WordPress admin dashboard is the home to your website where you can control everything. After using the default dashboard for some time, however, you may find that the functionality or the design is not comfortable enough for you. As a super flexible CMS, WordPress of course allows you to make your own customizations so as to make the admin area a better home.
By making proper customizations to the design and functionality of the admin area, you are able to achieve the following goals.
- Improving the website security by customizing the login URL, which helps you fight against brute force attacks.
- Making the admin area more comfortable in the design. For clients’ websites, customizing the admin theme would help satisfy the clients. Also, white-labeling is important for such sites, too.
- Adding or removing specific functionalities to make it easier for the future site management and improve the workflow.
There are unlimited possibilities to customize WordPress admin area. And in this post, we will introduce the most common and useful ones that are suitable for all types of WordPress sites.
Change the Login URL
The login page is the door of your admin area. As the default URL of that page is always the same for all WordPress sites, you are advised to change the URL to a custom one so that attackers would not know where your door is located.
If you are going to do this, you can install WPS Hide Login, a light-weight plugin which is specifically designed for changing the login URL. As soon as the plugin is installed, you will not be able to access the login page via /wp-admin/ or /wp-login/ because these URLs are disabled by the plugin by default. Instead, the login URL becomes http://yoursite.com/login.
It is not a good idea to use the plugin’s default login URL due to the security reason, and fortunately, WPS Hide Login allows you to create a custom URL as you want which will only be accessible to those who you share the URL with. To create such a URL, go to Settings > General and find the “WPS Hide Login” section on the page. There you can enter any URL as the login URL.
When the plugin is deactivated, the custom URL will be removed and you can only access the login page from the default WordPress login URL. At any time you have login issue in WordPress, just follow our guide to fix it.
Organize the Menu Items in the Admin Sidebar
WordPress provides a streamlined sidebar menu in the dashboard where you can access the posts, pages, users, plugins, themes and site settings quickly. However, after installing some plugins, you will see a chaos because many plugins add menu items which cannot be moved or removed by default. Finding the menu item you want will then become more difficult.
The Admin Menu Editor plugin is a good solution to this issue. This plugin allows you to reorganize the menu items by dragging and dropping them, change the menu titles/URLs, move menu items to different submenu, and hide/show any menu item. With the plugin’s activation, you can go to Settings > Menu Editor to drag and drop any menu item to the place you want. The submenus can be organized in the same way.
Selecting a menu item and then clicking on the “Cut” icon, you will be able to remove any menu item from the dashboard.
As soon as you save the changes, you will get a better interface with the features you want organized in the proper way. If you need more details about using the plugin, follow our guide of managing WordPress admin menu with Admin Menu Editor.
Customize WordPress Admin Area by User Role
Based on the user role, WordPress presents different dashboards with some default menu items. If you want to go beyond the user role restrictions and offer a certain user role with a customized menu sidebar or toolbar, you can make use of the WP Admin UI Customize plugin.
With this plugin, you can customize the admin bar, sidebar, meta boxes, and many other things. Since there are tons of customization options available, you may need to spend some time exploring and configuring them.
Customize the Admin Toolbar
The toolbar that floats both in the dashboard and on the frontend when you are logged in provides quick access to comments and adding posts, pages, or users. The features are somewhat limited. In such a case, you get three options.
- Add more items, for example, the commonly used plugins, to the toolbar to make it useful enough. This can be done by purchasing the Toolbar Editor addon for the Admin Menu Editor plugin.
- Remove the toolbar for yourself by going to Users > Your Profile and un-checking the Toolbar option.
- Remove the toolbar completely for all users by adding the following piece of code to the functions.php file. However, be sure to create a child theme before modifying the core files.
An Alternative Method – AG Custom Admin
It is another efficient plugin for the customization of the admin panel of the websites running on WordPress. Compatible with all WordPress options higher than version 3.0, AG Custom Admin contains many things that are liked and appreciated by its users. Overall, it is a one stop solution for the customization of various things that jointly include the admin panel. It includes customization of the admin panel, login page, admin menu and admin bar by activating some responsive admin themes. The installation procedure of this plugin is same as the tool mentioned above.
Like the WP Admin UI Customize plugin, the AG Custom Admin can be used to customize the admin panel of a website by following the same procedure. The only difference is that the webmasters need to find “AG Custom Admin” tab instead of “WP Admin UI Customize” tab. Hence, customization can be made easily to modify the admin panel of WordPress site effectively.
Change the Design of the Admin Dashboard
A good design makes it a pleasant experience to manage your website from the WordPress admin area. If you don’t like the color scheme of the default appearance, simply select another one that you like in Users > Your Profile.
What if you don’t like the entire way the dashboard is designed or you want to provide a completely new appearance for your clients? In this case, an admin theme is what you need. You can choose from the following two types of admin themes.
- An admin theme that purely changes the appearance of the dashboard. Material Admin Theme is a good choice in this kind. It is completely free.
- An admin theme that changes the functionality. The free Flatty plugin is an example of this type that provides you with a new admin theme. In addition to allowing you to make a modern look out of the default WordPress admin area, Flatty also comes with a lot of options to customize the login page, hide widgets, add a custom logo for the dashboard, etc. The customization of the login page includes custom login logo, custom background, custom CSS, Google reCAPTCHA and custom footer.
White Label WordPress Admin Area by Taking Other Measures
White-labeling is necessary for building a professional and unique website out of WordPress. It is especially important if you are building websites for clients. Besides using a custom admin theme, white-labeling the WordPress admin area involves multiple other tasks, including:
- White-labeling the login page by changing the design, logo and footer link.
- Hiding the WordPress logo in the admin area and replacing it with your own logo.
- Changing the welcome message in WordPress dashboard.
- Changing the footer text in the dashboard and removing the WordPress credit link. Also, you can add a custom footer logo, and add the information of your own developer site.
- Optionally add a contact widget if you are developing a site for a client.
All of these tasks can be completed with codes, but most people would choose to install plugins that come with these features. If you prefer the plugin method, you can try White Label CMS, a plugin that helps with most of the issues listed above. For the detailed way to use the plugin, read our tutorial for white-labeling WordPress.
In the content above, we have introduced the essential ways to customize WordPress admin area. By customizing the appearance, admin menu, toolbar and login page, you will definitely show your own personality and professionalism to all users.