E-Commerce Webmaster Administrator Accounts - WooCommerce WordPress

Administrator Accounts

E-commerce administrator accounts are vital to all e-commerce business platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re running WordPress, OpenCart, Magento or PrestaShop, your site will come with some type of administrator account. Think of the administrator account as God-Mode for your website and don’t forget to treat it as such. Your administrator account can do everything your website’s other permission profiles can do, and more.

There has long been a debate over who needs the admin account and how many admins are needed. In this article, I will address e-commerce admin accounts and the importance surrounding them. When it comes down to it, all you need to do is ask yourself the following:

Why would you need more than one person with complete control over your website?

There are many good reasons and false assumptions that contribute to the confusion of administrator accounts and who should have access to them. In some e-commerce platforms, elaborate permission choices do not exist by default. For instance, in WordPress, there is an administrator account that consists of all the permissions needed by the websites administrator, while the other permission profiles do not really offer anything else remotely close to the administrator profile.

WordPress has a set of permission-based roles that were built mainly for blogs. Adding WooCommerce adds a few extra roles, but nothing that is very helpful unless you happen to be running a very specific type of online shop. To make things harder, these roles have no way to edit or change their permissions; rendering them almost useless. Some could argue that WordPress with WooCommerce is not a great choice for e-commerce websites. Find out more about running WordPress with WooCommerce.

Employees who think they need Administrator access

  • Personal Assistants
  • Office Directors
  • Other Executives
  • Board Members
  • Accountants
  • Operations
  • Managers

There will always be a number of high-level employees working for you who will have what seem like great arguments for having admin access to your website. The number one thing telling you these employees don’t need access is that their positions have absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of the website. They work in an office. They might use the website for tasks, but they have no proper background or education for what is needed to be a website administrator.

Just because your manager has the keys to the safe and has one of the highest security clearances at your businesses office doesn’t mean they have what it takes to have complete control over your website.

We see this happen all too often. I was recently brought in on an e-commerce business that had four administrator accounts and a handful of website problems. The first thing I did was pull their server’s logs and spent a day going through them all. Do you want to guess what the problem was? The actual webmaster they hired wasn’t able to do their job properly because the other administrator accounts were constantly screwing things up and had no clue that they were.

False Assumptions

Tech-savvy employees that are really good at picking things up and are fast learners.

My graphics designer is really smart and even has his own website he runs himself.

My office manager ran a successful business for two years back in 2000.

These are some of the most idiotic reasons for giving out administrator access. The only person who should ever have full administrative privileges over your business is your webmaster. Yes, your webmaster.

But what if I have to fire the webmaster?

Nothing. You fire your webmaster and hire a new one.

Anyone who has full control over your website needs to have already signed a legal agreement. Ask your lawyer, they’ll know what to do. If you ever have to get rid of your webmaster, a legal agreement protects you from anything bad happening to your website. If your lawyer is doing their job, then the agreement should keep the webmaster from ever doing anything stupid with your website upon termination. If you have ever been screwed by an angry webmaster, then that’s on you. Just like with any job position that gives someone power, you need to protect yourself and your investment from malice.

Yeah, but I don’t trust my webmaster…

Not many people have the luxury of having a healthy relationship with the people they work with. Many businesses are comprised of completely remote workforces and you don’t have the chance to get to know people like you used to. Webmasters aside, if you have anyone working for you remotely, you might not be able to trust them. The good news is that you live in a digital age and a legal-binding contract is 100 times better than trust. Trust is not always a sure thing in business. Legal contracts are.

Yeah, but I don’t want to give my webmaster the impression I don’t trust them…

Any website administrator should be well versed in contracts. Many of them will ask you for one before they do anything. If you’re webmaster seems skidish around contracts, that’s a red flag.

Scenario 1: Let me tell ya, I had a problem figuring out how to set up product categories in WooCommerce and John figured it out and then showed me how to do it. John found a tutorial online and was able to show me and the whole office how to do add product categories.

Problems with Scenario 1: just because it seemed to work doesn’t mean it was done properly. Don’t ever treat a tutorial like its gospel. Why the hell does the whole office need to add categories to your website anyways?

No matter what you think or believe, you will almost always lose money or never reach your full potential if you don’t hire the right people for the job. Read about how to pick the right person for the job here.

In A Nutshell

Your webmaster should be the only one with administrator access. Many business owners are afraid that if they don’t have the administrator access themselves that it could cause security issues down the road. If you don’t have a contract in place that protects you and your business, you need to stop reading now and call your attorney. Your high-paid IT’s are trained to hold positions like these and they are well aware of what comes with the webmaster title. It’s no surprise to them (and shouldn’t be for you).

Written by
Jenna Baxter
Join the discussion

  • I’ve been an IT administrator for over 15 years and this rings true in every aspect. Unfortunately there is always someone who will force the owner into believing they need access. And that is usually the account causing problems on the site. Training, real life experience and education is a must. Everyone thinks they can get away with learning how to do everything online.

  • And business owners wonder why their sites go to sh*t after they try doing it themselves..

  • This is the best explained article on webmasters and access. Very well written. This is a MUST READ article for any ecommerce business owner.

  • Business owners not following these suggestions will never reach full potential. Webmasters and CWO’s make anywhere from $75k-$200k a year. If you are paying someone less than $75k to run your online business and take care of all the responsibilities that come with being a CWO or Webmaster, then you will always be behind. If your business is completely online and you don’t understand the difference between a good and mediocre Webmaster, you need to go back to business school.

    You get what you pay for. That is all you need to remember.

    In many e-commerce businesses, a CWO makes more than everyone else. If you cannot see the value in paying someone else more money so that you can make more money, then you’re an idiot.

  • Well written explanation. Makes sense. It has been so much easier since I cut everyone else’s admin access. Now when something goes wrong, there is only one person to ask.

  • It’s almost like you were reading my mind. Almost all these points and scenarios you brought up have already occured in my business since we started our e-commerce website. I have been having huge problems with my website and have tried everything. I didn’t think it would hurt to try following your lead in this article. Since then I have hired a webmaster, which was expensive, but all these problems we were having before have since disappeared.

    The way this article was written and laid out made it really easy for business owners like me to understand. I am looking forward to reading more articles like this in the future. Thank you for taking the time to explain all of this.

    In the beginning of the article you mentioned a few different e-commerce platforms. It would be nice if you expanded on some of them also. We run WordPress now but we are looking into opening another online shop using Prestashop. Would the same administrator and webmaster guidelines be valid for Prestashop? Would I need to apply all of this to a web site running on Prestashop as well?

Jenna Baxter

Jenna Lynn Baxter
Chief Marketing Officer

Jenna is a non-traditional marketing guru and digital content writer. Graduated UCLA with a Master's in Marketing,

Jenna spends most of her time with her sister and friends. Jenna has lived in Newport Beach her whole life and is always at the beach.

She has been a part of Chronic Built from the beginning and is one of the original founders. Jenna ran four successful online e-commerce stores in the past that she later sold. Jenna has helped over forty e-commerce websites build successful marketing departments since she began working at Chronic Built. If you're lucky enough to get some face-time with her, make sure you're prepared.