WordPress Block Editor vs Classic: Which one to Use and Why?
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WordPress Block Editor vs Classic: Which one to Use and Why?

WordPress supports two types of content editors: Gutenberg Block and Classic Editor. Gutenberg is a drag-and-drop Block builder, while Classic is the old-school WordPress editor.

WordPress rolled out 5.0 with Gutenberg Block editor packed in. Users who prefer using the Classic interface require a Classic plugin for the old-school content editor.

Both editors are different in terms of interface, features, and functionality. In this resource, let’s compare WordPress editors – to help users make informed decisions.

Introduction: WordPress Editors

Classic Editor

Classic is WordPress’s old-fashioned, beginner-friendly, and manual editor. Currently, the WordPress core doesn’t include the Classic interface.

Classic Editor interface

(Classic Editor in WordPress)

To use the Classic editor in WordPress > 5.0, install and activate the Classic editor plugin. When a new version of the plugin is released, you can see new features after you’ve updated it.

Gutenberg Block Editor

As its name suggests, WordPress’ new interface – Gutenberg Block Editor, features drag-and-drop content Blocks to create WordPress content, pages/posts, and custom Templates. Compared to the Classic editor, the Gutenberg Block editor supports modern functionality, product updates, and responsive design.

WordPress Gutenberg Block editor

(WordPress Gutenberg Block editor)

The Gutenberg Block editor is a gem for users who prefer creating custom pages with simple Blocks. In such scenarios, users don’t need separate dashboard options like Divi Builder or Elementor. The Gutenberg Block editor constantly upgrades with new features, advanced support for 3rd party assets, and improved functionality.

WordPress Block Editor vs Classic: (Detailed Comparison)

Interface

The Classic’s interface is simple, straightforward, beginner-friendly, and easy to use. A field for the post’s headline, followed by the Body Text area – makes content creation more accessible for users with limited expertise in Block editing.

The Gutenberg Block editor, on the other hand, seems overwhelmed by old-school WordPress users. It doesn’t provide a single significant area for content; instead, content blocks make up the page, post, or custom Template’s content structure.

Features

WordPress Gutenberg Block editor offers full-site editing, unlike the Classic. In this case, users can see, in real time, what the front end will look like while building their page with Gutenberg Blocks. On the other hand, the Classic editor works with separate screens to show a page’s front-end interface. Once you’ve finished editing a page or post, clicking the Preview button will take users to the front-end preview.

Other features also differentiate WordPress’ Gutenberg Block editor from the Classic. For example, without manual source code snippets, users can’t create anchor links in the Classic interface. On the other hand, the Gutenberg editor provides built-in features to create anchor links in WordPress content without needing source codes or WordPress plugins.

Functionality

By default, the Classic interface features two input fields – a field for Title and the other is a Text area for Body content. Creating content in Classic editor is quicker than in WordPress Gutenberg Block editor.

WordPress Gutenberg Block editor – on the other hand, helps users create content using Content Blocks, also called Content Elements, such as paragraphs, quote boxes, media blocks, design widgets, buttons, and Theme-specific elements.

Product Updates

Compared to the Classic interface, which is part of the WordPress core, the Gutenberg Block editor supports WordPress’ future updates. Conversely, updating the Classic plugin renews the Classic interface for content creation.

Product updates are vital for improving site security and stability. Regular updates help users keep their sites secure. Moreover, updates are essential for seamless functionality, speed, and advanced support with existing site infrastructure, such as themes and plugins.

Responsiveness

Gutenberg Block editor has a built-in mobile display option to assess the front-end display on mobile devices. In this case, once you click on the Preview button while editing the content, you can see the option’s popup with several options – to help users quickly choose between Desktop and Mobile or Tablet screens.

Here – you can choose the Mobile option and proceed. The front-end interface can help you see if your page needs more attention for Desktop, Mobile, or Tablet devices.

The whole story is different in the Classic interface. You can only see the mobile display once you have tested your page with a third-party Tool, such as the ones available online. On the other hand, users can resize the browser’s window to see if the page suits different screens, such as Mobile. Users can only know the editing, display options, or other metrics required to make the page suitable for mobile screens.

Advanced Features

WordPress Gutenberg Block editor is way better than the Classic interface in terms of advanced metrics. For example, creating anchor links in Classic editor requires Code Snippets in Text Mode. On the other hand, the Gutenberg Block editor can quickly help users add tables, code snippets, and footnotes and pull quotes from content.

The block editor also shows previews when you point to various modules in the list. The PLUS sign on the top left shows a list of available Blocks, Modules, and custom Templates.

Dependencies

Classic interface depends on WordPress plugins – if you want to increase editing functionality. For example, a Table of Contents in Classic Editor is achievable only if you have a plugin installed.

On the other hand, similar features, including anchor links, CSS IDs, background colors, font formatting, and block duplication, are quickly achievable in the Gutenberg Block editor.

Compatibility Issues

Gutenberg Block editor may have problems with old plugins. This scenario falls under the plugin’s compatibilities.

On the other hand, as the Classic is old-school and well-tested, most plugins are supported.

It would be good to test your site’s assets, environment, and options with different options before it goes live. Testing various options to choose the one that suits your needs is called A/B testing. It helps you avoid WordPress issues.

User Levels

WordPress Classic editor is ideal for beginners who need knowledge of block editing, complex infrastructure, or advanced functionality.

Switching to Block editor requires beginners to learn how to use WordPress Gutenberg Block editing.

Future of WordPress Editors

WordPress editing is shifting towards drag-and-drop functionality. Each Block is a separate entity with formatting options, advanced functionality, and managing rights. On the other hand, support for the Classic interface is vanishing.

Classic interfaces such as Page Builders are unrelated to seamless user experiences. WordPress page-building applications like Elementor and Divi Builder use content Blocks, modules, or widgets to create WordPress posts.

Built-in Templates

The Classic editor does not have built-in templates. Users can choose from the available Blocks List, Templates, or migrated widgets from other pages in the Gutenberg Block editor.

Moreover, WordPress plugins can help users extend Gutenberg’s functionality. For example, WordPress plugins That help users add additional blocks help users extend Gutenberg’s functionality.

Known Issues

Gutenberg may be problematic for new themes and plugins. Also, some shortcuts may not work in Gutenberg compared to the Classic interface.

On the other hand, the Classic editor lacks the drag-and-drop interface. While the Classic is well-tested and suitable for all users, some options, such as text decoration, still need to be improved.

Moreover, migrating from one editor to another while you have created enough content pages may cause display issues. For example, content created with blocks may create display issues while converting to the Classic interface. Similarly, text formatting will be lost if the content block created with Gutenberg Blocks is converted to the Classic interface.

User Experience

User experience depends on users’ level of knowledge of a specific editor. For example, users needing a usage routine Gutenberg may find it hard to use, while users who prefer Block editing favor the modern Block editor for WordPress content.

However, if we compare the options and functionality of both editors, we can mark both 50/50. In this case, the Classic editor provides a user-friendly interface, shortcuts, and a clean interface. On the other hand, the Gutenberg Block editor provides modern functionality, more features, and support for updates.

Customization

Classic users need to be more knowledgeable about custom-editing specific paragraphs. For example, to change the text background color in the Classic interface, using code snippets in Text Mode is the only option, and using a WordPress plugin can help users.

In the case of Gutenberg Blocks, clicking a block shows a formatting bar. So, depending on the content type, users can quickly format selected Blocks or Widgets. Moreover, moving multiple Blocks from one place to another on a page is quick—select the Blocks you’d like to move, and the formatting bar helps you choose relevant options.

Professional Tips

  • Using the Classic editor creates a separate plugin in the dashboard. Regarding speed, the more plugins you have on your site, the slower it can become.
  • While using the Classic editor, changes you manually made on your site will be erased when you update to a newer version of the Classic plugin. In this case, each time you make changes, you’ll need to make the manual changes again, such as anchor links manually created in the Classic interface—Text Mode.
  • Modern software(s) are built with advanced stats in mind. In this case, Themes and Plugins are created with the Gutenberg Block editor in mind, leaving no space for the old-school Classic editing experiences.
  • In the Gutenberg Block interface, formatting for a specific Block only affects its respective structure. On the other hand, if the manual source code edits are misplaced in the Classic Text Mode, your site’s front end can create more problems, such as displaying raw code to the user.
  • Copying and pasting content across different sites may create difficulties for both editors. For example, if the content editors on both sites differ, copying and pasting the content will generate display issues. As described earlier, converting textual content to Gutenberg Blocks may create front-end display issues. In the same manner, converting Gutenberg Blocks can also develop display-related problems on the front end.
  • Modern software(s), 3rd party integrations, or additional Tools may not work with Classic Editor, as companies focus on Block editing experiences for users. In this case, users still focusing on old-school editors must update their knowledge, infrastructure, or team to learn and improve daily workflows.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between WordPress Gutenberg Block and Classic Editor?

The basic functionality of WordPress editors is identical. They’re different in design, features, and speed stats. Classic Editor has a primary interface; the Gutenberg Editor has advanced functionality called drag-and-drop block editing. Along with other differences, such as total site editing in Gutenberg, speed ratio differences, and the need for custom changes in Classic, these differences make both different from each other.

In simple words, both editors are different in design, interface, advanced features, functionality, support for 3rd party integration, WordPress updates, future scope, bug and security issues, users’ preferences, and manual/full-site editing technology.

Is Classic Editor part of the WordPress core package?

Currently, the Classic editor is not part of WordPress core ZIP. Since the WordPress 5.0 version has been coming, the release of the Classic editor is excluded, and the new Gutenberg Block editor is now part of the WordPress ZIP package. For users who still prefer the Classic, old-fashioned, and basic editor – WordPress Plugins Directory provides a plugin that helps users quickly turn the Classic editor on in the WordPress dashboard.

Refer to the plugins section for more information on using the Classic interface in the dashboard. Once you click the Add New Plugin button, you can see the Classic editor on the next screen. Please install and activate it and create a new page or post. You’ll see the old Classic editor in action.

Which one to use (WordPress Gutenberg Block or Classic editor)?

Choosing between the WordPress Gutenberg Block and Classic editor is a user’s preference. However, the users who like to use the Block editor are interested in page-building experiences, block editing, and complete site editing functionalities. Moreover, users using the Block editor prefer separate blocks to create new posts, unlike paragraphs in a Body Text area.

On the other hand, users who lack modern routines, such as page building with drag-and-drop elements, still prefer to use the Classic editor. When loaded on the Add New Post screen, the Classic users can directly enter a Title for the post, followed by immediately entering text in the Body area. The same goes for Gutenberg Block users; however, the psychology of creating WordPress content differs for both editors.

Does the Gutenberg have extended functionality?

Yes, the Gutenberg Block editor is way better than the old-school Classic editor in terms of functionality and support. For example, creating anchor links in the Classic editor requires additional support, such as a code snippet to use the Classic Text Mode interface or a plugin that helps you create anchor links in WordPress.

On the other hand, the feature of creating anchor links is built into the Gutenberg Block editor. Once you have selected a text block in Gutenberg, you can see related options on the right panel on the exact editing screen. The advanced panel helps users create anchor links over selected texts. There is no need to install additional plugins or source code to create anchor links in the Gutenberg Block editor.

Where can you learn about WordPress Gutenberg Block editor?

New users unfamiliar with block editing can quickly learn how the WordPress Gutenberg block editor works. The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty. Load the Add New Post screen and see how the Gutenberg Block editor works in real-time. Once loaded, enter a title or headline in the relevant input field.

You can add separate blocks in the section below the headline. In this case, click the small plus icon to see a list of available blocks or press the Enter button on the keyboard. When the list of blocks is displayed, you can choose one to include and proceed. On the other hand, pressing the Enter button automatically includes the Paragraph element. You can also change the block type after you have included one.

Is WordPress Gutenberg Block editor free?

Yes, the WordPress Gutenberg Block editor is free of charge. WordPress’s new versions since 5.0 include the Block editor. In this case, the Gutenberg Block editor’s features, functionality, and interface coming into WordPress core are free of charge. However, if you’re using third-party integration to increase the number of blocks, that should cost you more, depending on what you’re using to extend Gutenberg’s functionality.

As previously described, compared to the Classic editor – the Gutenberg Block editor supports extending functionality with additional plugins. In this case, users can use more block types in editing scenarios when a plugin for Gutenberg’s blocks is installed and activated.

Do you need other Page Builders in WordPress using the Gutenberg Block editor?

Gutenberg is best suited for content creators. If you’re thinking of creating well-designed pages, sales panels, and landing pages, you can, but the Gutenberg options seem better. Instead, suppose you create custom pages with Divi Builder. In that case, you can avail yourself of more functionality than the Gutenberg Block editor, such as custom template creation, exporting, importing on other sites, and advanced backup features.

Similarly, page builders are equipped with template libraries with a paid license. On the other hand, Gutenberg’s feature list depends on WordPress officials. If you’re familiar with advanced page builders, using Gutenberg for custom pages in WordPress seems like a bad idea compared to advanced options – such as Elementor and Divi Builder.

Can you use Gutenberg Block and Classic editor at the same time?

Yes, you can use Gutenberg Block and Classic editor simultaneously. For example, once you’ve installed the plugin for Classic editor, the Settings page includes options to switch between Gutenberg and Classic.

There is another aspect of using both plugins at the same time. This is optional, as both editors’ content creation process differs. One justifies basic editing to create WordPress pages and posts, while the other uses Blocks content elements. So, when switching between both editors, content display problems can occur.

Which editor is user-friendly: Gutenberg or Classic?

New users or those without knowledge of block editing still prefer and call the Classic editor user-friendly. However, users familiar with page-building routines in WordPress are OK with the Gutenberg Block editor. With little learning curve, Classic users can quickly learn how to use the Gutenberg Block editor.

Once learned, users can tell you – “Gutenberg is more friendly than Classic”. Especially when going through manual routines in Classic, such as creating anchor links with source code, the friendliness of the Gutenberg editor is more attractive, which provides point-and-click options to create WordPress content.

Is the Classic editor speedier than the Gutenberg Block editor?

The people who tested the speed measures of Gutenberg and Classic editors preferred the block editor in terms of speed and quality of code. In this case, Gutenberg is 1-2 seconds faster than Classic.

The ideal way to determine whether Gutenberg or Classic is faster is to test your pages with both candidates. For example, test whether a single post performs well on Gutenberg or Classic using the same site assets, content, and settings. Experts say the quality of the backend code also matters.

Wrapping up

So, what about Gutenberg and Classic editors?

Old-school users should adopt and learn how the Gutenberg Block editor works. Compared to the Classic interface, the future is full-site editing, block editors, and continued element updates. So, users who adopt WordPress trends will have no problems in the long run.

If content creation is the only matter you prefer, you can continue with the Classic editor. In this case, you must install and activate the Classic plugin in the dashboard.

For more information on advanced measures, such as how a specific editor affects site speed and what you should do, contact us for an in-depth analysis of WordPress. We offer WordPress maintenance services, error removal, SEO plans, site speed improvements, and bug fixing at a one-time, custom, or monthly fee structure. For more information about our plans, please visit our services page.

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