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What are the WordPress User Roles

Working with WordPress is easy. The platform is very intuitive and offers a wide range of functions and tools that help you create a beautiful website.

One of these features is the Roles function, which provides you with the opportunity to invite people who can work on your website alongside you. When learning the WordPress basics, you will eventually notice that there are certain types of users – admins, editors, subscribers – all of these are various roles that people take when registering to the platform.

If you wish to improve your WordPress skills and build your first elegant and fully functional website, then check out our WordPress Guide. You will read not only about roles but everything else crucial regarding the site-building journey.

Read also: How to Assign WordPress Roles

What are the WordPress User Roles

The WordPress roles represent a hierarchy in the CMS – each higher role can use all WordPress features the lower one is capable of, but also benefit from access to more functions.

WordPress roles are assigned by you as a website owner to other people to give them access to the platform’s different features and options. In fact, anyone who wishes to modify a website via the WordPress Dashboard does it with the WordPress roles. This means that you and the other WordPress users are always taking up roles and depending on what these are, they can tweak the site to a certain degree, limited or unlimited by their role’s capabilities and accessibility.

Roles help you achieve greater efficiency when you build your website and work with others on its maintenance. They also contribute to the structure of the workflow. As mentioned, different roles deal with different website tasks. For example, one user may be authorized to edit the components of new posts, and another one can be authorized to edit or even delete website pages if these do not meet the website’s terms and requirements for publication. Or, if someone needs certain plugins for his work, but he doesn’t have access to the plugin management, he would have to ask someone whose role allows the use of such tools to install the necessary ones.

Another reason that makes WordPress roles useful is the enhanced security they offer. Not all users need to access all parts of the website. Also, you would not want someone to change something on your site without your permission. These issues can quickly and effectively be avoided by assigning different users with proper roles.

All of the roles are created to be of use for your website, however, some can do more than others.

WordPress roles divide into two main types – default roles with pre-defined access possibilities, and custom roles, whose accessibility fully depends on your specific preferences. The second type of role can be used with WordPress plugins. All pre-made WordPress roles are (from the one with the fewest capabilities to the one with unlimited access): Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, and Administrator:

  • The Subscriber is a role that stays at the base of the hierarchy. It is the one with the most limitations in WordPress. Usually, it is taken by your fellow website visitors who wish to interact with your website. Subscribers can only change their profile info and leave comments in the forum sections.
  • The Contributor role is similar to the Subscriber, but with fewer limitations. This role is taken up by users who wish to help you fill in the content for your site. Alongside comments, contributors can also write and publish blog articles. Also, they can edit and delete their content.
  • Authors write, edit, publish and delete content. However, they are able to upload and use different kinds of files. They can also edit other profiles and change their passwords.
  • The Editor is the next in the hierarchy. The WordPress editors can add, edit and delete any post or comment, regardless of who the author is.
  • The Administrator, also called simply the Admin is the role that doesn’t suffer from any limitations. This is the WordPress user who created the website, or someone appointed by him. Admins are able to create, edit and delete every post and comment within the website. They can also install, change, customize and delete themes and do the same with plugins. Admins also can tweak pages, categories, and tags, and edit other accounts that their own. In short, admins can tweak the site in any way they find suitable for their needs, without having to deal with limited access to any of the WordPress options.
  • The Super Admin. This is the ultimate WordPress role. It adopts all the capabilities of the Administrator, but also can add and delete numerous sites on multisite networks.



A website can become way too complex to be maintained by a single user, so inviting more people to help with the maintenance might well be a good idea. This is usually the case with popular e-commerce sites and blogging platforms.

When it comes to managing other users, you should be careful with the protection of personal data. Given the importance of the matter, ZETTAHOST offers reliable SSL Certificates that contribute to your overall better security – have a look at our services and lead your team more confidently and securely!


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