Custom WordPress Website Design

What are WordPress User Roles?

Last updated September 2023

WordPress user roles define permissions for users to perform certain tasks or to access certain areas in your website’s admin section. The roles range from having absolute website power to only being able to update your profile. Specific roles should be given for every user as you wouldn’t want one of your customers to have access to your site’s content. WordPress offers six predefined roles that come standard with your installation.

Let’s find out what each WordPress user roles is for—starting with the role that has the most control.


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Why Are WordPress User Roles Important?

With user roles, you can control access to different areas of your site, assign specific responsibilities to different users, and ensure that your content remains secure. Listed below is each user role in order of most important to least.

Super admin

The super admin role has complete administration access to all the websites that are part of a multi-site network. If you are not running a multi-site network then the next user role will be the highest role on your site.


The admin user role has access to all administration options, features, plugins and themes.


The editor role has the ability to manage, publish, review content and schedule posts.


The author user role has the ability to publish and edit their own posts.


The contributor role has the ability to write posts and send for an author or editor review. Contributors cannot schedule or post to the website.


The subscriber user role has basic functionality such as updating their profile or leaving a comment. If you are running a store a subscriber will have the ability to update the shop specific details like billing address, credit card information and phone number.

How to Check User Roles in WordPress

  • When logged in as an Admin
  • Click Users in the left navigation > All Users
  • The fourth column in the grid displays each users role

To adjust a user role, simply:

  • Click on the username that needs to be updated
  • Under Name > Role > select a new user role from the dropdown
  • Scroll to the bottom and click the Update User button

Overall, WordPress user roles are a powerful feature that can help you to effectively manage your website and improve the user experience. By taking the time to understand how user roles work and implementing them strategically, you can unlock the full potential of your WordPress site.

WordPress User Roles FAQs

WordPress user roles are predefined sets of permissions that determine what actions users can perform on a WordPress website. They range from Administrators with full control to Subscribers with limited access.

To determine a user’s role in WordPress, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your WordPress website
  2. Click on Users in the left navigation
  3. Find the user in question & click on their user name
  4. Scroll to the role section and check their role in the dropdown

In WordPress, the distinction between an “Admin” and a “Super Admin” primarily applies within WordPress Multisite, a feature for managing multiple websites from a single installation.

An “Admin” oversees an individual site, with control over content, users, and plugins limited to that site.

Conversely, a “Super Admin” acts as the network administrator, overseeing the entire Multisite network. They can configure network-wide settings, manage users across all sites, create new network sites, and assign roles network-wide.

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