How to Disable Gutenberg in WordPress Easily

27th May 2020

White Label WordPress Maintenance Services How To Disable Gutenberg

With the release of WordPress 5.0, changes have been made to the default post editor. The Gutenberg editor is meant to make creating posts easier, but many don’t agree and want to know how to disable Gutenberg.

There are many reasons why you’d want to change back to the old editor. The good news is that it is relatively easy to revert to the original way of editing your posts, going back to the classic editor for now. There are plugins which easily allow you to disable the Gutenberg editor, let’s take a look.

What is the Gutenberg Editor?

Taking its name from Johannes Gutenberg, the man credited with introducing the printing press to Europe, the editor is designed to make creating rich content within WordPress simple. It replaces the TinyMCE based WYSIWYG editor we are used to, allowing you to do more.

The Gutenberg editor splits your content into blocks, letting you more easily set it out as you had imagined. It is designed to make placing images and other elements, exactly where you want them without the need to add code to your page.

Gutenberg started as a plugin on GitHub before becoming the default editor on version 5.0 of WordPress. There are many premium page builder plugins available for WordPress, so if you wanted a different editor, there were already options. Instead, the decision was made to incorporate this particular plugin into the platform, whether you liked it or not.

You may not like the interface or have problems with the usability of the editor. Perhaps you are using a page builder you’re happy with, or Gutenberg isn’t as stable as you’d like, whatever the reason you wouldn’t be alone. Many people don’t like the new default editor, but fortunately, there are some great options for going back to the classic version.

How to Disable Gutenberg in WordPress?

So you’ve tried it out, and you would prefer to stick to the classic editor. There are a couple of good plugins to choose from to help you. Let’s review your how to disable Gutenberg options.

Classic Editor Plugin

Classic Editor

Created and maintained by the WordPress team, the Classic Editor is a good choice. It is highly rated and has over 5 million active installations.

To get started, install the plugin and activate it. You will then need to go to Settings, then Writing, to either return to the classic editor or to continue with the block editor (Gutenberg) with links back to the classic. This could allow you to get used to the new editor, but use the original when you need to. There will be links to both classic or block editors next to the quick edit link in your list of posts.

The downside of this plugin is time. The WordPress team have stated that they only plan to support the plugin until the last day of 2021. Whether or not they actually stick to this deadline, the intention is to move users over to the newer editor.

Disable Gutenberg Plugin

Disable Gutenberg Plugin

Another highly-rated plugin is called Disable Gutenberg. This also allows you to revert to the older editor but adds additional functionality. It lets you continue to use theme functions and other plugins, as you did previously.

This plugin lets you either completely disable Gutenberg for everyone who works on your site or remove it only for set user roles. You can also select to disable it for certain types of post, themes, or pages. The plugin is set to completely disable the new editor by default, but you can go into the settings to alter this.

Using Code

If you don’t want to use a plugin, there is another option. This is riskier than installing one of the plugins above and could potentially break your site, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Inserting the following code into your functions.php file should also return you to the more familiar editor:

add_filter('use_block_editor_for_post', '__return_false', 10);

If you aren’t experienced with editing code, it is probably a better idea to stick to the plugins. You could protect yourself and your site by installing the Code Snippets plugin. Code Snippets lets you create a new file, add the code above, and run it in the administration area. This will show you if it works as expected without messing around with your WordPress installation.

Gutenberg will be improved, the problems will be ironed out, and they will add more features over time. For these reasons, you shouldn’t rule out ever using the default editor in the future.

The plugins which answer the question of how to disable Gutenberg, do leave you the option of switching back and forth. You can use these features to try out the block editor again, and maybe it will improve, or grow on you in time.

The Benefits of Using Gutenberg

Gutenberg has many benefits which should make creating posts easier. We’ll look at the main advantages of using this editor and why you should give it another look.

Visual Editing

If you are using a compatible theme, and this will be increasingly common, you should find creating your website is more efficient. It allows you more control over the layout of your pages, helps you choose the right fonts for your content, and gives you more choices of how the page displays.

You can build the page exactly as you want it to appear to the reader. There isn’t the need to keep checking the preview to find out if the page is displaying the way you intended.

More Accessible to Users

Even if you aren’t a developer or know any HTML, you can still create great page layouts. With the classic editor, this wasn’t as easy, but if you are using a theme which works with Gutenberg, you should have a much easier time of changing your site.

Full Width

Gutenberg allows you to set the width of certain elements on your page. For example, if you want to make an image the full width of the screen, you can. This gives you the power to better design your webpage to suit the content so that it is better displayed your visitors.

Building Blocks

Layouts are created using blocks, and these editable blocks can easily be moved around. You get a set of basic blocks to create paragraphs, images, lists, and more. There are custom block plugins available which let you do almost anything you can imagine on your webpage. Themes can include their own blocks as well, making the theme work better.

The blocks also allow you to keep the style of your site consistent throughout. The interface for each block contains rich style options to let you use the same text and background colours, as well as many other style settings, in every post.

If you like the customisation you have created in a particular block, you can copy it to use again. If you go into the menu of the block, there is an option to “Add to Reuseable Blocks”. You can then export this block to another theme or another site to save you time.

Reasons to Not Use Gutenberg

While this might all sound great, you are here because you asked how to disable Gutenberg and there could still be some reasons why it isn’t a great idea to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.

If you are using a theme which hasn’t been updated in a long time, there could be some compatibility problems. Your plugins will need to be up to date as well, and this could be more of a problem. If you have a plugin or theme which hasn’t been updated in a while, there may be alternatives you can switch to which do the same job.

Some users of the new editor aren’t happy with how complicated it is. There is a reasonably steep learning curve to deal with before you can get the best out of the update. There are many tutorials out there to make the conversion as pain-free as possible. So if you have the time to watch a few videos and read some blog posts, you should be able to pick it up. The WordPress Gutenberg community is also an excellent place to find help with any issues you are having.

Changing Over to Gutenberg

Even if you don’t like the Gutenburg editor, or have problems using it, there are no plans for it to disappear anytime soon. It is the future of editing on the platform, and you will likely have no choice but to adopt it at some point. The end date for the WordPress team’s Classic Editor plugin indicates this push.

Learning a new way of working isn’t necessarily fun, but you may have to take the plunge eventually with Gutenberg. Though if you take more time to switch over, the editor will hopefully be more stable with more features, and you will have had more time to adapt to the way it works.

Switching over to Gutenberg will make sure your website stays up to date and will give you the best customisation options. At the end of the day you never know, you may eventually come to love it.

Gavin Pedley

Gavin Pedley

Gavin is the guy behind the award-winning ThriveWP. He has over 18 years of experience creating, developing, hosting and managing WordPress websites.

Gavin regularly shares his expertise via the ThriveWP blog and Youtube channel, where he creates informative and helpful WordPress tutorial videos.

Connect with Gavin on FacebookLinkedin or Twitter.

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