How to create a client dashboard in WordPress

If you have multiple authors or administrator contributing to your WordPress site, you may want to improve usability and security by creating a custom dashboard. Custom dashboards can include shortcuts and helpful resources for your users and hide menus you don’t want them to access. You can also customize the look and feel of the dashboard to with your own branding and colour palette.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use popular techniques and plugins to create a beautiful and functional custom dashboard for WordPress.

Hiding menus and plugins

Installing plugins is a great way to extend the functionality and improve the usability of your WordPress site, but they can also create a lot of clutter by adding menus that most of your users don’t need to access. Hiding unnecessary menus improves usability by making it easier for users to find the menus they do need and it reduces the opportunity for unintended changes in the plugins.

The Adminimize plugin does a great job with cleaning up WordPress menus. Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to PluginsAdd New. Type Adminimize in the search field. In the search results, find Adminimize and click Install Now.

When the plugin is installed, click Activate.

Next, go to SettingsAdminimize.

In the MiniMenu, there are several sections that you can configure. Click any section to display the available option. For example, let’s say you don’t want Contributors and Subscribers to see the menu that allows users to upload media. To do this, click Menu Options in the MiniMenu.

In the Menu Options section, find the Media group. For the Add New menu option select Deactivate for Contributor and Deactivate for Subscriber. Click Update Options at the bottom of the Menu Options section.

As you make deactivate options, it’s a good idea to go slowly and test the changes to be sure that you’re not removing abilities that your users need.

Adding your own branding

If you want to remove the WordPress branding and replace it with your own, a process also called white labeling, the White Label CMS plugin is an easy way to personalize the dashboard.

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to PluginsAdd New. Type White Label CMS in the search field. In the search results, find White Label CMS and click Install Now.

When the plugin is installed, click Activate.

Next, go to Settings White Label CMS.

There are four sections in White Label CMS settings:

  • Branding – The Branding section is where you can replace the default WordPress branding with your own. You can add custom logos in the admin bar, dashboard, footer, and on the login page.
  • Dashboard Panels – In Dashboard Panels, you can specify which panels to display and you can create a custom welcome panel.
  • Admin Settings – In Admin Settings, you can choose to hide help, reminders, screen options, and meta boxes.
  • Modify Menus – In Modify Menus, you can choose to hide one or more dashboard menus.

Changing the admin color scheme

In a standard WordPress installation, users are automatically assigned the default admin color scheme and can change his or her admin color scheme in UsersYour Profile.

You can change the color scheme that is automatically assigned to new users by making a simple change in functions.php. First, note the name of the color scheme you want to use. Then, go to Appearance Editor and open Theme Functions (functions.php).

Add the following lines of code to functions.php, then click Update File. In this example, we’re changing the default color scheme to ocean, but you can choose whichever theme you like.

function set_default_admin_color($user_id) {
    $args = array(
        'ID' => $user_id,
        'admin_color' => 'sunrise'
    wp_update_user( $args );
add_action('user_register', 'set_default_admin_color');

Note that making this change in functions.php changes the default color scheme for new users, but doesn’t change the color scheme for existing users and users will still be able to change their own themes in UsersYour Profile.

Adding help resources

You may find that many of your users have questions about how to use your site. You could answer each question individually, but that can be time-consuming and difficult to update if you make changes. A better solution is to use a plugin, such as WP Help. WP Help allows you to easily create and update hierarchical documentation for your users. You’ll be able to provide the information they need while reducing the amount of time you spend answering questions.

The WP Help plugin isn’t available in the WordPress dashboard plugins directory and needs to be installed manually. In your web browser, go to and click Download to download the compressed .zip file of the plugin.

Log in to your HostPapa dashboard and click My cPanel.

In cPanel, click File Manager.

In the File Manager directory tree, select the app/plugins directory and click Upload.

Click Select File and select the compressed .zip file you downloaded on your computer. When the upload is complete, return to the File Manager. Select the .zip file and click Extract. In the Extract dialog box, click Extract File.

When the extraction is complete, log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins. Find the WP Help plugin and click Activate.

Now you’re ready to add your first help topic. Click Publishing Help, then Add New.

Enter a title for the topic and the body text in the same way you create posts and pages, then click Publish.

If you have a lot of help topics, you can organize them into a hierarchy to help users find the information they need. For more information, see the WP Help FAQ.

Creating custom dashboard widgets

Dashboard widgets are blocks of information on the home page of the WordPress dashboard. They’re the first things users see when they log in, so a dashboard widget is great place to display news or FAQs. To create a dashboard widget, you need to edit the code in your theme function.php. In this example, we’re adding a widget that displays contact information.

Go to Appearance > Editor and open Theme Functions (functions.php). Add the code displayed in the image below and click Update File.

The widget is displayed on the dashboard home page:

More information

If you have any questions or need help, you can always contact HostPapa Support by opening a support ticket. Details about how to open a support ticket are here.

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