In this article, we’re going to look at Squarespace vs WordPress and take an in-depth look at two of the most popular publishing platforms on the web. In reality, either one would make a great choice, but the one question we want to answer is, which one is the absolute best choice for you and your needs.
This comparison of Squarespace vs WordPress is not meant to be a review site, but more of a comparison site that outlines the features of each service. All we do is give you the full details so you can make an informed and educated decision.
For the sake of comparing apples to apples, we’re going to compare the Hostgator Hatchling with the Squarespace Standard plan. These packages are very similar to each other in both cost and features, and will therefore provide a fair comparison for the remainder of this guide.
In this section, we’re going to compare the different costs associated with each platform. Cost is kind of a big factor, because a website can be kind of a long term investment. Sure, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg every month, but each of us will have a budget, and that will inevitably influence our final decision.
Both Squarespace and WordPress hosting services have several billing options. The more you pay in advance, the lower the monthly price. The prices below are based on the monthly billing cycle and also reflect the cost AFTER available coupons have been applied.
Hosting - Monthly Pricing
Hosting - Yearly Pricing
This is the 1 year billing cycle for both platforms with coupon discounts applied. The price for Squarespace includes a free domain for the first year. The Hostgator price doesn’t include a domain which costs an additional $12.95.
Hosting - 2 Year Pricing
This is the 2 year billing cycle for both platforms with coupon discounts applied. The price for Squarespace includes a free domain for the first year. The Hostgator price doesn’t include a domain which costs an additional $12.95.
Domain Name Registration
As mentioned above, Squarespace offers FREE domain name registration for the first year with the 1 Year and 2 Year packages. Hostgator charges $12.95 for domain name registration for the first year and each subsequent year.
Squarespace comes with 20 free themes that can be easily customized through their point-and-click interface. There are free WordPress, but you’ll more than likely end up buying a premium theme, and you might even have to pay someone to customize it.
*Note that Hostgator coupons are only good for the FIRST billing cycle. As such, it’s best to use the “1CENT” coupon for the month-to-month plan, and the “25PERCENT” coupon for the 6-month, 1-year or 2-year plans. Squarespace coupons are effective for every consecutive billing cycle, including but not limited to, the month-by-month billing cycle.
This section focuses on comparing the features that each platform has to offer. While it may appear that WordPress comes out ahead in this section, Squarespace still offers everything you need if you’re creating a single website. The extravagant feature list offered by Hostgator probably be unnecessary for most. So don’t get caught up in the “more is better” mentality, unless you actually really need it.
Number Of Domains
This is the number of domains you can register under one hosting account. Both Hostgator and Squarespace offer "Unlimited" domains with their other plans, but it's best to start with the "Single Domain" plan and then upgrade later if you need to.
Number Of Pages/Galleries/Blogs
Hostgator allows you to create unlimited pages, galleries and blogs., whereas, Squarespace limits you to 20 total. Blog posts aren't counted as pages, so usually this isn't a problem for the average user.
Disk space is the amount of space you are allotted on the server's hard drive for storing text files, image files, audio files and video files. Most hosting companies don't have restrictions on disk space, but Squarespace does.
Bandwidth is a measure of the data uploaded to and downloaded from your server.
Databases are used to store information and settings for your website. Most of the time, you only need one database for each domain on your account. Hostgator allows unlimited databases. Squarespace only allows one, but that's all you really need.
Squarespace doesn't offer email hosting with their accounts, but you can get up to 5 free accounts with Zoho Mail Lite. Hostgator provides unlimited email accounts for free.
Technical & Design
When installing and managing a website, there can be many technical requirements; and for some that can be an intimidating factor. And let’s say you can get through all the technical parts, but you’re then faced with having to customize a template or theme. This is where we examine which platform is more user friendly for the average user to build and design their website.
|Squarespace||Technical & Design||WordPress|
This is where we examine whether or not you have to manually edit the HTML or CSS code in files, or you can do it through a point-and-click interface. Squarespace is entirely point-and-click and drag-and-drop. Some WordPress themes offer a bit of point-and-click, but nothing extensive.
Do you need to install and use a FTP client to upload files to your website? Or can you do it through an interface? Both platforms provide an interface where you can upload files to your website.
Does the platform require you to install any kind of software. For example, WordPress requires the installation of the platform, a theme, and plugins. Squarespace doesn't have any software that needs to be installed and just works, "out of the box".
WordPress requires that you manage updates for the platform, themes and plugins. Usually it's a point-and-click process, but sometimes problems can arise. Squarespace doesn't require any maintenance via software updates.
Does the platform offer image editing tools within the interface, or do you have to use a third-party software to edit prior to import? WordPress offers basic image editing features, but Squarespace has more powerful options such as, color correction, effects and enhancements.
A responsive design is one that adjusts to the width of any browser the website is viewed in. So no matter if you're looking at the site on an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Kindle, PC or Mac, it will always look good and retain it's functionality.
When building a website, one of the biggest concerns for user experience is the amount of time it takes a page to load. This is because it’s been proven that anything over 5 seconds, and the visitor is highly likely to go elsewhere.
So page load times are an extremely important thing to consider when selecting a platform. And that’s why I like to test this metric with one of the most trusted and detailed resources online- WebPageTest.org.
Page Load - First View
This is the amount of time that it takes for a server to fully load a page the first time it is visited by a user. This time is usually slower due to the fact that no data has been cached by the visitor's browser.
Page Load - Repeat View
This is the amount of time that it takes a server to load a page the second time it is being viewed. This time should be much faster than the "First View" as content should be cached in the users browser.
This is the amount of time that it takes for the server to start building a web page and respond with the first byte of information. This gives a good indication of the speed of the server and its ability to render a web page quickly.
The idea behind "cloud computing" is that your server is run on several different machines at the same time. Therefore, if one system goes down, or it's resources are tied up, another system's resources can be allocated to the task in order to compensate and allow for uninterrupted service.
Support is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when choosing a platform. Inevitably, at some point in the process, you’re going to have to reach out to someone for support. Will it be available when you need it? Will it be professional and help you resolve your issue quickly? Will it be the type of support you need? These are all questions that need to be answered, and we’ll attempt to do so below.
Email support is usually managed by a third-party software solution and allows "tickets" to be submitted by the customer and tracked by a system. Usually a new ticket is opened for each technical issue. The customer and tech support rep communicate via email until the issue is resolved.
Chat support offers live technical support help via an "instant messaging" type system. The customer and tech support rep communicate through messages typed into the system and attempt to resolve the issue in real time. Sometimes if a solution cannot be found immediately, a support ticket will be opened.
Phone support provides the customer with a telephone number that can be used to contact a tech support representative directly. Often this is perceived to be the best type of support because it's easier to communicate the issue by talking to someone instead of writing.
Are you able to submit a support request and receive a response 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? This level of support is a necessity, since an issue with your site could arise at any time of the day, on any given day of the week.
Conclusion For Squarespace vs WordPress
As you can see, Squarespace provides clear benefits to the novice website builder who might need a drag-and-drop editor when going through the initial design stage of their website. It also offers ongoing support, should one need it, for any questions or issues that may arise with the platform. And last, but not least, performance with Squarespace is higher than you’d get with any shared hosting plan.
WordPress is full-featured platform that’s a little more suited to those with some experience. It suites those who feel comfortable digging in code and would rather customize their design via CSS files rather than through an interface. While technical issues with the server are well supported, you would want to feel confident troubleshooting any problems with themes, or plugins that arise.
So that’s all I’ve got. Now I want to know…
Which service would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below.