March 25, 2019

WordPress 5.0 Update: All About Gutenburg

In December 2018 WordPress released a new block editor as part of the WordPress 5.0 update called “Gutenburg.” Named after Johannes Gutenburg, who created the printing press in the 1400s, this goal of this new editor is to make creating sites well, easier. The current visual editor often requires developers to utilize shortcodes and HTML to make things work correctly, so the goal of Gutenburg’s “blocks-based” editor is to make things more simple, especially for those just starting out with WordPress.

That said, the effects that this new editor has on how we create sites is massive. There’s a lot we could cover, but we asked our backend developer, John Finch, to give us the low-down on the “danger” points people should be aware of in regards to live sites. Things will surely look different when accessing the newly updated WordPress editor, and there’s a chance your site may run into some issues.

  1. Many plugins and visual builders will need to be updated and possibly will not work after the update. Before you update to 5.0, make sure that your site is backed up in case things need some fixing.
  2. Some themes will not continue to work after the update due to incompatible editor functions. These themes can stay on version 4.9.9; however, they’ll lack security and plugin updates going forward. This could create issues when trying to make updates to your site in the future.
  3. If things are wonky on your site, you can restore to the classic editor as a short-term fix. You can do this using an official WordPress plugin, which you can find here. This should fix most problems, but again this is not a long term solution, and the Gutenburg update isn’t optional.
  4. If you’re looking to custom edit a WordPress theme, the addition of the Gutenburg blocks will require an additional proficiency in JS/React, along with the knowledge of the new Gutenburg framework.
  5. As this editor is still very, very new, there are kinks that will have to be worked out along the way. One thing in particular to note is that the Gutenburg documentation isn’t fully fleshed out yet- this issue should improve over time, but it’s important to be aware that as of now it still isn’t perfect.

WordPress’ new Gutenburg editor is a powerful tool that will absolutely affect the way we create sites from here on out—a huge pro being that clients will be able to edit more content in a clear, accessible and consolidated backend. That said, the five “danger points” listed above are certainly something one should look out for.

Don’t know how to check for these things? Or need help fixing any issues you may have run into? Our development team is here to help! Reach out at!