Figuring out the best platform on which to start up a new website can be challenging. A lot goes into making that decision, and it’s made even more difficult with a flooded marketplace full of quality options.
Two of those options, in particular, have risen to the top of many web users list as go to platforms for developing a personal or professional website.
Both website platforms are excellent choices for any website build, and therein lies the difficulty of choosing which one is right for you.
The good news is that WordPress and Wix are also very different with each offering unique pros and cons. Hopefully, once the differences are defined a bit more clearly, it should make your choice between them relatively easy.
Before we look at the core elements of each service and what sets them apart, let’s get into a brief overview of each.
As one of the most popular website building platforms, it’s hard to argue with Wix’s overall ease of use, particularly for novices and first-time users. Wix employs a drag and drop method for creating your website, simplifying the development process by quite a bit.
Wix is also a hosted platform, meaning your buy-in is all-inclusive, which does make the overall setup more straightforward.
Wix also offers a great deal of choice with hundreds of design templates for your website, including apps (both free and paid) that add to the functionality.
The trade-off with Wix is that it’s a closed platform, meaning customization is limited.
WordPress is an open-source platform that requires you figure out your hosting services before developing your website. As with most things related to WordPress, this isn’t as bad as it sounds, but it’s not a plug and play platform like Wix.
That can be both good and bad.
What WordPress allows is flexibility and freedom, perhaps more so than any other provider. Literally, thousands of website themes and plugins for additional functionality allow you endless options for building the website of your dreams.
Now that you understand some of the high-level basics let’s get into the details and see how these platforms work and how they compare and contrast.
Wix vs. WordPress
Comparing website platforms, and then choosing between them for your site build, is, as we mentioned, a challenge. Every service has its pluses and minuses, with both easy to use functions and difficult to understand complications.
Wix and WordPress are no different, as each platform have their good and not so good points. Both will end up being an excellent choice depending on what you, as the web developer hope to achieve, and how much effort you want to put into your website.
What is unusual is that Wix and WordPress offer some stark contrasts, perhaps more so than when comparing other platforms. We’ll point these out as they come up, and it’s worth keeping them in mind when thinking about which service will best serve your site’s needs.
With that being said, we’ll break down and compare Wix and WordPress over five main categories:
- Setup and Website Build
For this comparison, we are assuming a small scale personal or business web build. For something far more significant – medium to large size companies as an example – comparing these services would be unfair as WordPress lends itself to that type of project more so than Wix.
If that is your or your organization’s end goal, then we do recommend WordPress with the help of a developer.
First, let’s get into the basics and how to dial into a specific plan and get your web build off the ground.
The first determination you need to make before choosing Wix or WordPress is the price you are willing to commit to for your website. Due to the contrasting web hosting methods, the structure of each service will vary.
As far as pricing structure, Wix is the less complicated of the two, so let’s start there.
There are five premium plans to choose from on the Wix platform, plus a free option.
As appealing as it may sound, the free option is extremely limited and only serves as a decent test run to see if investing more on a per month basis will suit your needs.
However, if you absolutely must have a free site, Wix is without a doubt the way to go.
Beyond that, the cheapest premium is $5 per month – the Connect Domain option – but operates under the assumption you are bringing a domain with you. Both the free option and $5 per month plan display Wix ads on your website, so you will need to purchase one of the top four premium plans to eliminate them.
The additional Wix pricing tiers are:
- Combo at $11 per month
- Unlimited at $14 per month
- eCommerce at $17 per month
- VIP at $25 per month
As we briefly pointed out in the summary above, Wix is an all in one website host and creation platform. This all in setup translates to one price for one website with one provider, Wix, as the host.
WordPress pricing, on the other hand, is a bit more involved. Now, it’s not nearly as complicated as some would make it, but you will have to deal with two separate providers – your web host and the WordPress platform.
Typically, the hosting services make pricing and sign up a painless endeavor, although some can get a little confusing. Each will have their own price tiers and with differing options tied to them.
A few of the top WordPress web hosting services include:
Once you select a host and plan, the service will lead you through the signup process, choosing and registering a domain name, and setting up WordPress on their server.
We highly recommend using a web hosting service that performs all three of the above steps for you. Otherwise, signing up will be far more involved than it needs to be.
Wix is an all in one service that provides domain registration, web hosting, and website setup from a single provider. Your pricing includes all three services at a single rate.
WordPress is the actual software used to build a website. You will need to sign up with a web hosting service first for hosting and domain registration, before accessing WordPress to create your site. The top WordPress hosting services will include all steps in their pricing models.
#2: Setup and Website Build
It is with initial setup and the actual build of your website where Wix and WordPress diverge the most.
Wix is a closed platform, which, in simple terms, means it’s a boilerplate method for creating your particular website. If you want a path of least resistance, this is a great way to build your site.
Now the above isn’t meant to imply you don’t have options with Wix, because you do, lots of them. In fact, you have over 500 different website designs from which to choose. Just understand that the customization on these is limited to what Wix allows.
Setting up and building your website with Wix is about as straightforward as it can get.
Once you’re signed up, Wix will take you through a series of configuration steps to set your site’s foundation.
First, you will be asked to review and pick a template. Wix breaks it down via business category, or you can scroll through and view all of the options they offer.
With the number available, make sure to take your time deciding on the right one for your website. One drawback to the Wix platform is that once you’ve created a site with one of the templates, you cannot go back and change to another design.
When you get into the actual build, its all about making adjustments to suit your needs or personal tastes. Wix does give you enough options to play around with that it does seem you have full control of the design process, even if it is ultimately limited.
Some of the customizable options include:
- Background Editing
- Adding Menus, Images or Galleries, and Social Media Icons, among numerous other possibilities
- Installing Apps from the Wix Market that allow functions like chat, comments, or signup prompts
- File upload, including images and audio
With the drag and drop editing function, a lot of the changes and updates you make to your Wix website pages are extremely easy. You can even switch up colors and if necessary to give your site a bit more personalization.
A few other features included with Wix are their eCommerce and blogging options. We will cover their eCommerce functionality in a moment, but as with everything else related to this platform, setting these up is very user-friendly.
Both can be achieved either through the Wix App Market or directly within the website build, depending on your chosen template.
Setting up and building your WordPress website, on the other hand, is an entirely different experience.
Creating a WordPress site is a much more involved endeavor and does require some level of trial and error before dialing in a published website. This is especially true for first-time website developers.
However, WordPress is not a complete mystery, and once you grasp its basic foundations, it’s quite intuitive and offers unmatched flexibility versus other website platforms.
After signing up with your host service and completing the WordPress installation, you’re ready to start the build process.
With WordPress, everything can seem a bit overwhelming at first. There is no step by step guide nor are there specific prompts to lead you through the setup.
When you get into WordPress, you see a dashboard from where you can control every aspect of your website. In addition to the main window, you have a navigation pane on the left of the screen that gives you quick access to a number of options to help build out, customize, or monitor your site.
It’s a lot to take in, so we suggest your first step should be to figure out your website design by heading to the navigation pane and choosing Appearance > Themes and selecting “Add New”.
There are thousands of themes.
The vast majority are free, with a lot of premium options tossed into the mix as well. Most of the themes work differently from each other, and as you will quickly figure out, the flexibility of WordPress is both a blessing and a curse.
With so much to choose from, we do recommend taking your time to view the varied designs and understanding what each one offers. One good thing about the WordPress themes is that it does not tie you to a specific design. Unlike Wix, if you are unhappy with how your choice of theme turned out, you can always change it.
Once you decide on a theme, the second level of customization with WordPress comes from their plugin options.
Yes, there are quite a few of these of these as well.
Plugins are basically add-on features that will give your WordPress site more depth and functionality. A small sampling of what the plugins provide include:
- Create user contact and sign-up forms
- Manage your website’s SEO
- Optimization of images and galleries
- Manage Google Analytics
- Enable or optimizing caching
And on and on. Much like the themes, you could spend a couple of days clicking through the plugin options and not view all of them.
To add a plugin, again head to the left navigation bar and select Plugins > Add New.
Even with the endless options, you will ultimately only require a handful of plugins. Much like the themes, a little extra time spent determining which plugins you’ll need will go a long way to creating a far more robust website.
From there, a WordPress website is all about creating pages and posts to fill out your content.
Pages are effectively the static portions of your site – Home Page, About, Contact, etc. Any information that you need to communicate, but will rarely change goes into a page.
Posts are your blog articles. When written and posted, these are maintained and archived on your homepage with the most recent posts appearing first.
Generally speaking, pages and posts are handled the same regardless of your theme. To add either, choose Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New from your navigation pane, create your content in the editor, and then hit publish once you’re satisfied with the final edits.
After a few additions, you’ll get the hang of inserting new or editing old content.
When it comes to blogging, few platforms can compete with WordPress. Initially, the software design was with that singular purpose in mind. As you spend time in the program, you’ll find that most functions are designed to serve the blog aspect of the site.
The WordPress eCommerce feature, however, has its own dynamic and does require a plugin called WooCommerce. As with the Wix option, we’ll touch on that shortly.
Setup and Website Build Recap
As you can see, the difference between setting up and building a website with Wix and one with WordPress is night and day. Both can deliver an effective site for a multitude of purposes, so the choice of platform comes down to the level of control you want to have over that site.
If you want to keep it simple and don’t mind giving up some freedom for something that is less involved and easy to manage, Wix is the clear winner.
However, if you prefer a lot of customization and like to have more control over more aspects of your web build, then you’ll be very content with WordPress.
When creating and managing your website, there will be times that you will run up against some issues or concerns that are not easy to resolve. Whether its a technical problem or you simply need a better understanding of how something should work, support is a vital part of any website platform.
As with everything else up to this point, Wix and WordPress each have their own distinct way of getting you the help you need.
Let’s start with Wix’s support system.
As would be expected with their one-stop shop model, the Wix Help Center is easy to navigate with an extensive list of categories and sub-groups for you to search.
From Getting Started to Billing to SEO and everything else in between, Wix has put a lot of thought and resources into getting you answers to your questions.
It’s highly likely that if you run into a problem, you’ll find the resolution amongst their established tutorials, FAQ pages, or support forum. If you need one on one help, you can also submit a support ticket or request a callback.
As with most tech companies, Wix directs their helps interaction towards email. Good luck finding a phone number on the Wix site. However, with the options they do make available, needing an actual human to help you should be a rarity.
WordPress support can be summed up in one word, search. As in perfect your search capabilities to quickly find help.
We’re only half joking.
With WordPress being open-source software, there is no singular source or contact email or phone number for you to reach out to solve a problem. But WordPress is the most widely used content management system, which means there is a vast community of support forums, blogs, YouTube channels, and other web outlets to get you the information you need.
As we said, sharpen your search skills.
Another option, should you have the means or decide this is a better route for your website is to contract with a web developer to assist with the setup or ongoing management of your site. Obviously, there are costs involved here, but if that’s not a concern, then this is a good option for WordPress.
One note with WordPress is that you are dealing with two entities, the platform itself and your web host, like Bluehost or HostGator. Should you come across any difficulties regarding hosting, you can still reach out directly to your host service for support.
Again, the comparison comes down to two very different systems, providing two very different services.
Wix’s model is to provide you guidance and support at every level. A robust troubleshooting apparatus helps to keep their platform running smoothly at all times.
WordPress is a bit of a free for all, though the help is there if you have a little patience in seeking it out.
We touched on this briefly in the website build, but both Wix and WordPress have impressive eCommerce functionality, and either one is a viable option for building your web-based business.
The Wix model is tailor-made for first time users who seek a process that is easy to setup and operate. Ready to go website designs include themes for hotels, restaurants, or creative segments like music and photography.
For online stores, the selections go even further. Whether its clothing or jewelry or books or electronics, finding a specific template is relatively easy.
From there, Wix helps to eliminate a lot of the guesswork with built-in services that include product galleries, inventory tracking, a range of payment options, customizable shipping and tax settings, secure shopping, and the ability to offers coupons and discounts.
Through its eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce, WordPress offers an equally robust, and more customizable solution for online business. The downside is that it is a build as you go proposition.
As we mentioned in the WordPress site build section, you will need to call upon plugins and your own ongoing management to keep your WordPress eCommerce current. There are though some very viable benefits to this.
The main advantage is your domain name. Since your WordPress site is set up through a third party host, you were able to register your own domain which gives you a professional edge. For sales and marketing purposes this means you can advertise your WordPress eCommerce site as xyzstore.com as opposed to the Wix branded xyzstore.wix.com.
Additionally, if you have plans to grow beyond a small scale web store, WordPress is a better long-term option as it’s open-ended platform lends itself to ongoing expansion.
Both sites offer robust eCommerce options though Wix’s is by far the more user-friendly of the two, both on setup and ongoing management.
However, if you are looking to expand far beyond the level of startup at some point in the future, WordPress will be the platform best equipped to handle it.
Often, it’s the unknown or unseen items that lie just beneath the surface that can separate which web platform will best fit your needs. So far, you’ve seen that each service has clear pros and cons depending on the goals you may have for your website.
If you’re still on the fence, let’s take a look at a few more factors that may help you decide which platform is best for you.
If you’re less interested in the process and more about the final product, Wix is the clear choice over WordPress.
Everything about the Wix platform is designed to be user-friendly and aimed at getting your website up and running immediately. It also wants to ensure that ongoing management is equally as painless.
Though we wouldn’t call WordPress painful, it most certainly is not a time saver. There is a lot to digest at the outset and getting your website up and running, even if its something simple and only a few pages deep, will take some time.
With that said, WordPress does offer something that Wix cannot.
WordPress is about as flexible as you can get with a website platform. As open-source software, you truly have thousands of options available to build the website you want to your exact specs.
From themes to plugins to endless growth possibilities, it’s hard to argue against the numerous directions you can take your WordPress site.
Just like we wouldn’t call WordPress painful, we are not going to refer to Wix as a cookie-cutter platform. It has robust functions that are hard to beat but don’t expect your site to stand too far apart from anything else created through the Wix service.
So Wix saves you time, and WordPress keeps you flexible. What about the all-important search engine optimization?
For a search engine to find your site and then push it through the ranks to where new users can discover it is a key component of any website. So which platform is a better tool for SEO?
Ultimately, it comes down to the content you produce. Proper and effective headings, text and keywords, along with the right image triggers matters more than the platform you’re using.
WordPress, however, does offer some highly useful plugins that can better optimize that content than most other services.
Regardless, even with the best plugins available, if the content of a Wix website is developed more effectively than one made with WordPress, expect it to be on top of the search results.
If time is a factor, the Wix platform will allow you more of it. Should freedom be a more favorable option, WordPress will give you more than you can probably handle. With SEO, it comes down to what you put into your website more so than what platform you’re using.
Much like the other considerations, you will need to determine what’s most important to you and what will help you achieve your goals for your website.
When it comes to web platforms, there are very few that are as distinctive as Wix and WordPress. Comparing these equally enticing options ends up being an exercise in determining your priorities and the direction you want to take in building your website.
With Wix, you get a service geared towards making the process of building and managing a site incredibly user-friendly. Yes, you may lose some level of customization, but you assure yourself of an end product that is professional, effective and comes with a solid support system.
WordPress offers something far different. You start with a blank slate, and it’s on you to make your WordPress site come to life. Though that process may be fraught with some pitfalls, your website is what you make it, with full customization at every level.
If you’re building your first website and have a level of uncertainty about how you want to expand or grow it, we recommend Wix. It will help get your idea off the ground without worrying about making mistakes that could cost you users or potential income.
However, if you’re looking to play in a giant sandbox and have a bit more technical experience and know-how, WordPress is a solid choice. Additionally, if you have clear growth potential in mind, WordPress will allow you to continue to expand your website with few limitations.
Regardless of the service you choose, both are solidly designed platforms that can serve a variety of purposes both large and small. By understanding your individual goals, the difficult decision of which platform best suits your needs won’t be difficult at all.