Beginner’s Guide to WordPress User Roles And Capabilities

WordPress User Roles And Capabilities wallapaper
WordPress User Roles And Capabilities wallapaper

Do you know? When you first set up your WordPress site, you create a username (First User) for yourself, and so far you’ve been using that username to login to the backend of the WordPress (WordPress Dashboard Area).

Admin Role
Admin Role

WordPress comes with a User Role Management System. In other words, we say “WordPress User Roles And Capabilities” which defines what a particular user can and can not do on your website. Knowing these user roles and permissions are essential to scaling up business growth.

User Role Management System is based on two key concepts: Roles and Capabilities.

  • Role:-  identifies a group of users who are allowed to execute the same tasks onto the website.
  • Capability:-  is the ability (or permission) to perform each single task assigned to a role.

Depending upon your Roles And Capabilities you can give the role to another user, and this role defines where the other user can go and what they can do on your website.

You can also check the official document about WordPress User Roles And Capabilities on codex WordPress and if you want to dig-dipper in technical term than check WordPress developer for function and code.

But, Let me simply example this,

Just go to to a new computer and visit your sites, or visit the site from a different browser, or even an incognito window, you’ll see your site as the average user sees it. No WordPress toolbar, no admin panel, just another website.

But, When you login to your site as an administrator. This gives you full control over everything on the back-end of your site, and you can do all the things WordPress allows. Like,

This thing gives you a glimpse View “how WordPress handles User.”

So, let we dig dipper to understanding the different WordPress user role and capability.

WordPress User Roles And Capabilities

When you created your first user account during the setup of your WordPress site, that account automatically had its role set to administrator. As an administrator, you have complete control over the content in, presentation of, and functionality available from your WordPress site.

standard wordpress user role
Standard user role

In other words, the Administrator is the boss of it all. So, let’s we first understand the other WordPress User Roles And Capabilities.

1. WordPress Subscriber

By default, users who visit your WordPress site can register her/his self as subscribe to your site. If they do, then they can login to your WordPress site and update their user profiles, and can also change their passwords.

But, they cannot write posts, view comments, or do anything else inside your WordPress admin area.

The capabilities of the Subscriber role are limited to only one thing:

Managing their own profile.

Now, that might sound a bit odd, but there’s a purpose to this role.

Let me explain this with few examples;

If you have comments activated on your site, and you want to ensure only approved visitors get to leave comments on your site, (or paid member of user site), you can require users to register as a Subscriber, and then login any time they want to leave a comment.

Another good example is a Membership site.

You give an option to your user to sign up (paid or free) and after that user can access your content. It is done through subscriber feature as I told above give a user to ability only to read and leave comments on your site without giving the ability to change anything on your site.

2. WordPress Contributor

As the name suggests, the Contributor has the capability of contributing content to your site, by writing posts. The only capabilities of the WordPress Contributor has are;

creating, editing, and deleting their own unpublished posts.

They can’t upload any media items, can’t publish their own posts, or even edit or delete a post once it’s have been published.

When logged in as a Contributor, the published panel in the post editor shows a “submit for review” button, rather than the “publish” button.

Login ad Contributor in WordPress view
Login ad Contributor

During writing posts, they can not create new categories and will have to choose from existing categories. But they can add new tags to their posts.

Contributors can also view all the comments even those awaiting moderation. But they cannot approve or delete any comments.

Note: – WordPress contributor do not have access to settings, plugins, or themes, so they cannot change any settings on your site.

3. WordPress Author

Like the name suggests, users with the author role can write, edit, and publish their own posts. But, they can also delete their own posts, even if they are published.

The Author has the capabilities of the contributor, and adds to the capability to;

publish, edit, and delete their own published posts, as well as uploading media elements.

Like a Contributor, During writing posts, they can not create new categories and will have to choose from existing categories. But they can add new tags to their posts.

Authors can also view comments even those that are pending review, but they cannot moderate, approve, or delete any comments like a contributor.

Note: – WordPress Author do not have access to settings, plugins, or themes, so they cannot change any settings on your site. But they can delete their own Published Post.

4. WordPress Editor

Users with the editor role in WordPress have full control on the content sections your website.

login as a WordPress Editor in wordpress view
login as a WordPress Editor

The Editor has the capabilities of the Author and adds to the capabilities to

create, edit, and delete pages and private pages, publish, edit, and delete posts from other users, and also moderate comments and manage categories.

They can add, edit, publish, and delete any posts written by another user too. An editor can moderate, edit, and delete comments as well.

delete comment as an editor in wordpress
Delete comment

Note: WordPress Editors do not have access to change your site settings, install plugins and themes, or add new users.

5. WordPress Administrative

Finally, we’ve already covered the Administrator role, which has full control over the entire site.

Login wordpress as an Admin
Login WordPress as an Admin

One important note here is that the administrator has the power to add, edit, and delete users, and also change their user roles.

Bonus: Super Administrative

This user role is only available on a WordPress Multisite Network. So you never need to worry about it until you are not managing your Multiword[ress sites,

Users with the super admin user role can add and delete sites on a multisite network. They can also change the setting. Install plugins and themes, add users, and perform network wide actions on a WordPress multi-site setup.

Note: Super Admin can also change the role of the WordPress Administrative.

So these are the basic 5 WordPress User Roles And Capabilities and one Bonus Super Administrative if you are running a Multi network site.

When & Where you can use WordPress Role?

I Personally use two accounts to login my site. Ons is, Of course, Administrative and other one are Editor for day-to-day content work.

The Reason that, if someone manages to hack my author account, they can’t do much damage, and can’t change the behavior of my site, or my user accounts.

If you’re just doing regular content management stuff like creating, editing, publishing, and deleting content, or moderating comments, I recommended to create an Editor account, you don’t need to log in with full administrator privileges for writing content only.

This is especially important if you log in to your site when on unsecured wireless networks, in coffee shops or airports or similar.

This is also a simple security step to protect the website from a hacker.

If you are working with a team for writing content purpose. I recommend giving the author access to manage their profile and Content without interfering with others.

If you are working on article publishing site, then use Contributor Role. Give user to write content and submit it for reviews and  The main issue with the Contributor role is that after submitting a content we have to add image and so the half of the work.

Because the Contributor can’t upload media items, you have to manage this higher up in the hierarchy. That said, in certain circumstances, like a situation where you’re testing out a new Contributor, this role can be very useful.

Because the Contributor can’t upload media items, you have to manage this higher up in the hierarchy.

That’s why sometimes we need a custom WordPress User Roles And Capabilities.

How To Create a Custom WordPress User Roles And Capabilities

By default, WordPress has five default WordPress user role and capability as we discuss above. But, Sometimes we have to go beyond these 5 WordPress User role and have to create a custom user role according to our requirement.

There is a lot of Plugins to create a custom user Role in the WordPress. But I personally recommend using User Role Editor.

It is a dedicated WordPress plugin for managing various user roles and capabilities of your site. By using the plugin, you can change user capabilities with only a few clicks. You can also add new roles and provide selected capabilities to your users.

  • Login your website as an Admin and Install User Role Editor for WordPress and Activate it.
Activate Plugin in wordpress
Activate Plugin

After Installing this plugin, you will see Two Option.

  • The first option is under Setting Tab >> User Role Editor.
user role editor option in wordpress
User role editor option

Click on Save to update the setting.

  • The second option is under User Tab >> User Role Editor.
custome url role list in the user role plugin
Custom URL role

Here you will see two major option Capabilities and deprecated Capabilities to sort the user role list. Both these are used to sort the different User Role in the WordPress.

In this window, you can do two things,

  1. Make a new WordPress User Roles
  2. Can Edit the existing WordPress User Roles

Click on User >> User Role Editor to open a window then click on Add Role and fill the information, like ID and Display Role Name.

name user name in the wordpress
Name user name

You can also import the setting of default WordPress role into a new role (as a basic role), and after that, you can add more role in it if you want.

For example:

The author can publish his post but can’t approve a comment on his post, add a new category, delete published a post and check the post of another author.

But, if I want to give this permission to the author then.

I just import the role of author to new author (new user role) and add some new role in it. That all.

Let we hand through this for better understanding.

  • Click on User >> User Role Editor and open the Role Editor Window in WordPress.
  • Now, Click on Add Role and give any “ID” and “Display Role Name” for identification and select Author.
add new role in wordpress
New role

Note: ID should not be matched with the default WordPress role and space not allowed in the ID.

Here you will see your New defined role (modified author) with some already selected entry as shown in the screenshot.

select role in the user role editor plugin
Select role

Now, I’m here grant author to

  • Edit post of the another author
  • Delete old or New Post
  • Moderate comments
  • Add new category and
  • Also, Give the permission to edit the setting (for Demo).

Select the role and Click on Update.

Now assign a New Role to any user or add a new user with author (newly defined Role) permission. If you don’t know how to add a new user, this check Add User To WordPress By Manually Post.

Here, I’m changing the role of my existing user, a subscriber to newly define author role.

change the role of user to newly define user in wordpress
Change the role of user

Now, Login your site as a New define Author in the New browser and check everything working fine.

Let we see how it look!

New Author can Edit the Post of another author that means newly define role working fine.

edit the post of another author in wrodpress
Edit the post of another author

Now check the Comments setting and see author can approve edit and delete the comments or not.

author can edit the cooment after adding new Role
Edit the comment

In this way, You can add a new custom WordPress User Roles And Capabilities in your site according to the Requirement.


All the role are categorized into their respective name. For Example, I want to give more access to the author to edit the post. So, I can directly click on Post and can see the role available for post.

role for post
Role for post

Warning: You can also reset User Role Plugin. After Resting the plugin, WordPress default user role is automatically added again. That means all the other role, added by any plugin will be reset.

reset the user role editor plugin
Reset plugin

If you are facing any issue after Reset, the plugin then refers the article written by the author of the plugin.

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