ClassicPress: The Alternative to WordPress

On This Page:
Purpose of This Site
What is ClassicPress?
Who Created ClassicPress and Why?
ClassicPress in 2024

Purpose of This Site

This website has a twofold purpose. Firstly, to introduce ClassicPress to people who have never heard of it or tried it. Secondly, to offer an enhanced version of the free GeneratePress theme to get you started. This site is using that theme and you can access it under the Theme link in the menu.

The site is my own, personal website and is not run by or endorsed by the ClassicPress team. All content is my own opinion and does not represent the views of the official ClassicPress committee or any of its developers.

Furthermore, the theme I am offering is not endorsed by GeneratePress and the modifications and features are my own. I have used an earlier, block-free version that is no longer supported. It is not recommended for use on WordPress.

What is ClassicPress?

editor thumbBasically, ClassicPress is a fork of WordPress that does not have any block (Gutenberg) code or functions. It uses classic editing by default, the way WordPress did up until version 4.9. Of course, you can always use page builders to create more professional layouts.

But there is more to ClassicPress than just the editor. The development team have removed a great deal of code that was not necessary and only causing pointless bloating. Consequently, the installation is only about half the size of WordPress and responds much faster.

Importantly, breaking changes are never made within major versions. This means you will not find an update has changed how your site operates overnight. It certainly won’t cause it to crash altogether, as happened with Gutenberg.

Who Created ClassicPress and Why?

scott bowler thumbnailClassicPress (CP) was instigated by a Briton, Scott Bowler. In 2018, WordPress (WP) was at version 4.9.8 and a page building plugin called Gutenberg was set to become the core editor in version 5.0.0

Despite outrage by thousands of users at this forced change to the core of WP, Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic which controls WP, made it plain this was the future of WP.

Scott detailed his concerns in this article and his thoughts on the costs to business owners in this article. To appease users in the short-term, WP released the Classic Editor plugin which enabled site owners to bypass Gutenberg.

Such is the dislike of Gutenberg, the Classic Editor has been downloaded over 58 million times at the time I’m writing this. It was never intended to be available for that long.

Scott decided to create a Gutenberg-free fork of WP 4.9.8 and call it ClassicPress. In August of 2018, with the help of a team of developers, version 1.0.0 was released.

In this podcast excerpt, Scott can be heard voicing his concerns about Gutenberg being forced into core. This is the only known recording of Scott, who eventually had to step down for personal reasons.

ClassicPress in 2024

Version 1.x of CP was retired at version 1.7.3 and no longer receives updates or patches. However, it can still be used if you want to. In April 2024, version 2.0.0 “Bella”, was released and is based on WP 6.2. This enables compatibility with more WP plugins and support for PHP 8.2

A new plugin and themes directory is also now available, with 80 plugins and 6 themes that have been made specifically for CP. A plugin vital for some people is Classic SEO. More items are constantly being added to the directory.

ClassicPress has matured since its release in 2018 and is definitely the best alternative to WordPress, while still maintaining plugin compatibility. Consistent with Scott’s aim of being a community-led platform, the CP Forum is the place to go for information and support. Besides having direct access to the directors, you can also interact with other developers.

The core team of directors are elected by the users, via the forum. There have been many changes in directors over the years, which keeps the project alive and fresh. Having said that, the number of programmers maintaining and developing code is very small compared to WP, so things naturally take much longer to be implemented. New developers are always in demand.