my own use. After reading this, I think I am going to stick to Squarespace. I’m not planning on throwing more money into buying expensive plug-ins for my simple blog, so I think the standard features are good enough for me. For more complex projects, though, I’d definitely go to WordPress.

  9. Seems ridiculous that of all the things you wrote this article but never thought to go in to; image quality and page speeds.

    • That’s because image quality has nothing to do with your CMS and page speeds are to do with your server, which you have many options to pick using WordPress. Both these things are either irrelevant or impossible to do in a review like this!

  10. Hello All,

    Please advise. When setting up your site, what legal business structure do you use? (llc, sole proprietorship, s-corp etc.) This site is an LLC, but under LLC’s it says that you can’t pay yourself a wage. I am confused by this.

  11. I am starting an online blog-business and I happen to come across this article. The thing I like the most about squarespace is no coding. Since the already-made templates have simple font change and other stuff. I just hate coding. But I still have to use wordpress since I plan to sell on the website…yeah.

    • Things may have changed since this article was written. Beyond the personal plan, Squarespace offers unlimited products, they can handle other payment processors such as Paypal and Apple Pay.

      I think the rest of the article holds up. it will be a matter of preference – all of the easy to use online website tools sacrifice flexibility for that ease of use, but many won’t require more than that. I use WordPress personally, usually with Elementor front end page builder, which has a free and Pro version, or the almost completely free Live Composer.

      There are lots of other page builders out there, and more on the way, however. WordPress has a ton of options for all kinds of functions.

  12. I have been a squarespace user for 2 years and have explored WP and concrete in the past. Why I paid for SS is the simplicity was beautiful, with a minimal learning curve. Support was very quick earlier on which meant I had questions answered within the hour usually at no extra cost. I was on an annual plan which cost about $155-180 range per year from what I recall.

    With WP I would have needed to hire someone to help me and paid so much more once I added in this cost.

    Now I am at a next step point and will need a CMS so am looking at WP, Concrete and others as a next step.

  13. Squarespace is fantastic. But it is missing one important core capability: It is totally unable to do secure membership websites. This kills the deal for many professionals.

    Membership websites are an important source of business for professional writers, bloggers, businesses. They are even important for non-profits like churches who want to keep in contact with their members.

    Squarespace allows you to sell digital and real products. But it absolutely cannot securely allow you to sell memberships. Sad.

    But that is a strong reason for choosing WordPress or other platforms like Rainmaker who allow you to create a membership business.

  14. Wow what a great unbiased neutral article that isn’t complete garbage because it honestly compares the two without ads from either Squarespace or WordPress alongside the article.

    Oh wait.

    • What can you expect on a site called “wpbeginner”, this site is made for people beginning in WordPress.

  15. I recently decided to move from WordPress to Squarespace. I looked at some other platforms (such as Blogger), but they just didn’t offer quite enough functionality for what I wanted).

    I had been using self-hosted WordPress for over 2 years, but was just finding I was spending most of my time solving site, technical, and performance issues, instead of building content, which was always my goal.

    I never went into this to become an expert is CSS, Caching software, or CDNs.. just to put some ideas and thoughts out there to try to help people.

    Time will still tell if it was the right switch, since it is still early in the process.

    You can learn about my thought process as to why I made the switch in a recent post I made to my site:

    My reasons may not make sense for everyone, and its still early in the process.

    But for many “hobby bloggers”, I do believe that Platforms such as Blogger, WordPress.com or Squarespace are viable solutions, given that you can work within their limitations (which so far, I can).

    Regards,
    Michael

    • On the contrary wordpress will cost you more to develop. But it absolutely kills squarespace with features. With great power comes great responsibility. There is a reason why not many medium size businesses use squarespace or other template builders.

  16. Comparing them doesn’t make much sense either. SS is clearly meant for those unwilling or unable to learn the little you need to know about WP. My grandma would be fine with SS for sure.

  17. And yet, the guys over at weebly, squarpace and wix spend a ton of money on advertisement (even tv ads) which will result in more WordPress users once the people expose to those ads start doing some research

  18. “While WordPress is fairly intuitive and easy to use, there is definitely a slight learning curve.” That is a biased understatement!

  19. As you steated:”WordPress outperforms Squarespace in every possible usage scenario.”

    If you have decided or are in a need to build a web site using content management system, or you are just starting to conquer “The Web” with your new GREAT IDEA for a blog, then my advice to you would be not to limit your self by using other CMS solutions and stick with WordPress.

    It’s not perfect but it’s the best solution!

  20. Comparing Squarespace with WordPress is like comparing apple with orange. It’s just not fair. WordPress has more freedom and cost effective, it wins hands down.
    Squarespace should be compared with WordPress.com, as both have nasty limitations.

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