Before you begin the process of moving your website from Squarespace to WordPress, we recommend reading our quick guide (see Part 2 here) – to know what to expect from this transition, how to migrate properly, and how to avoid or fix common issues and mistakes that may appear along the process. First things first:
Why move from Squarespace to WordPress?
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably done already your homework and decided that you want to move your site from Squarespace to WordPress. Thus, these articles will serve you as a step by step guide on how to move correctly and smoothly.
First things first, Squarespace hosts all SS websites on their own servers, while WordPress (WP) does not. When planning to move, you will need to get hosting, and not just any provider – a good one! This is crucial, as your hosting choice will impact the way your website works, how fast it loads, as well as how secure and backed up it is against hacks and server crashes. You can take a look at the list of hosting providers we recommend.
For example, let’s take Siteground and analyze the key features you’re looking for in a hosting provider:
1. Servers – Siteground is a great option to consider due to their strong servers located on 3 continents – America, Asia and Europe. Why this matters? Because the closer you are physically located to your server, the faster your files travel and the better your website works. Also, Siteground offers free CDN (over 100 additional server locations). Therefore, no matter where you live, you can take advantage of the data center which is situated closer to you.
2. Customer Support – Top notch customer service isn’t a luxury, it’s a must. The Siteground team makes solving issues, getting help with questions or migration – a fast and pleasant experience. They offer assistance with all plans on all 3 channels (chat, phone and support tickets), and are insanely fast with responses – no waiting time via phone and chat, and up to 15 minutes on ticketing. Apart from hosting questions, you can also get their assistance with WordPress related issues, since the whole team is trained on WP and can assist clients with applications, theme and plugin related queries. They even offer free transfers for beginner websites.
3. Backup – stuff happens, you get hacked, you can break your site while installing a new plugin or incorrectly making updates. The list of reasons is huge. That’s why we always stress out the importance of Backing up Your Site. In case your own system fails to do so, Siteground has daily backups too.
4. Additional Features – Free domains, the ability to manage your server through a simple user account backened via the cPanel, as well as their in-house caching solution (the SuperCacher) which helps improve site loading speed up to 4 times. The Supercacher is available with the Grow Big and GoGeek plans. Additionally, they offer 1-click installs, auto-updates for the WP core and plugins, free email and SSL certificates, and many more.
If you choose to go with Siteground, the Grow Big package is what you need. Otherwise, any of the providers from this list + WpEngine are great options to consider.
Domain & Downtime for Your Site
The beauty of switching is that you get new hosting for your site, therefore can work on a temporary domain until your new site is ready to go live. You can take your time, and work through each step at your own pace. Once ready, you simply transfer your domain to your new hosting.
Once complete you can begin to work on customizing your new WordPress site. Note: we recommend not closing your Squarespace account right away, rather keeping it for a few days after you finish and launch your new WordPress site, to be sure that here are no bugs or errors.
In case you’re new to WordPress, and you probably are, you need to know that there’s a huge difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. You need the second one, and you can only install it after you’ve signed up with a hosting company.
The beauty of WordPress is that its free (you can download it from www.wordpress.org), it takes under 10 minutes to install it, and most hosting providers offer quick 1-click installers for WordPress and detailed tutorials and documentation on how to install WordPress manually.
Here’s a WordPress setup guide example by Siteground. You can also follow the detailed installation guide on the official WordPress.org site. Check out the following video showing just how easy it is to install WordPress with the one click installer:
After you’ve completed your WP setup, we suggest you proceed with installing your theme and recommended plugins. You have 2 options for your theme installation:
1. Upload via the WordPress backend
2. Upload via an FTP Service
See our Documentation for a tutorial on each method.
We hope this post offered you some valuable insight on how to choose a good hosting provider, install your WordPress and begin the process of moving from Squarespace to WordPress. In Part 2 we’re explaining how to export your site from Squarespace and what are its limitations, as well as how to import your content into WordPress and fix various issues that may appear. Stay tuned and let us know what questions you have.
In case you want some help with the migration and setup process, our team can assist you with that. Get one of our Advanced Installation services and we’ll take the technical hurdle off of your shoulders.