An Introduction to the 6 Basic WordPress User Roles

If you don’t have much experience assigning roles within WordPress, then you may be wanting a little more information about each role and what it is normally used for.  In general, there are 6 basic roles to choose from, assuming that you use default settings.  Keep in mind that you can alter what these roles can do, plus add additional roles if the need be.  Also, this list starts with the highest level of access and progresses downward.  This means that the first role (Super Admin) can do everything that the role below it can do as well as it’s own abilities.

 1. Super Administrator

The king of the mountain is the Super Administrator.  This is a role that will only become important when you manage multiple blogs from the same domain or installation.  The role of the Super Admin is to oversee the entire network.  As such, they can do absolutely anything.  In some settings, the Super Admin may also be referred to as the Network Admin.  They are normally responsible for managing: network sites, network themes, network users, network options, etc  Pretty much the entire network.

 2. Administrator

If you are managing a network of sites, then this role would be considered the second in command.  If you are only managing one website, then it would be the top of the list because there is no need for “network-wide” abilities, because there is no network.  Administrators will be able to do everything that is needed to manage a specific site including managing plugins, themes, and users.  The Administrator can also update plugins, themes, and the WordPress core as well as import/export data and edit the dashboard.

 3. Editor

The next user role is the editor.  They essentially get to do all of the things that an editor at a magazine would do.  They can edit content, create new content, and moderate comments as well as reply to them.  The editor can also manage and edit links/categories.  In the single website setting, the editor will do most of the day to day tasks.

 4. Author

Just like the editor, the author role is exactly what it sounds like.  They can create, manage, and publish their own content.  It is important to note that authors cannot create pages, only posts.  The big difference between an author and an editor is that the author can only modify their own content, whereas an editor can modify anyones content.  Authors can also upload files as well, including images and supplementary materials.

 6. Contributer

A contributer can only do one thing – add new content.  In most layouts, they will only get access to one area of the dashboard, which is the Add New Posts section.  They can submit their content, but cannot actually publish it.  In order to get a post actually published either an author or editor must review it.

7. Subscriber

Subscribers are your audience.  They will need to register before do certain things.  It could mean accessing certain content or leaving a comment.  They cannot actually edit or modify anything.  A subscriber is essentially the same thing as visitor, expect that they must sign in to do certain things.

While there are ways to add and change user roles and what they can do.  This is a quick look at what each role will able to do by default.