Website builders and content management systems have ushered in a new era of web design by allowing users to build a website without coding.

The market is now flooded with website building tools and platforms that appeal to individuals and businesses with varying levels of technical knowledge, budgets, and purposes. Evaluating these different options can quickly become overwhelming.

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To help you narrow your selection and pick a solution that meets your unique needs, we’re comparing two of the biggest names: Wix and WordPress.

Both Wix and WordPress offer built-in features, templates, and add-ons for creating a custom site without coding or even knowing how to code — but they present two very different approaches to creating and managing a website.

Wix is a website builder that offers website building tools and hosting in one place. For users who don’t have the time to learn or use a variety of out-of-the-box features, Wix presents an ideal option for creating and launching a site quickly.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a multi-purpose content management system that provides the advanced features and customization options needed to create and manage a complex site. With a CMS, you can customize the design of your site, add multimedia in your posts, organize your content by tags and categories, manage multiple users, and much more. As a result, the process of setting up and launching your site will be longer.

Now that we understand the different software powering Wix and WordPress, we'll take a closer look at the following key differences to help you decide which solution better aligns with your site’s needs and goals:

Now that we have a better understanding of the different user bases that Wix and WordPress attract, let’s compare the flexibility of each platform.

Wix vs. WordPress Flexibility

Ideally, your website building platform will be both easy to use and easy to extend. But ease of use and flexibility are often a trade-off. The more control you have over the administration and design of your site, the more difficult the platform will be to learn and manage. The easier the platform, the less control you'll have.

So picking a platform is, in part, about deciding whether flexibility or ease of use is more important to you. With that in mind, let's compare the flexibility of Wix and WordPress below.

Wix Flexibility

Wix allows users to create and launch sites quickly — but you’ll have to forgo some flexibility for this ease-of-use.

With Wix, you can have your own custom domain, choose the colors, fonts, and layouts on your site, and add more advanced elements like animation and scroll effects to your pages. But you can’t add forms or featured images to blog posts, you can’t switch templates after your website goes live, and you can’t edit the underlying code, just to mention a few examples.

WordPress Flexibility

You’ll have much more flexibility with WordPress. You can tweak the appearance of your site, change its permalink settings, create and manage blog posts, enhance your security, change the style of each of your category pages, add forms and live chat to the front end, and much more.

Adding live chat to WordPress site with HubSpot WordPress plugin

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Extending the functionality of your WordPress site in these ways will require you to either add code to your files or install and configure a range of plugins. That won’t be a problem for more advanced users but will limit beginners' ability to build complex sites with advanced functionality.

Wix vs. WordPress Plugins

Built-in functionality is a major factor to consider when evaluating website building platforms — but it's not the only factor.

Since even the most feature-rich platforms cannot meet the needs of every site owner, most platforms have third-party extensions. Both Wix and WordPress offer them — Wix calls them "add-ons" and WordPress "plugins" — so that site owners are able to add features or extend the platform's functionality to meet their unique needs. Let's compare their selections below.

Wix Plugins

Compared to other website builders, Wix has one of the largest selections of third-party extensions. The Wix App Market offers over 250 free and premium add-ons. These add-ons are designed to help you collect leads, analyze traffic, interact with visitors, and design your site, among other purposes. 

Say, for example, you'd like to sync your contacts and forms in a CRM. Then you can install the HubSpot add-on for free. 

HubSpot Form submission on Wix site created with the HubSpot add-o

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WordPress Plugins

While Wix has one of the largest collection of add-ons compared to other website builders, WordPress has the largest collection of third-party extensions compared to any other website building software. 

In the official plugin directory alone, there are over 55,000 free plugins.

WordPress plugin directory page showing featured free pluginsThere's even more available in third-party marketplaces like Code Canyon. That means there's a WordPress plugin for virtually anything you can imagine, whether it's optimizing the design and placement of social sharing buttonsimproving community engagement among your members, or adding event listings directly to your site

While WordPress's vast selection of plugins means you'll have virtually unlimited customization options, it also means you'll have a much steeper learning curve and greater responsibility in managing your site.

Wix vs. WordPress Templates

Nearly every website building platform offers pre-designed templates. Since you don't have to build pages from scratch, templates speed up the design process and enable users at any skill level to create web pages — not just web designers or developers.  

Let's compare the selection and customizability of Wix's and WordPress's templates. 

Wix Templates

Wix offers over 500 free templates. These are designed for a variety of business niches and purposes, including consulting, real estate, photography, schools, nonprofits, online stores, blogs, and more.

Wix templates are easy to install and customize. You can  drag and drop elements on the page, upload a background image, select a pre-made color palette, change your font, customize the navigation menu, add an image gallery or decorative elements, edit content, replace images, and delete or rearrange sections.

Wix editor adding decoration

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Advanced users looking for additional customization options can add custom elements to their site, but the process is difficult. 

In addition to the difficulty of adding custom CSS, Wix does not offer themes or even template kits. It only offers single templates. That means if you're creating a multi-page website on Wix, you'll either have to use the same template for all your pages and customize them extensively, or transfer parts of a different template to your site

WordPress Templates

While you can find and install WordPress templates, WordPress is better known for its themes.

A WordPress theme is a collection of template files that modifies the way a site is displayed without modifying the core WordPress software. So whereas a template defines the layout of one page, a theme includes multiple templates and a stylesheet, and controls the design of an entire website. 

There are nearly 8,000 free themes available in the WordPress theme repository, but there are thousands more free and premium ones available in third-party marketplaces. In fact, according to data from Scepter, there are over 30,000 WordPress themes available for download or purchase. 

Installing and customizing themes is easy in WordPress. You can use WordPress's built-in customizer to change your colors, menus, widgets, and add custom CSS. 

Additional CSS module in WordPress editor

You can also use a page builder plugin for even more customization options. Many themes come with a built-in page builder already.

You can even use different themes on different pages if you want. 

Wix vs. WordPress Price

Budget is an important factor in deciding on a website building solution. While Wix offers four premium hosting plans with resources that scale up at each price point, WordPress is free to use. You will have to pay for hosting, domain registration, and premium plugins and themes, all of which range in price.

Let’s start by looking at the costs associated with building a Wix site.

Wix Price

Wix offers a limited free version for individuals or small businesses to build a site, but it’s ad-supported. To provide visitors with an ad-free experience, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium version.

Paid plans start at $14 per month. The higher tiers, which range from $18 to $49 per month, offer unlimited bandwidth, more storage, and more advanced functionality, including built-in analytics.

You might also have to factor in the cost of add-ons from the Wix App Market. Premium apps vary in price, ranging from $3 to $20 on average. 

8 free and premium add-ons from the Wix App Market Image Source

WordPress Price

Because WordPress is open-source software, it is free to download. However, you will have to pay for a domain name, hosting, and any premium plugins or themes you want to install. As a result, the costs of building and managing WordPress sites can range dramatically from $566 to $52,817.

According to Website Builder Expert, the average costs are much more moderate than that range implies. Building a WordPress site will cost you around $200 and managing it will cost $11 to $40 per month, on average.

You can see a detailed breakdown in our Guide to WordPress Website Costs

Wix vs. WordPress Ecommerce

Consumers spent $601.75 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2019, a year-over-year increase of 14.9%, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. As online spending accounts for an increasing percent of total retail sales, you might consider embracing ecommerce.  

Below we’ll look at how Wix and WordPress can support your efforts.

Wix Ecommerce

If you’d like to sell products or services online, you can select one of Wix’s dedicated ecommerce plans. These plans range from $23 to $49 per month and include built-in ecommerce features like subscriptions, abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, USPS discounts, multiple currencies, and more. There’s also an enterprise tier for businesses already selling over one million dollars. 

Once you select a plan, you simply have to select from over 100 ecommerce templates and customize your design, add products, connect a payment provider, set up shipping, and choose a custom domain. Then you’ll be ready to start selling.

Below you can take a look at The Spice Suite, a highly successful online store built on Wix.

Spice Suits online store is run on Wix

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WordPress Ecommerce

WordPress does not have built-in ecommerce features. However, it does have a dedicated ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce. Once you install this plugin, you’ll be able to create and customize an entire ecommerce site.

Because it’s open source, WooCommerce is highly customizable. You can download WooCommerce themes and WooCommerce plugins to change the appearance and functionality of your store. One example is the free HubSpot for WooCommerce plugin. With this plugin, you can track the activity of your visitors and buyers in the HubSpot CRM and set up workflows to automatically welcome new customers to your store, follow up with contacts that abandon their carts, and re-engage customers that haven’t visited your shop in a while. 

Creating an abandoned cart email with the HubSpot for WooCommerce plugin-1

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Like the WordPress software, the WooCommerce plugin is free to install, but there are some associated costs to factor into your budget, like transaction fees.

Wix vs. Wordpress for SEO

According to Search Engine Journal, sites listed on the first Google search results page get 91.5% of the traffic share for a keyword or phrase.

To get your site listed on the first page and drive more organic traffic to your site, you need to optimize your on-page and technical SEO. Let’s compare how Wix and WordPress can help your SEO efforts below.

Wix SEO

Wix makes it easy for you to optimize your on-page SEO with the the Wix SEO Wiz. You can add image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs to your posts and pages.

You can also create 301 redirects, hide certain pages from search engines, and set up integrations with Google Analytics and Google Search Console to optimize your site for search.

The premium plans include a service called “Site Booster.” This helps get your business listed in local directories and by Google and other major search engines. You can also download or purchase SEO apps in the Wix App Market.

However, Wix lacks certain functionality that enables you to optimize your technical SEO. Its major disadvantage is that it relies on Javascript to display its URLs, which can’t be read by search engines. This makes it difficult for search engines to crawl and therefore much less likely that Wix sites will rank.

Javascript also bloats the code of many Wix sites, which increases their load times. For example, taking a look at the source code of a site from the Wix showcase, you can see a lot of unnecessary JavaScript and on-page CSS. Because speed is a ranking factor for search, this code bloat further decreases their chances of ranking.

Code bloat from Wix siteImage Source

WordPress SEO

Like Wix, WordPress allows you to add image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs in your posts and pages. Its permalink structure is also more SEO friendly than Wix’s.

While WordPress has cleaner code out of the box, it also allows users to maintain granular control over every part of their code, from HTML to CSS.

WordPress does lack built-in SEO tools, but it offers some of the most popular and advanced tools in its plugin directory.

To help you with on-page SEO, for example, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin for your WordPress site. This plugin will offer suggestions for creating readable text, using your keywords, optimizing your meta descriptions and image alt text, and adding internal links.

Yoast SEO plugin SEO analysis resultsImage Source

To help you with technical SEO, you can download plugins to optimize your images, generate and update XML sitemaps in one click, integrate with Google Analytics, cache your site, and more.

Wix vs. Wordpress for Blogging

According to Tech Client, websites that feature a blog are 434% more likely to be ranked highly on search engines.

To reap the SEO benefits for your site, you need to select a platform with layouts and features that are designed specifically for blogging. Let’s compare Wix’s and WordPress’s selection below.

Wix Blogging

In addition to offering 57 blog templates for different niches, Wix provides standard blogging features to help you get started. You can add media to your blog posts, organize them with tags and categories, and schedule them.

While Wix offers a drag-and-drop editor for creating pages, its post editor looks and functions like WordPress’s Classic editor. You can change the style and colors of different fonts, borders, and buttons and add images, galleries, and videos in this interface. Uniquely, Wix offers an archive of free media so you can insert images and videos right into your posts without going to a third-party site like Pexel.

Wix post editor looks and functions like the WordPress Classic editor

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To add other elements to the page, like music or maps, you’ll have to add HTML code. This process can be intimidating for beginners.

WordPress Blogging

Since WordPress began as a blogging platform in 2003, it may not come as a surprise that it offers more blogging options than Wix. Right out of the box, you have tags, categories, RSS, a comments section, and more.

You can control the visibility of your posts and pages by setting them to public, private, or password-protected. You can also use the new block editor, Gutenberg, to create blog posts by dragging and dropping different elements on the page.

WordPress Gutenberg editorImage Source

In short, WordPress provides more control over your blog than Wix.

Wix vs. WordPress Support

Learning, extending, managing, and troubleshooting a new platform is difficult work. At different stages, you might need to ask for help or advice.

Below we’ll look at the different support channels Wix and WordPress offer.

Wix Support

As a proprietary website builder, Wix has a dedicated support team. This team offers 24/7 support in English to help users troubleshoot any and all issues, including those regarding billing, charges and subscriptions, domains, mailboxes, editor and live sites, and accounts and settings. You have the option to call them, request a callback, or submit a ticket. Wix’s Customer Care team also offers phone service in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

However, you are encouraged to try to find your answers in the Wix Help Center first. The help center contains all of Wix’s documentation and support articles.

Wix Help center

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You can find more resources, including blog posts, videos, and courses on third-party sites as well. 

WordPress Support

As an open-source CMS, WordPress does not have a dedicated support team. It does, however, have the largest global community with millions of members dedicated to improving the platform. You can reach out to these members through support forums or Slack channels and even meet them in person at WordCamp conferences all over the world — but understand that most of these members are volunteering their time and not trained support professionals. 

If you’re a self-taught learner, then you can browse the over two million topics discussed in the official WordPress support forum. Or check out the WordPress Codex, an official online manual from the developers of WordPress that covers everything from installing the WordPress software to creating a custom plugin.

WordPress codex provides links to most popular resources for beginners

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You can also find hundreds of video tutorials, online courses, ebooks, and other online resources for beginners on third-party sites and blogs. For example, the HubSpot Academy offers a free Build a WordPress Website Course to help anyone get started.

The downside of having so many resources available is that it can be difficult to find an answer to your specific question. If you’d like more personalized help, then you can check if your hosting provider offers customer support, or hire a WordPress developer.

The Key Differences Between Wix and WordPress

With either Wix or WordPress, you can create a custom site for your business without coding. Deciding which one is right for you will depend on the functionality you need and how much time and money you’re willing to invest in learning the platform and managing your site.

Below we’ll summarize the key differences between the two platforms.

  Wix wordpress
Software Proprietary website builder Open-source content management system
Flexibility Lacks flexibility in favor of ease-of-use. For example, you can’t add forms or featured images to blog posts, switch templates after your website goes live, or edit the source code. Forgoes some ease of use for flexibility.  You can extend the functionality of your WordPress site in many ways, but have to either add code to your files or install and configure a range of plugins. 
Plugins Over 250 free and premium add-ons are available in the Wix App Marketplace.  Over 55,000 free plugins are available in the official directory. Additional premium plugins are available in third-party marketplaces.
Templates Over 500 free templates are available for download.  Over 30,000 WordPress themes are available for download or purchase. 
Price Free with ads. To remove ads and get more bandwidth, storage, and features, premium plans are $14, $18, $23, or $39 per month. You can also purchase premium apps, which range from $3 to $20 on average. Free to use the software. Costs associated with domain registration, hosting, and premium plugins and themes range from $11 to $40 per month, on average, on top of a one-off sum of $200.
Ecommerce Dedicated ecommerce plans range from $23 to $49 per month — in addition to an enterprise level. These plans come with built-in features like subscriptions, abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, USPS discounts, and  multiple currencies. WordPress does not have built-in ecommerce features. Instead, you can download a dedicated ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce to build and customize an online store.
SEO In addition to the Wix SEO Wiz, which helps with on-page SEO, SEO apps are available in the Wix App Market. However, there are limitations for optimizing technical SEO. You can choose from hundreds of plugins that help optimize your on-page and technical SEO.
Blogging Offers standard functionality for creating and organizing multi-media blog posts, but lacks native commenting system and other features. Text editor for blog posts does not have drag-and-drop functionality. Offers more advanced blogging functionality, including content visibility and a built-in commenting system. WordPress’s drag-and-drop block editor, Gutenberg, works for blog posts and pages.
Support Does have a dedicated support team offering 24/7 help in English. In addition, hundreds of online resources are available in the Wix Help Center and on third-party sites. Does not have a dedicated support team, but does have largest user community, an official manual, thousands of support threads, slack channels, and events.

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Originally published Oct 23, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated December 07 2020

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