The latest major release of WordPress is dropping now. WordPress 5.0, nicknamed Gutenberg, is designed to compete with drag and drop platforms, like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. For many sites, it’s a seemless transition as far as the visual appearance of the site. Where the shock comes in is when someone logs into their site to make changes. They see something completely foreign and it looks like their content is gone. But fear not, it’s still there.

The biggest change in the editor is the use of boxes, being able to add different types of content by dropping and dragging. I have not attempted to work with the new editor, since the theme I work with exclusively, already gives me much more versatility. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Simply install the Classic Editor either from the front page of the dashboard, or under plugins. Once installed and activated, your editor will return to the familiar version you have been used to using.

If you are one of the unfortunate sites that crashes because of the update to 5.0, their is a fix available.  This seems to happen to sites that may be running older themes that are no longer supported or are updating.  Sites built on twenty ten, or twenty twelve, may not update correctly.  While the fix will get the site back to normal, at some point, you will need to convert your site from the older theme to something more current that is compatible with WordPress 5.0.

It’s not complicated but just a little nerve racking if you aren’t comfortable with using your web server’s CPanel and/or an FTP program. The fix requires you to delete the current WordPress files (except for the WP-Content folder and the WP-config.php files) and installing the previous version of WordPress before the update.  Following is a step by step process to roll back to the previous WordPress version.

  1.  Download the previous version – Go to and click on the “Get WordPress”  button.  Scroll down past the section on 5.0 and look for “All Releases”.  Look for Release 4.9.9 and click the Zip link to download it.
  2. Unzip the files to your computer, noting the location of the files on your computer.
  3. Next login to your web hosting CPanel. Go to File Manager.  Usually the web files are in Public HTML, but yours may be different.  Look for the folder with the WordPress files.  There will be 3 folders, usually titled WP-Admin, WP-Content and WP-Includes.  There will also be several individual files, again, usually starting with “wp-“. To be safe, it’s advisable to download all those folders and files and save them to your local computer in case you need to reload them.
  4. Still in the File Manager, delete everything EXCEPT the WP-Content folder and the wp-config.php files.
  5. Once you have deleted these files, upload the files from the unzipped location.  DO NOT upload the WP-Content folder or the wp-config.php file, since that may overwrite your content.

As soon as the files finish uploading, your site should be back to normal.  Make sure you turnoff automatic updates to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

At some point in the future, WordPress may disable the Classic Editor, but until them, you can continue to update your site as normal.

Gary Wagnon, chief Ninja Marketing at 800biz Ninja Marketing and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, helps small businesses master their digital presence, improve their search engine ranking, drive more traffic to their door and convert browsers to buyers.

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