Allow co-editing of content by multiple users

WordPress comes with different roles, and it’s usually best not to give everyone the “Administrator” role. The next best role would be the “Editor” role, which enables a user to edit all contents, their own one and the content from other users. But in some cases, this role is also too permissive.

Allow a user to edit their content only

When you want to limit a user to edit only the posts and pages they have created, assign them to the “Author” role. With this role, they can see content of user users, but they cannot edit them. This is perfect, if you have a page where you want to invite many external users to edit “their pages”, maybe a page with a profile of their own company. They can either create this profile themselves, or you would create it and assign them as authors to that profile page.

But sooner or later you have the request from one of these users, that they want to have another person being able to edit this page as well. As WordPress can only have one author assigned to a page, this is not easily possible and as you probably don’t want to ask them to share the login password, we need a better solution for this.

The “Co-Authors Plus” plugin to the rescue

Through a tweet mentioning some plugins someone was regularly using, I found the plugin Co-Authors Plus, which has been around for many years, which tackles this need. It allows you to add more than one author to a post or page. The first author in the list will be shown at the single view of the post, but the plugin also offers functions to show the other authors as well (be adding those functions to a child-theme template).

Those different authors can even have different roles. But any user, who is either the primary/first author or an additional author, can edit the page, as long as their role would allow them to do so.

As WordPress usually stores the author of a post or page in a single column in the wp_posts table I was curious to see, how they solved it, and found out, that they use a custom post type to assign the authors to a post.

Conclusion

While the basic roles of WordPress are usually enough for various requirements, the issue of co-editing was always something, I was wishing for a core solution. But with the addition of this plugin (which still gets updates and even integrates nicely into the block editor and “Quick Edit”), this can also be established quite easily.

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Bernhard is a full time web developer who likes to write WordPress plugins in his free time and is an active member of the WP Meetups in Berlin and Potsdam.

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