It’s Time to Convert Your Old Google Sites

A calendar sitting on a shelf displaying the month of September

In November, 2016, Google launched a brand new version of Google Sites. It featured a simple drag and drop interface and responsive designs that were better suited for the modern web. Today, almost five years later, some of those classic Google Sites still exist. They have still to be converted to the “new” versions of Google Sites, and sometimes with good reason. If you find yourself in that boat, your time is almost up. Google has extended the deadline more than once, but when September 1, 2021 rolls around, your classic Google Site will cease to exist. Here’s what you need to know.

What Will Happen to My Classic Google Sites?

On September 1, 2021, Google has said that all classic Google Sites will cease to exist. They will not be viewable to you, or to anyone else on the web. If you take no action, they will automatically be downloaded as an archive and saved to your Google Drive. You will also find a draft version of your classic site is saved in the new Google Sites experience, ready for you to edit, review or publish.

How do I Find My Classic Google Sites?

Google has created a tool called, Classic Sites Manager. If you visit this page, you will see a list of all your Google Sites that have not yet been converted to the new format. You have three options for dealing with the sites that are stored here:

  1. Delete the sites you no longer need
  2. Download the site as an archive
  3. Convert your site to the new Google Sites experience
Look for the banner alert above your site to begin converting your classic Google Site

How to Convert Classic Google Sites

The first thing to know is that you can only convert sites that you are the owner of. If you only have editing permissions, then you need to contact the owner of the site and have them convert it to a new Google Site. Here’s what that process looks like:

  1. Go to Classic Sites Manager
  2. Click on a site to open it and then look for the banner at the top of the page that prompts you to convert your website to the new Google Sites
  3. Click Try it now, to go straight to the conversion tool
  4. Take note of any warnings about attachments or sharing permissions
  5. Click Start to begin converting your site

Will Your Converted Site Look the Same?

In a word, no. Not only will your site design look different, but the formatting will likely need some attention. There could well be some things missing, like gadgets which are no longer supported by the new Google Sites. File cabinets will copy over to a standard page and all your files will be put in an embedded Google Drive folder. It’s the same deal for page attachments. You can see a full list of the changes you can expect on Google’s support page for newly converted Google Sites.

The End of an Era

I’m not going to lie. I got a massive hit of nostalgia when I went back and reviewed my classic Google Sites. All kinds of memories came flooding back, but not all of them were good. The classic Google Sites experience was not exactly the most user friendly tool in the world. Yet, it served its purpose and now we have a very credible replacement. So, if you haven’t converted your old sites, now is the time to do it.

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