WordPress Management Tools For Multiple Websites
WordPress has been developed in a way to allow it to be easily manageable and easily updated. You will get notifications when updates are available for core, theme, and plugins. Each update is only a click away, and you even have a batch update all option.
It is easy when you only have a few websites. It becomes a hassle when you have over five WordPress sites. You will need to login to each website to check and install updates. A WordPress management tool solves this issue by providing a single dashboard to manage updates and backups for multiple websites on the same server or different servers. Some common features are:
- WordPress core, theme, plugin updates
- Theme and plugin management
- Backup & Restore website
- Security protection
- Uptime monitoring
- SEO and keyword tracking
- Content management
- Performance optimization
- Website activity report
In this article, we introduce the WordPress management tools available now on the market. Most of them are freemium with paid plans available. They are either hosted by the providers or you may self-host the tool.
Why not WordPress Multisite?
When we talk about WordPress multiple sites management, you might think of WordPress Multisite, a WordPress core feature that allows you to have a network of different websites sharing the same WordPress installation core files.
WordPress Multisite is free and you can manage all the websites in the network within a single dashboard. The installed plugins and themes are shared across the network. This option can be good if you are managing a single user’s multiple websites that share many of the same resources.
WordPress Multisite is a great choice if you have a single client with multiple websites that share many of the same resources. https://wpbuffs.com/manage-multiple-wordpress-installations/
The WordPress management tool for multiple sites is the solution if you are managing multiple WordPress installations for multiple clients that spread in different servers.
Hosted or Self-hosted?
The WordPress management tool has two different hosting options: hosted and self-hosted. Regardless of whether you choose a hosted or self-hosted tool, you will need to install the plugin on each WordPress site that you want to manage.
Hosted: you do not need a hosting account for the web tool. The tool’s hosting and security are all handled by the service provider. The management tool dashboard is on the service provider’s server. It is a SaaS (Software as a Service). The main benefit of the hosted solution is that you have one less thing to worry about. However, some people may be concerned about their website data security & privacy.
Self-hosted: You need to maintain a hosting account for the web tool. The tool hosting and security are your own responsibility. All data remains on your server. No 3rd party has access to your management tool and websites.
Hosted WordPress Management Tools
Softaculous, the leading software auto-installer for web hosting panels (cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin, etc), has a WordPress management service named WPCentral. It offers a free basic plan for unlimited WordPress sites to manage plugins & themes and do local backups/restore.
WPCentral paid plan supports automated remote backup & restore. The highlight feature is the Plugins/Themes Sets. It allows you to create sets of WordPress plugins and themes which you can directly install on the websites. Saving your time on installing them one-by-one.
Pricing: Free basic plan for unlimited sites. Paid plan starts from $2.50 for 1 site.
BlogVault and MalCare are from the same company. BlogVault (backup) is a powerful backup plugin with 100% website recovery rate; MalCare (security) is a WordPress security plugin with an auto-clean feature.
Their paid plans are same prices and features, except on each’s Basic plan — MalCare for security; BlogVault for backup. WordPress site management feature is included in all paid plans.
BlogVault/Malcare site management dashboard offers these features:
- Update WordPress core, plugins, themes
- Add, delete or update WordPress users
- WordPress site hardening
- Generate and email client report
Pricing: Basic plan (security or backup) starts from $99 per year for 1 site. Plus plan (Security & Backups) starts from $149 per year for 1 site.
JetPack is a powerful plugin that bundles many WordPress.com features as modules for self-hosted WordPress sites.
One of the “Manage” modules is a site management tool. It allows you to manage WordPress plugins and post content from WordPress.com/sites. A free WordPress.com account is required and each site needs to install JetPack plugin.
You will need to subscribe to JetPack paid plan for advanced features like scheduled backups, malware scan, automated spam filtering, automatic security scanning.
Pricing: Free. Paid plan starts from $3.50 per month each site.
4. iThemes Sync (Pro)
iThemes Sync is from the same developer team of the popular BackupBuddy and iThemes Security Pro plugins. It is free for up to 10 sites.
You can manage WordPress updates, themes & plugins from a single dashboard. However, backups and security features require you to install iThemes’ BackupBuddy and Security Pro plugins (sold separately) on each site.
The iThemes Sync Pro plan offers real power features:
- Generate and email client WordPress maintenance reports
- Configure client dashboard
- Monitor site’s uptime and performance
- SEO checker via Yoast SEO plugin integration
- Track and view Google Analytics data from the dashboard
- Automatically share posts to Twitter
Pricing: iThemes Sync standard is free for 10 sites. iThemes Sync Pro starts from $8 per month for 10 sites.
iControlWP is a hosted WordPress management service. It provides one central dashboard to manage WordPress updates, backups, security, and more.
iControlWP dashboard access supports multi-factor authentication and IP address restriction. You can configure WordPress security options directly from within the dashboard, includes: malware scan, database table prefix, authentication keys/salt, disable file editing, and more.
You can set certain plugins to automatic updates whenever a new update is available. You also can lock plugins to prevent automated and bulk updates on it.
The iControlWP backup is powered by WordDrive WordPress backup system. It does daily automated backups and support automatic restores. You can also create a test site on their hosting server with your backup data.
Pricing: Basic plan starts from $15 per month for 10 sites. Agency Pro plan with every feature starts from $39 per month for 10 sites.
CMS Commander is a paid WordPress management tool. The free plan is not available. It includes common features such as 1-click updates, backup & restore, malware scanner, uptime monitoring, Google Analytics stats, and more.
What makes CMS Commander different is its content management features and monetization:
- Bulk publish/edit posts
- Auto-posting & schedule content
- Import content from data-feeds, text files, RSS feeds
- Add contents from 3rd-party sources like YouTube, Flickr, Yelp, Google News, Vimeo, Expedia, Rotten Tomatoes
- Integration with article spinning services to rewrite and post to multiple websites
- Affiliate network integrations, such as Amazon, eBay, Shareasale, Shopzilla, Commission Junction, and more, to find products and insert affiliate ads into posts.
Pricing: Plans start from $8 per month for 5 sites.
ManageWP is one of the earliest WordPress management platforms on the market which founded in 2010. GoDaddy acquired it in 2016 and offer some ManageWP premium features for free to GoDaddy Pro members.
ManageWP offers generously free features for unlimited websites:
- Monthly off-site backup
- Manual Sucuri Security Check for malware
- Manual site performance check
- Manual client reports
- Google Analytics integration
- Remotely turn on Maintenance mode for sites
- Manage comments of all sites in one place
- Manage plugins & themes. Options to ignore a plugin update, install an older plugin version.
- Vulnerability check for installed plugins
- Grant ManageWP dashboard access to client/team member without revealing your password
- Create WordPress site templates (blueprints) for quick new WordPress site setup
Premium add-ons to unlock the automation feature is available for the security check, performance check, and client report.
Other premium add-ons are:
- On-demand and scheduled backup with cloning/migration tool (unlock safe updates feature)
- Website uptime monitor
- White label allows you to re-brand ManageWP plugin or hide it entirely.
- SEO keyword tracking
- Link monitor to check website broken links
Pricing: Free. $1 for each premium add-on (except $2 for backup) on a monthly subscription basis. Fixed $25 monthly fee (except $75 for backup) for over 25 websites (up to 100 websites).
8. WP Remote
WP Remote offers unlimited WordPress sites management for free with basic features, such as update WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You also can download a snapshot of your sites.
WP Remote was taken over by maekit in 2017 and no update since then (at least on the website’s blog). WP Remote plugin has over 40,000 active installations but it hasn’t been updated for 5 months and not been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. The plugin was last tested on WordPress 4.9.10.
All these hints that they may no longer maintain the plugin. You should consider other WordPress maintenance tool on this page.
Self-hosted WordPress Management Tools
MainWP is a free open source WordPress management tool with paid add-ons. It is self-hosted; you need to install the MainWP Dashboard plugin on a separate WordPress site, then install MainWP Child plugin on all websites you manage.
MainWP comes with free features such as easy plugin & theme management, user & content management, uptime monitoring, security scanner (powered by Sucuri), vulnerable plugin & theme scanner, and more.
The real power of MainWP is its large set of MainWP extensions which adds additional features for administrative, backups content, performance, security, and visitor data.
MainWP has extensions for many popular WordPress plugins, such as Broken Link Checker, BackupBuddy, UpdraftPlus backup, WP Rocket, iThemes Security, WordFence, etc
There are 12 free MainWP extensions for security, backup, and optimizations. Paid MainWP extensions can be purchased separately or get all of them with a membership plan.
At the time of writing, MainWP 4.0 beta has been released. The new MainWP version introduces a new user interface to improve user experience. It also adds some new features and improves performance.
Pricing: Free for unlimited sites. Paid extension price from $29 to $69. Monthly membership plan (includes all extensions) starts from $29.99/month.
InfiniteWP is a self-host WordPress management tool which does not require a WordPress installation. It is free for unlimited sites with basic features like 1-click updates, on-demand backup & restore. You will need a paid add-on to store a backup on the remote storage.
Upgrading to a paid plan will unlock many InfiniteWP premium features, includes:
- Install and clone WordPress site
- Bulk-scan all websites for malware
- Uptime monitor
- Client reporting
- Broken link checker
- View reports of Google Analytics, Google webmaster, Google PageSpeed, Google Safe Browsing
- 3rd party plugin integrations: WordFence Security, iThemes Security, WP Time Capsule
InfiniteWP recommends NOT to install it on the same server as your WordPress sites. You have three options to install InfiniteWP on your server:
- WordPress plugin: Install InfiniteWP admin panel as a WordPress plugin
- cPanel: Enter your cPanel hosting login credentials and InfiniteWP will be installed for you.
- Manual: Manually download & upload InfiniteWP installer via FTP, create database then run the online installer.
The coming InfiniteWP 3.0 has been under development for over 1 year since 2017. It is a total revamp of the admin panel with brand new user interface and improvement in user experience. However, due to some oversight and user’s feedback, the team had to go back to the drawing board and re-do many things. It also announced the hosted version of InfiniteWP in 2017 but no news after that.
Pricing: Free. Paid plains starting from $147/year for 10 sites.
Now you know it is easy to manage multiple WordPress sites on a single place. The WordPress management tools are available for all user levels and needs.
Many tools offer a free basic plan to manage your sites. Professional users have options to buy selected add-ons or subscribe paid plan for all advanced features.
I would recommend ManageWP for a start if you like a hosted solution. It offers generous free features, then buy premium upgrades separately for the features you need.
For self-hosted WordPress management tool, MainWP is the most affordable tool (nothing beats free). It offers many features via extensions, supports many popular WordPress plugins, and good community support. The MainWP lifetime membership is a steal.
Which WordPress management tool are you using now? How many sites are you managing?