Description

WordPress uses a concept of Roles, designed to give the site owner the ability to control what users can and cannot do within the site. A site owner can manage the user access to such tasks as writing and editing posts, creating Pages, defining links, creating categories, moderating comments, managing plugins, managing themes, and managing other users, by assigning a specific role to each of the users.

WordPress has six pre-defined roles: Super Admin, Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. Each role is allowed to perform a set of tasks called Capabilities. There are many capabilities including “publish_posts”, “moderate_comments”, and “edit_users”. A default set of capabilities is pre-assigned to each role, but other capabilites can be assigned or removed using the add_cap() and remove_cap() functions. New roles can be introduced or removed using the add_role() and remove_role() functions.

The Super Admin role allows a user to perform all possible capabilities. Each of the other roles has a decreasing number of allowed capabilities. For instance, the Subscriber role has just the “read” capability. One particular role should not be considered to be senior to another role. Rather, consider that roles define the user’s responsibilities within the site.

Summary of Roles

  • Super Admin – somebody with access to the site network administration features and all other features. See the Create a Network article.
  • Administrator – somebody who has access to all the administration features within a single site.
  • Editor – somebody who can publish and manage posts including the posts of other users.
  • Author – somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – somebody who can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them.
  • Subscriber – somebody who can only manage their profile.

Upon installing WordPress, an Administrator account is automatically created.

The default role for new users can be set in Administration Panels > Settings > General.

Roles

A Role defines a set of tasks a user assigned the role is allowed to perform. For instance, the Super Admin role encompasses every possible task that can be performed within a Network of virtual WordPress sites. The Administrator role limits the allowed tasks only to those which affect a single site. On the other hand, the Author role allows the execution of just a small subset of tasks.

The following sections list the default Roles and their capabilities:

Super Admin

Multisite Super Admins have, by default, all capabilities. The following Multisite-only capabilities are therefore only available to Super Admins:

  • manage_network
  • manage_sites
  • manage_network_users
  • manage_network_plugins
  • manage_network_themes
  • manage_network_options

In the case of single site WordPress installation, Administrators are, in effect, Super Admins. As such, they are the only ones to have access to additional admin capabilities.

Administrator

The capabilities of Administrators differs between single site and Multisite WordPress installations. All administrators have the following capabilities:

  • activate_plugins
  • delete_others_pages
  • delete_others_posts
  • delete_pages
  • delete_plugins
  • delete_posts
  • delete_private_pages
  • delete_private_posts
  • delete_published_pages
  • delete_published_posts
  • edit_dashboard
  • edit_files
  • edit_others_pages
  • edit_others_posts
  • edit_pages
  • edit_posts
  • edit_private_pages
  • edit_private_posts
  • edit_published_pages
  • edit_published_posts
  • edit_theme_options
  • export
  • import
  • list_users
  • manage_categories
  • manage_links
  • manage_options
  • moderate_comments
  • promote_users
  • publish_pages
  • publish_posts
  • read_private_pages
  • read_private_posts
  • read
  • remove_users
  • switch_themes
  • upload_files
  • create_product

Additional Admin Capabilities

Only Administrators of single site installations have the following capabilities. In Multisite, only the Super Admin has these abilities:

  • update_core
  • update_plugins
  • update_themes
  • install_plugins
  • install_themes
  • delete_themes
  • edit_plugins
  • edit_themes
  • edit_users
  • create_users
  • delete_users
  • unfiltered_html

Editor

  • delete_others_pages
  • delete_others_posts
  • delete_pages
  • delete_posts
  • delete_private_pages
  • delete_private_posts
  • delete_published_pages
  • delete_published_posts
  • edit_others_pages
  • edit_others_posts
  • edit_pages
  • edit_posts
  • edit_private_pages
  • edit_private_posts
  • edit_published_pages
  • edit_published_posts
  • manage_categories
  • manage_links
  • moderate_comments
  • publish_pages
  • publish_posts
  • read
  • read_private_pages
  • read_private_posts
  • unfiltered_html (not with Multisite. See Unfiltered MU)
  • upload_files

Author

  • delete_posts
  • delete_published_posts
  • edit_posts
  • edit_published_posts
  • publish_posts
  • read
  • upload_files

Contributor

  • delete_posts
  • edit_posts
  • read

Subscriber

  • read
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