What is Squarespace? The design-focused website builder explained

Squarespace may be the best-known website builder of all. The likes of Adam Driver and Idris Elba star in its Super Bowl adverts, and its templates are behind some of the world’s coolest online magazines, shops and portfolios. But what exactly is Squarespace, and what can you do with it?

Squarespace is an online tool for building superb-looking websites without the need for any coding, CSS or design skills. Its preset templates are stunning, versatile and easy to customise, and it offers excellent ecommerce and marketing features. Squarespace isn’t dirt cheap, but its prices are reasonable given the level of features it offers.

We explore Squarespace’s pros and cons in more detail in our in-depth Squarespace review. In this article, we’ll focus on how Squarespace works, what you can do with it, and what it can do to give your online presence panache.

Check prices at Squarespace

What is Squarespace used for?

Squarespace is an all-in-one website hosting and creation platform used to create stunning websites of all kinds, including ecommerce. Its 110 stylish templates make it easy and relatively quick to create and publish a website, and to add elements such as a blog, video player and checkout.

The best way to get an idea of Squarespace’s potential is to look at some of the websites that have been built using it. The Made With Squarespace pages showcase numerous gorgeous sites in categories including Portfolio, Restaurant and Local Business. There’s a wide range of styles on show, from minimalist to positively baroque, with plenty of screen-filling photos, quirky typography and beautiful colour schemes to inspire you.

READ NEXT: Squarespace vs Shopify

How customisable are Squarespace’s templates?

They’re very customisable, and you can even now add custom CSS or build your own template; but such design freedom hasn’t always been available.

As we note in our Squarespace review, Squarespace used to be quite limited in what you could do with its templates, until a platform update in 2022 brought far more freedom to personalise to your heart’s content. If limited customisations have put you off Squarespace in the past, it may be worth a second look.

Is Squarespace good for ecommerce?

Squarespace has always been one of the best website builders for ecommerce and business. Essential functions such as catalogue import, stock tracking and price adjustment take centre stage, and features such as appointment booking, buyers’ reviews and multiple payment options are easy to add.

Even if you’re not selling directly to consumers via your site, Squarespace is great for creating a shop window to market your work. There’s a rich choice of portfolio templates, subscription tools and other marketing features to help you grow your audience.

How does the Squarespace platform work?

Squarespace is a SaaS (software as a service) platform that lets you manage your site seamlessly via browser and app. There’s no need to download software to your computer, or to manually upload pages; just click to publish your work.

You can browse and even use the templates without having to sign up. When you do create an account, you can get fully stuck into customising your pages by adding and moving objects such as text, images and forms. You’re not asked for any money until after your free 14-day trial period.

Squarespace is a web host as well as a website builder. If you sign up to any plan for a year, you can choose a domain name for free or connect to an existing URL.

All the features of your Squarespace package – including domain registration and design tools – are easy to manage from your account dashboard. The extensive help section has clear text and video guides on every relevant topic, from account setup to technical troubleshooting.

READ NEXT: Squarespace vs Wix

Is Squarespace free?

Squarespace isn’t free, nor does it offer a free plan. Prices start from £12 per month and go up to £35 per month for the most advanced ecommerce plan, making Squarespace more expensive than less design-focused website builders such as Wix, but more affordable than ecommerce specialist Shopify.

There is a free 14-day trial, during which time you can build your site and give it a test run without publishing it. When the trial period comes to an end, you can extend it for a further seven days.

You get the best prices if you pay for a year upfront; between 17% and 29% off. Signing up for 12 months also lets you choose a domain and register it for free. After your first year, the domain will renew at the going rate.

Here’s what each plan costs if you pay monthly or annually:

  Personal Business Basic Commerce Advanced Commerce
Price (paid monthly) £16/mth £24/mth £28/mth £43/mth
Price (paid annually) £144/yr (£12/mth) £204/yr (£17/mth) £276/yr (£23/mth) £420/yr (£35/mth)
Free custom domain 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Ecommerce features No Yes Yes Yes
Transaction fee n/a 3% 0% 0%

We didn’t hesitate to give Squarespace five stars in our review. “Excellence doesn’t come cheap,” we said, noting that Squarespace is worth the fees for its professional-looking templates and design freedom, plus its comprehensive ecommerce and marketing features.

Find out more about the plans in our article on Squarespace pricing.

Check prices at Squarespace


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