Both WordPress and Wix are well-established names amongst the Content Management System communities, and both have their fair share of pros and cons when it comes to building the right website for you.
The following post is going to discuss the main differences of both platforms, and will answer questions such as:
- What are the main differences between both?
- How flexible are both platforms for website design?
- How costly are either of the platforms?
- What are the best features?
If you have a burning question and it hasn’t been answered in this post, please leave your comments down below and we will do our best to accommodate your concerns.
As platforms both share a similar purpose – to help anyone build their own website from scratch. Both platforms provide users with tools and features to create outstanding and modern websites in a matter of hours, without requiring any prior expertise in design or development. Besides creating a blog, Wix and WordPress are also ideal choices for business websites that require dynamic functionality; such as an eCommerce store.
Wix – Integrated Website Builder
Wix is an online-only HTML5 Drag & Drop website builder that’s beginner friendly and offers a free plan to new customers.
Key features of Wix are:
- Effortless drag & drop website builder interface.
- Professional designer-made templates. (Mobile-ready)
- In-built Search Engine Optimization features.
- 24/7 support availability.
- App Market for adding additional functionality to your website.
- Over 100 million customers.
WordPress – A Self-Hosted Powerhouse
WordPress is an open-source content management platform ideal for building blogs, websites, and applications. It is completely independent (self-hosted) and requires a website hosting environment (see our tips for finding an affordable WordPress hosting solution) to use.
Key features of WordPress are:
- Highly customizable using themes and plugins.
- More than 49,000 free plugins.
- More than 3,000 free themes.
- Extensive amount of free resources; tutorials, guides, and tips.
- Friendly and active community. (Easy to find support.)
- Great selection of WordPress-specific hosting solutions.
Website Design – Themes & Templates
Besides ease of use for each of the platforms, one of the first things you will want to find out about any website builder or blogging platform is the choice of designs that you have access to, and whether those designs are flexible towards changes and custom modifications.
Luckily, both Wix and WordPress excel in this department, and both provide a great deal of free themes and templates to match the type of design ideas that you have planned for your new website.
Wix: Slightly Limited
You can select from more than 400 HTML5 Mobile-Ready templates on the Wix Templates directory, all of which are divided in their appropriate categories. Templates range from simple Blog Themes, to more sophisticated designs for restaurants, health industries, and online stores. Users can preview templates before making a final choice, however there is a significant catch with this.
Wix limits its users to one template per website, meaning once you have made your final decision on a template, it is final and you won’t be able to choose another one. Wix also imposes limitations towards custom modifications using HTML and CSS, as all design management is done through the drag & drop interface. Choose a template that you know is going to be a good fit for your website.
WordPress: Varied, but Highly Customizable
WordPress on the other hand doesn’t come with an in-built drag & drop interface (although it can be added using custom plugins), but makes up for it with a huge library of free themes, and the ability for website owners to purchase a premium theme from marketplaces such as ThemeForest — typically a premium theme will range anywhere from $30 to $75 per theme. Majority of new WordPress theme releases are built to support modern web browsers and come integrated with modern features, like responsive design, search engine optimization, and custom homepage designs for business purposes. Besides that, WordPress is a self-hosted platform which means that you can make any kind of customizations as you like, there are no limitations.
All in all, both platforms provide substantial choices for designs that will accommodate the needs of simple portfolio sites, and sophisticated business enterprises with dynamic features. If you are a self-employed yoga teacher then Wix is probably the best choice for you, whereas those who plan to write different types of blog posts and customize their site with interactive features; WordPress is the way to go.
Pricing & Costs
It pays to understand how websites work and what are the costs involved of setting one up. While a CMS such as WordPress is free to download and use, there are associated costs such as website hosting, domain name, and any extra functionality to be considered. Wix includes all of its premium features under set subscription plans for paying customers.
Let’s take a look at how much you should expect to spend when choosing either of the platforms.
Wix: Premium Model
Wix as a website building service is free to use, which gives you a free Wix domain, and free hosting with 500MB file storage and 1GB website bandwidth; the free plan also includes Wix Brand Ads which may show up on your website.
The free plan is great to get your feet wet and understand how Wix works, but if you’re serious about launching a portfolio or business website, you will want to look into the premium plans that begin at $4.50 per month for low-level, and $24.50 per month for high-level features. Subscribing for premium services allows you to enable a custom domain name, which is crucial for establishing a recognizable brand name online. Premium plans also include additional benefits like a Forms Builder application, and Site Booster service which help to expose your website in front of Google search, and well-known premium link directories. For the services provided, we do believe that this is a value deal, as it keeps away the stress of having to manage your website on your own.
WordPress: Pay for What You Need
Since the WordPress platform itself and all its plugins and themes are free to use, your only real costs are going to be a website domain name, website hosting, and any maintenance costs that you may encounter. The costs will begin to add up once you start to consider hiring a professional developer to build custom functionality for you, or if you plan to purchase any premiums plugins or themes that would add a layer of uniqueness to your website. Premium themes and plugins are typically priced in the $15 to $150 range, while custom development might cost you anywhere from $150 per hour of work.
Technically, a domain name will cost you roughly $12 / per year, while hosting can set you back anywhere from $30 (cheap) to $100 (sustainable) per year, with prices going up significantly if you want to ensure that your WordPress site is performing at its best. Website speed and performance are known factors to consider when thinking about search engine optimization.
To finalize this comparison view of both website builders, let’s take a closer look at the best features that both WordPress and Wix posses.
Relatively Easy to Use
There isn’t much contest between both, as the learning curve of learning how to use the admin dashboard is similar in both platforms. However, with Wix there are much less features in the dashboard to work with, thus making it easier for beginners to focus only on the important parts of your website.
Those who opt for WordPress will eventually find that customizing your website is not only easy, but also fun and highly rewarding. WordPress provides an extensive documentation over at WordPress Codex where you can learn about the ins and outs of how to manage your website properly — and the learning curve isn’t difficult as many tasks are repetitive and similar in their nature.
Great Availability of Support
What makes Wix unique is that it is a premium service that’s privately owned, this means that your subscription to Wix is going to include a 24/7 support line where you can ask crucial questions, and get answers to pressing issues that you’re encountering with your website building process.
WordPress being an independent platform doesn’t have a direct support line as Wix does, however that is made up by the fact that there are countless WordPress communities (such as WPMayor) online where you can easily find answers to common and not so common WordPress questions, and if you are asking something unique usually the turnaround time for a response is less than 24 hours. Good place to start is the official WordPress community forums.
Open-Source vs. Privately Owned
If you are someone who hasn’t had much experience with website building and you know that technology isn’t your strong suit, we do recommend Wix as the primary choice in that scenario. The important thing to note here is that Wix is a privately owned company, whereas WordPress is open-source; meaning that anyone can customize or modify the available themes and plugins.
That can provide a level of challenge as you might have to deal with outdated themes and plugins, which can occasionally brake your site because of incompatible code used in different versions of those themes and plugins. With Wix, you have a platform that is privately maintained and developed by a team of designer and developer professionals, so one can expect a more concise quality of functionality.
Hopefully this overview gives you a much clearer image of what both services do, and how they operate. If you are still unsure, perhaps it would be a good idea to grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down the list of things that you plan to do with your website now, and eventually in long-term. Then, compare the results against the capabilities of each of the mentioned platforms.
While both are absolutely beginner friendly, we do think that for someone who is just starting with building their first website, Wix is going to be a much more rewarding choice due to simplicity and support, while WordPress will allow anyone to grasp the basics of how an average website works, which is a great experience to have.