Small business websites require web hosting—space on a computer server somewhere that visitors access when they enter your domain name or click on a Google link. Not all hosting is the same, though, as we show in this head-to-head match-up between DreamHost vs Squarespace. DreamHost is great for building WordPress websites, but for those who need a simpler path, Squarespace might be the better choice. Find out why below.
Here’s a quick look at when to use DreamHost and when to use Squarespace:
- DreamHost: You are new to website building and need a WordPress website
- Squarespace: You want an easy-to-use, fast, and design-forward website builder
DreamHost vs Squarespace at a Glance
Cost per Month*
BoldGrid drag-and-drop builder
Add-on $4 per address, per month
24/7 ticket, chat, and phone support (callback)
24/7 ticket, chat, and social media support
*Billed annually; may renew at a higher rate.
When to Use DreamHost
DreamHost offers its Shared Unlimited hosting plan for an introductory price of $2.95 a month for the first year. The plan includes WordPress pre-installed on all hosting accounts and a drag-and-drop WordPress website builder. Here’s when to use DreamHost:
- You’re building a WordPress website: DreamHost is essentially built for creating WordPress websites. In addition to unlimited storage and bandwidth, you’ll get BoldGrid, a drag-and-drop editor for WordPress (a $100 value) to simplify your site building.
- You prioritize security: With every hosting package, DreamHost will provide automatic updates of WordPress core and security features and back your site’s data up every day. This will help keep your website safe from hackers and data thieves.
- You’re building an ecommerce website: DreamHost with WordPress means you can choose from more than a dozen ecommerce plugins, including the popular WooCommerce bundle. In fact, for an additional fee, DreamHost will include a preconfigured WooCommerce shopping cart in your hosting package.
When to Use Squarespace
Squarespace is one of the earliest website builders around. It offers a number of design-forward templates and Fluid Engine—a drag-and-drop website builder. With Squarespace, it’s relatively easy and straightforward to design and build a website. Here are some of the reasons to use Squarespace:
- You don’t need the features of WordPress: WordPress is a great content management system (CMS), but it’s not for every application. If you need a simpler site with just a few basic features, Squarespace is for you.
- You need to launch your site fast: With Squarespace, it is possible to build and launch an attractive, professional-looking website in just a few hours. WordPress can take days.
- You want an ultra-contemporary design: Squarespace templates are crafted with a design-first philosophy, meaning you can build a responsive, attractive site that looks great on any device.
Best Alternatives to Squarespace & DreamHost
DreamHost and Squarespace are both great for building a small business website, but they may not be for everyone. Other providers offer features and add-ons that combine the functionality of WordPress with the ease-of-use of Squarespace. Here are a few of the best alternatives to DreamHost and Squarespace:
Ecommerce Plans Monthly*
2GB plus page-count limits
AI builder or template-based, plus drag-and-drop editing
Web.com intuitive, block-based website editor
Section-based with templates
1 address included
Unlimited email addresses
*With annual billing; may renew at a higher rate.
DreamHost vs Squarespace Pricing
Starting Cost per Month: $2.95*
Renews at: $10.99/month*
Unlimited email addresses
BoldGrid WordPress website builder
Starting Cost per Month: $16*
Renews at: $16/month
Fluid Engine website builder
~100 premade templates
Value is important when choosing a web hosting service. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, DreamHost trounces Squarespace.
With DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited plan for just $2.95 a month to start, you get unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email addresses. That’s a lot of value packed into a very small price. With Squarespace, you get unlimited storage and bandwidth—but that’s it. It comes with a single website, and email is a $4 a month expense per address. Add just a few users and the cost of email quickly exceeds the cost of hosting with Squarespace.
Even when DreamHost’s price increases after your introductory year, you’ll still be saving money. DreamHost renews at $10.99 a month—more than $5 less than Squarespace.
Most Affordable: DreamHost by a Mile
No matter how you compare DreamHost vs Squarespace on pricing, DreamHost has Squarespace dead to rights. DreamHost trumps Squarespace in every pricing category and in all features. If you’re looking for value, choose DreamHost.
Squarespace vs DreamHost Products & Services
Shared web or WordPress hosting from $2.95/month
Web hosting with website builder from $16/month
WooCommerce hosting from $16.99/month
Ecommerce plan from $27/month
Managed WordPress hosting from $16.95/month*
WordPress not offered
Virtual Private Server (VPS) starting at 10/month*
Dedicated servers from $249/month
Domain registration ($8.99-$19.99/year for .com)
Unlimited email addresses included
Email addresses add-on
Custom website design from $1,499
SEO, social media marketing, and more from $399/month
*Billed annually; renews at a higher rate.
Because Squarespace is primarily a website building platform, it offers none of the advanced features you can find with DreamHost. Yes, Squarespace gives you a website builder, and you can upgrade to an ecommerce plan, but that’s it. Even email is an additional service.
With DreamHost, you get web hosting, a website builder, and unlimited email addresses. You also have the option to upgrade to a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server if your site needs to grow. DreamHost also offers a number of professional services—including website design and construction, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. These are products and services Squarespace simply doesn’t offer, and this places DreamHost streets ahead of Squarespace.
Best Web Hosting: DreamHost
Free Domain & SSL
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Add-on (12 cents per GB)
Usually, web hosting features stack up relatively evenly when you compare providers. That’s because, essentially, a web hosting package comprises some storage space on a server and email addresses. DreamHost and Squarespace are fairly matched in the hosting features you get. There are just a couple of key factors to consider.
While DreamHost includes WordPress and a drag-and-drop editor, you aren’t locked into using WordPress to build your website. You can create your website on any platform you like, including Drupal and Joomla. This gives you additional freedom and the ability to choose advanced functionality that might not be available from Squarespace.
On the other hand, Squarespace locks you into its templates and Fluid Engine. It’s all you get. You don’t have the option to use WordPress, Joomla, or another content management system (CMS). You can’t even custom-code a website from the ground up with Squarespace.
That’s not to say DreamHost trumps Squarespace across the board when it comes to hosting. Squarespace includes a content delivery network (CDN), which caches copies of your website on servers around the world. This places your website physically closer to international visitors to help improve site load times and performance. DreamHost offers a CDN as an add-on for 12 cents per GB of traffic used, but for even a moderately busy website, this could mean big bucks.
A CDN notwithstanding, Squarespace doesn’t quite approach the robustness and flexibility offered by DreamHost. For this reason, DreamHost comes out on top—but only slightly.
Best WordPress Hosting: DreamHost
WordPress Page Builder
Automated WordPress Migration
Automatic WordPress Updates
Not offered; ecommerce package starts at $27/month
As we’ve said before, DreamHost is almost built for WordPress and includes a bevy of WordPress-specific features. That’s one of the reasons DreamHost nabs the top spot on our list of best cheap WordPress hosting services. Here are some of the features included:
- WordPress pre-installed on your domain
- BoldGrid drag-and-drop website builder for WordPress
- Automated WordPress migration (for companies with existing WordPress websites)
- Automatic daily backups
- Optional automatic updates of WordPress core and security features, as well as some plugins
Because Squarespace is primarily a website building platform and you don’t have the option to use your own CMS, there are no WordPress features. If you’re considering a WordPress website, you’ll need to choose a WordPress-capable web host. When it comes to Squarespace vs DreamHost, though, DreamHost is your only choice for WordPress.
Pro tip: While it’s true that WordPress is an open source, free CMS, that doesn’t mean you won’t run into expenses building a WordPress site. WordPress is very basic. Building a WordPress website is not always free, as most of the functionality you need will require plugins, which are sometimes expensive. Find out more about the true costs of building a WordPress website before you pull the trigger.
Best Place to Buy Domains: DreamHost
.com Introductory Price
From time to time, you may find a need to buy a domain without a hosting or email package. This is known as “parking” a domain. Reasons to park a domain can include planning for future expansion or protecting adjacent business names or products.
DreamHost makes domain-only purchases fast and affordable, with domains costing $8.99 the first year. When it comes time to use your domain, you can quickly add web hosting or dedicated email right from your control panel.
You can make domain-only purchases through Squarespace, but managing your domain is made slightly more complex with Squarespace’s control panel. It’s hard to direct your domain to another web server when it comes time to build your website. Your other option is to simply add Squarespace web hosting, which will increase the monthly cost of your website.
Overall, if you’re considering making a domain-only purchase, choose DreamHost. It’ll end up saving you money and a lot of hassle in the long run.
Best Business Email Provider: DreamHost
Standalone Email Hosting
1GB per address
Anti-phishing & Virus Protection
Mobile & Desktop Apps
Add to Email Clients
Google Workspace Add-on
$7.20/month per user*
Must purchase directly from Google or Microsoft
*Billed annually; may renew at a higher rate.
Professional email addresses include your business’ domain, such as email@example.com. You can get professional email through both DreamHost and Squarespace, but DreamHost makes it both cheaper and easier to create and manage email accounts, which is why it lands a spot on our list of the best email hosting providers.
DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited plan includes unlimited email boxes with up to 1GB of storage per email box. You can access your email from any device through DreamHost’s webmail interface, or you can add your email account to a popular email app, such as Mac Mail, Microsoft Outlook, or Thunderbird.
With Squarespace, you can add professional email, but each box will cost you $4 a month. You can’t check your email from your web browser, so you’ll have to use a third-party app.
Another consideration to take into account is upgrading your email box to a productivity suite, such as Google Workspace. Google Workspace makes it possible to manage your email through Google’s Gmail system, and it also provides you with 25GB of cloud storage and access to a suite of productivity apps. With Workspace, you get Google Docs, a word processor; Google Sheets, a spreadsheet app; and Google Slides, for creating presentations.
Tapping into Workspace is easy from DreamHost. It’s a simple add-on in your control panel, and you’ll pay $7.20 per email address, monthly. While you can use Google Workspace with Squarespace, you’ll need to purchase Workspace directly from Google, and you’ll also have to manually configure your domain to talk to Google’s systems.
Best Professional Services: DreamHost
Social Media Marketing
Custom Web Development
Professional services can help you build brand awareness. These services include professional website development, social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), and more. DreamHost offers these professional services starting at $399 a month. They’ll even build your website for you, with prices as low as $1,499.
Squarespace doesn’t offer any professional services. This means you’ll either be on your own for help building and maintaining your website, managing online advertising, and crafting a content marketing plan. Most likely, you’ll have to hire a digital marketing agency if you want to farm out your online marketing.
Overall, if you’re looking for a single source for your online presence, DreamHost is your better option. It offers a number of valuable professional services at a relatively good value, and the services integrate into your hosting account without too much fuss.
Best Customer Support: DreamHost
Small business owners aren’t typically website design gurus. Eventually, you’ll most likely face a challenge you’ll need help with. Time to contact customer support. Luckily, both DreamHost and Squarespace provide a number of support options for you to choose from.
DreamHost provides on-demand support via 24/7 web chat and email. It also hosts a thorough knowledge base and extensive tutorials in its DreamHost Academy. For those who prefer to talk to someone, you can request a callback via a web form, and a DreamHost representative will ring you up to help.
For Squarespace users, 24/7 support is available via email. Webchat is limited to the hours of 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Time). Squarespace representatives are also available via X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, though hours and availability may vary. For self-guided support, you can visit Squarespace’s knowledge base.
It’s hard to overcome the value of having available telephone support—even if you have to wait for a callback. With Squarespace vs DreamHost, only DreamHost offers any kind of phone support. With the addition of DreamHost Academy, DreamHost easily wins the customer support category.
Customer Reviews of Squarespace vs DreamHost
How a provider’s customers think is one really good indicator of overall quality. When it comes to customer reviews, both DreamHost and Squarespace hold their own.
On customer review website G2, DreamHost earned 3.7 out of 5 stars. DreamHost’s customer service is prompt and effective. Also, the professional services from DreamHost produce quality and results. That being said, some users did report challenges creating or migrating websites to DreamHost servers, while others expressed concern over hidden fees when attempting to leave DreamHost for another provider.
Squarespace garners 4.4 out of 5 stars on G2, drawing particularly high marks for ease of use, which makes sense given that Squarespace is designed as a user-friendly site builder. Managing multiple sites is also easy with Squarespace, which places all domains in a single account. Some users do report issues, though. Squarespace lacks some advanced features, and adding other common features increases the monthly price. Also, it’s not particularly easy to add custom coding to the platform for unique needs.
Expert Opinion & Scoring
In the DreamHost vs Squarespace challenge, we looked at virtually every feature and service each company offers. We took a deep dive into both general and niche features, considered pricing, and relied on more than 20 years of website design and management experience. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how we evaluated:
20% of Overall Score
For startups and growing businesses, the top concern is usually price. We scored both providers on pricing and gave the win to the provider that delivers the most bang for your buck.
30% of Overall Score
Both Squarespace and DreamHost give you a core set of features, like storage, bandwidth, and domain names. We examined both the quality of these features and their usefulness to small businesses to determine which provider earned the best marks.
15% of Overall Score
Website builders, user interface, and technical and SEO tools all ease your job, helping you find success in building your website. We did a deep dive on the niche features both DreamHost and Squarespace offer to seek which features give which provider the edge.
10% of Overall Score
You need support when you need it. The provider that gives users the most support options and the best information carried this category.
25% of Overall Score
Bringing more than 20 years of website design experience to bear, we did a deep dive on the entire package offered by each provider. Ultimately, this experience helped us pick an overall winner, a determination we checked against customer reviews to make sure our opinions were spot on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Squarespace & DreamHost the same?
Squarespace and DreamHost are both web hosting providers. Each provider is feature-packed and provides a great value for the investment. However, Squarespace is primarily a website building platform, and with it, you are locked into using its website builder. DreamHost offers WordPress with BoldGrid, a drag-and-drop website editor. But with DreamHost, you have the freedom to choose another CMS or to custom-build your own site from the ground up.
What are the drawbacks of DreamHost?
The biggest drawback of DreamHost is that it is primarily a WordPress hosting platform. That means you’ll most likely need to build your website using WordPress, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily. It’s just a lot more complex than other website building platforms.
What are the drawbacks of Squarespace?
The single biggest drawback of Squarespace is its lack of flexibility. You are locked into using the Squarespace website builder, Fluid Engine, and roughly 100 premade templates. While the templates are attractive and easy to use, they’ve not been updated in a while, and for some users, this may mean your website looks dated or out-of-touch.
With dozens more features, unlimited email, and the ability to add professional services to your account, DreamHost easily tops Squarespace as a hosting provider. While Squarespace makes it easier to build your website, the flexibility and additional functionality you can get with a WordPress website outweighs that ease of use. To find out more about DreamHost, read our DreamHost review. To get started, visit its website and choose the Shared Unlimited plan for the best value.