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9 Best WordPress User Plugins in 2022: Get Enhanced Roles and Permissions Capabilities

Last Updated on February 18th, 2022

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Today, I’m going to tell you all about WordPress user plugins. I’ll be explaining what user roles are in WordPress, the user management functionality that the platform already has, and how using a user plugin can extend that functionality.

Ready? Let’s begin.

What’s your favorite User Management WordPress Plugin?

If you are a lone blogger who is the only person needing access to your site, then this article may not have been a great deal of use to you. However, if you have a membership-type website or a team of people working for you, it is essential to have proper control over users and the permissions granted to them.

I’d love to know which WordPress user plugin you are using on your site. Is it one from the above list, and if so, how has it performed? As always, your comments are highly appreciated.

Today, I’m going to tell you all about WordPress user plugins. I’ll be explaining what user roles are in WordPress, the user management functionality that the platform already has, and how using a user plugin can extend that functionality.

Ready? Let’s begin.

What are WordPress User Roles and Permissions?

User roles are a collection of permissions that are assignable to specific users.

WordPress has five pre-defined user roles, each with specific permissions (i.e., what the roles can and cannot do) by default. These roles and permissions are in the following hierarchy:

  • Administrators have the most powerful user role on single WordPress installs. They have complete control of the entire site, meaning they can configure site settings, add or remove themes and plugins, access and amend all content regardless of who wrote it, etc. Furthermore, they can add, edit, and delete users, including other administrators.
  • Editors re next in the pecking order. They have complete control over all content-related sections of the website. They can upload files, create posts, pages, and categories. Furthermore, they can also publish, edit and delete posts written by others. However, they have no access to themes, plugins, or site-wide settings.
  • Authors can write, edit, publish, and delete their own posts, including those already published. However, they have no jurisdiction whatsoever over themes, plugins, or site settings.
  • Contributors can add, delete, and edit their own posts. However, they are not permitted to upload media files or publish posts. Guest writers are commonly Contributors.
  • Subscribers are at the bottom of the pile, having the least amount of freedom in WordPress. They are only able to read content and edit their personal profiles.

A sixth role exists for Multisite WordPress installs – the Super Admin. These have the same powers as Administrators, plus they also have full access to the site network administration features. For more details on networks, check out the article ‘Create a Network‘ published by WordPress themselves.

Importance of User Roles

If you are the only person contributing to your site, user roles probably won’t be an issue to you. However, the moment you have other people accessing the WordPress backend, you must ensure it is done in a controlled manner.

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For example, as the site owner, you would need to keep full access over everything, in which case, you would be an Administrator. You may have a staff writer you trust enough to write content that needs no extra checking before publishing, in which case Author would be the most appropriate role. Guest bloggers should be designated as Contributors, as you would want to check and edit their articles before publishing. Moreover, those edits could be done by an editor, who will have the power to change anything written for the site – of course, you’d assign them the role of Editor. I think you now get the picture

If you’re building a membership site, you will be allowing visitors to sign up to your site, either for free or for a fee. Once signed up, they will be assigned the role of Subscriber. That will allow them to create and edit their own personal profile (which is an excellent source of data on your audience,) plus it will grant them access to whatever content their subscription permits.

Why Do You Need a WordPress User Management Plugin?

As mentioned earlier, WordPress already includes a set of user roles with pre-defined permissions. However, as they stand, those roles and permissions cannot be customized, which is not ideal. For example, Contributors cannot upload media files, although you may want your guest writers to be able to do that.

However, there is a way of customizing the roles and permissions, and that is by using a third-party WordPress user management plugin. These allow you to tailor the integrated WordPress roles and permissions to suit your needs better.

Which WordPress User Plugin Should You Choose?

Unfortunately, there is no single definitive answer to that question, as there are so many WordPress user plugins available. However, the following are some suggested ones you might want to look at first.

User Role Editor

User Role Editor

User Role Editor is a freemium WordPress user plugin that allows you to change the default user roles and capabilities and add new ones, even in its free guise. That makes it a great plugin for beginners, especially given how easy it is to set up and use.

Of course, the Pro version comes with considerably more functionality, offering you much greater flexibility with how you configure users and permissions.

Pros

  • A role editor allows you to customize individual users
  • The Pro version offers lots more functionality at a reasonable price
  • The Pro version also comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee, so trying it is risk-free

Cons

  • The free version is basic, although it is still a good starting point

Price

  • User Role Editor Pro costs from $29 per year for a single site, with the most expensive plan being $318 for lifetime coverage of unlimited domains.

Get User Role Editor

WPFront User Role Editor

WPFront User Role Editor

WPFront User Role Editor is another freemium plugin for managing user roles. The free version is understandably basic, but it allows you to create and edit roles, manage capabilities, assign multiple roles, etc.

Upgrading to the Pro version adds plenty of extra features that allow you to display menu items based on user role, control precisely who can view menus inside the dashboard, import and export roles, and much more.

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Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Feature to clone existing roles which can then be edited to create new roles
  • Premium offers lots more functionality and is reasonably priced
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee on the Pro versions

Cons

  • Not possible to edit the capabilities for specific users.
  • Multisite requires the most expensive plan

Price

  • WPFront User Role Editor Pro costs from $89 per year for a single site, rising to $179 for fifty domains. If you need Multisite capability, those prices increase to $99 and $199, respectively.

Get WPFront User Role Editor

Remove Dashboard Access

Remove Dashboard Access

Remove Dashboard Access is a handy plugin that gives you complete control over who can access the WordPress dashboard. For example, you can grant access to administrators only, editors and above, or administrators and above. Furthermore, it is possible to limit by specific capability, plus unauthorized users can be redirected to a particular URL or see a message on the login screen.

Pros

  • Great functionality for a freebie (no premium option)

Cons

  • None found

Price

  • Remove Dashboard Access is completely free, with no premium upgrade available.

Get Remove Dashboard Access

Members

Members wordpress user plugin

Members is a WordPress user plugin that offers tons of great functionality for free.

Not only is Members easy to configure and use, but it also has extensive role and permission management features. As the name suggests, it is geared mainly towards membership sites, allowing you to set custom permissions to restrict content through a simple user interface.

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Straightforward user interface
  • Ability to clone existing roles and create custom permissions based on user roles
  • It is possible to restrict access to your entire site only to specific groups
  • Individual users can be assigned multiple roles
  • Includes shortcodes and several add-ons for things like WooCommerce and Meta Box integrations, etc.

Cons

  • It is not possible to edit the capabilities for given users

Price

  • Members is completely free, with no premium upgrade available.

Get Members

WP User Manager

WP User Manager - wordpress user plugin

WP User Manager is a freemium user registration and profile builder plugin that offers excellent features, even in its free version. It is ideally suited to community-based websites with many subscribers and other roles to manage.

The core plugin includes things like custom user registration forms and customizable user profiles, a login form, password recovery features, etc. It even has an extension that subscribes new members to your newsletter. Upgrading to a premium plan adds much more flexibility and functionality, such as custom fields, one-click content restrictions, integrations, and more.

Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • Create customizable email notifications
  • Developer friendly
  • Translation ready
  • Well documented
  • Premium plans have a 30-day moneyback guarantee

Cons

  • Premium plans are a bit pricey in comparison to some of the competition

Price

Premium plans for WP User Manager start from $149, rising to $599 per year. Features and the number of domains covered vary with each plan, so check the plugin website to see which is most suited to your needs.

Get WP User Manager

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Comment Moderation Role

Comment Moderation Tool

Comment Moderation Role is somewhat different from the other WordPress user plugins in this list in that it serves one narrow purpose – to create a comment moderator role. That does not seem much, but given the limitations of the default WordPress settings, it is a real boon if you only need to give users access to the comment moderation screen.

Once assigned as Comment Moderators, users are permitted to approve, decline, or edit any comments on any of their posts. As a result, your guest authors can still interact with their readers, but they won’t have access to other people’s articles or comments.

Pros

  • It’s basic, but it does exactly what it says on the tin, i.e., creates a role specifically for comment moderation
  • Completely free

Cons

  • None found

Price

  • Comment Moderation Role is completely free.

Get Comment Moderation Role

Simple History

Simple History wordpress user plugin

Simple History is not actually a WordPress plugin for managing user roles and permissions. Instead, it is an auditing and tracking tool that can help you quickly identify errors and security issues.

The plugin provides a list of recent changes made in your WordPress, allowing you to see precisely what each of your users has been doing and when. For example, it will provide activity on posts, pages, attachments, comments, taxonomies, widgets, plugins, etc. Therefore, if someone deletes or edits something they shouldn’t have, you can easily pinpoint the perpetrator. What’s more, it will also record logins/logout, plus it will inform you of failed login attempts and record the IP address of potential hackers.

Pros

  • Great for monitoring user activity on your site
  • It helps identify security issues such as brute force attacks
  • It can help identify users who are maliciously interfering with things
  • An RSS feed of changes allows you to keep track of changes in real-time
  • Completely free

Cons

  • None found

Price

  • Simple History is an entirely free WordPress user plugin.

Get Simple History

PublishPress Capabilities

Publish Press Capabilities wordpress user plugin

PublishPress Capabilities is a freemium WordPress user plugin for controlling all permissions on your website.

The plugin is feature-rich, and even in its free form, it allows you to customize all user roles and maintain precise control over permissions. One particularly cool feature is the ability to remove features from the WordPress toolbar, dashboard, and post editing screen, so users get access only to the parts they need and nothing else.

Key additional features added by the Pro version include restrictions for the navigation and admin menus and more custom permissions.

Pros

  • The free version has some convenient features, particularly the ability to block certain WordPress features from non-authorized users
  • Ability to clone existing roles
  • The plugin automatically makes a backup whenever permissions are changed, allowing for recovery if something goes wrong
  • You can control access to WooCommerce products, orders, coupons, etc. also

Cons

  • Not possible to edit the capabilities for specific users
  • No lifetime subscriptions are available

Price

  • PublishPress Capabilities costs $79.00 per year for one site, $139 for five, and $199 for unlimited domains.

Get PublishPress Capabilities

PublishPress Permissions

PublishPress Permissions wordpress user plugin

PublishPress Permissions – in common with its sibling, PublishPress Capabilities – is a freemium plugin. However, rather than controlling permissions, this one allows you to manage user access to posts, pages, categories, and tags on your WordPress site. Even the free version allows you to police who can and cannot view or edit your site’s content.

Upgrading to PublishPress Permissions Pro extends functionality further to include things like teaser previews of restricted content, individualized post for each user, and much more.

Pros

  • The free version allows you to control user access for posts, pages, categories, tags, and also the media library
  • The Pro version adds some nice extras, including additional restrictions, teaser previews, etc.

Cons

  • Some people find it a little complicated to use
  • No lifetime subscriptions are available

Price

PublishPress Permissions costs $79.00 per year for one site, $139 for five, and $199 for unlimited domains.

Get PublishPress Permissions

What’s your favorite User Management WordPress Plugin?

If you are a lone blogger who is the only person needing access to your site, then this article may not have been a great deal of use to you. However, if you have a membership-type website or a team of people working for you, it is essential to have proper control over users and the permissions granted to them.

I’d love to know which WordPress user plugin you are using on your site. Is it one from the above list, and if so, how has it performed? As always, your comments are highly appreciated.

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I'm a former construction industry professional who came out of the writer's closet and am now totally comfortable with my creative side. My pronouns are smart, creative, witty, and dependable. I have written content in a number of niches including WordPress, plus I'm a blogger and affiliate marketer. If you'd like to know more about how I can help you, please head over to my website.