ClassicPress for WordPress 4.9 users

Feedback Requested

Further to discussions on Slack, it’s been suggested that we put together a page or post on the ClassicPress website on the subject of “ClassicPress for WordPress 4.9 users”.

The main purpose of this page is to target the c.25% of WordPress sites still running WP 4.9.x or less. The new page will be optimized for “wordpress 4.9” or just “wp 4.9”. A quick Google for these terms generates c.26m and c.126m results respectively (in the UK at least).

The sort of topics we’d want to cover include:

  • Why switch to CP
  • What we’ve done to make the migration as easy as possible (e.g. migration plugin, Installatron, Softaculous, LiteSpeed)
  • Hosting provision for CP (e.g. DigitalOcean, Web242, BaseZap, BaptistHost, etc…)
  • Most plugins & themes work in CP, new ones being developed all the time. Exciting opportunity for developers…

But there’s obviously lots more we could cover.

So, with that in mind, we’re looking for feedback about what we should talk about on that page, bearing in mind that our aim is to get WP 4.9.x users to switch to CP.

All suggestions welcome.

6 Likes

Just yesterday, I made a list of the major things in each release of WP since 4.9. Evaluating my sites, I decided to go with WP 5.2 and Classic editor. Others might come to different conclusions.
Perhaps if there is some detail about what fixes have been ported from WP, such as the PHP 7.3 updates, then CP would look more enticing than WP.

The reason I had for updating is that my servers are at PHP 7.3, but WP 4.9 has some compatibility things with 7.3 that I couldn’t ignore anymore. I know CP has these fixes, though.

Here is the list I made, in case it helps:
WP 4.9.6 (May '18) - Privacy
WP 5.0 (Dec '18) - block editor, code reorganization (mostly JS)
WP 5.1 (Feb '19) - Site Health, JS build
WP 5.2 (May '19) - Recovery mode, PHP version bump
WP 5.3 (Nov '19) - admin CSS, big image handling, some PHP 7.4, date/time fixes
WP 5.4 (Mar '20) - menu custom fields, editor stuff (gradients, social, fullscreen default)

1 Like

Out of curiosity, why specifically did you end up choosing WP 5.2? Is there something in there that CP doesn’t have which sealed the deal for you?

3 Likes

I think partly it’s because I don’t know what is in CP as well as I know what is in WP. What got changed and what works differently?
And partly, it’s the problem of CP having totally different version numbers which all map to WP 4.9, and the problem that causes with checking for compatibility in plugins and themes.
Also, while I don’t use Site Health or Recovery mode, it is helpful to clients, and I had to go far enough into 5.x to get the PHP 7.3 updates. I have some concerns about big image handling and date/time changes so I didn’t go for 5.3.

I guess, in my mind the value of CP is limited and unknown and static, like it’s a dead end. I can continue with WP, getting lots of bug fixes and enhancements, even without using the block editor. But that will change probably by the end of the year when they make more of the admin block-oriented. At that point, I can stay at WP 5.2 for quite awhile (until plugins no longer support), or switch to CP when it has more to offer, or find some other platform.

1 Like

I guess we have totally different perspectives (which is OK).

To my mind, unless you’re happy with - or prepared to tolerate - the block editor, WordPress is the dead end. ClassicPress may not “change” as quickly as WordPress, but I see that as a good thing. In fact, I recall that on Slack on 26th March, you said:

They are ruining a good thing, and there are so many people there to do things, so it happens pretty fast.

which seems like as good a case as any in favour of using ClassicPress.

To me, I know exactly what I’m getting with CP and I don’t really understand why it being WP 4.9 under the hood should be a problem. If a plugin or theme supports WP 4.9, in all likelihood it will also work with CP. The Site Health plugin works fine with CP, for instance.

And all of my ClassicPress sites are running perfectly well on PHP 7.3.

But, you’ve got to do what’s best for you. I just think there’s a different way of looking at things.

6 Likes

I think we can assume there are 2 types of user too… those who have deliberately chosen to stay on 4.9, and those who have neglected their sites and just don’t update at all.

There is no point considering the latter - if they don’t update, they won’t migrate. But for the former I see this as the big selling point:

I found the same thing when I was testing Classic Commerce with WP4.9. PHP 7.2 EOL is 30 Nov 2020. So I would be shouting about the fact that ClassicPress can be seen as the WP4.9 alternative that will continue to support ongoing PHP versions.

5 Likes

I agree with that. And by the same token, there will be people who have upgraded because they haven’t a clue what they’re doing. But it’s still a potentially huge bunch of users whichever way you look at it.

As the official WP stats show, 12.1% of users are using version 4.9.x from a total of 26% using 4.9 and below. Even if we were to gain just 1%, it’s still very significant.

That’s true, but it’s also much more than that. In using CP, users and developers can be assured of not having unwanted and unneeded changes forced upon them and at a pace they can’t handle. I’m sure many developers can be won over by this factor alone.

6 Likes

So much gold in this post. Inspirational for promoting CP.

5 Likes

When I upgraded, I used WP Downgrade to target WP 5.2.6. After the upgrade, I go to get Classic Editor, and usually JetPack was showing in the Featured section. It says it’s not compatible with 5.2! So I think the way they are getting people to upgrade is to influence it with the big plugins. (updates are not indicated if version number doesn’t match)
If plugins keep chasing the fast-moving WP release target, soon none will be available for CP users in the admin. CP really needs a way to show both WP and CP plugins and themes.

I think you are broadening out the topic. Isn’t the subject “ClassicPress for WordPress 4.9 users”? Are you going to be addressing developers as well? And there are no changes being forced on WP4.9 users. In fact, you could argue that WP4.9 is an even more stable and unchanging option than ClassicPress.

There really aren’t many differences between WP 4.9 and CP, the biggest one is that CP of course gets our core updates instead of WP’s, and there are some smaller things like dashboard widgets/content and a few bugfixes and new filters. This is something we can do a better job of presenting, and I think it could go on the “for WP users” landing page proposed here.

To me this is precisely the value of CP right now: I know it’s not going to cause a major change in how I manage my websites overnight.

I agree with this too. CP plugins and themes are coming, though it’s taken longer than I personally expected. If there are any experienced WP developers reading this who would like to help, then get in touch with me on any of our platforms. Experience working with core is especially valuable.

In the meantime there are plenty of plugins listed/confirmed here on the forums that work perfectly fine with CP. There are enough to build and maintain basically every kind of WP/CP site well, and growing every day. Themes that use the “classic” WP theming system and work in WP 4.9 will also continue to work just fine here.

I don’t think this new page should just be for WP 4.9 users, since there is also a large segment of users who have already upgraded and installed the Classic Editor or another similar plugin.

4 Likes

The theme is “how can we get WordPress 4.9 users to switch to ClassicPress”. We’re looking for feedback and suggestions to help with this. The term “users” covers everyone that still uses, supports and develops for WP 4.9.

The point I’m making here is that people who are using WP 4.9.x are in a dead end. ClassicPress, while based on 4.9, is still being actively developed and comes with assurances that change will be driven by the community.

That’s true. The only reason I suggested WP 4.9 users is because it’s an easily defined target and would be a good starting point. But yes, all those not using the block editor (and those that are using it reluctantly) are also good targets.

4 Likes

Hi CP community,
Thank you for the mention to Web242 in your post. As an FYI, We’ll keep any PHP versions needed to support ClassicPress - right now that includes PHP 5.6 up to 7.3, with PHP 7.2 as default. Clients can choose any of those versions for their site. As long as Installatron and Softaculous support CP, then clients can install CP right out of cPanel. Or we can manually install CP for them.

Of the 50+ sites we have on the server running WordPress, no one is running WP 4.9.

From our experience most clients (not managed by us) keep their sites reasonably updated with WP 5.0+ versions. When we run across sites that are using WP 4.9, it is because they haven’t done any updates at all in years. They actually had no idea WP and plugins need to be updated. Those are clients we are usually doing rebuilds for anyway…
.
Cheers
Avrom

2 Likes

I agree. If you aim it more generically then it will just get buried in the billions of other WP related pages. I think optimising it for WP4.9 is a very good idea. You want to get the people doing searches for things like “Can I stay on WP4.9?”

3 Likes

Creating new pages, optimizing etc. is important, but participating in discussing on Twitter, forums, groups and everywhere else is even more important, IMHO.

Twitter, for example. I still think, that CP official account should do more retweets (not likes!) of our community tweets. Only @zigpress and, occasionally, @Code_Potent are really active.

Or, participating in discussions like this. There are users, complaining about Gutenberg, and no one mentioned CP!

More participation from our community, not only marketing team is important. Dedicated page? It’s OK, but without traffic it’s useless.

5 Likes

I agree there’s more to this than merely creating a new page. But the page is meant to be a gateway to CP for those WP users who haven’t upgraded. It’s not a be-all and end-all.

This isn’t the only thing we’ve got planned. @BlueSkyPhoenix has contacted a couple of sites to see if they’ll allow us to write an article.

But you’re right that social media is also important.

Regarding the Reddit article, just a couple of observations. Firstly, it would be helpful if things like this could be brought to the attention of the community at the earliest opportunity. Secondly, as you pointed out, anyone could have responded to the article. It doesn’t need to be an official response though obviously that would probably be good too.

1 Like

I would much appreciate assistance in this area from people who are in these spaces.

I think that retweeting is part of an overall marketing strategy but IMO it shouldn’t be the only thing happening on an account. I’d prefer to see a marketing strategy in place that’s generating a healthy ratio of original content vs. retweets.

That means original content needs to be generated and we need to have something of value to share.

We have a number of marketing strategists available here on the Forums (Linas, you have talked about this and related topics several times). What we appear to lack is the people willing to generate the actual content – the tweets, the images, etc.

I would be immensely grateful to anyone willing to take that on. Please DM me or comment below if you are willing to volunteer some time to to help CP’s Marketing Team. Thank you.

2 Likes

I have, but have not heard back from either of them.

I completely agree with this. I don’t spend time on Reddit, nor in developer forums, so I rely on the Community to alert me to what’s going on. The marketing team is happy to respond in an official capacity when it’s warranted and if we are made aware in a timely fashion – but truly, anyone who uses ClassicPress, anyone who is part of the CP Community should feel free to speak up in support of CP whenever it’s appropriate.

A part of the burden belongs to each one of us if we want to see CP succeed – it can’t be left to only a select few.

3 Likes

It shouldn’t be, but it is better, than nothing. And retweeting insightful tweets about CP is like a sharing original content, just generated by a member, not the official CP himself.

So, unless we have a really good content, I vote for retweeting.

1 Like

I respond as often as I have time, but because English is the third language I speak, long texts is not my strongest point. that’s why i like twitter. :slight_smile:

I found it just before posting here, but it is a good idea to establish a procedure, how to report similar discussions to the CP community (marketing team?). Maybe @BlueSkyPhoenix can take care to establish rules?

2 Likes