Skip to content

Instructions for permissions

Here is an overview of how Alabama Jefferson County Democrats assigns permissions:

Technical Lead for the Site: Keymaster

Technical Committee Member: Administrator

Organization Chair: Editor and Forum Moderator

Committee Chairpersons: Author and Forum Moderator

Members: Subscriber and Forum Participant

The goal is to make it possible for committees to share information and publish information without having to worry about messing up the site.

An Introduction to WordPress User Roles and Permissions (And Why They’re Important)
WordPress user roles and permissions are two different but interdependent concepts. User roles determine what a user can and can’t do on your WordPress site, based on their user type. These limitations are generalized for anyone who carries a certain user role status.

Permissions, on the other hand, are more individualized. You can create custom permissions for specific users, and control exactly what they are allowed to do on your site. Moreover, you can give different users distinct permissions depending on their role.

With this double-layered system, you can ensure that each user only sees and accesses the features that are appropriate for them. Furthermore, you can create custom roles with unique capabilities, which is a great way to provide additional functionality for advanced users or clients who need certain abilities not available in the default roles.

Both user roles and permissions are set by the Administrator, which is typically the WordPress site owner. By default, there are six different user roles: Super Admin, Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. Each role has its own set of capabilities, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

User roles and permissions play an important role in ensuring that your WordPress website is secure and runs smoothly. By managing these settings, you can control who has access to what areas of your site, and what they can do there.

If someone has too many privileges, they can end up publishing low-quality content or changing settings that impact the functionality or appearance of your site. The good news is that when you implement user roles and capabilities, you can have peace of mind knowing that only trusted parties have full admin access.

An Overview of the Default User Roles in WordPress
Now that you know a bit about the importance of user roles, let’s take a closer look at the six default user roles you can choose from when managing your WordPress website. Keep in mind that as an Administrator, you have the ability to create new user roles and assign them to specific users on your site. You can also manage permissions for existing user roles.

Super Admin
The Super Admin is the highest level of user on a WordPress site. This user has complete control over the site, including the ability to add and delete users, install and activate plugins, manage themes, and more. Super Admins are typically only found on multisite installations of WordPress.

Super Admins can manage every setting and feature for each site within a multi-site network. They can add and delete other Administrators, create new sites, and control content across each site.

Administrators have complete control over a single WordPress site. They can add and delete users, install and activate plugins, manage themes, etc. Usually, they are the site owners or main authors:

WordPress Dashboard
This powerful role has complete access to content, features, and site settings. They can update the CMS as well as plugins and themes. The Admin is also responsible for assigning user roles and capabilities to other registered users. Ideally, you should only have one Administrator per website.

Editors can manage and publish posts and pages, as well as moderate comments. They can also schedule content and edit categories. However, they cannot install or activate plugins, or manage themes:

WordPress Dashboard
In a nutshell, an editor can modify content created by themselves and other users with a lower status, such as Authors and Contributors. They can’t change content for users with permissions higher than theirs, such as an Administrator. Typically, this role is reserved for content managers or similar titles.

As you may have guessed, authors can write and publish their own posts and pages. They can also delete their own posts. However, they cannot publish, edit, or delete anyone else’s posts. Additionally, authors cannot add or delete users, install or activate plugins, or manage themes:

WordPress Dashboard
Unlike Contributors, Authors have access to the WordPress Media Library. While they can edit reader comments, they can only do so on their own posts.

WordPress Contributors can write and submit their own posts for review by an Administrator or Editor. Once a post is published, they cannot edit it. Furthermore, contributors cannot add or delete users, install or activate plugins, or manage themes.

Contributors are usually roles assigned to freelance writers or guest bloggers. This role is also commonly used for new hires whose content needs editing or reviewing before it can be published on the site.

Once submitted for review, only the Editor or Administrator can publish their posts. Contributors cannot access the Media Library.

Subscribers can manage their own profiles and read posts and pages on a WordPress site. They cannot write or publish their own posts or pages, nor can they add or delete users, install or activate plugins, or manage themes:

WordPress User Profile Personal Options screen
Subscribers have the fewest permissions and capabilities of all the WordPress roles. It is the default user role set for new registrations.

There are a few additional user role options available on some WordPress sites. For example, if you’re running a WooCommerce site, Shop Managers have similar capabilities to Administrators, but with some added features specifically for managing WooCommerce stores. For instance, they can add and delete products, manage orders, and more.