WordPress vs. Wix: Everything you need to know

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a website builder. You want your site to look great, and you want a lot of features and plenty of customizations to choose from. But you may not want to learn in-depth web design or coding, and you probably want your site up and running in a reasonable amount of time. And whenever an update has to be made, you want to be able to handle that easily and on your own, too.

Choosing a website builder purposely built for beginners is the way to go, and WordPress.com and Wix are two of the most popular ones out there. In this article, we’ll cover their similarities and differences, all with the goal of helping you choose the best one for your purposes.

How you’ve heard about WordPress vs. Wix

Wix is the most-advertised website building tool. You’ve almost definitely seen an ad for Wix.

WordPress, on the other hand, is the largest site building tool in the world. Over 50% of the top 100,000 websites use WordPress. Its popularity speaks for itself, and you don’t need to see numerous ads to know what WordPress.com is and how much it’s relied on.

You can download WordPress software directly, for free, from WordPress.org, and create a hosted site anywhere you like, although you’ll have to deal with the full gamut of site management – hosting, server capacity, security, and so on. WordPress.com is a fully-managed, hosted version of the open source WordPress software, built by the team behind its creation. With WordPress.com, you get the freedom of the most popular content management system on the web, without the hassle, along with dedicated support and security for peace of mind. 

Ease of use: WordPress.com vs. Wix

Both builders are easy to use for beginners, which is their main draw. With both WordPress.com and Wix, you don’t have to handle coding, HTML, web hosting or updates – it’s taken care of for you. They act as your hosting provider.

WordPress.com is almost as beginner-friendly as Wix, and you will get the most out of the builder if you know code. WordPress.com doesn’t have a drag-and-drop builder like Wix does. Instead, the content and design are edited separately. That’s what makes the learning curve of WordPress.com slightly sharper than Wix – but it’s not necessarily difficult to learn; it’s just slightly more involved. And there’s a huge WordPress.com community out there to help, so if you’re ever unsure of how to do something, a basic Google search can probably take you straight to the answer.

Wix has a drag-and-drop builder, so you just select an element, drag it where you want it, leave it there and start customizing that area. Add media and/or content, then rearrange everything until it looks just right. Plus, when you edit one page, you can apply the edits to all of your other web pages as well.

Wix has less functionality, and it’s intended for only simple websites which can make it easier to set up at first. WordPress.com requires some web knowledge if you want to use it to its full advantage. And if you’re planning to do business online, you already know that you need web knowledge. Plus, you’ll earn that knowledge in a flash as you quickly get used to using WordPress.com.

With Wix, you’ll likely see obstacles as you scale – things you want to do but won’t be able to because the functionality and options just aren’t there. If you start with WordPress.com right away, though, you’ll be able to find a solution for every new idea you come up with. And every time you do, you’ll expand your skills.

Try different designs with WordPress.com vs. Wix

Your website should be eye-catching and user-friendly, no matter how minimalistic or bold it is. The design and template that are right for your site are specific to your branding, goals and taste. Making sure your site looks great – to you and to your visitors – is imperative. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a website at all?

WordPress.com has over 12,000 free and premium themes to choose from, and you can switch your template even after you’ve chosen it and designed your site. You’ll want to go through your site carefully to make sure everything looks the way you want it to look post-switch, but the good news is that it’s definitely possible – and pretty easy.

Wix has over 700 premade templates that you can choose from. Search for Wix templates based on your category, whether that’s DIY crafts, retail, finance or more. The templates are fully responsive, which means they can be easily viewed and interacted with on any mobile device. Once you choose a template, you can use Wix’s tools to edit how it looks and where the elements are placed.

 One big drawback of Wix is that once you choose a template, you have to stick with it. Yes, you can edit how the template looks, but once you’ve created a site, it’s not possible to apply a different template – so make sure you’re certain about your choice before making a final decision. If you have to start again, you can’t transfer your contacts, invoices, store, bookings, marketing integrations, and more from your old site. This can make giving your site a much-needed refresh every few years really tricky.

Build ad-free sites with WordPress vs. Wix

Both Wix and WordPress.com remove their ads once you upgrade from the free plan to a paid one. With WordPress.com specifically, if you have the Business or eCommerce plan, you can also remove their branding from the footer.

How to easily expand your site: WordPress vs. Wix

Generally, it’s pretty hard to outgrow WordPress.com because their services can handle tremendous scale which is why brands like Microsoft, CNN, Spotify, and Dow Jones trust their services.  WordPress.com also makes it really easy to export all of your content and migrate to another host if desired. 

On Wix, it’s really difficult to download your content in case you ever decide to change platforms.  There aren’t a lot of options for people who want to move their content off Wix and onto another platform. You can export blogs to XML format, but you’ll have to manually download content like images, pages and videos. Why? The content on your Wix site is hosted on their servers ­– and only their servers. 

 To save you this trouble, WordPress.com has created a tool that lets you import your Wix site. When you have a website with portable data, you can move your content elsewhere when you need to.

Can you host anywhere? WordPress vs. Wix

Both WordPress.com and Wix sites include free website hosting – they act as your hosting company. For both Wix and WordPress.com hosting, use one of their free domains or use your own custom domain (or one you purchase after upgrading to a premium plan). You can purchase and register the domain name through the website builder, so you won’t have to use another service for that part of the process.With your first year at WordPress.com you get a custom domain name entirely for free.

If you’re using the free WordPress.com builder, you can choose an available URL that’s close to what you’re going for, and it may or may not include “wordpress” in the domain name. By upgrading to a paid plan, you can get a custom domain name. Or, you can always transfer a domain name you already own and start using it on your WordPress site. 

Is there a global community when it comes to WordPress vs. Wix?

It’s important to know that there’s help out there as you create your site, whether that comes from a customer service team, a community of website pros, or both.

As the most widely-used CMS on the web, WordPress is nothing short of a global phenomenon, with a vibrant, thriving international community. WordPress events take place worldwide, and there are literally thousands of resources, forums, and support groups out there for WordPress users – and with WordPress.com, you get dedicated, quality support from WordPress experts tailored for your own site, as part of your plan. WordPress.com also has a thorough knowledge base with a search feature, plus topics under the Connect, Create, Customize and Start umbrellas. By exploring the knowledge base, you’ll be able to get to articles, guides and pages that can help you out or direct you to even more helpful content, like checklists, online courses and video tutorials.

 If you can’t find what you need on your own, you can submit a question to WordPress.com’s online forum. Plus, 24-hour email and live chat support are available every day of the week, along with daily webinars and additional courses to help you make the most of your WordPress.com site.

 You can join the Wix community by becoming a forum member. With site membership, you can access pages just for members, and you can engage with other forum members by following their posts and commenting on them. If you need help from customer service, though, you’ll have to submit a ticket and then hope to get a call back during normal business hours.

 

Pricing: WordPress vs. Wix

Budget is a big consideration when choosing a website builder, and you have to take the whole site into consideration – what you do and don’t need.

WordPress.com’s pricing is easy to figure out and choose from. There are four paid plans:

  • Personal for $4 per month (billed annually), which is helpful if you just need a personal website with a custom domain name and email support. 
  • Premium for $8 per month (billed annually), which is best for freelancers. You can build a website with design tools, add custom CSS and connect Google Analytics.
  • Business for $25 per month (billed annually), which is best is you need a more robust business website. You’ll get 200GB of storage and 24/7 access to customer support.
  • eCommerce for $45 per month (billed annually), which is the best option if you need an online store that will grow as your business grows.

 There are a few other major differences between these plans, too. You can have access to an unlimited number of premium WordPress themes with the Premium plan or above. There are limited marketing and monetization tools with the Personal plan, and if you want all of the WordPress SEO tools available, you’ll need a Business plan or above. Business-specific features are only available on the Business and eCommerce plans, too, like being able to install WordPress plugins, upload your own themes and remove WordPress.com branding from the footer.

The basic Wix editor is free, but you’ll get branded ads on your website – on both the top and bottom. Also, with the basic free builder, you don’t get add-ons like eCommerce, Favicons or Google Analytics. In order to get rid of ads and have access to add-ons, you have to upgrade. Here’s the breakdown of the Upgraded Website Plans:

  • The Combo plan is $14 per month and is best for personal use. 
  • The Unlimited plan is $18 per month, and it’s best for entrepreneurs and freelancers. 
  • The Pro plan is $23 per month, and it’s best if you need complete online branding.
  • The VIP plan is $39 per month and is best if you’ll need a lot of customer support. 

 The main differences between these plans are in the amount of storage space you get (3GB for the Combo versus 35GB for the VIP, for example) and how many video hours you can play with to add and show your videos on your website (30 minutes for Combo versus five hours for VIP). Also, with the higher-priced plans, you get bonuses like $300 in ad vouchers, an events calendar app and a professional logo.

 There are also Business and eCommerce plans, which you’ll need if you have to accept online payments. Pricing starts at $23 per month for Business Basic, then goes to $27 per month for Business Unlimited and $49 per month for Business VIP. There’s also a custom-priced Enterprise plan that you can tailor-fit to your needs. The main differences between these paid plans are in your storage space, video hours and features – for example, you’ll get 20GB of storage with the Business Basic plan versus 50GB with Business VIP. Also, if your eCommerce store is a big part of your site, you’ll want at least the Business Unlimited plan – otherwise, you’ll miss out on important features like subscriptions, accepting different currencies and automatically calculating sales tax.

Storage: WordPress vs. Wix

Every WordPress.com plan includes 3GB of storage space that you can use to upload files and images. Upgrading gets you between 6GB and 200GB for storage.

 Free Wix sites get 500MB of storage. By upgrading to a paid plan, you can get between 3GB and 50GB of storage, depending on the plan you choose. If your content includes high-grade images or videos, you’ll likely need more storage (and bandwidth).

Support: WordPress vs. Wix

All WordPress.com sites are encrypted and have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which essentially keeps your website protected and safe. Also, regular scans and tests are run to keep an eye out and catch suspicious activity. Plus, WordPress.com has its own security team, as well as live chat support around-the-clock, every day of the week.

 Furthermore, there’s a restore feature that lets you recover your WordPress website from whatever point you choose – this is a lifesaver if your site crashes or you accidentally delete something and need to get it back. With some other site builders, you’re only able to restore from your last save – which could mean restoring to an earlier version of your site and still having a mistake in there.

Wix sites have an auto-generated SSL certification. If you upgrade your plan and register a domain name, you can use private domain registration to protect your personal information. Wix customer support is based on a ticketing system, though, and you’ll only be able to speak with a representative during regular business hours.

Bandwidth: WordPress vs. Wix

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that a visitor can view when on your website. The more bandwidth your plan has, the more enjoyable and easy an experience the visitor will have. (Don’t confuse bandwidth with storage – they’re two different things. Storage is how much content, like files and images, you can store on the server.)

 Free Wix sites get up to 500MB of bandwidth. By upgrading, you can get 2GB with the Combo plan or unlimited bandwidth with any of the other paid plans. With WordPress.com, though, every plan comes with unlimited bandwidth.

SEO: WordPress vs. Wix

Although Wix has built-in SEO functionality, it somehow lacks the most important SEO feature: site speed. Do you think your users will tolerate a slow-loading site? With WordPress.com, you can always do something about improving your speed even further. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with Wix.

WordPress.com handles just about everything when it comes to SEO so you don’t have to worry about it, and the themes are already designed to optimize your search engine ranking. By upgrading to the Business plan, you can also access advanced SEO tools that let you customize what shows up on the search engine results page. 

With Wix, you’ll be guided on the best way to index your site so that Google can find you and create a sitemap for your website (which WordPress.com generates automatically for you). Then, regardless of the changes you make on your site, search engines will be able to crawl it. 

 Your website will also have meta tags that are already set, which will describe your website content to search engines. Plus, you’ll get canonical URLs, which allows every page of your site to be found online.

Analytics: Wix vs. WordPress

Analytics lets you see how many people are heading over to your site, plus when they visit and where they’re located.

 Wix websites have a backend Analytics tab where you’ll find stats about how well your site is performing. You’ll be able to access statistics about things like how well your email marketing campaigns performed or how many people have visited your site.

There’s a built-in analytics feature ready for you with WordPress.com, and you don’t have to do a thing. You can see your site activity easily, then discover when most people are on your website (so you can schedule blog posts to go live at those times), how many followers you have, and which posts or pages have received the most views. Then, if you need more insight, you can upgrade to the Business Plan to access Google Analytics support. 

Functionality: WordPress vs. Wix

Blogging Platform: WordPress vs. Wix

Blogging is something that a lot of users want from WordPress.com or Wix, and both website builders have blogging features – though one clearly outshines the other.

 WordPress.com was practically built for bloggers, and it’s the best option for a blogging site – out of any builders, not just these two. There are features and templates specific to blogging that WordPress users will love, like analytics, archive, categories, comments, RSS, search and social bookmarking. There are more advanced blogging options, too, like being able to choose what to display on each blog post (date, author, etc.) and automatically choosing the first image in a blog post for the featured image.

 With Wix, you can add a blog to your site, and you can access basic blogging features, like archives, categories and media. Wix does not have a built-in commenting system, although one can be added with a paid app. Wix is also missing other key blogging features, like the ability to backdate a post, add a featured image or create a private post. Furthermore, you may feel that the blogging interface is too stripped down and minimal – it’s more like a basic text editor than a content manager or creation tool.

Ecommerce Platform: WordPress vs. Wix

If you have physical or digital items that you plan to sell from your site, you’ll need to explore each builder’s eCommerce site features.

 eCommerce functionality is available on all WordPress.com sites with a paid plan, although the higher tiers include more dedicated eCommerce features. You’ll be able to do things like sell products anywhere in the world and add a Simple Payments button to make checkout easier. If you’re not ready to pay for an upgraded plan, you can still use an eCommerce plugin, like adding a PayPal button to any website to turn it into an eCommerce store – yes, you’ll need to understand and use coding a bit, but it’s a great workaround if you want to sell from your site but can’t afford the upgraded price.

 Wix’s paid plans come with commerce functionality, like being able to accept payments from a payment processor like PayPal. If you have an eCommerce store, you’ll need an upgraded plan. You can try to add selling functionality with third-party apps from the Wix app market, but that could end up costing you more than simply upgrading your plan, and the functionality won’t be nearly as smooth as if you go with WixStores.

Social Media: WordPress vs. Wix

 

Social media is what will keep you, your small business or your brand connected to your audience, and you need to bridge the gap between your site visitors and your social audience.

 With WordPress.com, connect your website to your brand or personal social media pages so that any time you post something new, it’ll show up on your social media feed. Moreover, you can add widgets to your website that show your social media feeds, like your latest Facebook posts or Instagram snapshots. 

 Wix has a feature called a Social Bar, which lets you connect visitors to your social accounts, and they can also like, pin, post, share or tweet your content. There are also social media apps you can add to your site to do things like display your feed from one of your accounts.

Customization Options: WordPress vs. Wix

Both WordPress.com and Wix have third-party extensions that you can use to add features and enhance your site. The terminology is a bit different – WordPress.com calls them plugins, while Wix refers to them as apps – but the idea is the same.

Wix has over 200 apps that you can add to your site, enhancing it with features like contact forms, email marketing and social media buttons. Most of Wix’s apps are either free or have a cost-friendly lite version, but others can only be used if you pay monthly, and prices range from low to the higher end.

WordPress.com has more than 54,000 plugins, many of them free, some of them paid. Every WordPress.com site, regardless of the plan, comes with certain plugins out of the box – no need to install them. For example, built-in plugins include event countdown, photo galleries, polls, security scanning and stats – among others.

Other plugins are only available with paid plans. For example, if you have a Personal plan or higher, you can add an audio block, which lets you embed some type of audio, like a podcast. If you have a Premium plan or higher, you can add Calendly for easy appointment booking.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The WordPress.com Team

At WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on WordPress.com. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

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