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How to Control WordPress User Roles, Permissions and Capabilities

WordPress user roles are a rarely used feature. User roles aren’t relevant for small websites, but they are pivotal for bigger ones. WordPress has a built-in hierarchical system of user roles; once you create a user, you need to assign them a role.

User roles are suitable for blogs, magazine news, and e-commerce websites that have multiple contributors. For instance, a new blogging team member shouldn’t have the same permissions as an editor.

A new member should manage his posts only and nothing more. In this way, the admin is sure that a new team member won’t be able to delete or publish posts by mistake.

In this article, I will show you how to add a user, assign WordPress user roles, and configure plugins to manage user roles, permissions and capabilities better.

How to Add a WordPress User

It’s a basic operation; just go to your dashboard, hover over Users and click Add New. You have to fill in a few options, but only username and email are mandatory.

how to add a new user in wordpress

Deleting an account is also as simple as ABC. Hover over Users and click All Users. Select the user you want to remove and choose Delete from the drop-down menu.

Types of User Roles

WordPress has five predefined user roles: administrator, editor, author, contributor, and subscriber.


An administrator (aka admin) is the most powerful user role. The admin has full control; this user can create new users, change the theme, activate plugins, edit, publish, and delete posts. This role can be assigned to a blog owner or an online store manager.


The name of this user role is quite suggestive of its abilities. The editor is responsible for website content. This role is the best fit for magazine news and blogs. The editor edits, approves, and schedules the posts submitted by other content creators. Unlike the admin, the editor doesn’t have the permission to activate plugins and themes.


Authors have fewer permissions than editors. They are in charge of their own content, so authors can create, edit, publish, and delete posts. Plus, authors have no restrictions on uploading media files.

This role is suitable for newly hired content creators or for online store maintainers with limited responsibilities.


Contributors can only create and edit their own posts and submit them for approval. They aren’t able to see other people’s work, and they can’t delete or publish their own posts. This role is recommended for guest post submissions.


Subscribers can only login to the website and manage their personal profile. Membership sites assign this role to new people who want to be a part of the community.

Perhaps for the majority of us, these roles are more than enough. Altogether, webmaster’s needs are diverse, and some of them ask for additional roles. Luckily for them, there are a few plugins that are genuinely useful in this respect. Here is our selection of plugins to control user roles and permissions.

User Role Editor

user role editor plugin details

This plugin provides invaluable help for an admin wanting to assign various roles. Install it and go to Users > All Users. Hover over the user you want to customise and click Capabilities. You can assign any role and permission to the user (except Administrator). Less–tech savvy people can tick the option Show capabilities in human readable form. It’s both a funny and useful feature. Tick the capabilities you want to assign to the user and hit the Update button.

user role editor

You can also create new types of users and give them custom permissions. Head to Users > User Role Editor and click on the Add Role button.


members details plugin

Members is a plugin that does almost the same things as User Role Editor. However, this plugin is unique due to its ease of use. If you have little to no experience managing roles, Members is all you need. It’s no wonder that it’s rated 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Go to Users > Roles, and you will see all your website’s users. Members lets you edit, delete, and clone them. Editing the users is the most important feature.

list of members

Chose a role, and you will be asked to grant or deny a bunch of capabilities. The list of capabilities falls into different categories, and it makes it intuitive to deny or grant capabilities.

Capability Manager Enhanced

capability manager enhanced details

Capability Manager Enhanced is another plugin to control WordPress user roles. Once you activate it, head to Users > Capabilities.

capabilities enhanced manager wordpress plugin

Here you have unlimited powers to modify user roles. Each user role can be enhanced by adding capabilities. Obviously, you can design new roles and clone the existing ones.

WPFront User Role Editor

user role editor plugin

This plugin is suitable for quickly adding or removing WordPress user role capabilities. It has similar features to the previous plugins – add, edit, clone, and delete new user roles and manage permissions.

user role editor edit screen

WPFront User Role Editor lets you restore WordPress user roles instantly, so don’t worry if you make a mistake.

Remove Dashboard Access

remove dashboard access details plugin

Remove Dashboard Access is a unique plugin that is extremely handy for blogs with many external contributors. It empowers the administrator to remove access to the dashboard for users. The plugin has three options: access only to administrator, access to admin and editors, and access to authors, editors, and admin. It’s simple and practical. Just head to Settings > Dashboard Access and customise the plugin for your website.

remove dashboard access settings

I hope that this post has helped you to get a clear idea about WordPress user roles, permissions and capabilities. It’s not complicated at all, and assigning the correct roles brings tonnes of advantages.

The above plugins are efficient in managing roles and permissions. Solo beginners, this post may not currently be useful, but in the long run, it might be, so bookmark this post. Of course, feel free to share your experiences related to WordPress user roles with us.

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About Daniel Pintilie

Daniel PintilieDaniel is an Internet geek focused on writing actionable content. He loves showcasing WordPress tricks and tips and online marketing strategies. In his spare time, Daniel reads history books and plays football.

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