Prior to talking about the pros and cons of WordPress vs Wix, let’s do a little walk down memory lane regarding the history of creating websites. Before 2003, people and/ or businesses who want to have their own websites will either need to know coding or they will actually hire web developers to do up the websites for them as it requires in-depth knowledge and technical expertise of HTML (hypertext markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets). Not to mention that they need to spend thousands of dollars just for a decent looking website.
However, 2003 changed all these when WordPress was launched. It was created as a content management system (CMS) and has become the world’s leading content management system. As of 2015, more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites now use WordPress.
Numerous website builders were also birthed throughout the years and one strong contender is Wix. Sounds familiar? This is because they have massive advertising that include A-list movie stars, pyrotechnics and million-dollar budgets. You will notice their websites look cool and flashy, often stating how easy it is to set up your own ecommerce store.
If you have never owned a website before and are thinking of building one, here are 10 factors to consider when it comes to choosing Wix or WordPress as your website builder.
1. Interface Usability
Wix is one of the easiest website builders around, created for complete beginners who want to get a website running as soon as possible without all the coding hassle. No software installation is required and you get to edit everything in your browser. Whatever you see in your browser will be exactly what your website visitors see.
The Wix editor is simply drag and drop, foolproof and super intuitive. In short, it is ultra user-friendly. If you need more functionalities, all you have to do is add features from their App Market with just a click.
A helpful feature is the ADI editor, a Wix powered solution that creates instant websites with Artificial Intelligence Design. Users are asked a series of questions and the ADI builder will create the first draft of a website within minutes. It will also take existing content online to gather the website’s data (Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Maps). If the user does not like the ADI design, changes can be made easily. This is ingenious for people who are tight on time!
WordPress is well known for its wide selection of extensions and plugins but they are not always that easy to install or implement. It actually requires a bit of technical know-how and/ or some ability to understand their tutorials because when issues arise, it can take some time to find the right solution.
WordPress has just launched a more user friendly version to replace their classic editor – the Gutenberg that is a block based editor. With Gutenberg, you can arrange the entire layout within the editor and add multiple media types.
Verdict: Wix clearly wins this round as a user-friendly website builder and setting up one is so easy!
2. Design And Flexibility
Wix’s template library has close to 1,000 free templates. They are chic and modern, segmented into different categories (restaurants, fashion, blogs etc). A separate mobile version is available too but you would need to rearrange some elements to make the mobile version look aesthetically pleasing.
WordPress on the other hand, requires knowledge of CSS and HTML if you do not mind spending a few hours to find out on how to modify your template’s code to get the website you want. Despite this, it is still highly popular for 2 reasons. WordPress has tons of responsive themes online. They usually cost between $30 to $60 and most of them are responsive.
Additionally, when it comes to design and functionality, the user has total control and is able to customise the website to their desired look and usability. You can also hire a web developer to create a theme with unique features to make your website stand out and the best part? You can easily switch from one theme to another, unlike Wix where changes cannot be made once the site goes live.
While there are numerous free WordPress themes available, you should only use those from trusted sources as some of them might contain malware or hidden backlinks. Though the Gutenberg editor is only available for pages and blog posts currently, WordPress is planning to extend to entire websites by this year and that means users will soon be able to edit any part of their websites easily without any additional code or plugins. Talk about a game changer!
Verdict: Looks like WordPress is the winner in this round due to its flexibility in design and high degree of customisation.
Wix has a dedicated online store section and it comes with numerous options for payments, automatic taxes, shipping etc. Moreover, new features are added all the time. Many businesses love Wix’s ecommerce interface as it not only supports digital goods, is one of the most affordable website builders but also has multilingual versions of your website so you are able to sell globally but you won’t have full control over the URL (uniform resource locator) which makes it slightly less than perfect.
However, the site loading speed tends to be slower due to their content rich themes and does not provide an ideal shopping experience which could hurt SEO (search engine optimisation). It is also not built for large stores as the site navigation is limited to one sub-level, making it difficult to organise larger product catalogues. Selling in multicurrency is not available too and could affect your business profitability.
With WordPress, the above issues will not arise provided you use a third party plugin. One common plugin is WooCommerce which allows you to do everything with a tad of custom code. It is free but you will have to pay for extra features such as the Stripe credit card payment gateway.
Verdict: WordPress, with WooCommerce, offers a complete eCommerce solution where Wix can only provide a very basic ecommerce solution. WordPress would be definitely recommended if you plan to scale your ecommerce business, especially when compared to Wix.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is the process of improving your website for better search visibility on search engines like Google. There has been equal debate on whether Wix or WordPress is more suitable for SEO and we believe it rings true for both.
Wix has all the essential SEO features required to rank a website and they include alt tags, meta descriptions and titles, 301 redirects, structured data and other built-in features etc. Not to mention, Wix also adds new features and updates to its SEO Tools on a regular basis. However, SEO is affected by site loading speed as mentioned earlier and images are automatically named when you upload them so you are unable to customise the URLs, making these the 2 greatest downsides of Wix SEO.
With WordPress, SEO is taken a higher notch due to its flexibility and wide range of plugins. Eg. RankMath, which is considered one of the top SEO plugins for WordPress and contains features for rank tracking, content optimisation, identifying indexing issues, internal link building, advanced schema generation and many more.
Verdict: Wix is generally good for most projects but if you want more advanced SEO tools, WordPress is a better choice with the right plugins.
Wix’s blog interface is clean and simple. The options are easy to use even for amateurs and they include creating categories, tags, post scheduling as well as featuring related posts. The layout editor is not a drag and drop like the website editor and the posting features are decent but limited.
You can also add images, GIFS and dividers, galleries and videos but complicated stuff like tables will require HTML which can prove challenging for beginners. Nevertheless, it still serves as a good platform overall and provides a great start for new bloggers because it is easier to use and customise.
WordPress which is created as a content management system (CMS), has always been heavily focussed on blogging options and all the extraordinary features you need for writing impressive blogs such as categories, tags, RSS etc. Your blog look will be based on the theme you choose and that means certain features could malfunction unless you tweak them manually.
Therefore it is important that you do possess some technical knowledge before embarking on this journey because it will go a long way in helping you to create your dream blog. The Gutenberg closes the gap by giving you more control in the layout and blog content with options to add tables, galleries, columns etc.
Verdict: Clearly WordPress wins hands down here due to the design of its CMS interface.
6. Technical Support
Wix offers great technical support via phone support, live chat and forums. You may also find Wix articles and tutorials that are especially useful for beginners. For the very technical issues, you might experience some back and forth but they would eventually provide the right solution.
However, with WordPress, the support does not come readily as they do not have any official support. You will need to find your answer on the community forums but they are either a hit or miss and are buried in tons of comments before you find what you want.
To avoid this hassle and provided you have a little budget to spare ($15+/ month), you could also go for a web hosting service that is specialised in WordPress (Kinsta, Siteground etc). You would also get basic support with common WordPress issues. There are more affordable WordPress hosting options but you would get lesser support.
Verdict: Definitely Wix as there is no official support from WordPress.
7. Apps And Plugins
Wix has an App Market where you can find many ways to expand your industry-specific website among their library of 300 free and paid apps. This is a huge advantage for businesses as they have apps like hotel booking systems, business invoicing, photographer image galleries and many more. It is worth noting that some of these apps are developed by Wix themselves (Wix’s site of business tools, Ascend by Wix) and others by unofficial developers.
WordPress has an extensive library of plugins which makes it one of the top reasons for their popularity with users. WooCommerce which was mentioned earlier, is just one of them. They have various plugins, from social media to contact forms and to SEO etc. In a nutshell, they have thousands and thousands of ways to transform a WordPress theme to fit your needs. Similar to Wix, some WordPress plugins are free and some can cost a little fortune.
You would also need some technical knowledge to install or update them. Eg. WPML is a plugin to manage multiple languages. It is a complex app and creates conflicts with other plugins occasionally but it is very powerful. Moreover, if the plugin you require does not exist yet, you can simply hire a web developer to create it for you as WordPress gives you full access to the code.
Verdict: WordPress takes the crown as there is a solution for your every need. Wix’s apps are much easier to set up and maintain but they have a limited selection.
Wix has no upfront cost and anyone can register to create a website for free. If you want to remove the ads and enjoy more functionality, you would need to upgrade to one of the Wix website plans or business and ecommerce plans. If you need additional features like chatbots or event booking, you can either get the free ones or purchase the premium ones with prices ranging from $3 to $20.
There is a wide variety of plans and some of the popular one include:
- Combo ($16/month)
- Unlimited ($22/month)
- Business Basic for online stores ($23/month)
The Combo plan is good for most non ecommerce businesses as it is ad free and it lets you connect to a domain name. Wix’s pricing plans are clearer and can be paid monthly, yearly or bi-yearly but the amount provided is of the annual subscription so if you choose the monthly plan option, the cost can be higher.
WordPress is technically free to download but comes with extra expenses. You need to pay for a domain name and web hosting plan before you can start a website. A custom domain name starts at $10 a year while a web hosting plan can start as low as $4 per month with NameCheap Easy WP or other more affordable options for small websites where high uptime and speed are not crucial.
For professional support, expect to pay $14+ a month for a managed WordPress quality web hosting service that helps you take care of updates and supports a larger number of visitors. Prices can add up quickly with premium themes and paid plugins ($40 to $60) and the most costly one – a web developer’s time for customer tweaks which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
One great tip to resolve this issue is to engage a web developer on demand from a full service digital agency like Kuubiik where it doesn’t cost a “bomb” for their web development solutions. They have highly skilled professionals who are not only able to help you create a decent website but also provide support for search engine optimisation, increasing your visibility on search engines and much more.
Verdict: It really depends on the time and budget you want to spend on creating your website. Wix can help you save a lot of time if you just need a simple website and are a total newbie. WordPress has flexible and affordable web hosting options. Moreover, if you need the extra and affordable help for creating your desired website, you can always hire a web developer from a full service digital agency.
9. Data Portability
Wix has limited options if you need to move your content to another platform and you can only export your blog posts in XML format. You will have to manually download your pages, images, videos etc. All your content is exclusively hosted on Wix’s servers and you might experience difficulties exporting it elsewhere though it is still possible.
WordPress is created as a content management system and therefore makes it extremely easy to export your content. It comes with a one click exporter that helps you download all your content in XML format readily and since it is a self hosted platform, you can also create complete WordPress backups, download media files and even manually export your WordPress database. You can also move your WordPress site easily to a new web hosting service provider if you are not happy with your current one.
Verdict: WordPress obviously wins because the data export is hassle free, plus it helps you save lots of time so you can focus on building your new website!
10. Security And Maintenance
Cybercrime costs businesses nearly $6 trillion per year, not to mention it compromises your reputation, data and customer confidence. Hence the importance of website security cannot be stressed enough.
There are some common reasons for website hacks and they include:
- The website is poorly maintained
- The website uses insecure themes or plugins
- The website runs outdated scripts
- The website has security loopholes. Eg. Using a weak password
Wix is the clear winner when it comes to website security and maintenance. Why? Because it is created as a closed source system and they have a technical team that takes care of everything from server maintenance to script updates.
Wix has their own App Market and they are highly selective in allowing third party apps as well as enforcing strict security guidelines on third party developers. Additionally, Wix sites pass the highest levels of industry security compliance, from PCI DSS for ecommerce payments to SOC Type 2, and ISO 27001, 27701, 27018, and 27017.
With WordPress, anyone can develop and publish a theme or plugin on the internet so if they are poorly coded, it will make your website susceptible to hackers. WordPress has no official support and you will need to handle everything yourself – website security and performance, WordPress core, themes, plugins, PHP, SSL certificates and more.
All these make WordPress less reliable than Wix when it comes to website security and here is the evidence of some statistics:
- WordPress is 3 times more likely to contain malware than non-CMS websites
- 18% of WordPress sites have at least one vulnerability
- The risk is doubled for every 5 plugins you add to your WordPress site
It doesn’t mean you should stay off using WordPress because 40% of the web is powered by WordPress. It just means that you must be willing to spend the time, effort and money to make the WordPress site as secure as a Wix site. You also need to update your website on a regular basis and opt for only themes and plugins from trusted sources.
Ensure you use a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri to make your website security as unbeatable as possible. Alternatively, you can outsource these to a WordPress maintenance service provider or get a managed WordPress hosting provider to handle everything for you.
Verdict: Wix claims the spot as they do everything for you automatically so you don’t even have to worry about anything 24/7 and if you need support, they are contactable via multiple channels. With WordPress, you will need to handle everything on your own and having issues arise during your peak periods can prove frustrating when you need intense focus unless you outsource part or all of your needs to a WordPress service provider.
Final Conclusion – WordPress vs Wix
Wix and WordPress have their pros and cons and ultimately, it depends on the vision you have for your website and/ or business. If you are just starting out and want to create a simple website in the least amount of time, Wix is the option for you.
They have a good library of business apps which you can use to launch your website especially if your business is booking-based (salons, online fitness classes, yoga studios), event-based (photography, weddings), the hotel industry, F&B industry or a small ecommerce store. It is an absolute breeze for complete beginners with their drag and drop tools as well as dedicated support, helping to save lots of time, money and frustrations in the long run.
However, if you need sophisticated designs, are willing to code or have a spare budget and want more advanced features like blogging, multilingual websites, directories, large product catalogues, complex databases and FTP access, WordPress will be your choice as it allows for great flexibility and customizability.