Squarespace vs. Wix – Close Match but There Can Be Only One Winner
If you’re in the market for a highly customizable website builder with lots of features you have two very solid choices at your disposal – Wix and Squarespace. Although there are other good builders out there, very few are as easy to use and intuitive as these two. That makes either of them a good choice for users who want to build a new professional-looking website with little effort. But which one is the overall best?
In this comparison, we take a close look at what Squarespace and Wix have to offer in order to answer that very question. Right off the bat, it’s pretty clear that Squarespace puts more emphasis on looks and follows the tried-and-true quality over quantity mentality. Meanwhile, Wix’s primary focus seems to be on functionality as the company offers more tools and customization options to work with.
Drawing a direct comparison between these two companies is pretty easy given how similar they are. However, keep in mind that it will ultimately be up to you to decide which of these builders is better suited to your needs because they were designed to target slightly different audiences. But if you’re curious about our personal favorite, make sure to check out our full Squarespace vs Wix breakdown and comparison down below.
Navigation and Ease of Use
One of the primary reasons for choosing Squarespace or Wix instead of more complex site builders like WordPress, for example, is because these two platforms are a lot easier to use. Each company offers a very effective drag-and-drop editor that greatly simplifies the process of building a website. Just as its name indicates, this type of editor allows you to drag elements like images or text boxes and drop them anywhere you want on your site’s pages. Well, for the most part.
Squarespace Ease of Use
Squarespace’s editor is section-based, which means that you won’t be able to reposition elements quite as freely as you might expect. Every page is split into multiple sections, each of which can contain things like image grids, buttons, text blocks, maps, bits of code, and various other elements. There’s a large variety of elements to choose from, however, they are all sorted by category so you shouldn’t have issues finding the one you need. In addition, there’s also a search bar that you can use to simplify the process even further.
Although Squarespace’s editor is very impressive from a technical standpoint, it can be just a bit overwhelming for new users. The editor feels like a puzzle at times and you’ll need to experiment with many of the pieces in order to see what they do and where they fit. Depending on how much patience you have, this learning process can be either very fun or very frustrating. Luckily, Squarespace offers beautifully designed templates for pretty much any type of website you can imagine so there’s really no need to build a new one from the ground up. Unless, of course, you’re very specific about how your site should look.
To make things a bit easier for new users, Squarespace implemented an artificial intelligence system that does some of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is type in the goal or niche of the website you want to create and the AI will display a selection of recommended templates based on your keywords. You can then select your favorite template and start editing it if needed. Calling this system an AI is a bit of an exaggeration since it simply selects from pre-defined templates rather than building a new one from scratch. However, the system does work as intended and makes the first steps of site building very easy so the name itself isn’t that important at the end of the day.
Wix Ease of Use
Wix’s drag-and-drop editor is entirely free-form. There are no sections or blocks to worry about here, which is great news if you’re looking for a builder that allows you to drag elementals literally anywhere you want on a page. Wix offers even more elements to choose from than Squarespace and, once again, they are all sorted by category to help users find what they need faster. The interface isn’t exactly minimalistic so you’ll need to sift through some of the clutter as you learn your way around the editor. However, upon opening the editor you will be greeted by a video tutorial that explains the basics of working with Wix.
Although the sheer amount of elements and customization options offered by Wix are truly impressive, they can definitely feel a bit overwhelming for new users. Some elements are a lot more fleshed-out than others, which can be a bit disappointing at times. On the bright side, Wix is great at handling complex websites thanks to its built-in ‘Dev Mode’ that gives you full control over the look and functionality of your website. Wix also allows you to build websites without having to use any of its pre-defined templates. I wouldn’t really recommend taking that route if you’re a new user but experienced website designers will definitely find this feature very useful.
Similar to Squarespace, Wix has its own artificial design intelligence (ADI) that can do most of the hard work for you. If you choose to use the ADI, you’ll first be required to answer a couple of questions about the site you want to create. The system then recommends certain features (that you can choose to add or ignore) that would work well with your site along with themes, fonts, and homepage designs. After selecting all the options you like, ADI will create a personalized site based on your specifications. Unlike Squarespace, Wix’s system doesn’t simply choose from pre-existing templates, though the resulting site will be pretty basic. It’s up to you to take it from there and edit it to your liking.
Ease of Use – Even though both platforms are very easy to use, Wix’s editor features a lot more options and its free-form drag-and-drop editor gives you a higher degree of control over your website. Squarespace takes a bit longer to get used to and its section-based editor is more limiting, though still a very good option once you get the hang of it.
Scalability is just as important for veteran webmasters as it is for newcomers because no one wants to pay more than they have to for a site builder. If you’re just now thinking about building your first website it’s usually a good idea to start with a cheap plan and then upgrade later once you need more features or resources. If you’re transferring an already established site, on the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt to go directly for a pricier plan so you won’t miss out on anything. If you value scalability you shouldn’t have any issues choosing between Squarespace and Wix because one of these companies is quite a bit more flexible than the other.
Squarespace only has four plans to choose from, the first of which is quite expensive all things considered. The price difference between the various tiers is fairly significant as well so you’ll need to think carefully about when you want to upgrade to the next level. On the bright side, you get unlimited resources with any of the four plans so there’s no need to scale up unless you want to access some of the more advanced features.
In the case of Wix, there are seven paid plans to choose from along with an additional free tier. As you might expect, the free tier comes with a lot of limitations (including non-removable ads) so it’s hard to recommend for anything more than simple blogs or other small personal projects. As far as the paid plans are concerned, the first one is quite cheap but features ads as well, which is why I recommend going straight for the second tier because it’s only a few bucks more expensive. From there, things start to get pricier pretty fast, especially if you’re looking to upgrade to one of the Business & eCommerce plans.
Unlike Squarespace, Wix doesn’t offer unlimited storage with its plans so you are essentially forced to upgrade in order to unlock more resources. That’s definitely not ideal if you ask me but at least most of the plans do include unmetered bandwidth. So if you plan on building something that takes up a lot of storage space and you don’t like Squarespace then you might want to look into some of the Wix alternatives.
Scalability – Both companies have their pros and cons but we think Wix scales just a little bit better. In spite of the drawbacks, having a free tier and a very cheap paid tier is extremely helpful for users who are on a budget. Once you do need to scale up, you can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of options available in the higher tiers.
We already mentioned in the previous section that Wix is the cheaper option for beginners but now let’s take a look at the actual prices and some of the things you get in exchange for your money. After all, cheaper isn’t always better.
Assuming you’re not particularly interested in the free tier, which is understandable, the cheapest package you can buy from Wix will cost you $4.50 per month. If you’re not a big fan of ads, however, you’ll want to go for the $8.50/mo plan or even the $12.50/mo plan if you want to unlock unlimited bandwidth along with a few other perks. From there, you’ll probably want to start looking into the Business & eCommerce plans. These packages are priced between $17 and $35 per month so not exactly cheap, though they’re actually a bit more affordable compared to what Squarespace offers.
Speaking of Squarespace, the company’s entry point is somewhat more expensive at $12 per month, though you don’t need to worry about ads or limited resources here. However, the basic plan only supports two contributors and you’ll need to go at least for the $18/mo tier in order to get rid of that limitation. Just like Wix, Squarespace has its own eCommerce plans, which in this case are priced at $26 and $40 per month, respectively. That’s, again, more expensive compared to Wix’s offerings but you do get good value in return.
Basic Features Included with Wix Plans
Wix is an all-in-one site builder so you won’t have to worry about things like hosting and the ability to connect a custom domain because they are both included with all paid plans. A few other things you can expect regardless of which package you choose are an SSL certificate, Google Analytics integration, and a customizable favicon for your website. The first two plans don’t really include any other interesting features but things start to get better and better once you reach the third package.
Starting with the $12.50/mo plan, you can get expect unlimited bandwidth and access to a couple of very useful apps – Site Booster and Visitor Analytics. Meanwhile, things like professional logos and the ability to accept online payments will become available only once you reach the Business & eCommerce plans. Unsurprisingly, the final tier comes with the most amount of features, including priority response, VIP support, a lot more storage, and the ability to upload an unlimited amount of videos. But in all honesty, if you plan on building an eCommerce site you might want to look into Shopify, we have compared the two here.
It may seem like Wix charges a bit too much for some of its features but there’s a very good reason for that. The company has a free tier that you can use for an unlimited amount of time and offers over 500 templates, all of which are completely free. Now, I’m not a big fan of companies that charge a premium for important features but in this case, I think it’s necessary given Wix’s current business model. And as we stated in our Wix vs. Weebly comparison, going for the more expensive plans is not necessary if you’re just starting out.
Basic Features Included with Squarespace Plans
If you decide to go for one of the eCommerce plans you can expect access to a wide variety of tools that will help you manage your online store. A few of the highlights include customer accounts, abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, the option to sell subscriptions to your customers, and more. Although most of the best features are reserved for the final tier, the basic eCommerce plan is quite solid and will work just fine for most types of online stores.
The list of advertised features is a lot more extensive compared to that of Wix, however, when you take a look at the backend you’ll find that both companies actually offer most of the same features and tools. It’s just that Wix doesn’t really make a big deal about many of them. Just like Wix, Squarespace doesn’t separate its templates into standard and premium so you’ll be able to use any of them regardless of which plan you pick. Squarespace’s templates are generally considered some of the best on the market but you only get 60 to choose from so the selection is a lot more limited compared to that of Wix.
Pricing – You can expect to get a very similar set of basic features for roughly the same price regardless of which of these two companies you choose. Therefore, the two rivals are pretty evenly matched in this department, however, there’s no denying that Wix’s offerings are a lot more appealing for newcomers. And the fact that the company offers a more customizable and open platform also makes it a better choice for developers and experienced users.
Although WordPress is generally seen as the best site builder for search engine optimization thanks to its wide variety of SEO plugins, Wix and Squarespace aren’t doing too shabby in this department either. Because these aren’t open-source platforms you won’t be able to integrate third-party plugins like Yoast into your website, however, the two companies offer their own SEO tools.
Wix has a couple of very useful tools in the form of the Site Booster and Visitor Analytics apps. The first will help your site rank higher on search engines while the later can be used to better understand the behavior of your users and cater your content to match the interests of your audience. The only downside of these tools is that they are not available with the first two paid plans so you won’t have access to them unless you buy one of the more expensive packages. However, the company has an additional tool known as Wix SEO Wiz that’s available to everyone and acts as a user-friendly step-by-step guide for improving the SEO of your websites.
Squarespace has its own SEO tools but they are not quite as advanced as those offered by Wix. The tools are built-in with every plan so you won’t have to pay extra for them, which is a bonus. That said, the tools only give you basic recommendations on how to improve the SEO of your site. In other words, these tools are only useful for beginners. If you want to look into advanced SEO practices, you can hit Squarespace’s help center for guides and articles that will give you a much better understanding of what search engine optimization is all about.
SEO – While both companies offer SEO tools, the ones you can find at Wix are far superior. The SEO Wix is very helpful for beginners while the Site Booster and Visitor Analytics apps are great for advanced users.
Additional Tools and Features
Signing up for most of Wix’s plans will get you a free custom domain for your first year. The only exception to this is the free plan, which does include a free domain but it won’t have one of the popular extensions you’re used to, such as .com or .net for example. If you want to register a domain without buying a plan, it will cost you $14.95 per year. Most companies charge extra for renewals but that’s not the case here as Wix continues to charge $14.95 per year even after your first term expires.
Squarespace has a very similar system in place, however, the prices are a bit more expensive. If you choose to register a domain without purchasing a plan you’ll have to pay $20 per year. Just like Wix, Squarespace doesn’t charge extra for renewals so the price will remain the same even after your first term expires. Purchasing any of the company’s four plans will grant you a free custom domain for the first year. However, this offer is only available to users who select the yearly billing cycle during checkout, which is also the case with Wix.
We already mentioned two of the main apps – Site Booster and Visitor Analytics – you get with most plans at Wix but those are merely the icing on the cake. The company has an App Market featuring a wide variety of applications that can be integrated with your website. There are over 200 apps to choose from, including quite a few third-party ones like Soundcloud, Instagram, Facebook and many more. A lot of these apps are available for free while others need to be purchased or have both free and premium versions.
Squarespace doesn’t have a similar marketplace but it does have plenty of app integrations already built into the system. For example, you can integrate over 20 social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter right off the bat. Among other things, doing so will allow you to display feeds from your social media pages directly on your website. Squarespace also integrates well with cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, allowing you to import content from them to your website with ease.
Neither of the two companies is particularly adept at giving users an easy way of manually backing up their website. The best you can do at Wix is create a duplicate of your site and switch over to it in case something happens to the live version. In addition, there’s also a Site History feature that automatically creates revisions every time you save or publish a piece of content. Using this feature, you can revert to a previous revision of your website at any time.
Just like Wix, Squarespace also allows you to create duplicates of your website but doesn’t have anything resembling the Site History feature. The company does create automatic backups of every website but only keeps them on its servers for about a month before deleting them. Tech-savvy users can create manual backups of their site using an XML file but the process is a bit of a hassle and not really recommended for beginners because of its complexity.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer users the opportunity of adding professional emails to their accounts via Google’s G Suite. Squarespace offers a better deal in this case as all users who purchase a Business plan ($18/mo) or higher benefit from free professional emails for the first year. Once that term expires, users are required to pay a monthly fee if they want to continue using their business mailbox. Wix doesn’t offer professional emails with any of its plans but they are available to purchase as an optional service.
MySQL databases allow users to manage their content more efficiently and are usually included for free by traditional hosting companies, such as Bluehost or Dreamhost. Most website builders don’t include MySQL databases with their plans but Wix does use something similar called Database Collections. These work similar to the MySQL version but the two types are not compatible, meaning you won’t be able to import external databases to your Wix website. Despite this limitation, Database Collections are still a very useful feature. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn’t offer any sort of databases, MySQL or otherwise.
Both companies offer a 14-day money-back guarantee with all plans.
Additional Tools and Features – Although Squarespace does have a better deal on professional emails, Wix wins hands down in this category thanks to its many other useful features and tools.
Performance and Reliability
Squarespace and Wix are surprisingly evenly matched in terms of reliability. Although the two companies struggle a bit to compete against open-source platforms like WordPress, their uptime is overall quite decent. Namely, the uptime of both Squarespace and Wix sits at about 99.95% on average according to our research. It’s worth noting that Wix has an uptime guarantee of 99.99% so the platform falls just a little bit below expectations, though these stats tend to vary from website to website. Meanwhile, Squarespace doesn’t make any guarantees regarding its uptime but it’s clear that the company doesn’t fall short in this department.
As far as the page loading speed is concerned, the difference between the two is quite significant. A Squarespace website loads on average in around 627 ms while Wix’s pages are a bit more sluggish, with an average loading speed of around 1.13 ms. Similar to the uptime, page loading speeds can differ from one site to the next but it does seem like overall Squarespace is the fastest builder. Wix’s speeds are a bit slower than the average for modern websites but experienced webmasters can easily compensate for that with proper optimization. If it is speed that you need and you don’t want to go with Squarespace then you might want to have a look at some of its alternatives, you’ll surely find something that fits your needs.
Performance and Reliability – The two platforms are generally evenly matched in terms of uptime but Squarespace definitely comes out on top when it comes to page loading speeds.
Wix has most of the support channels you would expect, including email, phone, and a ticket system. The only thing missing here is live chat, which might be a deal-breaker for some people. However, the company does compensate for the lack of live chat with a very impressive help center that contains hundreds of articles and guides on pretty much any topic you can think of. A very nice feature of Wix is a support system that’s built directly into the site editor. Whenever you get stuck or want to learn more about certain features or tools, you can click the adjacent question mark or simply use the search bar to look for articles about them.
Squarespace also offers ticket and email support along with live chat, however, you won’t find phone support here. Once again, a possible deal-breaker depending on what type of support channels you’re most comfortable with. Just like Wix, Squarespace offers a vast selection of useful articles and guides along with plenty of video tutorials and even a few webinars. There is no editor help function that can compare to that of Wix but you can find the answer to pretty much any question related to the platform by visiting the support center.
Customer Support – Squarespace and Wix both offer a good amount of support channels, though one is missing live chat while the other is missing phone support so there’s definitely room for improvement. Wix has a slight edge thanks to its built-in editor help system but Squarespace’s customer support is very solid as well.
Squarespace vs. Wix – A Pretty Close Call
I think most people would have a pretty difficult time picking between these two companies, especially those who aren’t very familiar with site builders in general. Squarespace and Wix are remarkably in a number of areas, which means you’ll have to look closely at what each of them has to offer in order to figure out the best choice for you. As far as we’re concerned, however, the choice is pretty clear and it all boils down to the fact that Wix surpassed Squarespace in almost every category we’ve looked at.
Even though Squarespace sites tend to perform a little better, we think Wix ultimately has a lot more going on. First off, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wix has a much cheaper entry point along with a tier that’s completely free. We also appreciated the fact that Wix is a more open and flexible platform both in terms of its editor and its integrations with third-party apps. Not to mention the fact that Wix provides useful tools and features for both newcomers and veteran webmasters. While not necessarily a top choice for developers, skilled coders can use Wix to create very complex websites if needed.
But even though we recommend Wix, you definitely shouldn’t dismiss Squarespace either, especially if you’re in the market for a premium website builder. The platform also offers a good amount of useful tools and its editor can be a joy to work with once you get used to its block-based structure. In addition, Squarespace’s templates are some of the best out there both in terms of design and functionality. At the end of the day, though, Squarespace is primarily meant for blogs, small online stores, and artists or businesses that want to showcase their portfolios. Wix, on the other hand, is a good fit for pretty much everyone, which is why it gets our personal recommendation.
Overall – You can’t go wrong with either of these companies but if you’d have to pick just one, we recommend going with Wix. Even though Squarespace has its advantages, Wix is overall a more flexible and easier to use platform that offers useful tools and features for all types of users. The fact that it’s also a lot cheaper only makes it an even more appealing option.