We are in the process of migrating SharePoint 2013 on premises to SharePoint 2019 on premises . We have internet enabled Publishing sites heavily customized using custom Master Pages and Page Layouts.

We have full trust farm solutions with custom visual web parts and we are in planning to convert all these Visual Web Parts into SPFX Web Parts to get support in Modern Pages, Its been suggested to convert the SharePoint 2013 Publishing sites into SharePoint 2019 Communication sites to get the similar features with modern support.

What will be the process of converting all those custom Master Pages and Page Layouts to support with Modern Communication sites.

Is there a way to convert them and use it in a different format to support in Modern Communication site.

How we can achieve this , or what are all the other alternatives to Master Pages and Page Layouts to achieve same custom branding in SharePoint 2019 Communication site.

Kindly share your ideas and guidance on this.

Thank you,

2 Answers 2


There is no conversion process and there is limited layout and branding options with Communication sites (and Modern, in general).

I would suggest you deploy a 2019 dev farm and explore Comm sites and their capabilities to see if they will fit your branding requirements.

SharePoint Framework webparts can also be used on classic pages, if you determine that continuing to use the Publishing site template is appropriate. SPFx would be recommended over Visual Web Parts due to VWPs being full trust solutions.

  • Thank you for your suggestions and comments on this
    – Esaki
    Aug 17, 2020 at 9:06

Your best bet would be to go with a migration as is into classic publishing sites if you really have to migrate to sp2019. Modern comms site especially with on prem are extremely limited in customisation capability and are exceptionally buggy. There are basically no usable web parts with on prem, apart from the text web part. The search experience with modern on prem is laughable. Cannot customise it at all. Likewise with the SharePoint homepage. No ability to customise it yet it is linked to from every page and I assume it is expected this will be your organisations intranet homepage. Ummm yeah wtf?

My company made the same move you are talking about and are now changing our approach and migrating as is due to the fact that you will have to develop your own solutions for search, branding and a full suite of web parts. And the endless lack of features that you will discover compared with classic. Ms want you in the cloud and it seems their way of accomplishing it is to ruin the experience for on prem clients.

Happy to be proved wrong on any of these points.

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