WordPress User Basics

WordPress Users


This guide covers WordPress user basics from user registration and login to creating and managing users.


Take Aways

  • Understand user roles and capabilities
  • Learn how users can register, login and manage their own profiles
  • Learn how to add and remove users
  • Learn how to manage users
  • Learn how to update user profiles

User Roles and Capabilities

There are 6 types of WordPress users called “roles”. Each role represents how much administrative access a user assigned to the role has when logged in to the Admin Area.

  • A Subscriber has the lowest level of access and can only update their profile.
  • A Contributor can do what a Subscriber can, plus view all published posts and comments, create posts, and upload media from their computer only, not from the Media Library. However, a Contributor cannot publish a post, only submit their posts for review by other users who have publishing capability. Also, a Contributor cannot edit or delete a post once published.
  • An Author can can do what a Contributor can, plus publish, edit and delete their own posts. An Author also has access to the Media Library.
  • An Editor can do what an Author can, plus edit, publish and delete all posts and comments.
  • An Administrator can do everything and has complete access to all administrative capabilities and screens in the Admin Area. However, if the user is an Administrator of a multisite network (see blow), they can do what an Editor can, plus, customize the theme, create and manage navigation menus, add widgets, import content (if import plugins are installed and activate for the entire network), export content, manage site settings, and add users who already exist in the network.
  • A Super Admin is a special role for multisites. A multisite is a network of multiple WordPress websites. A Super Admin is the administrator all all the websites in the network and can create new sites, manage all websites in the network, add plugins and themes that can be made available to the entire network, manage network users and update WordPress to the latest version. A Super Admin can also directly manage individual websites within the network.

To see a comprehensive list of capabilities for each role, visit the Roles and Capabilities page on WordPress.org.

User Registration

If you’ve enabled the ability for people to register, in the General Settings screen, a user can register to your website by going to the following web URL: www.yoursite.com/wp-login.php?action=register. A “Register” link is also available when a user goes to the /wp-login.php login screen.

The default registration form includes just two fields: username and email address. The user is then sent a confirmation email with their username and an autogenerated password to use to login.

By default, a new user is registered as a Subscriber unless you update the “New User Default Role” setting in the General Settings screen.

After signing in, a user can update their password, and manage the rest of their profile.

User Profile Settings

All user roles can access their profiles via the Profile link in the Screens Menu or via their linked names at the right side of the Toolbar.

Administrative Options

In addition to adding and updating typical user profile information such as email address, name, bio and so forth (see below), a user can configure three administrative display settings.

  • The Visual Editor field allows you to disable the use of the visual editor when writing posts and pages. The Visual Editor allows you to write content as it will appear on your website and does not require you to know or understand HTML or CSS code if for example you want to make copy bold or add a link to text. Disabling the Visual Editor, the user can only use plain text to write their post content and will manually add code to style the content.
  • The Admin Color Scheme field allows the user to change the default color scheme in the Admin Area from the default grays and blues to any of the other 7 color scheme options.
  • The Toolbar field allows a user to show or hide the toolbar when viewing your website. By default, the toolbar is visible. However, a theme may already hide the Toolbar by default.

Profile Options


A username cannot be changed once a user is created. A user can change their First Name, Last Name and Nicknames. A Nickname by default is the same as your Username unless it is changed.

A user can choose to publicly display their first and last names, just first name, just last name, username or nickname by selecting from the “Display name publicly” as dropdown.

Contact Info

A user can update their required email address and add a website address.

The email is used to sent notifications such as lost password requests and confirmation of email address update.

The website address is used as the link to the user’s publicly displayed name when the user comments on a post.

About Yourself

A user can add a bio in the Biographical Info field. Bios are only visible if a theme’s author page is set up to show the bio.

By default, a user’s Profile Picture is their Gravatar avatar. If a user does not have an avatar, the default image set in “Default Avatar” field of the Discussions admin screen is used.

Account Management

The user can autogenerate a new password or create their own custom password.

In the Sessions field, for security purposes, a user can choose to logout of all other devices and browsers by clicking on the “Log Our Everywhere Else” field.

Public User Profile

By default, WordPress generates public facing author pages for all users at www.yoursite.com/author/username. These pages are not the same as regular Pages. They are dynamically generating using the default archive.php template, which is used for all pages that have archivable content such as blog, category, tags, and date archives. A default user page just lists the posts published by the user.

Your theme might have a customize author.php file, however, which will usually include the user profile information in addition to the list of posts they’ve published.

Creating Users

To create a new user, hover over the Users link in the Screens Menu and click “Add New” in the sub-menu that appears.

  1. Enter a Username. The Username can be any combination of letters, numbers and spaces.
  2. Enter a valid Email address.
  3. You can choose to skip the First Name, Last Name and Website. If you choose to fill out the Website field, make sure to enter a valid website address.
  4. The Password is automatically generated. Clicking on the “Show Password” button will reveal the generated password. You can overwrite this password by simply entering a different password.
  5. If you want the new user to be notified and sent a confirmation email with their username and password, leave the Send User Notification checkbox enabled.
  6. In the Role field, select the role for the new user.
  7. Click the Add New User button.

Deleting Users

When deleting a user, you’ll be taken to a Delete User screen. If the user has no posts, you can simply click the “Confirm Deletion” button. But if the user has content, you can choose to either delete all the content associated with that user. Or, you can reassign the content to another user.

Managing Your Users

Click the Users link in the Screens Menu. Here you can view all the users of your website. You can bulk delete users by selecting the checkboxes of the users you want to delete and clicking the “Bulk Actions” dropdown and choosing “Delete” and then clicking the “Apply” button.

You can also change the roles of multiple users via the “Change role to” dropdown and choosing a new role for your selected users.

Hovering a user row reveals three links to individually manage users. Edit, goes to their profile page. Delete, goes to the Delete Users screen. View, goes to the user’s public profile page.

Please let me know of any errors, grammatical or other, in the this guide via the contact form. Also feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.

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