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How to Disable Gutenberg in WordPress Editor (2021)

Last Updated on June 15th, 2021

Published on November 19th, 2018

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Have you been using WordPress for some time now? If the answer is “yes,” the introduction of the Gutenberg editor (aka the Block Editor) must have been quite a shock. Since its introduction, many website owners have become very frustrated with it and often ask if it is possible to disable Gutenberg altogether and revert to the classic WordPress editor.

What is Gutenberg Editor, and Why Would I Want to Disable It?

Gutenberg was intended to be the new default page builder for all versions of WordPress from 5.0 onwards. The developers claimed it would “revolutionize the entire publishing experience as much as Gutenberg did the printed word,” promising the new block editor would improve every aspect of creating WordPress pages and posts.

Unfortunately, things backfired significantly as people simply were not ready to be forced into a completely new way of doing things. There was no soft launch; instead, it was more a case of ‘Gutenberg is here, so better get used to it.’

Naturally, there has been significant pushback from developers and WordPress site owners. They have been complaining from the beginning about the difficulties faced in learning an entirely new approach, plus many technical issues have come to light. As a result, users have rated the editor a pitiful 2.0/5.0.

Most people were comfortable with the classic WordPress Editor, and Gutenberg is simply too different from that. The classic editor, while basic, is straightforward to use and perfect for content-rich pages and posts that don’t need any fancy features. On the other hand, Gutenberg has proved to be far too complicated for many, forcing them down a new, steep learning curve. In addition, numerous issues with plugin and theme incompatibilities lead to site crashes and downtime, something no site owner wants.

How Do I Switch From Gutenberg To Classic Editor?

The good news is, switching back to the classic editor is possible. As with most things on WordPress, the simplest method is to use plugins, but it is also possible to do it manually.

In this article, we discuss some of the best plugins available in 2021 to make the switch back, plus we will also be explaining how you can do it without plugins.

And there’s more good news: disabling Gutenberg and switching back to the classic editor using plugins will not harm your site in any way, and if done correctly, neither will doing it manually.

How to Disable Gutenberg Via Plugins

Plugins that switch back from Gutenberg to the classic WordPress Editor work either by disabling Gutenberg or installing the classic editor.

The great thing about most of the plugins is that they allow you to switch between the two editors. That is ideal if you have different users working in your site’s backend, each of whom has different preferences, or you may find one editor good for specific tasks but not others.

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Here we present five plugins that will allow you to switch back to the classic editor.

Disable Gutenberg

disable Gutenberg

This lightweight, easy to use plugin can hide all traces of Gutenberg if you so desire, plus it has plenty of other features, including:

  • Disable Gutenberg in WordPress either entirely or selectively (posts, pages, roles, post types, theme templates)
  • Disable the Gutenberg admin notice (the ‘nag’)
  • Restores original Edit Post screen
  • Hide or display the plugin menu item
  • Adds a classic editor link to each post on the Posts screen
  • Adds a ‘Add New (Classic)’ item to the WordPress admin panel sidebar
  • Enable Custom Fields Meta Box for ACF
  • For each post, you can choose which editor to use
  • Whitelist any post title, slug, or ID
  • Disables frontend Gutenberg stylesheet
  • GDPR compliant
  • One-click restore plugin default options
  • Translation ready

Disable Gutenberg is an entirely free plugin and a great option that allows you to choose which editor to use for each of your posts. There have been over 600,000 installs of it to date, and the fact that it has a full 5.0/5.0 star rating shows users really appreciate what it can do for them.

Get Disable Gutenberg

Remove Gutenberg

Remove Gutenberg - disable Gutenberg by plugin

Remove Gutenberg is a very basic plugin that will remove the Gutenberg Editor from your WordPress, allowing you to easily switch back to the classic editor. It features:

  • Ability to switch between Classic and Gutenberg editors via an option added to the ‘Reading’ section WordPress settings menu
  • Extremely lightweight code-wise, so it will not slow your site down

The absolute joy of this free plugin is its amazing simplicity – it does exactly what it says on the tin. You just install and activate it, and you’re ready to rock. It’s a relatively little-known plugin, with only around 700 installs to date, but it boasts an unbeatable 5.0/5.0 user score and is up to date.

Get Remove Gutenberg

Classic Editor

Classic Editor Plugin - disable Gutenberg by plugin

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When Gutenberg was first introduced, people simply were not ready for it. As such, WordPress was put under tremendous pressure to soften the blow a little. Their answer was to introduce their own official plugin that allowed people to revert back to the editor they were already familiar with.

What they came up with was the aptly named Classic Editor plugin. As you will have guessed, it reinstates the old classic editor that we know and love, including the ‘Edit Post’ screen. That means you can add the old-style meta boxes and basically do everything you could pre-Gutenberg.

This free plugin offers the following features:

  • Hides all Gutenberg functions by default
  • The ability for administrators to select the default editor for all users
  • Allow users to change the default editor to suit their preference
  • Users can be allowed to choose which editor to use for each post
  • To maintain consistency, whenever a post is reopened, it defaults to the last editor used irrespective of who last edited it
  • Filters to allow other plugins to control the settings and the editor choice per post/post type.

Over five million active downloads of this plugin exist, and users have rated it 4.9/5.0 stars, clearly demonstrating that people were not fully ready for Gutenberg.

According to WordPress, this plugin will be “fully supported and maintained until at least 2022, or as long as is necessary,” so clearly, they are anticipating everyone will have transitioned over to Gutenberg by then. However, the developers of the Disable Gutenberg plugin discussed earlier do not share that opinion, as they proudly declare that they will continue to update and support their plugin beyond 2022.

Get Classic Editor

Classic Editor Addon

Classic Editor Addon

Classic Editor Addon is not a plugin that will remove Gutenberg and restore the classic editor per se. In fact, it is an addon that extends the functionality of WordPress’s Classic Editor plugin discussed above. As such, both plugins need installing as Classic Editor Addon will not work in isolation.

The features of this addon are as follows:

  • Removes all residual Gutenberg settings that remain even after the Classic Editor plugin has been installed
  • Removes the redundant style added to the <head> section of WooCommerce sites left by the Classic Editor plugin
  • GDPR compliant

So if you want to go back to the classic editor with absolutely no traces of Gutenberg left whatsoever, we do recommend you install this addon along with the official WordPress Classic Editor plugin. Over 30,000 people already have done so, and they have scored it 4.9/5.0 stars, so it is clearly a useful one to have.

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Get Classic Editor Addon

Enable Classic Editor

Enable Classic Editor

Enable Classic Editor has to be the lightest plugin code-wise for switching back to the classic editor, weighing in at a mere 3 KB. Of course, it is a super simple but basic plugin that will:

  • Disable Gutenberg
  • Reinstate the classic editor

This plugin has absolutely no bells and whistles whatsoever. Once installed, you will be working using the classic editor only – there’s no facility to switch between the two editors, but that will not be a problem for most people. That said, if you do want to revert back to Gutenberg for any reason, all you have to do is disable or remove the plugin (something which applies to all plugins we have mentioned in this article.)

Over one thousand active installs of Enable Classic Editor exist, and users have given it full 5.0/5.0 stars. So it’s perfect if you want to turn your back on Gutenberg completely, and the fact that it contains so little code means no impact on your site’s performance.

Get Enable Classic Editor

All listed plugins have been updated within the last four months and tested up to WordPress version 5.7.2.

How to Disable Gutenberg Manually – Method 1

If you are worried about adding another code-laden plugin to your site, you’ll be pleased to know that manually disabling Gutenberg is super simple. All that is needed is to cut and paste some basic code into the functions.php file of WordPress, a job even the least tech-savvy people should be able to do.

We will now go through the most basic process – which will be suitable for most people, particularly beginners – to manually disable Gutenberg in its entirety:

1.  Login to WordPress and head to the theme editor

Firstly, you need to log into your site’s WordPress admin panel. Once in, scroll down to ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Theme Editor’ in the dropdown box:

A warning message advising you not to meddle with the theme’s backend will probably pop up, but you can click on ‘I understand.’ If editing your theme freaks you out, hit ‘Go back’ and use a plugin to disable Gutenberg instead:

2. Locate the Theme Functions

On the far right-hand side of the screen beneath ‘Theme Files,’ click on ‘Theme Functions (functions.php)’:

At the top of the code that will now appear, you should see ‘<?php’ in the very first line:

3.  Add the necessary code

Put your cursor at the end of this first line then press enter to add a new line. Next, copy the following code into that new line:

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

Scroll down the screen and click the ‘Update File’ button.

Your theme should now be back to the classic editor, so all you need to do now is make sure everything is working as it should be. We highly recommend you make a backup of your site before doing any manual changes, as if you make any errors in the php code, it will cause significant issues with your site.

How to Disable Gutenberg Manually – Method 2

If the thought of tinkering with your site’s backend freaks you out, you can use a plugin instead to add the necessary code to your functions.php file. Such plugins allow you to easily run PHP code snippets on your site without having to mess directly with the php of your theme.

Several plugins are available, but we will use Code Snippets as an example. It is entirely free, and once it is installed and activated in the usual way, the process for disabling Gutenberg is very straightforward:

1. Login to WordPress and head to the Snippets editor

Firstly, you need to log into your site’s WordPress admin panel. Scroll down to ‘Snippets and click on ‘Add New’ in the dropdown box:

You will see a blank form for the new snippet:

2. Name your snippet and add the code

Give your snippet an easy to recognize name in the ‘Enter title here’ field, then add the following code into the ‘Code’ field:

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

Make sure ‘Only run in administration area’ is selected and then hit ‘Save’:

That’s it; you have now added the necessary code to disable Gutenberg via a snippet. All that is left to do now is check everything is working as it should be.

Some More Advanced Methods for Disabling Gutenberg Manually

If you are more familiar with coding, below are few more suggestions on how you can get rid of Gutenberg, either in full or in part, by adding extra code to your site’s function.php file:

Conditional Disabling

WordPress versions less than 5.0 (beta) need slightly different code compared to what we mentioned earlier. Using conditional disabling, we can automatically check what version of WordPress is in operation, and accordingly apply the correct filter hook:

// Disable Gutenberg
if (version_compare($GLOBALS['wp_version'], '5.0-beta', '>')) {
	// WP > 5 beta
	add_filter('use_block_editor_for_post_type', '__return_false', 10);
} else {
	// WP < 5 beta
	add_filter('gutenberg_can_edit_post_type', '__return_false', 10);
}

Disable Gutenberg for Custom Post Types

Adding the following code to the theme will allow you to disable Gutenberg for specific post types:

function digwp_disable_gutenberg($is_enabled, $post_type) {
	if ($post_type === 'xxxx') return false; // change xxxx to your post type return $is_enabled;
}
add_filter('use_block_editor_for_post_type', 'digwp_disable_gutenberg', 10, 2);

If your site is still using an older version of Gutenberg (before 4.1) and WordPress before 5.0, then the code you should use to disable Gutenberg for custom post types is:

function digwp_disable_gutenberg($is_enabled, $post_type) {
	if ($post_type === 'xxxx') return false; // change xxxx to your post type
	return $is_enabled;
}
add_filter('gutenberg_can_edit_post_type', 'digwp_disable_gutenberg', 10, 2);

In either case, remember to replace xxxx with whatever your post type is.

Disable Gutenberg for Meta Boxes

One of the most unwelcome changes Gutenberg forces on developers and site owners relates to meta boxes, which no longer operate as they did in pre-Gutenberg days. This is a significant issue if your site has many plugins that use meta boxes, as revamping your site could be a major headache.

One workaround is to use the following code in your function.php to disable Gutenberg on any screens which use the meta box:

__block_editor_compatible_meta_box

Remember, the WordPress Codex is the holy grail for all things relating to your site’s backend. There you will find pretty much everything you need to know about functions, hooks, classes, and methods in there.

Wrapping It All Up!

If you are a WordPress newbie, you may have never experienced the classic editor, in which case you may be happy sticking with Gutenberg. However, if you were weaned on the classic editor, transitioning away from it can be a real shock. As we have explained in this article, it’s not the end of the world, though, and there are some very workable solutions to allow you to revert back and forth between the two.

Which do you prefer, Gutenberg or the classic WordPress editor? Do you use a particular one exclusively, or do you switch between the two depending on what you are doing? If you are using the classic editor, what method did you use to switch back to it? Have you experienced any technical issues caused by switching? As always, we really love hearing about your experiences.

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