WordPress Classic Editor
How to Enable the WordPress Classic Editor

You’ve just updated WordPress or maybe you’re setting up a fresh install of WordPress for your newest site. You navigate to the pages tab, eager to get started and then BAM!

Screenshot of the Blocks Editor in action,

The dreaded Blocks Editor. And, for some reason there doesn’t seem to be a setting in the CMS to turn it off!

That’s because WordPress decided to bundle up the old editor, now called the ‘Classic Editor’, into a plugin. You need to install it in order to revert to the Classic Editor.

How do I reinstate the WordPress Classic Editor?

The quickest and simplest way to reinstate the old editor is to go to the Plugins menu icon in the Wordpress CMS and click ‘Add New’.

This should take you to the WordPress marketplace featured tab. Here you will likely find the Classic Editor plugin being showcased. It’s a fairly popular plugin since very few developers like using the new blocks editor. Click Install Now, then Activate and then it’s done. The Classic Editor should be up and running.

How do I upload the plugin manually?

Simply navigate to the plugin files here:

Using your preferred FTP browser, upload the classic-editor.zip file to the plugins folder inside wp-content. Now, go to your plugins folder in WordPress and activate it. Sorted.

What is the classic editor?

For those of you who are new, the Classic Editor is the old interface used for page and post editing. Here’s what it looks like:

Why do some people prefer the classic editor?

In order to answer this question we need to understand why WordPress is so popular as a content management system in the first place.

WordPress is an incredibly powerful blogging tool that allows its users to create rich, engaging content that supports comments, categories, and even users. However, all that stuff isn’t even the main draw for website creators and developers. WordPress’s main asset is its modularity - its capacity to be endlessly customisable and modifiable through the use of plugins. These plugins allow web designers to create infinitely complex projects that would be almost impossible to do without WordPress.

Once such plugin is Advanced Custom Fields (ACF).  This is a plugin that allows you to add custom content boxes to your page and post editors.

Screenshot of advanced custom fields

Notice how you can pick colours, images and even make logical conditions. This means developers can sculpt the WordPress environment to be bespoke and customised for their projects requirements. Essentially, they can design an editing space for their clients that is simple and intuitive to use.

Okay fine, but what’s that got to do with the Classic Editor?

The Classic Editor is an extremely simple editor that has very little functionality and because of this a lot of third party developers have developed plugins and themes to extend that limited functionality. Most notably, page builder themes like the Divi Theme  and the aforementioned Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

However, WordPress wanted to offer more to their users without the need for third party solutions. So, WordPress created the Blocks Editor (formerly known as Gutenberg). The blocks editor has a lot more features than the Classic Editor and is actually surprisingly easy to use once you get the hang of it. There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the new editor. The mains concerns:

  • Compatibility Issues with other plugins.
  • Affecting front end output upon updating to latest version of WordPress.
  • Confusion for clients presented with brand new UI.

With that being said, a lot of the issues that were present upon its launch have been ironed out and now, more and more web developers are coming around to incorporating the new Blocks Editor into their sites.

The outrage and controversy surrounding Blocks was mainly due to developers being afraid of any drastic changes that could negatively affect their client's live sites. That, coupled with the fact that you cannot easily disable the new editor and that is  turned on by default upon updating to the latest version of Wordpress (perhaps a button prompt asking if you wanted to activate it would have been a smarter approach).

Overall, developers like to revert back to the Classic Editor simply because they are familiar with it. As the saying goes, ‘If it aint broke, don’t fix it!’.

How do I use the classic editor?

Alternatively, you may actually already be familiar with the new Blocks Editor but for some reason you’ve been asked, or had a requirement to use the ‘Classic Editor’. Not to worry, the Classic Editor is very simple to use.

Once you’ve got the old editor installed and you’re on the post/page, simply type your content into the editor just like you would a Microsoft Word document. The editor, separately known as the TinyMCE editor or the WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get), has all the same features you would expect from a text editor. It has bold, italic, bullet points, lists, quotes, text alignment and much more. You can even get plugins that further extend the features of the editor like this one. You also have the added bonus of being able to view and edit your content as HTML code.

This is great for those of you out there who don’t feel confident writing in HTML or perhaps you have people on your team who are more content and writing focused than technology focused. Developers and content writers can all use the same tool and it works seamlessly.


So there we have it, a complete run down on the WordPress Classic Editor. I hope this answers your question and if you found the article beneficial be sure to leave a comment. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll do my best to help as much as I can.

All the best, Jakob Oliver

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