WordPress Users Roles Tutorial

As your website grows you might have to give access to new users to your website. Not every user can have full access to your dashboard. WordPress has a user role management system which allows you to set permissions for what a user can and cannot do.

User roles are a great way to give access to someone to a select part of your website without having to worry about anything else. By default WordPress has 6 user roles already created which can be used by you. These are:

  1. Super Admin
  2. Administrator
  3. Editor
  4. Author
  5. Contributor
  6. Subscriber
Super Admin

This role is only available if you are running a multi-site network on WordPress. This role gives a user the ability to create and delete websites on the multi-site network. They also have all permissions that an Administrator has.


After super admin, administrator is the most powerful and important role that can be assigned to a user. Their permissions include:

  • Create, edit and delete posts.
  • Install or delete plugins and themes.
  • Change the passwords.
  • Customize the website.
  • Add or remove users.

The main difference between a super admin and administrator is that an administrator is limited to just one website whereas the super admin has access to every website on the multi-site network.


Editor can basically handle the content section of your website. Apart from that they can’t edit anything on the website. Their permissions include:

  • Create, edit and delete posts, including those written by other authors.
  • Create, edit and delete pages.
  • Moderate comments.

An author can create, edit and delete their own content. They do not have any other permission on the website. Their permission include:

  • Create, edit, publish and delete their own posts.
  • Upload files to the website.

A contributor has the ability to create, edit and delete their own posts. But they cannot publish the posts. The main difference between an author and a contributor are the inability to publish content and no file upload permissions. Permissions of a contributor include:

  • Create, edit and delete their own posts.

The subscriber role allows a user to login to your website and edit their profile. This is mainly given when you require users to be logged in to view your content or post comments. Permissions of a subscriber include:

  • Read posts.
  • Comment on posts.

Creating custom roles

You are not limited to the default roles provided by WordPress. You can create your own roles too that would better suit the needs of your website. Although WordPress doesn’t provide the capability to create new user roles from settings. You will have to install a plugin for the task.

User Role Editor is a great plugin for creating custom user roles.

Steps to create a custom user role using User Role Editor:
  1. Install and Activate the plugin.
  2. Visit Users -> User Role Editor from the admin dashboard.
  3. On the right hand side click on the Add Role button. Enter the name of the role and select if you want to copy the permissions of any default role.
  4. Click on the Add Role button once done. The new user role is now added to your WordPress website.


User roles allow you to give specific permissions to users which helps you in keeping them restricted to particular sections of your website. As you grow the user roles will come very handy in on boarding new users or staff to your WordPress website.

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