Squarespace Vs Self-Hosted Author Websites

Squarespace is one of the popular blogging platforms. For authors looking to start their own website or blog, this platform seems like a good place to get started. Unfortunately, many writers eventually discover the disadvantages of using Squarespace soon after starting their websites. Their only option is starting all over again on a different self-hosted website.

There are two major disadvantages for starting an author website or blog on Squarespace. The first disadvantage is that you don’t have full control over your site design. This easily gets in the way of branding. The second major disadvantage is that you don’t totally own your content. As a writer, you want to retain rights to all of your work regardless of whether it appears on web pages or not.

One of the reasons many authors choose Squarespace over self-hosted websites is the ease with which they can set up and run their websites. Self-hosted websites often require more technical skills to be able to operate efficiently.

This, however, isn’t reason enough to choose Squarespace over self hosted options. Here are some of the differences between self-hosted websites and Squarespace.

Comparing Squarespace and traditional self-hosted websites for authors

Both options are available on a subscription basis. However, the main difference can be seen on what you end up paying for at the end of the month.

Squarespace includes an all in one package. You won’t have to worry about getting a website built and then uploading the website files in a web hosts servers. Everything is provided for at Squarespace.

Traditional web hosting, on the other hand, is focused on providing server space for website owners. That is, your subscription payment goes into paying for space where your website files will be stored.

Site termination

Squarespace essentially owns every website built on their platform. This means they have the power to bring down any website on their platform without notifying the site owner. Interestingly, they are under no obligation to notify a site owner about the termination of their website.

Squarespace also takes no responsibility for ensuring that website files lost in the event of a server crash or any other unprecedented event can be recovered. However, they do offer daily website backups that would make website recovery easier.

Many traditional web hosts will inform author website owners of their intention to bring their websites down. In addition, the reason for why they’re terminating their service is often provided. Web hosts will also provide site backups as part of their hosting plan to ensure that website files are easy to recover in case of an unprecedented event such as a server crash.

Losing information

Squarespace doesn’t guarantee that any information sent between your author website and a visitor will reach the intended destination. For example, if a reader sends you an email, you won’t be 100% sure that the email will reach you.

If the Squarespace platform has a bug or problem that causes loss of website files or information, any fixes carried out to remedy the issue do not guarantee that lost information will be recovered. Squarespace doesn’t accept liability for any losses your online business incurs as a result of bugs and platform problems.

The costs – Squarespace vs traditional self-hosted websites

The monthly Squarespace subscription costs $12. Their annual subscription costs $96. Many hosting companies will offer shared hosting plans that cost less than $10 per month. For example, Dreamhost costs $11 per month and $107 per year. Depending on the type of author website you want to build, there are additional hosting plans available too.

Some of the web hosting plans will also include additional features such as free domain names with every hosting plan purchase and ability to start several websites under a single hosting plan. The self-hosted option also makes it easy to access your website backend, integrate supporting technologies and modify your website’s look at little or no cost.

Running a self-hosted author website requires technical skills

Many authors will often shy away from highly technical tasks such as updating, backing up or making slight website modifications. However, running a self-hosted author website will require you acquire some simple technical skills. The only alternative would be hiring a professional developer which can end up being expensive in the long run.

Today, launching and running an efficient writer website or blog is much easier compared to five or ten years ago. Open source software and content management systems make it easy to launch and run websites without a lot of technical skills. Changing the look and feel of your website is also quite easy thanks to the thousands of templates and plugins available. In many instances, integrating supporting technologies such as payments processing can be done without ever knowing how to write code.

Some of the available content management systems also provide automatic updates. This means that you don’t have to apply any updates manually thus freeing you from ever having to know how to code.

Like starting any other business, launching an author website might require you learn new skills. These skills are essential to running every online business. These include uploading files to your web hosts servers, performing manual backups and performing website updates among others.

For any author contemplating starting a website or blog, going for the platform that seems cheapest and easiest to use feels natural. However,
such platforms including Squarespace come with their own major challenges. The fact that Squarespace owns your website files and there’s no guarantee that your website will remain online should be enough to cause you to look for affordable self hosted plans. You might need to learn a little bit of some technical skills or you can get author website maintenance services. However, it’s a price many online business owners are willing to pay in order to have more control over their websites.

Self-hosted author website options also eliminate over reliance on a single company for all of your website needs. This means that the web host will do almost anything to keep your business. As such, you’re assured of excellent support and additional features which will make growing your author website cheaper in the long run.

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