I have a pretty specific requirement to show different text in a field label on the user profile page based on the current user's role. I can't seem to figure out how to check whether the current use is an "author".

I am looking for a function like:

is_user_in_role($user, "author");

I imagine this is pretty simple, but I have searched for too long without an answer so I thought I would post it here.


If you only need this for current user current_user_can() accepts both roles and capabilities.

UPDATE: Passing a role name to current_user_can() is no longer guaranteed to work correctly (see #22624). Instead, you may wish to check user role:

$user = wp_get_current_user();
if ( in_array( 'author', (array) $user->roles ) ) {
    //The user has the "author" role
  • 10
    I know this post is answered a long time ago but if someone happens to get here... look at the documentation once more for current_user_can() -> "Do not pass a role name to current_user_can(), as this is not guaranteed to work correctly (see #22624). Instead, you may wish to try the check user role function put together by AppThemes." (codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/current_user_can) – bestprogrammerintheworld Jan 28 '14 at 7:04
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    ^ There is a bracket missing in the if statement – Aajahid Jun 4 '15 at 6:44
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    @Aajahid edited :) – Rarst Jun 4 '15 at 7:52

I was looking for a way to get a user's role using the user's id. Here is what I came up with:

function get_user_roles_by_user_id( $user_id ) {
    $user = get_userdata( $user_id );
    return empty( $user ) ? array() : $user->roles;

Then, an is_user_in_role() function could be implemented like so:

function is_user_in_role( $user_id, $role  ) {
    return in_array( $role, get_user_roles_by_user_id( $user_id ) );
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    works fine for me to get the first role assigned to a user. – Q Studio Oct 10 '12 at 19:07
  • What about all the roles assigned to the user? – Vishal Kumar Sahu Apr 10 '17 at 7:14
  • 1
    @Vishal Kumar this will check against all roles assigned to the user. – Stephen M. Harris Apr 10 '17 at 17:34
  • This function does not exist, not sure if it was just old or what, but you should use the answer above or the one I posted below – sMyles Nov 16 '17 at 0:41

You can also just create a new user object:

$user = new WP_User( $user_id );

if ( ! empty( $user->roles ) && is_array( $user->roles ) && in_array( 'Some_role', $user->roles ) ) {
    return true;

Not sure what version get_user_roles_by_user_id was removed in, but it's no longer an available function.


Here is a function that accepts a user and role for greater flexibility:

function my_has_role($user, $role) {
  $roles = $user->roles; 
  return in_array($role, (array) $user->roles);

if(my_has_role($user, 'some_role')) {
  //do stuff

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