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WordPress User Roles and Capabilities Overview

What Users Can and Cannot Do on a WordPress Blog


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WordPress bloggers can give multiple people access to their blogs and assign specific user roles to each person which controls what those users can and cannot do on the blog.

For example, some WordPress bloggers create a team blog where multiple writers create content for the blog. The blog owner might want to give those users the ability to create and immediately publish their posts. Alternately, she might want to give some users the ability to write posts but rather than publish those posts immediately, she might want to require them to submit their posts to her for review and publication. Thanks to WordPress user roles, she can assign roles with appropriate responsibilities to each user who has access to the blog's WordPress dashboard.

There are six user roles that you can assign to the people you want to be able to log into your WordPress dashboard to create and edit content or manage various aspects of your blog. They are described below in order of capabilities with the first being the user role with the most capabilities and the sixth being the user role with the fewest capabilities.

1. Super Admin:

The Super Admin role is only applicable for blogs that use the multisite feature available in the self-hosted WordPress 3.0 or higher. If you're not running a network of WordPress sites, this role won't be available through your WordPress installation. With this feature, a blog owner can use a single WordPress installation to manage a network of blogs. The Super Admin has access to all blogs in the network and can control every aspect of those blogs.

2. Administrator

The Administrator has access to all parts of the blog and has complete control over it. For example, the Administrator can write, edit, and publish posts and pages. She can manage plugins, edit themes and the blog layout, access the CSS files for the theme, and add or delete users. She can also manage comments, upload files, and more. Typically, the blog owner is the Administrator, but multiple users can be assigned the Administrator role. The Administrator has the ability to destroy the blog, so be careful who you give admin rights to!

3. Editor

The Editor can write, edit, and publish his own posts as well as other writers' posts. He can also create, edit, and delete pages as well as moderate comments and upload files. In other words, the Editor can manage all posts, pages, and comments on the blog, but he cannot do damage to the blog layout, theme, user accounts, CSS files, and so on.

4. Author

An Author can write, edit, and publish his own posts only. He cannot touch content created by any other user in the WordPress dashboard. Users assigned the Author role can also upload files, such as images to include in posts. The Author role is appropriate for team blog members that you trust to create and publish their own posts without your reviewing them prior to publication on your live blog.

5. Contributor

A Contributor can write and edit his own posts, but he cannot publish them. Instead, he must submit posts for review by an Editor or Administrator who will publish the posts to the live blog. Before he submits his posts for review, he can delete them. Furthermore, the Contributor cannot upload files to the blog, so he cannot add images to his posts either. This role is best for blogs that are managed in a very restrictive manner where the owner requires an Editor or Administrator to approve and revise each post, including adding acceptable images, prior to publication.

6. Subscriber

A Subscriber can create and manage a profile on a WordPress blog, but that's all he can do. The Subscriber role is useful for private blogs where the owner only wants certain people to be able to read the content on the blog or wants to keep specific content on the blog accessible only to registered subscribers.

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