So you might be wondering, why should I care about WordPress user roles? In a nutshell, it’s all about access. Different user roles give different levels of access. This is helpful for times when you want to let someone, say, update a blog post on your website, but you don’t want them cutting loose with your settings. Having multiple users with different levels of access helps you run your website with a team without losing compromising on control or security. So, without further ado, let’s get into the different types of user roles.
A subscriber has the lowest level of access of all WordPress users. They have extremely limited capabilities. Basically all they’re able to do is manage their own profile. They can’t make any changes to the website as a whole. So why bother? Well, the main purpose of this role is to allow users to leave comments without the need to enter their details every time. It’s perfect for the avid blog-reader and commenter. That’s pretty much it.
The contributor user role is perfect for allowing writers to contribute to your blog under supervision. The contributor is great for you interns, work experience peeps and people just getting used to your system. Contributors can login, write posts and submit them for review, but they cannot publish them. That, my friend, is for people higher up the food chain. Contributors can claim one small liberty with their work: once published, they’re able to moderate the comments on their own posts (but they still can’t do this on anyone else’s).
In this user role, the author has earned enough trust to unleash their writings to the world unsupervised. Put quite simply, the author has the power to write and, most importantly, publish their own posts. So basically the author can do everything the contributor can, plus publishing. However, to be clear, an author can only work on their own material. The ability to work on other people’s posts is the domain of the editor and the administrator.
Editors have the ability to manage and publish any other user’s posts – including their own. The editor, in this position of almost complete authority, can oversee, edit and publish until their heart’s content. They can approve and publish submitted work from contributors, or go back and fix up anyone’s work before or after publishing. As suggested by the name, however, the editor is limited to editing post and page content. They don’t have the ability to do any work on other aspects of the site like design and large-scale functionality. That’s left to the administrator.
The role of administrator is not to be handed out lightly. A user with this level of access has the power do anything to the site, from changing the theme to editing code to just about anything else you can think of. This is a role of supreme responsibility, with the power to make or break the very core of the website. Use with caution.
In the great words of Voltaire, Stan Lee and even Winston Churchill, with great power comes great responsibility. Share your user roles wisely, and, if in doubt, just WordPress Ninjas.