WordPress Users And Their Capabilities

A WordPress website can have a lot of Users: that is people who are allowed to log in and make changes to the website. Different users can have different capabilities and these are based on levels of designated roles..

By default, WordPress assigns the role of ‘administrator’ to the user (you!) who created the WordPress installation. The administrator is the person who has the capability to do everything with the website – add, amend, delete pages, posts and media, change the theme, set passwords, install plugins, manage widgets and add or delete other users – and more.

As a user, you have a profile. To see yours, from the dashboard, click ‘Users’, ‘All Users’ and you will see your username listed. Hover the mouse over your username and click ‘Edit’ when it pops up. Scroll down and you’ll see all the information that WordPress knows about you.

You don’t have to add any more information if you don’t want to but, if you do, some of the information may be visible to visitors to your site.

Change Password

Note that here, at the bottom of the page, is where you can change your password. This is the password you need to login to the WordPress dashboard and you can change this whenever you want to.

As you can see, you can ask WordPress to generate a password but you can also type one in yourself. WordPress likes strong passwords: upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation but this is up to you. Just type in the new password you want and then click on ‘Update Profile’. And please, make a permanent note of your password so that you can easily find again because it’s a bore if you forget it.

If you are the founder of your website and you will be the only person who ever works on it, then you can now safely skip the rest of this lesson.

But if there could be more than one person working on the site then you will need to know how to create other users.

Add Another User

To add another user, from the dashboard, click ‘Users’, ‘Add New’. As you can see from the screen, the fields at the top of the screen (Username, E-mail, First Name, Last Name etc.) are self-explanatory. Enter all you need to identify that user. At the bottom of the screen is a drop-down box marked ‘Role’. This will tell WordPress what that user is, and is not, allowed to do on the site:

  • Administrator – somebody who has access to all the administration features (the same as you!)
  • Editor – somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users’ posts, etc.
  • Author – somebody who can publish and manage their own posts
  • Contributor – somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish them
  • Subscriber – somebody who can read posts and manage their own user profile

It is up to you to decide how to allocate the role and capabilities of each user to suit your organization and team.

When all is filled in, click ‘Add New User’ and you’re done. That person can now login to the WordPress dashboard (see Lesson 2) with the username and password that you have assigned and will be given the capabilities that the role permits.

If you have multiple users on your website it will be a worthwhile investment of your time to make sure that they are all sufficiently skilled to carry out the roles you have assigned to them. You could do worse than mention this article to them (she blagged…)

OK – you’ll be pleased to hear that you’ve covered the basic essentials of WordPress in the fourteen lessons so far.

In the remaining six lessons we’ll be covering security, promotion and maintenance issues that every web master needs to address. These are matters that are now routine and which you have to build into your schedule so that your website can become robust, popular and productive.

If you haven’t yet started on your website it might be a good idea to go back to Lesson 1 and work through what you’ve learned so far, complete the Action Steps at the end of each lesson and then come back to Lesson 15 when you’ve done that.

Action Steps

  • Explore password changing options but don’t Save unless you actually want to change
  • Create some fictional users with different roles and try logging in with their user names and passwords
  • Explore the capabilities of the different user roles Trash the fictional users when done


I set my friend up as a user on my website so that he could be a contributor, but he’s forgotten his password. How can I retrieve the password for him?

The easiest way for you to do this is to set a new password for him and here’s how to do it.

Log into your website as the administrator. From the dashboard, click on ‘Users’, ‘All Users’, hover over your friend’s name and click on ‘Edit’. Scroll down the page and enter a new password (twice). Then click ‘Update User’.

Then email your friend with the new password and tell him not, under any circumstances, to waste your time(!) by forgetting it again…

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