Your Most Common Gutenberg Questions Answered

A few months ago we introduced our WordPress Community Ambassadors. We announced that we would support these very deserving individuals to travel and speak at WordCamps, so they can continue to share their expertise and lift up other WordPress users. Now, we want them to have their place on our blog with the same purpose in mind – educate and help our readers understand better the ins-and-outs of WordPress.

The first post that we will share with you is by Joe Casabona on Gutenberg – the hottest topic in the community for the past 10-12 months. Joe is a fantastic trainer, whose talent is to make complex things easy to understand for anyone. In the past year he has worked tirelessly to produce training material for Gutenberg, the new block editor included with WordPress 5.0. This is his first article for the SiteGround blog, enjoy!

WordPress 5.0 was recently released. The most notable new feature in 5.0 is the new editor, based on blocks and also known as Gutenberg. While it’s sure to really improve the content-creation experience, there are a lot of questions surrounding the update and what it means for current websites. Here are the answers to some of the most common inquiries both the SiteGround team and I have received from WordPress users so far.

What will happen to my old posts?

Your old posts will be perfectly fine! 2 things have to happen after upgrading for them to be affected at all:

  1. You need to open the post for editing in the wp-admin using the new block editor.
  2. You need to click a button that says, “Convert to Blocks”to have your content converted from a single block, into several separate blocks.

Unless you do both of those things, for every piece of content, your old posts are safe and sound. You can watch a video on how to upgrade your content here.

What will happen to posts with page builders?

Since page builders are 3rd-party plugins, it would be best to reach out to them directly and ask how their plugin will be affected, because your mileage may vary. If we look at a couple of examples, both Elementor (which SiteGround clients have an exclusive deal for) and Beaver Builder have added full Gutenberg compatibility, meaning if you use either of those, anything you’ve build with them will work the same.

The Elementor team has taken it one step further, adding their own Elementor Blocks to Gutenberg. This will allow you to embed Elementor templates inside the Gutenberg editor. Super cool!

What will happen to posts with custom fields?

Custom Fields will show up under the block editor in Gutenberg, where it’s always been. There are some plugins that are working to add better custom field support in blocks, like ACF, or change the interface a bit so they show up in the sidebar.

But if you’re using PHP-defined custom fields, they’ll work exactly like they do now, in the current editor.

Will the readers see any difference?

Nope! All of the changes are happening on the backend/WordPress Dashboard. The only thing your readers will see is more robust content!

Are there any Gutenberg compatible themes?

Yes! Lots of themes have recently announced Gutenberg compatibility. For your specific theme, you should reach out to the developer who created it to see if they have plans to support Gutenberg.

If you have a custom developed theme, you should inquire about the cost of updating it.

WordPress 5.0 also ships with its own Gutenberg-friendly theme, Twenty Nineteen.

How do I check if the plugins I use are Gutenberg compatible?

Much like page builders, you should check to see if the plugin developers have made a statement about Gutenberg support. If they haven’t, reach out to them!

There was also a research project done earlier this year to test Gutenberg compatibility in plugins, but that’s no longer being maintained. You can read the results of the project here.

Joe Casabona

Joe Casabona is a college-accredited course developer and professor. He also has his Master’s Degree in Software Engineering, is a Front End Developer, and hosts multiple podcasts. Joe started freelancing in 2002, and has been a teacher at the college level for over 10 years. His passion in both areas has driven him to build Creator Courses, a school for those who want to create online businesses. As a big proponent of learning by doing, he loves creating focused, task-driven courses to help students build something. When he’s not teaching, he’s interviewing people for his podcast, How I Built It.


Comments ( 13 )


Dec 12, 2018

Hi Joe and thanks for this useful information. Since our old wp content, published with the "old" wp editor, is "safe" (if we don't do anything apart from upgrading WP 4.9.8 to WP 5.0), then why would we want to convert it (into blocks) ? In other words, is there any known benefit (page load speed, SEs ranking, or whatever...) that would justify taking the time to convert old-style wp HTML content into new style (blocks) ?


Joe Casabona

Dec 14, 2018

Hey Dom - that's a great question. In general, it's good practice to keep older posts updated, or to put it a different way, update an old post instead of creating a brand new one. In that instance, it could be a good opportunity to convert the old post to blocks and update the content. A more likely scenario would be pages - if you've created a page with the classic editor that needs updating, or you want to update it, converting it to blocks will give you a more robust layout for it.



Dec 13, 2018

Dear Joe, Great to know that our “old posts will be perfectly fine”. This is good news indeed. Now, I have another question – maybe not so common – for you. As you know, the previous editor was not very happy when going back and forth between the Visual editor and the Text editor. How is Gutenberg doing 1) at the level of individual blocks and 2) at the level of the entire document? Till now, I was writing my post directly in HTML (i.e. via the Text editor), but Gutenberg looks so appealing that I want to give it a try, still playing around with the HTML outcome. Do you have any insight on that matter? Thank you for your expertise.


Joe Casabona

Dec 18, 2018

Hi! There are a few things to note about HTML in the new editor: 1. If you convert an all HTML page to blocks, each HTML element will becoming its own block, and you'll likely lose any classes or IDs, so I'd advise against doing that. 2. The new editor has a specific HTML/code block you can use along with other blocks. 3. In the Code Editor itself, you'll see HTML comments that make up the blocks. Upon publishing, they are replaced on the front end with the proper markup.



Dec 21, 2018

Thank you for your response and this valuable information.



Dec 14, 2018

version 5 is terrible in edit ! not because it is new way but it missed a lot of BASIC functions such as changing color and size ( not just big / bigger / extreme big ) / try to be smart and annoyed! The most unbelievable one is media library ~ pictures are gone even we just upload 1 second ago! hey 1 second??? sometime picture go out of the border?? come on give 4.9.8 back


Angelina Micheva

Dec 17, 2018

Hi Betty, If you want to keep the content editing workflow you had prior to the update you can use the Classic editor plugin, which enables the old editor on your site and use its settings to have it as the default. We have more details on that in our blog post about preparing for the update to WordPress 5.0: We also want to remind you that you can easily revert an automatic update from cPanel-> WP Auto Update-> Restore, next to the installation you are having the issue with.


David Broderick

Dec 20, 2018

I have Enfold and used their advanced editor. Now it is chaos on the site when I try to do anything. How do I restore my website back to WordPress 4.9.8 please?


Angelina Micheva

Dec 20, 2018

Hi David, You can easily revert an automatic update from cPanel-> WP Auto Update-> Restore, next to the installation you are having the issue with. If you need more help reach us directly via the Support Center in your client area.



Mar 13, 2019

i see that 'discussion' is moved to the sidebar. but it doesn't actually show the comments. and i can't add a comment there. is this functionality removed or am i missing something?



Aug 26, 2019

Gutenberg isn't working with multisite installs.



Oct 30, 2019

Does Gutenberg work correctly when WP is NOT installed in root directory? And per previous comment (from Aug 25), does Gutenberg work with multisite installs>


Hristo Pandjarov Siteground Team

Oct 31, 2019

Yes to both of your questions :)


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