With over 4.2 million subscribers, Squarespace is one of the largest website builders available. Bluehost hosts over 4 million websites, making it just as popular as its counterpart.
These are two of the largest companies in the web development space, and if you’re trying to decide between them, you’ve come to the right place.
But, the Bluehost vs Squarespace comparison is a bit complicated.
Bluehost is a hosting provider that lays the foundation for creating a website through other platforms, such as WordPress, Ghost, Drupal, and Joomla.
Squarespace is an all-in-one site builder that allows you to build and publish a fully functional website within the platform itself.
So, when comparing the two, it’s important to understand factors like these so you can choose the best solution to meet your specific needs.
I’ve spent over eight hours researching and reviewing the two website-building systems to give you an in-depth look at things like ease of use, design and customization, eCommerce capabilities, blogging functionality, pricing, and more.
Read on to learn everything you need to know to make an informed choice on which is the best website builder for you.
1. Ease of Use
Ease of use is among the most important factors to consider when choosing a website builder. If you have no prior experience creating sites online, then you want a platform with an intuitive interface and a no-code editor.
Let’s see how Squarespace and Bluehost’s website builders compare in this department.
Unlike Squarespace, which is a simple website builder, Bluehost is a web hosting provider that also offers website-building tools in addition to its web hosting services.
Its core service is to provide space on servers for you to host your websites. But, the platform also offers a suite of other products and services that make it easier for you to build and manage your website.
These include Bluehost’s drag-and-drop website builder, as well as WordPress integration, a custom domain, built-in email marketing tools, complete export options, and total data control.
Bluehost also supplies different types of web hosting, including:
- Shared hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- VPS hosting
- WordPress hosting
This means you won’t have to pay for an additional subscription from other hosting providers to host your new site. The platform’s cheap hosting includes features like modern hardware, instant provisioning, and 24/7 customer support. In contrast, Squarespace only offers website and eCommerce hosting.
Creating a website with Bluehost may not be as simple as Squarespace, but you do have maximum control over your design options.
You can make as many changes as you want to your design – even move your site to a different host – without losing your content.
The trade-off is that you have to do much of the legwork yourself. For instance, when you sign up on Bluehost, you have to connect your domain to the right install, set up your DNS, install a theme, tweak the settings, add WordPress plugins, and so on. This isn’t very convenient, and it’s something that new users might find overwhelming.
Summary of Bluehost’s Ease of Use Features:
- Reliable and flexible website hosting plans
- Simple user interface that’s easy to navigate
- Pre-configured templates for all business types
- Advanced web design and customization options
- Ability to move website to a different host easily
One of the reasons why Squarespace is among the most popular website-building platforms on the market is that it’s super easy to use, even for those with zero web design experience.
When you sign up on Squarespace, you are prompted to answer a few questions pertaining to your website. The platform will then provide you with a curated list of website template recommendations. Choose one, and get to work customizing it to meet your requirements.
The drag-and-drop interface allows you to create beautiful, full-featured websites in just a few clicks without having to deal with any code or technical details. If you run into any issues, Squarespace has superb customer service to help resolve any problems quickly and easily.
This is an excellent solution for anyone who wants to create a professional-looking site and have it published with minimal effort.
Summary of Squarespace’s Ease of Use Features:
- AI-assisted website setup ideal for beginners
- Pre-built and fully customizable templates in all industries
- Drag-and-drop interface and built-in CSS editor
- Reliable hosting with built-in security
- Integration with third-party apps and services
Squarespace is a lot easier to use than Bluehost. It’s ideal for users who don’t have any technical skills. All the features you need come built-in, and your website hosting is included in your subscription which means you don’t have to pay an additional fee.
Bluehost tries to simplify things for its users, as well. As soon as you’re registered, the platform automatically installs WordPress on your website and enables the drag-and-drop page builder so you can customize your site. But, the process is still a bit more involved compared to Squarespace, which beginners may find a tad intimidating.
2. Design and Customization
Both Bluehost and Squarespace offer a range of quick-start templates so you don’t have to worry about website designs, structures, and layouts.
Let’s see how they stack up in the design and customization department.
WordPress is the primary option to build your website with Bluehost. However, the platform also has its own website builder that you can use instead.
Just note that the Bluehost website builder does not come with a selection of templates like you would find on Squarespace and most other website builders. Instead, it asks you a few short questions and allows you to choose colors, fonts, images, etc. to help you develop a unique layout.
Once you’re done, you can modify the layout using the simplistic editor to tweak different design blocks. This is probably one of the simplest ways to launch a website. It’s perfect for users with very little tech skills, but you won’t get much flexibility with regard to creating unique designs.
For that, you would have to use the Bluehost-WordPress combination which allows you more flexibility, customizability, and scalability. Of course, this means you’ll have to invest more time and effort into the development and maintenance of your new WordPress site.
The good news is that the Bluehost website builder is actually a WordPress plugin, which means that once you feel confident in your web creation skills, you can leave the simplistic design interface to take advantage of all that this powerful CMS (content management system) has to offer.
Summary of Bluehost’s Design and Customization Features:
- AI-powered website design and setup
- Unlimited block design options for unique websites
- Simple, user-friendly design interface
- Seamless WordPress integration for advanced customization
- HTML and CSS access on all plans
Compared to the Bluehost website builder, Squarespace is much more powerful. It comes with hundreds of beautiful templates to choose from. All of them are modern, stylish, and clean. Simply pick one you like, and replace the demo text and images with your own.
If you can’t find a template you like, you can just pick one similar to what you want and customize all the different elements to create a unique layout that’s more suited to your tastes.
All Squarespace-built websites are mobile responsive which means they adjust automatically to look good on all devices, including desktops, phones, and tablets.
The website-building experience on Squarespace can be simple or extremely advanced depending on your needs.
The platform gives you the ability to modify custom code to create one-of-a-kind design elements. This feature is only available on the higher-priced plans and serves to make the platform ideal for users of all levels of technical expertise.
Most of the design features on Squarespace are built-in, which means you won’t have to worry about integrating third-party tools. Of course, you can add more features using third-party extensions, but you’ll only be able to do this within the bounds of the pre-defined features and options on the platform.
This can also be limiting which makes Squarespace a lot less appealing for users who want more control over their website’s design.
When using WordPress with Bluehost, you are not limited by native features in this way. You’ll be able to access a wide range of plugins to make any additions or changes you want to your website.
Summary of Squarespace’s Design and Customization Features:
- Powerful website builder with drag-and-drop functionality
- Modern and stylish templates in different industries
- Advanced editing options and custom code editing are available
- Built-in marketing and sales features
- Third-party integrations for expanded functionality
When it comes to design and customization, it’s worth noting that Squarespace is a proprietary platform whose software’s codebase, as well as its underlying technology are privately controlled by the company. This means that users have limited design and customization options beyond the tools offered by the platform.
Bluehost, on the other hand, works with open-source platforms like WordPress to not only provide a vast ecosystem of themes, plugins, and services, but also direct access to the source code, and free rein to change or add to its base functionality to create totally unique designs.
So, you’ll get more design options with Bluehost, but this is only ideal for users with the necessary tech knowledge. Beginners will fare better with Squarespace’s guided design process.
3. eCommerce Capabilities
eCommerce features are a crucial consideration if you intend to sell products online. The right eCommerce website builder will provide you with all the tools to list your products, conduct marketing campaigns, accept payments, communicate with customers, and more.
Here’s what each web builder offers in this department.
Bluehost has an eCommerce-focused plan (the Online Store plan) that’s great for selling products or services online. It has a range of custom themes, exclusive store themes, and web store analytics built in.
You get safe and secure online payments, as well as free SSL to keep your online store secure. Daily website backups are performed, as well as malware scanning to keep your site protected. You also get domain privacy features with each plan.
Bluehost allows you to sell unlimited products and handle your bookings and appointments right from your dashboard.
The platform also provides you with an impressive range of additional plugins that allow you to offer gift cards, and allow customers to create accounts.
Summary of Bluehost’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Support for popular shopping carts with free SSL
- Secure payment options
- Automatic malware scanning
- Domain privacy features
- Daily website backup
Squarespace provides you with all the basics you need to start and grow your online store. The eCommerce integrations on the platform include a wide range of online store templates to help you build a unique storefront. You also get secure payments and tools to sell physical products, digital products, and services.
A standout feature of Squarespace is the ability to add sophisticated web forms to your products so you can ask for additional information before customers checkout. Squarespace also has an advanced inventory management system, as well as built-in tools for shipping and automatic tax calculation.
It’s clear that Squarespace has much to offer in terms of eCommerce functionality, but its list of features, however impressive, still comes short when compared to what Bluehost + WordPress has to offer.
That’s because WordPress has tens of thousands of third-party plugins that you can integrate into the platform to give you any type of eCommerce functionality you want.
With Squarespace, you’re limited to the features provided by the platform and even the integrations can only do so much as they are restricted by the structure of the platform as well.
For example, Squarespace only allows up to 100 product variations because of its limit on SKUs. Even small eCommerce businesses will struggle with such constraints. This is something you won’t have to worry about when using Bluehost and WordPress. With a plugin like WooCommerce, there are no limits to product variants.
Summary of Squarespace’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Beautiful online store templates are available
- Faster speed for an enhanced online shopping experience
- Sell physical and digital products, services, and subscriptions
- Add web forms to your products
- Access CSS via a dedicated CSS editor
Bluehost wins this one because it allows you to create any type of eCommerce store you want, regardless of functionality or size. The platform also comes with tools for malware detection to ward off cyber criminals, free SSL certificates to encrypt your traffic, and automated daily backups to restore your eCommerce store and reverse any data loss.
Setting up all these features and getting them to run efficiently may take a bit more elbow grease, but in the long run, it’s more customizable and much cheaper compared to running an eCommerce store on Squarespace.
4. Blogging Tools
A blog allows you to publish content regularly so you can stand out in today’s crowded online marketplace. For this reason, you need a website builder with powerful blogging functionality to help improve your website’s SEO and credibility.
Here’s what you get with each platform.
Bluehost comes bundled with free blogging software like WordPress which comes with powerful content creation and management features.
Many of the templates on Bluehost are blogging-focused which makes your content creation processes a lot easier. These themes are great-looking out of the box (although nowhere near as stylish as Squarespace templates).
WordPress is ideal for beginners, but if you have the necessary coding knowledge, you can transform the CMS to build 100% unique pages whose designs are loosely based on the WordPress theme you choose.
Summary of Bluehost’s Blogging Tools:
- Free blogging tools and templates
- Easy WordPress integration
- Powerful content management system
- Access to CSS and HTML
- Free plugins for extended blog functionality
Squarespace is a good choice for a blog if you intend to keep it small. Choose from the platform’s flexible blog layouts and custom color palettes to create a unique blog that speaks to your target audience.
There are endless design options to give life to your vision and your blog can look however you want.
In addition to all the fundamental blogging features like categories, tagging, drafts, comments, and user roles, the software also gives you advanced features for things like Google AMP support and more.
You also get robust SEO features, including URL, title, and description, as well as social sharing tools to make it easy for you to share your content with your audience.
Squarespace also has a member area feature that allows you to generate revenue from your premium content. This means you can monetize your blog with video series, podcasts, paid newsletters, and more.
With that said, if you want to build a larger, more robust blog with advanced functionality, then Bluehost (WordPress) would be the better option.
With Squarespace, you’ll have a hard time upgrading your hosting if you need more resources or faster hosting for your blog. Moreover, Squarespace limits the number of pages you can have on your website or blog, and you’ll be stuck with the platform’s hosting, templates, and plugins which will severely limit your ability to grow your website.
Summary of Squarespace’s Blogging Tools:
- User-friendly blogging and content management system
- Ideal for small to medium-sized blogs
- Built-in SEO features for online visibility
- Easy social media sharing tools
- Members’ area for monetizing content
Winner: Bluehost + WordPress
WordPress is the clear winner in the blogging category because it’s designed with ever-increasing content in mind. This means you can continue to add content to your blog without ever having to worry about hitting the limit on the number of pages allowed on your website.
Also, you can add any type of blogging functionality you want through the use of third-party plugins and apps.
5. Search Engine Optimization Tools
There’s no point in building a beautiful website if no one will ever find it online. That’s why you must choose a website builder that provides you with the tools to rank your website in the search results pages so you can connect with your target audience.
Here’s how Bluehost and Squarespace compare in the blogging department.
WordPress websites typically generate well-coded HTML and CSS for a high-performing website that works well for marketing and SEO. This is a huge advantage that Bluehost has over other site builders.
The platform also has a monitored uptime of 99.99%. The company has servers all across the US and offers free SSL security, 24/7 server monitoring, and cloud flare DDoS protection. All these things work toward enhancing your website’s SEO.
When you sign up, you get a personal SEO report, site audit, and keyword target tools. You also get on-page optimization, competitor reports, and real-time notifications of your website SEO so you can modify your strategy the minute something needs your attention.
This will help you stay ahead of the game and keep up to date with the constant changes in the SEO world.
All of these features together ensure that your website is always online and available to your audience which Google and other search engines love.
Summary of Bluehost’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- Servers all across the US for faster performance
- Free SSL certificate with each site
- Reliable hosting service
- Industry-leading hardware and uptime rates
- 24/7 website server monitoring
Squarespace has a range of SEO-friendly features to help you rank your website higher in the search engine results pages.
You get automated site map generation and submission to popular search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Each Squarespace website comes with a free SSL certificate to ensure your website’s security and trustworthiness.
You also get other SEO-friendly features like alt tags for gallery sections, and the ability to easily tweak your site’s title, description, and keywords for better search engine visibility.
On your dashboard, you can access the platform’s analytics tools to help you track your website traffic so you can see how your SEO efforts are working.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, you’ll find Squarespace’s SEO tools extremely simple to use, which makes it easy for you to improve your online visibility.
Summary of Squarespace’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- AI-powered SEO checklist to assist beginners
- Basic SEO settings built-in to simplify search optimization
- Free SSL certificate for all websites
- Alt tags for gallery sections
- Robust SEO analytics tools to track website traffic
While Squarespace provides beginner-friendly SEO, Bluehost offers a lot more. Its website builder has built-in tools to optimize your website for search engines and even helps you choose the right keywords to improve your chances of ranking high in Google.
Bluehost also provides more robust support and advice on ways to use the platform to improve your website’s search optimization.
6. Community and Support
When building your website, you want a site builder that offers reliable support through multiple channels to ensure that you get the help you need whenever you get stuck during the website creation process.
Bluehost is well known for its customer support and service. The platform offers solid beginner support through various channels, including 24/7 live chat, a knowledge base, and phone support.
The customer support team is responsive and always on hand to assist you in building and managing your website. However, since Bluehost is not a dedicated site builder like Squarespace, it doesn’t offer the same level of on-the-job guidance for designing your website.
Squarespace offers support through chat, phone, and email. If you have questions about using the platform or need help with your Squarespace account, the customer support team is always on hand to help.
You can customize your help experience by logging into your Squarespace account. Connect with other users on the platform’s social media and online forum.
On the website, there’s also a well-curated help center where you can search for any topic you need assistance with, as well as an extensive list of blog posts and other resources filled with help articles that you can browse through any time.
Squarespace takes the win here thanks to the platform’s in-house support team that provides dedicated 24/7 assistance through multiple support channels including email, live chat, and Twitter.
Pricing is a huge concern among new users. Although it should never be the only consideration when choosing the right website builder, it’s still a priority for most new users.
Fortunately, both website builders offer budget-friendly plans. Here’s what you get.
Bluehost is one of the most competitively priced website builders you’ll find. It has a range of pricing plans for websites or eCommerce stores which are as follows:
- Basic Plan: $2.95/Month: Discounted from $10.99/month, this plan is ideal for building one blog or website. It comes with hosting, 10GB SSD storage, a drag-and-drop website builder, and custom WordPress themes.
- Choice Plus Plan: $5.45/Month: This plan comes with features for added security and privacy. It includes free web hosting for 3 websites and comes with a free CDN and 40GB SSD storage. When you sign up for the 12-month subscription, you get a free domain for the first year. You also get a free SSL certificate, daily website backup for the first year, domain privacy, and malware scanning.
- Online Store Plan: $9.95/Month: This is a great plan for anyone who wants to start selling products and services online. It comes with all the features in the Choice Plus plan, as well as built-in eCommerce tools. It’s discounted from $24.95/month, and you can save an additional 35% if you opt for the 36-month plan. Sell unlimited products, get secure online payments, bookings and appointment tools, shipping labels, and customer account creation.
- Pro Plan: $13.95/Month: This plan offers more power with optimized web resources. It’s normally $28.99 and allows you to build up to 5 websites. It comes with 100GB SSD storage and all the features in the Online Store plan.
Squarespace offers a free trial and four growth-focused plans to choose from. Here’s what you get:
- Free Trial: $0/Month: You can sign up for a free trial to test out the platform’s core features. No credit card is required, and you’ll be able to publish a website on a subdomain. However, this free trial is limited in the number of features you have access to, which is why it’s a good idea to upgrade to one of the premium plans if you want to build a professional website.
- Personal Plan: $16/Month: If you opt for the annual website plan, you get a free custom domain for the year. This plan also comes with SSL security, unlimited bandwidth, and built-in SEO features for website visibility.
- Business Plan: $23/Month: The “Business” plan includes everything in the “Personal” plan + unlimited contributors, professional email from Google, premium integrations, and promotional pop-ups and banners. You also get access to Squarespace Video Studio App to help you create and share engaging videos.
- Basic eCommerce: $27/Month: This plan includes everything in the “Business” plan + 0% transaction fees, although it’s important to note that your payment processor may still apply its own transaction fees. This plan also includes product reviews, customer accounts, products on Instagram, and point-of-sale which allows you to sell in person using the Commerce app.
- Advanced Commerce: $49/Month: The Advanced Commerce plan has everything in the “Basic eCommerce” plan + abandoned cart recovery features, and the ability to sell subscriptions. You also get advanced discounts, advanced shipping, and commerce APIs.
Bluehost is much cheaper than Squarespace across all of its plans. When using the WordPress-Bluehost integration to build your website, you’ll pay as little as $2.95/month for a basic website. On Squarespace, the cheapest plan costs $16/month for pretty much the same features.
The Squarespace vs Bluehost debate isn’t a simple matter. It has a lot more nuance that goes beyond the scope of this guide.
But, since we’re only looking at the site-building capabilities of each platform, the optimal choice will depend on factors such as your level of expertise, business needs, budget, and personal preferences.
Now that you know the platforms’ key differences, you’ll have an easier time deciding which one is right for you.
Choose Squarespace if: You want to build a website with relatively few pages. You need your site to be online fast and don’t mind paying a premium for the convenience of having most of the website creation and management tasks taken care of for you. In such a case, Squarespace is undoubtedly the better choice for you.
Alternatively, check out how this website builder compares to another one that’s primarily used for photography blogs in my Squarespace vs. Zenfolio comparison. Or, if you’re in the eCommerce field, take a look at my Squarespace vs. Big Cartel comparison article as well.
Choose Bluehost if: You want a reasonably priced means of building a flexible and scalable WordPress website that isn’t tied to one single platform. Bluehost provides you with advanced design and customization tools to build any type of website, blog, or eCommerce store with custom functionality.
You get cheaper long-term prices and the Bluehost + WordPress combination will allow you to build a dynamic and scalable website, especially if you intend to add content (e.g. blogs or podcasts) on a regular basis.