WordPress Wednesday: What Do the Different User Roles Mean?

This post was published 5 years ago. Some things may have changed since then - use the search function to see if anything has been posted since then, or reach out to us on Twitter if you'd like to see a more updated post!

Welcome to WordPress Wednesday! Weekly tips for new and established self-hosted WordPress users, designed to help you get the most out of your site from Sarah, a freelance WordPress website developer.

What Do the Different User Roles Mean?

If you have multiple contributors to your blog then you’ll want to make sure that nobody accidentally does anything they’re not supposed to. Luckily, WordPress has specific user roles to help you limit access for each user and (hopefully) stop anybody breaking anything! :)
If you’ve spotted these before and aren’t sure what each one means (and let’s face it, it’s not particularly clear!) then here’s a handy list:


Gives full access to the site with no limits. Anything and everything can be added, changed or deleted – and that means the whole site! WordPress recommends only having one Administrator per site. Proceed with caution.
This is the mother of all user logins. You can do everything as an administrator, including deleting your site, so be careful who you give admin access too. Unless you think they’re really going to need it, stick to Editor or Author.


Gives the user access to all posts and pages (not just their own), comments, categories, tags and links but removes all of the configuration functionality from the dashboard such as Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools and Settings.
Editor roles are great if you have someone you can trust to manage your posts and pages when you’re short of time. You don’t have to give them full access to everything, but they still get a higher degree of control over your content.


This user can write, edit, publish and upload photos to their own posts only. All other posts are off limits.
Author roles are the best for regular contributors who you can trust to write and publish things themselves, but you’d rather they didn’t mess around with anyone else’s stuff.


This user can only write and edit their own posts until published. They cannot upload photos, etc and once published they can no longer edit the post.
Contributor level is essentially the base level for WordPress users – they can create posts but can’t publish them (you have to approve them first).  Really handy for anyone who only contributes occasionally so only needs a limited access, or people who are less tech savvy. This way you can tidy up their posts before they get unleashed on the world! :)

So there we have it, WordPress User Roles in a nutshell. If you’ve got any questions about WordPress leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: