WordPress user roles and their differences

When you add new users to your WordPress site, one of the things you can configure is the level of access they have. If you give other people access to your site, it’s important to understand the difference so you can give the right people the right permissions. Here is a list of predefined user roles in WordPress and some other roles common plugins add as well.

Predefined WordPress user roles

Administrator

An administrator can access all features within a single-site WordPress installation, including installing, activating, and deactivating themes and plugins; updating themes, plugins, and WordPress core; creating, editing, and publishing posts created by themselves or other users; importing and exporting content; adding, removing, or changing the permissions of users, and more. For a multi-site WordPress installation, an administrator’s access is more limited (see below for an explanation).

Editor

An editor’s role is more limited. An editor can create, edit, or delete published and unpublished posts and pages created by themselves and other users; read, edit, and delete private posts and pages; publish posts and pages; moderate comments; and manage categories. An editor does not have access to themes and plugins, user roles, and importing and exporting data.

Author

An author’s role is even more limited. An author may only edit, publish, and delete posts; edit and delete published posts; upload files, and read content.

Contributor

A contributor’s role is more limited than even an author. A contributor may editor or delete unpublished posts and read content but cannot publish content or manage published content.

Subscriber

A subscriber may only read content and has no access to change anything.

Multisite WordPress roles

Super admin

A multisite WordPress installation adds an additional role, the super admin. The super admin has access to everything on all websites in the WordPress installation, and for a multisite WordPress installation, the administrator role has more limited access. On multisite installations, administrators cannot create users, delete plugins, delete themes, delete users, edit files, edit plugins, edit themes, edit users, install plugins, install themes, update WordPress core, update plugins, or update themes. Super admin users can do all of those things, and the can also create sites, delete sites, manage sites, manage the network, and manage network users, plugins, themes, and options.

WooCommerce user roles

Customer

A customer role is similar to the subscriber role, but customers can view their orders and order history and can edit their account details.

Shop manager

A shop manager is similar to the editor role in WordPress. Shop managers can edit WooCommerce settings and products and can view WooCommerce reports. However, shop managers cannot edit other content on the site.

Yoast SEO user roles

SEO manager

The SEO manager has full access to the Yoast SEO plugin, and can manage options, manage redirects, edit advanced metadata, and can access the bulk editor.

SEO editor

The SEO editor can create redirects in Yoast SEO but cannot change the settings of the plugin or access Yoast’s advanced metadata editor.

Other roles

WordPress gives themes and plugins the ability to add custom user roles, so you may encounter other roles as well. For example, plugins like bbPress and BuddyPress offer additional roles. If you encounter a theme or plugin that adds additional roles, consult the documentation for that theme or plugin to learn about those additional roles.

You can also create your own roles in WordPress. The Members and Capability Manager Enhanced plugins each allow you to change and create user roles for your site. For more information on user roles and every capability available to assign to user roles, visit the WordPress Codex article on Roles and Capabilities.

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