How To Disable The Gutenberg Editor And Keep The Classic Editor In WordPress

Are you looking for a way to disable the Gutenberg editor and keep the classic TinyMCE editor on your WordPress site?

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There are a few reasons that you might want to disable the WordPress Gutenberg editor for now:

  • You like the Classic editor and don’t want to learn a new interface.
  • You’re worried that Gutenberg might cause compatibility issues with your site, especially during its initial launch.
  • You manage sites for clients and you don’t want to force them to learn a new interface.

No matter what your reasons, the methods in this post will teach you how to:

  • Completely disable the Gutenberg editor and 100% hide all traces of it from your WordPress dashboard.
  • Switch between the Gutenberg editor and the Classic editor on a post-by-post basis
  • Disable Gutenberg for specific user roles, post types, theme templates, etc.

Even though WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg haven’t been released yet at the time that I’m writing this post, you can start using these methods right now so that the transition goes smoothly when WordPress 5.0 is released. That is, you can disable it today – you don’t need to wait.

And if you’re reading this post after WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg are out in the wild, all of these methods will still work as well.

Method 1: Use The Official Classic Editor Plugin

The official Classic Editor plugin is the most popular way to disable the Gutenberg editor.

It lets you do one of two things:

  1. 100% disable Gutenberg and hide all traces from the interface
  2. Switch between the Gutenberg editor and the Classic editor on a post-by-post basis

Here’s how to use it…

Step 1: Install And Activate The Plugin

To get started, install the free Classic Editor plugin from WordPress.org by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for it by name:

Classic editor plugin

Step 2: Configure Classic Editor Plugin

To choose whether to 100% disable Gutenberg or use it on a post-by-post basis, go to Settings → Writing in your WordPress dashboard and choose the Classic editor settings:

  1. Replace the Block editor with the Classic editor (default) – hides all traces of the Gutenberg block editor and has your site exclusively use the Classic editor.
  2. Use the Block editor by default and include optional links back to the Classic editor – lets you choose between Gutenberg and the Classic editor on a post-by-post basis.

how to disable the Gutenberg editor

If you chose to 100% disable the Gutenberg editor, you’re done! Otherwise, keep going…

Using The Classic Editor On A Post-By-Post Basis

If you chose to switch between Gutenberg and the Classic editor on a post-by-post basis, you’ll now have two options when you go to create a new post or page:

  1. Add New – the regular Add New button creates a post/page using the Gutenberg editor
  2. Add New (Classic) – creates a post/page using the Classic editor

When you hover over existing content, you also get two options:

  1. Edit – edit using the Gutenberg editor.
  2. Classic Editor – edit using the Classic Editor.

And when you’re working in the editor, you can also use the WordPress toolbar to switch between the classic Editor and the Gutenberg editor:

And that’s it! Not too painful, right?

Method 2: Use The Disable Gutenberg Plugin

The Disable Gutenberg plugin is a little bit more flexible when it comes to disabling Gutenberg. You can use it to disable Gutenberg for specific:

This is helpful if, for example, you just want to disable Gutenberg for a client’s account with a specific user role. Or, maybe you don’t want your freelance writers to use Gutenberg, but still want to leave it active for Administrators.

You can also, of course, just use it to 100% disable Gutenberg.

With that being said, I would only use this one if you want that targeted functionality. If you want to completely disable Gutenberg, you might as well stick with the official Classic Editor plugin for simplicity.

Here’s how to use this one…

Step 1: Install And Activate The Plugin

To get started, install the free Disable Gutenberg plugin from WordPress.org by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for it by name:

Disable Gutenberg plugin

Step 2: Configure Where To Disable Gutenberg

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, go to Settings → Disable Gutenberg to configure it.

By default, it will disable Gutenberg everywhere. To change that, uncheck the Complete Disable box:

Once you do that, you’ll unlock all of these other options that let you disable Gutenberg for specific content, content types, or user roles:

Once you’ve made your choices, make sure to save your changes and Gutenberg will be disabled for your specific rules.

You Can Still Access The Classic Editor Even If You Leave It Enabled

Even if you opt to turn off the Disable Gutenberg functionality for a specific user role, that user role will still get a new Classic Editor button that they can use to access the Classic editor for individual pieces of content:

They’ll also get a new drop-down next to the Add New button that lets them choose an editor when creating new content:

Two options

A Caveat About Permanently Disabling The Gutenberg Editor

In the short term, there’s really no problem with disabling the Gutenberg editor. All the existing plugins and themes out there are built to work with the TinyMCE editor, so you’re more likely to run into issues using Gutenberg than you are using the TinyMCE Editor.

However…over time, that situation might flip.

That is, once Gutenberg is established as the default WordPress editor, theme and plugin developers will start to shift their focus towards developing for Gutenberg rather than for the TinyMCE editor.

So a few years down the line, you might start to miss out on functionality by disabling the Gutenberg editor.

So – as a temporary solution during the transition, I think disabling Gutenberg and sticking with the TinyMCE editor is fine. But I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a permanent situation as things might start to change in the far future.

With that being said, Matt Mullenweg did say that they’ll maintain the Classic editor for years in the future. His exact words, “I won’t say ‘forever’ but I don’t see any reason why we can’t maintain classic for the edit screen for many years to come.”

So you won’t run into any issues when it comes to core WordPress functionality – you just might miss out on cool third-party functionality.

Any Other Questions About Disabling Gutenberg?

That wraps up our guide on how to disable the Gutenberg editor and keep the classic TinyMCE editor.

If you want to completely disable the Gutenberg editor, I recommend just grabbing the official Classic Editor plugin.

But if you want more control over where you disable the Gutenberg editor, the Disable Gutenberg plugin is another great option that lets you dig in even further.

Do you have any other questions about the process or the transition to Gutenberg? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help out!

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

3 thoughts on “How To Disable The Gutenberg Editor And Keep The Classic Editor In WordPress”

  1. Method 3: Install the Classic Editor Addon, featured on your first screenshot.

    This plugin actually does what the Classic Editor plugin should have done in the first place and comes without settings that are only confusing for people :)

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