Both platforms allow you to build your website, however, they are incredibly different. More than 27% of websites on the internet are WordPress, whereas on 1.2 million are Squarespace websites. WordPress provides hosted and self-hosted options, whereas, Squarespace only offers a hosted version.
It’s absolutely free to download
Add to the software
You can make any changes to the code as WordPress uses a GPL 2.0 License, you just have to be prepared to share it as an open-source with members of the WordPress community. Squarespace does not allow you to reverse engineer any of the coding on their platform at all.
Complete with a myriad of plugins you can use to add customised code to your website as you please, plugins like WP Add Custom CSS, Simple Custom CSS and Simple Custom CSS and JS.
Section 5.1 of the 5.1 of the Terms of Service, Squarespace totally prohibits you from editing any of the themes’ code or other major elements that includes any part of the services offered. Should you want to get creative and dive into some coding to create your own themes or make any changes to theirs, you simply can’t.
With a register of over 49,000 plugins to enhance the capabilities of the core software. WordPress has pretty much any feature you could possibly want for your website with plugins, including things like eCommerce, security, SEO and contact forms. As with the visual editor, Squarespace is what you see is what you get. If there is a particular feature you want that isn’t available…sorry, but you’re out of luck.
Unlimited sites and networks
Multisite. Need I say more? If you want more details: WordPress allows you to create a network of websites called a Multisite. That means you may run as many websites as you like using only one installation of WordPress and then have access to all of them in the one place. This is an ideal solution for a wide variety of websites and purposes. For eg, you can offer your own blog or website hosting, just as Edublogs the popular education website does, or host all your clients’ sites under one roof to manage them all easily. Squarespace does not offer this feature.
Copyrighted content protected
WordPress will not publish any part of your site for free. Squarespace, however, advises in its Terms & Conditions, statements 2.2 and 2.3 that they can use any part of your site for uses such as advertising, even if the content they take is copyrighted. If you decide to create a website with Squarespace, you are not only consenting to this, but you are also agreeing to allow them to use whatever they want for free. They do not even have to contact you for permission first. No royalty cheques. Nothing. You can opt-out of it, but it’s not just simply a ‘one-click’ option.
Notice is given if features are removed
The WordPress core receives regular updates that contain new features and security updates. WordPress has a system set in place that ensures transparency about what goes in, gets fixed and also what has been omitted.
They keep you in the loop with everything, changes are first suggested, reviewed and approved before they get worked on, and later released. They will document and announce well ahead of time for any amendments or omissions that will occur. If by some chance a feature you require has been discontinued, you will definitely be given notice in advance to search for or create a plugin that covers the capabilities you need.
Alternatively, Squarespace can discontinue and remove features at their leisure without giving any notice at all. It’s all written in statements 4.1 and 6.1 of the Terms & Conditions.
No Limit if you sue
No eCommerce transaction fees
You can make your WordPress site into an eCommerce store using a plugin. Fortunately, there are options available out there such as MarketPress that do not issue any transaction fees. WordPress also won’t take a cut of your sales.
On the other hand, Squarespace will charge you a transaction fee for every sale you make, unless you upgrade your plan with them. Take a look at the Squarespace pricing page for more details.
No limit on server resources
As previously mentioned, you have the ability to choose who you would like to host your WordPress website, unlike Squarespace, where you can only host your website on their servers. Meaning you can’t scale your website later on if it becomes popular.
Squarespace advertises all their packages as having ‘unlimited’ bandwidth, however, the fine print on their pricing page clearly states that each service is limited to normal usage. That means your website can possibly get shut down if Squarespace decides you’re getting more than average amounts of traffic – whatever that means –there’s no clear definition for “normal usage.” Conversely, WordPress gives you the freedom to choose your own hosting so you can find one that’s scalable and works for you.
eCommerce currency limitations
Again it’s different with Squarespace, you are limited to AUD, CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, DKK, NZD, MXN, NOK, HKD, SGD, or SEK. You’ll find it on the pricing page. This can definitely be an issue, especially if you want an online store that has the ability to accept sales globally
Multitudes of free themes
The WordPress.org theme repository, there are over 3,000 free themes to choose from and available for you to download and use, which was confirmed in 2015 by WP Theming and a script that will download the free themes to a WordPress site. This amount isn’t even including the many premium themes that are available. There is definitely no shortage of design and theme options where WordPress is concerned.
Squarespace has a whopping 59 themes to choose from. If you need an eCommerce theme, then your choices are further limited to just eight.
No high-resolution images? No problem!
You are not bound to use only a limited number of themes that call for huge, high-resolution images. Unfortunately, though that is exactly the case with Squarespace. The majority of the 59 themes available will require these kinds of images and if you don’t have them, your website isn’t going to look that great.
Big companies who trust WordPress
A lot of celebrities have also built their websites on WordPress including Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Beyonce, Jane Fonda, Kim Kardashian, Mick Jagger & the Rolling Stones, William Shatner, and Sylvester Stallone.
Check out the WordPress Showcase for more details and other examples.
If you visit the main page for Squarespace, scroll down, displayed are some logos of those companies using Squarespace. Most are small businesses and not as high-profile as those that are built on WordPress.
There’s a good reason why these companies have chosen WordPress over other platforms and most of those reasons are listed here.
Control over SSL and HTTPS
SSL certificate places the https prefix for your domain in a browser’s address bar. They secure your website by encrypting the connection between your site and your visitor’s browser. This encryption prevents hackers from doing all kinds of hacking like hijacking a visitor’s connection to bypass the login form. For more information, you can go to How to Use SSL and HTTPS with WordPress.
When installing a WordPress website or network, you will be able to choose a Certificate Authority and the kind of SSL certificate you’d like to use. You can choose one that gives you a warranty so that if in the unlikely event you do get hacked and experience data loss along with choosing a certificate that’s trusted by more people.
You will also have an option to force the use of an SSL certificate on your site. For eg. If you install a certificate for your domain, then use Softaculous to install WordPress, then choose to automatically set your domain up with HTTPS automatically.
Squarespace will automatically issue an SSL certificate for your domain and site, however, you will not get a choice on what kind of certificate or the Certificate Authority that issues it. The SSL certificate also won’t be automatically forced. You’ll need to turn this option on yourself in the settings.
Should you need your SSL certificate to include particular features and a warranty, that won’t be possible with Squarespace. For details, check out Squarespace and SSL.
Choosing domain registrar and price
If you choose to build a website with Squarespace and sign up for an annual billing option for any of their packages to get a discount, you will get a free domain name, but you’re required to obtain the domain from Squarespace.
The first year will be free, but every year afterward is priced higher than other Registrars, starting at $20 for a .com domain. Most Registrars offer a .com domain for about $10-$15 and sometimes less.