How to Revert to the Old Classic WordPress Editor and Disable Gutenberg?

disable gutenberg wordpress classic editor

Learn how to switch back to the old classic WordPress editor and disable Gutenberg based blocks editor enabled by default in the latest WordPress 5.0 ‘Bebo'.

The latest version of WordPress has been released with a highly debated and arguably futuristic editor which makes it easy to build post and pages using drag and drop blocks.

Gutenberg might be the “future” of editing and publishing experience but the bigger WordPress ecosystem including themes and plugins were definitely not ready for this big change.

Pushing the latest version of the software, WordPress 5.0, with Gutenberg enabled by default has left many users frustrated and thus to look for solutions to revert back to the previous WordPress editor.

WordPress 5 with Gutenberg Blocks Editor New

Fortunately, the WordPress team along with the latest update have published a Classic WordPress editor for users who might not be ready for the new editing experience with Gutenberg.

So, if you want to revert back to the previous editor and maintain compliance with your existing themes and plugins that haven’t been updated to support the latest Gutenberg enabled WordPress, the Classic WordPress editor might be your answer.

Classic WordPress Editor Plugin

The classic WordPress editor plugin has been published and maintained by the WordPress Contributors team with plans to be officially supported until at least 2022.

Classic Editor WordPress Plugin By WordPress Contributors Team

The plugin makes it possible to completely disable Gutenberg and all of its new block editing functionalities.

You will be able to switch back to the old WordPress editor which allows supporting your existing plugins that extend the editing and add old-style meta boxes to the page.

Steps to switch back to Classic WordPress Editor

Let’s look into how you can revert back to the classic WordPress editing experience.

Follow these basic steps to install the plugin and select the Classic Editor settings that suit your editing needs.

1. Search and Install the Classic WordPress Editor Plugin from the WordPress repository.

Classic WordPress Editor Plugin WordPress Install Section

You can also see the Classic Editor plugin listed in the Featured section of the WordPress plugins directory for your convenience.

Activate the plugin, once installed.

2. Go to the Writing Settings of your website. You can click on the settings link under the installed Classic Editor plugin listing.

Classic Editor Plugin Settings Plugin Listings

Alternatively, from your WordPress dashboard go to Settings > Writing and you will see the options activated by the plugin.

3. The plugin now allows you to choose the Default editor for all users, where you can choose “Classic Editor” to revert back to the old WordPress editor.

Classic Editor as Default Editor in Writing Settings WordPress

You can always change this setting back to the Block Editor when you’re ready for the Gutenberg experience.

There is also an additional option if you want to let your users on the WordPress website to switch editors. This can be useful for multi-author blogs where some editors might want to work using the Gutenberg blocks editor.

4. That’s all required to get back the classic editing experience on your WordPress blog or website.

Classic WordPress Editor Plugin Writing Post Editor

Go to the WordPress editor and you should see the old and friendly editor of your choice.

Switch to Old Editor on WordPress.com

For those on WordPress.com plans (usually the WordPress.com Business plan which allows you to install third-party themes and plugins), you will be welcomed to the Gutenberg world – the wonderful world of blocks!

Gutenberg Blocks wonderful world of blocks

“Welcome to the wonderful world of blocks! Click the “+” (“Add block”) button to add a new block. There are blocks available for all kinds of content: you can insert text, headings, images, lists, and lots more!”

followed with another Gutenberg tip,

“You’ll find more settings for your page and blocks in the sidebar. Click “Settings” to open it.”

Fortunately, you can also switch back to the old WordPress editor on the WordPress.com business plan platform when using /wp-admin.

The classic WordPress editor plugin is already installed on your website by default as it’s a default managed plugin by WordPress.com (similar to other plugins such as JetPack).

All you have to do is activate the Classic Editor Plugin from the list of installed plugins on your website.

Activate Classic Editor Installed Plugin

An Aside: I reached out to WordPress.com support to ask them to switch back to the old editor on one my business plans website and they were kind enough to ask if anything wasn’t working with the new editor.

You might want to reach out their responsive support team if you need help with the new editor without immediately reverting back to the classic WordPress editor.

For WordPress.com Free Plans

If you are on the free plan of WordPress.com or other plans where you don't have control over installing plugins, it's even easier to switch back to the classic editor.

When you are on the editing screen, click on the ‘. . .’ settings icon in the upper right corner of the editing screen and click on Switch to Classic Editor option from the list. (See the screenshot below)

classic-editor-revert-back-WordPress

Should you actually disable Gutenberg and Switchback?

If you are wondering if Gutenberg is actually terrible and you should switch back to the old editing experience, it might be worth giving more thought and time.

Gutenberg is debuted as the modern editor that aims to revolutionize the publishing experience. You might want to check our separate page on the Gutenberg WordPress editor to learn more about the new experience.

Gutenberg editor new editor

I also recommend watching the State of the Word 2018 delivered by Matt Mullenweg at the recent WordCamp US which comprehensively covers the discussions around Gutenberg Block Editor.

The Gutenberg editor, however, might be just early in the process. The fact that millions have already reverted back to the old editor installing the classic editor plugin (also leaving over 200 five-star-reviews of praise) suggests many users aren’t yet ready for the new Gutenberg experience.

Again, this might not be because users don’t like the block editing experience entirely. For many users, their existing themes and plugins might not have been compatible with the latest blocks based version and thus they might have switched back to maintain the compatibility.

More and more plugins and themes are slowing releasing updates to become compatible with the latest version. As users start receiving these updates, they might actively try the new block based experience and actually find it more user-friendly and intuitive as the WordPress team has envisioned.

I urge you to at least try the new editing experience and form your own opinion. It will definitely take some time for your favourite plugin or theme to be updated to support the latest Gutenberg experience and it might be a safe bet to keep this plugin active until then.

If you installed the classic editor plugin and didn’t like the new Gutenberg blocks based experience, I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Pradeep Singh

Pradeep Singh

Pradeep Singh is the founder and your host here at WPism. He is an entrepreneur and blogger living his startup life based in London and Cambridge. Follow him on Twitter or like his page on Facebook.
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19 Responses

  1. Thanks for this article, I searched for ways to get back to the classic editor but couldn’t find a reliable source.

    Many plugins still don’t support the Gutenberg. Especially the add no follow to link plugin. I write articles where I point back to lots of other websites. But unfortunately, the plugin doesn’t work with Gutenberg. Plus it’s time-consuming to play around with blocks. This is the reason why I choose to use the old classic editor.

    If you know any add nofollow to link plugin which supports Gutenberg, then please tell me.

    1. Took me forever to find out how to switch back while using the free version of WordPress.com. Finally found it. I would have left WordPress if I hadn’t been able to switch back.

  2. Do you know if they have any plan to make Gutenberg actually worthy ? Some functions from basic are actually missing, like… select and paste tags, which I use quite often

  3. How long can we continue using the classic editor. I spent a great amount of time learning how to use it… and simply do not have time or desire to learn a completely new one. Totally annoying. You should have just gradually upgraded the classic… HOW long do I have?…

  4. Today is the day I decided to defeat the new Gutenberg Editor by installing the Classic Editor plugin, now with 1+ Million installs.

    Waiting a year or two until WordPress improves or gives up on Gutenberg, because Gutenberg was just “too little, too late” to compete with the dozens of excellent Page Builder Plugins out there today.

  5. Pradeep Sir Thanks a lot, Since I need to do lots of post and was habitual of classic editor I was finding it really hard to adjust with gutenburg. Lastly i had to switch to the classic one and Your article helped me a lot.

  6. Gutenberg is a usability disaster. As an instructor half way through a course this has created enormous disruption for a group of learners who had only just familiarized themselves with the earlier interface. I get that today’s designers are hot for minimalist modernist aesthetics, but to replace a classic interface with something so non-intuitive and procedurally abstract is incredibly ableist and user UNfriendly, particularly for folks with cognitive or learning disabilities who might not be able to guess the location of an icon that is now 3-5 clicks away. I don’t get why you’d enforce such an arbitrary and non-intuitive design concept on ordinary users to insist on this as the default. I have never been so angry about any update on any platform. As an instructor who has been teaching with blogs for a decade I can’t emphasize more how disasterous this update is going to be for teachers and learners in non-technical courses and programs who are not interested in anything more advanced than putting some text and a few multimedia elements onto a page in a single go.

  7. After recent WordPress update, Gutenberg editor is pain in ass when it comes to drafting article.

    In beginning, I tried to adapt it as it is but later when I found myself struggling to update article. It just became headache in a moment.

    Then I just started looking for what I could do in this case then ” CLASSIC EDITOR ” saved life and time as well.

    I don’t know how long we can use it but Gutenberg Editor sucks.

  8. Actually, I also had the problem with the editor after upgrading my WordPress to 5.2. I feel that the old editor had a much better user interface although this new one has got more features. Thanks for this guide, I will try to implement your steps to switch back to the classic editor.

  9. I think it’s gonna take far much more than words for Gutenberg and this silliness around “blocks” to take root!

    If the moment you press enter, you force yourself (irrevocably, please note) into another block, when all you wanted to do was go-to-the-next-line (for whatever reason one pleases), I agree and multiply by infinity all the negative comments about Gutenberg and support change only when it is actually better than the old.

  10. Tried to like Gutenberg, really did. But after developing WP sites for more than 20 years, and I know hate is a strong word, I hate, hate, hate it!

    Over a million developers obviously dislike Gutenberg at a minimum as well based on the Classic Editor plugin stats. Let that sink in… over a million! Who knows how many more have completely left WP for one of the rising online site builders? What more public comment is needed?

    Although well intended Gutenberg is clearly a fail of epic proportions. New Coke failed. They made a mistake and admitted it. WP folks need to do the same.

    For those that want drag and drop web building there are so many options that are so much better.

    For those of us that truly appreciated WordPress up until now, it’s time to revert or lose us. For the tiny few that were raised on Gutenberg, becoming accustomed to the original WP editor will be a snap – certainly far easier than the other way around – and they will unlearn it in a heartbeat.

    Nice try, but it’s past time to dump Gutenberg IMHO.

  11. I’ve really tried to give the block editor a chance, but have found it cumbersome. Where I’ve been especially stymied in in the insertion of photos. In the classic editor it was easy to insert them into a paragraph, align left, right center, wrap text around, make them smaller or larger, and position them exactly where I wanted. With the new editor you can’t do any of that. The text is above and below and that’s it. It’s been incredibly frustrating to loose that functionality, and I’m giving up. Back to classic for me. Unfortunately I installed the plug in this morning, and found out that it won’t allow me to activate it follow your instructions. I have a paid account but not a business account. So I’m stuck in the middle. Now I have to keep seeing the annoying “do you want to try the new “block editor?” announcements! ARRGHH. No, I want the damn things to just go away.

  12. Thanks for the article.
    I totally hate the new editor. Huge stupidity to force feed it to all WordPress users. I sure hope it’ll be abandoned altogether ASAP!

  13. Newbie user, fine with the “new” editor.

    It’s easy with a free plan to change to the classic editor, single click, feels like an experiment- so why not?

    but… How do you change back?????????????

    1. Where did you find the option to switch to classic editor? I can’t find it; I don’t have it in the “…” settings that the screenshot above shows. My settings are totally different, there’s nothing related to editors except code-vs-visual. Yours is the only comment from 2020, so I’m hoping we’re still on the same layout and you know where it is?

      Did you manage to figure out how to switch back to the block editor? If it’s not on the post-editing menu, try settings > writing. If it’s not there either, I have no idea. I would assume “switch to block editor” is in the same place where you found “switch to classic” but you can’t really assume anything with WP, with how often they keep moving stuff around. This is such a disaster!

  14. I have a free plan of WordPress.com, and I don’t have a “Switch to Classic editor” in my “…” options.

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