These days there are a lot of options for getting your business, pet project, blog, photo gallery, et ctera, on the Web. More often than not, it doesn’t make sense to start from scratch and there are services that exist to help you get where you need to be quickly. Two very popular site-building platforms that often go head to head for user favor are Squarespace and WordPress.
Note that WordPress comes in two flavors:
- WordPress.com, i.e., the fully-hosted online site-building platform
- WordPress.org, i.e., the free software that can be used in conjunction with a web host
We’ll cover all three in this article as we look at Squarespace and WordPress in detail — determining which one is the better fit for your next project.
The Gist: Our Overall Comparison
In the interest of keeping this simple, we have given our short opinion of each option below.
Squarespace Is Great for Simple Websites That Require Very Little Customization
Squarespace is used as a drag-and-drop tool that is great for creating very basic websites.
If you’re building a 1- to 3-page website, including one with eCommerce capabilities, Squarespace may be an easy solution for you; however, it can be difficult to customize these sites to perfection, and for more complicated eStores, you’re probably better off trying a WordPress host.
WordPress Is Great for Simple to Complex Sites, but Can Take a Bit More Work
WordPress is fully customizable and can also handle eCommerce sites. There are drag-and-drop themes available, but these aren’t as polished as the Squarespace.com experience. With a WordPress site, you can scale (grow your website to accommodate more users/traffic) easily and there are a TON of themes and forums out there for added customization and communal support. Plus the WordPress community is one of the largest on the Web.
Virtually anything you can dream of has already been done by someone with WordPress and there is probably someone on the Internet that will show you how to do it too. On the downside, you may need a developer to really give you the exact look that you want.
Comparing Features, Usability, Support, Cost, & Use Cases
Below we further break down the features, pricing, pros, and cons of each site building contender. Take your time and read each row carefully to get a good feel for each type of tool.
|Squarespace.com||WordPress.com||WordPress + Web Host|
|Design:||A typical WordPress host offers:|
|Ease of Use:|
|Support:||Most WordPress hosts will offer:|
|Pricing:||Pay ~$2-7/month and get:|
As you can see, in the battle between these popular website building brands, it really comes down to a dual between the fully-hosted platforms and the externally-hosted software (i.e., Squarespace.com or WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org).
Unless you are building a very basic web property — in which case, Squarespace is your champion — our recommendation would be to go with a WordPress web hosting plan.
Squarespace.com vs. WordPress.com: Squarespace Wins for Usability
Both Squarespace.com and WordPress.com can be sufficient for basic web projects, such as uploading your resume, personal sites, or small eMarketplaces with a few products. If this is all you need, Squarespace is your winner simply because there are more customization options with more readily-available support, compared to WordPress.com.
Fully-Hosted Platforms vs. a WordPress Hosting Plan: WordPress Wins for Cost
However, if you’re looking to build a more dynamic web property, be aware that you’re probably going to have a hard time justifying the fully-hosted Squarespace.com or WordPress.com financially. With either option, the costs you’re going to accrue trying to replicate the features, functionality, and personalization of an externally-hosted WordPress site are going to far outnumber the monthly bill of any recommended WordPress web hosts.
For example, with eHost, you can:
- Install WordPress in one click
- Take advantage of their drag-and-drop site builder or build an online store from scratch
- Host your site or store at a domain name that is yours, free, for life
- Easily add a shopping cart for your customers to check out at
- Integrate PayPal to collect your profits
- Experience friendly customer support 24/7
All of the above can be had for a few dollars per month, whereas the fully-hosted Squarespace and WordPress platforms require you to pay more and more to upgrade to plans with “premium” features (e.g., a personalized domain or selling more than 25 products).
Squarespace is Better for Basic Sites & WordPress Wins Beyond That
Squarespace is an exceptional resource for those who want to build a basic 1- to 3-page site; beyond that, WordPress will probably be a better fit for your website building and hosting needs. There’s more of a learning curve, but the saved cost and added functionality will help you meet your website goals more effectively. If you’re frustrated with the lack of moves you have to make with your basic, “free” online site builder, try starting out with an affordable and equally intuitive web host that you can use to host a WordPress website.