12 of The Best Squarespace Alternatives for 2018

If you’re a webmaster, blogger or involved with a business that maintains a website, chances are good you’ve encountered Squarespace at some point. There’s a reason Squarespace always comes to mind when discussing user-friendly site builders, and it’s because they do almost everything right.

A total newbie can have a working homepage in ten minutes and can add content, links, and menus as easily as typing them into Word.

Why Choose An Alternative?

However, while Squarespace is a tool you can recommend to most people, it won’t fit everyone’s needs. Squarespace doesn’t support plugins, meaning any widgets will come from third parties and vary in quality.

Their plans can be expensive, and their interface has some noticeable holes, such as the lack of a preview mode or ability to change the page title from a blog post draft. And those wishing to build a more complex website might find it aggravating that Squarespace only supports one level of navigation.

So, if you’ve tried Squarespace and are looking to try a full range of options to seek a better fit, read on to learn about 12 Squarespace alternatives that might be right for you.

1. WordPress

We might as well start with the most famous. 28 percent of the internet is powered by WordPress, which for a well-managed open-source project is truly impressive. But when dealing with WordPress, it’s vital to understand one thing beginners don’t always notice: it’s technically not one service, but two.

WordPress.org is the open-source design platform. If you go with this, you’re on your own to find a domain host, then you’ll download WordPress to set up the page before it goes live.

Who is it for? If you plan to customize at all, you’ll need some knowledge of code. WordPress.org is recommended for people with design experience, people looking to use specific plugins or those who plan to monetize their blogs. It’s also great for those who like to be part of a support community, as WordPress developers share information widely on the internet.

Pros
  • Unprecedented control over design through code
  • Intuitive for experienced designers
  • Easy to add social media sharing buttons and donation buttons
  • Vast customization possibilities, including user-created themes and third-party widgets
  • Only as expensive as a domain
Cons
  • A steep learning curve for beginners
  • A common target for hackers

Cost: WordPress is 100% free to download and use. The cost of hosting a domain, as low as $4/month

Free trial offered? Yes

1a. WordPress.com

WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPres.org) is a blogging service designed on the WordPress.org platform to be simple and accessible. Like Squarespace, it’s got an intuitive design interface with a range of available themes.

Who is it for? Web design beginners, and users who just want to host a blog instead of setting up an entire website.

Pros
  • Simple and free to set up a website
  • More design options and higher site complexity than Squarespace
  • Learning resources widely available online
Cons
  • Updates can crash sites
  • Difficult to make custom design choices without entering source code
  • Hard to grow website beyond the initial template

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • All billed annually
  • Free (0$/month): Basic site building tools
  • Personal ($4/month): Custom domain name without WordPress ads
  • Premium ($8/month): Advanced design tools and ad hosting
  • Business ($25/month): Extra themes, analytics, unlimited storage

Free trial offered? 14 days on any plan

2. Wix

Wix has jumped in popularity among basic-utility WYSIWYG web builders. Its drag-and-drop interface feels more like PowerPoint than navigating menus in Squarespace or WordPress, which is extremely appealing for beginners–as is the lack of a grid design to snap design elements too, which gives a lot of control over your web aesthetic.

One of Wix’s most interesting features is its Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI). Just feed your social media accounts and info about your business into ADI, and it will generate a website for you, which you’re then free to adapt as you wish.

Who is it for? Beginners; anyone who wants to market a service or post content. People who like apps and templates, or those who plan to do a lot of SEO but aren’t sure how to start, will also find Wix useful. Experienced coders and designers will feel limited, though an advanced app called Wix Code allows more access to the source.

Pros
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface with tips
  • A wide range of templates and apps
  • Cheaper than Squarespace with a free plan available
  • ADI function and SEO wizard streamline daunting tasks
  • Able to host a blog or forum
Cons
  • Limited storage, especially in cheaper plans
  • More advanced design options may not be available
  • Difficult to access code in basic version

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • Connect Domain ($5/month): 1 GB bandwidth, 500 MB storage, shows Wix ads
  • Combo ($11/month): 2 GB bandwidth, 3 GB storage, video support, free domain for one year
  • Unlimited ($14/month): Unlimited bandwidth, 10 GB storage, free domain for one year, site builder and form booster apps
  • VIP ($29/month): Unlimited bandwidth, 20 GB storage, priority response, support for 10 email campaigns per year

Free trial offered? 14 days on any premium plan

3. PageCloud

PageCloud

PageCloud is only a few years old, but has distinguished itself for many of the same reasons as Wix: it’s a no-code, grid-free WYSIWYG web editor that is a solid choice for just about anybody who might want to make a website. Also like Wix, it’s based on themes, which are easy to tinker with if you don’t feel inspired by any of them initially. You can even import layers directly from Photoshop to get that front-page feel exactly how you imagined it. And like Wix, it’s got a large range of apps and e-commerce tools.

At this point you might be asking: PageCloud may be better than Squarespace, but why choose it over Wix? After all, Wix has a mobile app to manage how your content flows to mobile, and video tutorials, neither of which PageCloud boasts. And while Wix’s freemium pricing model is flexible, PageCloud doesn’t offer subscriptions for less than $24/month.

That said, if you want your editor to mimic the experience of InDesign or Photoshop, PageCloud gets a lot closer to those environments. It also offers easier access to source code than Wix does, making it a better choice for those with CSS, Java, or HTML experience.

Who is it for? Everyone, though slightly less for coders.

Pros
  • Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG that interfaces with other design apps
  • App selections for almost any need
  • Fully customizable templates
  • Automatic image optimization
  • Minimizes drop-downs and pop-ups
Cons
  • Fewer starting templates than Wix
  • No cheap pricing plan
  • More difficult to preserve of design in mobile view

Pricing Plans and Costs

Only one plan, $24/month, that gives access to the whole range of features.

Free trial offered? 14 days

4. Weebly

Weebly combines the drag-and-drop intuitiveness of Wix and PageCloud with a menu interface that looks a lot like Squarespace. It keeps things minimal, prioritizing performance and ease of use over a plethora of features. The snap-to-grid page layout themes might prove to limit even to those who plan to design without coding, but Weebly allows users to change their theme at any time without losing content.

Other things to recommend Weebly include its free plan, which includes access to all design features except for the ability to set up a store. Its ease of use, including a one-click app store, will endear it to beginners, and the mobile editor is nice. But it should be reiterated that Weebly is not a service for the deep designer. Like Wix, Weebly has an option to access its CSS editor, but if you want to achieve your goals by coding, there are better choices.

Who is it for? People who want a good-looking website without too much effort or coding, or people who might not have the budget for a plan from Wix, Squarespace, or PageCloud. Given its list of features for managing blog posts and marketing your writing, Weebly is a strong choice for bloggers.

Pros
  • The user interface is forgiving for beginners but looks polished
  • Powerful for bloggers, comments sections, scheduling controlling social media sharing
  • The free version includes most features
  • Built-in marketing analytics
  • Lets you zip your website if you decide to switch to another plan
  • Ability on some plans to password-lock entire site or individual pages
Cons
  • Less depth and more rigid design than its competitors
  • Other than app store, not much to set it apart from Squarespace

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • All paid annually
  • Free: Access to design features, advertising banner on the website
  • Starter ($8/month): Unlimited storage, personal domain name
  • Pro ($12/month): Site search, password protection, HD audio/video
  • Business ($25/month): Unlimited membership registration

Free trial offered? The free plan

5. uKIT

The Ukrainian/Russian engineers behind uKIT have made the news for introducing blockchain technology into the AI web design world. Their goal is to create a ledger that would share one user’s information across all their platforms to create a personalized landing page for each user, replacing what we now think of as dynamic content.

Which is a cool prototype and all, but how does their platform hold up building websites right now? The answer is: it’s a low-cost WYSIWYG builder that lets you get started without any hassle. To a degree, you’ll get what you pay for, since blog flexibility, store options, and tech support are all quite limited. But uKIT’s templates and ease of use still might recommend it in the small business space.

Who is it for? Beginners looking for a bargain, small businesses that want a landing page, or early adopters interested in its potentially groundbreaking technology. Coders, owners of growing businesses, and bloggers should probably give it a miss.

Pros
  • Highly affordable pricing plans
  • Templates built for small business
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Allows multiple websites
  • Professional design staff will build for you for $100
Cons
  • Blog editor is extremely basic
  • Lack of flexibility in web store (Paypal and Wallet One only)
  • Some functionality problems, including getting stuck on load pages
  • Limited support and FAQ

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • All billed annually
  • Premium ($4/month): Access to design tools
  • Premium+ ($8/month): Access to extra templates
  • eCommerce ($9.60/month): Allows setup of a web store
  • Pro ($12/month): Extra creative and coding options

Free trial offered? 7 days, after which your website will no longer be public unless you choose a pricing plan

6. Shopify

Here we come to the first of several web-builder options that are designed entirely for e-commerce. What Shopify might not have to challenge Weebly and Wix in design control, it more than makes up for in features to create and manage your online store. Shopify’s range of third-party apps includes a built-in payment platform that accepts all major credit cards, and their settings menu offers control of every stage of the purchasing process–from browsing to checkout to shipping to sharing on social media.

How does it work as a designer? Shopify’s templates are focused on helping you create a brand aesthetic for your business without needing professional assistance. It’s easy for a beginner to make a store that looks great. Naturally, you might be disappointed if you try to use Shopify to run a blog or sell a service, but that’s unfair to say: Shopify is designed to do exactly one thing, and do it well.

Who is it for? Business owners who want to offer more than 10 items at a time. If you just have a few products, you’re better off integrating e-commerce features with one of the more versatile hosts–in fact, Shopify’s basic plan is so low-frills it’s almost expected you’ll be paying to put the Shopify button on a different site. But for a larger inventory, the main Shopify platform is a great choice.

Pros
  • All apps and templates geared toward a smooth e-commerce experience
  • Scales well; ideal for multiple stages of business growth
  • Catalogs and reports sales data
  • All plans offer shipping labels, unlimited storage, and blog support
  • No transaction fees ever
  • “Point of sale” kit allows offline use
Cons
  • Design scheme more rigid than other alternatives
  • Limited use for anything but e-commerce
  • Basic plan not worth money, since features can be ported onto a blog or Facebook
  • Not practical for smaller inventories

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • Basic Shopify ($29/month): Access to some design features
    • Credit card rate: 2.9%+30 cents
  • Shopify ($79/month): More user accounts, gift cards, better shipping discount
    • Credit card rate: 2.6%+30 cents
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/month): Even more user accounts, even better shipping discount, advanced reports
    • Credit card rate: 2.4%+30 cents
  • Shopify Plus ($2000/month): Lowest credit card rate, unlimited staff accounts, best shipping discount
    • Credit card rate: 1.6%+30 cents

Free trial offered? 14 days on any plan

7. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is not a web hosting service in its own right, but a plugin for sites built using WordPress.org. It’s an open-source project designed to give e-commerce capabilities to WordPress, which offers slim options for sales on its own. According to their website, they power 30 percent of all online stores, and their commitment to total open source gives their user base unprecedented control.

But how does this work out in practice? Well, not only is the base version free but if you’re a WordPress user, you’ve practically learned it already–and their basic feature setup wizard will take you the rest of the way once you install the widget. The only stumbling block is complexity: this plugin has plugins of its own, called WooCommerce Extensions, the sheer number of which can be intimidating to new users.

Who is it for? More experienced coders, designers, or WordPress fanatics who still want to set up an accessible and interestingly-branded site. WooCommerce allows more control than Shopify, but you need to know the code–and you’re also on your own for a domain and SSL certificate.

Pros
  • Completely open source with no limitations
  • Thousands of WordPress themes can be used to design stores
  • Unlimited scaling
  • Full control over your data
  • A wide range of Extensions to choose from
Cons
  • Less beginner-friendly
  • Cannot be used for offline transactions
  • Web hosting not included

Pricing Plans and Costs

Like WordPress.org, WooCommerce costs as much as setting up your own domain.

Free trial offered? The plugin itself is 100% free

8. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another e-commerce host that aims to compete with Shopify and other alternatives. Their platform offers beginner-friendly templates, a wide range of paid templates, and expert help for tech support and design. Areas in which BigCommerce distinguishes itself include mobile functionality and ability to gear your site toward specific types of product–for example, if you sell fashion, you can get help pitching your whole aesthetic toward a fashion site.

Does BigCommerce have anything over your other options for hosting a store? It’s the “value-for-money” choice since its basic plan includes far more functionality than Shopify’s “lite” option. However, some have noted that BigCommerce falls short by only offering 7 free themes and a fraction of Shopify’s apps. It’s worth keeping an eye on BigCommerce, though, as they’ve proven very responsive to user opinion, and have been hard at work updating their theme selection.

Who is it for? Any online business or brick-and-mortar business that wants to set up an online store, especially if you’re on a budget.

Pros
  • More tools out of the box than other e-commerce hosts
  • Easy integration with social media platforms
  • A robust basic pricing plan
  • 24/7 tech support
Cons
  • Few free templates
  • A smaller selection of apps than Shopify
  • A domain name costs extra ($12/year)

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • BigCommerce Standard ($29/month): Sell unlimited products and gift cards, get shipping quotes, data reports
    • Credit card rate: 2.9%+30 cents
    • Yearly sales threshold: $50,000
  • BigCommerce Plus ($79/month): Adds abandoned cart recovery
    • Credit card rate: 2.5%+30 cents
    • Yearly sales threshold: $150,000
  • BigCommerce Pro ($299/month): Product filtering for customers
    • Credit card rate: 2.2%+30 cents
    • Yearly sales threshold: $1,000,000
  • BigCommerce Enterprise (quoted directly from the company): Priority support, no sales threshold

Free trial offered? 15 days on any plan

9. Jimdo

Jimdo is an all-around good choice for a quick, easy website. Well-known for its “Lifeboat” campaign enticing users of Yahoo!’s defunct Geocities service back in 2009, Jimdo has grown into a solid host to hop onto and make whatever site you need. E-commerce? They’ve got a store for that. Blogging? Jimdo Blog is there too. And their support network is outstanding, possibly the most global of any entry on this list–fitting, since Jimdo is based in Hamburg.

Where they lose points is ease of use. Not a true WYSIWYG like Wix or Weebly, Jimdo lacks the drag-and-drop system that appeals mightily to newbies. Instead, their menu system looks more like…well, Squarespace, but with a friendlier learning curve. Jimdo also lacks any membership system or password-protection, so your whole site is open to the air.

Who is it for? Beginners, small businesses with limited time or funds, or users who want to put up a one-shot site for a vacation album, wedding invitation, or another event.

Pros
  • 15 mobile-friendly templates
  • Menu interface easier to use than Squarespace
  • Automatic SEO
  • Mobile app for remote editing
  • Multilingual, worldwide support infrastructure
Cons
  • No drag-and-drop design
  • No password protection ability
  • E-commerce less scalable than other options

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • All billed annually
  • Free ($0/month): Basic features, .jimdofree subdomain
  • Pro ($7.50/month): Ad-free, best for personal projects
  • Business ($20/month): For businesses using e-commerce functionality
  • SEO Plus ($30/month): Includes professional SEO add-on
  • Platinum ($40/month): Includes expert website review

Free trial offered? 30 days on Pro or Business plans

10. Volusion

Founded in 1999 as a shopping cart solution, Volusion has upgraded its service to Volusion V2, the only platform currently available to new users. V2 includes all the services you’d hope for in an e-commerce platform, including shipping management, SEO, a mobile app, ability to add discounts, upselling capability, and an instant search feature for customers. Its pricing plans are also extremely competitive, with unlimited scaling offered in the most basic $25-per-month option.

However, V2’s focus on simplicity above all else can make it frustrating for more advanced designers. It’s nothing new that design-from-scratch web hosts tend to err on the easy side, but Volusion has been cited for menus that try to be user-friendly accidentally having the opposite effect.

Who is it for? Internet newbies who want to set up an online store and don’t mind things like only integrating with two payment programs.

Pros
  • Unlimited storage and products in all plans
  • Easy to get started quickly
  • List of features is simple to learn
Cons
  • A small number of templates and apps available
  • Simplicity makes it a poor choice for advanced designers
  • Transaction fees

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • Personal ($25/month): Unlimited products and storage, 2% transaction fee
  • Professional ($75/month): Checkout and abandoned cart on domain, priority tech support, 1% transaction fee
  • Business ($135/moth): Adds dedicated account manager, 0.5% transaction fee

Free trial offered? 14 days

11. 3Dcart

3Dcart is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that focuses on ease of use and customizability. Having garnered a number of positive reviews in its 19-year history, 3Dcart presents an option for any business that’s worth comparing to Shopify and BigCommerce before making a decision. Its selection of free themes are all mobile-responsive and easy to upload products without taking too much time.

Some take issue with 3Dcart’s bandwidth limitations, which hurt scalability compared to its competitors. However, its app store has been well-received and includes support for practices like dropshipping (buying an item from a larger site to sell on your own).

Who is it for? Business owners who plan to remain small-scale.

Pros
  • Works with about 70 payment options
  • No transaction fees
  • All free themes mobile-friendly
  • Built-in marketing, social media, SEO
Cons
  • Pricing structure charges for bandwidth overages
  • Custom web design charges for more for responsive pages

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • Startup Store ($9/month, $19/month after first six): 1 staff user, 100 products, access to design features
  • Basic Store ($19/month, $29/month after first six): 2 staff users, unlimited products
  • Startup Store ($49/month, $79/month after first six): 5 staff users, product comparison, abandoned cart saver, daily deals
  • Startup Store ($129/month, $229/month after first six): 15 staff users, pre-orders, gift registry, rewards program, priority tech support

Free trial offered? 15 days

12. Webflow

If you’ve read this far, you know that website builders are a product marketed most often toward a specific type of end user: someone who knows they need a website for their business or blog but has very little experience coding or designing, and no time to learn. With a good landing page for your store or service more important than ever, this is an important market space, and the consumer wins when so many solid options are jostling to fill it.

Webflow, however, is not attempting to fill that space. This is the choice for the advanced designer: someone who is either willing to get their hands dirty with code, or has a strong visual imagination they’d like to unleash. You can build a great site with Webflow without touching the code–making that possible is part of their mission–but when using their Photoshop-like editor, you need to be aware that everything you build has code behind it.

The three main elements of Webflow are the Site Designer mentioned above, which comes with pre-made templates, the Content Management System, which allows you to define your own categories (blog posts, staff bios, services, or something more esoteric), and their Webflow Hosting system which posts your site to a live URL. Their team has also released a demo for e-commerce functionality, which is forthcoming.

Who is it for? Experienced web designers and coders who make a lot of money from their business and find WordPress limiting. Webflow offers video courses through “Webflow University” to teach designers about their product’s unique functions.

Pros
  • Content Management System helps site designers with complex projects
  • The editor will be a familiar setting for InDesign and Photoshop users
  • Offers professional control without needing to touch code
  • Webflow University video lessons and customer support help onboarding
  • Very few limits on control
Cons
  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Expensive premium plans

Pricing Plans and Costs

  • Free ($0/month): 2 projects, no private domain
  • Basic hosting ($12/month)
  • Lite ($16/month): 10 projects, unlocks code export
  • Premium ($35/month): Unlimited projects, site password protection
  • Team plan ($35/person/month): Work together on shared templates

Free trial offered? Unlimited free plan

Summary

By now you’ve been able to see that the world of website builders stretches far beyond what you might find at the top of the search results. This isn’t all of them, either–there are builders for every niche you can imagine, from single-page websites to other AI sites like Wix.

For reference when you’re ready to build your next site and want to look past Squarespace, here’s a breakdown of this list by who should choose what tool.

  • Beginners should choose Wix, Weebly, or PageCloud. The simple design interfaces on these creators will make building a good-looking website a breeze.
  • Bloggers should go with WordPress.com, Weebly, or Jimdo. These sites all have versatile tools for managing your content.
  • Users on a budget should choose uKIT, Jimdo, or Weebly, as all of them have full-service free plans (though with ads and without personal domains).
  • Beginners building a store won’t go wrong with Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, or 3Dcart, all dedicated e-commerce platforms.
  • Web design pros and coders should make a beeline for WordPress.org or Webflow.
  • Web design pros building a store will find WooCommerce is right for them.

Got a favorite platform that you didn’t see here? Tell us about it in the comments below!