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WordPress Full Site Editing - Step By Step Installation Tutorial


WordPress Full Site Editing (FSE) is a game-changing feature that allows users to have more control over their site's design and layout without needing to dive into code. With Full Site Editing, you can customize every aspect of your website, from the header to the footer, and everything in between. The purpose of this tutorial is to provide a step-by-step guide to installing and setting up Full Site Editing on your WordPress site so you can take advantage of this powerful feature and create a truly unique web presence.

Step 1: Update Your WordPress Installation

Ensure Latest WordPress Version

To ensure compatibility with Full Site Editing, you should be running the latest version of WordPress. To check your current version, log in to your WordPress dashboard and look at the "At a Glance" widget on the main screen. You should see the WordPress version number displayed there.

If you are not running the latest version, you can update WordPress by navigating to Dashboard > Updates. Click on the "Update Now" button to start the update process. Make sure to backup your site before updating, as updating can sometimes cause issues with themes or plugins.

Step 2: Install and Activate Gutenberg Plugin

Installing Gutenberg

Full Site Editing is part of the Gutenberg project, which aims to enhance the WordPress editing experience. To access Full Site Editing, you first need to install and activate the Gutenberg plugin. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  2. In the search bar at the top right, type "Gutenberg" and press Enter.
  3. Locate the Gutenberg plugin in the search results (it should be the first result) and click on the "Install Now" button.
  4. After the installation is complete, click on the "Activate" button to enable the Gutenberg plugin on your site.

Now that you have installed and activated the Gutenberg plugin, you're ready to choose a Full Site Editing compatible theme and start customizing your site.

Step 3: Choose a Full Site Editing Compatible Theme

Selecting a Theme

Not all WordPress themes are compatible with Full Site Editing. To take full advantage of the feature, you need to choose a theme that is designed to work with FSE. There are two main types of compatible themes:

  1. Block-based themes: These themes are built entirely using blocks and are specifically designed for Full Site Editing. They provide the most seamless and feature-rich FSE experience.
  2. Hybrid themes: These themes combine traditional theme design with block-based elements. They offer some FSE functionality but may not support all FSE features.

Some popular FSE-compatible themes include Twenty Twenty-One, Blockbase, and Quadrat. You can find more themes by searching for "Full Site Editing" or "Block-based" in the WordPress theme repository.

Installing a Theme

To install and activate a Full Site Editing compatible theme, follow these steps:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes.
  2. Click on the "Add New" button at the top of the screen.
  3. In the search bar, type the name of the compatible theme you want to use (e.g., "Twenty Twenty-One" or "Blockbase") and press Enter.
  4. Locate the desired theme in the search results and click on the "Install" button.
  5. After the installation is complete, click on the "Activate" button to enable the chosen theme on your site.

With your FSE-compatible theme installed and activated, you can now enable Full Site Editing in Gutenberg and start customizing your site.

Step 4: Enable Full Site Editing in Gutenberg

Accessing Gutenberg Experiments

To enable Full Site Editing, you need to access the Gutenberg Experiments settings. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Gutenberg > Experiments.

Enabling Full Site Editing

On the Experiments settings page, you will see a checkbox next to "Enable Full Site Editing." Check this box to enable FSE on your site. After checking the box, click the "Save changes" button at the bottom of the page.

Now that Full Site Editing is enabled, you can start exploring the Site Editor interface and customizing your site's design and layout.

Step 5: Explore the Site Editor Interface

Accessing the Site Editor

With Full Site Editing enabled, you can now access the Site Editor, where you can customize your entire site using blocks. To open the Site Editor, navigate to Appearance > Editor from your WordPress dashboard.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Interface

The Site Editor interface consists of three main areas:

  1. Canvas area: This is the central area where you can see a live preview of your site as you edit it. You can click on any part of your site in the canvas area to select and edit the corresponding block.
  2. Block inserter: Located in the top-left corner of the Site Editor, the block inserter allows you to add new blocks to your site. Click on the "+" icon to open the block library, where you can search for and add various types of blocks, including theme-specific and content-related blocks.
  3. Settings and options panel: Located on the right side of the Site Editor, this panel provides various settings and options for the currently selected block, template part, or global settings.

As you explore the Site Editor, you'll notice that the interface is quite similar to the Gutenberg post editor, making it easy for users familiar with Gutenberg to adapt to Full Site Editing.

Step 6: Customize Your Site's Global Styles

Accessing Global Styles

Global Styles allow you to define and apply consistent styles across your entire site, such as typography, colors, and layout settings. To access Global Styles, open the Site Editor and click on the "Global Styles" tab in the settings panel on the right side.

Editing Global Styles

In the Global Styles settings, you can customize various aspects of your site's design, including:

  1. Typography: Adjust the default font family, size, and line height for different text elements, such as headings and paragraphs.
  2. Colors: Set the default colors for your site's background, text, and links. You can also define custom color palettes to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout your site.
  3. Layout: Customize the site's layout settings, such as the content width and spacing between elements.

By editing your site's Global Styles, you can ensure a consistent look and feel across all pages and templates, making it easier to maintain a professional and cohesive design.

Step 7: Edit Your Site's Templates

Accessing Templates

Templates define the structure and layout of different parts of your site, such as the header, footer, and content area. With Full Site Editing, you can customize these templates to create unique designs for each page or section of your site. To access the templates, open the Site Editor and click on the "Templates" tab in the settings panel on the right side.

Customizing Templates

In the Templates settings, you can perform various tasks to tailor your site's structure and layout:

  1. Editing template parts: Select and edit template parts, such as the header, footer, and sidebar, to customize their appearance and functionality. You can add, remove, or rearrange blocks within each template part to create a unique design.
  2. Creating custom templates: If the default templates provided by your theme don't meet your needs, you can create custom templates from scratch or by duplicating and modifying existing templates. This allows you to design unique layouts for specific pages or sections of your site.
  3. Assigning templates to specific pages: Once you've created a custom template, you can assign it to specific pages or posts by editing the page or post and selecting the custom template from the "Template" dropdown in the Document settings.

By customizing your site's templates, you can create a truly unique design that sets your site apart from others using the same theme.

Step 8: Add and Customize Blocks

Adding Blocks

Using the block inserter in the Site Editor, you can add a wide variety of blocks to your site, including theme-specific blocks, content blocks, and layout blocks. To add a block, click on the "+" icon in the top-left corner of the Site Editor, search for the desired block in the block library, and click on it to insert it into your site.

Customizing Blocks

Once you've added a block to your site, you can customize its appearance and functionality using the block-specific settings in the settings panel on the right side of the Site Editor. Some common settings include alignment, padding, and background color. You can also use the Global Styles settings to apply consistent styles to your blocks, ensuring a cohesive design throughout your site.

By adding and customizing blocks, you can create a dynamic and engaging website that effectively showcases your content and highlights your unique brand.

Step 9: Test Your Site on Different Devices

Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness

As more users access websites from various devices, it's essential to ensure that your site looks and functions well on all screen sizes. Full Site Editing makes it easy to create responsive designs, but it's still crucial to test your site on different devices.

To check your site's responsiveness in the Site Editor, use the preview options located in the top-right corner of the screen. These options allow you to switch between desktop, tablet, and mobile views so you can see how your site looks on each device type.

Additionally, it's a good idea to test your site using actual devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to ensure that your site is truly mobile-friendly. This will help you identify any issues that may not be apparent in the Site Editor's preview mode.

Step 10: Publish Your Changes

Saving Your Customizations

Once you're satisfied with your site's design and layout, it's time to save your changes and make them live. To do this, click on the "Save" button in the top-right corner of the Site Editor. A panel will appear, showing you a list of all the changes you've made since your last save.

Review the list of changes to ensure that everything looks correct. If you need to make any adjustments, you can do so before saving. Once you're ready, click the "Save" button in the panel to publish your changes and make your customizations live on your site.


This step-by-step tutorial has guided you through the process of installing and setting up Full Site Editing on your WordPress site. With Full Site Editing enabled and a compatible theme in place, you now have the power to customize every aspect of your site, creating a unique and engaging web presence.

We encourage you to explore and experiment with the various Full Site Editing features and capabilities to create the perfect design for your site. The possibilities are endless, and with some creativity and practice, you can build a website that truly stands out from the crowd.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Full Site Editing available in the WordPress core?

Full Site Editing is currently available through the Gutenberg plugin. It is planned to be integrated into the WordPress core in a future release, but for now, you need to install and activate the Gutenberg plugin to access FSE features.

Can I use Full Site Editing with any WordPress theme?

Not all themes are compatible with Full Site Editing. To take full advantage of FSE, you should choose a block-based or hybrid theme that is designed to work with FSE features. Examples of FSE-compatible themes include Twenty Twenty-One, Blockbase, and Quadrat.

Does Full Site Editing replace the need for a page builder plugin?

Full Site Editing provides many of the features and capabilities that page builder plugins offer, such as the ability to customize layouts, add and edit blocks, and create custom templates. However, some users may still prefer to use a page builder plugin for additional features, functionality, or ease of use.

Can I use custom CSS with Full Site Editing?

Yes, you can still use custom CSS with Full Site Editing to further customize your site's design. You can add custom CSS through the Additional CSS section in the Customizer, or by using a custom CSS plugin.

What happens if I deactivate the Gutenberg plugin after enabling Full Site Editing?

If you deactivate the Gutenberg plugin, you will lose access to Full Site Editing features, and your site will revert to its previous state before enabling FSE. Any changes made using FSE will not be visible, and you will need to reactivate the Gutenberg plugin to regain access to those customizations.

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