How to Manage User Roles and Permissions in WordPress (Easy Guide)

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Managing user roles and permissions in WordPress can be a straightforward process by understanding the default roles and utilizing plugins to customize your unique needs. This easy guide provides essential information for securing your website and maintaining a positive user experience.

WordPress comes with five default user roles, each with varying levels of access to website management tasks. Customizing these user roles and permissions can provide your website with extra layers of security and optimize the user experience by allowing access only to necessary functions.

In this guide, we’ll explore the different default user roles and their corresponding capabilities. We’ll also discuss how to add new user roles and manage their permissions. Let’s get started!

WordPress User Roles and Capabilities

Understanding the default user roles in WordPress is crucial in managing your website, as this allows you to control users’ access to various site management tasks. WordPress comes with five standard roles:

  • Administrator: Has complete control over the website, including managing posts, pages, themes, and plugins, as well as modifying users and their permissions.
  • Editor: Can manage, edit, publish, and delete posts and pages from any user but cannot modify themes, plugins, or user accounts.
  • Author: Has the ability to create, manage, and publish their own posts but cannot access pages, plugins, or user account settings.
  • Contributor: Can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them. They have no access to pages, themes, or plugins.
  • Subscriber: Has minimal access, usually limited to managing their own profile and receiving updates from the website.

How to Customize User Roles in WordPress?

Here are the exact steps you need to follow to customize user roles in WordPress.

Step 1

To manage user roles in WordPress, you must first log in to your WordPress dashboard. Enter your username and password to access the dashboard. Once you are logged in, go to the “Users” section on the left-hand side of the dashboard. Click on “All Users” to see a list of all the users registered on your WordPress site.

Step 2

To manage the user roles for a particular user, hover over their name and click on “Edit.” This will take you to the user’s profile page.

Step 3

On the user’s profile page, scroll down to the “Role” dropdown menu. Here you will see a list of available user roles. Select the desired role from the list.

Step 4

After selecting the desired role, click on the “Update User” button to save the changes. The user’s role will be updated, and they will have the permissions associated with the new role.

Keep in mind that user roles play an essential role in determining the level of access and permissions for each user, so it’s essential to assign roles carefully to maintain the security and integrity of your WordPress site.

Why It’s Important to Set User Roles Correctly

The benefits of taking the time to structure your user roles and permissions include:

1. Enhanced security: By customizing user roles and permissions, you minimize the risk of unauthorized users accessing sensitive information or making unwanted changes to your website. Ensuring each user has the appropriate level of access reduces the chances of security breaches.

2. Improved website management: Assigning appropriate roles and permissions enables users to focus on their designated tasks, creating a more efficient and streamlined management process. This ensures a smoother user experience for both administrators and end-users.

3. Ease of collaboration: Well-defined user roles and permissions allow for seamless collaboration among your team members. Each contributor can access the necessary resources and complete their tasks without conflicting with others or making unintentional changes.

4. Accountability and monitoring: Customizing user roles simplifies monitoring and maintaining accountability for changes made to your website. By knowing who has access to particular areas and functions, you can better track any suspicious activity, modifications, or clarifications needed regarding user actions.

5. Scalability and adaptability: As your website grows, having a robust user role management system in place makes it easier to onboard new users and adjust permissions as needed. This flexibility ensures your website management remains efficient and secure, even as your team or content expands.

Best Practises to Manage User Roles and Permissions

Let’s explore some best practices and tips to help you manage user roles and permissions effectively.

1. Limit administrator access: Avoid assigning the ‘administrator’ role to too many users to maintain a secure website. This role has complete control over the website, and limiting it to only a few trusted individuals reduces the risk of unauthorized changes or breaches.

2. Assign appropriate roles: Carefully consider the requirements and responsibilities of each user on your website and assign roles accordingly. Ensure they have the necessary permissions to complete tasks without granting access to unrelated areas or sensitive information.

3. Periodically review user roles: Users’ roles and responsibilities may change over time. Review and update user roles periodically to ensure they remain relevant and adhere to the principle of least privilege to enhance security.

4. Monitor user activity: Keep tabs on user actions by setting up an activity log plugin, like WP Activity Log. This allows you to monitor any suspicious actions or modifications to your website and helps maintain overall site integrity.

5. Create custom roles: For more granular control, create custom roles using a plugin like User Role Editor. This enables you to design specific roles with the exact set of permissions needed for users, optimizing security and efficiency.


Managing user roles and permissions in WordPress is crucial for maintaining the security and integrity of your website. By carefully assigning user roles, you can control who has access to your website and ensure that only the right users have access to the right features.

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