Having a place to call home online is pretty nice. Whether you want to run a personal blog that updates friends and family on what you’ve been up to, or you’re eager to advertise your business across the world or showcase your creative talents, a website is a great way to do all this. In the past, you’d need to know a little about website design and coding, but nowadays, solutions like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress mean that you can enjoy design flexibility without necessarily knowing more than what looks good. Thanks to the growth in drag and drop website builders, it makes it easy to create attractive designs in no time.
If you’ve been thinking about setting up your own website for business or pleasure, you might be wondering what’s best between three of the biggest builders: Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. We get it. With so much choice, it can be intimidating to know where is best for blogging, what site offers the best templates, and where your hosting needs can be best met.
All three services have a lot in common and it’s safe to say they’re all some of the best website builders out there. Each is super easy to use when you want to set up a pleasant-looking but personalised website. With no shortage of site builder options, there’s a template for every occasion. All three offer a free domain for a year if you commit to one of their premium plans, and they all offer relatively cheap hosting plan options too. That means they’re low-risk if you simply want to dip your toe into establishing a presence online. They all offer some level of social media integration along with search engine optimisation tools, too.
On the surface, these three top builders can look pretty much the same, but when you look deeper, you’ll see each have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on what you need them for. Confused? Don’t be. We’ve conducted all the research for you, so you’ll know exactly what’s best for you and your plans online.
Below, we’ve chosen a winner for each of the most important product features and considerations in the battle of Squarespace versus Wix versus WordPress.
WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
For this comparison, we’re looking at WordPress.com rather than WordPress.org. The .org version is aimed at advanced users who wish to buy their own web hosting and get more hands-on. When it comes to the best website builders for small businesses, this might be a better option, but for the majority of users, WordPress.com will be sufficient. That’s because WordPress.com is more like Wix and Squarespace, allowing novices to quickly set up a website within a few minutes. It’s a far more realistic comparison to make than using WordPress.org.
Where Wix wins: AI design options and a great free option
When it comes to ease of use, It’s hard to beat Wix. We’ve already compared Squarespace vs. Wix, and Wix wins when it comes to a fantastic user experience. It has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, which means most everyone can learn what’s needed to create a beautiful portfolio or business site. All you need to do is click on a site element such as a picture or text box, then drop it where you want it. Options like font and colour choices pop up logically so you can easily adjust the design to your liking.
Where Wix gets smarter still is when it comes to its Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). All you need to do here is answer a few simple questions about what you’d like your site to look like, and Wix does the rest — creating a great-looking site within moments, complete with custom text and images. If you’re short on time, this is an exceptional feature that genuinely looks pretty good.
If you do want to delve into the world of Wix templates, there’s no shortage of options here. Each template is divided up into different categories based on the type of site you want to create, meaning there’s something for every purpose. From here, you can easily drag and drop elements how you want them to look. A Site History function means you can quickly restore your site to an earlier version if you’re unsure or make a mistake.
Regardless of your plans, you want people to see your site, right? That’s why you’ll be happy with Wix’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tools, with Wix providing a superior experience than either Squarespace or WordPress. The tools are laid out more straightforwardly, with extra functionality also available through its App Market.
Impressively, many of Wix’s features are available for free. Unlike Squarespace, Wix offers a free plan. Sure, the paid plans are a better choice (with more features bundled in) but the free option is an excellent way of testing the water and checking that you get on with Wix’s layout and plans. When you do want to commit, Wix offers multiple tiers of options for both standard websites and those with ecommerce features. Standard plans range from £10 to £28 per month, while business and ecommerce plans are priced from £16 to £35 per month.
Want some support along the way? Wix doesn’t offer chat but it does have an extensive FAQ section along with callback phone support so you’re well taken care of here.
Where Wix falls short: Mobile responsiveness and sometimes awkward editing
Wix is fantastic if you don’t know much about coding. However, if you’d like to tweak the CSS or HTML behind the design, you’ll be disappointed. Wix wants to keep you protected from anything too complicated, which is good or bad news depending on your expertise levels. On the plus side, its interface should offer enough for you to manipulate everything you can think of, but you may find yourself frustrated if you’re used to more traditional web design methods.
Wix templates also don’t always look great on smartphones and tablets. A little tweaking is often necessary to get them just so, which isn’t quite as out-of-the-box friendly as other parts of Wix.
Finally, Wix’s ecommerce features aren’t really geared towards larger businesses. Is that an issue? Only you can decide there, but it’s certainly something to bear in mind. This is a service designed best for smaller shops.
Where Squarespace wins: Design flexibility, mobile-friendliness, and the best ecommerce tools
Squarespace has fewer template choices than Wix (although still well into the hundreds) but they’re arguably far more gorgeous. When it comes to the best Squarespace templates, you won’t run out of options here with Squarespace templates for blogs and Squarespace templates for video extensively provided. Perhaps best of all, every Squarespace template looks great on mobile platforms as well as on desktops, so you won’t have to worry about making any adjustments. Switching between templates is far more convenient than with Wix too, so it’s a good option if you can’t quite decide on your site’s look or you’re eager to change things up regularly.
The Squarespace site builder is a little clunkier than Wix’s, but when it comes to Squarespace versus WordPress, it wins easily. Each Squarespace template is geared perfectly towards creative fields so if you’re looking to showcase your art portfolio, your cooking skills, or craft items you’re selling, it’s got you covered.
Squarespace’s ecommerce tools further enhance that. They’re more expensive than Wix’s but far more powerful and better suited for growing businesses. Best of all, if you subscribe to a higher-priced ecommerce plan, you can edit the HTML and CSS yourself, which is great if you know what you’re doing. Again though, don’t count on it for high-end business needs.
We also appreciate Squarespace’s blogging tools. Understandably, when looking at Squarespace vs WordPress, they can’t compete, but they easily defeat Wix’s options. While Wix has competent blogging features, Squarespace allows for more advanced features such as post scheduling, making it a better choice for someone looking to set up a good-looking blog.
Support-wise, Squarespace offers excellent chat support, along with plenty of FAQs and email assistance too. There’s no phone customer support but its chat feature more than makes up for this.
Where Squarespace falls short: No free plan, very photo-centric
We’ve established Squarespace looks gorgeous thanks to its plethora of templates, but that comes at a price. Many of the templates are centred around high-quality stock photography, requiring you to swap them out with your own imagery to give your site a more personal touch. It kind of seems like Squarespace assumes everyone is a professional photographer with a hard drive full of hi-res images. Swap them out for something inferior and it really shows. It’s crucial to use visually appealing and high-resolution images here that may not suit all websites. Of course, if yours is a photography portfolio, you’re onto a winner here.
Squarespace also isn’t quite as simple to use as Wix. It’s not hard, and we’d argue it’s easier to use than WordPress when it comes to manipulating templates, but you can’t beat Wix’s drag and drop nature. Squarespace is a little pickier here, and it shows. There’s no automatic site builder like Wix’s AI so you’ll need to do everything yourself, although it’s still reasonably straightforward.
When it comes to SEO, Squarespace is the middling option here. It’s not as straightforward as Wix but we prefer it to WordPress’s way of doing things. It’s also far superior to either when it comes to ecommerce which makes up for slightly finicky SEO tools.
Unlike WordPress and Wix, Squarespace offers no free plan. You’ll need to commit to between £9 and £29 per month. If you need a free option when starting out, your options are very much Wix vs. WordPress.
Where WordPress wins: Blogging functionality, free versions, and room for growth
Signing up for WordPress.com feels more like signing up for a social networking site than anything more complex. It takes moments to sign up and create a basic site, although you’ll want to spend a bit more time ensuring your site looks good. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of WordPress themes out there with the well-established service suitably well-stocked with themes and plugins to enhance your site. It’s entirely free to start at WordPress.com, but it’s a smart move to pay, as you’ll gain a free domain name as well as additional features such as access to ecommerce plugins.
When it comes to blogging via WordPress.com, it’s basically unsurpassed. If you can use a word processor app like Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress to put your thoughts down online. It’s that easy, and WordPress even makes it simple to export your content to another provider if you need to.
If you require a more visual feast for the eyes, something like Squarespace is a better option (as we mentioned in a Squarespace vs. WordPress comparison), and if you want a more drag and drop design experience, Wix will suit your needs better. However, it’s hard not to be impressed by WordPress’s room for growth. There are numerous plans to choose from, with a personal plan starting at just £3. If you want a business account, expect to pay £18 per month, with ecommerce starting at £32 per month. All paid plans include a free domain name.
Where WordPress falls short: Style and support
WordPress is a well-established website builder and that comes with some caveats. Namely, it feels a little dated at times, especially when using its backend to add new content. While both Squarespace and Wix look fresh and vibrant, WordPress occasionally feels like an older part of the internet.
That trend continues with the choice of templates. They’re vast in number, but an experienced user can often spot a WordPress theme even if you spend a lot of time tweaking and editing. Both Wix and Squarespace look that little more modern and in keeping with the aesthetics we’re used to online nowadays. Tweaking your template also requires a certain amount of technical knowledge, so if you’re far from tech-savvy, you’ll do better to stick to Wix or Squarespace instead.
WordPress support is also lacking. There are extensive FAQs out there, both directly available through WordPress and elsewhere online, and even some video tutorials to follow. However, if you want to talk to a human, you’ll need to either ask a question on the WordPress forums or pay to schedule a support session with an expert who will help via screen share. It makes sense given WordPress’s nature, but it’s another reminder that setting up your website takes a bit more effort here than with either Wix or Squarespace, and it won’t suit everyone.
The final word on Wix vs. Squarespace vs. WordPress
All three services offer their own pros and cons. Regardless of what you pick, you can create a professional-looking website reasonably easily with any of them, although some may take more time than others. It’s the additional features that most make these three options stand out in different ways.
We love how intuitive Wix’s drag-and-drop interface is. Squarespace is nearly as good, but with Wix you can make changes in seconds. WordPress is also simple to change templates but to get the most out of it, you’ll need to know how to get your hands dirty with the coding side of things.
Ultimately, that’s where WordPress’s strength lies most. If you know any HTML or CSS coding, your hands may feel tied with Wix and Squarespace (although the latter does allow some manipulation on specific packages), but with WordPress, you can get truly hands-on if you want. When it comes to ecommerce, none of these services are ideal for a large business, but we prefer Squarespace for a smaller company with Wix coming in second place.
Looking for a free option? Rule out Squarespace and consider either Wix or WordPress. Both have free plans with some limitations, but you’re able to get started and see if they work well for you without paying a penny.
When it comes down to it, your decision depends on how you plan on using your site. For a visually appealing site, Squarespace is ideal. Showcase your artwork or photography here and every image will pop and look extra gorgeous. Alternatively, if you’re a blogger, WordPress should suffice, although you may prefer mixing the two and going with Squarespace’s more than satisfactory blogging capabilities. For the simplest of drag and drop interfaces and the choice to use AI to create a site, go with Wix. It’s effortless and delightful to use, even if it’s a bit of a jack of all trades.
Check out Wix
Check out Squarespace
Check out WordPress
— to mashable.com