Why It's a Great Idea to Get Your Domain on Squarespace
Keep in mind this particular recommendation only applies if you’re wanting to build your site on the Squarespace platform. If you’re a Wordpress fan, get your booty on over to SiteGround.
I recently read a blog post all about why purchasing a domain on Squarespace is just #theworst and the post listed all these terrible things about it such as it’s too expensive, unnecessary, blah blah blah. I had such a strong reaction to it (I just sipped my coffee more vigorously) that I had to write a post of my own on this topic.
Is purchasing a domain on Squarespace crazy expensive? A hassle? Unnecessary? A scam?!
Uhhhhhh. No. In fact, it’s the way I recommend starting out if you’re just now getting your domain name. I even often recommend switching domains over to Squarespace from other providers if you’re rebranding and switching to the platform.
Why? Well, I’m more than happy to share. Let’s dive into all the reasons why below.
Everything All In One Place (Hallelujah…)
Honestly, you don’t need a personal organizer to come to your house to tell you that your clothes belong in your closet, your dishes belong in your kitchen, and that everything works best when it’s all in one place where it’s most easily accessible.
If you’re in the online space, chances are you’ve got many tools that you use. These could be things like Square, Xero, Google Docs, Trello, Tailwind, a mailing system, social media accounts, Pinterest, alllllllll that jazz. So why in world would you also want to split up your website into separate drawers? Billing in two separate places, logins for two separate accounts (or more if you have a separate email system). It’s just…. eeehhhhhhh.
Now, it has to be said that if you got a great deal with your domain and you have email systems in place and you love the service you already have but still want a site on Squarespace, it’s no big deal! You can totally still do that and connect your third party domain to Squarespace.
But if you’re just starting out or looking to move to Squarespace and want everything in once place, then getting your domain through Squarespace is very well worth considering.
Important Features Should Be Included
Many moons ago, I once had a domain and hosting through a well-known hosting provider and a site on Wordpress. (Spoiler alert, it didn’t really work out.) So it’s one thing to write this post and be all dramatic and act like one of those hopeless people in informercials, and another thing entirely to have actually experienced it.
Are there people out there with fab experiences with other hosting providers? Yes! My clients are some of them! But I just didn’t have that great of an experience as a first-time user and here’s why:
Firstly, there are domain features and privacy functions within a hosting dashboard (cPanel) that are so important to know about, and a new time domain purchaser will simply not know about these right off the bat.
One of these important features is called WhoIs Privacy, which is something that I’d never heard of, didn’t know why I needed it, and didn’t realize the repercussions if I opted out. (Which I did.)
WhoIs Privacy is basically the information behind your domain that tells the web who owns the domain, where they live, and how to contact them. Without WhoIs Privacy turned on, this is your information that is being displayed to the entire web. When it is turned on, it’s only the domain company’s info that is visible.
When I purchased my domain, WhoIs privacy seemed to be presented as more of an add-on, sort of like adding extra insurance per day when you rent a car. I knew I could add it on at any time, but it tacked on $15 extra to the purchase so I opted out at first.
I eventually found that not having WhoIs Privacy on for even one day on a new domain begins a chain reaction of freaky. I’m talking like getting random phone calls and emails from people wanting to sell site building services and people knowing where you live kinda freaky. Yeah, it’s not fun.
I purchased the WhoIs protection after that, but the emails and calls kept coming for months. At this point, my total domain purchase was about $28 and I was also thoroughly weirded out and annoyed.
Not having WhoIs Privacy built into the domain right off the bat to me is just bananas. It’s like how so many new cars these days don’t come with a tire jack and spare tire built in, but instead need to be purchased separately as an add-on. Chances are we’re going to need those, so it should just be built in from the start, right? (I mean, come on car companies, seriously!?)
The Good News
Purchasing a domain on Squarespace averages at about $20 and comes with WhoIs privacy turned on automatically and keeps your domain and website billing information all in one easily accessible place.
The Free Domain Incentive
All new annual billing plans on Squarespace are eligible for one free custom domain. Each free domain is free for the first year, starting from the date it’s registered or transferred over. That’s still a pretty sweet deal, right?
However, I’ve heard many peeps complain and be like, “But it’s not completely freeeeee if it’s only free for the first year!!” To that I say whatever, it’s still a whole free year of registration which is pretty freakin’ great.
And hey, if you’re truly pissed about it, you can always transfer the domain out of Squarespace. Squarespace isn’t some horrible platform where domains go to die. If you’re not happy with your service, transfer it out. In the same way that you can transfer a domain into Squarespace from another provider, you can also transfer most eligible domains to the provider of your choice (some limitations may apply, as they do with any domain transfer.)
The Great Debate About Squarespace Owning Your Domain
I’ve also heard this argument as well, that if you purchase through Squarespace then they own your domain and not you. The idea here is that if you purchase under a company, than they have full control over your domain and therefore it’s a terrible idea.
First of all, all domains have to purchased under a company anyway, so whether you’re worried about Squarespace running off like a domain bandit or GoDaddy traipsing off with it in the night, the worry is still the same.
Also, the domain is not explicitly under Squarespace, such as their templates are. They are a reseller of the domain company Tucows and they’re very transparent about that fact (it’s right there on their web support pages.) So when it comes to worrying about your domain dissolving before your eyes because you bought it with Squarespace, that’s simply not a thing that needs to be worried about.
But What About Email?
Yes, let’s talk about email accounts. If you already have an email account through another provider, that’s totally fine. If you transfer your domain over to Squarespace, you can always connect your email to your Squarespace site by moving the MX records. You’ll have to keep your mail service with your current provider.
One big tip to know about Squarespace and email is that the email service is always an outside service, so whether that’s GoDaddy, Zoho, or GSuite (which Squarespace offers as a free year deal) it’s always an outside service.
So the real question is, what outside email service do you want to use? For many people, GSuite is the perfect answer, and with your Squarespace plan you’ll get one free year and a free handle for GSuite with your domain. After that first year, it’s $5/mo. All of the billing in this case takes place through Squarespace (again, having everything all in one place is amazing.)
Starting with a Squarespace plan gets you 1 free year of domain registration (if it’s an annual plan) and 1 free year of GSuite (as long as you don’t have GSuite connected to that domain already.) Be mindful that this deal is only for one year, so make sure you’re still ok with paying the listed prices once that year ends.
The Choice Is Yours
Purchasing a domain with Squarespace is my recommendation and I’ve been more than happy with my experience with it for years, but ultimately the choice is up to you!
There are no “should’s” or “shouldn’ts” with this. Simply take a look at the moving parts of your own online setup and prioritize what needs to go where, what’s most important to you, and how you want to run things. Ultimately, it’s your website, your domain, and the choice is totally yours.
I hope that this post helped clarify things and bring another side to the argument to light so that you’re more easily able to identify what will be right for you and your website.
I’d Love to Hear From You
What was your biggest takeaway from this discussion? Any experiences, thoughts, or solutions you’d like to share? Did I miss a really great point that should be added in? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!