3 Ways to Disable the WP Gutenberg Editor and Keep Your Classic Editor

WordPress Gutenberg is a big hit with a lot of content creators, but not everyone’s a fan. This tutorial shows how to disable the WP Gutenberg editor and Keep your Classic editor.

Why Hide or Disable Gutenberg Editor?

Most newly updated WordPress tools and features are an enhancement on older versions. The new Gutenberg editor is no exception, with its more intuitive and flexible interface.

So, why do some users want to disable the Gutenberg editor? Well, the Classic Editor isn’t better, but it’s more straightforward, and lots of people like that. Another reason is that Gutenberg may have compatibility issues with older custom themes and plugins.

Compatibility bugs are why WordPress introduced the Classic Editor Plugin. It allows site owners to either keep the old editor or use it until they’ve updated their custom software.

Classic Editor Pros and Cons

Classic Editor Pros: Simplicity is the central appeal of the WordPress Classic editor. It’s akin to a regular text editor which makes creating and formatting content less complicated. Most users are also familiar with HTML tags. These programs have been around for aeons. Thus, the traditional approach is especially appealing to older webmasters.

Classic Editor Cons: It may be simple, but it’s not perfect, hence Guttenberg. Heavy editing requires basic HTML skills for one. Moreover, the classic editor is next to useless for creating impressive, complex webpages. Those who need extra settings need to rely on WP plugins.

Gutenberg Editor Pros and Cons

Gutenberg Editor Pros: This block editor offers a smooth experience after a little practice. It uses a drag-n-drop interface that web users have got used to. The larger work area gives extra room to create freely. Its size makes it mobile-friendly, which is ideal for folks on the go. Gutenberg is also developer-friendly, giving coders the freedom to work with custom blocks.

Gutenberg Editor Cons: Gutenberg has been around since 2017. Despite its age, there are still a few compatibility issues with some custom-built projects that haven’t caught up. Another con is that most of the familiar keyboard shortcuts no longer work. And the ones that do, only work with the cursor inside individual blocks. It’s a minor issue, but people still complain about it.

3 Simple Ways of Disabling Gutenberg

There are 3 ways to disable Guttenberg and use the Classic Editor instead. They all do the same thing, but the control options they provide are different.

This tutorial looks at disabling Guttenberg using these 3 methods:

  1. Classic Editor Plugin
  2. Disable Gutenberg Plugin
  3. Disable using code

#1 Install the Classic Editor plugin

Read: How to Find and Install WordPress Plugins if you need help with plugins.

You must reinstall the Classic Editor Before you can disable Gutenberg.

Note that we’re only disabling the editor, not removing it.

First, Install then Activate the Classic Editor Plugin.

The Guttenberg editor is disabled the moment you activate the new plugin. You will now see the Classic editor in its place. Switching back to Guttenberg is just as painless.

Go to Settings => Writing from the Dashboard side menu.

You have two options in the Writing Settings screen.

  1. Change the default editor for ALL users
  2. Allow users to switch editors

Select whichever radio button you need.

Guttenberg and Classic editor links show when you hover the mouse over post or page titles in WP Dashboard. You can also see which Editor the author used to write or update the content.

#2 Disable Guttenberg plugin

The Disable Guttenberg plugin does the same as the Classic Editor plugin. The difference is that this one gives you more control over users and editors.

After activating the plugin, go to Settings => Disable Guttenberg.

Remove the tick (check) from the Complete Disable checkbox.

You’re now presented with the following options.

Remove the ticks from the boxes to enable the user roles, post types, and templates again.

#3 Disable Guttenberg using code

It’s also possible to disable the Guttenberg Editor by adding a code snippet to your functions.php file. The only reason for this method is if you want to limit your number of installed WP plugins. Please be aware that errors editing the functions PHP can break your site.


Read How to Open and Edit Your Functions PHP File if you need guidance.

From the Dashboard Theme Editor Screen, open functions.php and scroll to the end of the file.

Put the mouse cursor after the last line of code in the file and press Enter on the keyboard. Copy Paste the highlighted code snippet below onto the new line:

add_filter(‘use_block_editor_for_post’, ‘__return_false’);

Click the Update File button and check the results.

Related reading: How Many WP Plugins Should You Install and How Many Is Too Many?

Closing Comments

The compatibility issues caused by the early versions of Guttenberg are rare today. The only exception is with outdated custom themes and plugins. Which one you choose is your preference, but WP won’t support the Classic WordPress editor from 2022. Thus, administrators and authors should consider Guttenberg as their default editor going forward.

Want to Learn WordPress?

WordPress is an amazing platform for building any type of website.   It’s used by large corporations and small mom & pop sites.

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