Tanya Cull, May 10, 2018
For over a decade, Squarespace has been considered the gold standard for anyone looking to quickly get a good-looking website online.
The concept is simple: select one of their eye-catching website templates, swap the content for your own, and be online within the same day.
Although this sounds amazing at first, it’s not for everyone, and can cause headaches over time.
Basically, if the template you’ve selected does not match what you’re trying to build, you have a couple options: use Squarespace’s rigid grid-based template editor, or learn how to code and rewrite the template so it fits your changing needs.
Does this sound familiar?
Don’t get me wrong. Some people eat, sleep, and breathe everything Squarespace. But for others, the struggle to really design something unique (without code) is too much, so they’re left looking for some sort of alternative.
To help you find the website builder that’s right for you, here are the top-rated Squarespace alternatives, whether you’re new to websites, a creative designer, or an experienced developer:
Who’s it for?
Well, not exactly. But PageCloud has one of the most versatile products on this list. PageCloud is best known for its amazing editor experience that replicates the functionality found in design tools such as Keynote, PowerPoint, and Photoshop.
This is a completely different experience than what you find in Squarespace. If you want your site to look ‘custom’ or ‘unique’, PageCloud is the easiest tool you can use that doesn’t require you to learn how to code. All you need to do is click, drag, and style your content to look exactly the way you want it to!
Another feature that sets PageCloud apart is the ability to edit the source code. Although this feature isn’t typically used by beginners and designers, the flexibility is a nice-to-have once you start scaling your site and require some advanced functionality that’s not available out of the box.
PageCloud’s website builder is great for small to medium-sized websites (1-25 pages) that are looking to move away from the constraints of rigid templates.
As a younger company (launched in late 2015), it does not yet have as many native features as some of the bigger brands on this list, but for 90% of businesses, PageCloud has everything you need. With PageCloud, the ability to always have complete control over your content is something you just don’t want to give up!
$24 USD/month or $240 USD/year.
Who’s it for?
Wix is one of the most recognizable website builders around. Wix’s popularity comes from the fact that it has tons of built-in features, hundreds of templates, and the ability to maintain a decent amount of control over your content.
Like PageCloud, Wix is another visual editor that doesn’t lock you into a grid.
However, it’s important to note that Wix does place some limitations on what you can do. These guardrails are meant to help beginners create a website without breaking the design. These barriers have also pushed some designers to look at more flexible alternatives, such as PageCloud or Webflow.
Developers have historically avoided Wix because of its limited access to the source code. However, with the recent launch of Wix Code, more complex websites can be now be built with coder intervention.
Wix leaverages an adaptive approach to its mobile layout builder, with certain constraints geared at a slightly less-experienced audience. This adaptive approach allows you to quickly customize how your site looks on smaller devices compared to “responsive” sites that either require users to edit the code or set up multiple breakpoints.
Overall, Wix is a quality website builder to use if you’re new to building websites and don’t want to be locked into a grid.
Wix offers several different plan types:
You can connect a custom domain for as little as $7 USD/month or $60 USD/year. Their top plan, called VIP, is $35 USD/month or $348 USD/year.
Who’s it for?
People looking for a slightly more intuitive (or free) alternative to Squarespace!
(Weebly offers a free plan, whereas Squarespace doesn’t.)
When it comes to the feel of the editor, Weebly is probably the closest thing to Squarespace. Both offer a responsive WYSIWYG editor that limits what you can do without going into the code. E.g. You can’t edit how your site looks on mobile.
For beginners who aren’t too concerned about customizing their layout, Weebly is a pretty slick option for getting a good-looking website up quickly. However, this may not be the tool of choice for more creative individuals such as designers.
Like other large, established website builders, Weebly has a deep feature set that covers the needs for almost every vertical. This means that, in theory, you can build almost anything with Weebly.
Overall, Weebly is a solid website builder that offers something very similar to most of the DIY site builders on the market. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to move away from Squarespace into something new, Weebly might not be the best option for you because of its core similarities to Squarespace.
From $7 to $30 USD/month or $60 to $300 USD/year.
Who’s it for?
Coding professionals and bloggers!
If this is your first time hearing about WordPress, here’s a fun fact - WordPress powers 28% of the internet. So, if you’re considering an alternative to Squarespace, you have to include the world’s biggest content management system (CMS) on your list!
WordPress has two offerings: WordPress.org, which is the original open-source CMS intended for developers, and WordPress.com, the newer offering geared towards bloggers and less-experienced users.
The main reasons you would want to switch from Squarespace to WordPress would be because you either want more control over the code on your pages (you’re a developer) or you’re looking for a better blogging tool.
For beginners and designers, WordPress is not necessarily an ideal fit.
In an attempt to entice more of these less-experienced coders to their platform, WordPress and their community offer thousands of templates and plugins to help bridge the gap. However, almost any type of customization is impossible without some level of coding knowledge. For most people, this would mean hiring a professional for at least $50 - $150 per hour. Not exactly what you’d consider DIY.
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is a very powerful tool! It's the platform of choice for some of the biggest websites in the world, and is very inexpensive to get a site or blog up and running. It’s just not for everyone, especially beginners trying to get a custom or simple site built by themselves!
Free to $300 USD/year.
Who’s it for?
People looking to build an online store!
If you’re not pleased with your experience selling online with Squarespace, I’d highly recommend trying Shopify!
It may not be the best website builder from a control and design perspective, but Shopify is a pure ecommerce platform. This means that everything they do is geared towards online sales.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is a website builder with ecommerce capabilities. You can get a functional store online with Squarespace, but it won’t have the same capabilities that a Shopify Store can offer. This is especially true for large or complex ecommerce sites.
Before you start a trial with them, you should probably ask yourself a couple questions first. How many products am I selling? Why was I frustrated with Squarespace in the first place?
If you’re only selling a few items you can actually use embed codes to simply integrate all of Shopify’s backend capabilities into other website builders like PageCloud or Wix. This way, you won’t fall into the same rabbit hole of getting locked into a rigid design, if this was the problem you were trying to solve in the first place.
By the way, if you have less than 10 separate products to sell, tools such as Ecwid offer a free plan, so there is no additional cost to start selling online!
Overall, if you’re looking for a solid ecommerce alternative to Squarespace, go with Shopify. If you’re simply looking to build a website and sell a few items, consider building your site on a website builder that allows for an easy Shopify integration.
From $9 USD/month to $299 USD/month.
Who’s it for?
If you’re a designer that struggles with the restrictive grids of the Squarespace editor, and you want to create fully responsive websites with control over every breakpoint, then Webflow is for you!
Unlike most website builders, Webflow gives you the ability to export the code and have it hosted somewhere else.
But beginners beware. Webflow is not an easy-to-use solution; it has a fairly steep learning curve Although you don’t really need to play with any code, you need definitely need to understand how it works.
Webflow built the Webflow University to help onboard new designers looking to use their tool. Similar to Photoshop or Indesign, becoming proficient at using Webflow can take months. Also, keep in mind that building custom sites with Webflow takes time. It’s not as slow as hand-coding a site, but still...
In reality, because Webflow is geared towards a more experience audience, you could consider its direct competitors to be programs such as Squarespace Specialists, Wix Arena, or PageCloud Pros.
Overall, Webflow is a very strong and unique web design tool. If you want to try it instead of Squarespace, you’ll quickly notice how much control you have without needing to dive into the code. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit more user-friendly, you might want to take a look at PageCloud or Wix.
Hosting from $144 USD/year to $432 USD/year.Design from FREE to $420 USD/year.Teams from $420 USD/user/year.
Based on your experience level and website requirements, there is definitely a great Squarespace alternative for you!
PageCloud and Wix are some of the easiest platforms to use and give you a ton of control over your content without having to code.
Weebly is the closest thing to Squarespace if you’re simply looking for a change of pace, or something free.
WordPress is the leader for blogs and large websites, while Shopify takes the crown for ecommerce.
And for all you design perfectionists, Webflow might be a good option to consider.