All you Need to Know About Users, Roles, And Permissions In Drupal

Category: Technology


Drupal is one of the widely used CMS platforms present today. The popularity of this web framework is because of several reasons. One of them being the flexibility it provides businesses to deal with. While all CMS platforms classify user roles into administrator and viewers, frameworks like Drupal allow website administrators to define various roles. You can permit each role to access the site in their own way to perform their dedicated tasks with efficiency. 

In this perspective, understanding the Drupal Users, Roles, and Permissions is critical. It will educate the web developers on the various roles and permissions they can implement for a particular site. 

If you are looking to build a site for your business, having insight into these roles and permissions will help you significantly define the purpose of site and the users. You will be able to control what information should be accessible to which users and who can edit or update your site's content. 


Anyone and everyone who visits your website is put in the 'Users' category. The users have been typically categorized into three groups. 

  • Guest users or anonymous users who don't log in to your website. 
  • Authenticated users who can log in to your website. 
  • Administrative user who has access to all of your site's content and functionality. Administrative privileges are given to users who have originally installed the site. You should never give any other user administrative privileges because it puts your site in an unsecured position. 

In Drupal, every user is assigned a role so that granting permissions is easier. 


Understandably, each user has to perform a specific task or have a motive when visiting your site. Some users might be just visitors visiting your site for information, while others could have the permission to add or update content on your site. If someone is just visiting your site for information, they are assigned to 'Anonymous user' roles. 

Suppose someone can log in to your site, they fall under the 'Authenticated user' role. Instead of granting permission to individual users, a user role is granted permission. So, everyone coming under a particular user role can have specific permissions.  

However, there is no hard and fast rule to define Roles in Drupal development. It entirely depends on one's requirement. Some businesses may require to grant permission to other users to add content or image in their site or edit them while others might not need that facility. 

A skilled Drupal developer will help you understand the roles you need to assign for your website. They will also help you manage these roles in Drupal. 


Permissions are an integral part of Drupal development as it allows users to perform a specific action. These permissions are nothing but an action or a subset of several small actions that a user can perform. Administrative users can assign these permissions to a user role so that they are authorized to perform a specific task. 

These tasks can be permission to view content on your site, add/update content, or change configuration of your site. You can assign these permissions to various user roles depending on their capabilities and manage what they can access and what they can't. 

These are typically divided into four categories and can be further categorized depending on the need. Here, have a look. 

  • Administer 

One needs to be very cautious while giving Administer permissions and should grant it to trusted users only. That's because they will have the ability to edit or delete the permitted module's entire content causing you losses. Therefore, you should be very cautious while granting such privileges. 

  • Access 

The Access permissions grant 'read-only' or 'view only' privileges to users. Meaning, they can access various modules and view them but don't have configuration rights to make any changes. Even then, one should provide these permissions to trusted users only. 

  • Create 

Users with create permissions are usually for node types. They are granted permissions to create a content type on the site. However, they may or may not have the privilege to edit it later. 

  • Maintain 

An authenticated user who is permitted to maintain a site will have the privilege to add, edit, or update content permissions too. They will be able to edit the content later if they need and manage the site content effectively. 

In Drupal, anonymous or guest users have the least privileges and should be assigned permissions accordingly. Suppose you permit 'anonymous users' to view content or view modules, it won't permit authenticated users. Otherwise, they won't have access to this content. 

Therefore, developers must understand the role inheritance and how granting particular permission to a role can affect the entire process. Businesses should hire diligent and seasoned Drupal developers to ensure no unauthenticated user can have any access to the site content. 

Furthermore, these are a few pointers that one must keep in mind while dealing with the user, roles, and permissions. 

  • There is no limit to the number of roles you can add in Drupal. It entirely depends on your requirements. 
  • You should understand that the 'Anonymous' and 'Authenticate' users are two distinct broad categories. If you choose one of them for certain permission, the other won't be granted automatically. 
  • It would be best if you use the Masquerade module for testing the permissions. 
  • You can define your own permissions as needed. 
  • There are modules to define the list of various permissions. You can find them in modulename.permissions.yml files in Drupal. 

This information is critical for any business owner and Drupal developer as they will be informed while creating roles and granting permissions to them. Therefore, it is utmost important that skilled individuals perform this job so that there are fewer chances of making a mistake. Auxesis Infotech is one of the leading Drupal development companies that have such professional developers on board. They fully understand the significance of roles and permissions and are capable of managing them effectively.