It’s fairly easy to understand the costs involved with Squarespace: there are four monthly plans available:
- Websites Personal – $16 per month
- Websites Business – $26 per month
- Commerce Basic – $30 per month
- Commerce Advanced – $46 per month
These plans work out a bit cheaper if you pay on an annual basis ($12, $18, $26 and $40 per month respectively).
The main differences between the Squarespace plans involve the number of pages you can create; transaction fees; integration with Xero; and e-commerce features.
The ‘Personal’ plan is quite restrictive and is not really suited to business applications at all – this is because it doesn’t facilitate e-commerce and restricts the number of integrations with third-party apps you can use. It doesn’t even allow you to add custom code to your site, meaning you can’t even add a mailing list form to it. So, I generally advise my clients to avoid it.
As you might expect, the more expensive Squarespace plans come with more features, particularly where e-commerce is concerned. I’ll highlight key ones below but for a more in-depth overview of the differences between each Squarespace pricing plan, please see our full Squarespace review.
If you pay annually for your Squarespace plan, you’ll get a free custom domain too – but you should note that not all domain extensions are catered for.
“Hey, WordPress is free” I hear you cry. Well no, not exactly, because to get it working properly you need to pay for other stuff.
There are five things that will generally affect your costs:
- hosting (server space on which to install WordPress and store your site)
- themes (the design for your site)
- e-commerce integration (addition of tools that will let you sell products online)
- plugins (apps that can be added to your site to add more functionality)
- whether or not a developer is involved in your site build.
The one thing you’ll always have to pay for hosting: without it you have nowhere to install WordPress. There are a wide range of options available on this front, but the key choice you’ll have to make is whether you’d like to use a ‘shared hosting’ company (cheap but slower) or a provider such as WP Engine that specialises exclusively in WordPress hosting (faster, more secure – but more expensive). For a small to medium-sized project you’re typically looking at costs of between $4 (shared hosting) and $30 (managed WP hosting) a month.
With regard to the other factors, you can technically get away with using a free template, e-commerce integration, and plugins – but realistically, to get higher quality results it’s usually worth investing in your site.
Below you’ll find some figures which demonstrate some costs you might expect if you were building your site yourself:
- Annual hosting, using managed WordPress hosting from WP Engine as an example: $348 (recurring cost)
- Premium theme: $175
- Annual cost for e-commerce integration (using Ecwid as an example): $180 (recurring cost)
- 4 paid-for plugins: $100
If you were to use a developer to help you configure, build and maintain your site, you’d have significantly higher costs (but in all likelihood would be getting a better product).
In terms of how these sorts of costs compare to using Squarespace, depending on what sort of plan you’re on, you’re looking at an annual cost of between $144 and $480. This means that using Squarespace can actually work out cheaper than using WordPress, despite it being a paid-for option and WordPress being an open source one.
Pricing, however, should not be the only thing you consider in the WordPress vs Squarespace debate. Let’s take look at features…