How to Migrate from WordPress to ClassicPress

Helping people with their websites over the years has, for the most part, gotten easier. It got a lot easier when I started recommending to clients to use WordPress. It was simple, people could look at the editing screen and easily add/edit their content. That all changed when Automattic and WordPress released WordPress 5 with the new block editor, often referred to as Gutenberg. The few clients I had that tried the new editor before it was released all had one request, how do they keep the old editor? The answer to that was simple, we installed the Classic Editor plugin, I told them not to upgrade to WordPress 5 just in case something might break their websites and we waited, waited to see if Automattic and WordPress would start to realize the mistake they have made to try to keep up with Wix and Squarespace.

It is now January, WordPress 5 has been out for close to two months, and it is clear that Automattic and WordPress have not come to their senses, and after reading plans for Phase Two of Gutenberg it is clear they are bound to follow the Gutenberg path no matter how many of their existing users and agencies they antagonize in the process. Reading Gutenberg reviews it is abundantly clear that Automattic and WordPress have no interest or desire to actually listen to the people that have helped build WordPress into powering roughly 30% of the Internet. It has also become clear that while WordPress likes to talk about the freedoms of using WordPress, the Gutenberg project has made it clear to the WordPress community that WordPress is made and run by Automattic, and specifically Matt Mullenweg and it is their way or the highway. While I am thankful for what WordPress has done, it has helped me earn a living for many years, and helped many of my clients create and manage their websites, that time is now over and it is time to move on from WordPress. For future clients that might mean creating sites in a new content management system, and I am looking forward to discovering the other systems that are available for clients. For current clients that are happy with how WordPress used to work it will mean migrating to ClassicPress.

For those that don’t know what ClassicPress is, it is a fork or copy of WordPress based off of the WordPress 4.9.8 version of WordPress. It is everything people love about WordPress without all the stuff they hate that was added in WordPress 5. ClassicPress is what the WordPress community claims to be. ClassicPress has exercised the freedoms that come with using WordPress and are making it a reality. The ClassicPress version 1 roadmap will give business users the predictable consistent content management system that they enjoy using. The version 2 roadmap has some ambitious plans that will make ClassicPress an even stronger content management system that includes the ability for users to manage their content management system in ways WordPress has actually taken away from users. This is good news for many of my clients since several have unique requirements such as turning off the REST API.

For my clients that manage their own website updates and upgrades and want to move to ClassicPress now, before version 1 of ClassicPress is actually released I have created a video that you can watch to walk you though the process. While ClassicPress is still in beta it is based on WordPress version 4.9.8 and is very stable. You will want to read the ClassicPress migration page before starting. You will also need to download the latest version of the plugin from the ClassicPress Github page. You do not need to unzip the plugin but you will need to upload it to your current WordPress install so remember where you have downloaded the plugin so it is easy to find when you need it.

Steps to Migrate to ClassicPress from WordPress

  1. After you login to your existing WordPress website go to the Add New plugin section in your admin. Click the Upload Plugin button and either click Choose File to find the file you downloaded earlier or like I do in the video you can drag and drop the zip file onto the upload area. Once the plugin file is selected you can click Install Now. The plugin file will upload and install and you will need to activate it. After the plugin is activated you should return to the plugins page where you will probably have to scroll down and click the Switch link to start the migration to ClassicPress.
  2. On the Switch to ClassicPress page you should see a checklist of what is required to run ClassicPress. If there are any issues here you will not be able to migrate to ClassicPress and this time and you will want to contact me so we can resolve those issues. If you see all green checkmarks you can simple click the Switch this site to ClassicPress now! button and the plugin will download the latest version of ClassicPress and migrate your site. Once it is done you will see the Welcome to ClassicPress screen.
  3. Many of my clients have the free version of WordFence plugin installed on their websites to help reduce attacks. At this time ClassicPress is not officially supported by WordFence. Hopefully this will change soon in the future but until then you will need to change a couple of WordFence settings to ensure WordFence does not find false positives on your website. You will need to go to WordFence -> All Options -> Scan Options and uncheck “Scan core files against repository versions for changes” and “Scan wp-admin and wp-includes for files not bundled with WordPress”. Be sure to click Save Changes. This should prevent any problems with WordFence.

The migration to ClassicPress should only take a few minutes, in the video below I perform all the steps above after downloading the plugin file.

If you are having trouble migrating to ClassicPress feel free to drop me a note and I will do my best to help or you can visit the ClassicPress forum for the Migration Plugin and look for help there as well. They are a friendly community and will do there best to help you.

UTF8 Sanitize

Minnie Mouse

There are times when little problems pop up using WordPress that you just might not expect. Most users don’t know or care about what character encoding their computer and browser are using but when that character encoding is different from what WordPress uses it can lead to some odd problems.

Usually the tell tale sign of a character encoding problem is the appearance of odd characters in a WordPress post. Boxes where there should be characters or quotation marks that look odd. Sometimes there might not be any visible signs of a problem, but certain pages just do not seem to load properly. It can be a frustrating and confusing problem because you just don’t quite know what is going on.

If you have had this kind of problem odds are if you copy the content of your post in text mode over to a plain text editor, my favourite is Bluefish these days, you might be able to actually see the characters that have the problem and fix them. You can then copy and paste the content back to WordPress.

If you don’t want to go through that trouble and you have this problem regularly take a look at UTF8 Sanitize. It is an older plugin but so far it does seem to work still with the new WordPress. It takes the content of your post and tries to remove the non UTF8 characters.

If you do have this problem regularly you might want to check your computer character encoding settings or the editor you usually write in. It can be a hard problem to find the solution to fixing but once you do your WordPress posting will be easy once again.

WordPress or Joomla?

Last week I open up the doors to questions and got some great ones. I thought I would start with one of the questions from Angie.

WordPress or Joomla? Which is better and why?

I have actually posted about WordPress and Joomla in the past and at the time when I wrote that post I leaned towards using WordPress for blogs and Joomla for websites. The main reason was because of an issue I ran into creating a website with WordPress and how it handled pages. That problem seems to have been fixed and I have since created WordPress powered websites with large numbers of pages and not suffered any kinds of problems. Since I wrote that initial post on WordPress or Joomla, I have to admit I have been converted to using WordPress for more than just a blog and more as a complete content management system. Some might say this is like comparing apples to oranges, that they were created for different reasons. That might be true, but to webmasters and bloggers the reasons why something was created is not necessarily the most important thing. The most important thing is that it works.

  • Administration

    In my experience WordPress offers webmasters and bloggers a better administration section to use and maintain their websites. The administration pages are easier to learn, and faster to respond. The Joomla administration has a steeper learning curve and is not as easy for people to learn.

  • Friendly URL’s

    WordPress permalinks feature offers an easy way to set friendly URL’s for a website or blog. Joomla has a friendly URL option, but it does not compare to the WordPress ability to make friendly URL’s. You can install other extensions to improve upon Joomla’s friendly URL’s and that works as long as the extension author keeps the extension up, and that it does not break with the next upgrade. With WordPress this is built into the core. WordPress makes it much easier to make your URL’s look nice to your visitors.

  • SEO Friendly URL’s

    Having friendly URL’s is great for users, but it is also great for the search engine’s. WordPress nice permalink feature puts it ahead of the Joomla for SEO.

  • Duplicate Content Issues

    Both WordPress and Joomla suffer from a problem involving duplicate content. With WordPress it happens because of archives, categories, and tag pages all having duplicate content as the posts and pages. With Joomla it occurs because of menu pages. The problems exists for both, the difference is it easier to fix using WordPress. Even with out the use of plugins in WordPress it is possible to create a robots.txt file to prevent indexing of the categories, tag and archive pages leading the search engines to the one copy of your original content. With Joomla it is not as easy. Partly because of the problem with friendly URL’s.

  • Extendibility

    Both WordPress and Joomla have a plugin or extension system that allows you to add in other features that are not native to the software. This is mostly a personal preference, but I find the WordPress plugin system much easier to work with and more reliable. I seem to be regularly fixing problems and errors with Joomla extensions.

  • Really Simple Synication (RSS)

    WordPress offers a much better RSS system than Joomla that makes more content available to readers.

  • Speed

    I have not sat down and timed how long it takes to add new pages or posts into WordPress or Joomla, but I know that it certainly feels much faster to publish new content on WordPress. There is a post Playing with Wire that looks more at usability between WordPress and Joomla.

While there are reasons to choose Joomla over WordPress they are quickly becoming less. In the end it comes down to what you want to do with your website and what is the easiest, most user friendly system to do it with. More and more WordPress is the easiest, user friendly system to accomplish that task. WordPress is easier to use, faster to train non-geeks, and overall allows individuals and businesses of all sizes to create interesting websites that keep people coming back too. For the majority of people WordPress will easily meet their website and blog needs.

If you are looking for a way to demo both WordPress and Joomla without installing them. Take a look at OpenSourceCMS. There you can try both systems out. The here is the Joomla demo, and here is the WordPress demo.

What do you prefer WordPress or Joomla? What made you decide one over the other?

Joomla Extentsion – Mod HTML

There are times when you just want to add in a simple piece of Javascript in Joomla. While the default site module can handle HTML it can’t handle Javascript. Seems like such a simple thing, but if you want to just copy and paste your Google Adsense code, or Entrecard widget or any number of widgets and Javascript code into your Joomla website you should install the Mod HTML module. It is one of the the default modules I add to every Joomla website I work on. It not only makes adding advertising like Google Adsense easy to do it allows you to add in your own Javascript code. If you use Joomla to run your website take a look at adding the Mod HTML module. It will make adding that Javascript into the website much easier. Because it is not specific to any one advertising or program it is more flexible for all kinds of Joomla run websites.

Joomla 1.5 Demo

I still have not had a chance to install the new Joomla 1.5 to try it out. Thankfully I was just at OpenSourceCMS and discovered that they have the demo of Joomla 1.5 available. So if you would like to give it a try without installing it yourself take a look. Looks very nice so far. I like some of the new features. Best of all it looks like you can upload new images from the page editor so you can manage images and files where you are editing. Thank goodness! That was something that always drove me nuts working with Joomla.

Thanks for the demo guys. Really appreciate it. You saved me a lot of time.

Joomla or WordPress Part 2

I discovered this past weekend that if you want to make WordPress grind to a halt all you have to do is import roughly 2000 pages into it. Why did I import 2000 pages into WordPress? Well I wanted to see how it would do. I have a client that has a fairly large Joomla site just over 2000 pages so I did a little scripting and had it import those 2000 plus pages into WordPress.

I did it first as pages, and WordPress failed miserably. The Joomla site has no problem dealing with that many pages in it. If I changed the import script slightly and had the pages import into WordPress as posts WordPress had no problem with that amount of data. Unfortunately the pages should not be called posts, because they contain information that is static for the most part and would only need to be changed occasionally.

The problem WordPress has with that many pages appears to be with how it loads pages. I was using the default Kubrick theme for WordPress and by default it loads all of the pages on the sidebar. Even after I removed the Pages widget from the sidebar WordPress still would grind to a halt on load. In the administration section trying to manage the pages was impossible, because WordPress does not break the listing of pages up into pages, it displays all of them. Not good. The administration panel would simply time out.

If you are thinking of creating a large site with mostly static pages, stay away from trying to use WordPress as a Content Management System and look at Joomla. It will have no problem dealing with that number of pages.

Joomla! 1.0.14 Released & Backup

If you run your website on Joomla you should go and take a look at the Joomla website for information about the release of Joomla 1.0.14. Looks like the release is mostly a security release to prevent cross site scripting attacks. More information can be found at the Joomla blog.

Don’t forget to backup your current Joomla site before upgrading, in case something goes wrong. On that note you might want to take a look at JoomlaPack. It is a backup component that will create a full backup of your site in a zip file. I have installed it on a Joomla test site and have been pleased with it so far. I am hoping to move it onto a production site later this week to try it out. It makes the backup process simple and easy to do.

Joomla Directory Component SOBI 2

I talked a little last week about Joomla. I have been doing more work this week on various Joomla sites for clients and myself and thought I would let you know about my favourite Joomla directory component SOBI 2. Sigsiu Online Business Index 2 (SOBI 2) is an addon to Joomla that makes it possible to run and manage a directory in your Joomla website. The core Joomla system offers a link component it is limited. SOBI 2 on the other hand has many features that makes it stand out from other directory components. You can use it strictly as a web directory or as a directory to physical locations, like golf courses. It has built in integration with Google Maps (API key from Google is required) and it has addition plugins available just for SOBI 2.

Some of the plugins to SOBI 2 include a rating and review and gallery plugin. They make it possible for you to create and run a complete rating and review directory where people can submit listings, submit reviews and upload photos. Even if you don’t run the community builder component SOBI 2 can allow people to build entire web pages about their listing.

You also have the option of making certain features of the listing paid for or free. You could make listings free but charge for links to the websites. You have the option to decide all of this when you setup and manage the component.

The biggest downsides I have found with the SOBI 2 component is there is no way to import an existing database. I have managed to import a directory onto SOBI 2 but then managing the imported entries can be difficult. Doing it one by one when they are submitted is much easier.

Overall SOBI 2 is my favourite Joomla directory component. If you are thinking of adding in a directory to your Joomla website take a look at SOBI 2. It might be just what you are looking for.

Joomla or WordPress?

My father was a carpenter, he built grain elevators for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool for many years. One of the things he used to tell me is to always use the right tool for the job. This was usually just before I was going to do something stupid. Building websites is not much different, you need to use the right tool for the job.

I know that a lot of people out there love WordPress. They use WordPress for every website they make. They find it easy to use and customize and have a system for making their websites. The only problem is if you are using WordPress as a content management system you are using the wrong tool for the job. WordPress is a great platform for blogging, that is why I switched over from Blogger. But WordPress is not a great system for managing a website that is not a blog. The greatest features that I like about WordPress as a blog are the commenting and discussion and it is focused on the continual addition of new posts. WordPress also does a much better job of using RSS and allows syndication of the content very easily.

Tools - found at:, is a great system for creating websites of all sizes, but one thing Joomla is not very good at is blogging. Joomla lacks a few features out of the box that make a blog unique, mainly the commenting and discussion ability of WordPress. I also find the RSS features of Joomla to be lacking. Sure it offers RSS but it is often restricted to home page content. You can add extensions to Joomla to make it behave more like blogging software, but it is just not as good for some reason. Joomla on the other hand is great a building websites of all sizes and giving webmasters the ability to add in many features including a built in advertising manager that many websites need. Joomla can also be extended to include ecommerce, directories, and many other features. Sure WordPress has plugins but Joomla extensions can often add greater functionality to a website than any WordPress plugin.

I know I will probably get flak from both the die hard WordPress and Joomla users, but if you are planning on creating a new website make sure you choose the right tool for the job. If you want a website that is more traditional but is still easy to edit and add new content to use Joomla. If you want to blog use WordPress.

Joomla Search Friendly URLs

I thought I would continue talking about Joomla since they have now released version 1.5. Joomla is a great system and offers a great framework to build a website on. If you want to create a community based website where people can message each other, Joomla can do that. If you want to create a basic website that you can add the occasional page or poll then Joomla can do that too. If you want to blog then use WordPress, if you want a website with a lot of power use Joomla. Joomla does have one flaw though. It’s urls suck.

I have not had a chance to try out the new version yet. Time just ran out yesterday, but I do know that to help Joomla 1.0.3 urls be a little more user friendly you can add an extension to help solve the problem. The Joomla extensions directory lists several extensions for creating.blank1.gif

My favourite is nuSEF. It used to be called OpenSEF but unfortuneately was dropped by its developers. Thank goodness the project was picked up. Of all the search engine friendly url extensions I have tried for Joomla it is by far the easiest to install and use.

If you use Joomla and want to make your urls more friendly for both search engines and your visitors take a look at adding an extension to Joomla to make them a little more friendly.