Definitions for “Manage” and “Edit” in WordPress Permissions

WordPress permissions often have confusing names.

For example, edit_posts is a very important permission that controls much, much more than just editing posts.

So wherever possible, we try and explain WordPress permissions in plain English. We had this question recently:

What is the difference between “Manage” and “Edit” in WordPress? Can you give us some basic definitions?

Sure, happy to help! This is an important question, because many WordPress permissions use one of these two words. Let's explain the differences between “Manage” and “Edit” when you're looking at WordPress permissions.

What does “Manage” mean in WordPress?

“Manage” is used for wide-ranging administrative permissions.

“Manage” often gives you permissions over items which cannot be individually restricted.

One example of this is “manage categories” which allows you to create, edit and delete all of the Categories and Tags on a site.

Another example is “manage_options” which controls access to at least nine different WordPress screens.

This is normally also true of permissions outside of the WooCommerce core. In WooCommerce, the “manage_woocommerce” permission gives users the ability to manage all settings within WooCommerce, and also create and edit products.

So whenever you see the name “manage” in a permission, you can assume that permission gives wide access to everything in a plugin, or a particular area of WordPress.

What does “Edit” mean in WordPress?

“Edit” does have some similarities with “Manage”. However, whereas “Manage” often controls access to settings, “Edit” permissions normally allows you to directly modify content.

For example, “edit_posts” controls access to the “Posts” screen and “edit_pages” controls access to the “Pages” screen.

edit_plugins” gives you access to the “Plugin Editor” screen where you change the files on your WordPress site.

A slightly different example is “edit_users“. Another permission controls access to the “Users” screen but “edit_users” does allow you to edit the accounts of other WordPress users.

So what's our summary?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the original question. The words “Manage” and “Edit” have substantial overlap in the way they're used.

“Manage” generally gives you very wide access, including access to settings screens. “Edit” generally allows you to edit individual items inside a particular plugin or area of WordPress.

But I would recommend looking up the exact purpose of each permission before you give it to users.

Other common permission words

  • Assign: This controls who can add terms (categories, tags, etc.) to posts or pages.
  • Delete: This is used to decide who can send items to the trash. For example, “delete_pages“.
  • List: This controls access to some overview pages. For example, “list_users” allows you to see all the user accounts on a site.
  • Read: This is used for one very important permission which is simply called “read“.
  • 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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