Who Can Delete Media Files in WordPress?

WordPress is very restrictive when it comes to deleting files from your site's Media Library.

By default, only users in the “Administrator” role are able to delete images and files in WordPress.

Users in the Subscriber, Contributor, Author and Editor roles are not allowed to delete.

However, you may want to give the delete option to more users. The solution to deleting files is to install the PublishPress Capabilities plugin.

Once both the plugin is installed, go to “Capabilties” in your WordPress admin area.

In the right sidebar, check the “Media” box under “Type-Specific Capabilities”. This will allow you control the permissions for the Media Library. Click “Update”.

In the top-right corner of the screen, load the user role that you want to customize permissions for. In this image below, I've chosen the “Editor” role (click here to read about what permissions Editors have).

In the center of the screen, you can now set your permissions. If you want to allow people in this role to delete anything in your Media Library, check all the boxes in the “Media” row.

  • Click “Save Changes” .
  • When user in the “Editor” role goes to the Media Library, they now see a “Delete permanently” option for any file they see:

If you want to allow people to replace images, check out our tutorial on the Enable Media Replace plugin.


More PublishPress Capabilities tutorials


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Steve Burge

Steve is the founder of PublishPress. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. (P.S. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin)

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