Squarespace and HostGator are two leaders in the web development space. They have a lot of similar features, as well as some offerings unique to each site builder.
Squarespace is a website builder that lets you create, manage, and host websites, blogs, and online stores without the need for a third-party host.
HostGator is well-suited for beginners. It is user-friendly and comes at a significantly cheaper price. However, it doesn’t offer nearly as many features as you get with Squarespace.
So, which one should you use for your new website? Well, your choice will ultimately depend on the types of features and tools you need for building your site.
I’ve spent over 12 hours researching and rating each platform to give you a better idea of what you can expect. I looked at all the different features, including templates, drag-and-drop editor, customization, SEO tools, eCommerce functionality, customer support, pricing, and more.
Without further ado, let’s get on with the Squarespace Hostgator comparison.
1. Ease of Use
We’ll start the battle between these two popular website builders by looking at the level of ease users experience when using each platform.
Squarespace’s site builder is designed for users without a coding background. It has a simple editor that is really easy to use. Rather than pure drag-and-drop, the editor is unstructured which means you have the freedom to place elements anywhere you want, rather than on a predefined grid.
This can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see how this type of editor allows you to create unique designs with zero technical knowledge.
You can choose from over one hundred pre-built templates, each of which is aesthetically pleasing, mobile responsive, and 100% customizable. To customize your page, click on any element on the page, and you’ll be able to customize fonts, colors, styles, etc. to create a one-of-a-kind design that is more aligned with your brand.
Hosting is included with your Squarespace subscription so you don’t have to worry about setting up separate hosting services for your new website. You can also link a custom domain and add a professional email address using Google Workspace or any other solution.
Summary of Squarespace’s Ease of Use Features:
- Dozens of elegant, professional website templates are available
- Simple, no-code website builder ideal for beginners
- Build mobile-responsive websites, blogs, and eCommerce stores
- Link a custom domain and professional email address
- Free hosting with each Squarespace subscription
HostGator is a web hosting platform that is ideal for both novices and seasoned users. You can add features that make it easy to customize your experience on HostGator. The control panel is designed for easy navigation and all the tools are within reach.
Like Squarespace, HostGator puts simplicity at the forefront. But, where Squarespace provides you with a built-in control panel for managing your website, HostGator offers a proprietary dashboard that’s integrated with the platform’s cPanel.
And where Squarespace only offers one hosting option, HostGator, a well-established hosting provider, has multiple hosting options, including dedicated hosting, when building your website or eCommerce store.
Once you sign up, there’s an automated installation and setup process for your new website which means you don’t have to do much. You’ll be able to get your website up and running in just a few clicks by following the prompts after signing up.
Summary of HostGator’s Ease of Use Features:
- Simple site setup process
- Free hosting with website building service
- Automatic WordPress installation
- Robust customer support
- Shared hosting, VPS hosting, and Dedicated server hosting
Looking at ease of use, HostGator is the clear winner. All you have to do is answer a few questions to provide some basic information about your new site, and the platform’s AI will produce a beautiful and functional design for you.
You can then insert a logo, add images, text, etc. to customize your website, after which you can hit publish. Building a website doesn’t get much easier than that.
However, Squarespace also has a user-friendly website creation experience. But, since it has more features to offer, it also comes with a proportionately steeper learning curve.
2. Design and Customization
Both site builders have a simple drag-and-drop interface, pre-built templates, and a visual editor that makes it easy for you to customize your website colors, fonts, and layouts. Here’s what you get.
Squarespace is a great choice for anyone who wants to build a site that revolves around beautiful visuals and stylish designs, such as a blog, eCommerce store, photography website, or professional portfolio.
When it comes to website templates, Squarespace offers quantity and quality. The platform has some of the most stunning templates in the industry and focuses mainly on simplicity.
If you can click a mouse, you can build a stunning blog, online store, or any other type of website. There’s really no way to mess up a Squarespace website built from one of the pre-configured templates. Of course, the cost of such ease means you have to sacrifice some level of customization.
Whether your goal is to build a small business website with basic functionalities, or a more complex website, this software can handle it smoothly thanks to its robust set of features and tools.
The newer version of Squarespace even has a Fluid Engine, Squarespace’s latest editor technology, that gives you even more creative control when dragging and dropping elements onto a page.
This editor is perfect for anyone who finds the simplicity of Squarespace classic editor a bit restricting. Although the main focus of this site builder is on simplifying the site-building process, those with coding knowledge can still go the extra mile to tailor backgrounds, colors, and forms for a truly unique website.
One of the features I like about the Squarespace website builder is that it allows you to add video backgrounds to your pages. You can create a background using an embedded video or one that you upload yourself.
There’s also a stock photography library where you can browse a massive selection of free images to use on your website. If you need additional images, you can purchase them easily thanks to the Shutterstock integration on the platform.
Summary of Squarespace’s Design and Customization Features:
- Modern, clean, and aesthetically pleasing templates
- Massive selection of typefaces
- Fully responsive templates
- Fluid Engine for complete control over mobile and desktop versions
- Getty Images integration for high-quality stock photos
When it comes to design and flexibility, HostGator has a lot to offer as well. The system provides an intuitive approach to the website development process and makes it possible for you to create and customize high-quality web projects.
The Gator website builder is easy to use, and you also get free hosting and built-in website promotion tools. You can access multiple applications and extensions in HostGator’s marketplace.
As a subscriber, you can choose different widgets to enhance the functionality of your project. Some of the tools you can use include SSL management, SiteLock, Code Guard, Office 365, and Constant Contact. You can also integrate your choice of a CMS system such as Gator, WordPress, Joomla, or Magenta.
Summary of HostGator’s Design and Customization Features:
- HostGator website builder has flexible design options
- Pre-built website templates
- HostGator Marketplace for additional apps
- Free web hosting with site builder
- Access to HTML and CSS code
Squarespace has an impressive range of modern, fully customizable templates for all industries. The templates make use of lots of white space which allows you to customize each page with additional elements, such as maps, calendars, social media widgets, calls to action, etc.
All of it can be done easily using the drag-and-drop editor. Furthermore, Squarespace has a broader range of design features, such as colors, fonts, and styles that can be used to further customize your site.
3. eCommerce Capabilities
There are plenty of must-have features for running a successful eCommerce website. For example, you want a site builder with a responsive design, secure payment methods, a seamless shopping cart area, and built-in shipping tools. These are just a few of the features to consider so you can provide your users with a better experience on your eCommerce website.
Let’s see what Squarespace and HostGator have to offer in this regard.
Squarespace has fully integrated eCommerce plans with a suite of tools to help you sell your products and services online.
Although the website builder is geared toward small to medium businesses, it does come with some pretty impressive eCommerce features that allow you to create a full-featured eCommerce store without having to learn any code.
Furthermore, if you are a new user, you can choose a package that already includes a domain name, hosting, security, automated maintenance, and all other important features necessary to build and manage a successful store.
You get payment gateway integration, including Stripe and PayPal. There are no transaction fees on higher plans, and you get auto tax calculations for the US, EU, Australia, and Canada.
You can edit the design of your product and checkout pages, and tweak more page settings. One huge advantage that Squarespace has is that it allows you to sell unlimited products in your store.
Squarespace also has built-in store analytics that you can access via the sales panel on your dashboard. You also have the ability to integrate Google Analytics to get even more insights into the performance of your store.
Summary of Squarespace’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Full-featured online storefront templates and layouts
- Access CSS via a dedicated CSS editor
- Faster speed for an enhanced online shopping experience
- Industry-leading web store infrastructure and security
- Fully scalable eCommerce store platform
HostGator has a range of eCommerce tools that let you create all types of eCommerce websites. You can also host a site, blog, or store created with a different builder or CMS.
This allows for more flexibility when building your online business. You’re not limited to HostGator’s tools, but you can integrate any website builder or CMS of your choosing when building your store.
Some of the prominent eCommerce features on the website builder include the ability to create and manage product catalogs, as well as access to inventory management tools. You can also set up reporting for your website or store, add parameters for coupon issuing, and choose the most relevant currency for your products.
With these tools at your disposal, it’s possible for you to build a full-featured online store whether you’re using Gator’s website builder or any other web design platform or CMS.
Summary of HostGator’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Host any type of online store
- Flexibility to build your site with any software
- Built-in inventory management tools
- Robust reporting and analytics features
- Pick suitable currencies for your products
It’s clear to see that Squarespace has much more to offer in terms of eCommerce functionality. Not only does the platform have a responsive design, breadcrumb navigation, and various other current online store design principles, but it also provides you with widgets for customer reviews, company information, multi-currency option, trust seals and security badges, guarantees/written policies, and much more.
4. Blogging Tools
If you intend to add a blog to your website on which you can create and publish content on a regular basis, it’s important to consider the blogging features available to you.
Let’s see what each website builder has to offer in terms of blogging functionality.
Squarespace has a user-friendly block editor to create your blog posts. It comes with built-in blogging tools that allow you to start creating content right away.
The platform has a super flexible in-line blog editor that lets you add complex elements, such as forms and galleries with just a few clicks. Since these tools are built-in, they integrate seamlessly into your page so you don’t have to tweak the settings to get the tools to work perfectly together.
Unlike HostGator, there’s no need to put in extra work to set up your blog. This is a low-maintenance solution that can still offer advanced blogging tools through third-party integrations.
Some of the built-in tools include categories, social sharing, post scheduling, author bios, and RSS feeds. Squarespace also has some additional features that make it a great choice as a blogging website builder.
These include a membership area, podcast hosting, and integrations with tools like SoundCloud and OpenTable. You can also publish your podcast show directly to Apple News from within your dashboard.
Summary of Squarespace’s Blogging Tools:
- Cloud hosting for your blog
- Easy social media sharing tools
- User-friendly blogging and content management system
- Built-in SEO features for online visibility
- Members’ area for monetizing content
You can use HostGator to host a blog created with a different web design platform. The platform also comes with its own feature-rich blogging engine which includes a range of free blogging templates, as well as tools to customize each selected theme to match your brand and preferences.
You get access to the platform’s simple blogging functionality which allows you to add new posts or edit existing ones, integrate media files, and even host ready-made projects on HostGator’s systems servers. Users also get a professional email with up to five mailboxes on the basic plan.
If you intend to build a basic blog, then these tools are more than adequate. But, for a more complex blog with added functionality, you’ll have to look to a more powerful third-party blogging engine.
Summary of HostGator’s Blogging Tools:
- Built-in blogging feature
- Host a blog from a different platform
- Fully customizable blog templates
- Easy WordPress blog integration
- Free hosting for your blog
Squarespace has a built-in blogging engine that lets you easily create and publish content directly on your website. The blog can be integrated with just a few clicks, and it also comes with plenty of built-in marketing features, including social media integration and email marketing tools.
5. Search Engine Optimization Tools
SEO is a crucial factor when considering the best website builder. You need built-in SEO functions to help you optimize your website for search engines. Fortunately, both HostGator and Squarespace offer robust SEO features as part of their package.
Squarespace has a range of SEO-friendly features to help you rank your website higher in the search engine results pages.
You get automated sitemap 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 built-in SEO 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. You’ll find Squarespace’s SEO tools extremely simple to use, which makes it easy for you to improve your online visibility whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user.
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
HostGator allows you to pick and integrate different SEO tools to increase website traffic and boost your general online rankings.
Once you sign up, you will get access to an SEO dashboard where you can take control of your website position in the search engine results.
There are various pre-configured settings, and you can alter different settings to optimize your website. Don’t worry if you aren’t well-versed in search engine optimization because the website has tons of guides and tutorials to help you make the most of the platform’s all-in-one SEO toolset based on your objectives.
Summary of HostGator’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- Integrate multiple tools for advanced SEO
- User-friendly SEO dashboard
- Site comments for increased engagement
- Automatic post summary and excerpt generator
- Free site review feature
Squarespace has a wider range of SEO functions compared to HostGator. You get built-in tools to optimize your page titles and descriptions, generate clean URLs, and create sitemaps automatically for easy indexing of your new website.
Squarespace also provides you with advanced SEO features, including the ability to add structured data to your website, set canonical tags, and customize 404 error pages.
6. Community and Support
It’s crucial to choose a website builder that offers timely, knowledgeable, and reliable customer support so you have the peace of mind of knowing that you always get the assistance you need when you need it.
Let’s see how HostGator and Squarespace compare.
Squarespace offers email support and live chat support to its users. The platform doesn’t offer phone support, but you can get additional help through the Squarespace Help Center which is filled with in-depth articles, how-to guides, webinars, and video tutorials on every conceivable topic pertaining to the website builder.
The Squarespace customer support team is also available on social media. They are most active on Twitter, and you can also connect with peers and seek answers to your questions on the Squarespace forum.
HostGator offers email, phone, and 24/7 live chat support. There’s also a wealth of resources on the website on how to get the most from the software. You’ll find lots of detailed, clear, and insightful tips and tricks to help you along your website-building journey.
The battle for best customer service is a tie. Both Squarespace and HostGator have a lot to offer in this regard. There are multiple channels for getting assistance via email, live chat, and even phone support.
Both customer support teams are known for being responsive and super helpful and you’ll generally be able to resolve any issue quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to choose a website builder with affordable pricing for all the features you need. Fortunately, both HostGator and Squarespace have various pricing tiers to help you choose the right plan to suit your budget and needs.
Squarespace has four growth-focused plans to choose from. They are as follows:
- 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 + unlimited websites, abandoned cart recovery features, and the ability to sell subscriptions. You also get advanced discounts, advanced shipping, and commerce APIs.
HostGator also has 4 website hosting plans that let you go from an idea to a fully functional website in no time. Here’s what they offer:
- Website Plan: $4.95/Month: This is HostGator’s introductory offer which comes with all the tools you need to build your website, including free web hosting, a DIY site builder with a built-in blog, 150+ mobile-optimized templates, and a free domain and SSL. You also get free expert design support and marketing features such as social media embeds and easy Google site verification. The plan comes with basic website analytics and easy setup of Google Analytics and Tag Manager.
- Website + Marketing Plan: $7.95/Month: This plan has all the features in the Website plan, as well as unlimited appointments, online payments and deposits, and appointment reminders. This plan doesn’t come with eCommerce features, but it does include marketing and analytics tools, such as a logo builder, social media scheduling, email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and a creative design tool.
- Online Store Plan: $13.95/Month: This plan has everything in the Website + Marketing plan. It also includes powerful eCommerce reports and a wide range of eCommerce tools, including a mobile-responsive online store, unlimited products and categories, secure online payment options, and 24/7 automated sync technology. You also get advanced shipping, QuickBooks Online/Xero integration, custom discount codes, an abandoned cart saver, and the ability to sell on Facebook and Instagram.
- Online Marketplaces: $19.95/Month: This plan has all the features in the Online Store plan plus additional eCommerce features, such as marketplace selling, automated sales tax calculations, bulk editing tools, and fulfillment automation. You also get Amazon multi-channel fulfillment, restock management, quick-fill listing templates, and barcode creation.
HostGator’s plans start from just $4.95/month, which makes it the clear winner in the pricing category. However, it’s important to consider that Squarespace offers more value-added features, which means it’s worth taking the time to look through the different plans to see which one will serve you better in the long run.
For example, while HostGator is the more reasonable choice for anyone who wants a simple approach to building a brand-new website, Squarespace is the better fit if you want to scale up your eCommerce business.
As this HostGator vs. Squarespace comparison has shown, both platforms have unique strengths and weaknesses.
But, the bottom line when comparing the two comes down to the types of features you want when building your site. If you’re still not sure, here’s a quick summary of my recommendation to help you make the right choice when comparing Squarespace and Hostgator.
Choose Squarespace if: You want a well-established website builder with an impressive range of features for building your website, blog, or eCommerce store. This all-in-one solution has everything you need, which means you won’t have to spend time searching for and integrating third-party tools to run your business online.
Squarespace also comes with expertly designed templates for virtually every business imaginable, which makes it easy for you to have your site up and running in no time – and with all the website functionality you need. You can also take a look at my Squarespace review to learn more about the platform.
Alternatively, check out how Squarespace compares against other site builders:
Choose HostGator if: You want a web hosting platform with low-priced plans for someone who’s just starting out. Its editor is designed for non-tech-savvy users, which makes it ideal for beginners who want to build a professional site without having to learn code. HostGator also has great customer service with helpful agents who are always available to walk you through everything from website setup to content creation, management, and other technical things.
Alternatively, check out my Wix vs. HostGator comparison to see how it fares against other site builders.