The difference between Gutenberg and the WordPress block editor

If you have a WordPress website, you may hear or read the words Gutenberg and block editor. It was introduced in WordPress 5.0 (which came out in December 2018) and while some people love it and some hate it, it has become a part of WordPress.

In the beginning stages, it was called Gutenberg, but later when it became a part of WordPress it became known as the block editor. But there is still a version of Gutenberg for people to download? It got very confusing for those who were using it and needed help. Which one do you have and what is the difference? There are some key differences and some exceedingly small differences.

How do you know which you have?

If you have installed a plugin called Gutenberg then you are using Gutenberg. when you search for Gutenberg, it shows the title and description of the plugin.

If you haven’t installed that (it is not installed by default) and you have WordPress 5 or higher (if you don’t know you there is an easy way to check) then you have the block editor.

Very bottom of a WordPress website it says

What are the differences between Gutenberg and the block editor?

With Gutenberg (the plugin) you get to use the latest features and fixes (before the block editor gets them). With the block editor you get the features when everyone else gets them, and they have been tested to try and not break your website (but you should still backup your website).

There are however some small differences. Gutenberg is always in beta so there will be things that break or cause something to not work. It isn’t meant for public websites, it’s meant for those who want to beta test. The block editor may have things that don’t work on your site due to some change so it’s always best to wait to upgrade WordPress until you are sure everything (theme, plugins, or almost anything else) has been updated and tested to work. Gutenberg will have more work done with accessibility than the block editor.

Is it hard to use?

If it’s your first time using the block editor or Gutenberg you will notice it’s hard to use at first, after using it you get used to it and figuring out how to do what you want it to do is a breeze. There are many blog posts, videos, and demos to help you.

Why was it added into WordPress?

You may wonder why this was added into WordPress in the first place, it is because one of the founders of WordPress (Matt Mullenweg) wanted to make it easier for anyone to use WordPress. On a Gutenberg FAQ blog post he wrote “It is my deep belief that WordPress must evolve to improve and simplify its own user experience for first-time users.” Some people believe this is because many people are using many of the other website builders out there (like Wix or Squarespace) and if WordPress didn’t added Gutenberg then it would lose it’s market share.

What if I don’t want to use Gutenberg or the block editor?

You can use the old editor, either by installing the Classic Editor (which will be officially supported until 2022) or Disable Gutenberg (which is community run and never set to expire) plugin.

Want more customization? Then consider installing a page builder, Elementor and Divi are two of the most well-known ones. While they offer the drag and drop that the block editor / Gutenberg offer, they have also been around for longer giving them the opportunity to add different features. If you use a page builder you will have to get used to how to add things to a page (or post) and it would require an extra click (or two) for you to get editing (since you will have to edit with the page builder rather than the default block editor).

To close, Gutenberg and the block editor are basically the same. If you have the Gutenberg plugin installed then you have Gutenberg if you don’t have that plugin and you have WordPress 5 (or higher) than you have the block editor.

Gregory Hammond

Gregory is the owner of Gregory J Development and he loves helping people with their websites. In his spare time, Gregory listens to music, writes (not just for the blog here), and is trying to read more often.