After several years the time has come to move my blogs from Squarespace. It was a strange relationship: I run my own servers and I'm certainly capable of implementing my own blogging solution, but using Squarespace was just easier. I could never find the time to do something of my own. So, even though I wasn't entirely happy with how Squarespace worked, I kept paying to have my pages hosted there.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back came recently. As I was leaving on vacation, I got an E-mail from Squarespace about them being unable to charge my credit card for another month. Not surprising, as my credit card expired a couple of weeks ago, so I had a new expiration date and CVV code. What was surprising, though, was that Squarespace immediately proceeded to turn off my blogs and pages. I gave them my new expiration date and CVV code, but they said I have to re-register again. I asked customer support for one week of grace period, as I was on vacation with poor internet connectivity, but the answer was a definitive "No". My pages went 403.
Think about it. This is a company that takes pride in customer support. I have been a loyal customer for several years. And now, they are unable to give me one week of grace period? They begin with taking everything offline and responding with a 403?
This is not intended to be a Squarespace review — but if you're considering hosting your blog/pages with them, you should take these points into account:
- There is no „relationship“: the moment your credit card can't be charged, Squarespace will take your pages offline. As in "HTTP 403 Forbidden" offline.
- Customer support, while very responsive and polite, is only useful as an intelligent manual. They will help you with finding settings, but anything that would result in changes to the code is off-limits. As an example, I've been asking for years to make a change to the code that generates URLs for blog posts. They remove charactes with diacritics, instead of replacing them with ascii-lookalikes (so „łódź-2014“ gets transformed into „d-2014“ instead of „lodz-2014“). This is an eyesore and a disaster for SEO, and yet I could never get them to fix it. And I first reported it in March 2010.
- If your site is multi-lingual, or even non-English, you will have a rough road ahead of you.
- Squarespace will lose some of your data over time. Migration from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace 6, for example, lost high-resolution versions of my images. Only the thumbnails made it through. Some of the formatting was lost, too. It is up to you to write CSS to correct the more glaring problems.
- Your data is held hostage. The export functionality is poor, broken and Squarespace has no interest in fixing it. While trying to write an importer for their XML export, I encountered a number of issues and reported them. After two months I finally got a definitive answer: the issues will not be fixed (more on this coming soon in a separate blog post). Only one issue got fixed: non-ASCII characters in exported comments are no longer lost (!).
This blog (and all my other pages) have been moved to my own server. I find it disappointing that I have to write my own blogging software (it's 2015 after all), but I'm getting used to it — I recently had to do the same thing to have private photo galleries for sharing with my family.