I tested a few WordPress themes to check for their compatibility with ClassicPress. Read what I learnt during the process of finding which WordPress themes work with Classicpress.
A few months back,I had written about ClassicPress. This CMS (Content Management System) is a fork of WordPress, and how it offers a differentiated experience compares to the Gutenburg-driven WordPress. In this post, you will find the following:
a. How to convert existing WordPress 5.7 or 5.8 installation to ClassicPress?
b. What are some of the plugins that are compatible with ClassicPress? or,
c. Which themes work well with ClassicPress?
d. How to import content (pages, posts, etc.) using the import feature?
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to WordPress as WP and ClassicPress as CP in the below post, to the possible extent.
Background : Compatibility of ClassicPress with WordPress
Till version 5.6 of WordPress, the backward compatibility with ClassicPress was quite good whenever I tested it. That is, the plugin offered by ClassicPress (Switch to ClassicPress) worked rather well when one had to convert a WordPress installation/ site to ClasssicPress.
However, with the advent of WordPress 5.7 and 5.8, the plugin did not work. Once could always do a fresh install of ClassicPress on Shared hosting using Softaculous or Installtron, or using the command line. But I thought that the plugin was the most convenient and (error and stress) free way for most hobbyists and those who wanted to give CP a try.
The plugin issue was addressed by the CP team in July or August 2021. Now, convert an existing WordPress 5.8 installation into the latest version of CP is a breeze. I decided to test this updated plugin in particular in two possible ways.
a. Create a fresh, clean WordPress install and convert it to CP.
If this step completes successfully, then the goal was to check out themes, and plugins from WordPress for their compatibility with CP.
As a second method,
b. Convert an existing WordPress site into CP. Check for any compatibility issues.I will cover the later in a subsequent post.
Needless to say, using a test site or a clone (or staging version) of an existing site is highly recommended. Do not try this on a live site!
Below you will find results from the following tests
a. Converting an existing WP site to CP
b. Importing demo content using the import tool within the WP dashboard. (and creating new posts) in the new CP installation.
c. Installing CP and WordPress plugins that I typically like to work with.
d. Test out WordPress themes for compatibility with CP.
Why I tested these themes for WordPress
Let us call this a dry run rather than a test. My end goal is to convert my blog at amarvyas.in into a ClassicPress site. But before that I had to check for any broken scripts, plugins, or themes. I could have created staging site on the same server, as the current installation for amarvyas.in, but I wanted to put a specific server to use.
Server used for this post
I set up a WordPress site on a 1 GB / 1 vCore Virtual Private Server (VPS) by Virmach, which I had signed up for during Black Friday 2020 sale. This VPS has been lying idle for a large part of past several months, and I thought it was a good gesture to put it to use.
As a first step I installed Debian 11 and with the goal of installing HestiaCP on it. However, Debian11 had just been released, and HestiaCP documentation and forums did not recommend installing the server panel on Debian 11 just yet. Suffice to say, they were proven right!
I finally installed Ubuntu 20.04, and now this machine runs Ubuntu 20.04 . It has HestiaCP installed on it as a server management panel.
Compatibility of ClassicPress with WordPress?
With the constant changes coming to WordPress and their movement towards the Gutenberg editor and blocks. The question often comes to mind, what is next in store for CP, that is, what is the future roadmap for CP? In the CP Forum, somebody asked a question that I am paraphrasing as:
Will there be an a point where in the parts of WordPress and classic press would divert so much that they’ll not be much compatibility anymore?
That is an interesting question to answer, best left to the CP developers. On a positive not ,fortunately, that is not the situation today. ClassicPress has great compatibility with several themes and plugins.
Sample set of WordPress Themes
Some of the most popular ones, such as WP Astra, generatepress, Hestia and others are compatible with CP. It is a matter of simply installing the theme and tweaking these themes, and everything works just fine. That is because the CP development team has put in significant efforts for backward compatibility between the newer versions of WordPress, which is at version 5.8 at the time of writing this post.
Converting a WordPress Site to ClassicPress
On the VPS which I had set up for testing purposes, I initially installed WordPress and then use the classic press migration plugin to convert that site to classic press. I tried quite a few themes, a couple of them are very recent, and they of course did not work, including some from Automattic themselves.
Majority of themes from Anders Noren, including Baskerville and Rams, worked beautifully. So did TextDash and Blogcard by Alexander Agnarson of alx.media. The stock themes from WordPress, from Twenty Twelve to Twenty Nineteen, worked very well. No white pages, no broken links or script errors. This was also the case with GeneratePress, WP Astra, and Hestia themes, as well as both versions of Independent Publisher.
Previously, I had used Blocksy theme without much hassle.
Update: Blocksy is not compatible with ClassicPress – as I discovered to my surprise (and pain). Making it the default theme led to a white screen. I had to log in to HestiaCP panel and delete the theme manually.
White Screen on installing Blocksy Theme
Deleting files from HestiaCP panel.
My preferred WordPress Themes that work with ClassicPress
I finally shortlisted four namely Baskerville, GeneratePress, Rams and TextDash. I believe, for the duration of the testing, I will use either Rams, or Baskerville, I really love these themes that the way the seamlessly work together with CP. I must make an honourable mention of Go Theme by GoDaddy, It is fast, versatile and great to work with.
Wrapping it Up : Which WordPress themes work well with ClassicPress
It’s been a fantastic experience, and quite reassuring to find a great number of themes which work just fine with CP. I have not tried many plugins so far, so maybe a follow-up post I will do that. There is an obvious question, which I have not addressed, that is,
“what about page builders?”
It’s kind of a tricky question to answer. The way I understand and view CP, philosophically using a page builder like an elementor will take away the simplicity the and probably a few other things that CP stands for. On the other hand, if that is what will make this fork of WordPress tick in the CMS world, then so be it.
I recall in a previous test, Brizzy works pretty well, but I have tried that in the past, not with the recent version thoughIt might be worthwhile to give Elementor a try as well. It probably may have limitations.