How to Create a Media Manager User in WordPress

Media Manager Header

We had a question from a PublishPress user who wanted to create a “Media Manager” user role. Their goal was to restrict the users in this role so they could only access the “Media” area of the WordPress admin. The users would have full rights to modify any file in the media library.

A “Media Manager” user role can be very useful for anyone whose site has photographers or people responsible for uploading files. These users will not be able to edit any content or make any other changes on your site.

Because of the way that media capabilities work in WordPress, this isn't a very straightforward task, so we wrote this tutorial as a guide.

  • Install the PublishPress Capabilities Pro plugin.
  • Go to “Capabilities” in your WordPress admin menu.
  • Choose “Author” from the top-left corner.
  • In the right sidebar, type “Media Manager” into the box called “Copy Author Role”.
  • Click “Copy”.
Copy Media Manager
Copy Media Manager

At this point, any users in the new “Media Manager” role will have limited access to the WordPress admin area. You can see that access in the image below. To complete this guide, we'll need to remove the unwanted menu links.

Media Access Links
Media Access Links
  • Go to “Capabilities” and then “Admin Menus” in your WordPress admin area.
  • Select “Media Manager”.
  • Place a red X next to all the links you do not want the Media Manager to access. In the image below, I'm blocking access to “Posts” and “Comments”.
Block Menus Media
Block Menus Media

Now when you log in again as a user in the Media Manager role, you will only be able to access the Media Library. You will have full access to all the media files.

Finished Media
Finished Media

The process we outlined above will not give the Media Manager access to modify existing files from the Media Library. They will be able to upload images, but they won't be able to modify or delete them. The image below shows how many media fields will be uneditable.

Media Access Blocked
Media Access Blocked

You can grant Media Managers the ability to edit files using PublishPress Capabilities. I've highlighted how to do that in the image below.

Screen Shot 2022 02 04 At 11.09.54 Am
Screen Shot 2022 02 04 At 11.09.54 Am

Any users in the “Media Manager” role will only be able to access the “Media” area, but they will have full rights to modify any file in the media library.

Finally, I'll close by saying that media capabilities in WordPress are a little odd, but the PublishPress plugins can help you manage them. Also check out our tutorial on users having issues with editing images and our tutorial on file uploading permission. If you want more advanced options, you can create more customized access to media files.


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