Squarespace pricing: Which Plan Is Best for Your Site? (2020)

So, it’s time for you to build your website.

You want a website that looks amazing, but doesn’t take too much technical skill on your part to create and manage.

A website builder sounds like the right thing for you, and of them, Squarespace is looking pretty good.

But while Squarespace emphasizes itself as an all-in-one, easy solution, are things really that simple?

Is it too good to be true?

Don’t worry, friend. In this article, I’ll dive deep into Squarespace’s pricing.

You’ll get to find out how simple the pricing is, where the hidden expenses may come from, and ultimately what Squarespace REALLY costs and what it means for you.

Sound good?

Cool. Let’s start with an overview of the pricing plans themselves:

Squarespace’s Pricing Plans

Squarespace has four pricing plans, or tiers. They have names, but I’ll mostly refer to them in this article as their placement on the tier list (ie., “first tier”).

The best way to explain is to just show you how Squarespace presents them:

Squarespace pricing

Note that this is not a full list of features—just the basics.

Now, just to clear something up before we go on with the rest of the article:

Those prices assume you pay annually. The “per month” price is a bit misleading in that sense. If you pay month-to-month, these are the prices:

Squarespace monthly price

Now that you’ve got a sense of the basic pricing structure, let’s get into some of the details:

Breakdown of Squarespace’s Pricing

Part 1: How much does Squarespace cost?

One of the biggest selling points for most website builders, including Squarespace, is that they provide most of what you need out of the box.

But does that mean that the price you pay is also simple?

In general, yes.

Technically speaking, this is all that Squarespace costs alone, bare minimum:

  • The cost of your chosen Squarespace package, monthly or yearly
  • Transaction fees of 3% of sales, if you’re on the “Business”/2nd tier
  • Free domains through Squarespace are only free the first year, and only for annually-paid plans. You don’t HAVE to use one from Squarespace, but many do.
  • Email (Gmail and G Suite) is free the first year for top 3 tiers, but renews at cost

But realistically speaking, there are other expenses you may make that increase your total.

These may come from third parties, and apply to site-builders in general, not just Squarespace specifically.

It varies greatly person-to-person, but the REAL cost of running your site on Squarespace may amount to something like this:

  • The cost of your Squarespace plan
  • Transaction fees (if you’re on the second tier)
  • Transaction fees for any other payment or credit card processors aside from Squarespace Commerce’s processor
  • Domain name renewal IF registered through Squarespace (as noted above)
  • OR the cost of a domain purchased from a registrar separately
  • Email renewal for relevant tiers, as mentioned, OR first-year purchase for first tier
  • Email marketing plans—Squarespace’s own extra feature for email marketing
  • Extensions (also known as integrations, apps, or plugins) from third parties

I’ll get more into these additional costs later, but the short version is that your Squarespace site may, at BEST, only cost your payment plan’s figures.

But more likely, it will bring additional charges after the first year, and you will spend more money on additional tools to boost your experience.

Part 2: Which pricing plan is right for you?

Let’s take this step by step:

Do you need ecommerce features? In other words, the ability for visitors to purchase things from your site.

If not, the first tier should be fine for you.

If you DO need ecommerce features, any of the latter three tiers would be good.

But for choosing among those last three tiers, the difference mostly comes down to how many commerce-related features you want.

For example, while the second tier has basic ecommerce, the third tier has a lot of good stuff too:

For example, a point-of-sale app that lets you sell in-person; accounts for customers; better analytics and merchandising; and secure checkout on your own domain.

The third tier is good for those who don’t need to go all-out in their ecommerce features, but would like to get just those handful of extra ecommerce features I mentioned above.

If you want more than what the third tier offers by default, but you don’t want to fully upgrade to the fourth (and final) tier, don’t worry!

You can add extensions as needed to your account, particularly at the Basic Commerce tier.

But if you want the full list of features, this is what the final pricing plan would get you, that you CAN’T get on the previous tiers:

Squarespace features

Things like abandoned cart recovery (which automatically emails customers who abandoned their checkout process partway through), subscriptions, etc—these are powerful features.

Now, with ecommerce needs covered, let’s rewind:

Suppose you DON’T have interest in running an online store, but you’re still looking for more than what the first tier offers.

If that’s you, you might wonder if there’s a good reason to upgrade.

While most of the extra features between tiers are related to commerce, it might be worth upgrading to the second tier for the following:

Squarespace-second-tire-features

These are good simply for having a more professional and robust site, even if you don’t plan on selling things.

So those features would be the other reason for a person to upgrade tiers, ASIDE from commerce.

Part 3: Additional Squarespace costs

I briefly listed some of these in the section on how much Squarespace costs, but let’s talk about them in a little bit more detail.

I’ve said it before, but if you use G Suite through Squarespace (“professional email”), it costs extra.

In short: if you’re on the entry-level pricing plan, you have to pay for it right off the bat.

If you’re on any of the higher pricing plans, you get G Suite free for a year, but pay for it afterwards.

So that’s one cost that appears to be free but isn’t.

I also mentioned their email marketing feature earlier.

The email marketing feature is useful, especially if you like that Squarespace is an all-in-one solution.

But it’s definitely NOT free. It even has its own pricing plan:

Squarespace-annual-pricing

So those prices are what you’d pay for built-in email marketing (annually—there are monthly prices as well).

However, you can still use a third party email marketing software integrated with Squarespace.

You’ll have to double-check the extensions available, but at least Mailchimp is available as a premium integration.

On that note, you will also need to pay for integrations/extensions if you want to use them.

As these are tools from third parties, they each have their own pricing plans. Some may be free, or have a freemium model (a limited free first tier but mostly paid features).

It’s pretty common for website builders and online store builders (like Wix and Shopify) to also integrate with popular third party apps.

HOWEVER, total site costs can quickly rise when adding extensions, so it’s important to be mindful of them.

And lastly, the domain name:

If you pay for Squarespace with annual, up-front payments, then you get a free domain regardless of which tier you have.

BUT, it’s only free for the first year. After that first year, it will renew at the “regular rate”—this is about the rate you’d pay if you purchased it normally through Squarespace.

It’s also what you’ll pay if you register a domain on Squarespace while paying monthly.

The regular rate varies. But generally, it’ll be at least $20:

Squarespace site

To be honest with you, this is more expensive than what most domain registrars charge.

But Squarespace is offering good domain name features, plus ease of use—so the calculation may be worth it for many of you anyway.

Anyway, those are the “hidden costs.” To be fair, Squarespace is forthcoming about them. But they are still frequently overlooked by people.

Part 4: Squarespace pricing vs. competitors’ pricing

To compare Squarespace with competitors, let me quickly explain how these companies compete.

Squarespace is a website builder that features ecommerce features.

Ecommerce is a very important component of Squarespace, but it’s still an all-in-one solution for website management in GENERAL.

Wix is very similar to this. It’s an all-around website builder that features ecommerce features prominently, but is still an all-in-one solution.

Then there’s Shopify. Shopify is specifically a builder for online stores. It’s also an all-in-one solution, but for ecommerce.

They are all very similar in their focus on design, ease of use, and being generally great out-of-the-box platforms.

Wix’s pricing plans look like this:

wix-pricing

The main differentiator between tiers here, are the levels of storage, and extra apps or features.

Wix also has another set of tiers just for ecommerce sites:

wix-for-ecommerce

In this sense, Wix has more complicated pricing than Squarespace.

However, Wix’s pricing for its four regular tiers is super similar to Squarespace’s.

The difference is that Squarespace’s last 3 tiers include the features that Wix has in its special ecommerce tiers. And, Squarespace doesn’t limit storage at any tier.

So overall, Squarespace is more generous with pairing features to price than Wix.

You can check out this full comparison I wrote about them here if you want to learn more.

Now, Shopify is simpler in its pricing than Wix, and even Squarespace, because it’s more focused:

shopify-pricing

With Shopify, the default is to pay monthly. However, you can lower the prices shown above by paying annually or by paying for two years (which discount 10% and 20%, respectively).

Even when you compare these to Squarespace’s month-to-month payments, Squarespace is significantly cheaper.

Squarespace STARTS at $16 a month ($12 a month if paid annually), which is just over half of where Shopify starts.

And Squarespace’s HIGHEST tier doesn’t even come close to Shopify’s MIDDLE tier.

Okay, I’ll be fair to Shopify:

Shopify is zeroing in on ecommerce features more than Squarespace. The basics are the same, but Shopify does have some extra features:

For example, Shopify is stronger in shipping features and extensions, and offers abandoned cart recovery for its first tier, compared to Squarespace only offering that tool for its last tier.

To sum up: if you just need the big tools of ecommerce with your all-in-one site builder, Squarespace is cheaper than Shopify.

And if you want a store with great design, Squarespace may also be better.

If you’re trying to go all-in on ecommerce features, however, Shopify may be a better investment.

For more on Shopify and Squarespace, check out this deep dive comparison.

Now, there is one other competitor I didn’t mention above, because it’s a beast of its own: WordPress and WooCommerce.

Basically, WordPress is a content management system, or CMS. It’s categorically different from Shopify or Wix, at least for most people.

WooCommerce is a mega-popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress.

WordPress is more expensive than a site builder in some ways, but it features less of a built-in easy design component, and customization tools are more dependent on the themes used.

Here’s the simplest outline of how WordPress sites add costs:

  • WordPress.org is free and open-source software. However, to use it, one must pay for website hosting (and usually a domain) separately.
  • WordPress.com is the commercial version based on the above version. It’s easier to use and includes hosting. Basics are free, but paid tiers are needed for full features.
  • WooCommerce is free, but has paid tiers for extra features.
  • Plugins are more important for WordPress because less features are built-in. Additionally, a certain paid tier of WordPress.com is needed to use plugins.
  • While many themes are technically free, most are freemium, with purchase necessary to unlock full customization.

Do you see how complicated that all is? WordPress in general involves more moving parts, even with the simplified commercial version.

So a WordPress site CAN be cheaper than Squarespace, if you go out of your way to prioritize your costs only. But WordPress sites frequently run into the hundreds or even thousands.

So the price range is much more variable, and WordPress itself is more complicated (at least the free version is).

Part 5: Squarespace FAQs


Should I get a domain from Squarespace as opposed to another domain registrar?

The honest answer here, is that it doesn’t actually matter TOO much.

Registering a domain through Squarespace is fine if you don’t want too much hassle. It’s also nice to not have to pay for the first year (assuming you’re paying yearly).

However, that renewal price is likely going to be upwards of $20.

Personally, I find it more flexible to use separate registrars: it’s easier to switch the platforms I use to manage my site by simply disconnecting or reconnecting my domains.

Additionally, it’s easier to ensure your domain renews at a lower cost when using a registrar.

While it’s not too difficult to connect a domain to any platform, it IS an extra task many would prefer to avoid, however.


Why is Squarespace so expensive compared to web hosting?

Firstly, it’s not that much more expensive. Web hosting plans look cheap at first, but often renew at significantly higher prices after a year.

Many also have add-ons that renew at cost, like Squarespace. Plus, the low price you see is often only low if you commit to two or more years, so it’s pricey up-front and less flexible.

Secondly, ease of use costs money. If you scroll up again, you’ll find that Squarespace isn’t really pricier than its site builder rivals.

Thirdly: Squarespace’s ease of use overlaps with its focus on design. Web hosting focuses less on the design aspect of building a site and more the technical side.

Fourthly, Squarespace doesn’t limit your resources the way traditional web hosting does.


Does Squarespace have a free trial or a money-back guarantee?

Squarespace has a 14-day free trial.

Meaning, INSTEAD of paying for a plan first and then requesting a refund within a certain period of time, you just make an account for free and start using the service.

You won’t be asked to register your payment info at all, until your free trial expires and you decide to pay for the service for good.


Conclusion: How good is Squarespace’s pricing?

Let’s wrap this up, folks.

Overall, Squarespace’s pricing is pretty good. There are a few negative points about it, however, mainly in the form of extra costs after the first year.

Even if you just use the pricing plan without third party extensions, domains and G Suite will renew at cost after being free for a year.

Additionally, accessing a larger range of ecommerce tools involves paying extra for Squarespace’s email marketing toolset and/or paying for third party extensions.

However, when we compare Squarespace to its competitors, we can see that it’s not so bad:

Squarespace is more generous with its storage and ecommerce tools than its primary competitors, while still retaining overall low prices.

Furthermore, paying for third party extensions on a site-builder is nothing unique to Squarespace: it’s equally common on Wix, Shopify, WordPress, and others.

So looking at things holistically, Squarespace is still offering a great deal for the price!

But you don’t need to take my word for it if you’re not convinced.

Just try out Squarespace yourself to find out—it’s free anyway!

Squarespace-free-trial

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