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” button to more users. The solution to controlling who can deleting files is to install the PublishPress Capabilities plugin.

  • Go to “Capabilities” in your WordPress admin area.
  • In the right sidebar, check the “Media” box under “Unique Capabilities for Post Types”. This will allow you to control the permissions for the Media Library.
  • Click “Update”.
Choose the Editor role in the dropdown
  • 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 under “Editing” and “Deletion”.
Deleting media files capabilities
Edit Delete Media
  • 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:

Also check our our tutorial on users having issues with editing images and our tutorial on uploading images. If you want more advanced options, you can create custom access to media files or even customize access on a file-by-file basis.


More PublishPress Capabilities tutorials


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  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of PublishPress. He's been working with open source software for over 20 years. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin.

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