Roles in a Zoom Webinar

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

When it comes to hosting a webinar, there are a variety of roles available: host, cohost, panelist, and attendee. As a participant in the webinar, you will be assigned a role based on the host’s instructions.

Hosts of webinars are the users whose names appear under the schedule of the webinars. In addition to managing the webinar, panelists, and attendees, they also have full control over the webinar. A webinar can only be hosted by one person at a time. As a host, you have the power to do things like pause and resume your webinar, mute the panelists, pause the panelist’s video, remove participants from your webinar, and much more.

It is very common for co-hosts to share a number of the access controls that hosts have. As a result, the co-hosts are capable of managing many of the administrative aspects of a webinar, including managing attendees and starting/stopping recording for the webinar. A co-host must be assigned by the host of the event. It is not possible for co-hosts to start a webinar on their own. The host can assign an alternate host if they are unable to start the webinar themselves because they need someone else to do so.

A webinar panelist is a full participant in the webinar as a whole. The user has the capability of viewing and sending videos, sharing screen shots, annotating, etc. The webinar host must assign you panelist permissions in order for you to participate in the webinar. It is also possible for the host to disable certain features for the panelists, such as the ability to start the video, share their screens, and record the panel. Adding and inviting panelists to your webinar as a host is an important part of the process.

During the event, attendees will be able to view only, mute, or unmute the speakers if the host chooses to do so. During the webinar, the host controls what the participants can see and how they interact with it. As part of the Q&A and the live chat, they will have the chance to interact directly with the host as well as the panelists. As a webinar attendee, you have the opportunity to learn more about joining a webinar.

Prerequisites for roles in Zoom Webinars

  • A Zoom Webinars Add-On is available for purchase
  • As the host of this webinar, you will have the following privileges:
  • For the feature of co-hosting, please follow the steps below:
    • Host’s account has been enabled for co-hosting
    • Control is assigned to the co-host by the host as part of the co-hosting agreement
  • If you want to feature a panelist, you can either promote the attendee or invite them to participate

Comparison of controls

Listed below is a comparison of the webinar controls that are available to the host, co-hosts, and panelists during the webinar. It is possible to find out more about each feature by clicking the embedded links in the table or by reading the article Host and Co-Host Controls in a Meeting.


  • It is possible for the host to disable features with an asterisk (*) if the host so chooses.
  • It is necessary to meet certain prerequisites in order to use some features. I would suggest you review the article you are looking at for the prerequisites your account needs to meet if you are not able to see a feature.

Participate in Zoom Webinars

Host Co-host Panelist Attendee
Join during practice session (see note)
Start the broadcast
Mute/unmute themselves
Start/stop their own video ✔*
View attendee list
Share screen
Request or give remote control
Chat ✔*
Save chat
Ask questions in Q&A
View All Q&A and respond
Create or edit polls
Start polling
Answer polls ✔*
Assign someone to enter closed captions
Enter closed captions ✔* ✔*
Raise hand
Use call-out to join audio by phone
End webinar

Note: There can be no prior assignment of co-hosts. As a co-host, you will be able to invite someone as a panelist, then you will be able to promote them to co-host once they have attended the webinar as a panelist. Alternately, you might want to consider assigning them as an alternative host. A practice session can be started or joined by alternative hosts at any time.


Manage participants

Host Co-host Panelist Attendee
Mute or unmute attendees
Stop panelist’s video
Ask a panelist to start video
Spotlight a Video
Promote attendee to panelist
Demote from panelist to attendee
Change attendees’ view
Change who attendees can chat with
Remove attendees
Allow attendees to talk
Assign Co-host Permission
Put panelist on hold
Invite others to join webinar


Host Co-host Panelist Attendee
Record to cloud
Record locally ✔*


Live stream

Host Co-host Panelist Attendee
Live stream on Facebook
Live stream on Workplace
Live stream on YouTube
Custom live stream