One of the most frequently asked questions about ClassicPress is “how many websites are using it?”
It’s a fair question. As the predominant fork of WordPress and the best way to keep the Classic Editor as the standard editing option for the foreseeable future, everyone is curious how many people are using ClassicPress. After combing through our server logs, we’re ready to provide our first official usage report here.
As of August 2021, there are very roughly 5,000 active ClassicPress websites.
In addition to the active website count, here are a few additional pieces of information we were able to calculate:
- Version 1.2.0 was the most widely used version (when we started to calculate these statistics, the current latest version, 1.3.0 was not yet available for download. This suggests that most people are keeping their ClassicPress sites updated, which is good to see.)
- PHP 7.2.34 is the most widely used version with ClassicPress websites, followed by PHP 7.3.27 and PHP 7.4.16. (We’ll dig into this information further to help us decide how to increase the minimum supported PHP version in a future release of ClassicPress.)
- en_US is the most widely used locale, followed by de_DE and then nl_NL. In total, there are 44 locales used across all active websites. (This is useful to help us decide which languages to prioritize for translation.)
- MySQL 5.5.5 is the most widely used version, followed by 5.7.33 and 5.6.49. (Likewise, this information can help us determine how and when to increase the minimum version of MySQL required to run ClassicPress.)
This usage report is based on a manual analysis of requests to the ClassicPress.net API servers by ClassicPress websites looking for core upgrades. We analyzed 200 days worth of server logs, ending on August 20th, 2021, and recorded a new active ClassicPress site for each site that we detected during this period.
We’re calling this number of active websites a “very rough estimate” because there are various factors that make it impossible to measure this number exactly. For example: even though a website is active and online, it may not be checking for updates regularly.
ClassicPress sends a unique and anonymized website identifier along with each request to our upgrade servers. We can use this information to estimate the number of active websites by counting the number of distinct website identifiers that appear in a given period, but we cannot see these websites’ domain names or URLs or any other personally-identifying information.
As compared to WordPress, this approach represents a privacy improvement for our users. All WordPress websites send the website URL to the WordPress.org update servers when they check for updates, but ClassicPress considers this to be private information: we do not need to be able to identify the specific website URLs that are using ClassicPress.
Of course, we manage all information we have about ClassicPress websites very carefully and in compliance with both existing privacy regulations and common-sense standards of “reasonable practice”. The measures we take include strictly limiting access to our server logs and collecting the minimum amount of information possible.
As ClassicPress moves forward, there are a few things the team will focus on to improve reporting:
- Remove other unnecessary tracking data reported by individual websites (petition)
- Automate aggregation and processing of usage data
- Set up usage report dashboard for the public to see up-to-date usage data
Please note that some plugins include a privacy- or security-related feature that modifies the User-Agent string that WordPress and ClassicPress send with outgoing requests. These plugins often force ClassicPress to include the website’s actual domain in outgoing requests, which bypasses some of the work we have done to anonymize this information.
If you are interested in helping us address this issue, then we recommend verifying your website’s User-Agent string and helping us to track down which plugins are exposing more information than necessary to our servers.
ClassicPress is growing: the last (unofficial) estimate of active websites we took was in May 2019. At that point, we had around 1,500 active websites.
As WordPress continues to expand full-site editing capabilities, more and more users who want to explore another direction based on the battle-tested and proven “classic” WordPress platform are flocking to ClassicPress.
In addition to a growing number of websites using ClassicPress, our community forum is booming. Over the last 4 months, we’ve seen a 60% increase in user “stickiness” (a measure of how often users return to the forums after visiting once) and a 350% increase in daily engaged users.
ClassicPress is also beginning to diverge away from WordPress on its own path as a CMS. Two projects that are currently under development in this spirit are the TinyMCE upgrade from version 4 to version 5 and the ClassicPress plugin/theme directory.
You can try the TinyMCE version 5 demo or install a research plugin to test the new version of the editor on a ClassicPress website. We do not recommend testing on a production website as this project is still in a very early stage of development.
The ClassicPress directory is also in a beta phase at this time. It has over 80 plugins now, and if you are a plugin developer, we encourage you to list your compatible plugins. In a future version, our directory will also support themes.
The future is bright. If you’re looking for an alternative to WordPress or another CMS, give ClassicPress a try. It is stable, lightweight, and instantly familiar for WordPress users.