Many times on your WordPress website you come across to situation when you have to give other people access to the website to make different edits or contribute to the website. But the problem is you cannot trust everyone to give full admin level access hence you want to give only access to the specific part where you want other person to work on this is where WordPress User Roles come in.

For Example:
If you want a person to edit text on a page then you can give that person limited access to make edits like changing, updating or adding text along with it few other supportive accesses are granted.

If you assign roles properly, you will surely have the satisfaction that nobody has more access than they require, this also helps to make your website secure because no extra person has unwanted access to WordPress Dashboard.

We will share with you all available roles and permissions granted to them on WordPress, if you understand them properly, surely there are lots of benefits of them which can help you throughout the life of the website.

WordPress User Roles

Each WordPress user has a different level of access and that access is known as a capability on WordPress. Depending on the user-level users can have different capabilities.

There can be different capabilities such as:

  1. Changing/installing theme
  2. Changing/installing plugin
  3. Editing themes/plugins
  4. Adding/editing page/post
  5. Creating users
  6. Deleing other users
  7. Deleting a page/post
  8. Publishing something
  9. Uploading
  10. Upgrading

Above 7 are example capabilities though in reality there are lots of capabilities on WordPress.

Standard WordPress Roles

There are by default 6 WordPress user roles that you can create. Since WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) you can even create custom roles with dedicated permissions for those roles you want.

  1. Administrator
  2. Editor
  3. Author
  4. Contributor
  5. Subscriber
  6. Super Admin (Multisite admin)

Administrator

As the name suggests this role has full website access which is access to each capability on WordPress. An administrator can edit any part of WordPress website.  Since this role has full website access, it should not be shared with anyone whom you don’t fully trust.

Administrator access can include but not limited to

  • Add, edit, and delete any content website
  • Manage plugins &  themes
  • Edit plugins & themes source code
  • Creating/Managing other user accounts
  • Uploading stuff on the website
  • Export/Import content
  • Editing/updating theme options
  • Upgrading theme/plugin/core files
  • Taking/restoring backups
WordPress Admin View
WordPress Admin View

Editor

Editor user role has access to manage content on pages and posts which includes creating, publish, edit and delete. They can manage the content of their own as well as other users’ content. Additionally, editor can moderate comments and work on categories etc as well.

Editors cannot make edits to plugins or themes on the website or even updating core WordPress files. They can monitor authors and contributor work though.

WordPress Editor View
WordPress Editor View

Authors

They can create content (pages and posts). They cannot edit or delete any other users’ content through they can edit or delete their own content.

In other words, authors can create content but they do not have permission to make edits to source code of the website and lack any other administrative level access capabilities such as installing or activating plugins.

WordPress Author Dashboard

Contributor

A contributor is able to perform only a few tasks such as creating posts, reading all posts, deleting and editing their own posts. They cannot even publish posts and cannot upload anything on WordPress media.

They can write, edit and delete their own posts but they do not have the capability to publish posts.

WordPress Contributor Dashboard
WordPress Contributor Dashboard

Subscriber

Subscribers can manage their own profiles they cannot manage posts or other stuff on the website. They can read posts only which anyone can do as well without being logged in. Their role can be useful in case you want only registered users to read content on the website.

WordPress Subscriber Dashboard
WordPress Subscriber Dashboard

Super Admin

This role is only valid when you are working with a multisite network. On a multisite network, you have multiple WordPress subsites inside one main installation. Admin on multisite is known as super admin who can control stuff on all subsites.  Super admin can do all high level changes as well such as adding and deleting subsites.

All subsites may have normal admin level user access as well but that is modified somehow such as admin no more can upload, install, delete and edit plugins or theme. They cannot even modify users’ information. All these roles are transferred to super admin.

WordPress Super Admin
WordPress Super Admin

WordPress User roles summary

Administrator

User having access to all available features on WordPress dashboard on a single site.

Editor

Users having permission to publish and manage posts including the posts of other users.

Author 

Users with author level permissions can publish and manage their own posts only.

Contributor

Same access as author difference is they cannot publish their or others’ posts

Subscriber

A normal user on website who can manage their profile only. Very less or near to none access to the WordPress Dashboard.

Super Admin

A user having access to the whole network on a multisite installation and features available on all subsites.

Customized User Roles

Sometimes default 6 WordPress user roles are not enough when you want more control over accesses for users.

In this case, you can modify users’ roles via source code but that is a difficult thing and you might need help from WordPress developer if you are not a developer.

Good news is you can customize default user roles or even create custom roles without being a WordPress Developer or having coding knowledge. You can do this by using this plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/user-role-editor/

This plugin allows you to create custom user roles or customize default 6 WordPress roles.

Conclusion

It is super easy to manage user roles effectively all you need to do is ask yourself what other person is supposed to do on the website depending on that give the user access. Make sure to not grant higher-level access to the person who can work on a lower level. If you want someone to only write an article which admin (you) can publish later make sure to give them Contributor access, not author access or other.