Wix vs WordPress: A Hands-On Comparison To Help You Choose
WordPress is by far the most popular way to build a website. It powers 31.6% of all the websites on the Internet, according to W3Techs. In terms of current market share, Wix isn’t even close – it powers just 0.9% of all websites – but it is growing quickly and has more than doubled in usage since this same time last year.
So you have WordPress, the entrenched market leader, and Wix, the up-and-comer…which one should you choose?
That’s what I’ll cover in this article. First, I’ll share the core difference between how Wix and WordPress help you create a website. Then, I’ll go into a more hands-on Wix vs WordPress comparison for key aspects of building and managing a website.
Note – for this article, I’m talking specifically about self-hosted WordPress, AKA WordPress.org. WordPress.org and WordPress.com are different things.
Wix vs WordPress: The Difference In Approach
Ok, I will go more hands-on and compare more focused categories like:
- Ease of use
But before I get into those sections, I think it’s important to set things up by discussing the core difference in approach between Wix vs WordPress.
Wix is a hosted website builder tool. With a hosted tool like Wix, you don’t need to bother with hosting or installing the software yourself. Instead, you just sign up for a Wix account and you’re off to the races. You also never need to worry about maintaining your site because Wix takes care of all the security, updates, backups, etc.
That obviously makes it super convenient, especially for non-technical people.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, though. To get that convenience, you’re going to sacrifice some flexibility (this is inevitable with pretty much any hosted platform).
WordPress is a self-hosted open-source content management system. With a self-hosted tool, you’ll actually sign up for your own hosting and then install the software on your own host. Beyond that, you’ll be the one responsible for maintaining and securing your site.
Yeeshhh – sounds complicated, right?
10+ years ago, I would’ve agreed with you. But now it’s actually surprisingly simple:
- Installing WordPress? Mosts hosts let you do that just by clicking a few buttons.
- Maintenance? Yeah, it still requires some of your focus, which is a downer. But because WordPress is so popular, you can find something called managed WordPress hosting. When you choose one of those hosts, they’ll handle most, but not all, of that for you.
Ok, so while working with the self-hosted aspect of WordPress has gotten a lot simpler (and it’s definitely something a non-technical user can handle with a little practice), it’s still undeniably a little bit more complex than Wix.
So why is WordPress powering 31.6% of all websites, while Wix is only powering 0.9% of all websites?
Basically – flexibility.
Because of the huge WordPress ecosystem, as well as the fact that you’re installing the software on your own server, you can pretty much make WordPress do…anything.
If you want the most flexible platform, WordPress is going to give you more flexibility than Wix (but again, you will sacrifice some convenience).
Wix vs WordPress: Which Is Easier To Use?
After that introduction, you already have a basic understanding that Wix will probably be a little simpler than WordPress. But now, I actually want to go hands-on and show you how those ease-of-use differences will manifest themselves when you go to create your website.
To get started with Wix, you just head to the website and sign up. From there, Wix will ask you what type of site you want to create to help you find the right style:
Then, you can either let the Wix ADI tool create your site for you (you just answer some questions and the AI picks a template for you and gets you set up with the basics) or you can pick a template yourself.
Wix has tons of built-in templates – all organized into different categories:
And then just like that, Wix drops you into the Wix editor and you can start building your site.
Building your site is pretty simple. For example, if you want to edit the text on your page, you just click and type. Or, if you want to add a new element (like an image, form, etc.) you can just click on the Add button:
There’s some other stuff going on that you can take advantage of – but that should give you a good taste of how easy it is to use Wix.
Basically, if you’re not planning to stray too far from the template that you chose, you can customize the text/images and get up and running in no time.
To get started with WordPress, you already know that you have to choose hosting and install WordPress.
But again – that’s not difficult at all. Here’s an example:
We use and recommend SiteGround hosting for WordPress sites. After you sign up for SiteGround, SiteGround gives you the SiteGround Wizard where you can get WordPress installed for you right away:
So…yeah, that’s really simple. Maybe not Wix simple – but definitely something a casual user can handle.
Once you use the wizard, you’d log in to your WordPress site using the credentials you set up in that wizard.
The default WordPress dashboard looks like this:
To control how your site looks, you can pick from the thousands of free WordPress themes or upload your own premium theme:
And while the default way that you create content in WordPress isn’t a visual editor like Wix…
You can get that same style of visual editing by using something called a plugin:
Now that I threw the term plugin at you, I think it’s important to move to the next section – flexibility.
Wix vs WordPress: Which Is More Flexible?
If Wix won on simplicity, flexibility is WordPress’ time to shine…
Above, I said that Wix is easy to use if you’re not planning “to stray too far from the template that you chose”. But what if you do want to stray? How flexible is Wix?
Well, like I said, it’s one of the better website builder platforms when it comes to flexibility.
First, you have all those options in the Add button. You can use that to add simple elements like forms or a list of blog posts.
Or, you can also use it to:
- Create a store
- Create a members only area for a membership site
If that’s not enough, you have the Wix App Market. Here, you can choose from hundreds of free and premium apps to add even more functionality to your site:
And if that’s still not enough and you’re technically savvy, you can turn on Wix Code to:
- Create basic database structures
- Add your own client-side code
- Create new backend web modules
Those features are really only helpful for developers, though.
There are two sides to what makes WordPress flexible.
First, there’s the side for non-developers. WordPress has a type of extension called a plugin. Plugins help you tweak your site in all kinds of ways, both small and big.
Plugins can help you add small features or make small tweaks like:
Or, plugins can also help you make big tweaks, like turning your WordPress site into an:
- eCommerce store
- Social network
- Membership site
- Learning management system to create online courses
Remember how I said you can choose from “hundreds” of Wix apps? Well, there are over 56,000 (!) free WordPress plugins at WordPress.org alone. Then, there are thousands more premium options at other marketplaces.
Basically, no matter what bit of functionality you want, you can probably find a plugin to help you do it.
And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you need from the 60,000+ that are available, we come to the other side of what makes WordPress flexible:
You have 100% control to edit anything. You, or a developer that you hire, can:
- Directly access your database
- Add your own client or server-side code
So whether you’re a regular user or a developer, you can probably find a way to make your WordPress site do exactly what you want it to do, which might not always be the case with Wix.
Wix vs WordPress: Which Is Easier To Maintain?
Once you create your site, you’ll need to maintain it to ensure that it keeps humming along properly.
With respect to maintenance, Wix is the easier of the two because there…isn’t any. But WordPress is still pretty simple, especially if you choose a quality host.
Again, because Wix is a hosted platform, Wix will handle maintenance and security as part of its platform. You don’t need to do anything.
With WordPress, you will need to handle maintenance, security, and updates. But you can mitigate a lot of the manual effort by:
- Choosing the right host
- Installing the right WordPress plugins
For example, a good managed WordPress host will handle backups and updates for you, as well as much of your site’s security (though you’ll still need to follow basic WordPress security best practices).
So while you will always need to take a more active approach to WordPress maintenance, it’s nothing too overwhelming. And if you want to completely ignore it, you can always pay for a WordPress maintenance service to do it for you.
Speaking of payment…
Wix vs WordPress: Which One Costs More?
This one is hard to answer. WordPress has the potential to be the cheapest solution because it’s unavoidable fixed costs are lower. But it’s also possible for it to cost more, depending on the exact setup you want.
Here’s what I mean…
Wix technically offers a free plan, but it’s not a viable option for serious sites because it displays Wix.com ads and uses a Wix.com subdomain.
The first plan level that I would consider viable for a serious website is Wix’s Unlimited plan, which costs $12.50 per month:
That plan does not get you eCommerce functionality. But it’s a solid option for a regular website.
Beyond that, you’ll also need your own domain name, which costs $14.95 per year if you buy through Wix (you’ll get your first year free):
Therefore, your unavoidable fixed cost with Wix is ~$165 per year.
Beyond that fixed cost, you might also need to pay for some apps in the Wix App Market depending on the features that you need.
The only unavoidable fixed cost for WordPress is your hosting and domain name. There’s a lot of variability in hosting prices, but you can get solid start hosting for ~$5 per month. Tack on a domain name, which costs $11 per year through Namecheap and:
Your unavoidable fixed cost with WordPress is ~$70 per year.
It’s also worth pointing out that most hosts let you host multiple WordPress websites for the same cost. So if you want to create multiple websites, WordPress becomes even cheaper.
Beyond that fixed cost, you might also want premium:
You can certainly get by with just free themes and plugins. But there’s also a good chance you end up spending more for a couple of premium options.
Wix vs WordPress: Which One Should You Choose?
This is a WordPress blog, so you can probably guess which platform we’ll recommend. But, we will try to be fair here:
If you just want a basic website and like the look of Wix’s templates, Wix is a great option, especially for casual users who just want something simple. Check out our full Wix review to learn even more.
But for most sites, WordPress is the best option because of its flexibility and extensibility. Additionally, while WordPress isn’t quite as simple, it’s still 100% possible for a regular, non-technical person to create a WordPress site.
And because WordPress is so popular, there are tons of people and resources to help you if you ever run into issues.
The numbers play this one out – remember, WordPress powers over 31% of the Internet, while Wix is just 0.9%.
And if you’re still not sure, there are plenty of other WordPress alternatives that you can check out.
Now over to you – which one do you prefer between Wix vs WordPress and why?