Migrate Your Classic Sites with New Google Sites Before Getting too Late

Google Sites

Starting August 13, 2020, the new Google Sites becomes the default for website creation. If you haven’t already done so, as the next step in your classic Sites transition, Google recommends that you enable new Sites for all user groups that don’t already have access within your top-level organization.

Google already replaced classic sites with new sites in 2017, and in 2019 Google announced that domains will have until the end of 2021 to complete the process. Google provides a more detailed timeline, as well as new tools to help you and your users manage the process.

New sites offer powerful features and simple user experience so users can create websites without a designer, programmer, or IT help.

Your users can still switch back to classic Sites. Migrate existing classic Sites to new Sites by December 2021 using the console built to support administrators and users in streamlining the migration process to new Google Sites: Classic Sites Manager

Google sent an email to notify that the service would be off in 2021.

Google Sites Notification
Google Sites Notification

Here’s the details timeline from Google:

Timeline to fully transition to new Sites by end of 2021

Here’s a detailed look at the expected timeline for the transition from classic Sites to new Sites:

  • Currently available – Classic Sites Manager, a tool that can help admins and users manage the transition to new Sites. See more details below.
  • Starting August 13, 2020 – New Sites will become the default option for website creation. See more details below.
  • Starting May 2021 – New website creation will no longer be available in classic Sites. This means that any new websites created in your organization will only be in new Sites.
  • Starting October 2021 – Editing of any remaining classic Sites will be disabled.
  • Starting December 2021 – When users try to visit a classic Site, they will no longer see the website content. Any remaining classic Sites will automatically be:
    • Downloaded as an archive.
    • Replaced with a draft in the new Sites experience for site owners to review and publish.

Enable new Sites for users today

If you haven’t done so already, we recommend that you enable new Sites for all user groups that don’t already have access within your domain and disable the creation of new classic Sites. This will help reduce the number of classic Sites that get created and then need to be migrated. Your users will still be able to view and edit existing classic Sites as needed. Use our Help Center to learn more about turning on new Sites for your users.

New Classic Sites Manager tool now available

A new tool, Classic Sites Manager, is now available. It provides a view of your classic Sites, the ability to export a summary to Google Sheets for project management, options to convert classic Sites, and take bulk actions to archive or delete sites. Currently, super admins will be able to see and manage all classic Sites in their domain, and users will be able to see and manage classic Sites they own. Use these guides to learn more about how to use the Classic Sites Manager tool: guidance for G Suite admins, guidance for end-users.

New Sites the default option starting on August 13, 2020

Starting August 13, 2020, new Sites will become the default option for website creation. This means that if you have both classic Sites and new Sites enabled, when users go to sites.google.com, they’ll be redirected to sites.google.com/new. From there, users can see and manage new Sites, as well as create sites with new Sites. Users will still be able to use classic Sites easily by clicking the “back to classic Sites” button on the new Sites homepage.

What do I need to know?

Besides migrating existing classic Sites by December 2021, use the key dates below to plan and manage your organization’s migration from classic Sites.

August 2020: New Sites becomes the default for website creation

  • Both classic Sites and new Sites enabled, sites.google.com goes to new Sites.
  • Classic Sites enabled and new Sites disabled, sites.google.com takes you to classic Sites.
  • Only new Sites enabled, sites.google.com takes you to new Sites.

Starting May 2021: No websites can be created in classic Sites

New websites can only be created in new Sites. This limit includes copying existing sites, creating sites using the Sites API, or any other form of site creation in classic Sites.

To ensure a smooth transition for your organization, turn off the creation of classic Sites in the Google Admin console as soon as you can. Doing so decreases the number of classic Sites your organization must migrate.

Starting October 2021: Editing of remaining classic sites will be disabled

Site editors can’t make changes to their classic Sites. Viewers can still view classic Sites.

Later in 2020, a feature is scheduled to arrive in the Classic Sites Manager, which helps admins disable editing classic Sites. Use this feature as soon as it’s available to ensure a smooth transition from classic Sites for your users.

Starting December 2021: Classic Sites transition

When users try to visit a classic site, they won’t see the website content. Remaining classic sites are automatically downloaded as an HTML file, saved to the site owner’s drive (in Google Drive), and replaced with a draft new site for site owners to review and publish.

Tips to avoid disruption for viewers
If you want the site to be available to viewers, convert it to new Sites using the Classic Sites Manager or Sites settings before December 2021. Using this tool, you can publish your new site at the same URL as the old site to avoid disruption to viewers.

What do I need to do?

Start planning for the change to ensure a smooth transition for your organization. See the dates below and recommended actions you as the admin should take by those dates.

August 2020: Enable sites creation in new Sites, review old sites & plan migration

  • Enable site creation in new Sites in your Admin console for everyone. Users can switch back to classic Sites until December 2021.
  • Using the Classic Sites Manager, review how many classic Sites are in your organization and develop a migration plan. Use this tool to view all classic Sites in your domain; export a summary to Google Sheets for project management; and take bulk actions to delete, archive, or convert your sites.

Before May 2021: Turn off sites creation with classic Sites & convert old websites

  • Disable classic Sites creation to ensure new sites are in the new experience.
  • Using the Classic Sites Manager, convert classic Sites to new Sites.

Before October 2021: Turn off editing of sites in classic Sites

  • Permissions to disable editing of classic sites will be available to you, as an admin, by the end of 2020.

Before December 2021: Disable viewing of classic sites

  • Permissions to disable viewing of sites created in classic Sites will be available to you, as an admin, by the end of 2020.

If no action is taken, the changes outlined above will automatically be applied to your domain.

Sites transition best practices for admins

First, ensure all user groups have access to new Google Sites and to turn off the creation of sites in classic Sites as soon as possible.

Next, decide on your approach for the transition. Do you want individual site owners to migrate their sites, or do you as the admin want to manage the entire migration?

Manage classic Sites migration

  1. Migrate inactive sites by deleting or archiving them. Choose the option:
    • Export classic Sites using Google Takeout.
    • Delete any classic Sites that are no longer useful to your organization.
  2. Turn off editing in classic Sites. (Feature scheduled to launch by end of 2020.)
  3. Turn off viewing in classic Sites. (Feature scheduled to launch by end of 2020.)
  4. Start migrating active sites by converting them or rebuilding them in new Sites:
    • Convert the most viewed or most frequently edited sites from classic Sites to new Sites.
    • When you have a draft of the new site, compare the sites, and make any manual adjustments or changes the new Site might need.
    • Publish the new site over the URL of the classic Site.

For certain sites, you might consider rebuilding the site from scratch in new Sites using the site templates available. Some find this approach easier than converting and manually adjusting sites, especially for sites with a number of features that are unsupported in new Sites.

Comparison between classic sites and new sites.


Migrate Your Classic Sites with New Google Sites Before Getting too Late
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