Squarespace vs WP Engine: Which is Better?

by | Jun 12, 2017 | Compare Hosting, Web Hosting

We have a never-ending quest to deliver high-quality reviews of the best-hosting sites out there, and this is our latest installment. Today, we’ll be looking at two hosts who have vastly different approaches to providing content to their users, so before we even begin, we have to start with a disclaimer. WP Engine is a service that deals exclusively in WordPress, while Squarespace is designed for beginners and creatives who want to focus more on content than web building. These are two different segments of users, so depending on which kind you are you will have a predisposition towards one or the other.

That being said, let’s see how they stack up against each other and where they do overlap so that you can know what they offer. Another disclaimer here is that it’s difficult to figure out which one is “best” because they cater to two different needs, so we’ll try to keep things as objective as possible.

Pricing

As with all of our reviews, we want first to let you know what you can expect as far as cost. Usually, people will make this one of their top priorities, so we are aware that it can be a prohibitive feature of any service, hosting or otherwise. In this case, however, if you are going to base your decision on price alone, that will be a bit of a challenge because each service offers so much for what they do. As you will see, WP Engine is much more expensive than Squarespace, but the amount of value you get can make the extra fees worth it. We’ll get into that later, but we just want you to know why there is such a discrepancy.

Squarespace

  • Personal Package: $16 per month, $12 if billed annually
  • Business Package: $26 per month, $18 if billed annually
  • Basic Online Store: $30 per month, $24 if billed annually
  • Advanced Online Store: $46 per month, $40 if billed annually

WP Engine

  • Personal Plan: $29/month
  • Professional Plan: $99/month
  • Business Plan: $249/month
  • Premium Plan: Ask for a quote

It’s clear that Squarespace has the advantage in the pricing department, most notably because you have more options that are within the same relative range. That means that if you want a bare-bones site, you aren’t paying more than what you need. Overall, we have to give the win to Squarespace, but if you are looking for more functionality, then WP Engine will be the better choice.

Winner: Squarespace

Money Back Guarantee

Another aspect of the cost of a hosting service is how long they give you to change your mind. Building a website is not something that can be done quickly (relatively speaking), so you want to have a chance to explore and play with your features and benefits before making a final decision. In this case, Squarespace lets you try their services for free for up to fourteen days, while WP Engine gives you sixty to ask for a full refund. As you probably noticed, there is a significant difference between the two in that Squarespace doesn’t ask for money up front, but having only two weeks is not enough time if you want to see all that it has to offer. Overall, WP Engine has the better deal.

Winner: WP Engine

Customer Support

We’ve already discussed the importance of value over cost, and one of the best ways to determine how much value you get from a service is how well they treat their customers. In this case, both Squarespace and WP Engine have excellent response times, but they go about it slightly differently.

Phone Support

For many people, talking to someone on the phone is the best way to ensure that you can get your issue resolved as you can stay on the line until you are satisfied that things have been fixed. The only downside is waiting on hold, but WP Engine is pretty good about limiting wait times for its customers. Squarespace, on the other hand, does not have a phone number, so don’t even try to call them. That doesn’t mean that they are out of reach, but you won’t be able to talk to anyone.

Winner: WP Engine

Live Chat

This is the next best thing to having a phone call as it provides the same level of immediacy without any Muzak or awkward silences. Both hosts have excellent chat services that respond quickly and will help resolve any issue in record time.

Winner: a Tie

Email

When stacking up these two hosts, this is where Squarespace shines over WP Engine. Depending on the time of day, WP may or may not get back to you right away through email. You have to open a ticket and wait for a response. While they don’t take exorbitantly long (usually a few hours or so), Squarespace has a commitment to answering emails within an hour, regardless of the time of day. Thus, you will never have to wait too long to get an answer for anything.

Winner: Squarespace

Forums

If you’re the type of person who likes to figure things out for yourself, then forums and FAQs are the best way to go as it enables you to learn the ins and outs of the service without having to contact anyone. Both hosts have such resources at your disposal, but because Squarespace is more limited in the kinds of things it can do, the information is not as in-depth as what you can find on WP Engine.

Winner: WP Engine

In the end, both hosts have excellent customer service records and experience, so no matter which one you choose, you’re sure to get your problems resolved promptly and efficiently, which is a great sign of a good host.

Speed

Now we are going to get into the nitty gritty details of each host and see what they can offer as far as performance. You don’t want your web page to crash, nor do you want it to take forever to load either. In this case, we want to see how these services provide the best results for your site so that your audience will get a fantastic experience each time they visit your page. To do this, we looked at the average ratings for both sites to see which one is better. Additionally, because Squarespace automatically optimizes for mobile devices, we have a score for that as well. Let’s see how they did.

Squarespace

  • Desktop Rating: 70
  • Mobile Rating: 40

WP Engine

  • Desktop Rating: 95
  • Mobile Rating: N/A

We couldn’t find reliable data that shows how fast WP Engine is on a mobile device, but given how well it performs on the desktop we have to imagine that it’s still better than Squarespace. Part of the reason that WP Engine is so much better is that they focus on form and function, while Squarespace is mostly built for aesthetic value. As such, it’s not one of the top services for speed.

Winner: WP Engine

Downtime/Uptime

The other side of website functionality is whether or not it crashes at all. Both WP Engine and Squarespace utilize cloud hosting to minimize downtime, which means that they both have exceptional track records. In fact, the difference is a negligible 0.01%, so they are practically tied.

Squarespace: 99.99% uptime

WP Engine: 99.98% uptime

As you can see, you won’t ever have to worry about your site crashing for any reason, making them both high-quality hosts in this regard.

Winner: a Tie

Features

We told you that eventually, we would focus on the features and value of each host, so now is the time that we dive into the various things that they offer. We also talked about the fact that each service is geared for different types of users, so you will have to keep that in mind when looking at the features and benefits you get with each host.

Squarespace

  • Personal Package: free domain, 20 pages, unlimited data and bandwidth, SSL Security, E-commerce capable
  • Business Package: free domain, unlimited pages, bandwidth, and data, SSL security, email accounts, E-commerce capable
  • Basic Online Store: free domain, unlimited pages, bandwidth, and data, SSL security, no transaction fees, inventory tracking
  • Advanced Online Store: free domain, unlimited pages, bandwidth, and data, SSL security, no transaction fees, inventory tracking, accounting services, shipping services

Ultimately, these packages are designed to help you launch an e-commerce store or blog easily and without limitations. If you do transactions on the Personal or Business packages, then Squarespace does charge a fee, so keep that in mind. Nonetheless, they make it as simple as possible to open up an online store.

WP Engine

  • Personal Plan: one website, 25K visitors a month, 10 GB storage, unlimited data, SSL security
  • Professional Plan: 10 websites, 100K visitors a month, 20 GB storage, unlimited data, SSL security
  • Business Plan: 25 websites, 400K visitors a month, 30 GB storage, unlimited data, SSL security
  • Premium Plan: 150 websites, 1 million visitors, 100-300 GB storage, unlimited data, SSL security
  • Enterprise Plan: 150 websites, 5 million visitors, 400 GB-1TB storage, unlimited data, SSL security

You can see that these plans are all about giving you more functionality and traffic. With WP Engine, you also get access to all of WordPress’ programs and templates, which means that you can do so much more with your websites than you thought possible. Additionally, it’s easy to add e-commerce options to them, making this host another ideal choice for online stores.

It’s hard to say which site is better than the other because they are so different. On the one hand, Squarespace makes it easy for creatives and beginners to set up a beautiful looking website, while on the other hand, WP Engine gives you more functionality. However, one metric that we have to pay the most attention to is performance, and WP Engine can do laps around Squarespace. In the end, your site may look fabulous, but it won’t load as quickly. As such, we have to give the title to WP Engine.

Winner: WP Engine

To see how WP Engine holds up against other hosting services check-out our WP Engine vs. GoDaddy post or our WP Engine vs HostGator Post.