WordPress user roles can be a bit confusing when you're first starting out with WordPress. Fortunately, with a little explanation of the different roles available when you create new users and the capabilities of each of those roles, you will have a better understanding of how to better control access to your WordPress site.

What are Roles in WordPress?

Roles are a way of distinguishing different types of users in WordPress. The default roles available in WordPress are: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. When a new user is added to a WordPress site, a role is assigned.

Each role has a list of things they can do, which are the capabilities of that role.

What are Capabilities in WordPress?

The real power of WordPress roles is within the capabilities each role has. Without capabilities, the user roles would be just a title, with no real control over what users can do. Each role in WordPress has different capabilities by default. So that you can better understand the various capabilities for each role, we've created a simplified version of the WordPress Roles and Capabilities Table:

Capability Administrator Editor Author Contributor Subscriber
Manage Plugins X



Manage Users X



Install & Manage Themes X



Import & Export X



Edit Files X



Run WordPress Updates X



Manage Comments X X


Manage Categories X X


Manage Links X X


Edit Any Post or Page (Published or Draft) X X


Publish and Delete Posts and Pages X X


Read and Edit Private Pages and Posts X X


Edit Published Posts X X X

Upload Files X X X

Publish Posts X X X

Delete Published Posts X X X

Edit Draft Posts X X X X
Delete Draft Posts X X X X
Read Public Posts and Pages X X X X X

Now that you have a better understanding of user roles and capabilities in WordPress, feel free to try them out. You can even create test users and assign different roles to gain more understanding about what each user sees and can do in WordPress.

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