Guide to WordPress User Roles and Permissions

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posted on: December 13, 2018

WordPress comes with six default user roles – Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber, and Super Admin (available only on multi-sites). If you are the only person running your website, you probably have not thought much about user roles. However, if you have added contributors or needed to give another professional access to your blog, user roles have probably shown up on your radar. When understanding user roles, you are ensuring that no one has more “power” than they need. You can protect your content and only give access to your website to those who need it.

What are user roles in WordPress?

WordPress user roles define what capabilities each user on your site is allowed to perform. For example, you might want to give someone the ability to “publish” posts on your website or install plugins. Setting up the correct user role ensures that the person only has access to what you want them to do.


Administrators are the most powerful users to your website. They have access to all components. When you create your WordPress website, you are automatically assigned this role. Administrators can do the following:

  • Create, edit, and delete any content (posts, pages, menus, widgets, plugins, themes, etc.)
  • Manage plugins and themes
  • Edit code
  • Delete other user accounts.

Administrators should be reserved for site owners. You should be very careful who you assign an Administrator user role. Your blog designer will need Administrative access to your site; if you pay for a WordPress tech support/webmaster; you’ll likely need to give them that access as well.


Editors are responsible for managing content. They have the second highest level of access to your site. They can create, edit, delete, and publish both blog posts and pages. They can also moderate comments and manage categories and tags. They do not have access to change your site settings, install plugins or themes, or add new users.


Authors have fewer capabilities than editors; they cannot edit pages and are unable to edit other users’ content. They can create, edit, delete, and publish their posts. They can upload media files (editors and administrators can do this too). Authors can create their content, and that’s about it!


Contributors are an even more limited author role. A contributor can delete and edit their posts as well as read all posts. They cannot publish posts or upload media files. Contributors cannot create new categories; they need to choose from existing categories. Similar to Authors and Editors, Contributors cannot make any changes to your website through plugins, themes or settings.


Subscribers can log in to your WordPress site and update their user profiles; they can change their passwords. The subscriber user role is useful if you require users to log in before they can read a post (membership sites) or leave a comment. Subscribers cannot write posts, view comments, or do anything else in your Admin area.

How do I give someone access to my WordPress website?

It is effortless to give someone access to your WordPress website. If you follow the best practices in this post, you should be able to set up your user profile in a matter of minutes.

How do you delete a user on WordPress?

To safely remove users from your WordPress website, follow these steps below:

  1. In your WordPress Dashboard, go to All Users under Users tab.
  2. Hover over the user you want to delete, and select Delete. If the user is currently logged in, you will not see the delete option.
  3. If there are any posts, pages, or other content associated with that user, you will see a screen saying “Delete All Content” or “Attribute All Content to:” You want to select “Attribute All Content to:” to a different user.
  4. Click Confirm Deletion to delete the account permanently

How do I complete my WordPress user profile?

Depending on your WordPress theme, your user profile can populate on your site in a few different areas. In this post, you can see my biography description and image as well as social media links. How your WordPress user profile looks vary from theme to theme. By default, all WordPress themes come with some form of an Author template. Depending on the theme, it can show the profile picture and description, but more importantly, it shows all the posts from that author. This feature is excellent if you have multiple contributors to your website.

Must-Have Plugin: Edit Author Slug

One way hackers can access your website is through your username, especially if you don’t have a secure password. Therefore, you want to customize your username using Edit Author Slug. Instead of displaying your username in the Author Template URL, it will show one you’ve tailored. I recommend that all websites have this plugin installed!

Do you have any questions about WordPress Sticky Posts? I’d love to hear your feedback! If you are interested in learning more about WordPress, make sure to subscribe to my WordPress newsletter here!

Beginner's Guide to WordPress Users and Permissions

Editor's Note

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