What's WP
Find Everything Related to WordPress - Best Tutoriasl on WordPress!
How to Control WordPress User Roles?

How to Control WordPress User Roles?

As an open-source site building platform, WordPress is loved by more and more people. Although WordPress is easy-to-use and time-saving, it is still difficult to successfully manage a website alone. Thus, invite capable people to help site owners to manage website is the best choice.

Different people have various merits and accordingly they need to be responsible for different sections. For example, some are good at blog writing while others do well in article editing. In this case, user role assignment is a key to divide the work explicitly so as to make users know their responsibilities.

In the following, we focus on introducing the WordPress user roles and putting forward solutions to the adding of custom user roles.

Brief Introduction of User Roles

By default, WordPress classifies user roles into 6 categories: administrator, editor, author, contributor, super admin and subscriber. Different roles are allocated with various rights, which means they are responsible for different section.

    user roles and permissions

  • Administrator – This is the big boss who is authorized to do anything on the dashboard, such as deciding which theme to use, changing essential files, and changing other users’ roles.
  • Editor – As the name suggests, editor is responsible for all content editing things including edit, delete, or publish a post or page. However, editors don’t have access to the whole website design business like widgets, plugins, and themes.
  • Author – The role of authors is a little bit similar to that of editors. Their differences lay in that the former can only edit, delete and publish their own articles while the latter can handle all the posts and pages.
  • Contributor – Contributor is something like guest writer which means they can write, delete, and modify their own unpublished articles. However, they don’t have access to media library and published articles nor do they can publish articles themselves.
  • Super Admin – This is the only one who can access the site network options to manage themes, plugins, sites and users.
  • Subscriber – Subscriber has the least privilege among the five user roles that only can create profiles, read posts, and write comments to them.

Add Users Roles in WordPress

After understanding the function and rights of different user roles, you need to know how to add new users to your website. Thus, we give you comprehensive instructions step by step.

Firstly, log into your WordPress account and navigate to dashboard. You can see Users on the left side under Appearance. Click on Users and then click on Add New. After this, there is a format need to be filled including Username, First Name, Last Name, Email, and Password.

add new user

When finishing all the information above, you can see Role in the last line. There are several choices presented to choose the role of users. After completing the form, just click on Add User. Here, a new user is successfully built, and he or she can access to the dashboard by using the given username and password. Note that users need to reset admin password after get into the dashboard for password protecting the account.

wp user role

Add WordPress Custom User Roles

Actually, the above-mentioned 6 roles may not be enough to meet the requirements of people who hanker for more user role settings. The following words deliver the information about how to add custom user role in your WordPress with the capability of “add_role()” so as to create more flexibilities.

Use Codes

There are 5 capabilities used to manage roles, including “add_role()”, “remove_role()”, “add_cap()”, “remove_cap()”, and “get_role()”, among which “add_role()” is a leading capability to add a customer user role, which is defined as below. Here, you need to add this code in the function.php file.

add custom user role 1

Defining the User Role

Suppose that you name a user role as “Guest”, and then, you are required to assign the abilities to it. Here, we enable this user role to edit posts, create posts, edit others posts, edit pages and manage categories.

Writing Code

After finishing the definition of a user role, you need to write the code like what we display as below. Note that, the “array” code is designed to show the capabilities orderly.

add custom user role 2

To avoid the abuse of capabilities, you can set the code to disable users to do something according to your needs, like editing themes, installing plugins, updating plugins, and updating core. Thus, the code should be like that.

add custom user role 3

Make Use of User Role Editor

This tool can help you change any user role capabilities as you want with a few clicks. With the changes in requirements, you are allowed to add new capabilities or remove anything unnecessary.

user role editor

After having the User Role Editor installed, you can find it under Dashboard > Tools > User Role Editor to view dozens of core capabilities by default.

user role editor

From the various options, you are required to check whatever you want to add custom user role, such as “delete_others_pages”, “edit_plugins”, “add_users”, “edit_private_posts”, and so on. However, if those capabilities cannot meet your requirements, you can add new role by clicking the “Add Role”.

user role editor

Just like what we have shown as below, you can view all users’ information via Dashboard > Users as well as edit, delete and view their capabilities.

user role editor

For any capabilities displaying below, you have the right to check it or delete it according to your own needs.

user role editor

Besides, this powerful plugin enables you to change tole for users without role.

user role editor

Plugins for WordPress User Role Controlling

As users’ roles and powers are fixed in WordPress, there is less room for site owners to customize the user roles themselves. Besides, consuming you have many users, managing those roles through dashboard can be tedious and time-consuming. However, don’t worry, there are easy-to-use and practical user role control plugins that create for user managing.

User Hierarchy


You can quickly create new roles in WordPress with this plugin. Besides, you can grand any power to a role as you wish. For example, you can create a new role named as Manager and let it help you manage all the users, but limit his right to edit and create users with the contributor user role.

User Hierarchy



Members not only make it easy to create, edit, and delete user roles, but also simplify the process to increase or decrease the capabilities of these roles. Besides, the plugin offers free shortcodes for users to decide who have the right to access content.



Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.