Do you want to move from Squarespace to WordPress?
Many users start their websites using different platforms. Sooner or later, they discover the limitations of the platform and want to move to a better and more flexible option, like WordPress.
In this article, we’ll show you how to properly move from Squarespace to WordPress.
Here is a quick list of steps we’ll show you in the article:
- Why You Should Move from Squarespace to WordPress
- Step 0. Getting Started
- Step 1. Installing WordPress
- Step 2. Exporting Squarespace Content
- Step 3. Importing Content From Squarespace into WordPress
- Step 4. Importing Images from Squarespace
- Step 5: Fixing Permalinks
- Step 6: Importing Other Content from Squarespace to WordPress
- Step 7: Getting to Know WordPress
Ready? Let’s begin.
Why You Should Move from Squarespace to WordPress
Squarespace provides an easy-to-use platform for creating and building websites.
However, many users soon realize that it is limited in terms of what you can do on your website.
WordPress is a lot more flexible and allows you to make a website with a ton of flexibility and freedom.
For a side-by-side comparison, take a look at our article on Squarespace vs WordPress with the pros and cons of both platforms.
Note: when we say WordPress, we mean a self-hosted WordPress.org site and not the WordPress.com blog hosting service. Check out our guide on the difference between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com for more information.
Step 0. Getting Started
To start with WordPress, you will need to sign up for a web hosting account and register a domain name.
We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the biggest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.
They have agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name and discount on hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month.
If your Squarespace site has its own custom domain name, then you may want to transfer that domain to your new web host.
Alternately, you’ll need to change your Squarespace domain’s DNS nameservers to point toward your new host.
During the migration process and after the domain transfer, you will be able to access your Squarespace website as it will start using the built-in Squarespace subdomain.
Step 1. Installing WordPress
After signing up with a web host, the next step is to install WordPress.
As the most popular website builder in the world, WordPress is known for its famous 5-minute install.
If you are on Bluehost, then they will automatically install WordPress for you.
Most other top WordPress hosting companies also allow you to install WordPress with a single click from your hosting dashboard.
You can also follow our step-by-step WordPress installation guide for beginners for detailed instructions.
Once you have installed WordPress, you’ll be able to log in to your WordPress dashboard (admin area).
Step 2. Exporting Squarespace Content
After installing WordPress on your new web host, the next step is to export your content from Squarespace.
Squarespace offers limited export functionality. Depending on what content you have on your site, some of it will be exported.
The rest of the content will remain on your Squarespace built-in domain, and you will have to manually copy and paste it.
Here is the content that can be automatically exported:
- All your basic pages will be exported as WordPress pages.
- One blog page will be exported, and it will appear in the list of WordPress pages as ‘Blog.’
- All your blog posts under that one blog page will be exported as WordPress posts.
- Your Gallery pages will be exported.
- Text, Image, and Embed blocks will be exported.
The following content will not be exported:
- Product pages, Album pages, and Event pages will not be exported.
- Audio, Video, and Product blocks will not be exported.
- Style changes and custom CSS will not be included.
- Folders and index pages will be left out.
- If you have more than one blog page, then only one of them will be exported.
Note: During the import process, your Squarespace images will not be imported. We will show you how to import them later.
Now that you know how restricting Squarespace is, let’s go ahead and export the content so you can have a fresh start with WordPress and grow your website the right way.
Log in to your Squarespace account and go to the Settings » Advanced » Import/ Export menu.
This will bring you to the import/export settings.
Next, click on the export button to continue.
Squarespace will now show you a popup with a WordPress logo on it. Squarespace only exports content in a format suitable for WordPress.
If you had an online store on Squarespace, then you can download product data as a separate CSV file.
Next, click on the WordPress logo to continue.
You will see the progress of the export process on the left under the import-export buttons.
Once the export is finished, you will see a button to download your export file.
Go ahead and download the export file to your computer.
You will need it in the next step when you import the content into your new WordPress website.
Step 3. Importing Content From Squarespace into WordPress
The next step is to import the content you downloaded from Squarespace into your WordPress site.
Log in to your WordPress admin area and go to Tools » Import in the left-hand menu. You will see a list of platforms to choose from.
Squarespace will not be listed there because it exports content in a WordPress-compatible XML file format. All this means is that you need to click on the ‘Install now’ button below WordPress to continue.
WordPress will now fetch and install the importer for you.
Once finished, you need to click on the ‘Run importer’ link to continue.
On the next screen, click on the ‘Choose File’ button.
Select the file that you downloaded for from Squarespace earlier and click the ‘Upload file and import’ button.
WordPress will now upload the file and examine its content to make sure that it is in a supported format.
If everything is in order, then WordPress will show you the import settings page.
On this page, you will need to choose an author name for the imported content.
WordPress can also import Squarespace users and add them to the Subscriber role in WordPress. You can also choose an existing admin user as the author or even create a new user.
There is also an option to import attachment images, but it will not work for this. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to fix that later.
Go ahead and click on the ‘Submit’ button, so WordPress can start importing content from your Squarespace export file.
When it’s done, you will see the success message. You can now visit the pages and posts in WordPress to review the imported content.
Step 4. Importing Images from Squarespace
Unfortunately, the WordPress importer cannot import images from your Squarespace website. You will have to manually import those images, but there is an automated way to do it.
Upon activation, you need to edit all posts and pages containing images. This will trigger the image import process when you save a post type.
Luckily WordPress allows you to bulk update content, so you can do it with just a few clicks instead of manually doing it one-by-one.
Simply go to Posts » All Posts page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top.
You need to increase the number to 999 in the ‘Number of items per page field’ field and click ‘Apply.’
WordPress will reload the page, and this time it will show 999 posts at a time. Next, you need to select all your posts and then select ‘Edit’ under the bulk actions menu.
After that, you need to click the ‘Apply’ button.
WordPress will show you a quick edit box that lists all of the selected posts. You just need to click on the ‘Update’ button, and WordPress will update all your posts.
Remember you’re not changing anything and just clicking the ‘Update’ button.
Doing this will trigger the Auto Upload Images plugin to import the external images from Squarespace and store them in your WordPress media library.
Depending on how many posts and images you have on your website, the plugin may not be able to trigger an import for all of them at once.
In that case, you can select and update the posts again.
The plugin will only import the images that are not imported and will skip the ones that it imported the last time.
For more details, see our tutorial on how to import external images in WordPress.
Step 5: Fixing Permalinks
We need to make sure that you don’t miss traffic coming through the links from your old Squarespace website.
WordPress uses an SEO-friendly URL structure, which allows you to customize the link structure in many different ways.
The goal here is to make your link structure similar to your Squarespace website. Squarespace uses year/month/day/post-name as the link format for blog posts.
It also uses a prefix like ‘blog’ or ‘blog-1’ in the post URLs.
A typical blog post URL using the default built-in Squarespace domain name may look like this:
If you were using your own domain name with Squarespace, then a typical blog post URL may look like this:
In the WordPress admin area, you need to visit the Settings » Permalinks page.
There you will see a list of URL structure options. The closest match to your old Squarespace URL is ‘Day and Name.’
Click on the ‘Day and Name’ option and then move down to ‘Custom Structure.’
You will see that the custom structure section will be automatically filled with year, month number, day, and post name tags.
You just need to add the ‘blog-1’ prefix before everything else. Like this:
Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.
This step will make sure that users visiting your website from search engines and other sources are redirected to the correct posts and pages on your WordPress site.
There is still a chance that some of your links may result in 404 errors in WordPress. Here is how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.
Step 6: Importing Other Content from Squarespace to WordPress
Squarespace only allows you to export limited content. If you were using their eCommerce features, events, or hosting audio video files, then you will have to import all of them manually to your WordPress site.
Depending on how much content you have there, this process can take some time.
For products, you will need a WordPress eCommerce plugin, like WooCommerce.
For other related content, check out these guides:
- How to add a contact form in WordPress
- How to install Google Analytics in WordPress
- How to add a portfolio to Your WordPress site
- How to start a podcast with WordPress
- How to sell online courses with WordPress
- How to optimize WordPress SEO
Step 7: Getting to Know WordPress
WordPress is a powerful platform with incredible flexibility. You can start familiarizing yourself by customizing your website.
There are thousands of professionally designed free and premium WordPress themes (website design templates) that you can use on your site. See our guide on how to select the perfect WordPress theme for your site.
The real power of WordPress comes from its thousands of plugins. These plugins add more features to your WordPress site. See our expert pick of the essential WordPress plugins that you should install.
WordPress is simpler and easier to use. However, from time to time you may come across new things to learn. This is where WPBeginner can help.
WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site for beginners. We have lots of helpful content which is created specifically for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.
Following are a few of the helpful resources you will find on WPBeginner (all of them are completely free).
- WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials and guides.
- WPBeginner Dictionary – Our WordPress glossary is the best place to familiarize yourself with the WordPress lingo
- WPBeginner Videos – New WordPress users can start with these free videos to master WordPress.
- WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 288,000 subscribers and 48 Million+ views.
- WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out the plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
- WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.
We hope this article helped you move from Squarespace to WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress site, or these tips on how to increase your website traffic.