ASP Classic Usage in 2021

Classic ASP

ASP Classic – the Active Server Pages language – was first released by Microsoft in 1996. At the time, it was a simply amazing way to create dynamic webpages. Its reign did not last long. By January 2002, Microsoft was already pushing people to convert to ASP.NET.

Two decades have passed since that date. There are still thousands of sites which continue to use ASP Classic, as that original version of ASP is now called.

You might ask yourself, why?

The answer, of course, is the same reason that so many legacy languages are still in place. It often comes down to the pain of recoding an entire massive website, along with the “If it ain’t broke, why touch it” mentality.

Small sites can be easy to recode. If you have a two-page website for a local pizza joint, it’s quite easy to simply build it from scratch in WordPress or something else. But if you have a 10,000 page website that serves a local bank, it’s not so easy.

For that reason, it makes sense that out of the top 10,000 websites, nearly 5% of them (448) are still running ASP Classic. These are often the big sites that would simply be a bear to reprogram.

If you expand your reach to the top 100,000 websites, you’re down to 3% of them (3025) which are on ASP Classic. These sites tend to be smaller and smaller, so it’s easier for them to retool and move data into a new system.

Move on to the top million of websites, and it’s now less than 2% (1.95%) which are still on ASP Classic. That’s 19,479 sites.

Across the entire web, there are about 1.8 million sites lingering on ASP Classic. While that is quite a lot, I have to imagine that quite a lot of these are dormant / abandoned sites that are barely used any more.

I have about 35 websites in my own library of sites I run and maintain. Out of these, I have fully converted 23 of the smaller ones over into WordPress-only. Another 12 of them are a mixture of WordPress and Classic ASP files. I do have thoughts about converting some of those 12 sites over to be wholly WordPress, for the ease of updating them.

For example, this ASPIsFun site here is nearly all static content in the sense that I write articles and they remain stationary. There’s no need to have ASP involved in them. But I have only gotten half of the legacy articles ported over into this WordPress blog content engine. For every one I have to copy the content, set up a redirect, and test it. It just requires time I don’t have. And since the ASP pages work, there’s little actual benefit.

The only real usefulness would be if I decided to sell a site. The new owner might find it much easier to maintain a simple WordPress site vs getting a site full of ASP code they had to figure out and maintain.

What are your thoughts on maintaining a legacy Classic ASP site? Do you have any? Are you thinking of updating them, or is it just too much hassle? Let me know!

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