Web hosting. This is what you need if you want to give your business or personal brand an online presence. Many companies act as gateways to the World Wide Web, but two of the most popular are Automattic’s Squarespace and WordPress.com. While both are DIY website builders and proficient web platforms, they have some major differences that are worth exploring before pulling the trigger on either web hosting service. .
Packages and prices
Squarespace is a paid product available at four pricing tiers: Personal ($ 16 per month), Enterprise ($ 26 per month), Basic Commerce ($ 30 per month), and Advanced Commerce ($ 46 per month). Squarespace also offers annual plans for each tier that give you a discount and a free domain name. With Squarespace, you get everything you need right out of the box, including hosting, templates (site themes), integrations, and extensions (the company’s spin on plugins). and a content delivery network (CDN) for fast page load times. Squarespace’s ecommerce plans use Stripe and PayPal to receive payments, as well as Squarespace Analytics for traffic reporting and visitor behavior.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, has five main levels: Free, Personal ($ 48 per year), Premium ($ 96 per year), Enterprise ($ 300 per year), and eCommerce ($ 540 per year). For comparison, Square’s annual plans for its personal, business, core commerce, and e-commerce operations are $ 144, $ 216, $ 312, and $ 480, respectively. The company’s ecommerce plans support Pay With PayPal for credit card payments and include Google Analytics for tracking traffic and visitor behavior.
WordPress.com’s free tier is a nice touch that lets you create an online destination without spending a dime. Unfortunately, WordPress.com premium plans forgo monthly plans; it’s an annual plan or a bust. Like Squarespace’s plans, WordPress.com’s plans include themes, plugins, hosting space, and the company’s own JetPack plugin which increases page load times and improves security.
If you need to build a premium site, check out WordPress VIP. This is a customized solution for corporate users that requires you to contact a WordPress.com representative for a quote.
The history of Squarespace
The current version of Squarespace, version 7.1, is making the website builder a bit of a break from its past. The update introduces new, streamlined options for adding content and styling your site. Although the changes are numerous, Squarespace 7.1 also shares many similarities with version 7.0. So much so that Squarespace has created a guide to give you an overview of the new features.
If you’re new to Squarespace, version 7.1 will be available right off the bat. However, people using version 7.0 must rebuild their sites to 7.1 if they want to take advantage of the new features. Fortunately, Squarespace also offers a guide for this. Squarespace 7.1 is still a work in progress, so it exists alongside Squarespace 7.0, for now.
Squarespace 7.1 does not offer template switching, as it supports all visual style options. In other words, the design you select when creating your site is the starting point; the new system offers more site customization than the predefined templates previously did.
A word about WordPress
First of all, please note that WordPress.com is not the same as WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the place to download the CMS, themes and plugins, and self-host them through third parties like DreamHost or SiteGround. The bright side ? WordPress.org gives you the freedom to install almost any theme or plugin you desire.
WordPress.com takes a more organized approach to its themes and plugins. For example, you cannot install third-party items with their Free, Personal, or Premium levels; you must have a Business, eCommerce or VIP plan to do this. The advantage is that you don’t have to download, configure and manage the software. If you’re the hands-off type, rather than a handyman, WordPress.com is a much simpler, more user-friendly way to get started than WordPress.org.
Squarespace has a similar perspective, as you must subscribe to at least the Business level to install integrations (proprietary plugins that connect to third-party apps). That said, all Squarespace plans are compatible with extensions (third-party plugins that provide additional site functionality).
Unlike Squarespace, WordPress.com lets you swap themes with the click of a button. Fortunately, WordPress.com gives you an interactive preview that lets you toss the tires a bit before you leave the field.
The free WordPress.com CMS only lets you work within its own ecosystem of plugins and themes; you can’t add a third-party theme unless you pay for a premium tier. Even more limiting, WordPress.com will not allow you to add third-party plugins at all. For this, you need to create a self-hosted site using the software from WordPress.org.
Squarespace offers a solid selection of extensions, integrations, and themes. In fact, a Squarespace installation allows you to use third-party themes and integrations (although premium integrations require at least a Business plan).
The best for blogging and image editing
For blogging functionality, WordPress.com is hard to beat. The WordPress platform started life as a blogging platform, so it is expected that the CMS will remain strong in this area. The blog interface is simple, despite replacing its WYSIWYG editor with a block editor. Squarespace still uses a WYSIWYG editor, which may be more appealing to novice website builders. Unfortunately, neither host gives users a huge amount of mobile site customization.
Unfortunately, WordPress.com lacks robust photo editing software – you’re limited to cropping and rotating. In contrast, Squarespace offers a built-in photo editor that gives you more control over cropping, resizing, and more. Still, it’s good that WordPress.com lets you save all uploaded images to an online repository for reuse later, which Squarespace also does.
Similar security measures
Squarespace and WordPress.com support many measures to ensure that your site remains as secure as possible. These technologies include firewalls, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and two-factor authentication (2FA), among others. In terms of security, the two platforms are pretty identical, so you don’t have to worry about compromising site security if you select one over the other.
Both content management systems are full of SEO benefits. Both platforms are designed to be crawled by the world’s biggest search engines right out of the box. Squarespace offers an SEO checklist that you should follow in order to improve your site’s SEO. It teaches the importance of SEO optimized slugs and personalized 404 pages. WordPress.com takes a similar path by offering several information-rich pages designed to separate SEO facts from SEO myths. You can’t go wrong with either service when it comes to SEO.
Squarespace and WordPress.com also differ in their approaches to customer service. Squarespace provides 24/7 email support and live chat Monday through Friday, 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. WordPress.com offers 24/5 email and chat with each of its paid tiers (free accounts get nada, unfortunately). Business and eCommerce accounts get priority support. Unfortunately, Squarespace and WordPress.com both lack phone support, which is frustrating when you just want to talk to a human.
And the winner is…
Square space. Both website builders can get your business online quickly, but Squarespace has a more robust package that includes a superior photo editor, flexible blogging tools, and more days of customer support. WordPress.com’s free tier, on the other hand, is recommended for people with tight budgets, and its rich selection of themes and plugins is a plus as well.
That said, the excellent Wix is an Editors’ Choice award-winning website builder that is definitely worth your time. It provides an almost complete package that outperforms both Squarespace and WordPress.com.
For complete freedom, WordPress.org’s downloadable CMS is the most flexible choice. Taking this self-hosted route, which requires setting up the store as a full-service web hosting service, allows you to install any theme or plugin you want (and manually tinker with the site code!), But the installation process is much more complex than that of the website builders mentioned here.
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