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A user role explains the permissions for a user can execute as a set of tasks or jobs within the backend of a WordPress website. There are a few roles already predefined when you install WordPress, and each has a predefined group of permissions. The WordPress roles include: Super Admin first, then Administrator, followed by Editor, Author, then Contributor, and finally Subscriber. Each of these roles requires “capabilities,” which are a fixed number of specified tasks that are allowed to be performed. There are several capabilities, including “moderate comments”, “publish post”, and “edit users”. Despite every role having a set of specific capabilities predetermined for it, it is possible to remove or add new capabilities from each specific role. When using WordPress sites with more than one author, user roles are quite useful.

Regarding default roles, the Subscriber has the lowest amount of access to the backend, while the Super Admin has the most access and permission. As a subscriber, one can read posts that are put up on the site, but not write any new content. A Contributor is allowed to write posts without publishing them. Both an Author and Editor are able to write and publish their own posts; however, Editors can also do the same for others’ posts. The Administrator can access all administrative features while in the backend of the site, while whoever is set as Super Admin can access the entire network, if one exists.

User plugins allow for new roles to be added or removed, which gives the administrator of the website the ability to decide who can publish new posts, edit new and existing posts, manage and update plugins, create new pages, moderate new comments, manage other people using the website, define links, update and manage themes, and more.

Administrators on WordPress websites are able to allow other users to participate with their site by limiting the capabilities of the different roles. Because of how user roles are set up, WordPress websites can have thousands of users registered to use them, plus a myriad of authors. The flexibility afforded by these user roles has converted WordPress from a basic blog publishing platform to a community platform with the capacity to power membership sites, big online publications, and other types of sites that would usually necessitate large numbers of users.

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