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WordPress User Roles

26 May WordPress User Roles

One of the most under utilized aspect of WordPress is the user roles it has to offer. Since it was originally designed to be a blogging platform and not a full blown CMS, the roles are somewhat loosely based around what a newspaper would consider it’s management levels: author, editor, etc. Of course there’s a bit more to it than that.

By default, WordPress comes with five user roles (six if you’re using WordPress multisite). They are:

  • Administrator – the admin has full access to everything. This includes adding/editing other users, publishing posts and pages, adding plugins, modifying theme options and theme files.
  • Editor – an editor can approve the posts of others, and publish posts themselves, but can’t add/edit the theme files, plugins, or manage the look and feel of the site. In short: they can manage all content.
  • Author – an author can publish and manage their own posts, but nothing else. They have no access to anyone else’s content, theme files, etc.
  • Contributor – a contributor can write and edit their own posts, but they must be approved by an editor or administrator before being published.
  • Subscriber – a subscriber can do nothing but manage their own profile.
  • Super Admin (WordPress multisite) – the super admin can do everything, for all sites on a multisite install. Whereas, an administrator can only edit the specific site their assigned to, a super admin can edit all sites, all users, all themes, all content, and all plugins.

Users have privileges based on a 1-10 scale. A user with a 10 permission level can do everything (admins & super admins), whereas a user with a 1 permission level can do nothing but manage their own profile (a subscriber).

The specific actions of each user role can be edited with plugins. There are quite a few out there, but the best is User Role Editor. You can go through and select what each user can do, on a role level (ie subscribers could be upgraded to add posts), or a specific user level (the user with the name Kegan, and level subscriber could manage and edit posts, but all other subscribers can only manage their profile).

You can even create new user roles, and set their permissions. Lets say you’re a restaurant. Maybe you want a new user role of “chef” for all the chefs. All done through the User Role Editor, and without touching any code, this can be easily achieved. You probably don’t want them editing posts, but maybe you do want them editing recipes. All of this is easily achieved with the plugin.

For a way more in depth look at users and their specific capabilities, check out the WordPress codex.

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