So you want to build a website – perhaps to support your business, to show off your portfolio or to share information with wedding guests. The only problem is that you don't know where to start. Go to the website building services WordPress.com and Squarespace, two solid options to quickly move from an idea to a live site.
Both WordPress.com and Squarespace are hosted platforms for building websites that offer you tools and templates to create a personalized website on your own domain without any coding experience. Although the end result of each site can be comparable, their user interfaces and prices are very different.
This is all you need to know to decide if WordPress.com or Squarespace is the better web platform for you.
WordPress  WordPress is & # 39; the world's most popular open-source web publishing platform, feeding more than 35% of all sites on the internet, including The Walt Disney Company, Quartz and Mercedes -Benz. It's a bit confusing, but WordPress.com is a hosted website building service built on WordPress. While WordPress requires that you purchase a domain name from another site and do more hands-on work to create your site, WordPress.com does all of that for you – making it easier to work with, but more limited in terms of functionality.
Create a free test site to try out WordPress.com and select the type of site you want to create: blog, business, professional or online store. I have selected the professional category. It was easy to get a basic version of the site and only required a username, password, my name and the name of the site. You can then go to Design> Customize to do things such as add a logo or a widget (such as audio, a Facebook plug-in or a follow button).
WordPress.com is slightly less intuitive than Squarespace, and it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what you are doing – although each section you click on does contain mini tutorials to help. But you can play with it for free and upgrade to a paid account if you like the results. You can also view a desktop and mobile preview of your site.
"The biggest thing we see with other website builders is that they may work well for a person in the short term, but because they are not open ecosystems such as WordPress, people quickly begin to feel restricted or locked in when it comes to how they can expand or adapt based on their growing business needs, "Mark Armstrong, editor for WordPress.com's parent company, Automattic, told CNET. "WordPress has the largest ecosystem for plug-ins, services and expertise from developers and designers who work hand in hand with the software."
To expand and customize your site, WordPress offers a number of plug-ins that attract users, including Yoast SEO (for SEO assistance), Jetpack by WordPress.com (for site security and performance management) and WPForms (for making a Contact Form).
"Depending on your client's needs, WordPress can be highly customized with plug-ins and has flexibility that cannot be matched with other template sites," said Basil Larios, SEO content maker for Falcon Marketing LLC. "Whenever we come across design roadblocks, it's mostly because customers first build their sites on a template basis. As soon as they begin to see growth and want to make more concrete changes, the template site becomes more limited than what they initially expected."
As with Squarespace, if you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to WordPress.com so that the same address is then hosted on its platform.
You can create a basic site for free if you use the & # 39; YourSite.wordpress.com & # 39; likes it. Or you can register a domain such as "sitename.com" for which you pay.
Here's how much a WordPress.com site costs:
- Personal (best for personal use): $ 4 per month, billed annually at $ 48 (including custom domain name and access to 24/7 support)  Premium (best for freelancers): $ 8 per month, billed annually at $ 9 (including advanced design tools, custom CSS and Google Analytics support)
- Business (best for small businesses): $ 25 per month, annually billed at $ 300 (including custom plug-ins and theme's, 200 GB storage and live support)
- eCommerce (best for online stores): $ 45 per month, billed annually at $ 540 (including a more powerful one , flexible platform designed to grow as your business does)
The bottom line
As with almost every online platform, the best web building and hosting service for you depends on your individual needs. If you are a true beginner in creating a website and want a simple, intuitive platform with beautiful, pre-made templates, I would recommend Squarespace. But if you have a bit of experience with creating websites and want a highly customizable platform, I would opt for WordPress.com.
The good news is that you can try out both WordPress.com and Squarespace for free to get an idea of what works best for you. With the free version of WordPress.com you can create a working website with a .wordpress.com domain. With Squarespace, the free version of your site is set to private by default – although you can run it live, it is hidden from search engines and only accessible with the URL.
Prices between Squarespace and WordPress.com differ: the option of WordPress for a personal site costs less ($ 48 a year for WordPress.com versus $ 144 a year for Squarespace), but the option for e-commerce costs more ( $ 540 a year for WordPress .com versus $ 360 a year for Squarespace).