WordPress User Roles And Permissions Explained (Full Guide)

WordPress User Roles and Permissions Explained (Full Guide). You likely haven’t had to consider WordPress user roles if you’re the only one in charge of your website. Hence, WordPress user roles are crucial for regulating what actions the different users at your site can take if you ever have to grant others access to your WordPress site.

In this detailed guide, let’s get into the WordPress user roles and permissions, so you can effectively manage your WordPress site.

Shall we start with WordPress User Roles and Permissions Explained (Full Guide).

What User Roles and Permissions mean in WordPress

Image source: wp-tutoring.com

Overall, WordPress offers six standard user roles, each with a unique set of capabilities and permissions. Remember, you don’t want just anyone to have unrestricted access to your website.

User Roles

Roles and permissions for WordPress users are two distinct but related ideas. Depending on the user type, user roles define what a user can and cannot do on your WordPress site. All users with a particular user role status are subject to these restrictions.

User Permissions

Contrarily, permissions are more tailored to the individual. Specify what a user is allowed to do on your website by developing customized permissions for that user. Additionally, you can assign various users different permissions based on their roles.

The 6 WordPress User Roles Explained

Particularly, if you want to safeguard your website and ensure your site operates more productively, delegating each role is essential. Let’s examine every one of these roles individually.

Presently, there is six primary WordPress user roles are as follows:

So, in WordPress, you can select a role from a drop down menu when creating a new user.

Role of Super Administrator

On a WordPress site, the Super Admin is the highest level tier. In detail, the super admin controls the complete network and has the power to implement significant changes. Additionally, this user has full authority over the website and can manage themes, install and activate plugins, add and remove users, and more. Super Admins are generally only present on WordPress multisite installations.

In effect, within a multiple site network, Super Admins have complete control over all features and settings with each site. In general, they can add and remove other Administrators, make new sites, and manage the content on every site.

Role of Administrator

Next is the administrator, who completely controls one WordPress site. Subsequently, they have the ability to manage themes, install and activate plugins, and add and remove users. Generally they are called the site owners or primary authors. Surely, this prominent position has full access to all site settings, features, and content.

In other words, they have the ability to update plugins, themes, and the CMS. Thus, the Administrator is also in charge of distributing user roles and privileges to additional registered users. In sum, there should only be one Administrator per website, ideally.

Role of Editor

In WordPress, users with the editor role have complete control over the content sections of your website.

In summary, they add, edit, publish, and delete any post on the website, even those written by others. A comment is moderated, edited, or deleted by an editor.

While, the content that they and other users with lesser statuses, like Authors and Contributors, have produced can get revised by editors. On the other hand, they cannot alter content for users with greater permissions, such as an Administrator. Usually, content managers or positions with a similar title fill this position.

Role of Author

In this case, the author role allows users to create, edit, and publish their own posts. Even if the published post is up, they are allowed the power to delete it.

Not to mention, Authors only select from the pre existing categories when composing a post.  But they are not allowed to create new ones.

With that said, they can add tags to their post. Even comments that are still in review can get viewed by authors, but they are not authorized to moderate, approve, or remove any comments.

It’s a relatively limited user role because they are not permitted access to the site’s settings, plugins, or themes. The ability to remove one’s own published posts is the lone exception.

Role of Contributor

Of course, the contributor role is where users are only permitted to create, edit and delete their own posts.  They are not allowed to publish any new posts.

On balance, they choose from pre existing categories and add their own tags when posting things.

Since contributors are not authorized to upload files, they are not allowed to include images in their posts, which is their major drawback.

Although they are not authorized to approve or delete commentaries, contributors can still view every comment published on the website.
With that said, they are not permitted access to plugins, themes, and website settings, making it impossible for them to alter any settings on your website.

Role of Subscriber

So that, the subscriber role allows users to log in, edit their user profiles, and change their passwords on your WordPress website.

They are not permitted in your WordPress admin area whether to post, read comments, or perform any other actions.
In case you operate a membership website, a shopping site, or some other site wherein users can register and log in, this particular user role is helpful.

Other WordPress roles (some platforms)

On a few WordPress sites, there are extra user role options available. Example being shop managers, for instance, have similar powers to Administrators, if you’re running a WooCommerce platform. Similarly,  they also have some advanced features designed exclusively for managing WooCommerce stores. In addition to other things, they also manage orders and add and remove products.

Up next with WordPress User Roles and Permissions Explained is to learn more about the roles. 

Comparative Display of WordPress User Roles

Find the illustration of WordPress user roles below:

How To Assign A WordPress New User Role?

  • On the WordPress dashboard, click Users and Add New.
  • Add the user’s name and contact information.
  • On the New User page, click the Role menu at the bottom.
  • Designate the chosen role.
  • Click the box next to “send the new user an email about their account.”
  • Tap the blue button Add New User and create the user.
  • Now, with the proper user role in the table, that user will be visible in the user dashboard.

WordPress Existing Users: How To Change Their Roles

  • From the WordPress dashboard, select Users and All Users.
  • To change a user, tick the box beside the user.
  • Select “Change Role To.”
  • Choose the proper role on the menu.
  • Next to that menu, click the Change button.
  • Whatever you picked will now be the user role.

How to remove WordPress user roles

  • From the WordPress dashboard, click Roles and All Roles.
  • Through the table in the Roles screen, choose a role.
  • Hold your cursor there till you see Delete.
  • Click “Delete” and then tap “OK.”

How To Create A New Custom Role On WordPress

  • On the WordPress dashboard, click Roles and Add New.
  • Where it asks Role Name and Display Name, assign your new role.
  • You can choose skills by checking the boxes beside them.
  • Add your new role by clicking the blue Add New Role button at the bottom.

How To Set Capabilities and Permissions To a Role

  • On the WordPress side menu, click All Roles under Roles.
  • To open the Edit Role window, choose the role you want to assign permission.
  • From the Capabilities window, check the box beside the selected authorization.
  • At the bottom of the page, click Update Role.

Optimize with Plugins

So far, on WordPress, there are plugins for pretty much anything you can imagine. Here are three of the best Plugins for optimizing user roles and abilities.

Improve user Roles and Security with SAML SSO WP Cloud Plugin

We think you should consider trying WP Cloud SSO In summary, it is a WordPress hardening tool, that limits login attempts to your WordPress site. 

Thank you for reading WordPress User Roles and Permissions Explained (Full Guide). We shall conclude. 

WordPress User Roles and Permissions Explained (Full Guide) Conclusion

Summing up, establishing a clear understanding of each person’s role and responsibilities is essential to managing a successful team. Thankfully, there is a built in method to do this in WordPress.

Learn what each of the six roles in WordPress can do before moving on. Using plugins to customize user roles and limiting the number of top level users in your system are ways to achieve this.

Please read more of our WordPress content in the blog over here

Avatar for Benjamin Roussey
Benjamin Roussey

Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA but now lives in Arizona. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship and he completed 4 years in the US Navy. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). He has worked everywhere from small businesses to large corporations, and also for public agencies. He has lived in South Korea and Saudi Arabia where he was an ESL instructor. Now he writes professionally for several clients and many of them in the tech community. He knows these topics well. He’s been focused on the tech arena since 2010. Currently he lives in the Phoenix area. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.

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