Squarespace vs WordPress – easy to use vs limitless
Squarespace and WordPress are both website builders intended for quite contrasting audiences – one prefers limitations, one seeks creative freedom. Before getting started, it's important to know which platform is good for what.
Squarespace is a perfect beginner-friendly solution, which offers plenty of in-house tools. WordPress is a content management system that runs on plugins and the manual setup makes it more challenging for beginners.
Squarespace is a website builder, and at the moment, it’s one of the best options out there. It’s known for its ease of use, modern templates, and it doesn’t rely on outside apps too much. In case you’re a complete beginner, this is the train you need to board.
WordPress, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. It doesn’t have in-house features and you’ll have to install a plugin for whatever you need. However, it’s far more flexible than Squarespace, making it a little bit more complicated to use. When you want to be the master of your own universe, you need some skill.
Now, there's one more thing you should know about WordPress.
WordPress offers two alternatives - WordPress.com and WordPress.org. They come with several differences: different ways of signing up, account management interface, available services, and pricing. Generally, the core functions are pretty similar – when looking at the basics, it’s pretty much the same platform. In this comparison, we’ll be using WordPress.org
Generally speaking, the purpose of this Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison is to answer any questions you may have about the builders when faced with a choice between the two. I’ll talk about prices, ease of use, templates, features, and performance.
Now, the choice is yours. You can either read the entire article, or press on the section that you want on the table below. If that still seems like it would take too much time, you can press here and skip to the final side-by-side comparison.
|Pricing||Free trial, premium plans start from $12/month.||Varying from free to thousands of dollars a month|
|Ease of Use||A business-centered interface focused on ease of use.||A simple site editing interface, users might find difficulty in the setup process|
|Templates||~110||>1000, a massive first-party and third-party template library|
|Business Features||Mostly in-house features, great for beginners and more advanced users.||Flexible, integrations along with first-party and third-party tools are available|
|Performance||Decent performance all around||Relies on your hosting provider|
With that being said, let’s get into it, shall we?
Squarespace vs WordPress for different sites
Different tools are suited for different goals: let's see how each Squarespace and WordPress fit for various types of websites.
|Blog||Easy to set up and start blogging, but not as intuitive as could be.||Easy to start blogging, has a great editor.|
|Portfolio site||Very image-focused themes, that require high-quality pictures.||Offers options to create an alluring portfolio.|
|Business site||Great built-in tools, but limited third-party options.||Admirable third-party tools suited for marketing as well as a great blogging editor.|
|eCommerce site||Simple to set up and beginner-focused eCommerce.||Great plugins for eCommerce, suitable for beginners and more advanced users.|
WordPress vs Squarespace video comparison
Pricing – which one gets you more for less?
The comparison of the pricing between Squarespace and WordPress is a little bit complicated. The platforms themselves are quite unequal, and so are the prices.
Squarespace offers 4 premium plans with varying features. It is similar to other alternatives on the market, with the prices ranging from $12 to $40 a month. Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan, however, it offers a 14-day free trial.
WordPress doesn’t have a set price. It is free to download, but it’s not free to manage – you’ll need to pay for server hosting and some other additional costs, such as tools and templates.
Squarespace, similarly to other website builders, offers pretty straightforward pricing. The four plans you can choose from are:
|Personal||Unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL certificate, free templates, SEO features, basic website metrics, extensions||$12/month|
|Business||Professional email from Google free for 1 year, premium integrations, fully integrated eCommerce, sell unlimited products||$18/month|
|Commerce Basic||Fully integrated eCommerce, 0% transaction fees, customer accounts, powerful eCommerce analytics, and merchandising tools||$25/month|
|Commerce Advanced||Abandoned cart recovery, sell subscriptions, advanced shipping, and discounts||$40/month|
For a one-size-fits-all website builder like Squarespace, the prices aren’t that high. Let’s look at the plans in greater detail:
This plan offers you core features for $12 a month. The features are:
- Creation of your website and full website editing
- Free custom domain
- SSL security
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
This plan to me seems like it is best for portfolios. This plan includes some marketing features, but it doesn’t have eCommerce features so you can’t sell online. The core features in the Personal plan are best for showing off your work.
This $18 a month plan offers everything as the Personal plan and a few additional features. This plan markets itself as a plan focused on business, with extra functionalities such as:
- Advanced analytics
- eCommerce (with a 3% transaction fee)
- Selling unlimited products
Honestly, I can’t recommend this plan to anyone. The Business plan might seem like a good option, however, the 3% fee means that you’ll have to pay additional money to Squarespace. The advanced analytics or the ability to sell unlimited products aren’t enough of an initiative to choose this one.
This is the plan that would be way more useful to sell compared to the Business plan. Commerce Basic for $26 a month offers advanced features, such as:
- No transaction fee for eCommerce
- Advanced eCommerce analytics
- Customer accounts and professional emails
This plan is more expensive, but you won’t have to pay additional fees for transactions. That alone makes it better than the Business plan, and besides that, the other features implemented are also pretty good for the price.
Additional features that this $40 a month plan offers are there for you to make your money back. The price is steeper, however, it’s great for bigger and more established businesses. The additional features are:
- Advanced shipping options
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Selling subscriptions
These features help to have returning customers. For someone starting out, it’s not the best option and I wouldn’t recommend choosing this plan. But, if you feel like you’re missing out on these features, you can always upgrade to this plan later on.
Moving on to WordPress… you’re about to have a whole other experience. For one thing, WordPress is free. But, additional features might make it a way more expensive choice than Squarespace.
In short, to set up a functioning WordPress website, you’ll need:
- Domain name – around $10 a year.
- Hosting – budget plans range between $30 and $60 a year, but you can also use more expensive plans that cost hundreds
- (OPTIONAL) Custom templates and themes – the most popular options range between $30 and $100.
- (OPTIONAL) Plugins – range extensively, depending on what additional features you want your website to have.
- (OPTIONAL) Developer fee – if you’re not confident in your own website-building skills, you might need to hire help to code your website.
As you can see, only domain name and hosting are mandatory to publish your WordPress website. However, this mix of hosting and domains when running WordPress can cost from nothing to hundreds of dollars a month.
It’s always good to do a quick scan of what each provider has to offer before you make a choice. Especially if you want to go for annual plans.
Here are some possible WordPress hosting options that you can look into:
|000webhost + Domain||1 website, no custom domain, 300MB storage, 3GB bandwidth, and no email account|
|Hostinger + Domain||1 website, 30GB storage, 100GB bandwidth, free SSL certificate, 1 email account, 1-click WordPress installation, and weekly backups.|
|Bluehost + Domain||1 website, 50GB storage, WordPress integration, 24/7 customer support, free SSL and CDN, free domain for 1 year.|
|WPEngine + Domain||1 website, 25k visits/month, 30GB storage, 50GB bandwidth, daily backups, free SSL and SSH, 30+ premium themes, and free automated migrations|
This may look confusing, but I’ll try my best to explain everything in simple terms.
000webhost is completely free, but you’re limited, obviously, and your website looks like a giant spiderweb made of ads. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone if you want your website to look professional, but it would work well enough if you’re doing a school project.
A cheap but reliable alternative would be Hostinger, whose prices start at just $1.99/month (price increases to $3.99 when you renew). Additionally, .com domains on the platform start at $8.99 a month. It would be a great choice that lets to make a professional site on a budget.
Bluehost is also quite affordable, with its prices starting at $2.95/month (for a 36-month plan). For the price, this website hosting provider has a lot to offer and it would be great for a small business site or a personal blog.
And lastly, WPEngine is the master of everything that’s WordPress-related. The prices start at $25/month. WPEngine is that hosting provider that chases just one rabbit and catches it every single damn time.
Since there are so many hosting options, you can migrate your website whenever you see fit – some providers even offer free website migrations.
Aside from hosting, there is another thing to take into account when considering WordPress: additional costs.
For instance, while WordPress offers free templates, you have to pay if you want a more unique one. They can cost anywhere from $20 to even hundreds, but they’re usually a one-time payment.
To have a semi-functional website, you also need plugins. While WordPress’s plugin library is full of freebies, the best options are paid, either via one-time fees or recurring payments. In this case, it’s extremely important to budget – all these additional features can round up to a hefty price.
Generally, WordPress itself is cheaper than Squarespace. Squarespace offers 4 plans with set prices, so you can know what you’re getting into. With WordPress, it’s very easy to go over your budget, because you have to pay for plugins and additional features.
Squarespace vs WordPress – a case study
There are three primary concerns when it comes to ease of use and I’ll talk about each of those factors:
- The sign-up process
- The dashboard
- The website creation process
To make things easier for you, we tested both Squarespace and WordPress and documented the most important details.
You can see how we did by clicking the images below and seeing the websites for yourself.
Here is our Squarespace website:
As for WordPress, it took us longer than with Squarespace, but we managed.
Now, let’s dig deeper.
Ease of use – comparing apples and oranges
- Squarespace is a simple editor that follows a grid pattern, which makes it very suitable for beginners
- WordPress is more complicated because it requires additional tools and plugins, however, the results can be as diverse as you can imagine
- Regarding ease of use, Squarespace is friendlier than WordPress.
Starting with Squarespace, the sign-up process is pretty straightforward. After you create your account (with an email address and a password,) you must choose a template. There are 5 website types and 16 niches. I’d say it’s more than enough.
Once you select a template, you’ll be taken to the dashboard to name your website and receive a quick tutorial explaining how the builder works.
From the Squarespace dashboard, it is possible to create and edit pages, access whatever eCommerce and marketing tools you want to use, and so on.
When it comes to design, if you click on the Design button in your dashboard, it is possible to make some style changes. From there, it’s viable to modify the fonts, the color scheme, add animations and spacing, as well as place some buttons and image blocks.
Once you’re done playing with the design options, which there are plenty of, you can move to the editor.
Squarespace’s editor allows you to add new sections to your page in a grid pattern. As for the background, I was able to change the image given by the template with one of my own or even place a video.
Squarespace provides sections that you insert and combine together to make a site. When choosing to add a section, you can choose whether to add image layouts, text, gallery, or even a contact form.
And within those sections provided, press the + sign to add individual smaller details.
Considering the fact that those sections might not have everything that you need, it’s admirable that Squarespace offers to add additional elements.
While the grid pattern that you have to follow is a little constricting, I do think that it helps to have a very put-together website, that looks great both on computer and mobile devices.
Now, with WordPress, things are not as simple. It requires some knowledge, which is why I think beginners will have a bumpier experience.
Signing up with WordPress is nothing like with Squarespace. First, you have to purchase hosting services from a provider of your choice and a domain. Then, you’ll need to install WordPress yourself.
While some providers offer plans with pre-installed WordPress, others give access to one-click installs.
In this case, we used Hostinger as our hosting provider, and it came with an “Auto-installer” option.
After selecting the preferred option, you have to connect your domain as well as set up your login details, and once again click “install”.
And that’s pretty much it. You can reach the WordPress dashboard either from your web hosting account or by typing in yourwebsiteaddressurl.com/wp-admin/
Studying the WordPress dashboard made me realize that it’s very content-focused because it used to revolve around blogs. However, as of 2021, 41.4% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress, which means that this builder makes it possible to create any type of website.
The menu on the left includes everything you need to get started. You can add and access pages, posts, categories, settings, and, most importantly, plugins.
As for editing your website, things are a bit trickier here. The menu has an Appearance category, but don’t expect too much from it. That’s where you can choose a template for your site, and the editing capabilities depend on the theme selected.
It’s important to note that for more in-depth changes you must go to every single page and change whatever needs changing.
In this case, the theme I’ve selected allowed me to modify a few things, such as the header design, features, overlapping content, and a few others.
The design editing abilities are pretty limited, so if you wish to dramatically edit the look of your site, you can either learn some basic HTML/CSS or make sure to choose a theme that supports your preferred design scheme.
Before you get scared and run as far away from WordPress as possible, there are plugins in WordPress’s library that can make the website creation process a whole lot easier. The people’s choice is Elementor.
Elementor is a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to place elements on your page. You may need to watch the tutorial on how to use it, but it’s smooth sailing from that point on. The video is right under Get Started after pressing Elementor in your dashboard.
Taking a look at the menu on the left, you’ll notice that there are not too many elements to add and customize. For more, you’re gonna have to pay, and Elementor ain’t cheap. It starts at $49 per year.
Personally, I still found Elementor a bit more complicated than Squarespace. The menu was a bit hard to navigate at first. Even so, once you learn your way around it, you should be able to make something pretty without too much hassle.
The big picture here is that Squarespace is easier to use than WordPress. Squarespace comes with everything required right from the start. WordPress will be considerably more complicated to get started with, requiring additional tools, plugins, and templates.
Templates – in-house order, third-party madness
- WordPress offers thousands of in-house and third-party templates
- Squarespace has fewer templates that are designer crafted for different kinds of websites.
After exploring the template libraries of Squarespace and WordPress, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to free templates, WordPress’s strength is in numbers, Squarespace’s is in quality.
Starting with Squarespace, the website builder has an extensive template library full of free themes waiting to be picked up. There are about 90 of them, and they cover 5 website types and 16 niches.
After browsing through the themes, I was pretty impressed with how modern they all look.
One template that I really liked is the Bergen template – I think it would be fantastic for a lifestyle blog, for instance.
Another theme that caught my eye is the Sackett template. It would go great with a DIY or artsy website.
Moving on to WordPress, things are a bit different. First of all, you’ll find a template library in your dashboard, under Appearance. There, you’ll find about 200 free templates.
The problem with free templates is that chances are that plenty of people have the same theme. Plus, these themes are nowhere near close to what Squarespace offers in terms of design. And you want your website to stand out, don’t you?
So, what are the options? Lucky for you, there are tens of thousands of templates created by third parties just waiting to be applied. While some come at a meager price of just $2, and others cost a couple of hundreds, the general price seems to range between $30-$60.
Online shops, such as ThemeForest and Template Monster, are willing to accommodate by providing thousands of gorgeous themes.
A relatively cheap theme is the Glass template. It costs only $23, but it looks very appealing.
With all these online template shops that showcase thousands of themes, cheap and not so cheap, you’re bound to find something that you like, and that fits your website niche as well as makes your website unique.
Overall, I think it’s obvious that WordPress chose quantity over quality. Its free templates are nothing out of the ordinary. Squarespace decided to go with a smaller number, but it was spot-on. Its templates are modern and appealing.
Overall, Squarespace is very easy to use, making building and managing your site as simple as possible. WordPress has a steeper learning curve – but plugins and third-party themes do their best to keep up.
Business features – which platform is better for selling?
- Squarespace offers an array of in-house tools and some additional apps
- WordPress depends on plugins for all additional features, including ones concerning business
When it comes to business features, one of the first things you’ll notice is that while WordPress relies solely on plugins, Squarespace chose to integrate most of the necessary tools. But overall, both platforms offer decent features that will help you build and grow your business.
With Squarespace, you can easily create an online shop in just a few steps, while on WordPress you’ll have to use third-party apps.
With a Squarespace shop, you can sell services and products, offer gift cards and subscriptions, and offer custom discounts as well. All can be done from the dashboard, of course. Just press on the eCommerce button, and you’ll be taken to your selling tools.
The first time you want to set up an online shop, Squarespace will help you out. You’ll even get some pointers on what you need to do to start selling.
While I was setting up my online store, Squarespace provided further help by asking questions about the products I’m planning to sell and my goals regarding eCommerce.
The beauty of Squarespace is that it doesn’t make you chase integrations. You can find them right in your dashboard – you can manage orders and inventory, offer discounts, and set up payment methods. It is also possible to manage customer accounts, shipping, and set up taxes for your customers.
If these features are not enough for you, it’s possible to also install additional apps – Squarespace offers 24 apps in the library. You can find them in your dashboard under Settings.
I think things are pretty clear as far as Squarespace’s eCommerce capabilities are concerned, so let’s move on to WordPress.
Selling with WordPress is a bit harder, however, it has its very own eCommerce solution – WooCommerce. Just visit the WordPress plugin library, and it’ll come right up.
With WooCommerce, you can create a completely custom marketplace. It offers guides and other features that could help you set up your store easier.
WooCommerce is completely free, yet some additional features might cost extra, such as:
- Selling subscriptions and memberships – $16.58 a month
- Bookings – $20.75 a month
- Bundles and customizable products – $4.08 a month
After you’re done selecting what you want to sell, WooCommerce lets you edit all of your product descriptions with an editor strikingly similar to WordPress.
While there may be some additional fees, when you’re using WooCommerce you can create a fantastic shop with very little money.
Overall, both Squarespace and WordPress offer a commendable online selling experience. While Squarespace seems a bit easier to navigate, WooCommerce by WordPress offers great guides for beginners.
Of course, eCommerce isn't the only way you can make money from your website. There are other options, too: and here, both platforms do pretty well, with different approaches.
Both WordPress and Squarespace allow you to make money from your site through exclusive member content, website ads, ask for donations, and more.
Squarespace offers a member areas feature, allowing you to make a restricted area, for the eyes of your premium visitors only. Sadly, to use this, you need to be premium too: this functionality will cost extra, starting at $9 a month.
For Business plans and up, Squarepace also offers a Donation block functionality, letting to easily accept money from your visitors.
Finally, you can easily connect Google AdSense to your Squarespace site, and monetize each visitor that you get, via ads – this doesn't require any additional purchases or top-level plans.
WordPress doesn't have any of these functionalities baked in: however, with full coding freedom and plenty of plugins, you can replicate just that. For most of the part, WordPress monetization features will follow a freemium model, with a free plugin, including extra paid features.
There are plugins like Paid Memberships Pro...
Or GiveWP – and they both replicate what Squarespace does in-house.
However, the premium plans will be much more expensive than the Squarespace picks – premium Paid Memberships Pro plan starts at $297/year, while GiveWP will cost at least $187 a year.
Now, marketing. If you’re looking to make an online business or if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you already know how important it is to get that one right.
To grow your audience, Squarespace allows you to run email campaigns, but it focuses primarily on social media and your site’s content. On the other hand, WordPress gives you access to a plethora of plugins that will help you get the best results.
Starting off with Squarespace, it is one of those builders that understand just how important it is to grow your audience. As a result, you’re given access to a few in-built marketing tools that will facilitate reaching your goal.
One of the things you can do is create powerful and effective emails and run campaigns that will bring you closer to your audience.
To run an email campaign, just click on the Email Campaigns button you’ll find under Marketing in your dashboard. From there, you can also create drafts and schedule emails to go out, and also manage automation as well as mailing lists.
What’s even better is that you can create customer profiles and personalize your email campaign so that you engage with the right people by adding tags and filters to the emails going out. The Profiles section can be found in your dashboard.
Another excellent marketing tool that Squarespace offers is Unfold. It’s a simple yet brilliant app that lets you create beautiful visual stories about your product and mission on social media. You can choose from over 150 designer templates to deliver a clear message.
The premium version of this tool costs $2.99 a month, you’ll have to pay extra no matter what plan you have. For this price, Unfold presents you with a designer-crafted social media presence.
Moving on to WordPress, you already know that there aren’t any in-house features. Marketing and SEO tools are no different. But, WordPress’s plugin library is quite literally loaded with whatever you may possibly need.
As far as marketing is concerned, WordPress lives up to everyone’s expectations and offers a plethora of choices.
One good example of an excellent marketing tool you find on WordPress is Creative Mail simply because it is one of the top options.
This tool lets you do up to 5,000 monthly emails free of charge. Paid plans offer bigger email limits, as shown below, as well as other features for growing businesses and even WooCommerce-specific automation options.
You’ll need to pay extra to do email marketing with both builders, nevertheless, the tools offered by both of them provide an admirable result.
Overall, both Squarespace and WordPress have decent eCommerce tools. The difference is that Squarespace makes things easier and charges you more, while WordPress costs less and gives you more headaches. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of skill and convenience, but whichever will do a good job.
Search engine optimization
Squarespace does well in the marketing department and SEO is not that far behind. To discover all SEO tools, you’ll have to go to your dashboard and click on SEO under Marketing.
One thing I liked is that Squarespace provides an SEO checklist right at the top of the menu. If you’re a beginner, you might not know that SEO is an incredibly dynamic thing, which needs constant updates. Lucky for you, Squarespace updates its checklist quite often so that you can keep up with the search engine specifications.
It’s also worth mentioning that Squarespace allows you to optimize your blog posts so that you can improve your ranking. You can add an SEO title and description as well as meta tags and alt tags.
Lastly, while Squarespace doesn’t have many apps to take advantage of, it does provide a few marketing and SEO extensions you can install, but there are a few you can take a look at.
Now, let’s move on to marketing and SEO on WordPress.
As for SEO, the story is pretty much the same. All you have to do is visit the plugin library and take your pick of the litter. One of my personal favorites is Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO analyzes your content and then makes suggestions on what to improve. It’ll give a score every time you modify something.
If you’re looking for a more advanced SEO plugin, you could go with RankMath. It has more features than Yoast, and it comes with a free version. For even more features, and if your budget allows it, it’s possible to go for a premium plan. The cheapest is $59/year.
Overall, I’d say that both WordPress and Squarespace do a good job in the marketing and SEO departments. While Squarespace made sure to integrate almost everything you might need, WordPress makes you use its plugin library.
But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the wide range of plugins is what makes WordPress better equipped as far as SEO and marketing are concerned.
To better optimize your website, both Squarespace and WordPress give access to analytics tools.
Starting with Squarespace, the Analytics menu can be found in the dashboard. You’re given access to an overview of your sales and traffic, as well as the number of sales by products and purchase funnel. You can see what people abandon in their carts and where the traffic is coming from. All of this will help you exploit what works and ditch what doesn’t.
Squarespace’s analytics tool lets you know how many people submitted forms and how many clicked the buttons on your site. Your popular content is disclosed as well. All of this is to better improve your website, which can generate more traffic and sales.
Other than this in-house analytics tool, Squarespace doesn’t provide anything else. While there are a few extensions in the app market, there is none specially designed for analytics.
WordPress, too, handles analytics pretty well, but you’ll have to install a plugin for that.
Most people go for Google Analytics. It provides you with all the right information directly from the source.
One thing I’d like to add here is that while not overly complicated to use, Google Analytics won’t go easy on you. At least not as easy as Squarespace’s analytics tool will. Take some time to learn how to navigate it, and you’ll be fine.
Needless to say, analytics is a crucial part of website optimization, and no matter which platform you decide to choose – Squarespace or WordPress – your needs will be addressed.
Whenever you need a feature that a platform cannot provide, you turn to their app stores – it is logical to go more in-depth about them.
Squarespace’s app market, which is called Extensions, is pretty limited because Squarespace offers in-house features. WordPress, however, has a massive plugin library, as a matter of fact, it relies on it for everything.
To start, Squarespace didn’t make too big of an effort with its app market. I counted them myself – the total number is 24 apps. In a way, it’s understandable since Squarespace wants you to rely on its in-house features. Even so, the 24 available apps cover Shipping and Fulfillment, Finance, Inventory and Products, and Sales and Marketing.
One of the good things about Squarespace’s limited number of apps is that they are all developed by experts and deliver precisely what they are supposed to. Just like with its templates, Squarespace made a run for quality over quantity. You won’t see any rating system because there is no point in it.
While there are a few apps in Squarespace’s extensions library that are free, some of them are paid. I’m not gonna lie. Some prices seem a bit high. Take the 1-800Accountant app as an example. It starts at $75/month.
Moving on to WordPress…here is where things get fun.
WordPress relies on plugins alone, so it makes perfect sense that its library is massive. It contains tens of thousands of plugins. This is a by-product of the fact that WordPress is open-source, so anyone can create a WordPress plugin.
But many uncurated plugins have a drawback. Since anyone can publish a plugin, there is no care in the world for quality. That’s why there’s a rating system in place, and you should always listen to it.
Besides that, WordPress truly can offer any plugin you can imagine. You can find both useful tools for your specific niche and joke plugins. The range of plugins is extremely wide, offering tools for photography, analytics, or mailing. But there are also ones that make your site crash randomly or add clutter to your site.
If you're intrigued by joke plugins, I can offer you an example – considering the internet’s obsession with cats, you can try out this plugin called Quiz Cat.
This plugin pretty much combines the cuteness of cats with engaging quizzes that you can present to your site visitors. Not only will it boost engagement, but it could also make visitors share your site with their friends or acquaintances, making it more popular.
While this specific plugin is free, you should know that WordPress offers both paid and free plugins. Nevertheless, there are enough free products that will help you manage without having to spend some cash. All you have to do is look.
The bottom line is that both Squarespace and WordPress come with an app store. However, Squarespace’s store is more limited, but the extensions you’ll find are all professional. WordPress has over 50k plugins in its library since it’s open-source. That means not all apps are worthy of your consideration, but the rating system should help you filter them through.
Squarespace vs WordPress – performance
- When paired with a good hosting provider, WordPress surpasses Squarespace in performance tests
- Both Squarespace and WordPress show wonderful performance results.
For the final test of this Squarespace vs WordPress comparison, we are going to look at the performance of these platforms.
A fast website is a good website, so I put the test sites through GTMetrix which measured each website’s load speed and the platform’s overall optimization.
Here’s how Squarespace performed:
And here are the results for the WordPress site which was hosted on Hostinger:
If you’re looking at these images and have no clue what they mean, here’s a simple explanation:
Squarespace takes 2.8 seconds to load fully. According to Google’s recommended standard for websites, they have to load in under 3 seconds, so you can sigh in relief that Squarespace does meet that standard.
It’s important to note that the biggest portion of the website loads in 1.3 seconds, after that you can already read while your website continues to load in the background.
Now, WordPress. You might think, why does it matter what hosting provider was chosen?
The thing is, WordPress’s results heavily depend on the hosting. I can’t stress enough that to get the best performance results it’s important to have not only well-optimized media but also a fast hosting provider.
WordPress loaded the largest portion of the website in just under a second when hosted with Hostinger. Under these circumstances, it’s clear that WordPress is faster, however, results with other hosting providers will be different.
And I’ll show you – here’s another test site made with WordPress that uses a random free hosting provider. It doesn’t have images or links and uses a basic WordPress template.
You can clearly see that the results are poor. This test site is pretty much empty, and while it still loaded in under three seconds, the other test site (the one with Hostinger), had eCommerce implemented. This means, that if you were to use eCommerce with this random hosting provider, your results would look even worse.
Overall, both websites are pretty fast. Squarespace offers decent results, while WordPress (when paired with a good hosting provider) displays admirable and speedy optimization.
Squarespace vs WordPress – side-by-side comparison
Comparing these builders is like comparing night and day – they both are clearly made for different audiences, but they excel at what they do.
Let’s see this table one more time and then I’ll give you some of my thoughts.
|Pricing||Free trial, premium plans start from $12/month||Varying from free to thousands of dollars a month|
|Ease of Use||A business-centered interface focused on ease of use||A simple site editing interface, users might find difficulty in the setup process|
|Templates||~110||>1000, a massive first-party and third-party template library|
|Business Features||Mostly in-house features, great for beginners and more advanced users||Flexible, first-party and third-party tools are available|
|Performance||Decent performance all around||Relies on your hosting provider|
If I were to make recommendations, things are pretty simple. If you’re just a beginner and you haven’t dealt with website creation before, then Squarespace is the best way to go. It’s very easy to use, and it can perfectly handle a small business. It won’t cause you too many headaches.
Want to learn even more about this web builder? Read our Squarespace review.
However, if you know your way around WordPress just a little bit, I definitely recommend that you use it. Unlike Squarespace, it’s mostly free, and you have freedom of customization with all the themes and plugins. There is no visible limit to what you can do. Plus, if you want some ease of use, you can always install a plugin to help you.
Interested in WordPress? Learn more about it in our detailed WordPress review.
Squarespace is a website builder that appeals to beginners thanks to its in-built features and ease of use. WordPress is for more experienced users who crave freedom in all possible ways.
More Squarespace comparisons you might want to read
More WordPress comparisons for you to check out
Squarespace vs WordPress FAQs
Is Squarespace better than WordPress?
It's hard to say if Squarespace is better than WordPress. WordPress has different strengths when compared to Squarespace – it can offer flexible customization and limitless website tools. However, Squarespace has great in-house tools as well as beautiful design options.
Is Squarespace easier to use than WordPress?
Squarespace is easier to use than WordPress. It is simple to modify your design and to add different features. WordPress requires plugins and some coding to do all those changes.
What's the difference between Squarespace and WordPress?
The difference between Squarespace and WordPress is that WordPress is an open-source CMS and Squarespace is a hosted website builder. With WordPress, customizations are endless, while Squarespace can only offer specific tools curated by the website’s developers. Generally, WordPress is more flexible, while with Squarespace you have limitations.
Is Squarespace cheaper than WordPress?
Squarespace can be cheaper than WordPress. WordPress’s price depends on what additional tools and plugins as well as templates you use – the end sum can be quite big. Squarespace has a set price. It is possible to have a WordPress site cheaper than a Squarespace one.
Can I transfer my Squarespace website to WordPress?
It is possible to transfer a Squarespace website to WordPress. Some content will be automatically transported (such as blog pages and gallery pages), but in some cases, you’ll have to do it manually (style changes, custom CSS, product pages, etc.).