Using the User ID of an existing user, how do I change the role to Editor?

Here's what I tried:

$wpdb->query("UPDATE wp_usermeta SET meta_value = 'a:1:{s:6:\"editor\";b:1;}' WHERE user_id = '$user_id' AND meta_key = 'wp_capabilities'");

Not sure what I am doing wrong?


Usermeta key that stores the user's role has a prefix in the name, the one set in the wp-config.php file. So meta_key will have the form {prefix}_capabilities and your query should look like

global $wpdb;
          "UPDATE {$wpdb->usermeta} SET meta_value = 'a:1:{s:6:\"editor\";b:1;}' WHERE user_id = %d AND meta_key = '{$wpdb->prefix}capabilities'",
          $user_id ) 

You do not need to write SQL query. You can achieve the same by fetching the WP_User object with get_userdata function and set new role with the method set_role (or remove_role and add_role to change only one of the roles).

$my_user_id = 12345;   // user ID for changing role
$my_user = get_userdata($my_user_id);
if ( $my_user instanceof WP_User )
  • Thank you! The second solution worked perfectly – comdex Apr 20 at 23:10

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