How to Disable Gutenberg and replace it with Classic Editor in WordPress

Gutenberg is a new editor for WordPress named after Johannes Gutenberg who invented the printing press over 500 years ago. The current WordPress editor requires the use of HTML and shortcodes to make things work the way we would like them to. The goal of the new Gutenberg editor is to simplify this especially for people new to WordPress. However, it is still at its beta phase, but will soon be replacing the classic editor as the default editor in WordPress.

Gutenberg works more like a page builder plugin allowing users to easily drag and drop items to a page or a post. It embraces the use of blocks which are a new tool to build engaging content. With these blocks, a user can insert, style and rearrange multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. One can just add a block and keep their focus on its content rather than using custom code. WordPress is encouraging people to try the new editor, with a notification showing up once you log in to your WordPress dashboard. You are most likely to see this on the dashboard;

Gutenberg notification

So why would you want to disable Gutenberg?

  1. It is still at its beta and testing phase. This means that it is not yet fully developed to meet all user needs and might have some errors.
  2. With so many themes and plugins out there, backward compatibility is going to be a huge issue going forward.
  3. Even though it might be easier to use for beginners, it is a little bit harder for some to start using.
  4. From its negative reviews, many people feel that it is not yet ready for use with live sites.

If you are not comfortable using Gutenberg, there are two ways you can disable it.

  1. Using the classic editor with Disable Gutenberg Plugin
  2. Disabling Gutenberg with the Classic Editor Plugin

Using the classic editor with Disable Gutenberg Plugin

This method allows you to install a plugin called Disable Gutenberg.

  • The first step is to install and activate the Disable Gutenberg plugin. To learn how to install a plugin, read this tutorial.
  • Once you have the plugin activated, you will need to configure the plugin settings by visiting Settings > Disable Gutenberg.

This will take you to a page that looks like the one below;

Configuration settings

By default, the plugin disables Gutenberg for all users, throughout the entire WordPress installation. However, you might want to disable the Gutenberg editor to certain roles, post types, templates and post IDs. To do that, uncheck the complete disable button at the top of the page, as shown below;

Unchecked the complete disable checkbox

Unchecking the button will change the disable Gutenberg configuration screen to one that looks like the one below. Here, you can select where you would like to have the Gutenberg editor disabled.

Disable Gutenberg options

Once you have the configurations set up as you would like, click on the save button at the bottom to save your changes.

Disabling Gutenberg with the Classic Editor Plugin

You can also disable the Gutenberg editor by using the Classic Editor Plugin. To do that;

  • You will need to first install and activate the classic editor plugin. You can check this tutorial on how to install and activate a plugin.
  • Once you have the plugin activated, the Gutenberg editor will be disabled by default.

You can choose to have both the editors – the Gutenberg editor and the classic editor. To do that, you will need to configure the writing settings.

  • On the WordPress dashboard, click on the Settings menu option on the left hand side of the screen then choose Writing. You can also point at Settings then select Writing from the dropdown menu.
Writing Settings
  • This will take you to a screen that looks like the one below. Here, choose to either replace the Gutenberg editor with the Classic editor or use the Gutenberg editor by default and include optional links back to the Classic editor.
Classic editor settings
  • Click on the save button at the bottom to save your changes.

You have now successfully disabled the Gutenberg editor.


It is good to test the new Gutenberg editor before throwing it under the bus. To some people, it is easy to use and better than the classic editor. Most people would, however, prefer using the classic editor since it is what they are used to, or rather what they have been using for years. What are your views on the new editor?


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