Review

Squarespace Review- Build a beautiful website


Review of: Squarespace
Hosting by:
Squarespace
Version:
Hosting

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On May 17, 2016
Last modified:August 10, 2016

Summary:

Looking to easily and quickly build your own website? Read our Squarespace review to see if their 14 day free trial and site builder are right for you!

For those of us that lack the cutting edge knowledge that is required to create and develop an impressive site, there are some alternatives in the form of site building services. One of the standouts in the field is Squarespace, which has enjoyed a significant rise in popularity over the past couple years.

While not exactly a “free” service such as Wix or Weebly, Squarespace does offer a 14-day free trial (which doesn’t require a credit card) for you to build and host a website before committing.

It is important to note, however, that like all site builder/free hosting services, Squarespace is somewhat restricted when it comes to advanced features that web hosting veterans have grown accustomed to.

Nonetheless, Squarespace is an immensely popular service, as backed up by their impressive Superbowl advertisement. Keep reading our Squarespace review to find out if their service might be right for you!

  • ProsPROS
  • No ads
  • Mobile-responsive templates
  • 21-day free trial
  • Site analytics dashboard
  • ConsCONS
  • Some question marks regarding customer service
  • Custom SSLs not supported
  • No money back guarantee

Visit Squarespace »

Squarespace Overview

Squarespace gets things going with a 14-day free trial, although this can be optionally extended for an additional seven days. It’s important to keep in mind that your site won’t be indexed by search engines while in trial, meaning the trial is really only meant for experimenting and testing.

Squarespace has a couple different options when it comes time to upgrade your plan, with paid options available in three different tiers: cover pages, website, and commerce.

Squarespace website plan

Cover pages are meant for a single page website, starting at $5 a month (for annual contracts, $7 for month to month). Website plans are more traditional hosting packages starting at $12 (annually, $16 for month to month pricing) for their Personal plan or $18 (annually, $26 for month to month pricing) for their Business plan.

Squarespace cover page plan

If you are looking to start your own online shop or conduct any e-commerce business, Squarespace has e-commerce plans specifically intended for heavy traffic, e-commerce websites.

Squarespace commerce plan

While domain names for free Squarespace users come with built-in domains in the form of Firstname-Lastname.Squarespace.com. If you are looking to upgrade your plan, keep in mind that they offer free domain registration with annual plans.

Squarespace domain

Squarespace Video

Check out this helpful video on Squarespace’s latest version!

Squarespace Features

With Squarespace primarily being a site builder service, their primary focus is on creating responsive and dynamic websites with little to no back end knowledge.

Signing up is remarkably simple, with just a quick e-mail signup required before you can start personalizing and building your own website. Once again, keep in mind that your site will not be indexed nor will it be publicly available until you upgrade your account, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build and experiment using their free web hosting and site builder.

Squarespace site builder

Squarespace has dozens of unique templates, fitting your specific needs with sites designed with businesses, portfolios, musicians, and pretty much any other niche you can think of. All templates are mobile-responsive right out of the box, although it was slightly disappointing to not be able to preview or edit our site from a mobile viewpoint like with Weebly or Wix.

Squarespace templates

There is a brand advertisement (badge) that can be displayed on your website, although this is thankfully disabled by default. You can enable this feature at any time from the main site builder interface (although we don’t see why anyone would want to).

Squarespace badge

We really liked that there is a site analytics dashboard also built into the main interface, while there are also some helpful SEO tools, RSS features, and other site metrics as well.

Squarespace analytics

 

Visit Squarespace »

Squarespace Performance

When it comes to performance, we are again forced to bring up the difference between a paid, premium hosting service and a site building service again. Squarespace and other similar providers focus more on an easy site-building experience, while a premium hosting provider such as MochaHost or Digital Ocean will only serve one purpose: quality up time and fast page load times.

That being said, Squarespace is immensely popular for a variety of reasons, with a stable network providing your site’s visitors with good page load times and excellent server up time. Their data center is located smack dab in central Manhattan, providing one of the world’s largest internet hubs with local, ultra-fast connectivity. A fully modular switch fabric with a 1.5 Tbps network capacity and multiple redundant UPS systems are in place to better protect you from any downtime.

Squarespace data center

We gave our Squarespace test site a run with Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool, testing our NYC-based site from three different locations to get a better idea of their page load times. All three of our test locations came back with acceptable, industry-standard results, with only a relatively small increase for our Australian speed test.

Squarespace speed1
NYC
Squarespace speed2
San Jose, California
Squarespace speed3
Melbourne, Australia

Squarespace offers a 99.9% up time guarantee, while the only notable incident that Squarespace has dealt with relatively recently was during Hurricane Sandy (close proximity to NYC) in late 2012. Luckily, due to some pretty amazing staff, Squarespace customers were able to completely avoid downtime during one of the worst U.S natural disasters in recent memory.

Expecting traffic to your site from all over the world? All images are hosted on a global CDN (content delivery network) to increase page load times regardless of the overall size of your website.

Squarespace Interface & Security

Squarespace keeps features simple and easy to find by bundling their site builder interface together with account management, allowing you to quickly manage multiple sites from a comfortable user dashboard. You can also modify any template using an included CSS editor, which is attractive for those going for a specific color or style for their site.

Squarespace custom css

An available feature that stood out to us is the option to register as a developer within the account management dashboard, giving you full control over your site’s HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Developer mode also includes JSON API in order to output content from the CMS.

Squarespace developer

Security is of paramount importance in today’s IT world, with any e-commerce or growing website requiring increased vigilance along with extra security features to better protect you and your site’s visitors. Payments made to your website are handled via Stripe, which guarantees and protects customer information being transmitted through your site. You also have the option to secure your site with a site-wide password, although this is feature is more meant for incomplete or unpublished sites.

Squarespace password

Squarespace unfortunately doesn’t offer support for custom SSL certificates being installed, although each e-commerce checkout page is protected by SSL (if you have a form of e-commerce on your site).

Squarespace Customer Service

While Squarespace doesn’t offer the same customer service options as most paid hosting providers, there is still an impressive range of support available in the form of a knowledge base, tutorial videos, and a community FAQ section. There is also a ticket support system in place should you have any specific questions or needs.

To get a better idea of Squarespace’s customer service, we submitted a test ticket regarding accepted payment methods on a weekday morning to see how long it would take for a response. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a reply in just under an hour, with the customer service rep giving us a professional and fitting response to our query.

Squarespace support

If you do end up purchasing a paid plan, keep in mind that a money back guarantee is not offered in addition to their 14 (or 21) day trial period. Those who purchase an annual plan however, will receive a prorated refund for any unused time.

Squarespace Review Conclusion

I liked

  • No ads
  • Mobile-responsive templates
  • 21-day free trial

I wasn’t so sure about

  • No custom SSL support
  • Limited customer service options

I hated

  • No money back guarantee

While Squarespace doesn’t have the same features or capabilities as a premium hosting service (check out our recommendations), they are a great option for those looking to avoid the technicalities and back end of web hosting and management.

With dozens of unique, mobile-responsive templates available to start designing your website, Squarespace is an easy and quick way to get your website published on the web. With a 14-day trial that can be increased by an additional seven days, give them a try at no risk to your wallet!

Visit Squarespace »


Published on: May 17,2016.
Thomas Ujj is an expat/traveler and IT enthusiast with a passion for IT security and privacy. When he isn’t planning his next trip, he likes to take time to practice his Italian cooking as well as religiously watching Italian football team AS Roma.

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