I recently received an email from Google stating that websites created in the original version of Google Sites need to be converted to the new Google Sites format. Sites that haven’t been viewed or edited since before January 2018 will be inaccessible to the public as of November 1, 2020, while active sites will be inaccessible as of September 1, 2021.
While the new version of Google Sites launched in 2016, it will still be possible to create new classic Google Sites until November 1, 2020.
After November 2020, inactive classic Google Sites will have a private copy exported to Google Drive. This copy will not necessarily be easy to republish at its original URL in the future. After September 2021, active classic Google Sites will have a private copy exported to Google Drive and a private draft copy of it created in the new Google Sites, meaning they can be easily be republished in the future.
This news is important because it means that many websites published with classic Google Sites will be inaccessible to the public if the site owner is not around, not able to, or doesn’t care to take action to migrate it to the new Google Sites or export the content and transfer it elsewhere.
Although classic Google Sites launched in 2008, some of the content that will be lost actually dates back as far as 2006 and was originally created on the predecessor to Google Sites known as Google Page Creator. When that platform shutdown in ~2008-2009, many of the sites were converted to classic Google Sites. The URLs hosted on *.googlepages.com actually still redirect to their associated Google Sites, but, given their age, a larger portion of these sites are probably inactive and will disappear on November 1, 2020.
Please spread the word and start making lists of classic Google Sites to archive in advance of these upcoming dates.
Further information is available on the Google Sites Help Center.