To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Squarespace review: Superb designs now with added flexibility

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £12
per month, starting price

Excellence doesn’t come cheap, but Squarespace is worth the extra for building slick business sites and online stores


  • Professional-looking templates
  • Flexible approach to design
  • Comprehensive ecommerce and marketing features


  • Not as quick or easy as other website builders
  • Can’t simply switch templates once you’ve started
  • No free or really cheap plans

As a website builder, Squarespace has always had its strengths, particularly an excellent UI, great business and ecommerce features, and a fantastic set of professional-grade templates. It was arguably the first website builder that enabled just about anyone to develop a great-looking, easily navigable site.

However, Squarespace also had its weaknesses. Where the likes of Wix and Weebly were flush with templates and customisation features, Squarespace could seem restrictive, as if the only way to ensure you maintained a good design was to give you precious little scope to do anything different.

This changed with the release of Squarespace 7.1 last year with the new Fluid Engine; a block-based, drag-and-drop editor based around a 24-column grid. With this, you could finally add whatever components you like to a page, move them around at will and even overlap them, with snap-to-grid features making it easier to keep everything aligned and consistent from page to page. Squarespace now delivers more freedom to build whatever site you want to build, without taking you too far off the rails of good design.

View offers at Squarespace

Squarespace review: What do you get for the money?

Squarespace has never been cheap and it still isn’t today. Prices start at £12 per month if you pay annually, rising to £16 per month if you want a rolling contract. To compensate, even this basic Personal plan includes a custom domain with free domain registration.

Squarespace’s real market, though, is business sites and online stores. The Business plan, at £17 per month (£24/mth on a rolling contract), gives you integrated eCommerce features and website analytics, although with a 3% transaction fee per sale. To get rid of that, you need to upgrade to the £23/mth (£28/mth rolling) Commerce (Basic) package, while the £35 (£43/mth rolling) Commerce (Advanced) package throws in more advanced shopping analytics features plus additional features for discounting and shipping.

You probably don’t need the advanced features if you’re only selling in small quantities online, but it’s good to have the options there if your online business grows.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best hosts available right now

Squarespace review: How easy is it to set up?

Squarespace is impressively easy to get started with. You don’t even need to sign up to start building your website, although you’ll have to before you can get further than selecting a template to work with.

You begin by selecting what your site’s about – you can add your own description if it isn’t covered by the presets – then selecting one or more aims, which might be selling online services or courses, marketing your business or publishing a blog. You then select where you’re at right now in the process, say, turning a hobby into a business or replacing an existing site, then select one of the templates Squarespace provides as a starting point.

After this, there’s a 14-day free trial, during which time you can develop your site gratis and test it out. Signing up will allow you to sign up for your own domain name or connect to an existing URL, at which point you’re ready to go public.

Squarespace review: What’s it like to use?

With Fluid Engine, Squarespace hits a good balance between drag-and-drop flexibility and control. The UI is consistent, with the links or buttons to add or edit elements appearing in the same place, and the modular system makes it easy to add a new component to a page or move it, with the grid on hand to help you get everything aligned. It doesn’t always work – changing featured images on blog posts turned out to be a bit of a faff – but, in most cases, you can tweak page designs to your heart’s content while creating good-looking pages.

More global style changes can be handled through the Site Styles sidebar, accessible from a click on most of the editing and options screens. Here, you’ll find settings to adjust layouts, formatting, fonts and colour palettes with a few neat tricks like the ability to create custom palettes from, say, your background image. You can also animate elements with just a few clicks, or create your own bespoke buttons. There’s a lot of creative power on offer but you don’t need to be a design genius or CSS expert to make the most of it.

Squarespace also has some interesting text features, including a button that pastes any copied text as plain text – a feature some professional content management systems I’ve used could have done with – and an animated highlight feature you can apply to underline or emphasise specific words or phrases.

Even with these features, Squarespace still isn’t as good for content-heavy sites as more specialist blogging tools or a dedicated CMS. However, you’ve got everything you need to add regular posts or make static text look good, along with useful options to add charts, accordions (vertically stacked menu items that expand when clicked), image galleries and audio and video content. Most of this stuff is intuitive enough that you won’t need to refer to any online help but, when you do, you’ll often find links to guidance embedded within the settings menus themselves. It’s also good to see options to schedule posts for publication later.

Squarespace uses responsive design to handle desktop and mobile styles, and overall it works very well, with pages reformatted to work better for a taller, vertically scrolling phone display. Occasionally, I found that headings veered off the page or were just split clumsily but this is something better handled by shortening your headings than trying to deal with it by tweaking the design.

View offers at Squarespace

Squarespace review: Is it good for eCommerce?

Squarespace has historically been one of the best website builders for eCommerce and business, and that’s still true today. It makes it simple to add a catalogue of products, track stock and adjust prices, and a lot of the features show the Squarespace team understands what budding store developers really need.

This means, for example, if you sell a product in different sizes or with different options, you can add it once and then add the variants after, with your store tracking the stock and pricing of each, instead of having to add one entry for each variant. You can also start sales and define sale discounts or import an existing product catalogue from an Etsy store.

In fact, Squarespace comes crammed with useful integrations with other services. You can sell customisable products on your site through Printful, or sync your store with Facebook and Instagram for shopping there, if you have a Commerce plan. If you sell online services or courses, you can also create memberships and subscriptions, or use Squarespace Scheduling to schedule and manage sessions or appointments.

What’s more, there are some quite advanced tools to track customers and your interactions with them. Squarespace works directly with Stripe and Paypal for taking payments and completing orders, making it relatively pain-free to start up an online store.

READ NEXT: The best VPNs for secure and anonymous browsing

Squarespace review: What other features does it have?

In addition to the website development bits, Squarespace has a rich set of marketing features, including some useful guides to help you grow your audience through email and subscription features. There’s also help with social media promotions via Instagram stories and Meta ads, although these only become available on the Business and Commerce plans. Its SEO optimisation tools aren’t quite as accessible and newbie-friendly as they are on Wix or GoDaddy SiteBuilder. However, you do get a useful checklist and analytics though the Google Search Console so you can work out which keywords to focus on. Add comprehensive Analytics panels for sales and traffic, and there’s the potential there to reach, and sell to, a much wider audience.

Squarespace’s approach to stock art and photos is also effective. Other Website builders offer a limited selection but Squarespace works with Unsplash to give you a wide-ranging library of images from just a couple of clicks. Whenever I needed something to set up a sample page, I was able to find it pretty quickly.

Squarespace review: Is there anything it could do better?

Squarespace doesn’t give you the near-instant site building or accessibility of website builders like Wix or GoDaddy SiteBuilder. It’s easy enough to use but, to get the best results, you really need to spend some time digging deep into the settings and tweaking your layouts and content.

This means it isn’t the ideal option for those who just want to get something basic up and running quickly but it also means more design-orientated users can get great results without having to master a more complex set of tools.

And although there isn’t the same variety of templates and styles on offer at Wix or Weebly, you do get a carefully curated selection that should help you get a good result. In fact, I’d say go so far as to say it’s difficult to create something ugly using Squarespace. This is a good thing, as the biggest issue with this website builder is that you can’t simply switch templates as you can with other builders; you can only modify the one you’ve got.

Squarespace review: Should you sign up?

As long as you’re working with a substantial budget, yes. Squarespace makes a great platform for an ecommerce or business site and even the basic Business plan gives you a solid set of features. It can also work well for personal websites, but it will cost you more than a basic plan from GoDaddy, Wix or Weebly.

Most of all, it’s a superb website builder for anyone looking to create a slick, responsive, modern website, and comes with the controls to maintain consistency and good design but the flexibility to make your site your own.

View offers at Squarespace

Read more