Andrew Williams
squarespacevswordpress

Is Squarespace or self-hosted WordPress the best platform for building a website? That depends on the type of site, its features, functions, and your ambition to grow. WordPress accounts for 38% of all active websites, and there are reasons it’s so dominant. Many others swear by Squarespace.

This short guide pits these giants head-to-head. You’ll soon know which works best for you and your blog, website, or e-store.

Squarespace vs. WordPress

Squarespace and WordPress websites can look similar from the front end or on a screen. But they’re not the same. We’ll look at where each platform excels and where it falls short.

WordPress for Beginners – Master WordPress Quickly

Last Updated September 2021

Bestseller
  • 95 lectures
  • Beginner Level
4.6 (20,738)

In 2020, build a beautiful responsive WordPress site that looks great on all devices. No experience required. | By Andrew Williams

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What is Squarespace?

Squarespace offers a super-easy drag-and-drop site creator and page builder. It’s an all-in-one product, so everything you need to launch a new site is there at your fingertips. In-house hosting and a free domain name (annual plans only) come with it.

The Squarespace website builder is for both pros and amateurs, including first-time users. Anyone can quickly create stunning blogs, websites, and eye-catching online stores.

Squarespace’s user-friendly appeal

Building with Squarespace is like doing a virtual jigsaw. It’s that easy. The what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) user-interface uses a simple drag-and-drop editor. Just drag what you want to where you want it to be. All you need to do to create a website is to choose one of the professional or fun templates and customize it. All plans include in-house cloud hosting, managed by Squarespace, and a custom domain, free for the first year.

Squarespace is simpler to use than WordPress, but it’s nowhere near as flexible or scalable. That’s something to consider if you have big ambitions for your website going forward.

Templates (themes) and extensions (plugins)

Squarespace has a limited supply of 100 templates, searchable by category. The nice-looking designs have orderly, uncluttered layouts. These are easy for visitors to understand and find things on. The smaller choice of themes can be frustrating, but the quality makes up for selection. Squarespace lets you use third-party extensions so you can expand and optimize your websites further.

Squarespace extensions

A Squarespace extension is the company’s name for a plugin, app, or add-on. These are third-party tools, but Squarespace doesn’t charge people to use them. You can find extensions for free or for a nominal fee. Squarespace isn’t responsible for any issues that may relate to these products. You can read more about Squarespace extensions here.

7 reasons to choose Squarespace over WordPress

Squarespace continues to be a popular website builder. It’s been around since 2003 and knows what people demand and how to deliver.

Here are 7 reasons to consider Squarespace over WordPress:

1. Easy to understand and learn

2. All-in-one platform with in-house email, domain, and site hosting

3. Beautiful, usable template designs. The templates come in 14 categories, including e-commerce.

4. Smooth content block system to organize everything easily

5. Multi-device/browser compatible. This means it works well on desktop computers or PCs, tablets like iPads, and mobile devices or smartphones.

6. Four simple pricing plans, payable monthly or yearly.

7. Best practice SEO features built-in to make it easy for web searches to find your site or shop

Squarespace costs

Squarespace is a for-profit site-building platform that doesn’t offer free plans. You can get a 14-day, no-commitment free trial period to test the products, though. Trials give you access to most paid features. There are SEO and monetization, or money-making, restrictions. You can either cancel after the trial or choose one of the 4 paid plans on offer. The personal plan (cheapest) starts at just $12 per month.

Below are the current Squarespace pros and cons.

Squarespace AdvantagesSquarespace Disadvantages
– Fast-loading websites and 99.98% uptime
– Beautiful, contemporary, responsive templates
– Free custom domain name with annual plans
– Beginner-friendly drag-and-drop interface
– Nice looking back-end design
– Android/iOS mobile apps to edit on the go
– Simplistic, all-in-one platform
– Superb image management
– Offers a vast range of web fonts
– Video background feature
– A wide choice of design options
– Decent e-commerce
– Integrates with some third-party tools
– Built-in email marketing feature
– Logo designing app
– Customer support service
– Data import/export
– Squarespace manages maintenance and security 
– Paid plans are expensive
– No free plans available
– Editor can be a little hard to use
– No phone support available
– No advanced tools for marketing
– No third-party apps or templates
– Built-in SEO, but with limited control

What is self-hosting WordPress?

Self-hosted WordPress, or WP,  has been the preferred site-building product for millions since May 2003. There are currently 75 million websites using it. That number keeps growing as people keep choosing WordPress. You can get the files from WordPress.org at any time. It’s 100% free, open-source software, but you need a domain name and a WordPress host. Domains and hosting services are only modest costs with new, smaller projects within WordPress.

The latest version of WP boasts an easy-to-navigate dashboard. The dashboard lets you manage your website content and add-ons. There is now a Guttenberg drag-and-drop block editor. This makes modern WordPress more beginner-friendly than the older versions.

You can make a WordPress website look, feel, and function exactly like any Squarespace site. The opposite isn’t true. That’s because WP doesn’t have the same limitations.

WordPress’s user-friendly appeal

WordPress used to have a reputation for being hard, but now it’s much easier to use. That’s thanks to the feature updates of recent years. The biggest change is the drag-and-drop Guttenberg editor. Now almost anyone can learn how to use WP with a little patience. WordPress’s biggest appeal is the unrestricted access to the open-source code.

Any new user who wants to build a website or blog with WordPress won’t have any problems. There are many excellent how-to guides, video tutorials, and online courses to help you.

WP Themes (templates) and plugins (extensions)

WordPress includes three demo themes or templates. There are thousands of others available. That includes paid themes as well as free options. All modern templates are responsive. This means they work across mobile devices like smartphones and on larger screens. The choice of WP plugins is also impressive. Choose from over 55,000 of these small programs to add features or extend functionality to your site.

7 reasons to choose WordPress over Squarespace

Here are 7 reasons to consider WordPress instead of Squarespace.

1. WordPress software is open-source and free for anyone to use for all project types

2. Unlimited flexibility, highly customizable

3. WordPress powers one in 4 websites worldwide

4. You own your WordPress website 100%, unlike Squarespace

5. Many thousands of WordPress themes and plugins to choose from

6. Lots of control over SEO, or search for your site

7. Global community of friendly WordPress fans always willing to help

WordPress costs

WordPress.org software doesn’t cost anything to download, and you’re free to customize its core files. You do need a custom domain name and web hosting to launch a live WP website or blog. A top-level domain can cost around $10 to $14. Hosting plans start at a few dollars payable monthly or annually. These are recurring costs that average $90 per year for smaller websites.

Below are the self-hosting WP pros and cons at the time of writing.

WordPress AdvantagesWordPress Disadvantages
– WordPress is getting easier for beginners to use
– A superb platform to publish blog posts
– Easier-to-use, drag-and-drop Gutenberg editor
– Excellent Dashboard menu management
– Fully-adaptable; no limitations on customization
– Easy to optimize for major search engines
– Open-source central management system
– Cost-effective platform for basic blogs and websites
– Endless supply of plugins and templates
– Paid and free WordPress plugin and templates
– Regular updates keep software relevant and secure
– Active community, lots of support from other users
– Easily create eCommerce sites to sell products
– Quick and easy to add an interactive forumPC, tablet, and mobile-friendly
– Straightforward RSS and social media integration
– Transitioning between designers is painless
– Major companies use WordPress 
– WordPress needs updating regularly
– Must invest in a domain and a web host
– Hard to learn for complete beginners
– User must keep on top of plugin/template updates
– No customer support  

Squarespace vs. WordPress – what’s it to be?

WordPress offers unlimited choices and no restrictions on customization. Some people find too many options overwhelming and unnecessary. If that’s you, then Squarespace is the clear winner. But if you need a website or e-store with unlimited growth potential, WP is the easy decision. Most websites change over time, so make sure the platform you choose can meet your future goals.Consider a WordPress online beginner’s course if you’re interested but put off by how hard it can be to learn. Virtual class students soon find the WordPress potential exciting instead of intimidating.

WordPress students also learn

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