I built this website on a WordPress server app, but my last 3 projects are based on the Wix platform. Starting in 2017, I create many of my new web projects on Wix. It is a relatively mature platform. You save a lot of time in customer training. It is very easy to hand-over, once the project is done. It seems that Wix is now the automatic go-to solution for any website need, which does not involve serious blogging or E-commerce. But is it?
After many years of creating websites in various frameworks and hosting solutions for various types of customers, I came to realize that I never made a thorough comparison between the two main systems that I use.

Should You prefer WIX or WordPress?

For the last few months, i have been writing notes, looking at what trade-offs I need to make when choosing one platform over the other and moving on. Now, that I have a couple of minutes to look at these notes, it is time to edit them into a comparison, evaluating the aspects relevant to my work.
Going over this list, it may be useful to you for making the final decision, depending on the goals you have for your web project. Some healthy skepticism is due, as I advise in my list about reading comparisons.
Here goes:

Version Control

Wix, as a CMS, doesn’t yet know how to deal with multiple contributors to the site. This hinders collaboration.
It would be understandable if the problem would exist with two concurrent contributors in a specific part of the site. WordPress also doesn’t allow 2 editors working on the same post at the same time. But while we can work on different pages at the same time in WordPress and also merge versions of the same post, roll back or whatever – Wix’s simplified interface doesn’t recognize the idea of version control at all.
This sound like nothing to worry about, right? Lets assume a contributor has their editor still open, while another one has completed their editing and saved their version. Now the first contributor returns  to edit. Wix asks the if they want to return to the saved version. By chosing to revert, you delete the other editor’s work.
It may look like something which is easy to avoid, but it happened to me. Twice.

Winner

WP Offers a better version control, while Wix’s method actually puts frequent updaters at risk of loosing their day’s work.

Flexibility

Any WordPress user and developer can get access to many, maybe far too many, themes, plugins and support forums. This is a highly flexible system in the way that you can change its appearance and website structure. WordPress is also highly flexible in the way that it can be changed through code: both its css and php files are available (to a certain extent) in the wp-admin website. A coupe of days of tinkering and a couple of youtube videos will also let you learn how to create your own theme (or a child-theme of the one you are using). This flexibility comes at a very big price: a WordPress website comprises many moving parts, which are in a constant need of updating separately. It is highly breakable.
Wix, on the other hand, is limited in its graphic design options. There are only few available templates and there are only few available actions that you can take with any object in the editor. Theoretically, this may be a good thing: templates on web frameworks tend to break very often. While the idea of a DIY website is charming in itself, it may break inexplicably and you will need to figure out what went wrong and how. So, the opposite of WordPress’s flexibility should be Wix’s idiot-proof system, right? Er… not so much…
Wix offers two ways to create a website. The first and most limited, is the so-called Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI). While it may very well have some sort of an AI engine behind it, there is a very strong sense of browsing a limited theme directory when using it. The process is very simple: you tell this ADI what your site is about, out of a limited choice list, and it magically comes up with exactly the design template that you need.
I used ADI twice and in both cases I had to switch to the Wix Editor to continue developing the site. One weird thing about the 2 ADI based themes, is that on scrolling, I got a bluish glare between ,ajor divs (“strips”). It appears that there is another background layer which is not a part of the themes colour palette. Having no access to the site’s CSS, I cannot investigate what causes this glare. The solution I used, for lack of time, is to make the strips overlap.

Winner

WP Offers so many themes and plug-ins for design, where Wix has a very long way to go before it can compete in this area. Not only is there an abundance of themes in WP, but each theme can be changed in so many ways. Wix’s graphic elements are very strict in what you can and cannot change.

Price

Both Wix and WP will cost you as much as you are willing to pay.
The difference is mainly in the way that the system inquires how much it is that you are willing to pay: WP has some basic necessities that you can opt in to, like Jetpack and Akismet Anti-Spam. You can do without these, and stay with your basic plan of free WP (but with variable annual charge for your LAMP stack or AWS Bucket with Nginex and a configuration headache). So let’s assume that for a website with its own domain name, the basics will cost you the same on both systems.
Once you feel that you need a bit more, things start to differ.
WordPress sports a massive marketplace with many competing solutions to almost any need. If you don’t find anything you want, you can always contract a wordpress developer for a proprietary solution. Throughout the years I have created many WP sites with store locators, member login areas, directories, chats, Woocommerce and Buddypress themes and more. Premium themes and plug-ins do not cost you the price of your limbs. The highest I ever paid for a specialized plug-in was $40, after a lengthy research, because it was an unusually high price for a WP plug-in. Bespoke coding for my startups MVP on WordPress? several hundreds of USD.
Wix is completely different in this respect. Once you choose your pricing package, you may think you can put your wallet back in your pocket. But the next thing you see, is that you are now offered an upgrade on your current plan. Wix has a way to let you know that what you paid for is just not good enough, and they are right: you get the bare essentials with you premium plan. Need email? Pay extra and activate a Google mail account which does not integrate well with WIX. Do you need an email marketing tool? Welcome to Shoutout: you need to pay a very high monthly fee just to have the basic functionality which you can get for free with Mailchimp. Does your site need a calendar app or an event management solution? Pay up.

Winner

WordPress.com is the best option for a completely free website. If you want to maintain a free website and decide later if you want to add a domain, Wix and wordpress.com offer similar price ranges. However, in the WP.com platform you have far more themes and features available, free and premium. If you want

If your project is commercial, like an online store, you will have to go premium on both platforms. With WordPress, both the self hosted and the cloud solutions, you get much more while usually paying less.

The one place where Wix has some sort of an advantage, is in the additional costs: Wix does not require, for the most part, hired work.

Operations Hassle

This is where the tables flip: With WIX, you don’t have to worry about your cPanel settings or about configuring your htaccess file to allow it to run on the Apache or Nginex server your site runs on. with WIX, you don’t need to worry that you may have forgotten to change the references on your MySQL tables from your local host to your domain. WIX also does not require you to harden your security, to optimize your code and media files or to clear your cache.
For those of us who work for clients, WIX is an amazing solution: project handover is the simplest thing. There is no installation, no ATP, no risk of recurring issues on a new machine. The client buys the plan, owns the site and provides you the keys to build it. Once done, the client simply logs in and goes through the step-by-step guide you wrote. This is it: handover of a WIX website is as good as the client training you create.
Yes, some clients may use their power to remove the creator as contributor from their account and refuse to pay. This is a common thing with freelance clients, but trust and business etiquette is a totally different topic. When your handover includes assets transfer and installation, you have the power to demand payment. But seriously, do you want to be the one who is holding the project hostage?

Winner

Wix and WordPress.com are both a great solution for a hassle-free web project. The opposite of this would be to self-host a WP site and realizing that there is so much more to learn than just how to tweak your theme…

Marketing Tools

WIX and WP are almost the same when it comes to generating landing pages. WIX has a structured process for on-page SEO and a guided process for registering your website with Google. While this is relatively convenient, it is far less thorough that what WP has to offer. With powerful tools such as Yoast SEO plug-in, WP users get much value without before they feel any need for premium services.
But marketing doesn’t stop there. Basic tools include social post automation, CRM and email marketing. This is where WIX lags behind. WP has integration to just about any solution, while WIX relies on a handful of proprietary “apps”. These are useless when it coms to integration. For example, when I ran a lead-generation campaign on Facebook with WIX’s Shoutout email marketing, it had no Facebook integration. This meant that each new subscriber on FB needed to be manually imported into WIX contacts, tagged and manually sent the “automated” email call-to-action. This practice effectively castrates the lead generation effort: Lead generation works on the principle of immediate response. What’s the use of responding to a lead subscription hours later? Timing is essential. Facebook includes integration to many CRM systems. Why not WIX?
The problem with WIX is not just the fact that its email marketing system is practically useless. It is also costly.

Winner

WP. From Yoast SEO and on to integrations with various email marketing solutions; From allowing your website to chose from many solutions for subscriber-catchers and visitor notificators; WP probably has the best marketing tools of any CMS out there.

Blogging

As far as the design and marketing needs of blogging, I have made the comparisons above.
For Wix, a blog is a feature or an app that you can add to your site. With WP, blogging is the main event. WP bloggers enjoy many template options, design tools, sharing plugins and much more. Wix blog has many problems still. Just recently I have encountered a problem where Wix design settings couldn’t control the blog post text and the text was invisible: My client wrote the text on an external word processor, and Wix the styles from the external editor had overwritten the Wix site styles.
WordPress is a blogging powerhouse. With Yoast SEO, you have a text review for each post, allowing you to set the readability level and optimize keywords.

Winner

WP is to Wix what Photoshop is to MS-Paint. Seriously.

Bottom Line

So far I have discussed points which associate with the needs of professionals who serve their clients. This is where we need to broaden the scope of potential users and think of other use cases, like commerce, member sites, web apps. For many cases, the solution may be not to use any of the two platforms discussed here, but from my perspective, it all boils down to this conclusion:

Choose WordPress

If you want to continuously develop; If you want access to the biggest themes and plugins marketplace; If you want to maintain ownership of your data and if you are not afraid of having to learn some specific skills.

Choose Wix

If you want to create a web project but don’t want to invest too much time and effort; If you don’t have a very specific design in mind; If you don’t want to waste time on maintenance and security, but you are are willing to compromise on access to your data.

Posted by Samuel Miller

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