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user switching pluginThe User Switching plugin is logically named. It allows administrators to switch and see the site as another user. 

This plugin is a must-have if you run a site with multiple user levels, have a large number of users or use multiple accounts for yourself. Instead of opening two browsers or logging in and logging out repeatedely, User Switching is an efficient way to bugshoot problems with user accounts.

Here's how to use User Switching:

Step 1. Download and Install

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Go to Plugins > Add New and search for User Switching and click Install Now. Follow the prompts to activate the plugin.

Step 2. Go to the User list

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Go to Users > All Users to get your list of users.

Step 3. Click Switch To to switch users

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Mouse over the user to expose the Switch To link and click on it.

Step 4. Click Switch back to .... to toggle logins

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You are now logged in as the chosen user.

Note that you see that user's dashboard and only the features that they are permitted to see. In this case the user is a contributor and the dashboard reflects their access.

To switch back to the original user click the Switch back to.... link near the top of the page.

Step 5. Switch On / Switch off

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When you are logged in as the administrator there is Switch Off link in your profile. Clicking switch off takes you to the front end of your website, and logs you out so you are viewing the website as a visitor.

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Once you've switched off you'll see a "Switch back to {user}" link in the footer of your site.

You are logged out, but your current user ID is in a cookie so you can switch straight back (ie. log straight back in) without having to log in with your username and password. It's basically switching to "no user', and being able to switch back to your dashboard instantly.

Notes on using the plugin

  • Only administrators can switch users.
  • You cannot switch to another administrator. You can only switch to user roles.
  • If you've switched to a user, you must switch back to the original user before you can change users again.

As we get more complicated user roles, permissions and community sites, it's really essential that you are able to test the user experience, exactly as they do. Utilities like User Switching will make this much easier.