One of the most common questions about ClassicPress is whether it will support my current plugins. The CP team have two threads in their forum where you can quickly check this. One is for plugins known to work and the other is for ones built specifically for ClassicPress.
For the most part, any plugin that works with WordPress 4.9 or lower will work with ClassicPress 1.x since CP was designed to work that way.
Users that have confirmed a particular plugin does work, can have it added to this list, which contains nearly 500 entries.
Additionally, developers have created new plugins built specifically for ClassicPress and can be found here.
However, some plugins are owned or maintained by WordPress or its parent organization, Automattic. These ones may either require WordPress or may do so in the near future.
To overcome this, the most important ones have been forked and rewritten specifically for ClassicPress. These include Classic Commerce, to replace WooCommerce and Classic SEO, to replace Yoast SEO. These are still in development and either in Alpha or Beta stages. Consequently, they are not ready for live websites yet and so do not appear in the second list.
ClassicPress was created as an alternative to WordPress when Gutenberg was introduced. The objective was to have a CMS that behaved exactly like classic WordPress always has and could use the same theme and plugins you currently use.
A secondary objective was to cater for business users, with the aim of reducing the amount of code “bloat” and improving security. This didn’t mean it wasn’t for everyday “Mum and Dad” users, but it did mean the focus was more on necessary plugins than tens of thousands of optional ones.
The Widening Gap
With the introduction of WordPress 5.x the difference between the two CMS’s began to slowly widen. This has picked up speed quite quickly in recent months.
Gutenberg, now simply referred to as the “Block Editor”, is venturing into the theme area as well, meaning there will be no need for custom themes. You will be able to build your own. For those of us who worked with FrontPage, Dreamweaver and GeoCities, we know how that is going to pan out!
As I alluded to in my previous post, plugin and theme developers are going to have to re-evaluate whether they will support older versions of WordPress, probably sooner rather than later.
Less is More
This uncertainty is causing anxiety in users who are considering switching to ClassicPress and also users who are worried about where WordPress is heading.
From what I have picked up from the CP forum, I think there is a simple answer as to what ClassicPress is. Basically; it is a solid framework, with no block editing features, that requires an underlying theme and has, or will have shortly, the necessary plugins to run anything from a blog to an e-commerce website.
Think of it as a minimalist CMS. The core functions are stable and will not change in any dramatic way. You can use your theme of choice and plugins that are tested or developed specifically for CP. If and when an important plugin needs to be forked to work with CP, it will be done or an alternative found.
ClassicPress uses the traditional TinyMCE editor. This is what users want and why Gutenberg caused such an outcry. However, that does not prevent you from using a page builder if you want or need to.
Elementor has decided it is only feasible to support the latest three versions of WordPress. That is a commercial decision and may or may not come back to bite them in the bum. An alternative is Beaver Builder, which has confirmed they will be supporting ClassicPress.
There are other page builders such as Thrive Architect, you just need to hunt around. The point is, the choice is yours, not a decision made by WordPress or ClassicPress.
Installing Older Plugins
If you need an older version of a plugin because the new one can’t be installed on ClassicPress, you can download it from the WordPress repository by clicking on the “Advanced View” link and scroll down to “Previous Versions”.
I have also created CP Forks, which has, for example, a version of Elementor that works on ClassicPress, has a new version number and will not install on WordPress. Plugins there will not get updated unless there is a security vulnerability with the plugin. They are simply versions that work on CP and have instructions on how to install them.
If you have a plugin you would like added to that site, feel free to contact me, either here or at that site.