WordPress User Roles + What they do

Creating and maintaining a website and blog can be confusing at times, especially when there is a small to large team with multiple different permissions. Imagine being the blog writer and having permissions that allow you to edit the design of the whole website? That seems like too much power or even information that is needed for everyone. Therefore, understanding how WordPress roles work will allow you to create an effective workplace for your business, and blog.

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WordPress User Roles

In WordPress, a users role is one that allows users certain permissions and abilities within the Content management system (CMS) called WordPress. These include low-level permissions such as commenting on a post, all the way up to designing an entire website or webpage.

Any WordPress site can use these roles, however, they work effectively when managing a large team with multiple different departments. They ensure everyone stays in their own lane and doesn’t accidentally corrupt or ruin someone else’s work.

User Roles vs. User Permissions

User roles are the overall scope of abilities you will have within WordPress, user permissions refer to the individual capabilities that each role has. For example, a users role is “subscriber” while user permission is to comment on a post.

WordPress Default User Roles

A fresh install of WordPress comes with five default roles. These are Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, and Administrator. Each default role will be outlined below with what their permissions entail.


The subscriber role has minimal permissions, the subscribers can create and edit their own accounts and that’s about it. They cannot create posts, edit content, modify the site. The main role of the subscriber role is to create restricted content for subscribers only. This is a great way to monetise your website.


A contributor can create posts, but cannot publish their own content. Any post that the contributor would like made on your blog, must then be approved by an Author or above. They cannot edit or delete their posts either and they cannot edit site settings.

This role is perfect for people in your team who need a closer monitoring or external contributors.


Authors are similar to contributors however, they have full autonomy over their own content including the ability to create, publish, edit, and delete their own posts. Unlike contributors, authors can also add files to their content, and edit comments left on their posts. However, they cannot modify or delete posts by other users, or change site settings.


The editor role is in short a manager of the contributors and authors, they oversee it all. They may create, publish, modify, or delete any post or page on your site. Editors can also fully moderate comment sections and manage tags and categories for posts. While editors have significantly more control than lower roles, they also cannot make any larger changes to your site


Administrators are in charge of the entire website, they run the design, site settings, pages, and blog posts. WordPress automatically assigns this role to whoever created the WordPress website. An administrator can also assign and remove roles from its users.

Assigning the role to others should be done with a high level of caution. Should only be done to highly trusted people.

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