How to Change Edit Permissions For WordPress Content

Change Edit Permissions For WordPress Content

WordPress is an excellent platform for writing, editing and publishing content. So it’s important to know who has permission to do that on your WordPress site.

I’m going to explain the editing permissions for your WordPress posts.

This tutorial starts by explaining the default permissions and in the next two sections we’ll see how to customize those permissions.

Part #1. The Basic Editing Permissions in WordPress

When you first install WordPress, you are given 5 user roles: Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, and Administrator.

What permissions do these users have for editing posts?

  • Subscribers: they can not write or edit any posts.
  • Contributors: they can write posts but they can’t publish them.
  • Authors: they can write, publish and edit their own posts.
  • Editors and Administrator: they can write, publish and edit any posts.

So, by default, only Authors, Editors or Administrators can edit content.

What does this mean in practice? What will users see in the WordPress admin area? If you do have editing access, you will see “Edit”, “Quick Edit”, “Trash” and “View” links under the title of each post, as in this screenshot below.

WordPress admin view for Administrator role

If you don’t have editing permissions, you may still be able to see your own posts in the WordPress admin area. However, you will only see a “View” link. Note: there are ways to hide posts that you can’t edit. This screenshot below shows a user called “Kiarra”. They are a Contributor user and have written two posts. They can see their posts, but no longer have the ability to edit those posts.

WordPress admin view for Contributor role

Part #2. Change the Basic Edit Permissions

Now you know the basic permissions, let’s see how to customize them. We recommend the PublishPress Capabilities plugin as a great way to change the permissions for each user role.

PublishPress Capabilities plugin

Install the PublishPress Capabilities plugin, then go to the “Capabilities” screen. The image below shows you the permissions available to Subscribers. It’s easy to see that Subscribers have almost no permissions.

PublishPress Capabilities and Subscriber role

To allow Subscribers to do more, check the boxes here, particularly in the “Edit” row. One note of caution here: the “Edit” option for Posts is quite powerful.

PublishPress Capabilities and and edited Subscriber role

This technique allows you to change the editing permissions for an entire role. Your changes will impact every user in the “Subscriber” role and all of the Posts or Pages.

In the third part of this tutorial, we’ll show you how to change editing access for specific users and specific posts.

Part #3. How to Allow Specific Users to Edit a Post

If you need to customize editing permissions for individual users or content, we recommend the PublishPress Permissions plugin. Let’s take you through an example of how PublishPress Permissions works.

PublishPress Permissions plugin

After installing PublishPress Permissions, go to the “Posts” screen and choose the post that unique permissions.

Scroll down below the main post area and look for the “Editing Exceptions” options. You can choose to allow all the users in a particular role to edit this post. However, you can also deny them editing access.

Permissions for a user role

Next, click the “Users” tab. You can search for individual users and select the users you want to edit the post.

Permissions for a user

So that’s the process you can use to allow a custom group of users to edit a post. This PressPermit Pro technique works for any content type.


In the first part of the tutorial, we saw that only Authors, Editors or Administrators are able to edit content on a default WordPress site. However, with the PublishPress Capabilities plugin you can customize that normal setup and give editing access to different roles. Finally, thanks to the PublishPress Permissions plugin you can get even more specific, giving or removing access to specific users on specific posts.


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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