How to Properly Move from Squarespace to WordPress
Why You Should Move from Squarespace to WordPress
Squarespace provides an easy to use platform to create and build websites. However, many users soon realize that it is limited in terms of what you can do on your own website.
WordPress is a lot more flexible and allows you to make any kind of website you want. For a side-by-side comparison, take a look at our article on Squarespace vs WordPress with pros and cons of both platforms.
Also note that when we say WordPress, we mean self-hosted WordPress.org site and not WordPress.com blog hosting service. Check out our guide on the difference between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com for more information.
Step 0. Getting Started
To get started with WordPress, you will need to sign up for a web hosting account and register a domain name.
We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the biggest hosting companies in the world and officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.
They have agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name and discount on hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month.
→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←
If your Squarespace site has its own domain name, then you may want to transfer that domain to your new web host as well.
During and after the domain transfer, you will be able to access your Squarespace website as it will start using the built-in Squarespace subdomain.
Step 1. Installing WordPress
After signing up with a web host, the next step is to install WordPress. As the most popular website builder in the world, WordPress is known for its famous 5-minute install.
If you are on Bluehost, then they will automatically install WordPress for you.
Most other top WordPress hosting companies also allow you to install WordPress with a single click from your hosting dashboard. You can also follow the instructions in our step-by-step WordPress installation guide for beginners.
Once you will have installed WordPress, you’ll be able to login to your WordPress admin dashboard.
Step 2. Exporting Squarespace Content
After installing WordPress on your new web host, the next step is to export your content from Squarespace.
Squarespace offers limited export functionality. Depending on what content you have on your site, some of it will be exported. Rest of the content will remain on your Squarespace built-in domain, and you will have to manually copy paste it.
Here is the content that can be automatically exported.
- All your basic pages will be exported as WordPress pages.
- One blog page will be exported, and it will appear in WordPress pages as Blog
- All your blog posts under that one blog page will be exported as WordPress posts
- Your Gallery pages will be exported
- Text, Image, and Embed blocks will be exported
The following content will not be exported.
- Product pages, Album pages, and Event pages will not be exported
- Audio, Video, and Product blocks will not export
- Style changes and custom CSS
- Folders and index pages will be left out
- If you had more than one blog page, then only one of them will be exported
Note: During the import process, your Squarespace images will not be imported. We will show you how to import them later.
Now that you know how restricting SquareSpace is, let’s go ahead and export the content, so you can have a fresh start with WordPress and grow your website the right way.
Login to your Squarespace account and go to Settings » Advanced » Import/ Export menu.
This will bring you to the import/export settings. Next, click on the export button to continue.
Squarespace will now show you a popup with a WordPress logo on it. Squarespace only exports content in a format suitable for WordPress. If you had products on your site, then you can download products data as a separate CSV file.
Next, click on the WordPress logo to continue.
You will see the progress of export process on the left under the import-export buttons. Once the export is finished, you will see a button to download your export file.
Go ahead and download the export file to your computer. You will need it in the next step when you import the content into your new WordPress site.
Step 3. Importing Content From Squarespace into WordPress
The next step is to import the content you downloaded from Squarespace into your WordPress site.
Login in to your WordPress admin area and go to Tools » Import page. You will see a list of platforms to choose from.
Squarespace will not be listed there because it exports content in a WordPress compatible XML file format. All this means is that you need to click on ‘Install now’ button below WordPress to continue.
WordPress will now fetch and install the importer for you. Once finished, you need to click on the ‘Run importer’ link to continue.
On the next screen, click on the choose file button to upload the export file you downloaded from Squarespace earlier.
WordPress will now upload and examine your Squarespace export file. If everything is in order, then it will show you the import settings page.
On this page, you will need to choose an author name for the imported content. WordPress can also import the Squarespace user and add them as a subscriber on your WordPress site. You can also choose an existing admin user as author or even create a new user.
There is an option to import attachment images, but it will not work. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to fix that later.
Go ahead and click on the submit button, so WordPress can start importing content from your Squarespace export file.
When it’s done, you will see the success message. You can now visit the pages and posts in WordPress to review the imported content.
Step 4. Importing Images from Squarespace
Unfortunately, the WordPress importer cannot import images from your Squarespace website. You will have to manually import those images, but there is an automated way to do it.
The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Auto Upload Images plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you need to edit all posts and pages containing images. This plugin will trigger the image import process when you save a post type.
Luckily WordPress allows you to bulk update content, so you can do it with just a few clicks instead of manually doing it one-by-one. Simply go to Posts » All Posts page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top.
You need to increase the number to 999 in the ‘Number of items per page field’ field and click on the Apply button.
WordPress will reload the page, and this time it will show 999 posts at a time. Next, you need to select all your posts and then select Edit under the bulk actions menu.
After that, you need to click the Apply button. WordPress will show you a quick edit box with all selected posts. You just need to click on the Update button, and WordPress will update all your posts.
Remember you’re not changing anything in the box. Just click the Update button.
Doing this will triger the plugin to import external images from your Squarespace website and store them in your WordPress media library.
Step 5: Fixing Permalinks
We need to make sure that you don’t miss traffic coming through the links from your old Squarespace website. WordPress uses SEO friendly URL structure, which allows you to customize the link structure in many different ways.
The goal here is to make our link structure similar to your Squarespace website. Squarespace uses year/month/day/post-name as the link format for blog posts. It also uses a prefix like blog or blog-1 in the post URLs.
A typical blog post URL using the default built-in Squarespace domain name may look like this:
If you were using your own domain name with Squarespace, then a typical blog post URL may look like this:
In WordPress admin area, you need to visit Settings » Permalinks page. There you will see a list of URL structure options. The closest match to your old Squarespace URL is ‘Day and Name’.
Click on Day and Name option and then move down to custom structure. You will see that the custom structure section will be automatically filled with year, month number, day, and post name tags.
You just need to add the blog-1 prefix before everything else. Like this:
Click on the save changes button to store your settings. This step makes sure that users visiting your website from search engines and other sources are redirected to correct posts and pages on the new WordPress site.
There is still a chance that some of your links may result into 404 errors in WordPress. Here is how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.
Step 6: Importing Other Content from Squarespace to WordPress
Squarespace only allows you to export limited content. If you were using their eCommerce features, events, or hosting audio video files, then you will have to import all of them manually to your WordPress site.
Depending on how much content you have there, this process can take some time.
For products you will need a WordPress eCommerce plugin, like WooCommerce.
For your video files, we recommend you to host them on third party video hosting services like YouTube and Vimeo. See our guide on why you should never upload videos to your WordPress site.
For other content, check out these guides:
Step 7: Getting to Know WordPress
WordPress is a powerful platform with incredible flexibility. There are thousands of professionally designed free and premium WordPress themes that you can use on your site. See our guide on how to select the perfect WordPress theme for your site.
The real power of WordPress comes from its thousands of plugins. These plugins add more features to your WordPress site. See our expert pick of the essential WordPress plugins that you should install.
WordPress is simpler and easier to use. However, from time to time you may come across new things to learn. This is where WPBeginner can help.
WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site for beginners. We have lots of helpful content which is created specifically for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.
Following are few of the helpful resources you will find on WPBeginner (all of them are completely free).
- WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials and guides.
- WPBeginner Dictionary – Our WordPress glossary is the best place to familiarize yourself with the WordPress lingo
- WPBeginner Videos – New WordPress users can start with these 23 videos to master WordPress.
- WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 110,000 subscribers and 10 Million+ views.
- WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
- WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.
We hope this article helped you move from Squarespace to WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress site.
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