AppThemes – ClassiPress Review

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ClassiPress or AppThemes in general is not a theme or company we would recommend anymore.


ClassiPress from AppThemes is a WordPress theme that’s been designed to help users create a classified (buy/sell) type of website as easily as possible with WordPress.

We purchased ClassiPress back in early 2016 (version 3.x) and whilst they have released a version 4.x, this version is much worse than version 3. Our thoughts and perspective below are from operating a version 3 variant of this theme but we have used version 4 when it was first announced internally in for their developers and marketplace sellers as we had to test our plugins compatibility.

We have not used ClassiPress for the last couple of years, but at the time of writing, they don’t appear to have progressed much.

The Backstory

At the start of 2016 we were looking for a WordPress-based solution to use as for a second-hand trading website for a local niche community. We spent several weeks looking into various solutions and ultimately decided to land with ClassiPress by AppThemes. 

We were impressed with their level of support, the customisable features, a dedicated forum for users and staff to interact and work together, and a strong marketplace of add-ons to improve the overall functionality of the platform.

Had you asked us in 2016-2017 if we would have recommended ClassiPress - we would have said Yes!

We were so happy with the base-theme that a number of the bespoke functionality we built out for the project, we ended up creating as stand alone plugins that operated across all ClassiPress installs.

The issues started about a year after, when after announcing a major update to the theme (version 4) everything slowed right down in their development and the details shared with us (marketplace sellers) behind the scenes didn’t look promising.

They were looking to bring a couple of their more popular themes inline together with a more modern framework for the website a number of features and general uniqueness of ClassiPress was lost. The launch of V4 didn’t go particularly well either.

We suspect there may have been a number of factors that led to this;

  • They created and maintain a wide number of themes and plugins
  • Appeared to have a very small number of staff – which is ok in business, when structured and planned for – but they had appeared to spread themselves too thin.
  • Many of the other themes were no longer maintained or updated with frequency.
  • Their focus was ClassiPress and Vantage (a directory theme). 

Additionally, the original owner of AppThemes, then sold his business to another company and and shortly after that, we stepped back from AppThemes and maintained the project we had built.

ClassiPress Overview

When looking to create a classified type website, there are many different solutions out there that can help take the most inexperienced user to setting up a classified sales website for their community or project. 

In 2016, ClassiPress stood out from several other examples that were reviewed to see if they were suitable due to a couple of key features we were looking for with our project. 

Whilst there are free options available, purchasing a dedicated theme from a reputable company ensures you’re getting a feature set and support that’s focused on what you’re looking to achieve.

Whilst it looks dated from today’s design standards, there is quite a lot of customisation available with a couple of different looks as standard and with AppTheme’s marketplace, there is a good selection of child themes that offer more updated and customised looks to the site.

What’s more important is the functionality though, as what’s under the hood, and powering the site is more important that how it looks. Changing the look of a site is significantly easier than building out new core functionality within it.

ClassiPress Strengths

There were several reasons as to why we chose ClassiPress for our classified website project, they were;

Speed of Setup

We purchased ClassiPress in the afternoon, and by that evening we had a fully functioning site released to the community and listings being added. Whilst the site visually still looked very basic, the underlying fundamentals were in place and provided a fast solution.

Custom Fields & Forms

One of the most important features we needed was the ability to create different forms that users could complete based on the category they were posting to when listing their classified item.

It doesn’t make sense to always ask the same questions, but other themes often had a rigid form that applied site-wide or required you to have a 3rd-party form builder. With ClassiPress we could easily create a form, set specific fields that needed to be collected, then apply that form to specific categories. 

Additionally, the classified listing within those categories would then show the related information that was completed by the listing owner.

Flexible Pricing For Listings

Another great feature of ClassiPress was the ability to have various different costs for listings and featured listed (see below). 

The core of our project was technically free listings, as we were not going to charge the majority of users for listing items on the website, instead we would offer optional paid upgrades. 

ClassiPress allowed us to easily set up the site with free listings, and give users the optional ability to upgrade their orders on the final step to a ‘featured ad’ which got more exposure on the homepage.

By default ClassiPress works with PayPal (for free) but AppThemes did offer a MarketPlace extension to support a wide range of different payment gateways.

Featured Listing Section

The Featured Ad functionality within ClassiPress by default was a header area on the front-page with a slider that show-cased the different featured ads on the site. We gave featured ads 30-days heighten visibility for a small payment. 

Originally, we were going to make it so that only featured ads were posted through to our Facebook page (automatically), but part of our traffic growth strategy required us to post all ads to Facebook automatically to continue driving traffic from social media.


Easy To Use Editor For Site Users

Another benefit we found helpful and very much needed was a front-end editor and user area for the visitors to the website. Some of the alternatives we looked at essentially had your site visitors use the WordPress backend to create their listings, which would be fine if everyone using your site was technical, but for a classified sales site that could be used by anyone of all technical ability and ages, you need something that’s as easy as possible to use.

ClassiPress Limitations

With all that said, ClassiPress wasn’t without it’s limitations and our project needed some specific features that simple wasn’t available at it’s core.

  • User feedback system – the ability for users to rate each other and leave feedback on profiles and show a feedback score in the lists.
  • An internal private messaging system – we wanted users to be able to message each other on the site – as it helps keep engagement within the system and retain users.

Overcoming Limitations

Overcoming the above limitations wasn’t too difficult, it just required planning around what exactly we needed. We built a user feedback system from scratch, and for the private messaging system, we took a free private messaging system and built it out into the site directly. Removing the need of the plugin itself. 

As time went on, we ended up building out further custom features for Classipress, including:

  • Comment Notifications – When a user logged into their account, there would be a notification at the top of the page letting them know if they had any unread comments on their listing – usually questions from the community.
  • Front-page ads customiser – built out the ability to easily customise what types of listings would show on the front page, with a range of filters and options.
  • Video embed field – this allowed users to embed videos into their listing from 3rd-parties like YouTube. Enhancing their sales listing to aid with faster sales.
  • Front-end user dashboard filter & search – with this, we looked to enhance our users front-end experience by giving them the ability to search their own listing, filter by the status, and more.
Whilst everything was built out specifically for our project, we saw the potential for other users, especially as in their community forums we were getting asked how we were doing certain things within our classified website. As such we decided to create everything as independent plugins that other users could easily add to their own ClassiPress websites (with the exception to the private messaging system as we didn’t own/code the original plugin). 
What’s funny to see is that even though we’ve not made any sales in years, we’re still in the top 8 of marketplace sellers. It’s a shame to see AppThemes go the way that it has over the years, as they really were a great company.

Project Outcome

Overall, the classified website we build was a success. we created an entirely custom theme and look to the site. whilst a niche community, the site has thousands of active users, getting over 100,000 page views every month. It’s been operating since 2016 and continues to this date. Whilst we no longer own or operate the site and handed it over to someone else, it’s good to see the community still thriving. 

Recently looking at other options in the space, there are some what ‘appear’ to be significantly better platforms to work off. we say ‘appear’ as with all marketing, looks can be deceiving and we’ve not actually used other classified website themes as it’s no longer something we’re working on. 


Overall ClassiPress v3 was a solid base and if we were in 2016-2018, we would have recommended them as a strong contender to consider, but with it now being 2023 and with not real improvements on their end and a seemingly dead company, we’re strongly recommend avoiding them and looking at alternative solutions. 




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