If you’re trying to decide which website builder to choose between Squarespace and WordPress you’ve come to the right place. Both are popular content management systems that come with powerful website builders and a variety of tools to market and sell your products.
But, each software has its own quirks, and since little differences can have a huge impact on your experience, I’ve written this Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison article to help you make the right choice.
Read on to discover more about the different features of each system, including ease of use, design and customization, eCommerce capabilities, customer support, pricing, and more.
1. Ease of Use
Let’s start off this Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison article with ease of use (arguably the first feature you should look at)
If you don’t have advanced coding knowledge, you want a platform with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, a drag-and-drop editor, and pre-designed templates.
Let’s see how these two site builders stack up in this area.
Squarespace has an intuitive interface, as well as a range of beautiful templates to choose from. They come pre-configured with beautiful layouts and elements such as stylized text, videos, buttons, forms, galleries, background images, and more.
All you have to do is replace the placeholder content with your own and adjust the different elements to make them exactly the way you like them, and that’s it – you’ve got a website.
All Squarespace templates are mobile responsive which means that they adapt to the window size of the browser on which they are being viewed. This makes them ideal for desktops, mobile, and tablets.
The template designs have a distinct appearance and include lots of white space, bold text, and tons of website areas in which to display photos and videos. This makes them ideal for websites that need to highlight stunning visuals, such as restaurants, photography websites, etc.
There’s also an AI-powered bot that walks you through setup. It provides a catered experience according to your answers to a few short questions.
In a couple of minutes, the AI creates an entirely unique website for you. You can then replace the pre-configured copy with your own and customize other elements like colors and styles to match your brand.
Summary of Squarespace’s Ease of Use Features:
- All-in-one website-building platform with AI tools
- Free, unlimited website hosting provider
- Built-in website management tools, no plugins necessary
- In-depth tutorials for getting started
- Intuitive drag-and-drop design system
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It’s used by individuals, small businesses, and large corporations alike.
It has all the tools to build a full-featured website, and there’s also a huge repository of free WordPress plugins and apps that you can use to add more functionality to your website.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that there are two different WordPress websites: WordPress.com, a hosted site builder, and WordPress.org, a self-hosted platform which means you have to get your own hosting package.
In this article, we’ll be focused on the .org version which is a lot more flexible and significantly more powerful than its counterpart.
When using WordPress, you must complete several steps yourself, which makes the initial setup a little harder than Squarespace.
You have to choose a hosting provider, purchase a domain name, download and install WordPress files to a new domain. After that, you will have to set up and tinker with your website’s settings.
In contrast, much of this is done for you on Squarespace, and what few steps you have to take yourself, you’re guided through by the platform’s AI.
Summary of WordPress’s Ease of Use Features:
- Free and open-source content management system
- Simple dashboard with options listed plainly on the sidebar
- Deeper level of customization and flexibility
- Built for content management, which makes blogging easy
- Huge support community for themes, and plugins
Squarespace is the clear winner here. It has an intuitive interface, and there’s a tutorial bot that walks you through all the categories and features. All you have to do to create a new website is to choose a website category, specify the sections you want to include, pick a template, name it, and you’ll have your website in just a few minutes.
It’s the perfect platform for beginners and every design, sales, and marketing feature is built right into the platform itself. In comparison, WordPress requires some knowledge of plugins, coding, file directories, etc. to get the most out of the platform.
2. Design and Customization
Squarespace focuses on making the website-building process as simple as possible so you can create a great site with no technical knowledge required.
WordPress, on the other hand, focuses more on giving you the power to customize your website right down to the last pixel.
Let’s take a closer look at the design and customization capabilities of each platform.
With regard to design and customization, Squarespace is about as easy as it gets for beginners. Most of the Squarespace website templates are designed to work right out of the box, which means once you swap out the placeholder content for your own, you are ready to publish your fully-functional website.
You’ll be able to customize a clean, visually-appealing page with just a few clicks. Even when adding new pages to your website, you never have to start from scratch (unless you want to). Simply choose the template you like best, and add it to your website with a click.
Squarespace also has an image editing tool that helps you create striking visuals for your website. You can add filters, and adjust things like the image brightness, saturation, contrast, etc.
You can do all of this on the Squarespace interface without having to jump to third-party tools like Canva.
In addition to the Squarespace templates and themes, advanced users can also add HTML/CSS, but only on the higher-tier plans.
Summary of Squarespace’s Design and Customization Features:
- Massive selection of typefaces on Squarespace site
- Modern, clean, and aesthetically pleasing layouts
- Fully responsive website designs
- Getty Images integration for high-quality stock photos
- Fluid Engine for complete control over mobile and desktop versions
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
WordPress comes with a few free themes, but these aren’t really ideal for building a professional-looking website.
You can purchase premium WordPress themes from the platform’s marketplace, and you may need to dive into third-party plugins if you want to add even more customization to your website.
There are tens of thousands of free and paid plugins you can choose from to build your WordPress site. As an open-source platform, WordPress has a practically endless plugin library, and if you know how to handle the code yourself, you can create and add your own WordPress plugin to the repository.
You’ll find simple settings for changing the background image and overall color schemes. But, these settings are quite limited, and if you want more customization, you either have to use a plugin or add your own code.
As a WordPress user, you also get total access to the backend files. You can use code to change anything on your website. Access directory files, and modify code within your main configuration file, themes, and plugins.
The customization tools on WordPress are well-labeled and easy to use, once you know your way around the platform.
Summary of WordPress’s Design and Customization Features:
- Visual composer and theme editor
- In-depth theme customization options
- Huge library of plugins and apps for more website functionality
- Step-by-step guides for customizing your WordPress theme
Squarespace wins this one by virtue of having the best free templates. The platform has dozens of sleek, professional designs that will make your website stand out.
Of course, WordPress also has beautiful templates, but the free ones are quite generic. If you want something truly unique, you’ll have to pay for it, or at least know how to manipulate the code on the website.
3. eCommerce Capabilities
Both Squarespace and WordPress have built-in eCommerce features with everything you need to build and run your online store. There are also advanced features that you can unlock as your store grows.
Let’s take a closer look at each site builder’s eCommerce functionalities.
Squarespace has a lot of professional online store themes that you can use. But, compared to WordPress, they’re not very customizable which means you may end up with a generic-looking store
Squarespace has built-in eCommerce features such as sales and marketing tools integrated into the platform. It’s easy to navigate and customize these features to suit your needs.
There are powerful built-in marketing features like customizable pop-ups to encourage users to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or clicking a link.
There are also analytics features accessible under the “Analytics” tab, you’ll be able to find options to track things like sales, traffic, abandoned carts, etc, and various other important metrics for your eCommerce businesses. These features are available when you upgrade to the Business plan.
Security is another important factor when it comes to eCommerce stores. Squarespace performs maintenance regularly and works to defend against cyber attacks.
Each Squarespace-built online store gets an SSL certificate, and there are various other security measures in place to ensure the safety of your website and customer data.
Summary of Squarespace’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- 0% transaction fees on the Basic Commerce plan
- High-quality digital storefront templates
- Abandoned cart recovery tool
- Automatically collect user data without third-party integration
- Industry-leading web store infrastructure and security
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
On WordPress, you can integrate plugins like WooCommerce, the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin, to make eCommerce possible.
You get lots of customization options to help you run a successful store. For instance, you’ll get dozens of online store themes and templates to choose from. Many of them are professionally designed, mobile-responsive, and come with integrated features like payment processors, and checkouts.
The free store templates aren’t as expertly designed as those you’ll find on Squarespace. The really nice ones are usually found in the premium category. You have the ability to customize themes yourself to add unique commerce features, which is a great option for anyone with the tech knowledge to do so.
But, the user interface on WooCommerce is a lot less intuitive than Squarespace and you’ll have to take care of all your maintenance, security, and store updates yourself. In contrast, Squarespace takes care of all your maintenance and security needs. There’s no need to use your own resources to troubleshoot issues.
Also, when it comes to user analytics, marketing, and sales, you have to integrate third-party programs to provide you with these features on WordPress.
The good news is, WordPress makes it easy to integrate tools like Google Analytics to help you get more helpful insights for your eCommerce business.
Summary of WordPress’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Easy integrations with dozens of payment providers
- Shopping carts, checkout, and payment flows
- Multiple fulfillment integration options are available
- Tax calculations and revenue reporting
- Google Analytics integration for deeper insights
When building an eCommerce business, it’s important to have marketing tools and effective user data analytics tools. Both WordPress and Squarespace have a lot to offer in this regard. Squarespace has built-in tools, but on WordPress, these features are only available with plugins.
But, the built-in tools on Squarespace can be limiting as your website grows. WordPress, on the other hand, gives you access to powerful third-party tools that provide easy scalability.
Of course, you’ll have to install the plugins yourself, learn how to use them right, and play around with different settings until you get them working properly.
4. Blogging Tools
The next topic of this Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison is blogging tools.
If you intend to publish content on your website regularly, you need a website builder with reliable blogging tools.
Fortunately, my research into this WordPress Squarespace comparison shows that both platforms are strong in this area. Here’s how they compare.
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.
Unlike WordPress, 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.
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 are built-in tools, they integrate perfectly into your page so there’s no need to tweak the settings to get all the different tools to play nicely together.
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
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
WordPress is known for its blogging features, and it has significantly more robust blogging features to offer compared to Squarespace.
Like Squarespace, WordPress has an easy-to-use block editor for creating your blog content. It has a lot more text and media options and you can drag and drop these elements to any part of your page to build unique blog posts.
The menu on the left-hand side of the page is simple and easy to navigate. It provides you with everything you need to get started, including access to pages and posts, categories, and blog settings.
You also get access to plugins for anything from newsletters and sign-up forms to membership sites and image galleries.
In the “Appearance” tab, you can make changes to your blog appearance, but much of the editing capabilities will depend on your chosen theme.
You can change things like header design, features, and overlapping content among many others. For more in-depth changes, you will have to go into individual pages to make the changes.
For more advanced users, the platform lets you get into the HTML/CSS to make deeper changes to your website.
Summary of WordPress’s Blogging Tools:
- Powerful WordPress blogging tools
- Advanced blog customization options
- Built-in comments section available to WordPress account holders
- Ability to backdate blog posts
- Multilingual functionality
Winner: WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost)
Obviously, the World’s most popular blogging CMS wins this one. Starting a blog on Squarespace is easy. Setup takes just a few minutes, but the process of creating optimized blog posts isn’t as intuitive as it could be.
WordPress, on the other hand, makes it extremely easy to start blogging and provides you with all the content creation tools you need to create high-quality, engaging, and optimized posts right at your fingertips.
5. Search Engine Optimization Tools
The more online visibility your site has, the more targeted traffic it gets, which results in increased opportunities to convert visitors into customers.
Fortunately, both Squarespace and WordPress offer powerful SEO tools for optimal ranking. Here’s what you get with each platform.
Squarespace has basic SEO tools to help you optimize your website easily. The SEO tab on your dashboard gives you access to built-in tools for improving your website’s search engine rankings.
You can customize the URL structure, meta-titles, image alt text, and various other basic SEO settings. If you want advanced settings, you’ll need to use off-page resources.
Each website you create on Squarespace comes with a built-in SSL certificate. This is a digital document that allows encrypted connections to safeguard your visitors’ information.
When it comes to website maintenance, Squarespace takes care of all your backups and updates to keep your site secure. Outdated plugins make it more likely that you’ll fall victim to cyber security threats.
The auto-updates are also great for SEO, and it means that you don’t have to worry about losing your website if something goes wrong or you get hacked. On WordPress, users need to be vigilant and constantly update their plugins to avoid this. However, having too many plugins can also slow down the speed of your website.
With Squarespace, everything is taken care of for you. You can’t install third-party plugins or themes, but the platform keeps everything up to date and website maintenance is performed as needed.
Summary of Squarespace’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- Powerful built-in SEO features for pages and items
- Social image-sharing control
- Settings to hide pages from search engines
- Built-in mobile optimization
- Google search console integration for valuable visitor data
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
On WordPress, you can integrate SEO plugins like Yoast SEO to help you optimize your website. The plugins allow for schema meta-data editions and you can use them for your blog posts’ SEO and readability analysis.
They also give you full control over your website breadcrumbs and various other helpful resources. Using such plugins dramatically expands the SEO capabilities of your website.
Your website security is another important feature that impacts your SEO. WordPress helps you protect your website from hackers and cyber threats through the use of the most stringent practices available.
However, you have to really know what you’re doing to be able to make use of the platform’s robust security features. You’ll have to purchase your own SSL certificate, unlike Squarespace which issues these free with each website plan.
Downloads and updates can also affect your website’s SEO performance. And since WordPress relies so much on plugins, users have to do a lot of manual downloading from third-party sites.
This comes with the risk of downloading hidden programs or malicious code. You have to do your due diligence when adding new themes and plugins to your website to avoid falling prey.
Summary of WordPress’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- Easy management of metadata
- Add attractive permalinks instead of ugly-looking URLs
- Create alternative text for images to infuse keywords
- Automatically optimized for mobile users
- Fast load time to reduce bounce rates
We’ll call this one a tie because the winner is determined by individual needs. Squarespace provides built-in SEO tools for basic optimization, and you can integrate third-party apps to dive deeper.
WordPress plugins give you the ability to fully optimize your website, including schema markup integrations and tools to alter the metadata that helps Google show your content to relevant users. Your choice will ultimately depend on whether you want ease and simplicity or if you want more control over your website’s SEO.
6. Community and Support
Imagine it’s 3 AM and you’re stuck trying to figure out one of the features on your website builder. Who do you turn to?
Fortunately, both WordPress and Squarespace offer tons of support ranging from dedicated personal email to live chat. Here’s what you get.
Squarespace invests heavily in providing high-quality support to all its users. Its support is tons better than that of WordPress which relies mainly on its massive community forum to assist users.
As a Squarespace user, you get 24/7 support, which is a big plus for the website builder. Every plan comes with dedicated email support and live chat support. Whenever you need assistance during setup or if you need help managing your website, you can contact support through those channels.
There’s also a detailed knowledge base on the website packed full of how-to guides and video tutorials.
You can also sign up for free live webinar sessions and join the platform’s community forum to connect with like-minded users who are on the same journey as you.
Share your experience, ask questions, and get specific advice from successful creators who have already been where you want to go.
Squarespace also has a “Marketplace,” feature which allows you to connect with experts who can build a website for you.
You can browse through different website-building pros and choose one to bring your website dream to reality. This is a great way to save time and effort and allows you to implement custom code and build a unique website even if you’re not too sure where to start.
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
When it comes to customer support, WordPress is more of a mixed bag. Although there is no official support, you can still benefit from a massive community of users and developers who are always available to answer questions.
There’s also an exhaustive collection of documentation and resources on the website. Unfortunately, beginners might find the sheer number of articles to be overwhelming.
Forum threads are a bit more useful, but just like the WordPress documentation on the website, the conversations tend to lean more toward more technical language which can be frustrating for novices who don’t know CSS from jQuery.
This leads to a lot of frustration for new users, but the good news is that if you purchase a premium WordPress hosting or theme, you will get support from the web host or theme developers and you can contact them to get assistance until you’ve built your site.
Depending on the WordPress theme or website hosting provider you choose, you may be able to get free support, but this isn’t always a given.
Squarespace wins this one because it’s a hosted service with tons of support for its users. The platform offers a 24/7 support line, as well as email support and live chat support.
You can also connect with the customer support team on social media. There’s always someone on hand to answer your questions on Twitter or Facebook Messenger.
When choosing a site builder, it’s important to choose one that provides you with all the features you need at an affordable price. Here’s how Squarespace and WordPress compare in the pricing department.
Squarespace has 4 growth-focused plans to choose from depending on your needs. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial on the website.
Squarespace pricing is as follows:
- Personal Plan: $16/Month: This is Squarespace’s foundational plan. It gives you access to best-in-class templates with which you can build a mobile-optimized website. You can choose from dozens of templates designed to fit your business or personal goals. You also get a free domain for one year on which you can create your new website.
- Basic Commerce Plan: $27/Month: This plan has all the features in the Business plan, as well as advanced selling tools to help you grow your business. There are no transaction fees, and you get powerful merchandising tools built-in to help you boost sales, including the ability to display related products, drive urgency with low-stock alerts, and offer product wait lists.
- Advanced Commerce Plan: $49/Month: This plan includes all the features in the Basic Commerce plan. It also comes with tools for advanced sellers, including advanced shipping, advanced discounting, and the ability to sell subscriptions. You also get the abandoned cart recovery tool and commerce APIs to help you build custom integrations to third-party systems in your back end.
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost):
The WordPress CMS is an open-source software that is free to download and use. But, you won’t be able to get your site live online without paying for additional services, such as web hosting, a domain name, an SSL certificate, and a website theme.
You may also need to pay for additional plugins to further increase the functionality of your site.
You can pick and choose which ones of these additional costs are relevant to your site, and prices range widely depending on various factors.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for some of the necessary tools to build your WordPress website:
- Hosting: Hosting ranges in price from about $1/month to over $45/month depending on the type and size of your website.
- Domain Registration: To purchase a custom domain name, you’re looking at about $10-$20/year.
- Website Theme: Theme prices range from one end of the spectrum to the other. You’ll find some for as low as $19 and others cost upwards of $300.
- SSL Certificate: Most host providers offer SSL Certificates free with the hosting package. The cost of purchasing it on its own is between $70-$80/year.
- Plugins: The amount you spend on WordPress plugins will depend on the plugins you choose, and whether or not their free or paid.
WordPress may be free, but there are additional costs that you will incur when building your website. Squarespace gives you a lot of features for the price. For example, the Basic Squarespace plan offers unlimited bandwidth and a free custom domain.
These two features alone will cost more than the price of the subscription when purchasing them from third-party vendors. Ultimately, it costs less to launch a website with Squarespace since you pay a single, affordable fee for everything you need to build your website, blog, or eCommerce store.
However, for those who require complex layouts and advanced features, it would be prudent to go with a platform like WordPress that allows you to scale your business easily.
As this Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison has shown, there are many similarities between WordPress and Squarespace, but there are also a lot of nuances between the two platforms.
For example, with regard to design, Squarespace only offers what it offers, whereas WordPress gives you granular control over every aspect of your website. In other words, the debate comes down to whether you want “easy to use” or “limitless”.
But, the gist of it is, if you have some tech knowledge, you will love the flexibility and DIY nature of WordPress. It gives you an unlimited experience that allows you to build truly unique websites.
If, on the other hand, you are someone who’s never seen a line of code in their life, then you might be better served by using a more user-friendly platform like Squarespace which comes with pre-configured templates that simplify website creation.
Here’s the bottom line:
Choose Squarespace if: You want to build a stunning website without having to suffer through a steep learning curve. This is the perfect solution if you need your site to be up fairly quickly and want website management to be a breeze.
Squarespace is an affordable, easy-to-use site builder that provides you with dedicated 24/7 support and handles all the maintenance and hassle of running your site so you can focus on creating quality content for your audience.
WordPress (Hosted on Bluehost) if: You are looking to build a fairly large or content-heavy website. WordPress provides you with powerful blogging tools and complete customization, as well as the ability to integrate a broad range of third-party apps to expand your website’s functionality and scale easily.
WordPress is also perfect for anyone who wants a more hands-on approach to running their website. The learning curve may be slightly steeper, and you’ll have to handle technical tasks like hosting, security, and updates yourself, but you get granular control over all the elements of your website, allowing you to build a truly unique site that looks and functions exactly the way you want.