Often times when we think of blogs, we picture a single-user website with one author communicating with the rest of the world. While that is certainly an option, another option is to create a blog that has multiple users, multiple authors, and a multi-tier permissions system to keep users where they belong. WordPress has such functionality built into it.
Out of the box, WordPress includes five roles: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. Each role comes with a set of capabilities that define what a user can and cannot do. The following is a brief summary of what each role is and the default capabilities that come with it.
Super Admin – A Super Admin has the ability to manage all sites within a multisite WordPress installation. Capabilities unique to the Super Admin include managing the network, managing sites, updating the core, and managing network users.
Administrator – The Administrator has all of the capabilities of a single site and can manage any users of a lesser role. Capabilities include editing posts, deleting posts, creating users, removing users, and promoting users.
Editor – As the name implies, the editor has more limited management abilities. The Editor can edit other users’ posts, publish them, moderate comments, and upload files. The Editor cannot create or delete users.
Author – An author can create new posts, edit them, and publish them but cannot moderate comments or edit the posts of other users.
Contributor – A contributor has no ability to publish new posts but can submit them to the Editor for approval. Only posts approved by the Editor will be published. A contributor can only edit his/her own post before it is published.
Subscriber – These are users from the general population who have signed up for accounts on your website. They can post comments, reply to comments, and view subscriber-only content. A subscriber has no ability to create, edit, or publish posts.
These are the basic roles and capabilities available on a default WordPress installation. The WordPress API is open source and flexible. That means you can create new roles if you choose to do so. There are also many plugins that offer additional roles and capabilities. For more information, consult the WordPress online documentation.