The Best Tools for Managing Multiple WordPress Sites

For professionals, maintaining dozens of WordPress sites can be a laborious process.

With updates to plugins and themes released regularly, it can be time-consuming keeping on top of all your websites, and before you know it, you’ve wasted hours of productivity maintaining the sites.

This is where WordPress management services come into play. WordPress management services allow you to manage all your WordPress websites in a single place. Using them, you can enter the login credentials for the site into a secure dashboard which manages all your site access and maintenance in one place.

You no longer have to worry about remembering all the different passwords you’ve got for each site. Now all you need to do is login to the multiple site management dashboard and you can log into any of them with a single click.

WordPress management dashboards will check for updates to your themes and plugins automatically and allows you to update all your sites quickly from a single place.

Many WordPress Management Dashboards allow you to set up routine backups to your sites. Instead of having to manually find and install a backup plugin on each site, you can automate and manage backups all from the same place with a WordPress Management Service.

Picking the Best One

These days, there are no shortage of such services on the market. Each comes with their own set up unique benefits, so it’s important to choose the service that caters to your needs the best. They all allow you to track and login to each of your sites, but we will focus on what each service provider offers as an added benefit over its competition.

Many of these services come with the features that many other plugins provide as their sole feature, so make sure you choose what’s right for you.

If, for example, you already have a backup service you are happy with, then there’s little point in getting a premium WordPress management service whose premium feature is backups.

So, read through each one and choose carefully.

ManageWP

ManageWP is by far the most popular of the WordPress management tools. Considered by many to be the original iteration of this kind of service, it is a highly-trusted option.

The feature-rich service was developed in 2011 by Vladimir Prelovac, an experienced WordPress consultant and renowned developer. Recently backed and acquired by GoDaddy, ManageWP provides the highest benchmark for its competitors.

Features

  • Access every installation’s dashboard from the one, central ManageWP dashboard.
  • Selective updates – You can update one, some or all plugins, themes and core for any site. For example, if there are potential compatibility issues, you can choose to ignore selected updates and block anyone else from updating them.
  • ManageWP comes with an excellent filtering and sorting features, making it extremely easy to navigate. You can group sites by client, custom tags/colours, status, language and more.
  • Set up notifications for downtime issues, backup reminders, performance reports and more.
  • ManageWP also gives you the option to integrate Google Analytics, allowing you to view traffic performance all in the same dashboard for each site.
  • Worker plugin that ManageWP installs to each WordPress installation. The plugin connects each WordPress site to the dashboard, meaning ManageWP will never store any of your login credentials.

Pros

  • Free version allows you unlimited sites.
  • Great 24-hour support system.
  • Rich feature-set.
  • Well-regarded reptutation.

Cons

  • A lot of useful features are premium, and not cheap at that.
  • Monthly pricing model.
  • Some features have less value than others but cost the same.

MainWP

If ManageWP isn’t your thing, perhaps MainWP will be.

MainWP is a self-hosted open source alternative to ManageWP. You install it straight onto a WordPress site, so all your sites are centrally controlled. The service allows you to monitor unlimited sites for free with the features enhanced by dozens of optional extensions.

MainWP has a lot of flexibility when it comes to their service. You can buy the extensions you need individually at a one-off price (with a year of support), or you can buy a membership on a monthly, annual or lifetime basis which unlocks every premium extension.

Features

  • The ability to update components of any site with a single click, backups, and cloning.
  • Abandoned plugin and theme alerts – get notifications for plugins that haven’t received an update in a long time. This allows you to ensure that all your plugins are updated.
  • Multiple backup options – MainWP offers multiple backup options with integrations with some of the most popular backup WordPress plugins on the market.
  • Ignore Updates – Any plugin or theme can be ignored so that you are no longer alerted.
  • Mass publish functionality – You can publish multiple posts to multiple sites through a MainWP extension in seconds.
  • Over 40 extensions lets you enjoy many enhancing features including backup, content management, performance and security.

Pros

  • Self-hosted service, therefore you’ll have full control over the service and will be able to self-troubleshoot and customise with more freedom.
  • One-off pricing model for individual extensions (1 year of support).
  • Multiple membership options that unlock all extensions for good value.
  • API hooks for developers to extend functionality.

Cons

  • Self-hosted service, therefore you’ll need the bandwidth and server performance to cover it. Shared hosting won’t cut it.
  • Takes a while to set up and configure, particularly if you need a bunch of extensions.

InfiniteWP

Similar to MainWP, InfiniteWP is a self-hosted tool and therefore allows you to install and manage multiple sites from a centrally controlled server of your choice.

InfiniteWP is installed onto your hosting server by extracting the zip file and uploading the contained files into a hosted directory. You run the install by navigating to the directory in your web browser and it’ll check your server meets the requirements. After entering your database details and creating a login, your InfiniteWP dashboard will install.

This is another service which offers a free service subsidised by premium addons.

The great thing about InfiniteWP is its pricing structure. Not only is it reasonably priced $147-447 a year, but the pricing is truly built for professional use.

They have four levels of membership, each of which include all addons and full support and are paid annually: Starter (1-10 sites), Developer (10-20 sites), Freelancer (21-50 sites) and Agency (Unlimited sites).

Features

  • Master login for all sites.
  • One-click updates.
  • Bulk installation for plugins
  • Backup/restore feature
  • Free unlimited sites without addons
  • Addons included user management, uptime monitoring and scheduled backups.

Pros

  • Again, a self-hosted service, therefore you’ll have full control over it and will be able to self-troubleshoot and respond internally, and customise the service much more easily.
  • Free version gives you unlimited site access.
  • Pricing structure suited well to professionals.

Cons 

  • Self-hosted limitations. Paying for sufficient server performance to cope with the service.
  • Lacks 2 Factor authentication and HTTPS support.
  • Addons expensive on their own.

CMS Commander

Next up is another hosted solution with a practical interface. CMS Commander lets you accomplish repetitive tasks in one go. The tool provides an overview of all your websites (including stats and update notifications) and allows you to update everything at once.

In addition to that, it also comes with bulk posting to several sites at once and the ability to schedule content ahead of time. You can also copy settings and plugins from one site to another and it has a powerful import function that supports text files and even RSS feeds.

However, that’s not all. CMS Commander also comes with Google PageSpeed Insights information, backlink monitoring, the ability to clone websites, automatic backups, maintenance mode and more. Plus, its interface is loosely based on the WordPress dashboard so finding your way around is quite easy.

If you are interested, the service has a limited free plan for three sites with basic features. Premium plans start at $8 per month for up to five websites and get progressively more expensive.

The highest tier is $75/month for up to 200 websites (though they also have custom plans if you need more). All premium plans contain all features plus a growing number of allowed users for teams.

WP Remote

Next on the list is WP Remote, a free and easy-to-use tool that lets you monitor unlimited websites. It allows you to update WordPress and all of its components with a single click. Alternatively, you can decide to have everything updated automatically.

Apart from that, the service offers backups (including downloads to your hard drive), analytics, performance checks, maintenance mode, and more. It also has a nice interface that is fast and easy to use. To ensure security, they also don’t ask for login credentials but use an API to manage your sites.

As mentioned, the service is entirely free. There aren’t even any addons to purchase or other costs for premium components. On the one hand, that’s nice for anyone on a budget, on the other hand, if the service doesn’t come with a feature that is central to you, there is no way to add it. What you see is what you get.

Do you use a WordPress management service? What’s your favourite? Let me know in the comments.