If you manage a large website with multiple authors, editors, subscribers and other types of users, then you know the importance of role and capability management plugins. By default, WordPress does not offer many choices in regards to user management. That is why user management plugins are so popular.
In today’s article, I will introduce you to the 5 best WordPress plugins for customizing user roles and capabilities.
1. User Role Editor
User Role Editor is a dedicated WordPress plugin for managing various user roles and capabilities of your site. By using the plugin, you can change user capabilities with only a few clicks. You can also add new roles and provide selected capabilities to your users.
Once you install and activate the plugin, you will find a new link titled ‘capabilities’ when you hover over a user profile. In order to change the capabilities of a profile, click on the link. This will take you to a screen like the following –
The ‘Primary Role’ drop-down section on the right will display the current role of the user. You can change the user’s default by selecting one from the list. You can also assign additional roles by checking relevant roles from the ‘Other Roles’ section.
You will find all the capabilities listed on the left side. Check the ‘Show capabilities in human readable form’ to make the capabilities more understandable. The currently allowed capabilities for the user will be checked and blurred automatically.
For providing additional capabilities, check the relevant capability box(s). For finding out relevant skills, provide the keyword in the ‘Quick filter’ box. You will also find separate buttons to select or unselect all capabilities and to reverse your choice. After making the changes, click ‘Update’.
If you want to change the default capabilities for any role, go to Users -> User Role Editor from your WordPress dashboard. Select the role for which you want to change the capabilities. After choosing the capabilities for the role, click ‘Update’.
You can also add new capability and new roles from this page. To do that, click the respective buttons and follow the directions. It is also possible to rename new and existing roles. To do that, click ‘Rename Role’, provide the new name and click ‘Rename Role’.
Developed by core WordPress contributor Justin Tadlock, Members is a very popular user and role management plugin. By extending the default user management features, this plugin allows you to control the users exactly as you want.
Once you install and activate the plugin, it will create two new sub-menus under the ‘Users’ menu in your website dashboard – Roles & Add New Role. Roles will display all the available roles along with the number of users and capabilities. Hovering over a role will display some additional links – Edit, Delete, View Users. By editing a role, you can customize the capabilities of the role and add new capabilities too. After making the changes, don’t forget to click ‘Update Role’.
If you want to add a new role, go to Users -> Add New Role. Provide the role name and role label. The role name should include characters and underscores only.In the Role Label, provide the name you want to display as the role name in the roles list. Then, choose the capabilities you want to provide to this role. After making all the changes, click the ‘Add Role’ button. You can always edit the roles from the Users -> Roles page.
In order to use other features of widgets and private site, go to the Settings > Members page. Check the feature box(s) which you want to use and click ‘Update Settings’. If you have enabled the widgets, you will find them in the Appearance -> Widgets page.
The plugin also comes with some handy shortcodes. By using the shortcodes, you can restrict content, check whether a user is logged in or not, set subscriber-only feed. You will find more details about using the shortcodes in the ‘plugins/members/docs/readme.html’ file inside of your ‘wp-content’ directory.
3. Advanced Access Manager
Advanced Access Manager (AAM) is a simple but very powerful plugin for improving your website security and managing access to your posts, pages, widgets, menus, dashboard of your WordPress site. The multi-site supported plugin will provide you with ultimate control over your website.
After activating the plugin, you will notice a new menu item titled ‘AAM’ in your website dashboard. Clicking on that menu item will take you to a page like the following –
At the bottom-right corner of the page, you will find a meta box titled ‘Control Manager‘. Your customization process will begin from that box. By default, the ‘Roles’ section will be selected, and the list of roles displayed. For each role, you have three options – Manage, Edit, and Delete. By editing a role, you can change the name. In order to add a new role, click the ‘+’ button, provide role name and optionally, select any existing role to copy the capabilities.
In order to manage access for a role, click the Manage link for that role. If you go to the ‘Users‘ tab now, you will have a list of the users who belong to that role.
AAM allows you to customize access for a role, for a specific user or visitors. To manage access for a role, go to the ‘Roles’ tab, click the ‘Manage’ link for that role. For managing access to a particular user, find out that user in the ‘Users’ tab and click ‘Manage’. Lastly, go to the ‘Visitor’ tab and click ‘Manage’ for customizing the visitor access levels.
According to your selected person, the options in the ‘Role Editor’ will change. For example, let’s say you want to block all the authors from adding new posts. To do that, select ‘Author’ from the Control Manager and click manage.
Now, get back to the Role Editor section and go to Admin Menu -> Posts and check the ‘Add New’ box. Click ‘Save’ from the ‘Control Panel’. And that’s it. There are lots of other possibilities of what you can do with the plugin.
4. Nav Menu Roles
If you are looking for a simple solution to show and hide navigation menus based on the user type, Nav Menu Roles is the one for you. This simple and lightweight plugin allows you to display or hide menu items for certain users and/or visitors.
After installing and activating the plugin in your WordPress site, go to Appearance -> Menus. From that page, select the menu you want to customize. Then, click the menu item that you want to customize. After the regular label and attribute fields, you will find two new options – Display Mode and Access Role.
In Display Mode, you will have three options – ‘Logged Out Users’, ‘Logged In Users’ and ‘By Role’. If you select the first one, that menu item will only be displayed to the visitors that are not logged in to your site. Accordingly, selecting the second option will show the menu item only to the users who are currently logged in to your website.
Lastly, selecting the ‘By Role’ option will let you display to the users of the specific role(s) only. Only check the role(s) to which you want to display the page. After making all the changes, don’t forget to click the ‘Save Menu’ button.
5. WPFront User Role Editor
WPFront User Role Editor is a simple but powerful role and capability management plugin for WordPress. This plugin provides simple and easy ways to manage your existing users and provide necessary capabilities to various roles.
Once you install and activate the plugin in your website, you will find a new menu titled ‘Roles’ in your dashboard. If you go to Roles -> All Roles, you will find a complete list of all the currently available roles. Each role will be accompanied by relevant information like the number of users and number of capabilities.
Hovering over any role name will reveal three additional options – Edit, Delete, Default. The edit link will take you a new page where you can update the display name for the role, copy capabilities from other roles and select capabilities manually. Besides being divided into different sections, each capability also has a small question mark. Clicking the question mark will take you to an explanation page for that capability.
After making the necessary changes, click ‘Update Role’.
In order to add a new role, go to Roles -> Add New. Like the role editing screen, you will find separate fields to provide the role display name, role name and the option to copy capabilities from existing roles and select custom capabilities from the list below. Once you have provided all the necessary details, click ‘Add New Role’ to create your new role.
If you want to add a new capability or delete an existing one, go to Roles -> Add/Remove Capability. It is possible to add or remove the capability for all users or selected roles only.
Last but not the least, WPFront User Role Editor allows you to set up login redirects too. To do that, go to Roles -> Login Redirect. Click ‘Add New’. In the next screen, select the role, provide the URL and click ‘Submit’.
User role management plugins could be very useful for large online publications, multi-author websites or any other multi-user site. I hope the above-discussed WordPress plugins will make your job easier as the administrator of one such website.
So, which plugin do you like the most? Let me know by leaving a comment below.