How to Disable the Gutenberg WordPress Editor

When WordPress 5.0 was released on December 6th, 2018, we were introduced to the Gutenberg post editor.

The new default post editor for WordPress, Gutenberg, is a block-style editor – a big departure from the classic editor.

While the WordPress dev team may be excited about the possibilities of Gutenberg, many WordPress users are not.

Gutenberg presents a learning curve for many, and not all plugins and themes are adapted for Gutenberg out of the gate.

While the WordPress dev team may be excited about the possibilities of Gutenberg, many WordPress users are not. Gutenberg presents a learning curve for many, and not all plugins and themes are adapted for Gutenberg out of the gate.

[Psst: Fatcat Apps’ plugins are fully compatible with Gutenberg blocks]

Like it or loathe it, one of the great things about WordPress is the freedom it allows site owners. Luckily, there are ways you can disable the Gutenberg WordPress editor, if you’re not quite ready for it, or if you prefer the classic post editor.

So if you want to disable Gutenberg, or even just have the option of the classic editor available, read on for a few different options.

The “Disable Gutenberg” WordPress Plugin

Made up your mind that Gutenberg isn’t for you?

No worries. There’s a plugin for that

The Disable Gutenberg plugin can make the block editor vanish from your site, as if it was never there. As the plugin’s developer puts it, this plugin will hide all traces of Gutenberg, and fully restore the classic editor.

The plugin has over 300,000 installs at this point, and all but 3 of its reviews (nearly 400 total) are five stars! So it must do the job pretty well.

To install the plugin, just search “disable gutenberg” in the plugins section of your WordPress Dashboard, or from the WordPress plugin repository.

Disable Gutenberg WordPress plugin (search results)

Once installed, you can choose exactly how and where you want to disable the Gutenberg editor. Find the plugin’s menu from your list of installed plugins, or from your WordPress settings menu.

The default setting disables Gutenberg everywhere:

Disable Gutenberg plugin settings

However if you uncheck this box, you’ll see more options, if you only want to disable Gutenberg for select parts of your site.

You can choose to do this for certain user roles:

Disable Gutenberg for user roles

Post types:

Disable Gutenberg for post types

Or more:

More Disable Gutenberg plugin settings

The variety of options this plugin gives you is really nice, especially if there are certain niche cases you’re having trouble with, or certain contributors who don’t like the new block editor.

Install the Official Classic Editor Plugin

A little less extreme than removing Gutenberg altogether, but achieving the same result in the end, is the “Classic Editor” WordPress plugin.

This plugin is officially maintained and supported by the WordPress dev team, which means you can be confident it will cause minimal problems for your site.

It also comes with the assurance that support and maintenance will continue until at least 2022, or “as long as is necessary”.

The Classic Editor plugin currently has more than 4 million active installs, and over 600 5 star ratings. So again, you have a pretty good assurance that it does the job.

You can find the plugin by searching “classic editor” in your WP Dashboard or the repository.

Classic Editor WordPress plugin (search results)

Once installed, find the plugin’s settings from your plugin menu, or Settings > Writing.

Now you’ll have the option to choose between the block editor or classic editor as the default for your posts. You can also choose whether to allow users to choose which editor they want to use.

Classic Editor plugin settings

If you allow this, users will have the option to choose their default editor from their profile page.

Classic Editor personal settings

You’ll also have the option to choose whether to edit via the classic or block editor, from your posts page.

Edit existing posts with the classic editor

Use the Classic Editor Block

Did you know you can effectively enable the classic editor inside of Gutenberg?

Instead of choosing to disable Gutenberg, you can just use a classic editor block.

Under “Formatting”, there’s a block called “Classic”. Choose this, and you’ll be able to add a block containing a mini version of the old post editor, with all the classic editing tools.

You may want to use this block if you’re fine with Gutenberg for the most part, but there’s one thing that is proving troublesome with the block editor.

This way, you can revert to the classic editor only for a small part of your post, such as a single block of text.

You can even change the classic block to edit via HTML, as per the image below:

Finally, if you’ve created something in a classic block, but want to switch to regular Gutenberg blocks, don’t worry. You can do this too.

Click the three dots to bring up additional options for the block, and hit “Convert to Blocks”. The WordPress editor will take the HTML elements from your classic block and separate them each into their own Gutenberg block.

How to Disable Gutenberg WordPress Editor – In Summary

If you were one of the 1,877 people who gave the Gutenberg plugin a 1-star review, that’s fine!

Although it’s my opinion that a lot of cool things are possible with Gutenberg, it’s not for everyone. Thankfully there are options to disable Gutenberg and stay with the tried and true classic editor.

To summarize your options, you can:

  • Install the “Disable Gutenberg” plugin,
  • Install the “Classic Editor” plugin, or,
  • Use the Gutenberg “Classic” block.

There are several other plugins available to disable Gutenberg or restore the classic editor, but with how well these two do their job, there’s not much need to look anywhere else.

So, whatever the reason Gutenberg doesn’t work for you, just know it’s no big deal to carry on using the classic WordPress editor.


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