I think people sometimes get scared by the thought of using an older version of a plugin (because, for example, it’s compatible with WP 4.9 and thus CP) instead of a more recent one because they are inclined to infer that the more recent one must be better. But, with the development of Gutenberg, which (as @joyously said) is going to impinge on ever more parts of WordPress, the idea that a more recent version of a plugin is necessarily better should receive much more scrutiny.
Why? Because many of the changes made to later versions of a plugin will increasingly be made simply to maintain compatibility with Gutenberg. They won’t make the plugin better, just more compatible with a moving target. In fact, older versions will often turn out to be more stable and thus much less problematic.
It’s also becoming clear that, if there is demand within the CP community for a particular plugin, but that plugin is now known to have some sort of problem (e.g. a security issue), then it is likely to be forked anyway.
So, as someone who does maintain some quite complex sites, I am feeling much happier going forward with the sites I have on CP than with those whose owners have decided to stick with WP plus Gutenberg for now. (And the difference in speed is already quite remarkable.)
Hi Zooey, nice to see you back. I understand your concern with NextGen. I have a client using it (they are on CP), and we paid for the lifetime version at around $300. It’s doing a really good job. When I researched possible plugins it was the best by far. So I am also a little concerned that one day a problem may show up.
One of the things that concerns me is that if I do have an issue and need to contact the developers I will have to say “I’m running it on ClassicPress” and I’m not sure how receptive they will be to helping with that. But they are still saying it works on 4.0.0 or higher, so while that stays <5 we should be OK.
It is quite possible to move your site back to WP if you decide at any time down the track that this is the best option for you. It’s not that difficult to do the migration. It’s just a matter of taking a backup, changing it over to WP4.9, taking another backup, then doing the WP upgrade to latest version (testing at each stage to make sure everything continues to work).
But I would suggest that you stick with CP and see how it goes. If you have a problem, report it here and there’ll be people to help you diagnose/fix it. And if it really is insurmountable then we will talk you through the process to move back to WP.
I’ve developed several sites for photographers, the latest one using Envira Gallery which is just blerg. The license for Envira has expired so I’m using an older version of the plugin and it all still works.
One thing that CP Club doesn’t mention is that Beaver Builder have said they are supporting CP. So BB is still a viable option. It also doesn’t mention that CP has now been added to Softaculous and that both Litespeed and Shield Security are supporting CP. On top of that, we are developing our own e-commerce solution (Classic Commerce) and SEO plugin (Classic SEO) with others to follow in due course.
We’re doing our best to get developers to support CP. Some are reluctant, some have said no. Others are more open and I think we’ll see more and more developers keen to support CP as it progresses.
Many users (like me) are choosing to stick with older versions of plugins and themes, ones that are compatible with WP 4.9.13. And they work just fine! Quite often, there’s just no need to upgrade to the latest version.
If you’re OK with Gutenberg, then that has to be an option but do consider what I said above.
As I understand it, Gutenberg will put the whole page in one block. Or Classic Editor may be an option…until WP stops supporting and developing it.
Yes. But there’s always a chance that an update or move of any kind could break your site.
Well, having a good backup is always a must so you should be able to revert if things go pear-shaped.
In my opinion, yes. Everything in WP is becoming blocked based. Themes could even become a thing of the past. And I even have a suspicion they may pull out of open source altogether and move everyone toward wordpress[.]com, just like Wix or Squarespace only you’d be using WordPress. But I’ve nothing to back that up. It’s just a hunch.
They released ftp access and MySQL for business plan and higher recently… Together with an horrid template system (basically you set a theme, create a page and have the option to select another theme layout for that page. And this works with posts too. Horrid).
Wow! I disappear for a few hours and have a load of help when I return. @timkaye has hit the nail on the head. I’m either scared to use an older version, simply don’t consider it, or I’m a bit of a perfectionist and update everything immediately without thinking. From now on I shall take a screen shot before updates and test that everything is working afterwards (something I have never considered). If anything breaks, then I will simply revert to the previous version.
And @ozfiddler - I contacted the developers of NextGen over a year ago. They weren’t exactly dismissive of CP, but they didn’t rule out possible problems in the future either. I too believe it to be the best gallery plugin around.
I never expected CP Club to mirror this site. I had problems joining, still not sure I can post, but I have saved the link. Sadly it isn’t used much at the moment - possibly because I’m one of the few lone bloggers to have jumped ship so early. I’m sure it has a place as things develop
I would suggest you don’t test plugin updates (or, indeed, any changes at all) on your live site. Instead, clone it and test things on the cloned site. Then, when you’re happy everything will be OK, you can update your live site too.
Some hosts provide what they call a “staging environment” where you can play with a cloned site. If yours doesn’t, you can download the free version of Desktop Server by ServerPress and use it to set up a ClassicPress site on your own computer. Then, using a plugin like All-in-One WP Migration, you can make a clone of your live site and upload it to the CP site on your own computer.
This way, there’s never a reason to be scared when updating something.
I have three sites built using Elementor. They are frozen at 2.7.6 because 2.8.0 requires WordPress 5.x
Yesterday, my paid extension pack for Elementor updated and crashed the sites. So I had to find the problem and replace the offending file with one from an earlier version. I now have to change the plugin’s version number so it doesn’t update again.
Unfortunately, I feel the difference caused by the dividing line between WP 4 and WP 5 is going to become an ever increasing problem when it comes to plugins. I think this year is going to be a difficult one for people who are tossing up which CMS to use.
As the two CMS’s drift apart, more and more hiccups are going to crop up. Of course this is only my opinion and not based on any facts. It’s just a niggling feeling I have as I watch various plugins causing problems that need to be brought up in this forum.
Consequently, I have not posted anything new at the CP Club. I needed to highlight the Elementor problem, which has forced some people to go back to WP, eg: WP Plugins A-Z. I am in a holding pattern, waiting to see how things progress.
Rather than post something negative, I have decided not to post anything there. Even posting this is probably going to get people jumping down my throat, but if you want “an honest opinion”, asking the manufacturer is never a good idea.
Having said that, the forum has always stated it is open to everyone’s right to have their say. So I’ve used mine. I’ll just put my flak jacket on.
But I do think it’s important to appreciate that not all plugins are the same in this context. Generalizing from just one plugin is, therefore, highly problematic.
Your example, Elementor, is a page-building plugin. It’s precisely those types of plugin that are going to be affected most (and soonest) by the development of Gutenberg. So they will be making many changes just to keep up with Gutenberg development. Yet, as I explained above, those changes won’t necessarily make the plugin better, just different, so that it can continue to work with Gutenberg.
In your case, it looks like you’re going to have to decide between using Elementor with WP, or using CP and an alternative to Elementor (such as Beaver Builder, which has promised to support CP).
But many people won’t experience that dilemma, because their plugins won’t be affected so immediately (if at all). Indeed, there are parts of WP/CP that won’t be affected by Gutenberg for some time (and, in some cases, ever). So plugins that hook into those areas will happily continue to work on CP for many years to come.
We have, of course, anticipated this divergence. We always knew that WP with Gutenberg was going in a different direction. That’s why we forked it and created ClassicPress. And that’s also why there are plans to have our own directory of plugins.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see quite a few threads on plugins that are not working and people are having to use older versions or hack into them. It is not just page-builder plugins.
I do appreciate the effort being put into developing CP specific plugins, but as I said in my article, we can’t fork every plugin that stops working. Well, not until we get more developers on-board at least.
Besides, it’s 2am here, so I shouldn’t be writing forum posts
Um… I did read about not testing a live site, but when I tried (can’t recall which instructions I followed), I failed at the starting gate. For a total beginner, which method would be easier to set up? My host has been very good and actually set up WP for me, even though I didn’t request that in my initial query. Would it be correct to ask if they can do this? I’m happy to try the other route if it’s better. I can generally figure things out myself if I’m put on the right road to start with
The best route - to use staging functionality from your host or plugin. Downside: as usual, this is a premium feature of backup plugins.
The manual path can be this:
Do you have a spare domain? Setup a new CP site. It will act as staging.
Use WPVivid free version to automatically migrate from production to the staging site. It can migrate from one to another domain wonderfully, I have dome it many times. In fact, I purchased lifetime premium to support developers.
Test everything on the staging site, if your test are OK - perform modifications to the production.
No, but we can try and have at least one that works for every main functionality. Need SEO?.. there’s now Classic SEO. Want e-commerce?.. Classic Commerce is on the way. If you like using a page builder there is now Beaver Builder.
I would actually much prefer to have a small group of well-maintained plugins that I trust, rather than a lucky dip of 57,000.
Going with your host means that the whole environment should be exactly the same as your live site. Setting a clone up on your own computer means you don’t need an internet connection to test things out.
Neither option is particularly difficult to set up if you take things steadily. And you can see that plenty of people here are ready to help so, if you get stuck, you can just ask.
I was out all day yesterday. (Three hours up to Rutland Water, four hours there, finally leaving in the dark and another three hour drive home. No food or drink all day…)
My host has just replied saying they don’t offer a staging environment, but then telling me how to back up my cPanel account, create an addon domain and something about editing the “hosts” file. I’m in way over my head here. My husband may be able to help - he’s very techy, although he knows nothing about WP or creating web sites. I’ll get him to sit down with me when we can find the time and yes… if I do need further help in here, I will certainly ask.
One quick question though - it seems that every time I go into my dashboard there are two or more plugins that need updating (this is about once a week). Obviously updating at the moment is the press of a button. How long should I expect this testing to take once I’m properly set up?