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After more than ten years of working with WordPress, this is one of the areas that gets asked the most as a WordPress developer. WordPress is a great open source platform that approximately 76 million websites depend on WordPress today. That is a huge market share when it comes to website platforms. WordPress is one of the most widely developed platforms out there with well over 200,000 plugins and growing every day. In this article, I am going to talk about why you should lock out parts of the admin panel from your customers and how to go about doing just that.


User Roles:

There are five types of user roles in the WordPress platform. The most fundamental starting role is the subscriber role, and then the next level is the contributor role, and then the author role, then editor role and the highest level is the administrator role. There is a super admin level that is typically used in multisite installations, but in a single install, you won’t need that role. Here is what I do: As the website developer I access what is the customer looking to do with the website. What are their needs and wants? From that I typically give them permission to the editor role and then restrict out certain elements in the admin panel like:

  • Plugins
  • Themes
  • Settings
  • Most custom settings

The Reasons:

You might ask, why restrict the admin configuration? Well, there are two main reasons.

  1. Most customers in my 15 years experience as a website developer don’t care about being able to customize the website beyond how I set it up. They just want control over the content that goes into the website like Pages, Posts, Menu items, and Widgets.
  2. The other main reason is: the customer hired me to be there go to person for anything related to web development and maintenance for their website. So, I always go back to the fundamental question to ask the customer when there is push back. “Where is your time best spent?”What I mean by this is: Is it best for the customer to have the same controls that you have as a developer, simply put NO! Why because they don’t have the same knowledge level and expertise that you have, that is why they hired you in the first place. You wouldn’t hire an auto mechanic┬áto operate on your heart, so why would you let someone that isn’t a professional and expert do the same in web development and marketing? The customers time is best spent doing what they do best in their field of expertise and you in your area of expertise “web development”.


How to implement the restrictions:

  1. The easiest way is to change the user role of the customer to a lesser level below administrator.
  2. You can set the user to upon login redirect to a set page with a plugin like LOGIN REDIRECT.
  3. You can remove the dashboard access and then redirect them to a specific page with a plugin like REMOVE DASHBOARD ACCESS.
  4. THIS IS MY FAVORITE: I typically use a plugin called MENU EDITOR PRO. Here are my reasons for this option. I have tested hundreds of plugins that claim to be as straightforward and efficient but have not found one that works as well yet.
    1. Set the user level to editor
    2. Then go into the plugin and choose the role that you set them to.
    3. Now uncheck the sections of the admin panel that you don’t want them to have access to.
    4. The last step SAVE the settings.

When the customer logins to the website under their profile, they won’t even see the things that you have restricted. ADMIN MENU EDITOR PRO is a beautiful solution that is simple and effective. The developer has regular updates to keep it current with the WordPress upgrades.

There are many options of how to go about this today. This is just my thoughts based on 15 years of experience working with many different types of platforms and technologies out there in the world today.


2 comments on “What is the best way to restrict part of the WordPress admin panel?

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Marco on March 7, 2016 9:56 am

Hi Fred,


Excuse me, do not listen to my blunders, I do not speak English.

Congratulations for the article.

I use the free version for admin menu editor pro, now I will buy the pro.

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Fred on March 15, 2016 12:40 pm

Your welcome Marco. I have found it to be a very useful plugin to help control the admin panel.

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