WordPress Plugin: User Switching

Latest version: 1.4.0– Released 17/09/2018:

Description

This plugin allows you to quickly swap between user accounts in WordPress at the click of a button. You’ll be instantly logged out and logged in as your desired user. This is handy for test environments where you regularly log out and in between different accounts, or for administrators who need to switch between multiple accounts.

Features

  • Switch user: Instantly switch to any user account from the Users screen.
  • Switch back: Instantly switch back to your originating account.
  • Switch off: Log out of your account but retain the ability to instantly switch back in again.
  • It’s completely secure (see the Security section below).
  • Compatible with WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress, and bbPress.

Security

  • Only users with the ability to edit other users can switch user accounts. By default this is only Administrators on single site installations, and Super Admins on Multisite installations.
  • Passwords are not (and cannot be) revealed.
  • Uses the cookie authentication system in WordPress when remembering the account(s) you’ve switched from and when switching back.
  • Implements the nonce security system in WordPress, meaning only those who intend to switch users can switch.
  • Full support for user session validation where appropriate.
  • Full support for administration over SSL (if applicable).

Usage

  1. Visit the Users menu in WordPress and you’ll see a Switch To link in the list of action links for each user.
  2. Click this and you will immediately switch into that user account.
  3. You can switch back to your originating account via the Switch back link on each dashboard screen or in your profile menu in the WordPress toolbar.

See the FAQ for information about the Switch Off feature.

Privacy Statement

User Switching makes use of browser cookies in order to allow users to switch to another account. Its cookies operate using the same mechanism as the authentication cookies in WordPress core, therefore their values contain the user’s user_login field in plain text which should be treated as potentially personally identifiable information. The names of the cookies are:

  • wordpress_user_sw_{COOKIEHASH}
  • wordpress_user_sw_secure_{COOKIEHASH}
  • wordpress_user_sw_olduser_{COOKIEHASH}

User Switching does not send data to any third party, nor does it include any third party resources, nor will it ever do so.

Screenshots

  1. The <em>Switch To</em> link on the Users screen

    The Switch To link on the Users screen

  2. The <em>Switch To</em> link on a user's profile

    The Switch To link on a user's profile

Installation

FAQ

What does “Switch off” mean?

Switching off logs you out of your account but retains your user ID in an authentication cookie so you can switch straight back without having to log in again manually. It’s akin to switching to no user, and being able to switch back.

The Switch Off link can be found in your profile menu in the WordPress toolbar. Once you’ve switched off you’ll see a Switch back link in the footer of your site.

Does this plugin work with WordPress Multisite?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from the Users screen in Network Admin.

Does this plugin work with BuddyPress?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from member profile screens and the member listing screen.

Does this plugin work with bbPress?

Yes, and you’ll also be able to switch users from member profile screens.

Does this plugin work if my site is using a two-factor authentication plugin?

Yes, mostly.

One exception I’m aware of is Duo Security. If you’re using this plugin, you should install the User Switching for Duo Security add-on plugin which will prevent the two-factor authentication prompt from appearing when you switch between users.

What capability does a user need in order to switch accounts?

A user needs the edit_users capability in order to switch user accounts. By default only Administrators have this capability, and with Multisite enabled only Super Admins have this capability.

Can the ability to switch accounts be granted to other users or roles?

Yes. The switch_users meta capability can be explicitly granted to a user or a role to allow them to switch users regardless of whether or not they have the edit_users capability. For practical purposes, the user or role will also need the list_users capability so they can access the Users menu in the WordPress admin area.

If you know what you’re doing with user capabilities, this capability can also be denied from a user or role to prevent the ability to switch users, regardless of whether or not they have the edit_users capability.

Can regular admins on Multisite installations switch accounts?

No. This can be enabled though by installing the User Switching for Regular Admins plugin.

Can I switch users directly from the admin toolbar?

Yes, there’s a third party add-on plugin for this: Admin Bar User Switching.

Are any plugin actions called when a user switches account?

Yes. When a user switches to another account, the switch_to_user hook is called:

/**
 * Fires when a user switches to another user account.
 *
 * @since 0.6.0
 * @since 1.4.0 The `$new_token` and `$old_token` parameters were added.
 *
 * @param int    $user_id     The ID of the user being switched to.
 * @param int    $old_user_id The ID of the user being switched from.
 * @param string $new_token   The token of the session of the user being switched to. Can be an empty string
 *                            or a token for a session that may or may not still be valid.
 * @param string $old_token   The token of the session of the user being switched from.
 */
do_action( 'switch_to_user', $user_id, $old_user_id, $new_token, $old_token );

When a user switches back to their originating account, the switch_back_user hook is called:

/**
 * Fires when a user switches back to their originating account.
 *
 * @since 0.6.0
 * @since 1.4.0 The `$new_token` and `$old_token` parameters were added.
 *
 * @param int       $user_id     The ID of the user being switched back to.
 * @param int|false $old_user_id The ID of the user being switched from, or false if the user is switching back
 *                               after having been switched off.
 * @param string    $new_token   The token of the session of the user being switched to. Can be an empty string
 *                               or a token for a session that may or may not still be valid.
 * @param string    $old_token   The token of the session of the user being switched from.
 */

When a user switches off, the switch_off_user hook is called:

/**
 * Fires when a user switches off.
 *
 * @since 0.6.0
 * @since 1.4.0 The `$old_token` parameter was added.
 *
 * @param int    $old_user_id The ID of the user switching off.
 * @param string $old_token   The token of the session of the user switching off.
 */

In addition, User Switching respects the following filters from WordPress core when appropriate:

  • login_redirect when switching to another user.
  • logout_redirect when switching off.
  • send_auth_cookies before setting any cookies.

Download

This plugin requires WordPress version 3.7 or later.

Download the plugin on WordPress.org. Any comments, questions, queries, suggestions, complaints, etc, please leave a comment!