“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”. Sounds nice as an ideal. But then, of course, we all go around and do exactly that. Whether we like it or not, appearances matter a lot, and the look of your website is no different.
So what do you do when two platforms offer fresh, sleek and stylish templates? In the case of Squarespace and Wix, the attention to design is so sharp, it’s hard to pick a winner based on that feature alone. Maybe that’s why both companies spend astronomical sums on SuperBowl ads – to sway the undecided users.
But anyway, today we’re going to be a bit methodical and dive deep into a comparison article to measure all their pros and cons side by side.
We also have a special tool you are going to like! Try our convenient Smart Finder that will help you find your favorite in 5 simple questions.
Wix vs Squarespace: what’s the main difference?
Wix is a beginner-friendly website builder with modern templates that are highly customizable. Squarespace is equally modern but not quite as easy to use. Two of Wix’s main advantages are the free plan and the huge number of additional apps. Squarespace features a better blogging tool than Wix and offers excellent support.
Still haven’t found your winner? Read on and help us judge the competition. Let’s roll. Nine rounds are ahead of us!
Squarespace vs Wix: Our Video Review
If you’d rather lean back and watch our video, this is for you:
Ease of Use: How Quickly Can I Get Off The Ground?
If you look at our side-by-side comparison table, you’ll see Wix has one more star than Squarespace in the ease of use section. While both platforms have a similar drag and drop approach to website building, Wix is generally more beginner-friendly. The user experience is extremely visual. You just click the element you want to change and that’s it.
The drag and drop editor works wonders. Everything is clear so that you feel intuitively at home with their platform from the start. Plus, their Site History system makes it really easy to recover content in case disaster strikes.
Wix’s Site History lets you backup and restore previous versions of your site
And then, Wix also offers a super simple way to get started: Wix ADI. They like to call it powered by artificial intelligence, which, may or may not be an exaggeration. It uses a virtual type of assistant that asks you a number of questions and then presents a website. The great thing is that you can still switch to the regular editor if you find ADI too limited.
Squarespace isn’t a technical nightmare, far from it. But you generally need to click more times to get to the same results as with Wix. For example: rather than simply dragging your content exactly where you want it (as Wix does), Squarespace requires you to work with prebuilt layouts and spacer elements on their grid layout.
Even the simple task of managing the hierarchy and structure of your navigation will probably require a look into Squarespace’s knowledge base as it’s pretty confusing, to be honest.
Also, you don’t get a backup and restore function. They recommend you copy and paste your content in Google Docs, which isn’t super helpful or easy.
Winner: Squarespace’s learning curve is steeper. Once you know your way around the platform (our Squarespace tutorial can help with this), it’s fine. But Wix still wins with their excellent user interface and powerful backup system.
Wix – Squarespace 1:0
Designs & Flexibility: Let’s Make It Look Snazzy
A quick browse through the list of Wix templates clearly shows the great range and quality of the designs. We counted close to 1,000 free themes listed in categories as varied as restaurants, portfolios, blog etc… These come with a few quirks though:
- Firstly, Wix’s templates are not fully responsive. This means you have to tweak them manually to play nice on smartphones and tablets. Note that this could also be a plus if you want full control over your mobile design.
- If you know basic CSS or HTML, you can’t use it there. However, Wix lets you place all the elements with enough control that it shouldn’t be necessary.
- A bit more annoying – you can’t change your template for a new one once you build a website and push it live. You can still move things around and select different fonts or color, but otherwise you’re pretty locked in.
Squarespace’s super sleek designs. We’d go as far as calling them “sexy”.
With Squarespace, there are around 100 templates available (plus 100 more if you count the available templates from its previous version, 7.0). They are all responsive for mobile devices. You can edit the source files (HTML and CSS) from the Squarespace Business plan onwards, but generally speaking, moving elements is more rigid than with Wix. You are on a grid, which can be good or bad depending on how much freedom you want.
While you can’t switch templates on Squarespace’s latest version, 7.1, all the templates use the same underlying style and structure. That means it’s fairly easy to change up (or even overhaul) your design if you want to. One con, though: the themes rely on big, bold and professional pictures. Replace them with something less stylish and your website instantly loses design kudos.
Sidenote: since we are talking about flexibility here, we should also note that both Wix and Squarespace have a very flat navigation. That means you can only have one sub-level under your home page. So if you are planning to build a larger website (30+ pages), Weebly is a better option as there you can create as many sub-levels as you want.
Wix’s Page Structure
Winner: as mentioned in the introduction to this article, hard to pick a side here. We’d say Wix is more flexible and offers a far greater choice, but Squarespace offers a “play it safe” approach that some might find more comforting. This one’s a draw.
Ecommerce: Wix Store or Squarespace Shop?
Wix isn’t always the first name you think of for ecommerce, but we gave it a pretty high score in our test review. The main points to take away are that it works great for small and medium online stores.
An example of product display in Wix’s online store.
Squarespace is also a surprisingly powerful ecommerce solution, with professional features you’d expect from the best platform. So let’s have a look at the features to decide: Wix or Squarespace for an online store?
|Sell physical goods, digital products||Yes||Yes|
|Sell services||No – must be done through the Wix Bookings app.||Yes|
|Import / Export product data||Yes||Yes|
|Payment gateways||Wix Payments, Square, Stripe, Paypal and more.||Stripe, Paypal, and Apple Pay.|
|Sell offline (cash or pay on delivery)||Yes||No|
|Point Of Sale integration (POS)||Yes, via Square or SumUp (for Europe and UK)||Yes, via Square|
|Abandoned Cart Recovery||Yes||Yes|
|Live Carrier Cost Calculator||USPS and Correios (Brazil)||USPS, FedEx and UPS|
|Automatic Tax Calculator||Yes, via Avalara||Yes, but for US only via TaxJar (currently in beta)|
|Setting up different VAT rates for different product categories*||Yes, via Avalara||No|
|Dropshipping||Yes, via Modalyst (with access to AliExpress)||Yes, via Printful (print on demand) and Spocket|
|SEO||Good – see below||Good – see below|
|Customer Accounts||Yes||Yes (minimum Basic plan)|
*Relevant for EU- and UK-based businesses, for example.
Winner: As you can see, it’s not clear-cut. It really depends on the features you need. Squarespace comes across as the more mature candidate, however Wix is adding new features all the time and also starts cheaper, starting at $23. With Squarespace it will cost you a minimum of $26.
Of course, if ecommerce is going to be the main focus of your site, you should also consider Shopify.
SEO Capabilities: Please Let Google Notice Me
If you’ve ever heard rumors about website builders being poor for SEO… well, it’s not so cut-and-dried. Our own research shows that you can absolutely rank high with a web builder, and Wix is one of the best ones of them all. So, does it completely crush Squarespace? Let’s see in this detailed table.
|Page Title||Available for all pages||Available for all pages|
|Meta description||Available for all pages||Available for all pages|
|Customize URLs||Available for all pages||Available for all pages|
|Headings||From H1 to H6||H1 to H4 available|
|Images alt attributes||Customizable||Customizable but the menus are sometimes very clunky|
|SSL encryption||Available in all plans||Available in all plans|
|Search engine instructions||Available for pages but not blog posts||Available for all pages|
|Add Google Analytics||See instructions||Available|
|Add Google Search Console||See instructions||Available|
|Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Posts)||Available||Available|
|Conclusion||Really good for SEO||Very good SEO features|
While Squarespace used to have a few important flaws in the SEO department, they have now gotten completely rid of them – well, almost. The only annoying thing that remains is that it’s sometimes really difficult to find the right place to add the alt-text for images. What’s more, is that there are a few older templates that don’t let you customize your page title for the home page. But these are dying out, fortunately.
Winner: Unexpectedly, after the most recent update, Squarespace is now just as strong as Wix for SEO. It’s a draw!
Blog: Where Should I Share My Thoughts?
The first thing to note here is that the best blogging platform out there is still undoubtedly WordPress. It’s the one others have to measure up to. So, how does the Wix blog fare? Well, there’s good news and bad news. For instance, you can only add images, videos and text, not all the elements usually at your disposal such as social media bars or lists. This is especially tedious if you want to insert a table as you’ll have to use HTML. Fortunately, with the new release of their blog you can now add multiple authors and RSS feeds.
Squarespace, on the other hand, could (almost) be a contender to WordPress. You get most, if not all, the blogging features you might need such as categories, post scheduling and more. And that’s not even all. Squarespace also offers integrated hosting for your podcast in case you’d like to start one.
Check out our detailed article if you are looking to start your own blog.
Winner: All things considered, Squarespace wins this round. That’s the equalizer! 4:4
Membership Sites: Who Does It Better?
Unsurprisingly, the last year has seen many businesses and freelancers shift their services online, offering premium digital content such as online classes, workshops, podcasts and recipes to its (mostly) house-bound customers.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer users the ability to add exclusive members’ areas to their sites, and to charge membership fees in order for customers to access them.
The approach they use is slightly different, though. Here’s a quick rundown.
Squarespace’s Member Areas is a relatively new feature, and works as an add-on to your site. Its focus is on helping you monetize your content – whether that’s classes, newsletters, videos or podcasts – by gating it behind a paywall. Members can be charged on a one-off or recurring basis, although you can offer content for free (handy if you want to employ a ‘freemium’ model).
Squarespace offers a handful of templates to help get you started, but you can designate any area of your site to be exclusive to members – even your blog or online store.
Overall, it’s a clean and elegant solution – although you do have to pay to add Member Areas to your site (prices start at $9). They can be added to any site, regardless of which Squarespace plan you have.
Wix’s Members Area solution (which is free!) takes it even further, allowing members to access not only exclusive content on the site, but also perform a number of other actions, including:
- Create customer accounts to view order statuses and manage credit cards
- Manage appointments and events that they’ve booked/signed up for
- Chat with other site members
- Customize forum and blog profiles, and follow their favorite posters/writers
Of course, if you want to limit content to paying members, you can do that too. You just need the Pricing Plans app installed, which is also free. A downside though is that you will also need to have a Wix Business/Ecommerce plan (more on that below) – as these are pricier than non-business plans, it’s not ideal if you don’t really need ecommerce features on your site. Setting it all up can also be a little fiddly; however we think the end result makes the effort worthwhile.
Winner: While Squarespace’s Member Areas are a nice, manageable solution for monetizing content, Wix’s rich membership features are hard to beat. Plus, you don’t have to pay a cent if you’re not selling anything. Wix nudges ahead a point – we’re now at 5:4.
Support: Can They Help and How Quickly?
Both Wix and Squarespace offer great customer support forums, articles and tutorials, including video and step-by-step guides.
The Help Center. These can be hit and miss sometimes, but Wix’s is very useful.
When contacted, we found the support answers to be clear and useful with both platforms. The only difference is that Wix offers phone support (via callback), and Squarespace has chat support so….
Winner: …might depend on your preferred method of communication. But since Wix always wants you to read the FAQs first and make it a bit harder to contact them, we’d give this point to Squarespace.
Squarespace is catching up! 5:5 – What an exciting match this is!
Apps & Widgets: Expanding My Site Through Add-Ons
We often sing the praises of Wix’s excellent and exhaustive App Market. You can find tons of useful add-ons and extra features to enhance your site. These include hotel and restaurant apps, booking systems, advanced gallery images and donation boxes for nonprofits. Some of them aren’t free, and Wix can’t vouch for the support quality of all the third-party developers. Still, it’s great to know you can get more than what’s out of the box.
Additionally, Wix Velo will let you create databases, connect to APIs and create dynamic pages. More on Wix Velo here.
With Squarespace, there is the Squarespace Extensions marketplace, which was launched in December 2019. It’s mostly focused on ecommerce (e.g. shipping and accounting services) and there isn’t a huge number of integrations available right now. This will hopefully grow over time.
Winner: Wix takes this one home – 6:5
Prices: Who’s Got the Better Deal?
Wix lets you pay for your website monthly, yearly or bi-yearly. There is a free plan with ads, and you can start straight away with a free trial. Then, there is quite a number of paid pricing tiers, which can be confusing:
- Combo ($14 a month)
- Unlimited ($18 a month)
- Pro ($23 a month)
- VIP ($39 a month)
- Business Basic ($23 a month)
- Business Unlimited ($27 a month)
- Business VIP ($49 a month)
The prices are based on yearly plans.
As we mentioned in our Wix pricing review, most users should be perfectly fine with the Combo plan, unless you want to set up an online store. It has all the features you need and lets you use a custom domain name. For ecommerce sites the best plan is either Business Basic or Business Unlimited, depending on your feature needs. It’s also worth noting that for paid plans there is a 14-days money-back guarantee.
The Squarespace pricing is much more straightforward. There are only 4 plans, which you can purchase monthly or yearly. These include:
- Personal ($12 a month)
- Business ($18 a month)
- Online Store Basic ($26 a month)
- and Online Store Advanced ($40 a month)
Unfortunately, as noted in our full Squarespace pricing review, there is no free plan.
Winner: Wix wins vs Squarespace, thanks to their free plan and the more cost-effective ecommerce offer. Squarespace only offers a 14-day free trial. Should you ever stop paying for your website, your Squarespace site will vanish from the web. With Wix, you can still keep it in a free account, which is a big advantage.
Our Side-by-Side Comparison
Now, let’s take a real deep look inside Wix and Squarespace. Check out the direct comparison:
Wix Vs Squarespace: Who Wins in the End?
So when choosing between Wix and Squarespace, is there a clear winner? It would seem so, even though it’s a close call. Wix is generally a better, more versatile tool, with more flexibility for a wide range of websites. Squarespace, on the other hand, scores points for their blogging feature and their fully-responsive templates.
Also, if you didn’t forget to count scores, you’ll have noted a close 7:5 win for Wix. However, it’s remarkable that most of the points Wix scored over Squarespace, they did win them by several lengths (Ease of Use as well as Apps & Widgets).
But it doesn’t mean Squarespace should be avoided at all costs. In fact, if you are a dedicated blogger, we would highly recommend Squarespace (unless you want the full shebang with WordPress). Their structured approach to design also means you are pretty much guaranteed a great-looking website that works on all devices. They also offer much better support.
Finally, one thing to note is that neither are the best for larger online stores. If that’s what you’re after, check our comparison chart here.
For questions or feedback, please leave a comment below!
19 Mar 2021: General update and membership features added
22 Feb 2021: Smaller updates
02 Oct 2020: Pricing changes and abandoned cart recovery now available at Wix.
30 Apr 2020: Some updates in ecommerce.
12 Dec 2019: New Squarespace Extensions Marketplace.
13 Nov 2019: Squarespace added POS support for their ecommerce solution.
05 Sep 2019: Squarespace SEO improvements.
31 May 2019: Reflected Wix’s price increases.
22 Mar 2019: Small updates.
05 Feb 2019: New video review added.
05 Nov 2018: A few smaller structural updates.
24 Oct 2018: Smaller changes regarding pricing
18 Oct 2018: Side by side comparison added