There are many tools and services available to help you quickly create a new website. The websites you are building could be simple blogs or full blown eCommerce businesses. Chances are you will find a service that will help you create that specific type of website.
In this tutorial, I’m going to compare two of the most popular website building solutions. These are Squarespace and WordPress. Let’s begin.
Squarespace vs WordPress: a brief introduction
Squarespace started out as a blog hosting service with a drag and drop website builder in 2004. Squarespace is not an open source project. It offers a limited free trial but you have to pay to use its services when you decide to do something serious.
WordPress is a year older than Squarespace and started in 2003. It’s an open source project, which means you won’t have to pay anything to use it. However, this doesn’t mean that everything WordPress is absolutely free. You will learn more in detail later in the tutorial.
To avoid any confusion, I would like to mention that WordPress also has a hosted version other than WordPress.org which we will cover in this tutorial.
Squarespace vs WordPress: ease of use
Squarespace is a SaaS company. In other words, you can say that it provides software as a service. Squarespace’s primary targets are people with very little or no web development / programming experience. This means that it strives to make the website creation process as simple as possible.
WordPress, on the other hand, will take a significant amount of time to learn how to do different tasks. This is especially true for beginners. Things will get a lot easier over time as you gain experience. However, you will initially be overwhelmed with everything you need to learn.
Squarespace is definitely easier to use than WordPress.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Design Choices
One way to make it easier for people to create websites is to provide them with predefined templates that can be customized later to meet their individual needs. Squarespace offers a large selection of ready-to-use templates for use in a variety of projects. This includes setting up an online store, local business, portfolio website or blog etc. Among other things.
You can explore the entire selection of Squarespace templates by visiting the templates page. Simply pick a website type along with a topic and you’d be good to go. There are many available themes and website designs that you can use and they all look great.
Now, let’s see what WordPress has to offer in terms of design choices. You will find that there are over 5000 free themes to use with your WordPress setup. Some of them look great while others are pretty plain. You can apply feature filters to narrow your search for the perfect theme.
One thing you will notice is that the themes on WordPress.org are a little lackluster compared to Squarespace. However, it’s to be expected because Squarespace’s business model requires the best and latest web design templates to be ready to use.
Remember when I told you that WordPress is an open source project? This means that everyone is free to write their own code to create something that is not already available. This also applies to themes. There are many markets like ThemeForest where you can buy a premium WordPress theme that offers a lot of design choices and customization options. A single theme you purchase might come with multiple page templates with unique designs.
Bind: Squarespace Themes are comparable to the premium themes sold on ThemeForest.
Squarespace vs WordPress: maintenance and security
If you know what you are doing, it is possible to create a simple and functional website in WordPress or Squarespace in one day. However, maintaining such websites for a period of time requires a serious commitment on your part.
There are many things you need to take care of while maintaining a website. This includes regular plugin or theme updates, database optimization, image optimization, SEO updates, and more.
All of this will take time, the time you could devote to something else to expand your business. While WordPress offers you tools to perform automatic updates, the process is much more streamlined in Squarespace.
Let’s say you have enabled automatic updates on WordPress. Incompatibility problems are still likely to occur from time to time. This is because several plugins and themes that you use on your website are generally created by independent developers and companies. On the other hand, the update process is centralized on Squarespace and they will run proper tests before automatically posting them on your website.
Security is another area where Squarespace wins on WordPress. This is not to say that WordPress is not secure. However, the security burden is on you when you use WordPress and it is on Squarespace when you use their platform.
Winner: In terms of ease of maintenance and security, Squarespace wins over WordPress.
Squarespace vs WordPress: functionality and extensibility
As I have mentioned on many occasions in this post, Squarespace is a closed and tightly controlled system. This makes it safer and easier to use and maintain. However, there are downsides to this approach. What you gain in ease of use is lost in functionality and extensibility.
Since WordPress is an open source project, there are thousands of people working on the core product, as well as themes and plugins to give you access to a wide range of features. To be fair, Squarespace offers a wealth of built-in features over the WordPress core, and it also has a handful of third-party extensions.
However, this pales in comparison to the features you can get with third-party plugins in WordPress. With around 60,000 different plugins available for use, you’ll likely have access to all the features you might need.
Another benefit of using WordPress is that you can also code the functionality you want in your website or hire developers to do it. This allows you to use WordPress however you like. You can also add custom code to your website with Squarespace’s commercial and commercial plans, but they’re not as flexible as WordPress.
Winner: features and extensibility are easy for WordPress to win.
Squarespace vs WordPress: cost
The cost of building and running a website is a big factor for many people when it comes to choosing a platform. One last thing I’d like to compare is the cost of using Squarespace and WordPress.
Squarespace offers a number of plans with their own set of features. The cheapest plan is called “Personal” and will currently cost you $ 192 per year when paid annually. The “Advanced Commerce” plan will cost you $ 588 per year when paid annually. The personal plan won’t offer you any eCommerce features. The domain you get with any Squarespace plan is also free for the first year only, and you’ll be charged $ 20 per year to renew it later.
The cost of using WordPress will vary greatly depending on your experience and other preferences. For example, basic hosting to handle small amounts of traffic can cost around $ 60 per year, and you’ll have to spend around $ 15 on domain registration or renewal each year. As you can see, WordPress costs a lot less if you don’t plan on using premium themes or plugins.
Costs with Squarespace and WordPress are likely to increase depending on your project and customization needs. However, WordPress will usually still be cheaper in the long run.
Winner: Both platforms have associated costs, but WordPress will usually be even cheaper.
Should you be using WordPress or Squarespace?
Now that we’ve discussed the different aspects of using WordPress and Squarespace when building your website, it’s time to deliver a final verdict.
|Ease of use||Square space|
|Maintenance and safety||Square space|
|Features and extensibility||WordPress|
From the table above, it is evident that you should consider using WordPress if there is a budget constraint and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty with website maintenance and development behind the scenes. WordPress also gives you much more freedom to experiment with the platform and customize it to your liking.
Squarespace is ideal for people who are simply trying to get up and running as quickly as possible and don’t mind paying extra for the added convenience. You will potentially save a lot of time by choosing to develop your website with Squarespace.