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What are the differences between the various Wordpress user roles?

WordPress uses a user role management system that defines what a user can and cannot do on your website. Knowing the differences between these roles in terms of permissions is essential if you want to have multiple users on your WordPress site.

Wordpress user roles summary

As a rule, Wordpress integrates 5 basic roles. A sixth role by default exists, however, linked to the installation of a Wordpress multisite network.

Super Administrator:

This user role is only available on a WordPress multisite network. It has access to everything, including network administration functions.

Users with the super administrator role can add and remove sites on a multi-site network. On a multi-site WordPress installation, they can also install plugins and themes, add users, and take actions across the network.

The super administrator is equivalent to an improved administrator access for each site in the network.


The administrator is someone who has access to all the administrative functions of a single site. Users with this role can add new content (posts, media, comments, etc.), edit content published by all users, and delete that content.

In addition, they can install, modify and remove plugins and themes. More importantly, administrators can add and remove other users. They can also change information about existing users, including their passwords.


A user with the editor role in WordPress has full control over the content sections of your website. It may publish and manage posts, including posts from other users.

A publisher can add, edit, publish and delete all posts on the site, including those written by other users. It can also moderate, modify and delete comments. In short, it represents a kind of editor-in-chief of the website.

However, publishers do not have permission to change your site settings, install plugins and themes, or add new users.


A user with the role of author can write, edit and publish his own articles. They may also delete their own content, including content that is already published.

When writing posts, authors cannot create new categories, but they can choose from existing ones. They can also add new tags to their items.

An author may approve comments that are pending review, but cannot moderate, edit or delete comments.

The author does not have access to the site settings, plugins or themes. It is therefore a user role involving a fairly low risk. The only real risk is the possibility that he will delete his own publications.


Users with the role of contributor can write and manage their own posts, but cannot publish them.

When writing their posts, they can choose from existing categories and create their own tags.

The biggest drawback of the contributor role is that it cannot download files. He cannot therefore add images to his articles and must rely on another user to do so.

Contributors can see all site comments, including comments awaiting approval. However, they cannot approve or delete comments.

Contributors also do not have access to site settings, plugins or themes. They can therefore not modify any critical element of your site.


Users with the role of subscriber have very limited permissions. They can connect to your WordPress site, update their own user profile, and change their passwords.

They cannot write articles, post comments, or access your WordPress admin dashboard.

This user role is especially useful if you have a membership-based site, an online store or another site where users can register and log in.

Unlike other roles, the subscriber can create their own user access to your Wordpress site without the intervention of the administrator.

Updated on: 20/02/2023

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