The Difference Between Classic Themes, Block Themes & Hybrid Themes

Since the introduction of the block editor in WordPress 5, the WordPress landscape has experienced rapid changes. With numerous new features introduced in every release, it can be challenging to stay ahead of these developments.

Particularly, WordPress themes have undergone substantial evolution in recent years, with terms like Block themes, FSE themes and Hybrid themes becoming increasingly common.


What are Classic themes?

Classic WordPress themes have a long history and are likely familiar if you’ve ever used WordPress. They remain the most popular type of WordPress theme today.

Classic WordPress themes consist of pre-designed website templates that often come with specific features and functionality.

These themes commonly include editable headers, sidebar widgets and customisable colour schemes.

Classic themes are frequently paired with a page builder plugin like Elementor, Divi, Avada, or WP Bakery, as page builders have historically addressed the limitations of the standard classic editor.

What are Block themes?

Block Themes are reshaping the way WordPress websites are built. They are purpose-built to seamlessly integrate with the Block Editor and facilitate Full Site Editing features.

Full Site Editing (FSE) empowers users to personalise the design and layout of their entire website. FSE allows users to modify elements such as the header, footer, post templates, archive pages and other areas previously restricted to code-based editing.

Block themes offer pre-designed patterns and custom block styles, simplifying content creation for users.

What are FSE themes?

FSE themes are essentially identical to block themes. While these terms are often used interchangeably, “block themes” is now the official and preferred term. FSE stands for full site editing, which is why these themes initially received their name.

Looking ahead, “full site editing” describes the overall experience of using the block and site editor, whereas a “block theme” establishes default styles, patterns, blocks, constraints and demo content.

What are Hybrid themes?

Hybrid WordPress themes amalgamate traditional classic themes and block-based themes. They offer a blend of the familiar classic editing experience while harnessing the new features and capabilities of block-based themes.

In essence, hybrid themes enable users to work with blocks for creating custom page designs while retaining access to the traditional WordPress editor.

Hybrid themes offer several benefits:

  • They provide a mix of the classic editing experience with the new features and capabilities of block-based themes.
  • They ease the transition to the new block-based editor.
  • They offer greater options for customising page designs.
  • They grant more control over post and archive design and layout.
  • They enable block templates and block template parts.
  • They activate features exclusive to the use of a theme.json file.


The introduction of the block editor in WordPress 5 has brought about rapid changes in the WordPress ecosystem, giving rise to various theme types:

  • Classic themes, which encompass pre-designed templates and are often paired with page builder plugins.
  • Block themes, tailored for the Block Editor and Full Site Editing.
  • FSE themes, essentially equivalent to block themes, used interchangeably.
  • Hybrid themes, bridging traditional and block-based themes, providing a blend of classic editing familiarity and new block-based capabilities.

With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision when selecting your next WordPress theme.