A comparison of the different administration levels in Jira

Administrators are an important user group in Jira. In contrast to normal users, they have special authorizations and are responsible for the systems, projects, products, and boards. However, there is not just one level, there are different administration levels in Jira. In addition, attention must be paid to the differences between cloud and server/data center. Depending on the variant, there are different administrators. This fact can be confusing at first if you are migrating from server to cloud, for example.

That is why we want to use this article to give you an overview of the various administration levels and the differences that would pay attention to with server and cloud.


Administration roles in the server version

There are three administrator permissions in the server version of Jira: system administration, Jira administration, and project administration. We will address these three roles in the following paragraph and explain their different rights in Jira.

System admin

The system admin is responsible for managing the physical servers and all hardware. He takes care of planned and unplanned downtime. Jira can only be one of the products he manages. The system admin has the same permissions as the Jira admin, plus access to the hardware and the servers, and can edit all system settings.

Jira admin

With the “Jira Administrator” authorization, you can edit most of the system settings in Jira. The Jira admin can also be the system admin at the same time, as they have the same permissionsHe can assign permissions via group control and is able to create new projects, fields, and users and is able to change workflows, for example.

Project admin

The project admin is assigned to a single person by role assignment in the respective project. With this role, this person can administer the project to a certain extent. Project administrators can manage projects and change various configurations in the project.

The extended project administration rights are also available here. These give the project administrator the opportunity to adapt workflows and screens under certain conditions. For example, he can add a status if it is already contained in the active Jira instance. New statuses cannot be created, and existing statuses cannot be edited. The project admin can also add, rearrange, or remove, but not create custom fields.

Administration roles in the cloud version

There are some differences in Jira cloud when it comes to administration permissions. There is no longer a system admin, this role is located at Atlassian. In addition, there are no longer any extended project administration rights. Instead, there is the organization admin, the site admin and the product admin. It should also be noted that there is the possibility of team-managed projects in the cloud.

Organization admin

The organization admin is the highest level of authorization in the cloud. He has access to the organization settings and can manage all the settings. Since the cloud functions as an instance, an organization admin is the highest admin on all products that are connected to the instance. Only Atlassian can help with permissions to which the organization admin has no rights, e.g., access to the server logs of the cloud.

PS: The organization admin also includes the site admin role.

Site admin

The site admin is similar to the Jira admin on server, only with limited rights. He manages users and groups for the site’s products. Basically, the site admin is a lower authorization level that cannot access the entire organization page and settings.

Product admin

The product admin is a group-controlled Jira admin, but without the possibility of user administration. There are two types of product administrators who have access to Jira settings. Firstly, the administrators, who belong to the “Administrators” group, manage the product settings and also have access to the product itself via the group. And second, the administrators, who belong to the “Product Name” group and can manage product settings, but have no access to the product itself via the groups.

Project admin

The project admin is a role-controlled admin for one or more projects. The authorizations can be found in the server project admin. You do not have extended project administration rights in the cloud.

There are two types of projects for this: team-managed and company-managed. Team-managed is very limited. There are no schemes here, but depending on the setting, users may be able to create team-managed projects themselves. Here, the possibility of creating team-managed projects is practically the alternative to the non-existent extended project administration rights.

As you can see, there are several administration levels available in Jira. The mentioned differences between server and cloud should not be ignored. I hope that with this article we were able to give you a first insight.


Kristin Lyons
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December 30, 2021

This is a great write up and will definitely help when I'm training other admins :)

Adam Sterrie May 19, 2022

This is a good start! Useful.
Please add a summary table of showing which admins have which permissions/authorisations.
Also, please explain how a user is added to each admin (by membership of a group, through project roles etc.). And show how things differ for a Team-based vs a Company -based project (I have not seen any really good explanation of these that I can take to users and managers alike to explain what's going on). Need to add examples of each permission/authorisation.
Also, please include trusted user role in all of this.

Like # people like this
Ansar Thennaden October 4, 2022

im eager to see more detailed technical comparison b/w admin for a Team-based vs a Company -based project.

i need to take decision to chose b/w Team vs Company based project setup. The comparison would help.

Krista Stellar November 16, 2022

This is article appears to be out of date and the content may no longer be valid; from what I can tell it will depend whether your organization is using the new user management experience (or not).

Per this article the new user management experience has REMOVED the concept of a Site Admin role. There is still a site-admin group, but adding members to that group will grant the Org Admin permissions to the members. In other words an Org Admin is a member of site-admins and vice versa. This also means that only an Org Admin can manage groups and group memberships. A product admin (e.g. Jira Admin for a site) cannot view or manage users or groups.

There is no way using the new user management experience, that I can see, to grant a user the ability to act as a Site Admin for a single instance.

Everything else I have found discussing org admin vs site admin in the community and support posts on Atlassian will tell you there is a distinction, this single article is the only outlier (and in my actual experience managing many orgs, it is accurate):


Can we get an update to this article to clarify? At present it is misleading and confusing. Thanks!

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Maeneth January 9, 2023

Hi Atlassian,

May I know who can add New JIRA User creation. 

I could see only invite and export users in User Management.

Appreciate if you can advise how we can onboard new user.


Vlado Nestorovski August 20, 2023

Awesome and detailed comparison.

Had to mention this in a discussion about a System Owner role.

Not at all an issue, for all those more on the UI or graphical side like myself.

A bit of a downgrade, for all those hard core scripting, command and query admins.

For some it feels like an app admin, you log onto the app, and you administer whatever needed.

But changes are inevitable.

Kavita Jain
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March 11, 2024

Is there an article for admin roles specific to Cloud version?



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