Do you want to skip the read and get right to my pick in this Bluehost vs Squarespace comparison? The better website builder for most people is Squarespace.
Introduction: Why would you consider Bluehost or Squarespace as your next website builder?
Anyone who runs a business online needs to have a highly interactive website hosted on a sturdy and resilient platform. This is especially true these days given how the enforced closure of physical stores due to the ongoing pandemic has driven entrepreneurs to rethink the brick and mortar scenario in order to get a foothold in the growing online marketplace.
To be frank, online retailers are spoilt for choice when it comes to reliable site builders and hosting services. For this particular Bluehost Squarespace review, we are looking at two names that have been quite popular over the past few years: Bluehost and Squarespace.
Pros and Cons of Bluehost and Squarespace:
For a more in-depth understanding of each alternative to this Bluehost or Squarespace showdown, you can read:
Before diving into our comparison proper, here are our contenders – Bluehost and Squarespace – in a nutshell:
The thing about Bluehost is that it is almost intrinsically tied to leading blogging platform WordPress as it is the hosting service of choice for self-hosted sites built with its open-source WordPress.org platform. You may wonder why we’re featuring Bluehost in a review against an website builder, but hear us out: the service provider actually has its own site builder called Bluehost builder. We’ll see how that stacks up against the competition too.
In recent years, Squarespace has become the darling of the global creative community, as it is one of the few ecommerce builders available that offers solutions for visual and performing artists to market their work online. While not exactly the most tractable of site builders, Squarespace’s growing following stems from the fact that it allows users to offer scheduled services and digital downloads on top of physical products.
Ease of Use:
Its own site builder is relatively easy enough to use. Furthermore, its connection to WordPress gives Bluehost an edge in Squarespace vs Bluehost for blogging comparison. However the WordPress route is arguably not ideal for newbies. Setting up the service requires some knowledge of back-end site management (setting up your FTP for uploading, DNS settings, etc) and since Bluehost is closely affiliated with WordPress, some knowledge of CMS content management, as well.
Compared to Bluehost Squarespace takes a while to get used to. Unlike other site builders, it isn’t laid out as systematically and some tools are buried deep within the UI. You’ll need to sit down with it for an hour or so to orient yourself with the platform, but once you get the hang of it, it’s intuitive enough to adapt to your work style.
Winner – Bluehost! This category is somewhat awkward to judge, but we are going with Bluehost in Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘Ease of Use' comparison if we are to simply look at how easy the site builder is to use. Theirs is as basic as it gets.
Features and Flexibility:
Our next criterion is the number and range of Bluehost Squarespace features, as well as themes, customisation tools, integrations, hosting, and backups and migration.
What built-in features can you expect from Bluehost Squarespace?
Even the most basic of Bluehost subscriptions come with a number of enticing features that will grab the attention of site owners and developers: unlimited bandwidth, a free domain for a year, and 50Gb of storage space. However, where it does fall flat is its very basic bluehost builder – it’s a quick way to get started, but it has very little in the way of more solid features to improve site functionality and interactivity.
Squarespace offers a stellar building, eCommerce and hosting package right out of the gate: Standard subscription inclusions offer unlimited bandwidth, more than ample storage, and an incredibly extensive range of eCommerce tools for both products and services.
Themes and Templates:
Which between Bluehost and Squarespace gives you the ability to create beautiful websites?
Unfortunately, when comparing Bluehost to Squarespace in this criterion, the former Bluehost builder tends to fall flat in this category. As is, it only has one standard CMS-ready template to use with its builder. If you want better options, you will need to go the WordPress.org and premium theme route with all the necessary bells and whistles.
Depending on your industry, you’re bound to find a Squarespace template to suit your website or online store. The platform offers over 100 distinctive templates which are organised by industry rather than by aesthetic.
Websites need to reflect your brand identity – how does Bluehost or Squarespace let you tweak your site?
Need to create a custom look or even specific features for your website? Bluehost has you covered with a value-added WordPress service called Blue Sky. An expert-driven service rather than a tool, Blue Sky allows Bluehost users to connect with web design and technical professionals who will help them create a better-looking site and improve the overall user experience. The catch? Well, you’ll have to pay extra for the service.
Whether it’s for improving your site’s appearance or creating custom widgets, you can have it all with Squarespace. You get tools for aesthetic customisation and the creation of features unique to your site built into the UI.
3rd Party Integrations:
What integrations can Bluehost or Squarespace offer to add to your site's functionality?
If you want access to a full library of third-party applications and plugins on Bluehost builder alone, you will be sadly disappointed. However, if you are using Bluehost with WordPress, you will have access to the WordPress platform’s roster of over 60,000 applications and plugins. There is a caveat, however: many of these are community-developed, so be sure to check prior to downloading if these won’t compromise your site’s security.
While not as large a number as what WordPress can offer, Squarespace’s in-platform marketplace Squarespace Extensions offers more than 3,000 unique applications ranging from productivity management solutions to ecommerce tools. Rather than depend on community-made plugins, many of Squarespace’s integrations come from notable – and trustworthy – names in the IT industry like Google, Stripe, PayPal, and Mailchimp.
When it comes to hosting, how do Bluehost and Squarespace perform?
Bluehost has long had a sterling reputation as one of the most reliable web hosting services in the industry, and is WordPress's hosting choice. and offers both cloud-based and content delivery network (CDN, physical servers in various locations) hosting. Sites using the cloud enjoy 99% uptime and a complete lack of lag time.
Squarespace strictly offers cloud-based hosting, and this gives users the assurance that their sites are hosted on a very secure server and business continuity is assured at all times.
Data loss is real. So how does Bluehost or Squarespace protect you?
Unfortunately, automated and scheduled backups are not included in any of Bluehost’s subscription packages. Backing up data for a Bluehost site is a manual process where users need to save important information – customer info, transactional data, daily earnings – as individual *.csv files into a separate storage device or into your desktop.
Squarespace doesn’t have an automated backup process in its UI, but it offers a tutorial in its knowledge base for backing up and redeploying saved site data in the event of a crash or hacking incident.
If you want to move your site to another platform, how does Bluehost Squarespace help you?
There are three ways by which you can migrate a site to this platform. Bluehost migration needs to be done manually (and the process is practically the same as that for manual backup), with the use of WordPress’ proprietary migration plugin Jetpack, or a compatible third-party migration app.
Moving non-ecommerce sites or standard blogs is easy, as there is a feature already built into the UI. Store data, on the other hand, needs to be uploaded to one’s Squarespace account manually in the form of *.csv files.
Winner – Squarespace! in this Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘Features and Flexibility' showdown.
SEO and Mobility:
If you want your website found, you have to excel in SEO. How do Bluehost and Squarespace stack up in this area?
Between Bluehost and Squarespace, which platform helps you rank better?
If you want your site to be SEO-ready, there isn’t a tool that you can use as standard but you can install a 3rd party SEO plugin and also hire an SEO expert via the platform’s Blue Sky service.
Unlike Bluehost Squarespace’s UI is already equipped with its own set of SEO tools.
Which makes a more mobile-responsive site – Bluehost or Squarespace?
Bluehost currently doesn’t have provisions for site management via mobile, but it can link with an app that allows users to optimise their sites for both iOS and Android devices.
Like Bluehost Squarespace has apps compatible with either Android or iOS.
Who delivers faster loading pages in Bluehost vs Squarespace?
If you built your site with WordPress and hosted it with Bluehost, the average loading time will be pegged at 3.22 seconds.
Compared to Bluehost Squarespace sites are faster and load within 2.49 seconds.
Winner- Squarespace! in this Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘SEO and Mobility' battle. As far as functionality is concerned, we are giving this round to Squarespace
Should you want to build an online store, how does Bluehost or Squarespace help you do that?
For eCommerce you should go the WordPress route over its standard Bluehost Builder. Then Bluehost’s longstanding partnership with WordPress means that it has the platform’s eCommerce plugin WooCommerce in its arsenal. This open-source plugin offers a whole roster of ecommerce capabilities that users can clip onto their websites to transform them into fully-functional online stores.
Compared to Bluehost Squarespace offers a range of standard tools for online retail, it stands out because it has solutions for offering services and scheduled appointments in the ecommerce section of its UI. This toolkit includes scheduling tools for keeping tabs on appointments or gigs, as well as solutions for online collaboration. It also has a built-in feature that enables multimedia creators to offer digital downloads in their online stores.
Winner – Squarespace! in this Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘eCommerce Tools' comparison. Again, Squarespace comes away as the winner
Support and Resources:
If you need help navigating through the platform, does Bluehost or Squarespace provide competent support?
Bluehost offers 24/7 customer and technical service via email, LiveChat, and phone. Its knowledge base is also well-maintained. However, much of its team’s expertise revolves around its hosting service rather than its builder. The Bluehost Sky Service can then be used for WordPress website support at additional costs.
Compared to Bluehost Squarespace’s customer support is both efficient and knowledgeable about common technical issues plaguing site users. Issue escalation to more knowledgeable team members also goes off without a hitch, and their knowledge base is extensive and frequently updated.
Winner – DRAW! We’re calling this Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘Support and Resources' round a draw.
Cost is always a primary consideration when choosing software. How does Bluehost or Squarespace bring value for money?
For as low as $3.95 monthly, Bluehost gives users access to powerful servers in which to house their websites, along with perks like unlimited bandwidth and more than ample storage. It also offers hosting plans depending on the size of your business, so it can be as low at $3.95 for a personal site to up to $119.99 for sites created for VLE customers.
The optional Bluehost Sky Service then costs from $24.99 per month.
Squarespace’s four plans range from $12 to $40 monthly, and features are dependent on your plan of choice. For ecommerce users, we recommend the two highest subscription tiers as these options offer the best possible range of tools and solutions.
Winner – Squarespace! in this Bluehost vs Squarespace ‘Pricing' category.
Comparison Winner: Bluehost or Squarespace?
All things considered, if you are in the market for an ecommerce builder, Squarespace is the platform that will give you the most in terms of tools and functional benefits. Therefore, we find Squarespace as Comparison Winner in this battle.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
Wrapping up our Bluehost and Squarespace comparison;
What is Bluehost best for?
Bluehost’s primary strength is as a standalone hosting service for sites built on various platforms, but it really comes into its own as a partner to WordPress.
What is Squarespace best for?
Squarespace is an excellent choice for ecommerce, particularly for those in creative industries like publishing and the visual arts. Likewise, we recommend it for businesses that offer services rather than products.
Squarespace may have come out the winner in our analysis, but we recommend you take a good look at the available options for blogging and site building beyond the Bluehost and Squarespace rivalry, and make your own comparisons for a platform that suits your needs.
I work with a WordPress site, so which provider would best suit me as a site host?
Bluehost is one of WordPress’s technical partners and it’s a hosting service that works well for both blogs and sites built using the platform’s open-source engine.
Which of these can I use if I want to offer services like spa treatments or therapies?
For those in the service sector, we recommend Squarespace as this has built-in provisions for offering services and scheduling appointments with clients.
That’s all for now:
If you've read our Bluehost vs Squarespace comparison review up to here, we are grateful. Remember always to keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other articles, such as the ones below;
- Squarespace vs WordPress
- Squarespace vs Wix vs WordPress
- What is the best WordPress Hosting in UK?
- Squarespace eCommerce Review
- Bluehost vs Wix
Please share any comments below!
Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie is our Chief Editor. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.