What WordPress User Roles Are and How to Manage Them for Your Website

When your business starts to grow, so will your team and those who need access to your WordPress website. 

You might want to offer subscriptions to users on your website or find contributing bloggers to post content. A manager would need access to plugins, while an intern can help moderate comments. 

This is where WordPress user roles come in. 

WordPress empowers you to assign roles to specific users on your website. Each role has set capabilities, which you can also alter. You can even create custom roles. 

While you might want to give everyone the same WordPress user permission, it’s not a good idea. Plus, you would overlook a tool that can help your website function better and create a smoother workflow process.

Understanding WordPress’s multiple roles and access levels will help you manage your website more efficiently and keep it more secure. 

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • What WordPress user roles are
  • Why WordPress user roles are important 
  • What the different capabilities for each role are 
  • Which WordPress roles and capabilities plugins to use
  • Best practices for managing users with WordPress roles

WordPress User Roles 

A user role is defined by a set of tasks that a specific role is given permission to perform. There are six pre-defined WordPress user roles

  • Subscriber
  • Contributor 
  • Author
  • Editor
  • Administrator
  • Super Admin

An administrator has access to all the possible website tasks, while a subscriber only has the ability to read the website. Each role has a set of tasks, or capabilities, like the ability to delete posts, publish pages, update themes, and add users. 

WordPress also empowers you to add or remove roles and capabilities. You can do this manually or through various plugins. 

The Importance of WordPress User Roles 

It can be a simple task to manage your user roles if only a couple of people need access to the website, or it can be a challenge if you run an extensive blog or eCommerce store. But anyone with a WordPress website needs to learn how to manage user roles. 

Assigning roles helps to manage efficiency. It can also create a structure for workflow. If an author posts a blog, then an editor can read it over before it’s published.

Familiarize yourself with all the capabilities of user roles to help with task delegation. You’ll get a better sense of what tasks should go to whom and what access employees need for their job. 

If an employee is savvy with design, then they might benefit from the ability to edit or change the theme. Or you might want another employee to manage users on your website, and they’ll need the ability to add and edit users. 

Another reason to monitor WordPress user roles is security. Not everyone in your company needs access to every part of your website. Know who has access to what to keep your website secure. 

User roles also can prevent mistakes. Someone with too much access might accidentally tamper with a feature that could lead to a problem on your website. Be proactive, and assign user roles accordingly. 

Capabilities for WordPress User Types

Each user role builds on one another, with more WordPress user permissions added to each level. Every function has multiple capabilities, with subscribers having the least access. 

When you add a new user to your WordPress dashboard, you can choose their role, which you can edit later. 

So, what can each WordPress user role do? 

WordPress Subscriber Role

Subscriber is the most basic user role. Subscribers can only read posts, which anyone can do without being a subscriber. 

If you offer subscription-based or members-only content, users can create profiles on your website and log in to specific areas. This role is also used to log in to comment on posts. 

Subscribers will also have the ability to update their user profile. 

WordPress Contributor Role 

Contributors can add new posts and edit their posts. But they cannot delete or publish posts, including their own. They’re also unable to add images or media files to their posts. 

A contributor might be a good option for a one-time guest blogger or a new author. 

WordPress Author Role

Authors can write, edit, publish, and delete posts they wrote. They can also upload files. But they are not able to edit other users’ posts or pages. 

Authors can also tag posts and assign them to categories but cannot create new categories.

WordPress Editor Role

An editor has more access to each post, with the ability to edit, publish, and delete posts and pages. They can manage categories, links, and comments. They can also create and edit blocks. 

Editors mostly oversee content and not website management. 

WordPress Administrator Role

Administrators (admins) have access to all parts of a website. They have all the permissions of the previous roles. 

Admins manage the website and can switch themes and add plugins. Admins can also manage users and edit them. They can also delete a website.

WordPress Super Admin Role

The Super Admin role is only applicable to those with WordPress multisite networks. Like an admin, they have full access to the websites they oversee. Super Admins can create and delete websites. They also manage the network, including the websites, plugins, users, upgrades, setups, and themes. 

If you only have one WordPress website, you inherently are the Super Admin.  

Create WordPress Custom User Roles and Capabilities

The default user roles are functional for most WordPress websites, but some websites might need to change the parameters for specific roles. WordPress custom roles help you tweak preset roles into those that better suit your website.

You can change existing roles manually by coding, or you can also use plugins on WordPress to edit roles and create your own roles.

Managing and Creating Roles and Capabilities With Plugins

Here are some popular plugins to manage WordPress user roles: 

Each of these plugins has features that help manage user roles. For Example, PublishPress Capabilities lets you assign WordPress user levels to each role, and Advanced Access Manager gives you the ability to edit a user’s backend menu.

New Capabilities and Roles From Other WordPress Plugins

Other popular plugins like WooCommerce and Yoast add capabilities and roles to your website. WooCommerce provides new user roles, including Customer and Shop Manager. Yoast adds SEO Manager and SEO Editor to your dropdown of roles. 

These extra roles come with new capabilities and access to the plugins on the website. Stay aware of the new roles offered by specific plugins so you can make the best use of its features.

Best Practices: WordPress User Management 

Here are a few tips that will help set you up for success when you deal with WordPress user roles. 

Start With User Roles That Have Less Access

While it might be easier to give everyone the same level of access, that could backfire. Be mindful of who has access to what parts of your website. 

It’ll be easier to start an employee with less access. Later, if you need to upgrade their capabilities, it’s a conscious choice, and you can keep track of their new permissions. 

Assign Admin Roles to Only Essential Personnel

An admin role is essentially the master key to your website. Only give it to the people who need it. 

Update User Roles When Employees Leave

Don’t forget to remove access if someone leaves your company. Don’t let anyone harm your website or leave someone access to your company’s backroom. 

Consider Giving Yourself More Roles 

If you’re the only one managing your WordPress website, you can still create multiple roles for yourself. If you create a separate editor or author account, you can still manage posts and keep your admin duties separated. 

Various user roles also add another layer of security if one of your roles gets compromised. 

WordPress user roles and permissions make it easier to run your website. Assign roles and know what capabilities are designated to each employee to help your workflow and control security. 

WordPress makes it easy to assign roles and choose what level of access to grant each user. Using WordPress plugins can also help create custom roles that help your website’s functionality.  

Don’t forget to keep capabilities updated and assigned to only those who need that level of access. 

Learn more about the different capabilities and create your custom user roles in WordPress to help grow your WordPress skills. 

Are you ready to enhance your WordPress hosting? Get started with a Bluehost hosting package today. 

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*