When WordPress 5.0 was released with the block editor in late 2018, the version was heralded as a better editing experience with a new interface for creating content.
While many users welcomed the change, the initial version was not without issues.
Usability and accessibility issues caused a lot of pain points for long time WordPress users, especially screen reader users.
Subsequent versions resolved many of the issues, and work is continuing with bug fixes and enhancements to improve usability and accessibility.
But for WordPress users who are frustrated with the block editor, there is an alternative: ClassicPress.
What is ClassicPress?
Forked from WordPress 4.9, the version before the block editor was announced, ClassicPress offers an alternative for WordPress users who don’t want the block editor experience.
Or don’t want to use the Classic Editor plugin with current versions of WordPress.
ClassicPress is under active development, has the familiar WordPress interface many longtime WordPress users know, and releases regular security updates.
In addition, they have active community forums and a Slack channel.
When Marco Zehe asked me about ClassicPress as an alternative to WordPress, I told him I hadn’t worked with it.
Marco quickly set up a test site, checked the ClassicPress roadmap, and joined the community forums.
I asked him if I could interview him about his ClassicPress experience, why he considered using it, what he discovered, and whether he thinks ClassicPress is a good alternative to WordPress.
Marco kindly accepted my invitation. It was my pleasure to chat with him about ClassicPress.
Here’s our conversation.
Interview with Marco Zehe
Why did you look at ClassicPress?
Because I found that the block editor really doesn’t work for me for publishing my content in an efficient and fully accessible manner.
I was looking around at different content management systems, and a friend then recommended I look at ClassicPress.
What features stood out for you?
The fact that this is a fork of WordPress 4.9, the last version that didn’t have the block editor as its default, and which is still being maintained with security updates.
And because it is a fork, it is compatible with that version of WordPress, not just by claim.
But plugins and themes do indeed work.
It promises the familiar and accessible environment I had come to depend upon for so long.
What was the community like?
Very friendly and welcoming.
And a search through their forums also revealed that they have accessibility on their radar.
But because this is a volunteer community project without a big enterprise behind it, unlike WordPress, everybody can or should help.
I was greeted very friendly and got an immediate response to my initial message on the forum.
Who do you think Classic Press works best for?
People who do not want to, or cannot, use the block editor, don’t want to get into that corner of the WordPress world, and want to stay with something familiar which, after an initial long-term release, will take a different path than WordPress have taken.
I think the Ten Reasons to Switch to ClassicPress on their site sums the reasons up pretty well, despite the marketing spin.
Anything else you’d like to add?
When I tried it out on a playground site this morning, I felt right at home.
And it was really fast, too.
A blogger and accessibility advocate who was a long-time WordPress user, Marco Zehe has been in the assistive technology industry since 1996.
Totally blind since birth, Marco has been using screen readers since 1991 when he got his first DOS-based personal computer.