What You Need To Know About WordPress User Roles

The option to change a users role in WordPress

One of the most powerful features of WordPress is the ability to create different user roles for individuals who have different levels of responsibility for your site. Someone will need to have ultimate authority for everything relating to the site, of course, but you may have others to whom you’d like to delegate certain, limited, responsibilities too. Fortunately, WordPress makes this easy to accomplish.

Note: Never give a user more access than absolutely necessary. Remember your website and all its content is a valuable asset.

WordPress User Roles


A WordPress Administrator has power over every aspect of the website. An Administrator can edit, publish, upload and delete any posts, pages, or visitor comments. An Administrator can change the theme, add or delete any plug-ins, and modify any visual aspect of the website. The Administrator can even take the entire website offline, is responsible for creating the user types listed below, and can authorize other Administrators. However, it strongly recommended that you stick with just a single Administrator for your website – that way there can be no confusion over any of the most important “top-level” decisions affecting your site.


An Editor has the power over all posts and pages on the site, can upload files, and can delete or approve any user comments. In short, an Editor can control any of the content of the website, although they don’t have the ability to change any of the site’s structural or visual elements.

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The “Author” role allows an individual to write, edit and publish the posts for which they are responsible. If you retain trusted individuals to help you create content for your website, this makes it easy for them to do so directly – rather than sending you their contributions and you having to upload and create and format the post in WordPress.


A Contributor role is one step down from an Author. A Contributor can create and edit their posts, but they don’t have the ability to publish them. Instead, only an Administrator or Editor can publish a post written by a Contributor (making any changes to the post if they desire, of course). Once the post is published, the Contributor no longer has the ability to make any changes to it. While it might appear limited, the Contributor role is great for guest authors or others that you want to give specific writing tasks to.


The Subscriber role is minimal – they can create a profile on your website, and can view content. This can be useful if you wish to limit access to some or all of the content on your website, but the role has little value if you want to make all parts of your website publicly viewable.

Note: Roles can be changed by an Administrator as needed.

Making good use of WordPress user roles can help you operate and administer your site more efficiently because it lets you delegate certain levels of responsibility to different individuals.

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