WordPress vs Wix (2019) - Which is Best?

Wordpress vs Wix - image showing the two logos side by side

In this WordPress vs Wix comparison, I take an in-depth look at two of the world’s most-popular website building solutions.

You’ll learn about their key features, and the reasons why (and when) you might choose one over the other for a website design project.

By the end of this comparison, you should have a much clearer idea of which platform best meets your individual requirements.

Let’s start with an overview of what Wordpress is.


What is WordPress?

Well, there are two different versions of WordPress to consider:

  • Hosted WordPress

  • Self-hosted WordPress

Hosted WordPress

Hosted WordPress — available at wordpress.com — is a software as a service (SaaS) tool for building and maintaining websites.

Although it started life as a blogging service, it’s now a fully-fledged website builder. You pay a monthly fee to use it and this gives you access to a broad range of features which help you construct a website.

This makes hosted Wordpress rather similar to Wix, because

  • you don’t need to buy any hosting to use it (your site is hosted on Wordpress’ servers)

  • you get a lot of functionality included out of the box.

Hosted Wordpress is slightly less of an ‘all-in-one’ solution than Wix however, as despite its SaaS nature, users will often need to rely on third-party themes or plugins to maximise the visual appeal or functionality of a Hosted WordPress website.

Self-hosted WordPress

Self-hosted WordPress is a piece of website-building and management software that you download from wordpress.org and install on your own web server.

It’s open-source, meaning that the code behind it is freely available and can be easily modified.

In practice, this means that sites built with self-hosted WordPress can be customized to an enormous degree – it’s an extremely flexible tool that, in the hands of the right developer, or through the installation of appropriate plugins, can be adapted to meet the requirements of nearly any website design project.

It’s important to note however that despite the flexibility and power of self-hosted WordPress, it’s entirely possible to create and maintain a website using the platform without having to code. For example, you can avoid HTML and CSS entirely by using third-party visual editors like Divi.

And WordPress’ new drag-and-drop tool for laying out page and post content, Gutenberg, makes content management easier than ever before for novice webmasters.

However, although you can create and modify a self-hosted Wordpress site without having any development skills, you will need to spend more time ‘joining the dots’ than if you were using Hosted Wordpress (or indeed Wix).

Typical tasks involved in a WordPress build can include

  • finding somewhere to register your domain

  • choosing a hosting provioder

  • installing the Wordpress software

  • sourcing a theme

  • adding plugins needed for the functionality you require

  • mapping your domain to your Wordpress site.

All this equates to a steeper learning curve than that which you’d encounter with Wix.

So which version of Wordpress are we comparing to Wix?

This WordPress vs Wix comparison is going to compare the self-hosted version of Wordpress to Wix.

My reasoning for focusing on the self-hosted version is that it’s more useful to contrast an ‘all-in-one’ platform (Wix) to something more powerful but which requires more effort and/or resources to set up — in this case, self-hosted Wordpress.

Let’s take a look at Wix now.


What is Wix?

Wix is a cloud-based service that allows you to design and build your own website without needing to know how to code at all.

Unlike WordPress, Wix gives you most of what you need to build and maintain your website out of the box — i.e., a domain name, hosting, templates, content mangement system (CMS), event booking tools, e-commerce functionality, and support.

In other words, it’s entirely possible to avoid apps or custom coding with Wix if you so choose (that said, Wix sites can be enhanced with both).

There are two ways to get started with Wix: first, there’s the ‘Wix Editor’, which allows you to pick a template, create a structure for your site, and then populate it with content.

Alternatively, you can use the ‘Wix ADI’ mode (‘Artificial Design Intelligence’) — this automatically creates a customizable website for you complete with images, video, and text. This is done by asking you a few questions about what you’re trying to achieve, and then populating your site with publicly-available information about you or your business from the web.

Both the Wix Editor and Wix ADI options are designed to be used by people without web development skills; however, there is also a mode called ‘Wix Corvid’ which provides access to the platform’s APIs and permits users to create database collections and dynamic pages. Corvid permits the addition of greater functionality to Wix sites, but you will need development skills to use it.


How many people use WordPress and Wix?

When deciding which website building platform is right for you, it’s important to look at product history and user numbers.

This is because if a particular platform has a large number of customers / users, this reduces the risk of it failing and taking your website (and perhaps your entire business!) with it.

A large user base also results in greater availability of useful resources relating to the platform (like blogs and articles), products (themes, templates, plugins, and apps) and support options.

So how do WordPress and Wix stack up on this front?

WordPress’ history and user base

WordPress was founded in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little; fast-forward to 2019 and the self-hosted version is now hugely popular, being thought to power around 37.5 million websites. Because it’s an open-source platform, thousands of independent developers around the world contribute to it.

WordPress’ massive user base and open-source nature means that an active community constantly produces free or reasonably-priced products (like themes, plugins, and extensions) for the platform.

Wix’ history and user base

Wix was founded in 2006, and is one of the larger website building companies. It boasts 1800 employees and at time of writing there are roughly 3.3 million Wix websites in existence (source: BuiltWith.com).

Because WordPress has a much larger user base than Wix, it’s technically a safer bet — you can have a large degree of confidence that the platform is not going to disappear any time soon. But that said, with 3.3 million websites in existence, it’s hard to see Wix going anywhere either.

The bottom line is that with both WordPress and Wix you are not dealing with a startup — so choosing one of these platforms is going to come down to other considerations, like pricing and features.

And speaking of pricing...


Pricing: how much do WordPress and Wix cost to use?

WordPress costs

Although the WordPress software can be downloaded and installed for free, there are other things you’ll need to pay for to get a site built with it off the ground, namely:

  • hosting (server space on which to install WordPress and store your site)

  • themes (the design for your website)

  • an e-commerce integration (addition of tools that will let you sell products online)

  • plugins (apps that can be added to your site to add more functionality)

Depending on your requirements and/or ability to code, you may also need to pay for  a developer to help you with the site build.

The one thing you’ll always have to pay for with WordPress is hosting, without which you will have nowhere to install WordPress. You have two options on that front — you can avail of shared hosting (cheaper but slower) from a general hosting provider like Hostgater or ‘managed’ Wordpress hosting (faster, more secure — but more expensive too) from a dedicated Wordpress hosting company like WP Engine.

For small to medium-sized projects, this means you’d be looking at costs of between $4 (for shared hosting) and $30 (for managed WordPress hosting) per month. As you might expect, the latter brings considerably better site performance.

With regard to the other factors mentioned above, you can technically use a free theme, e-commerce integration, and plugins. But to get higher-quality results, it’s usually worth investing in your site.

Here are some figures which demonstrate the costs you might expect to incur if you were to build your WordPress site yourself whilst investing in higher-quality services / components:

  • Annual hosting, using managed WordPress hosting from WP Engine as an example: $420 (recurring cost)

  • Premium theme: $175

  • Annual cost for e-commerce integration, using Ecwid as an example: $180 (recurring cost)

  • 4 paid-for plugins: $100

Based on the above, this means that your Wordpress site could cost as much as $1,175 to set up, after which you’d face annual running costs of $600.

To be fair, these estimates err on the more expensive side of things — it is certainly possible to make use of free themes and plugins, or choose a much cheaper hosting solution than WP Engine. But nonetheless, these figures highlight that it is not always sensible to view Wordpress as an entirely ‘free’ option.

And finally on the subject of Wordpress costs, if you were to hire a developer to help you configure, build, and maintain your site, you’d face significantly higher costs than the above (but would be getting a much better product and support).

Wix costs

Wix costs vary slightly by location — as do the plans available, but in the US there are currently  eight plans available with Wix (1 free plan and 7 paid).

These are as follows:

  • Free - $0 per month

  • Connect Domain - $5 per month

  • Combo - $11 per month

  • Unlimited - $14 per month

  • VIP - $29 per month

  • Business Basic - $20 per month

  • Business Unlimited - $25 per month

  • Business VIP - $35 per month

The free plan is not suitable for creating professional sites — it’s fine if you want to put something simple together for a one-off event (like a birthday party, charity event or wedding), but you’ll have to live with restrictive functionality and very prominent ads for Wix on it. However, the free plan at least does give you a good way to try the platform out before committing to it.

Similarly, the ‘Connect Domain’ plan is best avoided by professional users, because despite it being a paid-for plan, it doesn’t remove the (fairly intrusive) Wix advertising.

Wix’s free plan represents a good way to try the platform’s features out — so long as you can live with very prominent advertising…

Wix’s free plan represents a good way to try the platform’s features out — so long as you can live with very prominent advertising…

The key differences between the remaining Wix plans involve how much bandwidth and storage space you get, and whether you get e-commerce functionality. Of the premium plans listed above, only the ones prefixed with ‘Business’ allow you to sell online, meaning that you are looking at a minimum fee of $20 per month to run an e-commerce site using Wix.

Another thing to watch out for on the paid-for Wix plans is whether they allow you to create bespoke data capture forms or not (a pretty important feature). You’ll need to be on a $14+ ‘Unlimited’ plan or higher to gain this functionality (otherwise, you’ll have to pay for an app to provide it)

All in all with Wix, depending on which plan you decide to go with, you’re looking at an annual cost of between $60 and $420, which means that despite it being the ‘paid-for’ product and WordPress being the open-source one, actually makes Wix potentially the cheaper option.

However, pricing shouldn’t be the only thing you take into consideration when deciding between WordPress vs Wix. Let’s drill down into the features and functionality of the two platforms, starting with templates.


WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

We offer WordPress development services — depending on the project, we can either assist you with your build or put you in touch with a specialist who can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on how we can get your website project off the ground in a professional and cost-effective way.


Templates

Quantity and quality

Wix’s designer-made website templates are divided into 16 categories including Business, Online Store, Photography, Restaurants & Food, Landing Pages, and more. There are over 500 free templates to choose from, and they are all of a high quality.

Some examples of Wix templates

Some examples of Wix templates

The WordPress Theme Directory, by contrast, contains thousands of free themes for users to pick from. And a number of dedicated theme stores – like Template Monster or Theme Fuse – have popped up over the years selling premium themes, further increasing the number of templates available to Wordpress users.

It’s probably fair to say that Wix templates are a bit easier to customize than WordPress themes, due to Wix’s drag-and-drop website builder. That said, modifying a WordPress theme shouldn’t involve a steep learning curve – especially in the case of premium themes.

Performance on mobile

Although Wix claims your site will “automatically look amazing on any device”, the platform uses absolute positioning, which means that web elements are positioned by pixel rather than relative to the user’s screen.

Although with a bit of thought and effort you can produce a site that will display fine on mobile devices, a Wix website will not adapt quite as well as a WordPress site to devices with different screen sizes (i.e. it won’t be fully responsive).

This is disappointing and goes against best web design practice; significantly, it goes against Google’s advice for creating a search-friendly mobile site too. Given that Google now uses mobile search results to inform all search results, this situation isn’t at all ideal.

To be fair to Wix however, the company is making continuous efforts to improve the performance of their sites on mobile devices, and Google is on record as saying Wix sites work fine from an SEO perspective too.

My feeling is that if you’re working in a super competitive niche, then other website building platforms might work out better than Wix from an SEO perspective. But for most applications, Wix is a perfectly acceptable option as far as SEO goes. (It’s important that technical performance is only one part of the SEO mix: having great content, and links to it, is also hugely important).

Finding a responsive WordPress theme isn’t difficult at all, but you will need to double check its suitability across various devices before installing it on your site.

Customization options

The customization options available to you with WordPress depend entirely on the theme you’re using.

Premium WordPress themes tend to have extensive customization options, allowing you to extensively tweak the layout of your website. With free WordPress themes however, you are usually limited to making fairly minor modifications (e.g. to typefaces, text color, button color).

In terms of typefaces, many WordPress themes come with a lot of web fonts built in. Alternatively, you can install your own fonts using a plugin, or by editing your site’s CSS.

And speaking of CSS, the built-in WordPress customizer makes it easy to add your own CSS to your site.

As for Wix, the built-in Wix Editor makes it very straightforward to edit and customize templates. You simply click on the web element you’d like to customize and click the Change Design button to see the different design options available to you.

Wix provides around 100 different fonts to choose from out of the box, and gives you the option to upload your own web fonts directly via the Wix Editor.

Security of themes

One thing to watch out for with WordPress themes is security — some contain badly-written or even deliberately malicious code that can compromise the security of your website.

To avoid encountering problems in this area, make sure you always source your theme from a reputable source. (The Wordpress Theme Directory is a good place to look, because all the templates included in it are tested by a theme review team before being included).

By contrast, because Wix’s templates are built in-house, you don’t have to worry about security issues at all when you install one.

Switching templates

A key disadvantage of using Wix is that once you build a site on the platform using a particular template, you’re stuck with it — Wix doesn’t allow you to apply a different template to an existing site.

So, in order to apply a new Wix template, you effectively have to build your site all over again.

This is not at all ideal and contrasts very negatively with WordPress, which doesn’t restrict your ability to apply a different template to your site content at all.


Content management and interface

User-friendliness

As discussed above, Wix offers three drag-and-drop based options for building websites – Wix Editor, Wix ADI and Corvid — but the process of adding or editing content is similar across the board. Simply put, it’s equivalent in complexity to using Microsoft Word. You just select the copy or content you’d like to edit, and tweak it accordingly.

The main difference between managing content in WordPress vs Wix is that with Wix, you’re working on a front-end interface. What this means is that you can see the edits on your screen as you make them.

In WordPress, you have to edit content in the back end, and then preview or publish it to see your changes. Traditionally, this has involved using a fairly simple WYSIWYG editor to add content to your website, but recently WordPress launched a new editor, Gutenberg, that allows you to drag and drop elements around your pages. You are still working in the back end of your site, and will still have to preview and publish your pages to see the front-end changes, but it makes laying out content much easier than before.

And if you are very keen to edit the front end of a Wordpress site directly, this is possible, as there are quite a lot of visual editor plugins available for Wordpress that you can use to view changes to your content in real time.

It’s probably fair to say that although neither platform presents a steep learning curve when it comes to editing a website, novices may hit the ground running slightly quicker on Wix.

Managing media

The WordPress CMS has a fully-fledged media library that you can use to store, access, and edit images and documents. It’s a very professional solution for storing multimedia and it’s easy to use.

The Wordpress Media library

The Wordpress Media library

With Wix, you have similar functionality called the Media Manager which allows users and site contributors to access site files – like images, audio, video, and documents.

The media manager also has an Explore section that gives you access to a collection of media files that Wix offers customers for free. The ‘Explore’ section also allows you to purchase visuals direct from Shutterstock, which may prove useful to anyone in need of stock photography for their website.

Importing and exporting content

WordPress makes it very easy for users to import and export pages, posts and products directly into the CMS.

By contrast Wix only allows you to import and export products, so it’s a definite win for Wordpress here, particularly for bloggers.

Content versioning

With Wordpress, so long as you’ve set everything up correctly, you get extensive content versioning functionality. Pretty much any element can be rolled back to an earlier version, including blog posts.

Although Wix is better in some respects than competing hosted solutions when it comes to storing older versions of your content, it’s not as flexible as Wordpress in this regard, and crucially, doesn’t permit you to revert back to older versions of blog posts (unless, as a workaround, you duplicate your post before making an edit to it — a clunky approach, but one which does work).

Mobile apps

With WordPress, you can install the WordPress app on your phone (it’s available for both iOS and Android) and perform key site management tasks on it. These include:

  • creating and editing posts/pages

  • uploading media files

  • moderating comments

  • viewing site stats

The Wordpress mobile app

The Wordpress mobile app

Wix also has its own app – the suitably titled Wix App, available for both iOS and Android – that lets you:

  • manage your online store (track orders, add new products, and receive notifications when you make a sale)

  • manage bookings

  • manage events

  • publish and edit blog posts

  • view web stats

  • initiate conversation with your site’s visitors via live chat.

The Wordpress app is generally better for editing content; the Wix app is better for managing admin or e-commerce aspects of your business, and communicating with your customers.

Creating multilingual sites in Wordpress and Wix

If you need to create multiple versions of your website to accommodate multiple languages, then you’re in luck with both Wix and Wordpress.

Unlike some other leading hosted website building solutions — notably Squarespace — Wix facilitates the creation of different versions of your websites in different languages.

You simply switch ‘Wix Mulitlingual’ on, add a language, and then populate the alternate versions of your pages.

However, it’s important to note that Wix doesn’t allow you to translate every site component. The following elements cannot at present be translated on a Wix site:

  • Get Subscribers sign up forms

  • Lightboxes

  • Most Wix business solutions (Wix Hotel, Wix Bookings, Wix Restaurants etc.)

  • Wix apps (Wix Pro Gallery, Wix Blog, Wix Forum, Wix Chat etc.)

  • Members Area

  • Third-party apps

  • Content added using Corvid

Wordpress works in a slightly different way — in that you have to create an individual site for each language (which usually resides in a subdomain or subfolder on your domain, i.e., yoursite.com/en/ for English, yoursite.com/fr/ and so on). This can be done by installing the Wordpress Multilingual Plugin (which at time of writing costs $79) or using a version of the platform called WordPress Multisite.

As with a lot of things in WordPress, more configuration is required to set up a multilingual website, so again the Wix option may appeal to novices who need this functionality.

But the flexibility you get with WordPress — and the lack of restrictions in what you can and can’t translate — ultimately makes WordPress a far more suitable option for multilingual sites.

Analytics

Wix supports a wide range of analytics and tracking tools, offering built-in integrations for:

  • Google Analytics

  • Google Tag Manager

  • Google AdWords

  • Facebook Pixel

  • Yandex Metrica

  • Bing Webmaster

The Google Tag Manager integration is particularly useful, as it allows you to implement additional third-party code, pixels, or custom code to your Wix site to track conversions.

As is the case with most other things in WordPress, you’re able to integrate just about any analytics tool into your site either by using a plugin or by adding custom code to your site’s header.


E-commerce functionality

When using Wix, you need to be on a ‘Business & E-commerce’ plan to access online selling capability.

Once you’re on one of these plans, you’ll find that the platform is proves very easy for first-time sellers to use — adding products and setting up payment options is very straightforward.

WordPress, by contrast, doesn’t have e-commerce functionality built into the platform. You have to instead use a third-party option. A large number of these exist including Ecwid, Shopify, WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.

(See our Ecwid review or our Shopify review for more information on two of these options).

Core e-commerce functionality

Out of the box, Wix provides a pretty good range of e-commerce features. With the platform, you can:

  • sell an unlimited number of digital or physical products

  • allow users to sort and filter your products

  • enter tracking information for physical products

  • use point of sale functionality via Square (for U.S. only)

  • provide customers with real time shipping calculations (U.S. and Brazil only)

Wix also provides flexible tax and shipping options. It allows you to set up  tax on a per-region basis, which is useful for meeting VAT MOSS (VAT Mini One Stop Shop) rules when selling digital products to customers based in the EU. (That said, if you plan to sell a lot of digital goods in the EU you should note that competing platform Shopify calculates VAT MOSS automatically for you — this is a huge time saver).

Shipping functionality is also good in Wix, allowing you to create shipping rules based on a flat rate, product weight or product price.

However, Wix’s e-commerce functionality has a key limitation in that it doesn’t facilitate dropshipping. You can use e-commerce apps – like Shopify or Ecwid – to implement this functionality in your Wix online store, but this will bring additional costs.

Since WordPress doesn’t offer e-commerce functionality out of the box, the core e-commerce features available to you will depend on the e-commerce plugin you’ve installed to your site.

On the plus side, this means you have the option to choose a e-commerce solution that is 100% right for your site — on the down side (and as with much else in WordPress) you’re looking at a bit of configuration (and an additional spend) before you can get cracking with e-commerce.

Payment gateways

Wix works with a reasonably large number of payment gateways — pieces of software that facilitate card transactions — that you can add to your online store (the exact number available to you depends on your location). The platform currently offers 21 payment gateways including Stripe, PayPal, Square, 2Checkout, Yandex and and Braintree.

With WordPress, the number of payment gateways available to you depends on which e-commerce plugin or tool you’re using.


Integration with other apps

Wix has an App Market with 250+ free and premium apps – some developed by Wix and some by third-parties. Most apps available through the App Market involve monthly subscriptions or follow a freemium model (i.e. you have access to limited functionality with the free version of the app).

The Wix app market

The Wix app market

Overall, the App Market is easy to use and browse, and provides lots of additional useful functionality that you can add to your Wix site, including forums, events, calendars, pop-ups, and live chat.

Wix also lets you add functionality from third-party apps by using an HTML block to add a widget.

However, I’d argue that WordPress is definitely the winner in the integration department.

Since WordPress is an open-source platform, there are tens of thousands of plugins (over 55,000 in the WordPress Plugin Directory) available that you can integrate with your site to leverage additional functionality.

You (or a developer) can also manipulate your Wordpress site extensively using custom code, allowing you to create some very bespoke integrations with other online apps.


Data capture in WordPress vs Wix

Data capture forms in Wix

Out of the box, Wix provides some basic data capture forms that you can use to let customers reach out to you with or subscribe to mailing lists. You’re also able to create custom forms for your Wix site by using an app like FormBuilder, which is included with Wix’s $14+ ‘Unlimited’ plan or higher.

The contact data you capture through these forms is automatically added to your site’s ‘contact list,’ which provides a useful way to keep track of all the interactions you’ve ever had with your site visitors.

Wix also features built-in email marketing functionality, which you can use to send 3 e-newsletters per month to up to 5,000 subscribers. This is generous and compares positively with rival Squarespace’s Email Campaigns offering (as well as email marketing apps in general). As you won’t find any free email marketing apps out of the box with Wordpress, this represents a rather large win for Wix here.

You also have the option to connect your Wix site to a third-party mail provider (e.g. Mailchimp, Getresponse or AWeber) by adding a suitable Wix app or HTML block to your pages — this can give you significantly more advanced email marketing functionality, but you can expect to spend a bit of time setting it up.

The data captured by Wix forms can be exported to regular CSV, Google CSV, or Outlook CSV files.

Data capture forms in WordPress

Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t offer data capture forms, meaning that you have to resort to a plugin (like the excellent Gravity Forms) to create them.

Once you do however, you’ll find that the data capture options available to you are much more extensive in WordPress than Wix.

For example, with the right plugin, you’re able to implement advanced functionality like conditional logic, file uploads, and hidden fields on your forms.

In terms of where you can send the data captured, most WordPress data capture form plugins have built-in functionality that you can use to export data to CSV. Alternatively, and more usefully, you can hook your form up to an email marketing tool like Mailchimp or Getresponse.


SEO in WordPress vs Wix

Wix SEO

The search engine optimization (SEO) functionality Wix provides out of the box is generally good. You’re able to perform key SEO tasks – like adding alt text and meta descriptions, editing page URLs, adding header code meta tags, and creating 301 redirects – quite easily.

(The below video gives an overview of some of the SEO features in Wix, and how to use them)

One aspect of Wix which may appeal to SEO novices is the company’s ‘SEO Wiz’ resource. This walks you through the key steps for optimizing your website for search engines, helping you to to update your page titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and so on. It’s a good introduction to the key concepts.

It’s not all good news on the SEO front however.

First, Wix lacks support for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP pages load extremely quickly on mobile devices and are sometimes foregrounded by Google in search results (via carousels containing AMP content).

Additionally, AMP pages can increase ‘dwell time’ (as users stay longer on pages that load quickly). A longer dwell time is considered by many SEO experts as being something that is treated as a ‘positive signal’ by search engine algorithms and rewarded in search rankings accordingly.

Second, because Wix is a hosted solution, you have no control over the server that your site is hosted on. This precludes you from using super-fast hosting services; and because site speed is also treated as a positive signal by search engines, you may be losing out a bit with Wix here.

And finally — and as discussed above — Wix doesn’t support responsive sites (Google’s preferred option for mobile site design).

Because getting a site visible in search results is as much about creating great content and earning backlinks to it as having a perfect technical SEO setup, it’s perfectly possible to get a Wix site to rank highly in search results. It’s just that things could be a bit better on the technical SEO side of things.

WordPress SEO

As you might expect given the above observations on Wix SEO, WordPress is the clear winner in the search engine optimization department in a WordPress vs Wix showdown.

First of all, WordPress allows you to install Yoast, which is one of the best tools available for SEO. For those unfamiliar with it, this plugin assesses the quality of your on-page SEO efforts and makes easy-to-follow  suggestions on how you can further improve it.

Yoast plugin for Wordpress - a great SEO tool

Yoast plugin for Wordpress - a great SEO tool

WordPress also performs better on the mobile SEO front, thanks to a wide range of AMP plugins being available for it. And as discussed above, creating fully-responsive WordPress sites (preferred by search engine algorithms) is no problem.

And finally, you can choose whatever hosting you like for a WordPress site — meaning that you can avail of the super-fast site speeds that Google and other search engines love.


GDPR compliance in WordPress vs Wix

Note: I am not a legal professional, so please note that the observations provided below on the topic of GDPR should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Wix GDPR

As a result of the GDPR laws introduced in May 2018, website owners need to take several steps to ensure that they are properly protecting the privacy of EU visitors. Even if your business isn’t based in the EU, you still need to make sure you’re in compliance with the new regulations if you are targeting EU users with your website.

As a Wix website owner, you need to make sure you:

  • provide adequate privacy and cookie consent notices

  • process and store visitors’ and customers’ data securely

  • obtain explicit consent from people who subscribe to your mailing list that it’s okay to send them email newsletters occasionally

  • provide a means to opt in (and opt out) of non-essential cookie usage on a website and to log that consent.

Wix lets you implement the first three requirements easily, though you can expect to invest some time and money into producing the right documents and designing GDPR-compliant data capture forms.

Wix falls completely short on the cookie consent requirement, however. According to the GDPR, you need to display a cookie banner on your website that:

  • allows visitors to give consent to which cookies they allow before those cookies run

  • logs their consent to run cookies

  • allows visitors to revoke their consent and opt out of cookie usage later.

Out of the box — and in common with other leading hosted website building solutions — Wix doesn’t provide a way for users to deal with obtaining cookie consent from their site’s visitors, and this is highly frustrating.

So, to become GDPR compliant where cookies are concerned, you’ll have to resort to using a third-party tool like CookiePro. You can use this on a Wix site either by using JavaScript or through Google Tag Manager, but you should be aware that this is a fairly involved, time-consuming technical process (we detail how to create a GDPR-compliant cookie banner for Squarespace here; the process for a Wix site is a similar one).

WordPress GDPR

As with Wix, the main challenge of making a WordPress site GDPR-compliant involves managing cookie consent.

But unlike Wix, there are several plugins available that you can use to capture to manage cookies in a GDPR-compliant way. Given WordPress’ massive user base, you’ll also find numerous resources providing advice on how to use them.

It’s fair to say that although there is legwork involved in making a Wordpress website GDPR-compliant (you’ll still need to source the right documents, and configure GDPR plugins in various ways), the process is arguably more straightforward and there are more plugins and support resources available to help you with it.

And speaking of help, let’s take a look at the support options available with both WordPress and Wix.


WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

We offer WordPress development services — depending on the project, we can either assist you with your build or put you in touch with a specialist who can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on how we can get your website project off the ground in a professional and cost-effective way.


Support and security

Support

Support is an area where Wix comprehensively beats WordPress.

Wix offers support to customers via phone, email, and live chat. This means that if something goes badly wrong with your website, you’ll have someone to turn to.

This comprehensive level of support is particularly important to keep in mind if you’re building a Wix site for someone else. When you hand over a Wix site to a client, you won’t have to worry about providing ongoing support (you can just point your client in the direction of the Wix support desk).

Wix also has a ‘Help Center’ which contains a large library of articles and video tutorials that you can search through. (There is also contextual help provided with the Wix Editor.)

Phone support for Wix is available Monday to Friday from 5am to 5pm PST in three different languages — English, Spanish, and Portuguese. You will have to request a callback from the support team, but Wix states that you can expect to receive it in under 5 minutes.

The process for getting in touch with Wix’s support team could be a bit better however. To get in touch with the helpdesk, you have to search for an solution to your problem in the Help Center first. You then need to browse suggested answers, and then click ‘No’ in response to a ‘Did this help?’ question to access the support team’s contact details.

To be fair, many other platforms make you jump through similar hoops in order to get in touch with help desks, but the process is a bit clunky.

As for WordPress, there is no ‘official’ support helpdesk available. You might find yourself sourcing help from WordPress forums, your hosting company, plugin providers or searching on Google.

To get a high level of support for a WordPress website, you’ll need to work with a WordPress developer or agency and take out a support contract with them. This can be expensive, but on the plus side, you’ll receive one-on-one support and possibly a degree of hand-holding that is not available with Wix.

Security

Because Wix is a hosted solution, the bulk of the responsibility for security lies with the company itself — it’s essentially Wix’s responsibility to ensure that their platform doesn’t get compromised, your site doesn't get hacked and that backups of your content are made.

With WordPress, if you’re not working with a developer or agency, then the ultimate responsibility for security belongs to you as the end user. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your version of Wordpress is up to date, along with any plugins or themes you might be using — and failure to keep on top of this site maintenance can easily lead to your site getting hacked.

And as discussed above, you’ve also got to be aware that some Wordpress themes and plugins can contain malicious code which can compromise the security of your site — so you need to be very careful about which ones you install. And finally, you've got to ensure that you're regularly backing up your site (various plugins are available to help automate this process for you).

In short, Wix sites are arguably less vulnerable than self-built Wordpress ones, simply because there’s less scope for users to neglect security on their site or add dodgy code to it. And if something does go wrong, then the Wix support team are there to help you resolve the problem (and will be experienced at doing so).

Finally, a quick note about SSL: a free SSL certificate is provided with all Wix sites, meaning that your visitors are browsing your site on a secure connection. Using this to create a secure website is a simple case of ticking a checkbox in your Wix settings.  

You can of course install SSL certificates on WordPress sites too — but again, it's your responsibility to sort that out.


WordPress vs Wix: the conclusions

WordPress is undeniably a more powerful, more flexible, and better-established platform than Wix. It has a vast number of themes and plugins available; and its user base dwarfs that of Wix.

However, that’s not to say that WordPress is the right platform for every web design project.

For some users — particularly those without any technical skills or the budget to hire a developer, a hosted solution like Wix may be a better bet, at least initially. There are four main reasons for this:

  • It’s easier to set up a Wix site than a WordPress one

  • You don’t have to worry about sourcing themes or plugins to add visual appeal and necessary functionality to your site

  • Support is provided as part of your Wix plan, meaning that you’ll get hand-holding both during and after your build.

  • You don’t need to worry about security or software updates.

In other words, Wix makes it easy for a complete novice to create a website with a lot of useful functionality and get help if needed both during and after the build.

For a reasonable monthly fee, you can get a site containing the key features you might need to get a website off the ground, including e-commerce, a blog, contact forms, mailing lists, galleries, bookings, and much more. The free version of Wix may even suit some users (albeit ones with very simple requirements).

However, if you’re likely to have advanced e-commerce or blogging requirements, I’d recommend going with WordPress over Wix — for the simple reason that you can build just about ANY sort of website, blog or online store with it. It’s a significantly more flexible platform.

There are two other key reasons why you might want consider WordPress over Wix.

First, SEO — although Wix doesn’t make a particularly bad fist of this, the SEO functionality in Wordpress is considerably stronger, and if you’re working in an extremely competitive niche, you may find that a well-constructed Wordpress site on a fast server gives you a slight edge in search results.

The second reason is arguably more serious — as things stand, Wix doesn’t let you create truly responsive, mobile-friendly websites. Although with a bit of effort you can create sites on Wix websites that display fine on phones, it’s not ideal and basically means that you have to spend time creating two distinct versions of your site (potentially more if you’re creating a site featuring multiple languages).

By contrast in WordPress it’s easy to create a fully-responsive version of your website that displays nicely across all devices, thanks to thousands of fully-responsive templates being available for the platform.

To sum up, Wix is a potentially good option for those on a budget or without any previous website-building skills; Wordpress is a better bet if you need a more bespoke or sophisticated website and have the budget or time to build it.

But if you do decide to go with WordPress, you may find that it makes sense to work with an experienced developer or agency rather than doing everything yourself (excuse a plug, but contact us if need help on that front!). That way, you’ll have a more polished, more optimized website and, so long as you take out a support contract, you won’t have to worry about security or maintenance.

I sum up some of the reasons why you might choose one platform over the other below.

Reasons to use WordPress over Wix

  • WordPress is a more flexible platform than Wix and you can use it to build any sort of website.

  • Its content management system is more sophisticated that Wix’s, featuring more advanced blogging functionality and content versioning.

  • With WordPress, there is a much wider range of themes and plugins to choose from to add visual appeal and functionality to your site.

  • Data capture options are more extensive with WordPress than Wix (as long as you’re using the right forms plugin).

  • WordPress’ SEO capabilities are considerably better than Wix’s.

  • WordPress is a better option than Wix for creating multilingual websites or multi-site projects.

  • You can create a fully-responsive site with Wordpress; this is not strictly the case with Wix.

  • There are more resources and plugins available for Wordpress to help you achieve GDPR-compliance.

You can download WordPress for free here, or contact us for help with a Wordpress project here.

Reasons to use Wix over WordPress

  • Wix is easier to set up and get started with than WordPress – you don’t really need to have any technical skills to use it.

  • A lot of essential features that you have to source separately in WordPress (via plugins) are available out of the box with Wix (e.g. templates, e-commerce functionality, and data capture forms).

  • Because Wix is a hosted solution, you don’t really have to worry about security or site maintenance.

  • Customer support is available for Wix (email, phone, and live chat). By contrast, with WordPress, you have to rely on forums and articles for support or commission a developer or agency to provide it.

  • Wix offers email marketing functionality out of the box, allowing you to build a mailing list easily and send e-newsletters to it.

  • Although it’s very basic in nature (and features advertising on it) there’s a completely free plan available for Wix — Wordpress will always involve some costs.

You can try Wix for free here.


Alternatives to WordPress and Wix

WordPress and Wix are by no means the only options available for building a website or online store: there are a very large number of alternative solutions available.

On the self-hosted front, the best-known alternatives are probably Joomla and Drupal: very flexible platforms that host millions of websites.

With regard to hosted website builders, Jimdo offers a similar level of functionality to Wix at a similar price point. You could also consider hosted Wordpress.

Squarespace is definitely worth a look too — it’s more expensive than Wix, and omits some of its features, but is in general arguably a more elegant solution.

(See our Jimdo review and our Squarespace review for more in-depth information about these platforms.)

Finally, if you’re thinking about building an online store, it may be advisable to skip Wix in favour of a platform that is more geared towards e-commerce than Wix. If this sounds like you, I’d suggest checking out Shopify or Bigcommerce. Check out our Bigcommerce vs Shopify comparison for more details on these two platforms.