WordPress is known for its user-friendly, accessible, scalable and flexible capabilities. This is the main reason why it enjoys over 21 % of market share across the globe. Apart from an extensive range of themes, plugins, and out-of-the-box tools, WordPress also comes with a user role management system that describes what a user can and cannot do on a website.

While developing your WordPress website, you should be aware of specific user roles and permissions on your WordPress site. This will let you control different activities of your site, such as performing administrative tasks, writing, editing, deleting and approving posts and pages, managing themes and plugins and a lot more.

So, here in this post, we will explore more about the WordPress user roles and permissions to help you control your site more efficiently.

Five WordPress User Roles

WordPress, by default, includes five user roles that decide what a user can and cannot do on your website. So, let’s explore more about each WordPress User Role:

1# Administrator Role

The administrator is one of the most powerful and resourceful user roles on WordPress. An administrator has a full control on the backend of a WordPress site. The user with an admin role can add, delete, post, publish new posts and pages on your site. He/she can even edit or delete other’s posts and pages directly from the admin panel.

Installing , editing, customizing and deleting installed themes and plugins can be possible if a user is performing a role of administrator. If you are an administrator user, you can add new users to your site, tweak the existing user’s information, such as password, manage site options on the fly.

This particular role is specifically designed for website owners as they can have a full control over their site from one place i.e WordPress admin area.

2# Editor Role

Editor user role in WordPress is reserved for those who can control the entire content session of a website. They have a permission to add, publish, and edit any posts on a WordPress site. They can even add or publish the posts written by other users. The best part is that an editor can approve, moderate, edit, and delete comments with ease.

However, they do not change the settings of your site including installing, customizing and updating themes and plugins or adding new users.

3# Author Role

An author in a WordPress site performs a role of writing, editing, publishing, and deleting their own posts only. However, they can publish a new post, but don’t have a permission to create a new category from scratch – they have to choose it from the existing ones. Even, they can add tags to the posts they have written for your website.

Authors can see comments on their posts, but don’t have the permissions to moderate, approve or delete them. Even they cannot change the settings of your site including themes and plugins.

4# Contributor Role

Contributors on a WordPress site can read and write posts but cannot publish them. For that, they need to submit them for a review. Even, they have to choose from the existing categories while writing their posts because they don’t have an access to create a new one.

However, they can view comments on their posts, but cannot moderate, approve or delete the theme. They can’t even change the settings, themes, and plugins of your WordPress site.

5# Subscriber Role

Subscribers can login to your WordPress, update their profiles, and change their passwords. They don’t have a permission to write, add or edit posts, view comments or perform any other activity within your WP admin area.

The Area of Concern

As a WordPress owner or a blogger, you cannot change the default user role management system of your WordPress site. Even, you can’t customize the specific user roles and their permissions manually. The situation even become worse if you have a multi-author website. Since the author can control all of their posts, you can’t stop them from deleting their published posts (paid ones ) if you end the contract on bad terms.

On the other side, contributors cannot upload any media files to their posts. This is also an annoying situation that could affect your entire editorial process. So, here, we are going to change/customize the user roles and permission settings of a WordPress site using  Use Role Editor Plugin.

User Role Editor

User Role Editor is a great WordPress plugin that lets you tweak your existing user roles and capabilities on the fly. The plugin helps you create, edit and delete any user roles from your WordPress site. For that, first, you need to download and install this plugin.

Once you are done with the activation, you will find this plugin under the User Menu section in your WordPress settings. Under this menu, you will see all the default user roles and custom user roles (if any created), along with their respective capabilities.

WordPress User Role Editor Plugin

Here, you need to load a specific user role profile to view what he/she can and cannot do on your WordPress site. You will see all the permissions in the form of a list. If you want to change the permission for that particular user role, you need to check or uncheck the field for that capability. You can also click on “Select All’ or “Unselect All” icons to enable or disable all the capabilities at one go.

Apart from this, User Role Editor also shows a list of capabilities for any extra functions that you described via your theme or plugin.

Adding & Deleting new roles and capabilities

User Role Editor makes it easy for you to add and delete the new user roles and capabilities of your WordPress site. If you want to add a new user to your existing one (suppose an author), then you can select to copy permissions from that particular role. This means you don’t need to waste time in  assigning the same permissions to your new users from the scratch.

WordPress Add User Roles

You can also add/delete new capabilities for a specific user role. Under the WordPress user list page, you will see a link to the user capabilities page.

WordPress Change User Roles

This particular section will help you change the capabilities of a specific user (be it an author or a contributor). For an example, If you have a photography or magazine website, you may need an author who can actively moderate the comments. In this situation, you can edit the capabilities of the Author User Role to enable the moderation comment option with the help of User Role Editor plugin.

The plugin will help you control your WordPress User Role Management system pretty easily. Once you have activated the plugin, you can manage your users the way you want.


Hopefully, this blog post helped you understand more about the WordPress user roles and permissions. With the help of our guide, you will be able to customize your user roles and permissions system using User Role Editor plugin with ease. This plugin will help you strengthen the back-end of your WordPress site by letting you control all your users, without any glitches and flaws

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