In WordPress there are different types of user accounts depending on the permissions users have. The standard types are: Administrator, Editor, Autor, Contributor, and Subscriber.
Setting Standard Accounts in WordPress
Administrator is the one who has the right not only to perform any task in a WordPress blog but also to set permissions for the rest of the users, meaning that, while all user roles have their default permissions, you can go in and change them.
You can edit your profile by clicking either on your user name in the top panel or by choosing Users -> All Users -> Your user name from the side panel.
On your profile page you can edit all your details with the exception of the username which cannot be changed. Here you can change your name, last name, nickname, and how your name should be publicly displayed.
In addition, you can add contact information. Email is required but you can also add website (makes sense if you want to be associated with another website) and social media profiles. This information is made available on your autor page, as long as such functionality is allowed. Be aware that sometimes an autor page might be available as a default, so try to be professional and don’t provide links to unprofessionally managed social media accounts.
You have also the option to provide short biographical info which can appear both on your autor page and in connection to autor name when you publish a post. Whether such information appears on posts depends on your general settings.
It’s important to remember that if you need to change your password, the easiest way to do it is via your profile page in WordPress. You can find the Account Management tool under all other standard settings. Here you can not only choose a new password but also log out everybody else if you have suspicions that someone has gained unauthorized access to your blog.
All other users must be created by an Administrator – or via registration on your blog. You create new users by clicking on Users -> Add new in the side panel. Then you have to fill out their details such as name, email, website, and password. You have to also assign a user name and choose which role they’re going to have. When you complete the registration form, an automatic email will be sent to the person, you’ve created an account for, providing them with login details.
According to their user role setting, they’re going to see a control panel in WordPress that is different than yours and only giving them options to perform actions which you’ve allowed for the role in question.
You can later on go in and change their user role – or other details – as you see fit.
If users register on their own via WordPress’ login, this happens because you’ve allowed it in your settings (Settings -> General -> Membership). If you’ve ticked Anyone can register, you’ve given permission to literally anybody to access your blog.
This is normally seen as a security vulnerability but if you for some reason need to enable this setting, you’re highly advised to set the default registrant role to Subscriber. Subscribers are “members” of sorts but don’t have any editing rights. Be aware that in most cases such registrants are spammers – or worse.
Setting User Accounts via Plugins
If your blog requires registration on a higher level, as for example if you sell memberships, you have to use a plugin to enable such functionality. A plugin as Wishlist Member provides you with a flexible bundle of options and will for sure help you manage your blog as you like. It has been around for many years now and has been adopted by quite a lot of users. The only downside is that it’s quite pricy – you’ll pay around 200 USD or more depending on how you want to use it.
I’m not a fan of that pricy solutions for bloggers so I’d recommend some of the free registration plugins with great reviews. Some of the most popular ones are Simple Membership and s2Member. The latter has also a paid version but the free edition is a perfect solution if your membership plans aren’t too intricate.
By using such plugins you can accommodate distribution of paid and free content or freely accessible vs. members only content. Even if you plan to use memberships or registration for something completely different – to allow commenting on posts for example, you’re still advised to avoid the WordPress registration which often results in massive spam.
If you only want to make people identify themselves when commenting or being active in another way on your blog, you should choose a simpler registration plugin, as OneAll. Even though when reading it’s description, it seems that everyone must use the paid versions, the free one is completely enough – and works very well for a blog.
How to setup the different plugins might be a topic of a different post but, as a rule, most plugins are intuitive enough making it easy for you to set them up.
Just remember to check whether installing such a new plugin doesn’t cause incompatibility issues!