WordPress User Roles: Beginner’s Guide

wordpress user roles

WordPress user roles enable you to manage how other people access to your website.

With this feature, you can control and limit the access level of all existing users on your site. You can give some users access to manage the entire site (install themes, plugins, etc).

Other users can be restricted to just managing SEO while some may not even be given access to the dashboard at all.

In this article, we will examine the different user roles in WordPress and their permissions.


  1. WP user roles
  2. How to Assign Roles

WordPress User Roles

There are basically 6 assignable roles in WordPress. Let’s take a look at them.


The Administrator, admin for short, is the principal user in WordPress. As the admin, you can do everything: install and deactivate plugins and themes, add and delete posts, etc. Other tasks an admin role can perform include:

  • Add other users
  • Manage the specific user role and access of other users
  • Change the WordPress themes and plugins
  • Alter site identity. For example, changing the title and logo of the website
  • Put the website offline during maintenance.

WordPress automatically assigns the administrator role after installation. WordPress allows you to assign this role to another user, but it must be someone you trust. So, exercise caution before assigning this WordPress role to someone else.


Whoever this role is assigned to does exactly the work of an editor: editing posts and publishing posts on the site. The editor’s role also includes creating content, deleting posts, moderating comments etc.

Additionally, the editor can create categories for posts on the website. The power of the editor is limited to creating and managing content on the site.

Adding a theme, installing plugins or adding another user is beyond their users’ permission.


As the name suggests, the author’s role is solely tasked with the responsibility of creating and publishing their own content.

If you have a team of writers creating content for your website, this role would fit them best. It’s also in their power to upload media files to the website.

An author lacks the permission to edit and publish content created by others – it’s in the power of the editor to do so. Also, he or she lacks the power to create categories for posts.


The contributor role is very much similar to that of the author. The difference is that – unlike the author – a contributor can’t publish a post. Their job is to create posts and upload them for review for the editor to publish.

They lack the power to upload media files to the website, whereas an author can do so. A contributor also can’t delete or modify comments on the website.

This WordPress user role best fits guest posters who, of course, are contributing content to your website.


Subscribers are allowed to perform only one task, and that’s it to subscribe to your website.

Typically, these are your readers who may want to create an account on your website. It’s common to see this role on subscription-based WordPress sites.

In addition, a subscriber can’t add, remove or modify anything on your website. At best, they can only change their login details and change their profile pictures.

Super Admin

This role will only be needed if you run several WordPress sites (multi-sites) at once. The super admin has every power the admin has, plus more.

As the super admin, you can add and delete WordPress blogs at will. Also, you can add and remove site admins, change the password of other users, etc.

How to Create and Assign WordPress User Roles

You can create and manage roles in your WordPress website in two ways: manually and using a plugin.

Manually Assigning WordPress User Roles

Log into your website, scroll down to Users, add new user.

add new user on wordpress

One on the next page, type in all necessary details and assign the required role.

wordpress user roles

Finally, click the Add New User button.

Note that you can use this same process to change the role of a user who is already registered with another role. In Users, search for the user. When found, click edit. Next, change the user’s role as needed and save changes.

Using a Plugin

You can also add and manage users via plugins. Some popular plugins for this task include:

These plugins are especially useful when you need to create custom user roles with different permission than the 6 basic roles provide for the custom user.

WordPress User Roles – Conclusion

To effectively manage your website, you need the help of others. Once you have assembled your team, your next task would be to assign roles to them.

Your customers and readers also need roles and capabilities to be able to manage their experience on your site.

Note that various plugins may create additional roles in your site. For example, if you install an SEO plugin, new roles like “SEO Manager” and “SEO Editor” may be added to your site.

In this article, we discussed the different user’s roles and permissions, as well as how to use them.

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