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Updated March 2022: To reflect price changes to Squarespace and Siteground’s new pricing for WordPress website hosting.
Important Note: Since publication, Squarespace has released a new version of their platform called Squarespace 7.1. This blog post is written as a comparison of WordPress and Squarespace 7.0, not 7.1
However, despite 7.1 being the newest version, 7.0 is still available and preferred by many. As such, I do not currently intend to revise this post to reflect Squarespace 7.1 since 7.0 is still widely used, and (in my current opinion) still the better Squarespace option.
Ahhh the age old WordPress vs. Squarespace debate…
Whenever someone brings up the heated subject of Squarespace vs WordPress, inevitably people from both sides of the fence will come storming in, torches blazing, shouting from atop the highest mountain with pitchforks in hand that THEIR platform is the best.
You smirk, but I’m SO serious…
If you want to watch WWIII: Website Edition unfold right before your very eyes, just slide on into your nearest website-related Facebook group or forum and say three simple words: “WordPress or Squarespace”.
Then go get yourself a jumbo sized bucket of popcorn, kick up your feet, and watch the mayhem ensue – Michael Jackson style.
All joking aside, the part about the whole debate that’s most frustrating, is that most people who are offering a confident recommendation… have never even TRIED the other one.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it’s fair to claim something is better, if you haven’t spent time getting to know the competitor.
*dodges tomatoes soaring at head*
Love your own platform as you may, but in order to provide a truly unbiased opinion, having experience with both options is, in my opinion, a necessity.
Having worked with both WordPress and Squarespace on numerous website builds, I have decided to give an honest, unbiased comparison of the two.
*Spoiler alert* There IS no winner 😱
But bare with me, because depending on your unique needs, the best choice for YOU is probably pretty clear.
*To avoid confusion, let me start by clarifying that for the duration of this post (and all posts, for that matter) when I say “WordPress” I am referring to WordPress.org (aka. the “real” WordPress), NOT WordPress.com. WordPress.com should not be used to create a website for your business, as it is primarily intended for hobbyists and extremely limited.
So, we’re talking strictly about WordPress.ORG here, bueno?
Now let’s get started…
Choose what’s important to you
Let’s compare WordPress and Squarespace on the most important criteria that you should consider when creating a website (in no particular order):
1. User friendliness
5. Customer Support
6. Amount of maintenance required
7. Mobile Customization
Before getting started, take a moment to consider which criteria are most important to YOU and your business.
By considering these options first, you’ll be able to better judge which option is the right choice as you continue to read below.
Seriously… scroll back up and choose your top 3-4 criteria. Then, read on…
When I’m talking about user friendliness, I’m talking about the ease-of-use for YOU: the website owner. Whether you DIY your website or hire someone to build it for you, some basic knowledge of how to use your own website will likely still be necessary in the future.
When it comes to user friendliness, Squarespace takes the cake, hands down.
Squarespace was built for the DIYers and the not-so-tech-savvy users.
Its simple drag-and-drop interface makes it really easy to make minor adjustments to your site without too much know-how required.
Additionally, the layout of the main menu makes it very easy to login and view things such as your website settings and analytics. That’s not something that should be taken lightly, as the same features in WordPress are often much less intuitive and more intimidating.
Below are some images of the Main Menu pages for Squarespace and WordPress, to give an idea of what the interfaces look like:
Squarespace Main Menu
WordPress Main Menu
For user-friendliness, Squarespace is hands-down the best option.
One of the biggest differences between Squarespace and WordPress is the amount of flexibility that each provides. By “flexibility” I’m referring to two things:
1. Customization ability
2. Features & functionality
Ok, ok.. that’s technically three things… but I’m going to lump “features and functionality” into one and I’ll explain why in a minute.
Ultimately, the level of flexibility available will determine WHAT you can create.
If your site needs a lot of advanced features and you want loads of room for customization, flexibility should be at the very top of your website priorities list.
If your needs are more basic, then flexibility may not be as important to you.
In this category we have another very clear winner – WordPress.
Let’s talk about why…
Ability to Customize
This won’t go over well, but I’m just going to say it anyway…
The customization capabilities of WordPress are FAR better than that of Squarespace.
*gasps heard ‘round the world, pitchforks sharpened*
HOLD ON! Hoooold on, Squarespacers! Give me one second to explain before you show up at my door…
I’m not saying Squarespace isn’t customizable… not at all. I am simply saying that WordPress is more customizable. Like… a lot more…
WordPress allows you to adjust nearly every facet of your website. You can change margins, paddings, hover effects, animations, overlays… practically anything you can ever imagine, you can do with WordPress.
The interface of Squarespace offers much less customizability in order to maintain a high level of user friendliness and avoid design overwhelm because it is geared more towards beginner, novice, or DIY users.
Features and Functionality
I don’t think anybody will argue with me here when I say that WordPress absolutely dominates when it comes to features and functionalities. The reason for this comes down to one word: plugins.
What is a plugin, you ask?
A plugin is essentially an add-on that gives your website the ability to do something extra. An added feature or functionality, if you will.
Want your website to automatically perform a backup once a week? There’s a plugin for that.
Want your images to be automatically resized when you upload them? There’s a plugin for that.
Want your blog posts to give you tips on optimizing your search engine ranking? There’s a plugin for that.
Want your viewers to be able to play PacMan when they come to your website? There’s a plugin for that. Seriously, there is.
If you can dream it up, there’s probably a plugin for it. The plugin library on WordPress offers thousands of plugins (both free and paid) that one can use to customize a website. The options are nearly endless.
Squarespace on the other hand, does not offer a plugin library to add any features or functionalities to your website. A quick Google search revealed that there are third-party plugins available for purchase, but I personally don’t have experience with those so I won’t try to comment on them.
(If you do have experience with Squarespace plugins, I’d love to hear about it. Drop a message in the comments below and let me know your thoughts!)
Overall, the customizability power and the availability of plugins for use with WordPress adds a whole extra level of flexibility to websites that Squarespace does not have.
The ability to expand the features and functionalities of your website also lends itself to a greater opportunity for growth in the future.
If you’re in need of #alltheoptions and really want to let your creativity flow, WordPress is the obvious choice.
I think the first instinct when choosing a website platform is “which one’s cheaper?”
While I’m alllll about making sound financial decisions (ya girls gotta eat!), I really do encourage you not to put too much weight on price when choosing between WordPress and Squarespace.
Because truthfully choosing the wrong platform just because it was cheaper, will cost you a lot more down the road.
But, nevertheless, money is a real thing, so I’ve outlined a pricing comparison for each below.
For all WordPress websites you need three things: Domain, hosting, and a theme.
Some might argue that you can get a free theme for WordPress (and they’d be right), but I use a paid theme for alllll of my website builds and I recommend it to everyone.
The Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is a drag-and-drop builder that you can use with WordPress, that offers loads of customizability and flexibility. Plus it’s really intuitive once ya get your feet wet. If you’re looking to buy the Divi Theme today, you can check it out here.
Additionally [I interrupt your regularly scheduled program for a shameless plug], if you work with me to create your website, you’ll get the Divi theme (a $247 value) for completely free 🤑.
A pretty sweet deal, if I do say so myself.
Okay, now back to business…
WordPress Price breakdown:
(based on annual purchase)
|Starter Plan: $3.99/month,
Intermediate Plan: $6.69/month,
Premium Plan: $10.69/month,
*first year pricing. Prices increase after Year 1
|Theme||$247 one-time fee for lifetime membership,
Divi Theme from Elegant Themes
*free when you work with me
For all Squarespace websites you need two things: Domain and Squarespace subscription.
Squarespace offers domains for free for the first year if you purchase an annual subscription. After your first year, the price will increase to $20 annually.
As an alternative, you have the option to purchase your domain through a third-party and then link it to Squarespace for free. Of course, some restrictions apply, but in most cases you can link your third-party domain to Squarespace without any issues.
Squarespace Price breakdown:
|Domain||Free for first year from Squarespace, with annual purchase.
Year 2 and beyond: $20/year
Third-party Domain: $12/year,
(based on annual purchase)
|Personal Plan: $14/month,
Business Plan: $23/month,
Basic Online Store: $27/month,
Advanced Online Store: $49/month,
For more details about each of these options, click any of the links in the tables above.
Are ya working with a tight budget and looking to build a website on your own, but would love to NOT rip your hair out in the process? Well, my friend, bump this category to the very top of your website priority list and look no further because this one is a complete no brainer!
The MVP award for DIY-ability goes to… Squarespace!
Seriously, I need you to realllly hear what I’m about to say because I cannot emphasize this enough:
If you’re looking to DIY your own website (and have not created a website in the past) DO NOT… I repeat, DO NOT use WordPress.
Don’t do it.
The learning curve for WordPress is steep AF, and unless you’re a secret website building prodigy, you will likely end up getting sucked into a massive blackhole of overwhelm, and plugins, and aggressive computer destruction.
WordPress takes time, and practice, and more patience than an entire convent of nuns.
WordPress is not your DIY friend.
Squarespace, on the other hand, was MADE for DIYers and people who want a website they can manage without a whole lot of tech skills.
Squarespace uses a drag-and-drop builder with a very simple, intuitive user interface, and also has over 60 templates you can choose from to get yourself started in the right direction.
If DIY is your thing, Squarespace is your answer.
At some point or another, something on your website might break. *cue the nervous sweats*
And when that happens, you’re going to be looking for someone with the know-how to help you solve the problem.
The way you will find help will be very different between WordPress and Squarespace.
Because WordPress is a self-hosted, open-source website platform (i.e. YOU setup your own hosting and YOU maintain it), WordPress doesn’t actually even have a Customer Support department.
Bummer… I know.
Instead, they offer a support forum where WordPress users may seek or offer support to one another. It’s basically like a big WordPress community where everyone posts their questions and helps each other out.
Some additional support options that I’ve found great success with are good old fashion Google, YouTube, and relevant Facebook Groups.
In most cases, any issue you come across has been experienced by someone else… it’s just a matter of putting in a little extra effort to find the solution. If all else fails, you can also reach out to your hosting provider’s customer support department. I’ve done this with my host (Siteground) and they were fantastic. 🙌
Squarespace on the other hand, is a closed platform, which means they do it all in one place… Including customer support.
Can I get a “hallelujah!!” 🙌
To start, I recommend checking out their support page that offers both Squarespace guides and videos on everything Squarespace.
If all else fails, Squarespace has 24/7 Email support, or Live Chat available Monday-Friday, 4am-8pm Eastern Time.
In my experience, their email support is pretty slow and somewhat less-than-helpful, so I personally prefer the Live Chat option.
While it may sound like I’ve had extensive experience with both WordPress and Squarespace support options, to be honest I mostly resort to hunting Google when I need help.
I’m very much a “need answers now” kinda gal, so if I can google it and get a solution, that’s always the route I’ll take… and 9 times out of 10 I’ve been able to find what I need.
But, on the off chance that the people of the interwebs fail me, I do prefer having a real live person to troubleshoot with. So, for that reason, I have to give the win in the Customer Support category to the platform that actually HAS a customer support department – Squarespace.
Website maintenance is an important part of website ownership for a variety of reasons, but the main one is security.
Websites need to be kept up-to-date in order to maintain a high level of security. An outdated website is a website at risk of breaking or hacking.
As I mentioned before, WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which means that YOU, the website owner, are responsible for all of your own maintenance, backups, and security.
Earlier, I talked about all the great aspects of plugins (those neat add-on features for your website), but, in the words of Uncle Ben… With great plugins, comes great responsibility.
That’s what he said, right?
Plugin updates are released on the reg’, as well as theme updates and WordPress core updates.
And as the owner of your WordPress website, you’ll be responsible for logging in and performing site updates on a regular basis.
The updates are quite literally a simple click of a button (seriously, my dog could do it). It’s just a matter of staying on top of it, and being prepared to troubleshoot (or hiring someone else to) if an update ever causes your site to break.
On the other end of the maintenance spectrum is Squarespace. I really don’t even have anything to talk about when it comes to maintaining a Squarespace website because Squarespace is 100% maintenance-free.
All site updates, security, and backups are performed by the great people of Squarespace themselves, so you aren’t responsible for any of that 🙌.
Anything that saves me time and takes one more thing off my plate is a win for me, so in the world of Website Maintenance, Squarespace is the obvious winner.
Something that a lot of people overlook is mobile customization.
Gone are the days when people are sitting at their desktop computers, surfing the internet…
Today we just pull our mini computers out of our pockets and have the whole world at our fingertips.
More likely than not, your people will be viewing from their phones, unlike YOU right now – you computer-using unicorn, you 🦄
Being able to tailor your website for mobile devices is KEY to providing your viewers with the best possible experience.
Plus, websites aren’t a one-size-fits-all.
Let’s use my former website as an example, back before I rebranded from ‘Heart and Hustle’ to ‘Corine Pettit’
If you were to view it on a desktop and then again on a phone, you might notice some subtle differences.
One example shown in the image below is the use of a flat section divider on desktop (gray to white), and an angled section divider on mobile (gray to green to white).
This minor difference in design is simply because what works on a desktop screen, might not look right on a phone, and vice versa.
With WordPress, you are able to customize your mobile design as much as you want.
Hell, you could even create one website for mobile and an entirely different website for desktop.
I wouldn’t recommend that because that’s a boatload of work, but for the overly ambitious, the option is there. Go wild!
On the other hand, Squarespace allows for very little (practically zero) customization to your mobile design.
Now before my loyal Squarespacers send flaming bags of dog poo soaring towards my front door, let me reiterate that I am talking about mobile customization, NOT mobile responsiveness.
Responsiveness is how well your website adjusts the layout, format, and other stylings when it’s displayed on a different sized devices.
BOTH WordPress and Squarespace have mobile responsive capabilities… (which is great!) But that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about customization. The ability to create specific adjustments between desktop, tablet, and mobile… The ability to have complete control.
In this case, there is only one winner – WordPress.
With WordPress you can dictate your exact design, whereas Squarespace decides your mobile design for you based on how you design your desktop site.
And in a world where 90% of your viewers will be viewing from their phones, not having complete control over your design is a bit of a bummer.
If absolutely nailing and having complete control over your mobile design is important to you, then WordPress is the clear choice.
The final verdict
If you’re still reading, I’m impressed! You go Glen Coco!
Let’s summarize real quick for all my skimmers out there… heyyyy! 👋
WordPress vs. Squarespace Comparison Chart
Which platform is best for each of the following categories:
|Amount of maintenance required||x
And please, I’M BEGGING YOU, don’t just look at this comparison chart and think “Oh Squarespace won more categories so I should choose that.”
NOOOOO!! *slaps forehead*
Remember what I told you! Choose. What’s. Best. For. YOU.
WordPress is best for you if…
You need #alltheflexibility. Customization is important to you, and you have some fancy pants features and functionalities in mind for your future internet baby. The sky is the limit and you don’t want anything getting in your way. You’re looking to hire someone to build your site (because you listened to my firm, tough love above), but the idea of performing some simple site updates on your own doesn’t scare you because technology & you have a pretty comfortable relationship.
Squarespace is best for you if…
Tech skills are not your forte. You want a website that’s simple and easy to use, and doesn’t require you to go in and perform maintenance on your own. You’re okay with some limitations in terms of features or design because simplicity is your jam and in the end you don’t need anything super fancy or high-tech. You like the idea of DIY, but you’d also be down to hire someone as long as you can manage and make simple changes with ease in the future.
Alright, now take a deep breath innnnn, and a deep breath out…
I know that was a lot to digest, but you can always come back and refer to this as often as you need.
You’ve got this!
The fact that you here, right now, at the end of this post, tells me that you mean business.
Just remember – DO. WHAT. WORKS. FOR. YOU. (and you only)
Forget what everyone else says, because what works best for Aunt Susan’s cupcake shop isn’t what’s best for you.
Focus on YOUR top 3-4 criteria for a website, and make your decision based solely on that.
I promise you it’s THAT easy.
But wait, there’s more!
Once you’ve decided between Squarespace or WordPress, the REAL work begins. Now you have to actually BUILD the dang thing!
I know that not everyone wants to or can afford to hire a website designer, but I don’t think that means those people should be left high and dry.
That’s why I’ve created my super simple list of the 7 absolute MUSTS for all websites, so you can DIY with confidence!
Download the free checklist below and be on your way to website badassery in no time!