The people at WPTuts have created this video tutorial on how to migrate your website to ClassicPress or install it from scratch instead of WordPress. You may see an advertisement at the beginning so just click on “Skip Ad”. So let’s look at what actually happens when you switch to ClassicPress.
Migrating to ClassicPress
A WordPress (WP) installation consists of some files in the root folder of your installation, normally your website address. It also contains three folders:
The last one is what contains your plugins and themes. The wp-config.php file in your root folder stores your site settings, login information and database details.
When you migrate to ClassicPress (CP), everything is overwritten except your wp-content folder and wp-config.php file. This ensures your content and website settings remain unchanged. It is simply swapping out the WP files that determine how your site works, with CP ones. Your database remains untouched.
In the video, you can see four green boxes that are ticked. If you have modified your core files, the last box will be amber instead. This may cause the migration to hang or fail altogether.
If this happens, there is an alternative method of migration that doesn’t use the plugin. It involves using an FTP program such as FileZilla to manually upload the files to your website. While the CP website gives you a link to the zip file, you have to unpack it and remove some files and folders first, or you will lose your content.
To make this easier, I have created a new zip file of the current version with these already removed. You can download it from my Google Drive account here or my Dropbox account here. You then simply unzip it and upload everything using your favourite FTP software.
A New ClassicPress Installation
If you are making a new website, then the zip file from the CP website can be unpacked and uploaded by FTP. The installation process is exactly the same as the WP one, so you will be very familiar with how it works.
I usually change the database prefix on the installation screen. For CP it defaults “cp_”. Changing it to a new one such as “cp_rY5z_” for instance, can help to protect your database from hackers. Make sure though that you add that last underscore in red, or it will not work.
Downgrading from WordPress 5.0
If you have upgraded to the latest version of WP and it either broke your site or you simply decide you don’t like it, then this is how to make it a CP one instead.
Using your FTP program or File Manager in cPanel (or equivalent), delete all the files in the root folder except:
If you have any files of your own there, such as custom error files, favicon.ico or Google Console validation files, etc, then don’t delete them.
Next delete the folders:
Next upload all the contents of my modified zip file. When you login, you will now be using CP and your content will have remained unchanged.
I hope this post gives you an understanding of the CMS structure and which files and folders do what. By using the methods I have described, you can see what options you have.
Of course, it is always a good idea to make backups of your home directory and database before making any changes. You can do that via your cPanel or using a plugin. But plugins won’t work if your site is already broken and you can’t login.
You did make a backup before upgrading to WP 5.0 didn’t you?