WordPress User Registration

Have you hit a road block when it comes to WordPress user registration?

You probably would like to have new users register before being able to take certain actions (for example, posting reviews or commenting) but do not want them to have access to the WordPress Dashboard? Truth is, WordPress User Registration doesn’t have to be hard to get.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a straight forward guide to the WordPress User Registration that will take you through:

  • the default WordPress user registration
  • recommended plugins to make it work the way you want
  • code and tutorial suggestions for the more advanced readers

So if you found the user registration in WordPress confusing, hopefully the WordPress User Registration Series will shed some light on the hole subject and gets you closer to finalizing your project.

The Default WordPress User Registration

Default WordPress User Registration

We’ll start with some basic knowledge about WordPress users and the entire registration process.

There are many reasons you might want to allow other users to register on your site. Membership sites have been around for ages, managing a bigger number of contributors or perhaps creating a stand alone web-app where logged in users get access to features or content.

This section will take you through the steps of adding users to your WordPress installation, open registrations so anyone can create an account, takes the mystery out of the different user roles and capabilities and explains the steps a user needs to take in order to register for your site.

Understanding User Roles and Capabilities

Before you start adding users or opening registrations to your site, you need to have a basic understanding of the User Roles and Capabilities.
Combined they define a set of tasks a user is allowed to perform (for example editing a post or installing plugins).

WordPress has six pre-defined Roles: Super Admin, Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. Each Role is allowed to perform a set of tasks called Capabilities. They vary from the Super Admin or the Administrator Role, that can do pretty much everything to the Subscriber, who can only update his own profile.

A few things you can do by default with Roles and Capabilities:

  • The default role for new users can be set from the Settings General SubPanel.
  • You can filter your users in the user listing page Users > All User SubPanel based on their user role.
  • You can add or remove capabilities from user roles or even create new user roles (ex: client, member) using Plugins or Through Code.

For more information about Roles & Capabilities it’s always a good thing to checkout the Codex Page.

Allowing New User Registration

When opening up your site to the WordPress User Registration, it’s recommended you leave the default User Role setup in Settings -> General SubPanel to subscriber, since you don’t know who will register on your site – and you don’t want to arbitrarily give higher levels of access to various parts of your website unless you actually know that particular user.

The good part is that as an admin you can always change the role on a user by clicking edit on that particular account in the Users -> All Users SubPanel.

To activate the WordPress User Registration you need to enable Anyone Can Register in the Settings -> General SubPanel. If you don’t have it enabled users get a notification letting them know “User Registration is currently not allowed”.

Enable WordPress User Registration
Also, in case you were wondering, the direct URL for registration on a WordPress site is http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php?action=register. After a user enters the username and email address he’ll receive an email with his email and password (WordPress multisite users will get an activation link they need to click on and then another email with their credentials will be sent).

After a user has registered, as a site Administrator, you can edit the users’s account and assign a different role if needed.

Manually Adding New WordPress Users

Allowing users to create accounts on your WordPress site isn’t the only way to do it. As an Administrator, you can also manually create new users with a username, email and a few other fields.

To do so you need to be logged in and then go to Users -> Add New SubPanel.

Add New User in WordPress
Almost everything is self-explanatory, however it’s worth mentioning:

  • The required fields are Username, Email and Password (without them you can’t create a new user)
  • If you click on the Show Password button, WordPress will automatically generate a unique strong password that you can use. This password can be hidden if you click on the Hide button. Also you can change it into a weaker password but you will need to check “Confirm use of weak password” option.
  • You can chose to send the credentials to the email address of the new user
  • And you can select what role your new user will have. You can change the default role in Settings -> General SubPanel.

Editing Your Profile

Found in the Users -> Your Profile SubPanel, this give you the possibility to change things like your Nickname or how you’re displayed publicly. Similar to the Add New User section, this is pretty straight forward with a few things that are worth mentioning:

Edit Your Profile in WordPress

  • The Display name publicly as is used by most themes as the default name under your posts and it can be a combination of username, first and last name and nickname
  • You can disable the WordPress Tool bar on the front-end of the site by deselecting the Show Toolbar when viewing site option. Please note this only affects you and by default it will still appear for other users on the front-end.
  • The Biographical Info is sometimes used by certain themes (like Twenty Eleven for example) to display an author widget right underneath the content of your blog post. Nice way to let people know who is the writer of the article they just read.

If you find these default setting limited and would want to add extra fields to your profile pages, the good part is that WordPress is so flexible that such a task is possible directly with certain plugins or you can even code this type of functionality your self if you’re up to it.

Managing Users

As an administrator, besides your own profile, you can also edit the profile of any user on your website. It can be useful for example to update the Bio for one of your authors or reset a password if they had problems with the default password reset.

To manage your users you need to go to Users -> All Users SubPanel.

WordPress All Users Panel
Worth noting:

  • The User Listing is sortable by Username, Name and Email.
  • You can filter based on their Roles.
  • As an Administrator you can edit and delete any user (including administrators), but you can not delete your own account
  • You can change a users role directly from this screen. Useful when you want to change multiple users roles all at once.

The Default Meta Widget

The Default Meta WidgetTo make it easier to access your dashboard, WordPress comes by default with a simple, yet useful Widget called Meta. You can find it in Appearance -> Widgets SubPanel. After you drag it to your sidebar, you’ll get access to Log in/out, admin, feed and WordPress links.

This way you can log in, log out and even register without having to write the exact WordPress url in the browser like http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php


Generally speaking, the Default WordPres User Registration hasn’t changed much in past few years. It’s still pretty much the same. The good thing is that people are used with it and provides new users to a workflow that is clear and easy to understand. The bad thing is that it’s not as useful when it comes to building something that is more then a blog, and this is a growing trend that it’s not going to stop soon.

However unchanged the User Interface is, in code behind the User Registration is really, really good. It’s flexible, extendable and fairly straight forward to customize.

There are a ton of plugins (we’ll talk about them in Part 2) as well as a ton of tutorials and code snippets that can take your project one step closer to completion (keep an eye out for Part 3 of this series).

Found this interesting? Then you should follow me on Twitter or get free updates by email.

Subscribe to get early access

to new plugins, discounts and brief updates about what's new with Cozmoslabs!

81 thoughts on “WordPress User Registration

  1. Hello Cristian,
    I just installed wordpress + buddypress and I would like to know if profile builder works fine with both and populates users profile in Buddypress?

    1. Hey Mickael,

      Short answer, no. Profile Builder doesn’t have support for BuddyPress profiles. However, both use standard WordPress functionality and you could control the BuddyPress templates to support Profile Builder custom fields. But you’ll need a good developer for that and just for that you won’t need Profile Builder.

      Hope this helps!

      1. hey christian,

        i was wondering, is it possible to let people register and NOT want an email sent for verification? i know that sounds strange, but someone recently asked me that, and when i thought about it, i wasn’t sure. i’m thinking that you can’t, unless you deactivate completely.


        1. Email Confirmation is only available in WordPress multi-site OR using Profile Builder and turning “Email Confirmation” to Yes.

          So… by default, users don’t have to confirm their email.

      1. Email Confirmation is only available in WordPress multi-site OR using Profile Builder and turning “Email Confirmation” to Yes.

        So… by default, users don’t have to confirm their email.

        i want to known where is the option to get turn “Email Confirmation” to Yes

  2. I installed Profile Bulider in my WordPress Multisite. However each time we log-in it redirects to the login page. How come? Thanks.

  3. Profile builder is a great plugin, I am sure, but I have a question to ask. Why create a login form and registration frontend if then when clicking on the link password lost reappears the old backend of wordpress? I want to buy pro plugin, however, someone has to explain if it returned to the old page when I want to recover lost password …
    Sorry for my bad English… Thank you.

    1. That’s a good question and we never explained it properly before.

      Truth is, it’s quite simple to redirect the WP Default Recovery page to any page you want using the Custom Addons Redirect in Profile Builder Pro so you can redirect users to the Lost Password page that contains the [[wppb-recover-password]] shortcode.

      For Profile Builder Free and Hobbyist, to get this functionality you need a small custom plugin that will do the same as the above. If you need it drop us an email or post in the forums!

      I’ll want to add this to our documentation since it’s turning into a recurring issue.

  4. Hello:
    I’ve been working on my website lately and now I see a lot or user registrations coming in. Is this something I should be concerned about? Many of the e-mail addresses seem strange. (I guess mine is, too). I’m considering closing off registration but I’m not sure as to what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

      1. it keeps happening after I installed captcha. bots keep registering on my site. i’ve tried 3 different captcha’s, not working. please advise.

  5. Every time I update WordPress I get problems logging in again. Now with the new WordPress 3.6 it now says the the update is almost done and there is a need to register as an application on WordPress. But there is no instructions as to how this is done! What does it really mean? Where to go to do whatever, what to fill in, etc? Its all very frustrating and confusing.

  6. Dear Cristian,
    I am looking for an option to redirect user directly to User profile page after registration . I check to install using Jeff Farthing’s “Theme My Login” plugin . But there is no option for “Register” . Please advise a solution.


  7. I see that you mentioned that “After a user enters the username and email address he’ll receive an email with an activation link and password.” I had (now deactivated) an old plugin (SABRE) installed that sent a confirmation link that had to be clicked to allow access. I assumed that the activation link you mentioned was the same. In testing my SABRE-free site, the basic registration email just contains the password, email, and a link to the login page-no actual activation link. Did I misunderstand what you meant, or am I just missing a setting somewhere?

  8. Hi, I feel I’m on the right track with this article…Thank you! so if I uncheck “anyone can register,” will people still be able to leave comments to my posts (are people actually “registering” when they type in their name and email to leave a comment, or is that something different)?

    I notice (after 3 years of having my blog) that I’m all the sudden getting a lot of new user registrations, mainly weird emails as mentioned above; bots?? If these are bots registering, will unchecking “anyone can register” remedy this?

    I am the lone manager of my blog and don’t understand why it would be good to allow users to “register,” even at the subscriber level? What is the intention of people who register as users? (And my understanding is that this is not the same as “subscribing to a blog,” the option of which I recently removed so I could notify people of all my new posts only through my newsletters.

    Sorry if these are silly questions. I know I’m missing some pieces here. 🙂 Thank you!!

    1. Hi Catherine,
      If you don’t have any type of membership in place for your site, you should definitely uncheck “anyone can register”.
      Comments don’t need people to be logged in, so turning registration off won’t affect the commenting functionality.

      1. Thank you, I had exactly the same question. I could never understand why the registration function was even there when all I need visitors to do is leave comments which I can moderate. Even now I’m still not sure what it’s purpose is given that people don’t need to register to comment, but at least I now know I don’t need it.

  9. Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  10. hello! brother i want some help with u.
    When a new user want to register . There is only 2 options user name and email.i want some changing and want to show username, name, password and email. how could i do .Please help me

  11. Helllo there! Do you know iff they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?

    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any

  12. Hi
    Very nice and detailed article.
    I have a problem with zero results from googling.
    Recently on my new WP installs, the “Register” link does nothing. The page just goes blank. I checked everything, but since they are new installs, I don’t know where to look. Could you throw some light? Thanks

  13. Dear Cristian Antohe, Thank you so much for creating this topic! I am using Weaver II and I give away a free eBook and I have several Mail Chimp sign up forms on my home page. But for some reason my visitors are completing the “New User Registration” form and then being redirected to my thank you page in order to download the eBook (I think). I need them to sign up on the Mail Chimp form so they are automatically added to my Mail Chimp List. It is becoming to much to keep up with copy and paste. My website is http://www.antiaginginsights.com I do not even see where they are signing up for “New User Registration” Any Help would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Hi, Cristian Antohe. Thanks for writing the wonderful article.
    I was setting up my multisite network and i came across a very strange situation. The user I created with Administator permissions or any other permission are not able to acess the dashboard. There was a 5 lines permission error saying you dont have permission to acess the “site”.

    Now the user was logging in from http://www.mainsite.com/subsite/wp-admin.php, So I could not figure out how to rectify it.

    I once again replaced the content of wp-congig.php and ltacess, After that the user was able to login. But even after logging in he is not able to publish a post or page and many links on the dashboard are still giving the pervious permissions error. Also what i noticed when creating a post from one of my user id is that the permalink for that post was still in http://www.mainsite.com/blog/ which is the link of mainsite and not in http://www.mainsite.com/subsite/ which is his site.

    I will appreciate If anyone can help me on this. I have read many articles but didnt find a solution yet.
    Note: Am running a directory based multisite on a shared host.

  15. I’m new to this, so I apologize if this is a newbie question. So far I’ve found the site to be fairly intuitive.

    I handle new user registrations for an on-line course we offer. I like to send the confirmation email which includes the user name and password. The problem is the email is from: Word Press and there is now greeting, it just says here is your user name and password.

    I did go into the settings/wp-member area and went to the “emails” tab and customized that, but it doesn’t change the confirmation email. I’m clearly looking in the wrong place to make those changes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  16. Hi cristian, thanks for sharing this nice and helpfull port. So, I want a question to you. My register form not send password to email. which you are using a plugin advice to me. thanks

  17. Hi Cristian,

    Thanks for the good job.

    Q. I have a website, I made it on wordpress, each time a customer register in my site i don’t get a notification by say email! I should login everyday to do that manually! which is not practical at all.

    Do you have any idea how can i enable certain option in wordpress to enable me to be notified each time someone register in my website please?


  18. Are you still going to be doing a page on the
    Part 3 – Ultimate Developers Guide for WordPress User Registration – code snippets and short tutorials (coming soon)

    Thank you love the info you Cheers

  19. Hello,

    I am new in wordpress. I have insatled buddypress as a plugin to my website. Now the people who is registerd in wordpress are automaticly in buddypress but I want buddypress as a separate community. Is it posible.

    Thank you

  20. I searched for my problem. There is no link about my error! Might be some one knows here that what is going on my Google login.

    I have Google Apps Login setup on my wordpress. I added client id , client secret and even updated the service account setting.
    But when i try to login via google login to my web site i get such an error : User lablablab@gmail.com not registered in WordPress.

    So it means google wants to send the information of user to my wordpress database and wordpress is not allow to auto create the username.

    Any idea or any link or plugin to make auto user create on wordpress? Or might be codding …

    I don’t know even why i get such an error.

  21. I have learnt a lot of things from your article.Thank you very much.
    However, I have a afew questions:

    How do I change where a user is redirected to after registering on my site?
    I have the woocommerce plugin and lovestory theme installed…I want the user to be redirected to checkout and after payment they can now be redirected to Profile.As against Register->Profile.

    Please ignor all my mistakes.

    Thank you.

  22. Dear sir,
    I have integrated facebook App ID in my word press site for login through facebook but I am getting massage when I login with facebook “Registration using Facebook is not currently allowed. Please use our Register page”
    Please let me know how can I allow to user for facebook login or registration so that all user can login with facebook?

    Looking forward to your response

  23. I am using wordpress for my classroom instruction (high school teacher). Is there a way that I can pre-load registration with name, password, etc, so that I can restrict users to my students? Obviously using CSV or text files….
    Sorry if this really shows me as a newbie. Thanks!

  24. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually something which
    I think I would never understand. It kind of feels too complex and
    very broad for me. I’m having a look ahead in your subsequent
    publish, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!

  25. I am having this problem, i need to separate subscribers(one user type) into two different groups with access to different pages. Can it also be such that when 1 subscribes depending on weather they are option A or B they are allowed access accordingly.

  26. i install profile builder plugin which work fine but my reply comment (post) and the forum which shows you must log in to access is still showing me the wordpress login page compare to my profile that show the plugin login page

  27. I have website on checkout/my account you can create a account can anyone tell me how do i add a radio button where they can choose roles from customer, visitor, wholesale buyer.

    as i want wholesale buyers to choose from role wholesale

  28. Can you help me please? how can i block specific word when visitor want to register in my site, then go to my site register page, then normally register, but i want to some word block, example: if i block “Admin” word. when visitor want to register in my site and he/she try registration username “Admin” then show error “Admin username is not allow for register in this site”.
    so please help me.

  29. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else
    encountering problems with your site. It seems like ome of the written text
    in your content are running off the screen.
    Can someone else please comment and let me know
    if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Many thanks

  30. I’ve set up my blog and everything except for one thing works correct. When users try to register they can and are added to the database but they never get their password emailed? Anyone has a solution for this? Oh btw: I myself am getting email notifications from wordpress-blog, so the mail() function and probably the sendmail() function are working..

  31. Greetings:

    Maybe it’s just me. I am a newbie to WordPress (WP). However, I have built and host a number of websites so I do have some limited ideas about websites and how they work. Also, I do have some html coding skills, but not a lot more.

    I have spent many hours trying to figure out the whole WP registration page issue. I manage to learn about one new tidbit each day.

    I find it hard to believe that this topic is soooooo obscure and seems to produce unending problems and questions, and/or requires modifying the code to make simple things work. It reminds me of the days when a technician was needed to set up a dial-up modem or an email account.

    Has anyone ever considered composing ‘The Complete WordPress How to Registration Manual’? Surely, the WP creators are clever enough to figure out that a fix is required. I have looked at many plug-ins. To this point, not a single one has stated the URL of the basic WP registration form or what happens if you direct a user elsewhere (i.e., do they become registered or not?).

    Wouldn’t it make sense to be able to set the WP form so a) looks like your site (not like you are asking a visitor to your site to enter into WP land), b) includes the registration info you want to collect, c) gives you the option of being advised of a new registrant, and d) directs the (now) registered user to a page where you want them to be?

    Surely, the vast majority of users should have no access to you “back end” (i.e., for other newbies that means your admin panel) and there must be a better way to “register” advanced users other than to confound them with everyday common place visitors to the site.

    Following is my need. It is simple, detailed, clear and in a logical order. I would love to be able to find a source that could provide simple, detailed and clear responses that are similarly logical. I am hoping it is you.

    1. I have a WordPress site that:
    a) announces and summarizes an online test I developed,
    b) provides a (controlled) access point to that online test (The test is written in .aspx, Unqualified users are denied access and invited to take a free online training course, This is all taken care of by the aspx files, and works very well.),
    c) provides tutorials for that online test, and, [this is the the focus of the present concern]:
    d) provides an online test for individuals who do not have the educational qualifications necessary to use the test. (Completing this test will qualify them to use the test. The aspx files are all set to activate their account when they successfully complete the Training Test.)

    Here is what I need;
    1) I want visitors to be able to peruse the general, information pages of my WP site without any obstructions or requirements,
    2) I want the visitors to be able to access a page that says: If you want to take our free, Qualifying Training Test register here by completing this form. [The form should include their first name, their last name, their email address and the password they wish to use. This information should be stored on my site somewhere so I (the administrator) am notified of a new registration, and they (the visitor) can gain access to the training test and retrieve a forgotten password, if necessary.

    Ideally, I would like them to be able to return to the site at a later date to the page where they stopped doing the required course work, and be able to continue, without having to deal again with the registration/login stuff.

    I am currently using Namaste for the purpose of advancing them to the page they need to complete next, and I think it will do the job required. ]

    So, I want a simple registration FORM on an information page about the test, that will record their user information, notify me of their new registration, and take them to the starting page of the test.

    Secondly, I would like it if, as a registered user, they could simply return to the page they were last working on when they return to the site (if they had not completed studying the information provided and completing the final test).

    Is this possible?


    1. Hello Wil,

      Thank you for your comment. Can you tell me more regarding the WP Registration page issue? Usually custom code is necessary when you are trying to implement or add features that are not considered as default functionalities. The complete WordPress Registration manual will be always a “work in progress” but this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. WordPress is constantly improved so you have to keep up with all the updates.

      Are you referring to the default WordPress Registration form? Usually it looks like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php?action=register. We have 2 situations here:
      1. In Profile Builder Pro we have a module called Custom Redirects that can redirect he user after login – in this case the user will register and after that he will be redirected;
      2. If the form generates an error then we can redirect him to another page, but this could confuse the user and I think it is better to display the error and not use a redirect;

      Every website is different and you have to take in consideration the fact the some users need to access the back-end and other only the front-end. WordPress is a platform where you build your website using themes, plugins, add-ons and custom code if necessary. WordPress is a base where you add all the things that you need for your website. In this case it needs to be simple and flexible, which it is.
      Regarding the registration, WordPress gives you the possibility to add users and collect data. To receive notifications, as Admin, you will need to insert an email in Settings -> General. To redirect the user to a different page can be achieved with a free plugin like Peter’s Login Redirect, the Custom Redirect module from Profile Builder Pro or with custom code.

      It depends on what are you trying to achieve with your website. If you don’t want users to have access to the back-end you can restrict it with a free plugin. With Profile Builder Pro you can create Multiple Registration and Edit Profile Forms with different fields.

      If you don’t restrict your website, users will be able to view its content. This is the basic functionality of a website.

      First you will need to restrict the access to your content. This can be achieved with a free plugin called Members. With Profile Builder you can create a Registration page in front-end using the [wppb-register] shortcode. The information will be stored in the database and you, the Admin, will be notified if you insert an email address in Settings -> General (how to create a Recover Password page).

      Once the user registers there is no need to register again so he will be able to login and continue with the course.

      I hope this info will help you with your project.

      Best regards,

  32. Excellent weblog right here! Also your web site lots
    up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your associate hyperlink to your host?

    I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  33. i allowed “all users to register”… i didnt like that wordpress will direct new users to profile page and added TML to my website. Now i have two log in pages and wordpress log in option appears on my TML ‘lost password, register, and log out’ pages… how do i eliminate the wordpress log in option?


  34. Awesome tutorial for me. But i want to stooped the new user registration when a user use “Bad Name” for his user name. This bad name is very disgusting for my wordpress site. Can you help me?

  35. Do registered users receive RSS notifications when a new post is made? I ditched the user registration process and rolled the emails over to a mail chimp account because I wanted to control how my information is disseminated. I found out that sometimes my videos and design features don’t format properly on social media platforms. I just wanted to make sure my readers know when a new post is up and get the info as it should be viewed. When I got rid of the user registration, my comments stopped and my traffic slowed. Is it acceptable to allow registration and then just roll the emails over to a mail chimp list? I don’t want to bother readers with multiple notifications if they are already receiving the posts and I don’t want to violate my privacy policy by using their emails when they didn’t originally intend to be added to a mail chimp list. When I did it before, I sent an email briefly explaining the situation and allowing and opt-out, but I don’t want to invite an opt-out on a routine basis.

    Thank you for answering my questions. This has been one of the more confusing topics to me after rolling my account over from .org to .com

  36. if any registered user off ultimate member plugin so why add user in WordPress user tool panel. i want to manage anything like role and admin role also. in ultimate member plugin yaaa also tel me any other idea please . but i want to manage other panel.like all registered user only profile like register user name, surname, profile pic, mobile no, some about us user, exe.

  37. But the harder I think over it, the less I am convinced about ‘cloud’ like a
    real technology. This allows the bond of millions of people merely
    by the internet. Nanotechnology robots could be
    developed to destroy military hardware such as tanks, missiles, equipment,
    factories, ships, and nuclear bombs without even a guy in danger.

  38. id you configure any redirects after the user has logged in ? If not, the page will just refresh like you experienced.

  39. I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any
    browser compatibility problems? A number of my
    blog visitors have complained about my blog not
    working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.

    Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.