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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. When it comes to the building and maintenance process, these functions come in very handy as they allow you to automate many of the processes and greatly ease your work with the platform.

See also: WordPress Basics Pt.1

However, 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. An example might include an online blog and a team of content creators who maintain it. By using the WordPress roles, you can assign the senior content writer with an administrative role, so they can control all the processes on the website, while the second most experienced user in the team can publish articles and edit texts of other users. The rest of the team might be assigned a lower role, which fits their responsibilities.

Luckily, WordPress allows such collaboration. In fact, it is very common that site owners to distribute tasks to different users, so the work gets done easier and faster. When it comes to WordPress, this distribution is made possible by one of the most effective and widely used features – the WordPress roles. By using it, you can delegate tasks, supervise the work of others and get things done in less time.

In the following paragraphs, you will learn more about the roles and how useful they can be for your website.


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 other people 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 publish new posts, and another one can be authorized to edit them or even delete them if the article doesn’t 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 dedicated 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, 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.


Conclusion – What are the WordPress User Roles

WordPress User Roles are quite a handy tool and can provide you with enhanced efficiency and control over your team and your site’s structure and content. Use them to your advantage and you will have more tasks are done, more traffic to your website, and more happily returning visitors.


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Create a WordPress Website – The Ultimate Guide (2022)


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