protected function isAdmin() : bool {
    $check = current_user_can('administrator');
    return $check; 
    // returns false as I am logged in as superadmin, refreshing the page for xdebug to run

$check also evaluates to false when using current_user_can('delete_site');

My wordpress install is hosted on my local machine, Lubuntu 18.04 with apache2. Php 7.2. I can access the site by navigating to http://localhost/folderName in Google Chrome.

I have cookie auth enabled and see my user cookie is present with the EditThisCookie Chrome extension.

In the xdebug console (of Phpstorm 2019.2) I also get a false response:



I have no issues navigating around the front or back end of the wordpress site as an Admin. I feel like this might be an environment issue due to the discrepency betwen the Chrome experience and what the plugin and Xdebug are catching.

Does anyone know why I am running into this issue?

  • Where are you running this code? If you’re running it too early the current user won’t be set. – Jacob Peattie Sep 2 '19 at 3:34
  • @JacobPeattie It is being run in a rest api request handler callback. The admin user clicks on a delete icon next to a table row which executes the request. the request handler is hooked as an action to rest_api_init – Sean D Sep 2 '19 at 11:25
  • 1
    You need to send a nonce with REST requests for the current user to be recognised: developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/using-the-rest-api/… – Jacob Peattie Sep 2 '19 at 15:12
  • @JacobPeattie the nonce solution turned out to be the right one, thank you – Sean D Sep 2 '19 at 15:22

Normally for checking for administration privileges you have to check the “manage_options” capability, such as:


Alternatively, you want to list the roles with wp_get_current_user()->roles and ensure the “Administrator” role is in that array.

The capabilities you are checking for do not exist in a vanilla install of wp.

  • Thank you, I tried using manage_options but it still returned false. Then I ran wp_get_current_user()->roles; and got back an empty array. Any idea why this is happening? – Sean D Sep 1 '19 at 21:14
  • Can you please var_dump(wp_get_current_user()) and confirm you are logged in? Also, in case it's a MU install, try checking against the "manage_network" permission. – santamanno Sep 1 '19 at 21:44
  • If you have more to add that can help us write good answers please edit your question and update us. – Matthew Brown aka Lord Matt Sep 1 '19 at 23:45
  • I can't seem to var dump it: PHP Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function admin\controllers\‌var_dump() in <path to php file> on line 117. The debugger shows an empty array on $roles when I add the following line to the auth checking callback: $roles = wp_get_current_user()->roles; Now I'm looking into the reasons why the current WP_User object shows blanks or 0's for all properties. – Sean D Sep 2 '19 at 11:33
  • 1
    Ok, I needed to pass the current user data from the server/PHP to the browser for the React app. When I ran wp_get_current_user(); in the right place it worked – Sean D Sep 2 '19 at 15:21

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