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Wordpress & PHP or Squarespace & JSON

This is an opinion question and I expect polarized answers. I'm looking at development long term: Is it better to dive deep into PHP and focus on Wordpress development or look into developers.squarespace.com and explore look into customizing with JSON.

Full disclosure guys, I'm hosting customized sites on both platforms and I really enjoy both of them for different reasons. It seems obvious that you get more out our the box with Squarespace but have more flexibility as a developer and opportunities to scale with Wordpress.

I'm looking for people with immediate experience with one platform or the other or both. What are the downfalls? How have they compared for you in terms of SEO, security, e-commerce and database integration?

2 Answers

Ron McCranie
Ron McCranie
7,837 Points

I do Wordpress customization work for another company but would never use it as a solution for one of my products. Even though it is widely used, it is fairly easy to use starting out, and it can be somewhat powerful, it's always a target for hackers. I'm constantly helping people try to fix their hacked Wordpress sites. I could almost make a living just doing that. There are people who make good money making Wordpress sites though. If you decided to go that route I would suggest learning as much as you can about strengthening the security of your server and Wordpress installation.

I'm from the more traditionalist approach. Learn how to build a website from scratch. Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript (jQuery), PHP, NGINX and/or Apache (servers), etc. Then after you learn these, you will just have to learn how Wordpress uses each of these things.

I've not tried using Square Space but I've heard good things about it. It is not a long term solution though for a professional web designer / developer. I would maybe use that instead of Wordpress until you're comfortable building your own sites from scratch.

Most small website jobs I get can be built in a few hours without any frameworks (Wordpress or otherwise). Too many people try to use Wordpress for everything even when it's not the right solution for the project. Keep that in mind and you will save time, can save your clients money, and can maintain a great reputation.

These are my opinions and in no way reflect those of Treehouse.


Thank you so much. I agree with you that a major downfall with Wordpress is that most people don't know how to do anything more than a standard install on a mySQL database. Since PHP, MySQL, and Wordpress code is all available, and some 20% of the internet utilizes this CRM, Wordpress is an obvious target. I really appreciate your insight here... Full stack development it is. ;)

As for being a target, how much learning will it take to be satisfactorily secure when you build your own solution?
In school we learned about salting passwords, sanitizing input and not being stupid with SQL queries; but the professor made it really clear that we weren't prepared to deal with real world attacks.

Is there recommended a set of shopping-cart/checkout packages for outsourcing credit-card security to experts without committing your whole site to squarespace or something?

Thank you, ghost code. Why?

Sue Dough
Sue Dough
35,800 Points
  1. Wordpress is more popular
  2. Squarespace is a paid platform vs wordpress which is free
  3. I am bias
  4. Wordpress has more open source code
  5. Wordpress has a better community