This is my first review of calmPress, a WordPress fork that does not use Gutenberg and is designed to remove bloat and outdated features that WordPress users no longer need.
Created by Mark Kaplun, based in Israel, he is currently the sole developer. There is no migration plugin to move your WordPress site over, and you will need to be confident with using FTP and your site’s file manager to make the switch.
Mark says he did not create calmPress (cP) simply because of Gutenberg, but that the release of WP 5.0 seemed an opportune time to create a fork. He had been concerned by the bloat and old, outdated features in WP for some time and now seemed an ideal time to address the issues.
To migrate your site to cP, you need to be comfortable using an FTP program such as Filezilla, and understand how your site hosting panel and database system works. You will need to be able to rename or delete folders and files.
Installing cP on a new site is fairly straightforward, and no different to installing WP by FTP. So the CMS is more suited to the intermediate user than those who use one-click installers or managed WP hosting.
The cP website is not intuitive to navigate, with each section being on a sub-domain rather than everything being linked by the menu. So the best place to start is here, which is where you will find the “full” and “upgrade” zip files.
There are two versions available, a Beta version (0.9.x) and an Alpha version (1.0.x). The Beta version is basically WP 4.9.x and is suitable for use on a live site. The Alpha version is the development version and should only be used on a test site.
If you want to ensure your site works correctly, then you should use the Beta version. The Alpha version is in constant development and is where Mark is removing things he feels are no longer needed. There is no way to switch to either version from the admin panel, and you will need to download the “upgrade” zip file, unzip it and upload the contents via FTP.
This is how I suggest you migrate your site, with either version:
- Make a full backup of your home directory and database.
- Download the “Upgrade” zip file and unzip it to a folder on your computer.
- In your site’s file manager, delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders. Do not delete the wp-content folder.
- Delete any files in the root folder except wp-config-sample.php, wp-config.php, .htaccess and any files that are your personal ones.
- Upload the contents of the unpacked zip file to your website by FTP.
When you log back in, you should be running cP and all your content should be exactly as it was before. If you have any problems with your database, try using the check/repair options in cPanel or equivalent. If you still have a problem, contact Mark here.
You will also need to install the Autover plugin, otherwise your site will be seen as WordPress 0.9.x/1.0.x which could trigger an automatic update with some hosting companies.
Whenever there is a new point release, you will need to repeat this procedure, but not the deletions in steps 3 and 4.
Since Mark is doing everything himself at the moment, things are not as polished as ClassicPress for instance, which has a team of developers. Nevertheless, the project is an interesting one, and worth taking a look. He has some good ideas on how his CMS should work on modern sites.
And of course, you can still use page builders such as Elementor if you want to, which do what Gutenberg is trying to do, but better – and as a plugin.