The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a European privacy law effective starting May 25, 2018. The GDPR regulates how individuals and organizations may collect, use, and retain personal data, which affects Squarespace and sites run on Squarespace’s platform.
If you have visitors or customers in Europe, this guide covers some of what we’re doing to comply with the GDPR and what you should know as a Squarespace site owner.
Note: This guide is available as a resource, but should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. Per our Terms of Service, Squarespace doesn't provide advice or recommendations regarding laws applicable to your site or business.
Who is affected by GDPR?
While the GDPR is an EU regulation, it expands the territorial scope of EU data privacy law. So, it affects:
- Organizations based in the EU
- Organization outside of the EU offering goods or services to, or monitoring, EU residents
Keeping in mind that the Internet is global in nature, if you run a Squarespace site, you should review your practices and decide if you fall within the scope of GDPR.
What’s considered personal data?
Under the GDPR, personal data is any information that can reasonably identify a specific living person, either alone or with other information. This broad definition includes not only traditional personal data—e.g., dates of birth, names, physical addresses, email addresses—but location data, biometric data, financial information, and much more.
What is Squarespace doing to ensure compliance with the GDPR?
Over the months leading up to May 2018, we worked across the company to successfully prepare for GDPR. This includes reviewing how we store and use data about our customers and on behalf of our customers.
- Published a Data Processing Addendum, or DPA, to address how we process data on your behalf. After you accept our updated Terms of Service, the agreement is in effect.
- Made product changes to give you more control over data. For example, you can disable Activity Log and Analytics cookies.
- Added the ability for customers in the EU to opt out of marketing emails at signup. All customers can unsubscribe from these emails from the Account Dashboard.
How does Squarespace help me comply with GDPR?
- Disable Activity Log so you don’t collect or see visitors’ IP addresses or other personal data.
- Disable Squarespace Analytics cookies so you don’t place Squarespace Analytics cookies on visitors’ browsers.
Disable Squarespace Analytics cookies so you don’t place these non-essential cookies on visitors’ browsers.
Squarespace gives you the editing tools to post your own legal terms or privacy policies. For example, you can:
- Add content that informs visitors about when and how you collect data anywhere you can add your own customizable text, like in Text Blocks.
- Customize the Newsletter Block with a disclaimer.
- Get consent to send marketing emails.
- Add a cookie banner with customized consent language and a link to your policies.
To learn about how to add these to your site, visit Sharing policies and terms on your site.
Note: We built tools for you to manage the cookies your Squarespace site uses, but we can’t control third-party services you use through connected accounts or code-based modifications. Review the policies for all services connected to your Squarespace site to fully understand your site’s cookie use.
How do I remove personal data from Squarespace?
You can access, update, or delete some personal data in your account, including:
- Your account email address
- Your contributor profile
- Your connected accounts
- Expired or cancelled sites
To request that we remove other specific data from our system, either your own data or visitor/customer data we store on your behalf, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does Squarespace need to store data in the EU?
As with existing law, the GDPR requires that certain safeguards be put in place when transferring personal data outside the EU. We have self-certified to the EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield, which allows us to lawfully transfer EU and Swiss personal data to the US, including to our US-based data centers. You can read more about Squarespace’s Privacy Shield certifications here.
Using Squarespace with third-party services
The GDPR not only affects how your site processes personal data, but also how other services process data on your behalf. You can use built-in integrations to connect your site to third-party services, and other methods for integrating additional services, including:
- Connected accounts
- Code Block
- Code Injection (Which lets you use services like Google AdSense)
- Embed Blocks
- Facebook Pixel
- Form Block storage (Email, Google Drive, MailChimp)
- Google Analytics
- Payment processors (Stripe or PayPal)
- Social Blocks
- Specific integrations or blocks (e.g., Acuity, ChowNow, MailChimp)
Typically, third-party services accept data from, or embed content into, your site, with Squarespace acting as a pass-through for the data or displaying the content. These services may have their own terms of service, privacy policies, and other practices which are different from ours. It’s important to carefully review the policies of all services connected to your Squarespace site.
GDPR best practices for Squarespace sites
While we can’t offer legal advice, here are some best practices that will help you get started with your GDPR compliance.
Personal data audit
Review your website and look for areas where you collect personal data, bearing in mind the modified GDPR definition of “personal data.”
Some questions to consider:
- Do you collect personal data on your site using third-party services? (e.g., Google Analytics, a Form Block connected to MailChimp and Google Drive). You should read the privacy policies of those services.
- Do you download or export data from your site into another system?
- Do you combine the personal data you collect with other sources of data?
- Are you gathering information you don’t need?
After you’ve identified your data collection activities, consider making a page on your site that documents:
- What information you collect. (For example, in your terms, you can include this list of cookies your site uses.)
- Why you collect that information.
- Who you share that information with.
- Any other information required under the GDPR.
Where can I get more information about the GDPR?
Regulators within the European Union provide specific guidance on the GDPR. You can view their documentation here: