WordPress and Wix are both tools for building a website— but they have completely different approaches: Wix is a website builder, and WordPress is a CMS (or Content Management System). Understanding this difference is critical in deciding which to choose.
To generalize, website builders like Wix are easier to use but less customizable. They also include hosting— so you don’t have to set up a web host— but that means you can’t ever move your website off of Wix and on to a new web host.
Wix vs WordPress At A Glance
Website Builders vs CMS
Wix is a website builder while WordPress is a CMS— both come with benefits and trade-offs.
Wix has a visual, drag-and-drop editor while WordPress is abstracted away from the page— it doesn’t show the full page within the editor.
Open Source vs Closed
WordPress is open-source with thousands of plugins and themes— but those plugins and themes can be difficult to implement.
Website Builders vs CMS
A CMS like WordPress has a steeper learning curve but is highly customizable. You need to setup WordPress on a web host— though that’s less intimidating than it sounds (there are plenty of hosts offering 1-click WordPress installation). WordPress is open-source, which means it’s free for anyone to use and modify (though hosting, themes and plugins can all cost money).
I’m just scratching the surface of the differences— as you’ll see in the rest of this article, the difference between Wix and WordPress manifests itself in templates, hosting, features, customer support and much more.
Just remember: Wix vs WordPress is not an ideological debate— there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, the tool should match the need— let what you are building guide your decision.
One of the most obvious differences between Wix and WordPress is the editor.
Wix has a visual, drag-and-drop editor. It’s similar to Powerpoint or Keynote in that it allows you to move any element to any place on a page:
WordPress recently relaunched their editor as a block-based editor known as Gutenberg.
WordPress’s Gutenberg editor is abstracted away from the page— it doesn’t show the full page within the editor (for example, you don’t see the header, sidebar and footer). Because of this, you’ll still find yourself switching between the editor and the published website to see how published page looks:
WordPress often abstracts their interface away from the page. For example, forms created with plugins such as WPForms are created in a separate interface and then embedded into pages using a “short code”.
By contrast, most things in Wix are edited visually. If you see something, you click it and change it. The website stays within view and changes happen as you make them. For example, creating a form is done within the page editor:
Overall, WordPress’s interface is often more cluttered than Wix— but this comes at no surprise. WordPress is more sophisticated than Wix and more sophisticated software needs to be more utilitarian and abstract.
Open vs Closed
WordPress is an open-source CMS— which means anyone can contribute to it. This is a major strength but also a weakness.
One advantage is that WordPress has a huge amount of plugins and themes that were created by the open-source community. At the time of writing, there were 55,000+ plugins on WordPress.org and 12,000+ themes on Themeforest. That’s way, way more than any website builder has.
But the breadth of WordPress is also what can make it a hot mess. WordPress backends can get notoriously confusing. There can be long, technical settings pages and language can often get abstract and jargon-y.
Plus taking advantage of WordPress’s many themes and plugins never quite works perfectly. Incompatibilities often arise and getting the fix can require users to make tweaks to code— something not everyone is comfortable doing. All you have to do is browse plugin reviews to get a sense of the frustration:
Wix is completely different. They offer an App Market that seems similar to WordPress’s plugins— but is really not. It’s a small, curated collection of 300ish apps— not even close to matching the huge library of WordPress plugins. But unlike WordPress, Wix checks all apps for compatibility— so you can be confident they’ll integrate perfectly (there are rarely any compatibility issues or need to tweak code).
The same thing is true with themes. Wix has around 500 themes which is less than WordPress… but all the themes work out of the box— there’s no need to tweak code. (Plus Wix’s visual theme editor is so customizable that you could design your own theme from scratch right from the start.)
With Wix, you shouldn’t need to hire outside help unless you’re doing something really unusual— it’s designed to be amateur-friendly. With WordPress, you may end up hiring a WordPress professionals to help you build your website if you get frustrated trying to integrate themes and plugins.
Overall, Wix is designed to be user-friendly while WordPress is designed to be customizable. It’s not that WordPress doesn’t care about being user-friendly— actually the WordPress team works hard to make WordPress user-friendly. Equally, it’s not that Wix doesn’t care about being customizable— the Wix team actually really cares about making a customizable website builder.
Instead, these differences are just fundamental to the nature of website builders and CMS’s. That’s why you should think hard about what your website needs and use that to guide your decision. There is no universally right or wrong decision.
If you’re building a website with conventional features, you’ll probably find Wix offers everything you need. If you need unconventional features, you’ll probably be able to find a WordPress theme or plugin that supports it.
Which begs the question: what’s a conventional feature and what’s unconventional? Well, a photo gallery is a conventional feature. Wix has plenty of photo gallery options. But if you want a photo gallery that scrolls horizontally (left to right) then you wouldn’t be able to do it on Wix. That’s too unconventional. But you could find a WordPress plugin to do it.
The strength of WordPress is the diversity of it’s ecosystem: 55,000+ plugins and 12,000+ themes. This means that if you have a specific feature or look in mind, WordPress can probably accommodate it. Here are a few examples:
- bbPress integrates with the WordPress user system so you can add discussion forums to your website.
- Buddypress converts your WordPress website into a social network.
- Yoast SEO is a hugely popular SEO plugin that adds XML sitemaps, canonical URLs, meta title and description templating and more.
- Redirection let’s you manage 301 page redirects.
- Advanced Custom Fields is like a full-fledged database creator.
- Tablepress lets you create tables in a spreadsheet-like interface (you can even add formulas).
- TinyMCE changes the WordPress post editor into a TinyMCE editor.
My point is that you can find WordPress plugins for all sorts of features. Wix will never be able to support as many features.
But if you just need conventional features, I’d recommend Wix.
Conventional websites aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel. They’re the typical websites for restaurants, non-profits, photographers or any small business. They need photo galleries, contact forms, Google Maps— but not nothing too unusual.
Wix covers all these features— and they often make it easier than WordPress. For example, if you search for “photo gallery plugins”, WordPress literally has hundreds of results. How are you supposed to know which one is right? With Wix, there’s none of that searching. Wix includes one excellent photo gallery, so you can just get up and running quickly.
And even though Wix doesn’t offer as many features as WordPress, the features they do offer just work. You won’t lose afternoons to trying different plugins to see which one is compatible with your theme.
Wix offers 500+ themes— a good amount for a website builder, but no where near WordPress which has over 11,000+ themes.
Like plugins, WordPress has a wider selection, but you’ll occasionally run into compatibility issues that will require you to debug with code. Wix has a smaller selection but you’ll never run find a theme that requires to mess with code to be compatible with Wix features.
Theme customization in WordPress is done through Customizer a nice tool that lets you click elements to reveal style options or browse along and make style customizations.
Wix has a completely different approach. Wix elements can be grabbed and moved. Elements can be selected and you can make customizations on the fly.
The importance of website security cannot be overstated! Cybercrime costs businesses nearly $6 trillion per year — and even worse are the damages in the form of data loss and reputation & customer confidence loss.
Between Wix and WordPress, there’s one clear winner when it comes to “website security”: Wix. Why so? To understand, you first must know why websites get hacked.
Here are some of the common reasons that result in website hacks:
- The website server is poorly maintained,
- The website uses an insecure theme or plugin(s),
- The website runs outdated scripts,
- There are security policy holes. For example, the admin uses a weak password or gives unnecessary permissions to others.
Because Wix is a closed system and Wix’s able team manages everything from server maintenance to script updates, it is highly secure. Moreover, Wix is very selective in allowing third-party apps on the Wix App Market — all third-party developers have to follow strict security guidelines.
In contrast, anyone can develop a plugin or theme for WordPress and publish it on the internet. And if those plugins or themes are poorly coded, users' sites will be prone to hackers. On top of that, if you decide to use WordPress, you’ll be responsible for updating everything that concerns website security and performance, including PHP, WordPress core, plugins, theme, SSL certificate, and more.
Overall, all the relying on you and third-party developers (who can be incompetent) makes average WordPress-made sites slightly less secure than typical Wix-made sites.
For proof, here are some statistics:
- WordPress sites are 3x as likely to have malware than non-CMS websites
- 18% of WordPress sites have at least one vulnerability.
- You almost double the risk of compromise for every five plugins you add to your WordPress site.
Now, of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a secure WordPress site — after all, WordPress powers 40% of the web. It’s just that you need to put in the effort and/or money to make it as secure as an out-of-the-box Wix site. For example, your WordPress website will be secure if you update everything timely, only use plugins or themes from trusted developers, add a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri, etc.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your site better for search engines such as Google.
The internet is divided into two parts when it comes to the WordPress vs. Wix for SEO debate:
- Most SEO professionals think WordPress is better for SEO,
- While the other side believes SEO results are platform-independent as long as web pages are crawlable and indexable.
I believe both sides are true.
Wix has all the essential website SEO features needed to rank a website. For instance, you can add meta titles and descriptions, alt tags, 301 redirects, structured data, and more with Wix’s built-in SEO features.
Moreover, Wix continuously adds new features and updates to Wix SEO Tools.
However, the flexibility of WordPress and the range of plugins available for WordPress SEO make WordPress a better choice for advanced SEO. For example, RankMath — one of the top WordPress SEO plugins — includes features for content optimization, rank tracking, internal link building, scanning indexing issues, advanced schema generation, and a lot more.
It’s hard to compare Wix and WordPress pricing because they are priced completely differently.
Wix includes everything in one package: hosting, ecommerce, themes, apps, customer support— these are all included in every Wix package. (Some apps on the Wix App Store do cost money— but almost all are free.)
WordPress is different in that the WordPress core is free. But you could end up paying for themes, plugins and hosting.
For example, BlueHost charges $7.99 / month for WordPress hosting. A premium theme from ThemeForest could cost $39 (though you get it for life, and there are also free WordPress themes available).
Then there are premium WordPress plugins. WooCommerce is a ecommerce plugin but it sells extensions (costing between $0 - $299) that add specific features (for example, a UPS Shipping Method extension costs $79 and lets you get UPS shipping rates). WPForms is a drag-and-drop WordPress form builder that starts at $40 / year.
Wix includes phone, chat and email customer support in all of their packages— and in the more expensive plans you can get VIP Support which lets you skip the line.
Because WordPress is free and open source, they don’t include customer support— though oftentimes if you pay for a theme or plugin, the creators will include support as part of the cost (support is limited to their theme or plugin of course).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wix or WordPress better?
There’s no one correct answer. Wix is better if you want to quickly make a website and never worry about maintaining it; WordPress is better if you want flexibility.
Is Wix easier to use than WordPress?
Wix is easier to use than WordPress. Wix comes with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, web hosting, SSL, themes, and everything needed to get a site up and running. On the other hand, you’ll need to buy web hosting, SSL, themes, etc., for WordPress. Plus, you’ll need to spend time or money maintaining it and sometimes even need coding know-how to make a WordPress site work.
Is Wix cheaper than WordPress?
It’s hard to say because both are priced differently. Wix is an all-in-one package that includes everything essential you’d need to build a website. WordPress is free, but you need to buy everything besides the open-source CMS platform. And the costs for that “everything” varies depending on your needs. For example, a premium managed WordPress hosting plan from Kinsta, Cloudways, WpEngine, etc., alone will cost more than a Wix plan. On the cheaper end, you’ll find shared hosting for as little as $1/month.
How is WordPress.com different than WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is an open-source content management system (CMS) that anyone can use for free. In simpler terms, it’s a software solution you can download and host on a webserver to create, manage, and modify content on a website. The CMS is just the base of the website, though — the creating, managing, and maintaining part of the website is on you. WordPress.com is a website-building and publishing service owned by a company called Automattic. It’s a managed hosting platform built specifically for WordPress(.org) sites.
Can I switch from Wix to WordPress?
Wix is a closed platform, so there’s no direct way to migrate from Wix to WordPress. However, there are some complicated and time-consuming ways to migrate you can find on the internet.