What is Squarespace, you ask? You may have seen the logo at the bottom of some of your favorite websites or even seen one of the company’s ads on television. You’ve likely heard of the company, but what do they do and how can they help?
Simply put, Squarespace is a website builder that simplifies web design and site creation to just a handful of super-easy steps. The platform is known for stunning design templates geared toward business and creativity. Whether you’re experienced running a website or just getting started, site builders, such as Squarespace, can help you get online in a fraction of the time.
Read on to learn more about Squarespace, along with our comparisons with other website builder platforms you may want to consider.
1. We Rate Squarespace a 4.5/5 — How Do Others Compare?
Launched in 2004, Squarespace has grown into one of the most popular website creators for creatively sharing ideas. The platform powers millions of websites and is great for visually minded beginners, but a few limitations keep us from giving Squarespace the highest marks.
With a slogan of “Build it Beautiful,” Squarespace is known for well-designed templates. The company only offers about 60 options — dozens fewer than other website builder options — but Squarespace is the cream of the crop when it comes to carefully polished and crafted website themes. Additionally, Squarespace performance and page load times are surprisingly low for site builders, which usually bog down web browsers with ineffecient code.
The issue, however, is the $12-per-month price tag and being restricted to only 20 pages for your site. For as little as $2 per month, you can have a comparable builder platform, more templates, and an unlimited-everything shared hosting plan. Even better, Wix lets users design for free and run a website without cost as long as they’d like:
Ecommerce: Selling is Simple, but Marketing Tools are Limited
Selling products from your site without adding plugins or new programs is nice, but Squarespace eommerce tools fall short next to the robust functionality of platforms like Shopify. For starters, Squarespace ecommerce options are only supported in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland.
Squarespace will help you with inventory, orders, taxes, discounts, and accounting, but only accepts payments through Stripe. The functionality is technically there, but most store owners will be better served with a dedicated ecommerce platform added to their hosting account. Here’s our go-to option for ecommerce:
- 1-click installs for eCommerce tools like WooCommerce
- FREE eCommerce plugin for WordPress
- Daily backups, a CDN, and FREE Weebly site builder
- Test changes to your online store within the staging area
- 24/7 support delivered by eCommerce gurus
- Get started on SiteGround now.
Blogging: You’ll Love Your Blog’s Look, but Better Blog Hosts Exist
Like ecommerce, blogging on Squarespace can be done — in a simple, perhaps too simple way. Squarespace excels in usability, offering a publishing platform with which even the earliest of beginners can excel.
Coupled with beautiful templates and adjustable content blocks, Squarespace blogs look great. However, we miss being able to toggle between visual and HTML modes or previewing what our post will look like, as you can on so many other platforms. Top blog hosting platforms, like the one listed below, give site owners more flexibility in terms of design, writing tools
- FREE domain and transfer, with WordPress pre-installed
- Host unlimited WordPress sites on a single account
- Unlimited bandwidth, plus FREE data backups and SSL
- User-friendly, 3-step Wizard for Google apps integration
- SPAM Safe™ email with IMAP support
- Get started with InMotion now.
2. Is Squarespace Free? (Trial or Forever)
Squarespace does not have a free option, but they do have a 14-day free trial — enough time to see if the features match your expectations and needs, but Squarespace will inevitably slap on a relatively hefty price tag. An annual plan costs upward of $12/month, which is pretty steep for shared hosting. With many hosts including top-notch website builders for free, we’re not sure Squarespace is worth sacrificing the options available with more complete hosting plans.
Fortunately, you can pick and choose from a number of other options. Here are some affordable Squarespace alternatives we recommend:
- No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop builder
- 100s of templates with niche-specific designs
- Add features via the App Market and Wix Events
- Easily create ecommerce functionality easily
- Great way to build small sites on a budget
- Get started on Wix now.
- Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
- Mobile-optimized and easy-to-use setup wizards
- 100s of professionally designed themes
- FREE online store, shopping cart, and blogging
- Get +75% off your first month
- Get started on iPage now.
- Drag-and-drop design with the Gator™ site builder
- Hundreds of mobile-friendly templates
- FREE hosting, domain name, and SSL certificate
- Easily add a blog, store, and social media
- Analytics portal helps gauge site performance
- Get started on HostGator now.
3. Should I Use Squarespace or Wix or Weebly or WordPress?
The Squarespace site builder comes packaged with a blogging platform, content management system, and hosting — unlike other builders, you can’t add Squarespace to your existing hosting account. We compared Squarespace to other popular website builders to see how the features and flexibility impact customers.
Our Favorite: Wix
We love Wix templates, which strike the balance between the strong designs of Squarespace with the hundreds of options you can find through other builders. However, you’ll run into the same limitations as Squarespace since you can only use the Wix builder on their hosting subscription terms. At least the price tag is much more reasonable — plans range from roughly $4 per month for the most basic sites and top out at $25 monthly for VIP treatment and features.
- Start designing for FREE
- FREE domain with most plans
- Drag-and-drop templates, specific to industry or design need
- Help Center with exhaustive knowledge base of articles
- Huge App Market available
- Get started on Wix now.
Runner Up: WordPress
Sure, WordPress isn’t technically a site builder — but we love the world’s most popular content management system too much to let semantics get in the way. The free platform is available through 1-click installations on practically every hosting plan and opens the door to millions of themes and plugins. WordPress has a bit of a learning curve for those just getting started, but you can rely on a passionate, worldwide community of support.
- WordPress pre-installed with NGINX and PHP 7
- FREE SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth
- Automatic plugin, theme, and core updates
- Features a FREE drag-and-drop WP page editor
- Premium themes and plugin subscriptions
- Get started on InMotion now.
Runner Up: Weebly
Although all website builders are inherently easy to use (or at least should be), Weebly’s interface is hands-down the most accessible. Balancing a bevy of customizable options with drag-and-drop simplicity, Weebly users won’t get overwhelmed by the rich collection of available features.
And, because Weebly is now part of the Square product suite, it’s easier than ever to build online stores should you have the need. Square streamlines payments so you can focus on your business instead of eCommerce technicalities.
- All-in-one hosting and drag-and-drop website builder
- Start designing for FREE, upgrade whenever
- Easily build a blog, personal site, or online store
- 100s of FREE templates for websites
- $100 credit toward Google advertising
- Get started on Weebly now.
For Basic Sites: Squarespace
If you’re really intimidated by entering the hosting world, Squarespace gives you a 1-stop solution with minimal interactions with the technical side of things. Your site doesn’t have to suffer because you want simplicity — Squarespace designs and functionality will give your portfolio, business, or blog an impressive, professional appearance with minimal hosting know-how. Words, images, and other content are contained in blocks that can be easily arranged in any configuration.
4. How Does Squarespace Customer Support Compare to Competitors?
Unlike so many browser-based website builders, Squarespace actually does a pretty good job at onboarding and supporting their users. Like many hosting companies, Squarespace has a support team who is available 24/7 by live chat or email, and they will respond to your email within the hour. Their online help center includes dozens of guides, video tutorials, and links to online webinars and in-person workshops.
Nothing, however, compares to the dedicated support teams behind self-hosted options. Instead of concentrating their efforts on a single product, such as a website builder, hosting providers have more resources to spend on upgrading infrastructure and cultivating a team of experts to assist customers. SiteGround is our Best 24/7 Support award winner and carries a stellar reputation.
- FREE site transfer or new site setup
- FREE daily backups, CDN, email, and SSL
- 24/7 expert support with no wait on phone or chat
- Recommended by WordPress as a top host
- Ideal for business email hosting
- Get started on SiteGround now.
5. Are You Ready for Real Hosting? Cancel Squarespace Anytime
Once you get comfortable with Squarespace, you’ll probably find how the feature limitations will restrict your site or creativity. Canceling your Squarespace subscription can be a challenge, but you can access your cancellation options by going to the Settings menu and clicking:
- Billing & Account
From there, you can either uncheck the auto-renew option or click the Cancel Website Subscription button. If you have separate subscriptions for your domain name or emails, you will have to cancel them manually.
A shared hosting plan is the natural next step for your website, and even low-budget plans will include more computing power and intuitive tools for eCommerce, site building, analytics, email, and security than one-size-fits-all site builders. When you’re ready to sign up for big-girl web hosting, consider checking out our recommendations for hosts with the best website builders.