What is Pending Review Status in WordPress? #

“Pending” is one of the default post statuses available in WordPress. You will often see it called “Pending Review”.

A post in the Pending Review status is not published and is not visible to the public.

The “Pending review” link is available when you edit posts in WordPress:

Pending Review
Pending Review

How the Pending Review status is used #

The Pending Review status is most useful for people in the Contributor role.

This is because users in the Subscriber role don't have the ability to write posts, so statuses don't matter for them. And users in higher roles, such as Author, have the option to publish their own posts so they don't need others users to review their post.

When a Contributor writes a post, they only see the “Save Draft” and “Submit for “Review” options. They do not see the “Publish” button. This is because Contributors don't have permission to publish posts.

So for the Contributor, there is a very real difference between these two statuses:

  • Draft: “I'm still working on this post. It's not ready yet.”
  • Pending Review” means “I think this post is ready for someone else to approve and publish”.

This guide explains the difference between Draft and Pending Review.

This image shows the choice that a Contributor will make when they save a post:

Draft and pending review

If a Contributor chooses “Pending Review”, an Administrator or Editor can come along and moderate the post. If they go to the “Posts” or “Pages” screen, they can see Pending Review posts by clicking the “Pending” tab.

Why the Pending Review status exists #

Mark Jaquith is a key WordPress core developer and explained the background of Pending Review.

The Contributor role arrived in WordPress back in 2004. When it was first added, Contributors could only use the “Draft” status. They could not indicate when a post was ready to publish. A unfinished “Draft” looked teh same as a finished post that was ready to go live.

So to solve this problem, the “Pending Review” status was added in WordPress 2.3.