Genesis - Block Widgets & Troubleshooting the Widgets Page

This article applies to our Genesis themes only (not Kadence themes).

In WordPress 5.8, a new block-based Widgets page was introduced. This Widgets page is new, not very user friendly (clunky to maneuver), and we don't currently recommend it. The block-based Widgets page is automatically disabled on sites running Genesis 3.3.4+, but it's possible to enable it separately. We'll touch more on this below.

Possible issues

Classic Widgets → Block Widgets

Block widgets are not backwards-compatible with many classic WordPress widgets, such as Search and Recent Posts. That means if the block-based Widgets page becomes enabled on your site, you'll likely see errors for some widgets on your Widgets page, like this:

Block Widgets → Classic Widgets

Vice versa, if you had the block-based Widgets page enabled previously in a different theme and then installed one of our themes — you may see a number of block widgets on your site that are not displaying correctly. This is why we suggest removing any widgets from your previous theme prior to installing any 17th Avenue theme or other Genesis child theme. To remove these block widgets, go to Appearance > Widgets > Primary Sidebar.

How to disable the block-based widgets page

If you have one of our themes installed and you're seeing the block-based Widgets page, no need to worry! This is an easy fix.

Genesis 3.3.4+ automatically disables the block-based Widgets page for you. If you're seeing the block-based Widgets page on your site, your first step should be to make sure that you are updated to the latest version of the Genesis Framework. Most of the time, an outdated version of Genesis is the cause.

If you're already updated to Genesis 3.3.4+ and you're still seeing the block-based Widgets page, here are a couple other things to check: 

  • Go to Plugins > All Plugins. Look for a plugin titled "Gutenberg." This plugin is experimental and should never be running on a live website. If you have this plugin installed, deactivate it.
  • [Uncommon] Genesis offers a code snippet that you can add to your theme to enable the block widgets manually. If you remember doing this, remove that code (link) from your Functions.php file.

Widgets not appearing correctly after disabling block-based widgets

Unfortunately, switching from the block-based Widgets page to the classic Widgets page can sometimes cause some of your widgets to be removed. We always, always recommend updating Genesis prior to updating WordPress for this reason (learn more here). If you lose any of your widgets, you have two options:

  1. Manually set up the missing widgets again as non-block-based widgets. Refer to your theme documentation for the manual widget setup instructions.
  2. Or go through and delete all of your widgets, then re-import the demo widgets.

Leftover block widgets

You may have some "leftover" block widgets in your sidebar after disabling the block-based Widgets page. If you see any widgets in your Primary Sidebar that say "Block" — open them and delete them.

The same applies to leftover block widgets from a different theme. A good rule of thumb is to delete any and all widgets on your site that are named "Block."