Everyday there are increasingly simpler and faster ways to establish digital presence and provide online commerce, but which solutions are best suited for a business? In this article WordPress vs Wix we compare the self-hosted WordPress with the hosted Wix in order to identify the differences, the pros and the cons of each type of solution.
These solutions were chosen based on their popularity within each type of hosted and self-hosted solutions, as they have the largest number of sites available in their respective categories, however for each type there’s other options available.
Self-hosted solutions like WordPress.org, Drupal or Joomla are free and open source full featured CMS solutions. They don’t provide hosting or domain so it’s necessary to obtain them to publish the site, entailing costs but allowing additional freedom in the configuration, customization and retention of solutions. Additionally, because they require some degree of technical knowledge, these should be configured and managed by an experienced implementer.
Hosted solutions, as Wix, Shopify or wordpress.com include hosting and domain, but are based on a periodic subscription business model. Although they’re easier and more intuitive to use, they’re not free and more limited on configuration and customization capabilities, since there’s no access to the source code and the interface does not allow all options in order to guarantee that same simplicity and usability.
Note: WordPress.org is a free and open-source CMS solution that shouldn’t be confused with wordpress.com, which is a website created by one of the founders of WordPress offering a pre-configured solution with hosting, domain and some included extensions. Under the hood the solution is the same, however wordpress.com is more limited and uses a subscription model similar to Wix.
So what costs they have?
The main issue to clarify is that, a professional website to promote a company, brand or product, or to provide e-commerce, none of the options will be free. In self-hosted solutions such as WordPress, the base product is free but requires domain, hosting and technical expertise to install and configure the site. In the case of hosted solutions like Wix, the base product is presented as free, however without purchasing a paid plan, the site won’t appear on search engines, all pages of the site will contain advertising, the base address will be a subdomain, such as “user.wixsite.com/mysite” and will have other limitations on functionality and bandwidth.
In financial terms, the distinction between the two solutions is on the timing and durability of the investment. Wix presents a subscription model whose effort is diluted over time through smoother but constant monthly fees over the entire lifetime of the site, while WordPress has a greater initial effort, but after the starting phase has basically no costs derived from its open-source base and update mechanisms.
However in order to properly address both solutions, we’ll go into more detail about the strengths and limitations of each.
WordPress vs Wix
The global statistics of both CMS solutions allow, above all, to assess the level of popularity and adherence:
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS solution available to download from wordpress.org. As the solution is licensed under GPLv2, its use and modification is free, so the effort to create a WordPress site is related to the acquisition of a domain and hosting together with the technical, graphic and security configuration in order to ensure the correct functioning and performance of the site.
Wix is a website creation platform where it’s ease and usability will appeal to any user through an extremely intuitive and simple interface. With different monthly subscription options including hosting and domain, it allows to create modern and compatible websites in a quick and accessible way, with added features adjusted to the financial effort intended.
Looking at the different aspects of these platforms we can identify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.
In terms of functionality, WordPress has a wide advantage. Through a large amount of graphic templates for all tastes, an extensive support community and a base of more than 50,000 plugins, there’s no limitations on what to do, ensuring functionality via themes, plugins or customization’s.
Wix in it’s paid plans has the essential options however it doesn’t have customization capabilities and the plugins and themes cannot reach the level of existing options in wordpress.
A key element of the website to ensure search engine presence. Both solutions have the functionality to optimize the website’s SEO through base components and plugins, however the on-page and off-page SEO in WordPress is more complete. Wix also offers plugins for this purpose, however these are more limited.
The ability to identify among website visitors, what content is relevant, what generates more attention, what needs to be improved. The analytics components are another fundamental part of a modern website, where wordpress offers a more complete set of capabilities. Both have integration with Google Analytics, however, the ability to customize wordpress and the extensive base of plugins allows you to do more in this area.
Scalability and performance
In terms of performance, for small and medium-sized sites there’s no major differences between the two solutions. When scaled up to a reasonable number of pages and complexity, Wix is simply not a viable option. WordPress ensures scalability much better due to its greater robustness and full configuration access to all application layers.
Visual quality and compatibility
In terms of aesthetics and compatibility both solutions can produce exceptionally looking sites, fully compatible with browsers and devices, however Wix has an advantage in the visual area due to the quality of its templates and the ease of the site creation process. WordPress allows you to create websites with the same visual quality, however good graphic templates are not as accessible.
This is the main added value of Wix and what makes it so appealing especially for users without computer or web design knowledge, due to the whole process simplicity and the excellent quality of their editing tools. Only remarks are on the mobile device editor which is separate, and the small but relevant limitations found when you want to personalize with greater level of detail.
On WordPress, despite being relatively simple to perform the basic tasks of creating pages, articles or menus, the site configuration in general has a steeper learning curve, due to all the technical aspects affecting the site performance, security and integrity.
To meet these needs, we suggest a technological partner such as Sollogica, that offers implementation services at competitive costs, ensuring the site features, compatibility, performance and security.
In terms of security both solutions are effective, however in WordPress this subject is much more important since the site is managed by the customer or it’s chosen partner.
This is one of the reasons why WordPress should be implemented by resources with a solid level of technical knowledge. WordPress is a very secure solution, however the universe of plugins and templates is so vast and the customization capabilities so extensive, that the primary sources of security issues come from misconfigurations or installation of third party components without being able to assess quality and security.
Continuity and portability
This is the great limitation of Wix as a web solution, given that the site and all its content is hosted on Wix servers and cannot be exported or moved in any way. In other words, if you ever want to restructure the site, or simply change providers, you have to start from scratch, since there’s no access to the site files or database.
In terms of maintenance is possible as long as there’s no major changes, because once the base layout is chosen it cannot be changed. Corrective maintenance is automatic.
As for WordPress, portability is ensured through export and import tools, allowing you to migrate all content to another platform if you wish so. In terms of maintenance there’s no limitations, being possible to completely restructure the site or add additional components or functionalities, without affecting the existing content.
Corrective maintenance in WordPress is performed automatically and large feature updates can be easily validated before deployment.
WordPress once installed and configured is yours to use and modify as you wish.
When you create a website on Wix, according to the terms and conditions, the design and features are not yours but part of a subscribed service. Only the content you place on the site is yours, however since there’s no way to export or move it, you have no options than continuing to subscribe or start from scratch on a new provider. Here is where the business model fully reveals itself, and despite it will surely has it’s follower base, I consider it overly restrictive.
In this WordPress vs Wix comparison, we choose WordPress for its robustness, functionality, extensibility and open-source base, as it’s superior to Wix in almost all aspects, being only surpassed in the quality and accessibility of Wix graphic templates and it’s ease of use.
However, it’s important to note that easy does not mean good, at least on a corporate or e-commerce site.
The democratization of technology is a reality and represents a very important step towards increasing competitiveness, where companies and individuals no longer require large investments in order to have a good and efficient digital presence. The web technology through solutions like the ones mentioned here have facilitated this process, however the technologies inherent to a website, such as performance, scalability, search engine optimization or site analytics, are complex and constantly evolving themes, where excessive simplification for commercial purposes will only cause issues on the long run.
A lot of online information presents Wix as a more effective solution in financial terms, however taking into account the practiced consultancy rates and the effort of setting up a standard site in WordPress, it’s easy to verify that in a space of two years or less, Wix subscription costs will exceed the initial WordPress investment.
Taking into account the implicit costs of having a website whose search engine presence is inferior, that cannot be changed or moved, that cannot be restructured and that is dependent on the destination and decisions of the company where it’s hosted, are too many limiting factors that should be weighted when a user accesses the site, chooses a couple of options, a spectacular layout and thinks he already has his site made.
Certainly Wix will have its followers and specific niches where it can be a good asset, however looking at the solutions as a whole, our advice will surely be WordPress.