How to Create a Copy of Your WordPress site to test it for Gutenberg

Why Bother?

With WordPress 4.9.8, you saw the prompt to “Try Gutenberg” on your live site. The prudent thing for you to do is to resist: just bypass (click on “Dismiss”) that prompt until you are sure that Gutenberg will work on your site. Once you get into the habit of working with Gutenberg you will prefer it, and it will be hard to go back to the old editor. You also need to have a safe space to test your site for Gutenberg readiness. We show you here how to create the safe space.

There are quite a few options for you.

Local install a local development suite like Local by FlyWheel or Desktop Server by ServerPress. Both have easy installs for Mac and Windows. We use them, for instance, to quickly create new WordPress instances for clean out-of-the-box testing of plugins in combination with Gutenberg. Both applications require some RAM and CPU time on your machine, though.

Managed hosting companies provide you with easy “Clone” you site features, some for free some will charge additionally, depending on your contract.

What’s a small business DIY site owners, a blogger on shared hosting to do? The fine folks of Pantheon, provide staging sites for free and you can use them as long as you need it. We walk you through the process in this post.

This post has three sections:

  • Detailed instruction, you should read before starting. We show you also screen shots and videos. The videos tie it all together, illustrate the flow, and help avoid problems. 
  • Found Trouble, you see instructions are easy to follow, mistakes can be readily corrected, and the videos are important for a smooth migration.
  • The short of it – Bare bones instructions to perform the migration when the you are ready. 

How much time is involved?

  • To read this post, you probably need about 5 minutes. It’s mostly text, screenshots and 3 mini-videos of 30 to 40 seconds videos.
  • Getting everything set-up is as complicated as logging in to your live site as an admin.
  • Starting the process and letting the robots do the rest of the work, will cost you probably another 5 minutes.
  • Then another two minute to check back if the migration process is finished.
  • Total 12 minutes.

A few ‘accidental techies’ at nonprofits tested these instructions and the whole process.  We incorporated their feedback to improve these instructions. You can do it too! Let me know how it went in the comment section. 

“The videos are really helpful and you should watch them before you start on this journey!”

Mary Rack

Why Pantheon?

Pantheon has a heart for WordPress site owners and provides free staging development space, knowing you can’t experiment or improve a site without having a safe space that doesn’t interfere with your organization’s live website. And you can use it without a change of the hosting for your live site. But of course, if you like it, you should stay. I have been using Pantheon way long that they have been a sponsor of Gutenberg Times.

What will happen throughout this migration process? An overview.

Knowledge prerequisites

  • You need to be able to open browser in new tabs and navigate a multi-tab browser window
  • You need to have administrator permissions on your site
  • You need to have one of the browser tabs logged in as administrator at current website.

This process takes three steps:

  1. First you tell Pantheon which site you want to migrate and what CMS you are using.
  2. Then you install a plugin that copies the site, connects it with the new space at Pantheon, and installs the site on the development server at Pantheon.
  3. Finally, you log into the staging site with the same credentials as your live site.

Most of the process happens in the background, and it can take about an hour for a fairly large site. But don’t worry: neither your browser nor your site will be “bogged down” during the time it takes. Just leave the browser tabs open. Everything will happen in background, and you can stop by at your Pantheon dashboard to see if the migration has finished.

If this is the first time you are done something like this, you might wonder if it will change anything on the existing site. The answer is No. It will need to know your live site’s URL, and it will help you install a plugin on that live site. But it will change nothing else, and your visitors won’t notice anything different.

You might also fear that this is a technical process that is over your head. Don’t worry!  If you are able to fill out online forms, you can do this. And if you are stuck, Pantheon has a Live Chat to connect you with a technician. Or you can just ping me and we’ll figure it out together.

After the migration you can test and play around on your staging site to you heart’s content.  That won’t mess up your live site. In fact, that’s the whole point of this exercise!

How long you might ask can the staging site be hosted on Pantheon?  You will rejoice to read that it can stay on Pantheon as long as you need it. And it will do so at no charge.

One more thing: Make sure that on one of your browser tabs you are already logged in with your administrator account on your WordPress site. I’ll help with the seamless background processing Pantheons support through their migrations process.

So, are you ready? Let’s go!

Create an Account With Pantheon

Head on over to Pantheon and sign-up for an account

If you already have an account, now is the time to login. 

For your Sign-up all you need is your

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Company name 
  • Work email address and
  • a password.

No credit card, no long form to fill out or decisions to be made. When Pantheon writes “You only pay when your site launches”, it means you pay only when you connect your site to a public domain name, the url changes from “” to “”.

Once you are on your dashboard, you can start with the migration.  

Select “Migrate Existing Site”.

It will be a 3-step process, as indicated on the top of the screen.


Watch this short video before you start. It’ll helps you get comfortable. When you watch it the second time, I want you to watch the the “Site-Url” changing while typing to see the context

And then there they slip in another step: Install and Authenticate. It’s ok. It’s easy.


Install the Migration plugin on Your Live Site

Next you’ll click on “Install on /wp-admin” See in below video what will happen once you do:-)

This feels like a local news teaser: Your World will change for ever.
News at 11

Seriously, what will happen is that the “Install on / wpadmin” Points to a page on your live site’s plugin page and once you click “Install Now” in the right corner of the screen, it will initiate the plugin install on your site. Then you have to active it. 

Once installed and activated, you will first connect the plugin to your Pantheon site. Next add the “Machine Token” from your earlier screen (the tab is still open in your browser).  Finally click on “Migrate”

Now we wait.

Copying and migrating is all done by means of the Blog Vault tool which Pantheon provides for this process.

You will be able to follow the process which will take between a few minutes and an hour.

That  part is as interesting as watching grass grow or paint dry. It has a zen kind of way to it, so if you need a break from an otherwise hectic day, this is a good way to calm your nerves.

You can leave the tab/window open and get back to your Pantheon screen and click on “Confirm Migration Progress”

We’ll come back to this after the process is finished.

At any time, you are free to stop the migration process either on this screen via “Cancel Site Migration” or from the screen on your site which displays the Blog Vault screen.  Just click on “Cancel Migration.”

You also don’t need to wait for a “block your browser” tab. You can just continue your other work. The fine folks at Pantheon give you permission: “You don’t have to wait here – we’ll email you when your site is ready.”

Depending on how large your site is, and how many posts and plugins it has, the migration may take more than hour or two. Keep an eye out for that email:-)

And be aware that each server site has its own time-out settings. Don’t worry about that. If the process stalls for any reason, go back to either your live site or to your pantheon dashboard and restart the process. It will begin where it left off on time-out.

Migration is Complete. 

Congratulations! You did it!

Pantheon Dashboard

Click on “Visit the Site Dashboard”. You may feel a little overwhelmed as a new comer. Ignore the techie stuff and just concentrate on the grey buttons.

When you click on “Visit Development Site” you’ll see the public view of the copy of your site. You might want to bookmark this page, so you can easily return to it or share the URL with your team members or bosses or your consultant.  

Click on “Site Admin”  to enter the WordPress Dashboard of your staging site.

You can even use your customary username & password: since this is a copy of your live site, it also copied all users with their credentials.

Next steps:  testing your site for Gutenberg

Are you able to take it from here? Need more assistance? Let us know in the comment section or via the Contact Us – page

The Short of it

Preparation: On one of your browser tabs log in with your administrator account on a WordPress site.

  1. Create a Pantheon Account. (Or log in if you already have one. )
    1. Enter your
    2. First name
    3. Last name
    4. Company name
    5. Work email address
    6. A password
  2. Select “Migrate Existing Site”.
  • Enter the existing site URL
  • Select that site’s CMS ( click on WordPress)

 “Step 1. Install the Migration Plugin” (Important: Do not close this page. You will use it later.)

Check your wp-admin page: (The Pantheon plug-in may already be on it.)

If the Pantheon plug-in is NOT on your wp-admin page, click on download the plugin. When the plug-in is there, click on the button in the grey box Install on /wp-admin

“Step 2.  Paste This Information into the Migration Plugin”

  • See 2 boxes with entries: “Pantheon Site Name” & “Your Machine Token”.
  • Paste those entries into the Migration Plugin Blog Vault.
  • Click on “I agree” box.
  • Click on “Migrate” box.

Wait. It may take an hour or more.  When finished you will receive an email with further instructions.

PostScript: Found Trouble

A note from Mary Rack who went before you and ran into minor trouble 

I started the migration process after reading the explanations and studying the screen prints, but without viewing the videos. That was a mistake. Those videos are important.

I followed instructions blindly, and made tabs of some pages, but I had trouble finding the right tabs later.  Fortunately, when I could not locate the one with the “machine token” when it was needed, I recalled reading that I could create a new one if I failed to save the original.

I had been rattled, but was relieved by that recollection. I created a new machine token easily, and finished with no more mishaps.

Had I viewed the videos, I suspect I would have had no trouble returning to the original token’s location.

Gutenberg Times + Pantheon: Spreading the Guten Word

Originally published by Drew Gorton, Director, Developer Relations in June 2018 on the Pantheon Blog

One of the things I love about my role is the opportunity I have to get to know so many great people in the WordPress and Drupal spaces. Occasionally, I’m also in a position to collaborate with them on a project they’re working on. Birgit Pauli-Haack and the Gutenberg Times are a wonderful example of both. Pantheon is delighted to announce that we are sponsoring the Gutenberg Times in its mission to share news and updates related to the new Gutenberg editor coming in WordPress 5.0.

We first discovered the Gutenberg Times as an audience. Andrew Taylor was working to get up to speed on all things related to Gutenberg and he kept seeing good summary posts from the Gutenberg Times’ Twitter handle. Fast forward a bit and we realized that we were in a position to help support the Gutenberg Times.

If you’re also interested in these big, exciting changes coming to WordPress 5.0, subscribe to the Gutenberg Times Weekly Newsletter and check out our own Gutenberg Webinar Series. Read on for more insights into the project and person behind it!

Interview with Birgit Pauli-Haack of Gutenberg Times

Drew: Starting off, let’s make sure we have your name right. How do you pronounce Birgit?

Birgit: Sure. It’s two things developers love together: “Beer” + “Git”.

Drew: Oh, ha! Wow, that is easy to remember… which may say too much about me. Well, BeerGit, why did you build this site?

Birgit: In the time-honored open source pattern, I scratched a personal itch. While watching the demo video at last year’s WordCamp Europe, I saw the future of WordPress very clearly. I wanted to learn as much as possible about Gutenberg, the genesis of it, the bigger ideas behind it, and the road ahead. So I collected the blog posts, tweets, videos, etc. Given my excitement, I was surprised how many negative voices were out there, especially early on. I wanted to do something to offset that and highlight the positive voices and nuanced opinions as well.

In December 2017 at WordCamp US, after presentations by Morten Rand-Hendrickson and Matias Ventura (starts at 35 minutes), the mood shifted considerably. By then, I had done over 30 weekly or bi-weekly round-up posts. I was about to get really busy with a lot of voices chiming in about Gutenberg.

Drew: What excites you most about the new Gutenberg editor?

Birgit: The answer is two-fold: I started building websites because I wanted to put content on the web that was missing on the German Internet at the time. This was the late 1990’s and web content management systems didn’t exist yet, so I had to hand-code my navigation, pages, links, everything. So I know the pain of a content creator through all these generations of the web and we still haven’t solved the WYSIWYG idea that people know from Desktop Publishing, MS Word, or Adobe Insights. The proliferation of page builders for WordPress illustrated the need. Their implementation, however, is clunky and hazardous. Despite WordPress being an open system, most page builders and Themes lock you in. You might as well use Squarespace and Wix, get better support, and surrender to the fact that you have to rebuild your site from scratch if and when you want to leave those systems.  

Gutenberg is the first editor that makes WYSIWYG possible in native WordPress. And it’s so elegant and beautiful. It takes technology out of the process of creating visually attractive content. It seems to hide all the difficulty a content creator encounters when writing for the web—the image positioning, the copy/pasting from Google Drive, the way you can highlight paragraphs, sharing blocks. Instead of knowing HTML or configuring yet another plugin, I just grab the button block, add the URL, and give it a nice color. It is a joy to work in Gutenberg every day. Your content not only shines on the desktop, but also on mobile,tablets, and phones. Yes, it’s still rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected. This is a ground-up re-imagining of the web WYSIWYG and that’s a huge task. It’s also not released yet and it keeps getting better.

The other piece of the answer is that it’s built in a modern JavaScript framework, ReactJS. It’s fascinating how that space has evolved over the last 8 years. I am excited to learn JavaScript for the 3rd time. Learning ReactJS and ES6 is a great joy. I understand the theory and mechanics how blocks, shared blocks, and block templates will make a lot of things easier to build… once you are past the—admittedly huge—learning curve. I can’t wait to finish my first React/WordPress website.

Drew: Fantastic. I agree; I think Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 will unlock new growth for WordPress and the Open Web. I’m looking forward to that future! In the shorter term, I’m also looking forward to our upcoming Gutenberg webinar with you and David, right before WordCamp Europe!*

Birgit: Yes, that will be fun! WordCamp Europe will be great. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the Gutenberg webinar series as well. Thank you for making all the recordings available!

On a personal note: Pantheon’s support of Gutenberg has made the project sustainable and enjoyable for me. A huge ‘Thank You’ to the whole Pantheon team for supporting my work at Gutenberg Times.

* 8/29: The webinar is now available on the Gutenberg Times YouTube Channel

Update #85 Using Gutenberg, Finding Blocks and more

This week, I collected a great array of useful information for just using Gutenberg and finding blocks for your content creation process. See a VR (Virtual Reality) image block in action, find blocks in a public directory and read more about using Gutenberg for your storefront. Also, some voices from users and their successful transition to Gutenberg for content creation or revamp of their websites. I also found a few secret tips for power users. The next version 3.7 will come out tomorrow. Help testing the pre-release and grab the zip file from the Test Make Blog.

Table of Contents

Developing Gutenberg

WordPress to Support Classic Editor for “Many Years to Come,” Plugin and Theme Markets Expected to Drive Gutenberg Adoption


Using Gutenberg

## gives you a H2 heading, ### an H3 Heading
1. + space starts an ordered list.
Gutenberg Contributors Considering a “Focus Mode” for Writing


#280Blocks and Block management

See it in action on my personal blog
Distributor publicly released with Gutenberg support and Enterprise service offering


Developer & Designer resources

Gutenberg Categories
Courses for Developers - JavaScript for WordPress with Zac Gordon
Check ’em out now!


Photos from around the World

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Update #84 – 200k active Installs, WordPress user voices, more Gutenberg blocks, and more developer resources

Roughly two weeks after the WordPress 4.9.8 release with the “Try Gutenberg” call-out in the Admin Dashboard, the Gutenberg plugins has now 200,000 active installs. People are using it and are providing feedback. Before the release the GitHub repository shows approximately 700 open issues and per this writing that number has grown to well over one thousand.  Friday, was release day for Gutenberg: the team issues 3.6, 3.6.1 and 3.6.2, within 5 hrs.

Continue reading “Update #84 – 200k active Installs, WordPress user voices, more Gutenberg blocks, and more developer resources”

Update #83 WordPress Gutenberg over 100K Active Installs, Community Reactions, Plugins and more Blocks

A week after the “Try Gutenberg” prompt appears in WordPress site’s admin dashboard, Gutenberg plugin reached the threshold of 100,000+ Active Installs. The plugin is getting mixed reviews between “Not in Core” and “Blogging just received a massive upgrade”. Gutenberg developers are weeding through the actionable feedback from this first encounter with a huge user base. In the meantime, plugins developers are working hard on getting ready for the WordPress 5.0 release, and Block developers are building new Blocks for Gutenberg content creators. 

Table of contents

News from the WordPress Core and Gutenberg Team

Support Team lead and Forums Moderator, Marius Jenson, keeps us updated on the known issues and published an FAQ


Community Reactions
Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers

Users’ most favorite new editing features

Note: Shared Blocks are now called “Reuseable Blocks” –bph


Plugins Getting Ready for Gutenberg in Core


Let them have Blocks! #280blocks


Photos from around the World


Featured Image: Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

8 Truths about Gutenberg

Updataed August 9th, 2018: Added additional links to the ACF section, with the announcement of creating blocks from within ACF admin – birgit

Updated August 4th, 2018: I added a paragraph about the WordPress 4.9.8 release and added more resources. — Birgit

A few month ago, Riad Benguella, core developer on the Gutenberg team, talk about the Gutenberg project at WordCamp Paris: “

Gutenberg, the future of content creation to WordPress

Riad’s  slide 28 inspired a short video with the bullet points into English and called them the “Status Check: 8 Truth about Gutenberg” in my video.  Here is the longer version with comments and resources for you, who want to dive deeper into the issues and get past the noise on the Internet.

This week, with its release 4.8.9, a whole lot of more WordPress users became aware of the new editor codenamed Gutenberg and might have followed the call to “Try Gutenberg” on their sites. The number of active installs of the feature plugin jumped from 20,000 to 50,000 within the first 24 hours of the update. That also raised the noise level in support forums, and reviews. WordPress volunteers worked hart tackling the various issues and answering some of the concerns raised in those posts.

Gutenberg is still in active development, and the next step is the merge proposal for which all compatibility issues encountered need to be researched and fixed, and if not solvable provide fallback solutions.

This is a post for those who need some reassurances on what will work, what should work and what still needs to be worked on, when Gutenberg, the future for content creation, finally lands in WordPress 5.0 as the default editor. Let’s get started.

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Table of Contents

Status Check #1: All Themes are compatible by default

As Gutenberg stors the content like the current editor in “post_content” and all Themes basically just place that content on to the site, all themes are compatible by default. They might need adjustments to for single blocks, each block has default layout already. In theory that is.

Here is a screen recording of a  Theme Test for Twenty-Sixteen at WP4Good

How to Test Your Theme for Gutenberg?

That being said, not all themes, support the new styles of align-wide or align-full styles for images or cover images. We found a plugin in the repository, which might helps you to augment your current theme.

A few more resources for theme developers:


Status Check #2: You can deactivate Gutenberg with a Plugin

Actually, there are quite a few plugins now available that allow you to various degrees, control how your site interacts with Gutenberg:

Gutenberg Ramp

“Restores legacy editor or enables Gutenberg selectively by post types or post ID.” Released by the team of WordPress VIP, it allows you to enable / disable Gutenberg on a more granular basis: per post types or even per post id. It works with the Gutenberg Feature Plugin as well as after Gutenberg will be merged with Gutenberg Core in WordPress 5.0

Gutenberg Manager

This plugins also allows you to disable Gutenberg for particular custom post types or individual pages and posts. It’ll also work with WordPress 5.0 and your settings work through the transition.

The Classic Editor

Installed before the release of WordPress 5.0 it diables Gutenberg entirely and you can use your site as before.

Classic Editor Addon

“This free “Classic Editor Addon” plugin changes the default behaviour of the “Classic Editor” plugin; and then some.”

“The “Classic Editor” plugin doesn’t remove Gutenberg by default. With this free addon we set the option that controls this from no-replace to replace, so no additional action is needed anymore. This is what the Classic Editor should have done out of the box.

In addition to this most basic requirement, the “Classic Editor Addon” removes the Settings link from the main Plugins page and removes the plugin’s Settings from the Settings > Writing screen. Also the drop down buttons Gutenberg adds to the post type screens is replaced with the regular “Add New” button.

Last but not least the Classic Editor Addon suppresses the Nag screen that is slated to arrive in the Dashboard with WP version 4.9.8.

The plugin’s authors: Pieter Bos and Greg Schoppe.

In short: It’s a plugin that promises a few additional rail guards so the new editor and removes it’s traces from your site.

A week ago we collected the 12 Methods to avoid Gutenberg in post. No surprise it was the most read post last week.


Status Check #3 Meta-Boxes work

That’s the video of an edit screen after installing Gutenberg with all plugins still activated. Scrolling through the meta-boxes for the following plugins and themes:

  • Edit Flow
  • Seriously simple podcasts
  • Yoast SEO
  • Web Mentions
  • Script section for Genesis
  • Layout selection of  Genesis

They all work and data is retained in the database for editing and display. 

The handbook lists the Common Compatibility issues with meta boxes:

  • Plugins relying on selectors that target the post title, post content fields, and other meta boxes (of the old editor).
  • Plugins relying on TinyMCE’s API because there’s no longer a single TinyMCE instance to talk to in Gutenberg.
  • Plugins making updates to their DOM on “submit” or on “save”.
Courses for Developers - JavaScript for WordPress with Zac Gordon
Check ’em out now!


Status Check #4: ACF is compatible with Gutenberg

ACF refers to a very popular plugin called Advanced Custom Fields.

On August 8, ACF published an update which let a lot of site owners and consultant relax a bit on the Gutenberg topic.

The State of ACF in a Gutenberg World

WP Tavern also wrote about it:

Advanced Custom Fields to Add Gutenberg Compatibility in Version 5.0, Slated for September

Its lead developer, Elliot London, published a Q & A regarding the plugin’s Gutenberg compatibility on their blog at the end for February.

Visually, the new editor is very different, but the relationship between ACF and “Post Content” has remained the same.
Field groups will continue to sit below (and around) the “Post Content” area in a similar fashion. They’ll require only a few minor CSS tweaks to integrate with Gutenberg’s minimal style.

Elliot London, lead developer of Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields with Gutenberg – A Vision


Status Check #5: Gutenberg will be the default editor for Custom Post Types

Issue 2457 # — explains the whole thing (August 2017)- The discussion was quite long and a few people provides some great in sites. It seems to be clear that there will be a  ‘block-editor’ post type supports attribute for custom post types with custom controllers.

Earlier this week, I tested a handful of plugins that register Custom Post Types like Team, or Events, and I was pleasantly surprised how well they work  with the Gutenberg editor out of the box.   Adding new posts or editing old ones in the Gutenberg editor was actually an improved experience. It might make me an early adopter to go all in on Gutenberg with some of our clients sites.


Status Check #6: Gutenberg supports shortcodes

And they work really well, using the “Shortcode” Block.

Here is an example from the Sponsors plugin

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Status Check #7: Accessibility is really important for Gutenberg

And the accessibility team is hard at work with the Gutenberg team to get this right. There have a vast array of open GitHub issues list.

Here is a run down of the problems and what a critical issues to be fixed before the merge proposal by team lead Rian Rietveld:

Accessibility of Gutenberg, the state of play

There is still a lot of work to be done though.


Status Check #8: Gutenberg won’t replace TinyMCE but us it

In his own  Myth-busting blog post, published back in October 2017, Andrew Roberts writes:

Firstly, the TinyMCE user experience (toolbar, dialogs, writing flow) can also be found hiding in the Classic Text block. Customizations that previously worked with TinyMCE will continue to work with the Classic Text block. (…)

Secondly, Gutenberg uses the TinyMCE core rich text editing engine in the Editable component. The Editable component is similar to a super-powered textarea element, enabling rich content editing including bold, italics, hyperlinks, etc.

Gutenberg myth-busting: 10 answers on the future of content creation in WordPress

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash


Update: “Try Gutenberg” Call-out available in WordPress 4.9.8

Update August 2, 2018 – 9:30 am ET

The release of WordPress 4.9.8 seems to move forward as planned starting the process at 20:00 UTC / 4 pm ET. The update script check about every hour. 

If you need to avoid the Gutenberg Nag, or Gutenberg for that matter we listed 12 methods in a different post.

One the Make blog for the Core team, Gary Pendergast posted a few notes about the new feature:  “Try Gutenberg” Callout in WordPress 4.9.8

Q: Is the Try Gutenberg callout a one time message

Once you dismiss it, it won’t reappear. If you want to bring it back at any point, open the “Screen Options” dropdown on the Dashboard, and check the “New Editor” option.

Gary Pendergast

Update July 31, 2018 – Release 4.9.8 moved to August 2, 2018

An additional modification on the logic for showing the Try Gutenberg prompt in the dashboard triggers another Release Candidate (RC3) before 4.9.8 will come automatically to WordPress sites.

Gary Pendergast posted a new track ticket early morning, narrowing down the rules for when the Gutenberg call-out is displayed in the WordPress dashboard.

  • When Gutenberg is either not installed, or not activated, only show the callout to users with the install_plugins capability.
  • When Gutenberg is activated, expand that to include all users with the edit_posts capability.

The Gutenberg team released Gutenberg 3.4 version today with 60+ change log items. For users switching back and forth between Gutenberg and Classic Editor there is now a warning in place, to caution editing  content in blocks with the Classic Editor.

Then we will be doing final 4.9.8 release on Thurs (Aug 2), time also still TBD. The 2 days between RC3 and final will allow the Gutenberg team to ensure that GB v3.4 is running smoothly and do a v3.4.1 if necessary

Paul Biron, co-release lead for WordPress 4.9.8 on #core channel.
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New design of the Introduction to Gutenberg page, by Kjell Reigstad:

Update July 30, 2018 – Release maybe moved to August 2,2018

Last week the Core and Gutenberg teams discussed how and when best to let users know that when they create content with  Gutenberg editor and then decided to go back to the classic editor that they might lose  data and formatting for the Gutenberg content. The 3.4 version of Gutenberg has some conditional warning messages built in and is ready to be released.

Some contributors worry, that if users decide to no use Gutenberg, that they won’t use the Classic Editor for editing instead but deactivate Gutenberg and won’t be able to see the warning. For those users there would need to be also a warning coming from Core, which won’t be in 4.9.8, now available as Release Candidate. Putting any warning into core would  require a quick release of 4.9.9.

Pull Request #8247

On Monday, Gary Pendergast suggested to move the 4.9.8 release to August 2, 2018 for the following reasons. 

  • Gutenberg 3.4. is on target to be released tomorrow, moving 4.9.8  two days would give the Gutenberg Team to release a 3.4.1 update fixing any unforeseen flare ups.
  • The Try Gutenberg dashboard call out now  shows a link to the live demo for people who don’t have enough privileges to install plugins so they still can acquaint themselves with Gutenberg. For the link to get into the call-out the core team would need to issue 3rd release candidate version before the final release comes out. The new design of the Gutenberg landing page includes a live demo of Gutenberg and is scheduled to be released tomorrow as well.
  • Another issue was filed, requesting a warning for users with assistive technology, and to recommend to install the Classic Editor. If the release is mover a couple of days, a solution might make it into 4.9.8. It’s release tomorrow, 4.9.9 will be it.

The final decision on the 4.9.8 release date/time will be made by the release leads when they start their day on Monday. Stay Tuned. by 19:00 UTC (3 pm ET)

Methods to avoid the Gutenberg Nag

There are a few plugins available that suppress the so called “Gutenberg Nag”.

Update July 20, 2018 – Released in Beta 2.

The Dashboard Call out to Try the “new, modern publishing experience” is now available in WordPress 4.9.8 Beta 2.

Parallel to getting the next WordPress core version ready for release, the Gutenberg Dev team is working on the milestone 58 “Try Callout” to get identified blockers resolved. In this week’s core dev chat, Tammie Lister kept the door open for the team to punt the call out once more should those blockers not be resolved by the time the Release Candidate for 4.9.8 comes about next week.

Update July 18, 2018 – Call out issue resolved for Core, “Call out” milestone focus for Gutenberg 3.3

Core Committer, Gary Pendergast changed the status of the long ongoing trac ticket “Introduce “Try Gutenberg” callout” opened by Mel Choyce almost exactly a year ago to ‘resolved’. A few people worked on it in various capacities: Apart from Mel and Gary, kudos to Joen Asmussen, Tammie Lister, Joe McGill, Sergey Biryukoc, Aaron Jorbin, Birgit Pauli-Haack, Marius Jenson, Andrea Fercia, Josepha Haden, Chris Lema, Kjell Reigstad,  Matias Ventura, and Michelle Weber. With this status changed the Dashboard Callout is ready to be added to the Beta 2 of WordPress 4.9.8 release for July 19, 2018.

Matias Ventura, co-lead of Gutenberg development opened a milestone on the GitHub repository for issues that need to be resolved before the “Try Gutenberg” invitation is posted in the Dashboard and made it the focus for the next Gutenberg version (3.3 with a tentative release date of July 25, 2018)

A few months ago, Daniel Bachhuber posted a list of issues that should be resolved before several thousand users are starting using Gutenberg, heeding the upcoming call to test the new editor. Today, he posted a blog post with an update on those issues.

Update July 17, 2018

Today Beta 1 of 4.9.8 was released, and I was hoping to be able to test the now famous “Try Gutenberg”. Turns out the first version of the “try Gutenberg” prompt is still being worked on and getting the last polish. 

It will be ready for Beta 2. Kjell Reigstad published the latest mockup on the trac ticket. – Ignore the pink squares, they just help with the white space around it.-  In the last few days, the wording for the two columns experienced a few changes.

Kjell writes in comment #148 of the trac ticket:  “This hits on all the points we need, and is simple and clear:

  1. Gutenberg is coming in the next major release
  2. If you’re worried about compatibility, there’s a plugin to help ease the transition.
  3. The plugin lets you use the editor you’re used to until you’re ready to switch.”

There are quite a few Gutenberg online Live events coming up this week and next week. Experts from different areas of the WordPress community are available for free. Take them up on their offer to asked them about your site getting ready or other Gutenberg implementation issues.

Feel free to connect via comments if you have questions or use the form on the Contact Us page to send us an email to

8 Truths about Gutenberg

Update July 9, 2018

Kjell Reigstad posted another iteration of the possible designs yesterday. Here is one of the mock-ups. All three drafts show a Blocks selection window and language that give the user choices and assistance regarding their decisions to try it or not.

Update July 5, 2018

The WordPress Dev Team just releas 4.9.7 as a security and Maintenance release. The original release map was moved to 4.9.8. Here is the updated post on the make blog

Update July 2, 2018

Early June, Mel Choyce published an modified layout for the “Try Gutenberg” prompt on the WP-Admin Dashboard. She incorporated suggestions  from Chris Lema‘s mock-ups and updated copy by Michelle Weber. The current version for the call out looks like this:

It shows three columns with instructions on how to install the Gutenberg plugin, and how to submit feedback.

From the DevCat Summary of core weekly contributor chat we learn that “Try Gutenberg” is one of the likely focuses for the 4.9.7 release.
Paul Biron and Joshua Wold will head this version as co-release leads with Sergey Biryukov and Jon Bossenger as co-deputies. You can follow the progress of this version and issues via the Make Blog Tag 4.9.7. Weekly Developer Meetings happen every Wednesday. The next meeting will take place on  Wednesday, July 4, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT in #core slack channel.

As mentioned earlier, Daniel Bachhuber maintains a list of issues considered blockers before Gutenberg can put in front of ten-thousands more users. It just received an additional take of “Priority High”

Update May 8th, 2018 

Yesterday, the hosting team published their notes from the May 2nd meeting.  Mark Schroeder confirmed that Try Gutenberg has been pushed to the next 4.9. version.

More Notes regarding the “Try Gutenberg” prompt

Known Issues with Themes & Plugins
To make it easier for users/site owners to decide if they should try it, we published a list of known issues with Themes and Plugins. and link to the various sources.  Try or not to Try?  The post was first published end of April, but received more attention just last week.

Trac Discussion on Try Gutenberg prompt
In his article about the Try Gutenberg prompt, WPTavern’s Jeff Chandler wrote a nice overview on the discussion behind the scenes on how the prompt should appear in the dashboard. 

Fix issues first, before thousands of users hit Gutenberg
Daniel Bachhuber identified a set of known issues from the Github repository, which he thinks should be fixed before the Try Gutenberg prompt is added to a WordPress core version.

Update March 27, 2018
Tonight, Jb Audras,  announced the release of the 4.9.5 RC version.

“The Try Gutenberg callout will ultimately not land in 4.9.5 release. There are still a few issues that need to get fixed before it’s ready for the level of attention this will bring. It will probably land in a dedicated 4.9.6 release in a few weeks (also see related trac ticket: #41316)”

“Unfortunately, there are still a few more issues in Gutenberg that we need to get fixed before it’s ready for the level of attention this will bring, so we’ll probably aim for a small, quick 4.9.6 release a week or so after 4.9.5.

Gary Pendergast (pento), Core Committer, wrote earlier.

Try Gutenberg prompt in WordPress Dashboard version 4.9.5

To encourage more people to try Gutenberg, this new Dashboard box allows site users to easily install and try out Gutenberg.

Demo Gif Try Gutenberg WordPress 4.9.5
Animated GIF in Dashboard prompt for Gutenberg in WordPress 4.9.5

While testing Beta 1 of WordPress version 4.9.5 I didn’t see a Call-out to try Gutenberg in the Dashboard.  However, lurking in on the latest meetings in Slack channels #Core & #Forum I found out the call out to site owners and users will be available with the RC on March 27, 2018 and then released with the WordPress 4.9.5. version on April 3rd, 2018. At least that’s the plan for now.

The corresponding Trac-ticket was closed a few hours ago. Props: Gary Pendergast, Mel Choyce, Joen Asmussen, Tammy Lister, Joe Mcgill, Sergey Biryukov, Aaron Jorbin 

As to the actual Call out to Install / Activate the plugin, there are three different messages:

  • If Gutenberg is not installed, and the user can install plugins, show the Install Today button.
  • If Gutenberg is installed but not activated, and the user can install plugins, show the Activate Today button.
  • If Gutenberg is installed and activated, and the user can edit posts, show the Try Today button.
  • For any other cases (ie, Gutenberg isn’t installed, and the user can’t install plugins; the user can’t edit posts), the button “Install Today”  is hidden.

We also learn from the trac-ticket the different iterations on the layout. Five months ago, the team already went through the design phase, but it also felt was still to early for the 4.8.x version and it was pushed into 4.9, 4.9.1 etc to 4.9.5. The Gutenberg Dev Team seems to be comfortable now to have a whole lot of more users us Gutenberg on their sites.

The #forum contributors & volunteers are preparing for the onslaught of – possibly – millions of  people trying out Gutenberg and having questions together with the Gutenberg development team.

During the meeting one member suggested strongly to add the following sentence to the call out:

“If you are not comfortable with, or have doubts about using pre-release software, you should not install this plugin.”

Another team member suggested also to reach out to Themes and Plugin developers and let them know about the call-out, just in case they don’t see it in the Release Candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The first questions that came up in the forum meetings and their answers:

Q: Can I go back to the old editor?

A: Yes, just uninstall the Gutenberg plugin. (After 5.0: Yes, just install the Classic Editor plugin:

Q: What happens if I disable the Gutenberg plugin?

A: Your posts will largely remain in tact, but you may need to provide your own styling for the few elements that Gutenberg was providing styling for, and replace a few blocks.

Q: Will switching to Gutenberg affect my existing content?

A: No.

Q: Can I edit existing content in Gutenberg?

A: Yes, you can continue editing using the classic bloc (which mimics the behavior of the current editor inside Gutenberg) or you can try the “convert to blocks” option to split the content to the regular Gutenberg blocks.

Q: Can I use it with my themes visual page builder?

A: Some plugins may have started working on their Gutenberg support, but when testing with the plugin it is not unlikely that some of them may not work with Gutenberg yet.

Q: Why there is not an option in the dashboard for switching between G and old editor?

A: There is, hover over a post and you can use the classic editor for that post, it’s an option along with the usual edit, quick edit and trash links.

We’ll update the list before the release,

Here is the link to the FAQs in Gutenberg Handbook

How can you help?

Starting April 4th, 2018, assist other users in the Gutenberg plugin support forum. If you are already comfortable using Gutenberg on your own site, and you have some time to spare,it would be very helpful, if you could answer questions in the support forum of the feature plugin once the WordPress 4.9.5 is released.

Where should issues be reported?

Updated: Feb 24: The support team expects users to report issues on the support forum of the feature plugin. Support contributors check if it’s a legitimate issue and create a ticket on the GitHub repository of Gutenberg

How can the “Try Gutenberg” prompt be hidden from the Dashboard?

There are some folks out there, feeling their site owners or users should not see the “Try Gutenberg” prompt. One of them built a plugin that’s available on GitHub. 

8 Truths about Gutenberg

Update #82 – WordPress Community Getting Ready for Gutenberg. More Opinions, Plugins and Blocks

On Tuesday, if all goes well, the “try Gutenberg” prompt will appear in a WordPress dashboard near you.  Below, you’ll find a series of articles on how best to make a decision about testing Gutenberg, how to copy your site to a staging area and which plugin to install to best manage the Gutenberg experience and prepare for WordPress 5.0. Some Bloggers will go ahead and use Gutenberg on their live site and they will find a few more custom block plugins and help to make their  Themes Gutenberg ready. Awesome tips and tricks for block and plugin developers, too.

Table of Contents

How to Best  Get Ready for Gutenberg
20 Gutenberg Talks On WordPress TV
Gutenberg Live Show w/ Zac Gordon & Joe Casabona every other week. Next August 9th, at 2pm. Sign-up for reminders

It’s Time to Go All-In with Gutenberg
You’ll Probably be Fine with Gutenberg
Gutenberg for WordPress and Compatibility with Advanced Custom Fields
Insight Into How North Carolina State Is Preparing for Gutenberg
Gutenberg: Making Consistency Easy


Themes Development in Times of Gutenberg

Plugin Review: Theme Support for Gutenberg


Plugins getting ready for Gutenberg

Yoast’s update on its Gutenberg Efforts

“Of course our own plugins need to be ready to integrate seamlessly with the Gutenberg editor when it’s there. Not something to take lightly! So we have a special team that’s fully dedicated to make sure we’re ready when Gutenberg is. They’re completely rebuilding all parts of the Yoast SEO plugin in the JavaScript library React, amongst others. Soon we’ll be able to tell and show you more on this. So make sure to keep an eye on our updates.”

wrote Willemien Hallebeck


Block Development #280Blocks


Photos from Around the World

Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

Should You Try the New Editor on Your WordPress Site?

The next version of WordPress (4.9.8) will show on your Dashboard a prompt alerting you to the “new, modern publishing experience coming soon”. The new version will be released July 31, 2018. Over last two months, I have been following the development of the Try Gutenberg Call-out for the WordPress dashboard. Now that it will actually come to pass, I share a few pieces of information that might help you with the decision. Should you try or shouldn’t you?  

Dashboard Prompt: A new, modern publishing experience is coming soon!

What is Gutenberg?

It’s the code name of the new visual editor for WordPress. Gutenberg will be merged into the WordPress Core software in version 5.0, due out later this year. During its development it has been available in various stages as a Featured Plugin for people to test and become familiar with it. Once the new editor is rolled into WordPress Core, it likely will be called the “Editor.”

Let Morten Rand-Hendrikson take you on a tour of the new editor in 4 minutes.

Purpose of the Call-out

This trial period is part of the phased rollout for Gutenberg which will be incorporated into WordPress Core later this year. Its purpose is to get as many users & websites as possible to use Gutenberg. The goal is 100,000 sites and those sites should publish a combined 250,000 posts. Currently, the Gutenberg plugin is actively installed on approximately 14,000 sites. By the time the goal of 100,000 sites is reached, there is a good chance–via an increased feedback loop–that many bugs and incompatibilities can be fixed prior to the new editor getting into Core.

Who shouldn’t use Gutenberg?

In short, if you depend on your ecommerce site or your online learning site to bring in revenue, don’t use it on your live site…yet.

If you have a ton of plugins already installed, and if you do a lot of fancy massaging of your post and page content, you might not opt for installing the Gutenberg plugin just yet. We suggest you copy your current site to set up a staging site, then take your time testing Gutenberg within your staged site before you install it on your live site. Here are some easy to follow instructions on how to copy your website for testing.

If you simply want to get a feel for the new editor without involving your own website, the team of WordPress VIPs has created a nice sandbox to play with Gutenberg.

Content Creators Using Page Builders

Page Builders such as Elementary, Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin and Visual Composer are in various stages of making their plugins compatible with the new Gutenberg editor. For now, just wait until a later release of both the editor and WordPress Core. That’s also my recommendation if a Grid Page plugin is used, in essence a mini-page builder.

Go the route of the “Not Ready Yet” and click on “Classic Editor.”

Only for Post and Pages

If you do use the new editor, once the Gutenberg plugin is activated the editor only appears for post and page edits. If you have plugins that use custom post types such as Team Members, Events, Portfolio, etc. they still open with the Classic Editor.

Most plugins will be compatible with Gutenberg; other plugins don’t touch the editor at all. Daniel Bachhuber, WordPress Core developer, started the Plugin Compatibility Project. He found that of the top 5,000 most installed plugins, nearly 75% don’t touch the editor screen at all and should be compatible right out of the box.

Graphic: Plugin Compatibility Projects

90.46 % of all tested plugins are deemed compatible with Gutenberg. (of 894 plugins tested)

With all the fanciness of the new editor environment, once you hit the save/publish button the content is saved in the database as “the_content.” A lot of Plugins and Themes tap into that part and not the editing part.

Put on your reading list also Mika Epstein’s blog post: “You’ll Probably be Fine with Gutenberg“. Mika is part of the plugin review team and also works at Dreamhost.

Sites using Custom Post Types plugins (i.e., Events or Products or Recipes) will have both editors in use: Gutenberg for posts and pages, and Classic Editor for everything else until WordPress 5.0 will be released.

Most meta boxes for custom fields also work very well for Gutenberg as will shortcodes made available by various plugins and themes.

If you find inconsistencies or “hiccups,” deactivate Gutenberg and see if they go away. If you want to research it a bit, it would be helpful if you would let Gutenberg development team know what you find so they can work on a fix, or perhaps connect with the plugin authors to help coordinate updates.

Now that we got all the preliminaries out of the way, and you decide to make the jump, let’s talk through what will happen.

For those of you, who are in a rush, a video that takes you from Dashboard screen above to a first blog post with the new editor.

What will change in your WordPress Admin?

New Menu: Gutenberg

Installing the Plugin gives you a new menu item in your WordPress Admin called “Gutenberg.” It has four menu items: Demo, Feedback, Support and Documentation.

Changed “Edit” Link Behavior

All “Edit” links will bring you to the new Gutenberg Editor

  • On the front end (if your themes supports it)
  • Admin header “Edit Post”
  • Admin header “New > Post or Page”
  • “All Posts” page. There you also see an additional link “Classic Editor,” which allows you to edit your post in the classic editor. That’s particularly helpful if you want to edit older content.
Classic Editor link in All Posts view

What Happens With My Existing Content?

The short answer: nothing. It display as it did before.

If you need to edit it, you have two choices:

  • You can click on any Edit link just as you did before, except now it will open it in Gutenberg, and it will display in the ‘Classic Editor Block’ and you can edit as you want within the restrictions it shows.
  • Or, you can use the ‘Classic Editor’ link from the posts list and edit it in the Classic Editor.

And just this moment I realize how confusing this sounds. These two things which have similar names are actually two different things. These two screenshots will help.

Admin Screen Classic Editor:

Classic Edit Screen

Admin Screen Gutenberg with a Classic Editor Block

Content in Gutenberg / Classic Editor Block

Now, you can edit your old content in a fairly familiar interface.

In the above screenshot of the Classic Editor Block, you also get a “3-dot-menu.” When you click on it you find items that are available to most other blocks as well, and the one relevant here: “Convert to Blocks.”

Convert Existing Content to Blocks

Before you think about doing this, make sure you have revisions enabled to have previous version to revert back to should a conversion fail for some reason.

There isn’t a whole lot of reasoning to convert all your content to blocks.

One reason could be that you want to use some of the new blocks that weren’t available to you before to spruce up your current pages to create a better experience for your readers, or perhaps you want to mix in a few more interactive components of multimedia content.

If we do this in above example, the result doesn’t look much different from before.

Content Converted to Block

New Features in Paragraph Blocks

Now you can apply some of the additional features available to paragraph blocks:

Add a Drop-Cap, change the background and the text size. Those tools are available in the sidebar of the editor, in the tab “Block.”

New Featured for Paragraphs

Will my Theme Work with Gutenberg?

As a general rule, Gutenberg is compatible with any standard WordPress theme. What you might see is that the editor view is not exactly what you will see on the front end. But it comes very, very close.

But there might be little tweaks necessary. Let see how our example worked:

Frontend view of paragraph

So that wasn’t so bad. Apart from the different styling of the Drop-Cap letter the rest looks quite close to the view in the new Editor.

How to Test Gutenberg Blocks with your Theme

If you want to get a good look at how the rest of the blocks work with your existing theme, I used a prepared text file with all the blocks in different variations and added them in a post via the Code Editor. You can grab the text file here, and watch this video on how to use it in a post. I also published a full set of instructions if you need additional assistance on how to explore this journey.

Or you can install Rich Tabor’s Block Unit Test plugin. This plugin adds a new page automatically to your site with a set of blocks and you can review it on the front end.

Known Issues with Content Conversions to blocks

Content created by Page Builders

Page Builder actively change how the editor in WordPress behaves. Some of the authors have already added Gutenberg-readiness, in one way or another; but in general, assume that the produced content doesn’t convert well to blocks. (See above.)

Switching Back and Forth Between Gutenberg and Classic Editor

Once you convert content to blocks, editing the same post will cause few quirks. You will be able to edit a Gutenberg post in the Classic Editor, but the other way around will probably fail to some extent.

Andrew Ozz, WordPress lead developer, explained on Slack (login required) : “When editing a post in Gutenberg and classic and switching back and forth, the blocks become “invalid” (because of the changes). This is pretty much the same as editing the block’s content in Gutenberg, either on block by block basis or the whole html. After that Gutenberg offers to convert the block to an “HTML Block”.

Another reason to try things on a test site is the uncertainty around going back to Classic editor for new and converted content, when you decide to disable Gutenberg. Or install the Classic Editor plugin.

Converting Tables

If you have a table hard-coded in old posts, it will likely lose its design properties when you attempt to convert the content into blocks. The table block is not as sophisticated yet. This is not true for tabular views created with TablePress and added with a shortcode to the page or post. TablePress shortcodes work well.

Converting Columns

If you have hard-coded columns in your current post content they might get converted to single column blocks using Gutenberg editor.

More quirks

  • Content with javascript code that was added through the Text-Tab doesn’t convert well.
  • Gutenberg doesn’t have Post Locking so now you are in danger of overwriting each others edits if two people edit the same post.
  • Multi-line short codes – get added <p> tags.
  • It’s unclear how you would editing Shared Blocks in Classic Editor

These are a very loose list of quirks you might run into.  One or the other issue will trip you up sooner or later, especially if you want to keep the door open to go back to the Classic Editor. The best way out of that quagmire is moving forward and take the good with the bad for a few months, until these specific issues are fix by the very hard working Gutenberg developer team. Patience is the a virtue:-) 

This should get you started on your first discovery session with Gutenberg.

Resources to learn more about Gutenberg

Known Issues List 
Look at our post with more in-depth information about Known issues and conflicts with Gutenberg.

GoGutenberg – Take a Tour and Explore Blocks
On the GoGutenberg site, the team of WPSmackdown created a whole site dedicated to blocks and Gutenberg. It’s likely the most comprehensive tutorial available so far.

If you are not ready yet to do anything, but still want to check out Gutenberg, the team of WordPressVIP provide a sandbox install of Gutenberg for your to play in.

This post was previously published on the Above the Noise – Blog at Pauli Systems and on Medium 

Featured Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash

Update #81 – New Blocks, Updated plugins for “New WordPress publishing experience” and more

The final wording on the Call-out inviting WordPress WP-Admin users to try Gutenberg is “A new, modern WordPress publishing experience is coming soon”. If all goes well, the prompt will be released on July 31, 2018, with it’s offering of installing Gutenberg of the Classic Editor. In the meantime, the Gutenberg team released their next version, fixing a few APIs and adding more blocks and additional attribute to video and audio blocks.  Various block bearing plugins received updates as well and we discovered newly created blocks. Photos from Costa Rica and Boston: People at Gutenberg events.

Table of Content

Gutenberg Development

Version 3.3 was released July 20, 2018

“Most of the updates are around refining the experience and strengthening the API surface, new server rendered blocks added to the library, and multiple packages being extracted as the APIs mature,” summarized Matias Ventura (@matias_ventura) in his post

What’s new in Gutenberg? (20th July)

Milestone: Call Out.

The team is also focused on Milestone “Call out” – “Tasks that would be good to get sorted for the WordPress 4.9.8 admin notice.” – release date tentatively scheduled for July 25th, 2018, a few days before the Try Gutenberg prompts will be released in 4.8.9. In this week’s #core meeting, Tammie Lister left the door open for the team to punt again on the dashboard call out, should the blockers not be removed fast enough for the Release Candidate schedule for July 24, 2019.

Update: “Try Gutenberg” Call-out available in WordPress 4.9.8
Block Attributes Glossary


Video & Live Q & A


Using Gutenberg and getting ready

GutenReady for the Gutenpocalypse – Educating Gutenberg


Plugins compatible with Gutenberg


Updated Blocks for Gutenberg editor #280 Blocks


Photos from Around the World