How to Disable Gutenberg and Keep the WordPress Classic Editor

WordPress was released to the world on May 27th of 2003 with its nifty editor that got popular with a lot of technical as well as non-technical folks. After almost 15 years on December 6th of 2018, WordPress released Gutenberg – a block editor that was supposedly better than the default classic editor. It has now become the default WordPress editor and will eventually become the only editor as the support for the good old WordPress classic editor will end on 31st December 2021.

Also read: 
What You Need to Know About the Gutenberg WordPress Editor?
– Gutenberg vs Classic Editor for Creating Web Pages in WordPress

Gutenberg is a very intuitive editor so why is it a problem. The answer is simple, people are hesitant of change. People were simply happy with the classic editor that Gutenberg felt like an outsider. Although disabling the Gutenberg Editor might not be the best step to take, but if you want to there are a couple of ways. Here’s How to disable Gutenberg and keep WordPress Classic Editor.

What is Gutenberg?

As we’ve mentioned previously, Gutenberg came into existence in 2003 and was made the default editor in 2018. Gutenberg is a page builder that uses content blocks to add functionality to WordPress websites. Ever since WordPress was introduced, the classic editor that is powered by TinyMCE editor hasn’t gone through many changes. The gradual changes to the core WordPress code slowly started to make the classic editor feel out of date. And when more intuitive and functional page editor started becoming popular, the classic WordPress editor stayed pretty much the same. Now the classic editor looks ancient and comes with pretty barebone features. That is why WordPress introduced Gutenberg or block editor after 15 years WordPress was released. This new intuitive editor is designed to go head-to-head with other website builders and keep WordPress on the top.

Gutenberg is called the block editor for a reason. Everything from paragraphs, images, video, and shortcodes to even buttons and widgets are available in the form of blocks. All you have to do is drag and drop and you’re done. And since its rising popularity and eventual dominance over the classic editor, plugins have started coming with custom blocks with their own functionalities. There are even plugins that add more blocks to Gutenberg. There’s no denying that Gutenberg is superior to the classic editor in terms of intuitiveness alone, but some people still prefer the classic editor just because they are more used to it. That is understandable.

How Does Gutenberg Differ from Classic Editor?

Before we go on about disabling the new Gutenberg editor, let’s look at what it has to offer and how it differs from the classic editor.

Gutenberg is an attempt from WordPress to let everyone make DIY websites. This editing system is so easy that everyone would have no problem getting around with it in less time. The blocks that Gutenberg uses are so self-explanatory that even a complete beginner with an only hour’s worth of learning will be able to create a beautiful and functional website. Just hovering over the blocks’ icons will tell you what it is. Not only does this make creating easy, but also enjoyable. That being said, there are a couple of primary reasons why Gutenberg was made. One reason is to be able to create media-rich content easily. Like I said earlier, this editor is for everyone, you do not need prior coding knowledge. You can create media-rich content by just dragging and dropping blocks wherever you like. Also, Gutenberg has tons of blocks that can be used in harmony to create mind-blowing content in only a few minutes. Adding images, videos, or any other media files is a piece of cake with Gutenberg. Even removing block mid-way will not interfere with the existing contents. Gutenberg also lets you add features to posts without having to refer to 3rd party plugins. Most of such features come inbuilt. And with the increasing support from the WordPress community, more blocks can be added through plugins.

On the other note, the Classic WordPress editor was there since the beginning. It was the default WordPress editor before Gutenberg and is still preferred by many. It looks simple, but for a beginner, it might be a bit difficult to get around at first. Writing and editing also have their challenges for a beginner and creating an advanced website are not possible with this editor if you do not know to code. But since it has been around for 15 years, people got accustomed to it and after each usage, some found it easy to use. On the outside, it looks like any word processing software. Formatting is easy and you can add HTML tags. This was enough for people before the trend of media-rich websites took over the world. Although it is possible to create complex pages, it takes time and you need to know how to code. Even editing pages required HTML knowledge.

Now you can see why WordPress had to release Gutenberg and make it the default editor. The drag and drop feature was something even a beginner would be accustomed to within hours. And creating a professional-looking website no longer required too much effort. Gutenberg comes with features that enable you to show contents as blocks, reuse blocks, make a complex layout without coding, swiftly create layouts, and make a website to fit all screens. Comparing Gutenberg with the classic editor, you can see how superior it is. The classic editor didn’t come with a drag and drop builder and parallax effect. You cannot upload media straight to the editor, there is no preview feature, and the main editing area looked plain. You can add such functionality with 3rd party plugins but Gutenberg offers it out-of-the-box.

The whole editing operation has changed, and Gutenberg acknowledges that and introduces you to the new design workflow. It keeps you and your website relevant. The learning curve isn’t as intensive as the classic editor. Anyone can drag and drop stuff and that’s what Gutenberg offers. And reduced learning curve means increased productivity. It is intuitive, easy and it is here to stay. Now, everyone can translate their ideas into a website with Gutenberg. There are only two major requirements, you need to have a WordPress account, and you need to be eager to express your creativeness.

Should you disable Gutenberg?

There’s no harm in being comfortable with the classic editor. You’ve been working with it for a long time and you’ve come to prefer it rather than starting from scratch with the new Gutenberg editor. Or you’re just too busy to learn about an editor all over again. Maybe it’s not you but the employees that work for you who do not have the time, or you do not have the resources to train them. whatever the reasons might be, you’re in your right to disable Gutenberg and keep the WordPress classic editor.

Gutenberg is simpler, easier, and faster than the classic WordPress editor. It checks all the boxes and goes head-to-head with other great editors in the market. It won’t take much time to learn and will make your work a lot easier. After it became the default editor on WordPress, many developers started making plugins to increase its functionality and add new blocks. And the most important thing is that Gutenberg focuses on media-rich content which is all the hype nowadays. It lets you create better-looking websites easily. However, if your website focuses more on text-based content, then the classic media will be enough for you. Also, you may be using a theme that might have not been updated for compatibility with the Gutenberg editor which might cause conflicts or even break the website. If you do not want to disable Gutenberg altogether, then there is a classic editor more inside Gutenberg.

How to disable Gutenberg?

There are a few ways you can disable the Gutenberg editor and keep the WordPress classic editor. Use whatever method you feel comfortable with.

Method 1: Using Classic Editor Plugin

To clear things up, this isn’t a plugin that adds a completely different editor that is based on the WordPress classic editor. It simply restores that original WordPress classic editor that you’re comfortable with. This plugin makes the classic editor the default one. Built by WordPress Contributors and approved by the core WordPress team, this is regarded as the easiest way to retain the classic editor. So, if you are having issues with the Gutenberg block editor or simply prefer the old editor, you can use this method to go back to the classic editor. Installing this plugin will also disable the “Try Gutenberg” widget. All you have to do is search for Classic Editor in the WordPress repository, or use this link.

The Classic Editor plugin has more than 5 million downloads with a rating of 5 out of 5. It is maintained by the WordPress team so the updates will be regular and you will never have any issues with compatibility.

There are a couple of neat tricks that this plugin comes with. When you go to Settings > Writing, there are a couple of modes that you can enable. Let’s see each of them in detail:

  • Default Editor Mode

This is the setting under “Default editor for all user”. It lets you choose classic editor as the default editor over the Gutenberg editor. You can also revert back to the Gutenberg Editor if something goes wrong. Just click on “Classic Editor” and you’re good to go.

  • Allow Users to Choose

This is the better mode in my opinion. It doesn’t force all the users to use the classic editor but allows them to choose between the two. This way they can work with the editor that they feel comfortable with. Enabling this setting will add an option on the posts and pages screen that lets you choose between Block Editor and Classic Editor when editing.

There are some additional settings you can play with like formatting, default post category, and default post format.

Method 2: Using Disable Gutenberg Plugin


Explore Disable Gutenberg Plugin

If you do not like the Classic Editor Plugin, then you can try using Disable Gutenberg plugin. It does more or less the same job as the Classic Editor plugin but has a few additional options that you can play around with. The developer Jeff Starr assures that this plugin will hide all traces of the Gutenberg editor and completely replaces it with the Classic Editor. I can see why some of you might prefer this plugin over the previous one.

The Disable Gutenberg plugin has more than 600 thousand active installations and is rated 4.9 and higher by its users. It is regularly updated so you can expect total compatibility with WordPress. To get this plugin, you can either search for Disable Gutenberg in the WordPress repository or visit this link to go directly to the plugin’s page.

After you’ve installed the plugin, you will notice a menu under Setting on the WordPress dashboard. This makes it easy to access. This plugin doesn’t include any options in the writing screen so you can hide the existence of the plugin from other users. Also, there’s the option that you can enable to hide the “Try Gutenberg” widget in the dashboard. There are other options like hide Gutenberg menu items, but the most powerful one is the one that lets you completely disable Gutenberg. You can disable Gutenberg editor for selected users, posts, templates, and more.

Method 3: Using Code

If you prefer to do this a more traditional way, then you can add the following code to the functions.php file to disable Gutenberg:

add_filter(‘use_block_editor_for_post’, ‘__return_false’, 10);

If you’re accessing the file through the WordPress control panel, you can go to Appearance > Theme Editor and click on functions.php located under Theme Files on the right. To prevent it from interfering with other code, add it just under <?php.

However, I will not recommend this method if you do not know what you’re doing. A slight mistake in the functions.php file might break your website completely. If you haven’t edited the code before, do not use this method. Also, make sure you have backed up the functions.php file just in case something goes wrong. It is also important to note that this code might not work if you’re using a newer version of Gutenberg.


So, this is it. As you can see, it is really easy to disable the Gutenberg editor and keep the WordPress Classic Editor. We know you’re certain about this but keep an open mind. Visual editors are here to stay and sooner or later it will become a standard. You should be ready to invest some time learning about Gutenberg so that you won’t be left behind. You can still use classic editor when you feel like it, but be ready to learn and use Gutenberg. The way WordPress is focusing on increasing the usability and flexibility of Gutenberg, you need to get it a try to see how great it is. It is only a matter of time till you start getting comfortable with it.

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