ManageWP: A Simple Solution to Managing Multiple Sites

ManageWP
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
$0.80/month to $5/month
  • 80%

  • ManageWP
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 27, 2014
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 80%
  • Functionality
    Editor: 95%
  • Value for Money
    Editor: 85%
  • Documentation and Support
    Editor: 95%

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging in the years I’ve been doing it, it’s this. Once you start one, it’s a slippery slope leading you to create more and more. It’s addictive and inspirational, yet all too easy to lose control of.

I may have scaled down the number of blogs and websites I own, but I still have many that need constant management and maintenance. The difficulty is the time it takes to keep those sites maintained.

Imagine having to go through tens of websites every day or week, clearing out spam, getting rid of old post revisions and responding to conversations. Then there’s the updating of themes and plugins, checking statistics and gathering data. That’s an awful lot of work with seemingly little reward.

So how do you go about streamlining that process? How do you make your life easier and more efficient, without compromising on what needs to be done?

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A simple solution may very well be ManageWP, a comprehensive system for managing multiple WordPress websites. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer and how it could save you a huge amount of time in the long-run.

Website Management Made Easy

Established by Vladimir Prelovac in 2010, ManageWP has been around for quite some time. It was designed by WordPress users, for WordPress users, allowing you to have complete control over the management of as many WordPress sites as you can count.

Using some of the latest technologies, the main focus is to save you time. Whether that's with multiple personal blogs, client websites or business sites is irrelevant. What matters is the ability to ensure each site is secure, can be managed with a few clicks of a button and can help keep you and your clients satisfied.

Since I’ve never used ManageWP before, this is the perfect opportunity for me to try it out and give you a thorough look at the features all at once. Read on to find out how to easily add multiple sites to your account, how to manage backups, security, performance and cloning, how much it costs and how you can get started with a free trial.

Add Multiple Websites

Before you start adding your websites to ManageWP, you’ll need to sign up for an account. The attractive feature here is that if you have five or less websites, you can use ManageWP for free. This is the option I took for this review. Simply navigate to the ManageWP homepage and enter your email address to get started.

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The great thing about the free trial is you won’t need to use any credit card details. This can be such a turn off with trial software, so I was pleased to see this requirement was done away with. Instead you’re directed to your new dashboard after signing up, the whole process taking a matter of minutes.

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Once you’re in your dashboard, it’s easy to see how everything’s set up. You have a navigation bar down the left-hand side, similar to that of the WordPress dashboard, with further navigation along the top. The main bulk of the layout is made up of quick access modules, helping you get an at-a-glance overview of what’s going on with your sites.

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To begin adding sites to your account, click the big green “Add Website” button in the bottom left of your screen. You’ll then see an image similar to the one above. From here you’ll be prompted to enter your URL and to choose whether you’d like to use the Worker Plugin.

The Worker Plugin is a simple way for ManageWP to communicate with your site. This is how you’ll be able to manage comments, spam and other functions. There are two ways to install the Worker Plugin onto your site. You can install it manually by downloading the plugin .zip file and uploading it to your WordPress website, or you can login via ManageWP and let them do the work for you. I chose the latter option for the sake of convenience.

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When you’re finished, click the “Add To ManageWP” button and your site will be added to your dashboard. You can repeat this process multiple times for as many websites as you require.

Clean Databases, Update And Perform Backups

Using ManageWP’s clean up tools is an effective way to clear out any unwanted spam comments from your sites. You can also use the same tool to dispose of revisions to posts and pages that are no longer needed and won’t be used in the future.

By default the number of spam comments and content revisions on your websites, are displayed clearly in the centre of your dashboard. It can also be accessed from the “Manage” dropdown link at the top of your dashboard.

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By selecting the “Clean All” button, you can easily get rid of this content. This will help to optimize your websites and improve their performance.

Creating backups of your sites on a regular basis should be a practice we all take part in. However it’s incredibly easy to overlook this simple task, in the face of multiple website maintenance. With ManageWP you can create quick backups of your websites and export a copy to third party sites such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

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To create your first backup, click “Backup Now” from the backups module.

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As shown in the image above, you’ll be met with several options for your backup. You can choose to backup your content only, or both your content and databases. You can choose the number of copies to keep, which folders to exclude and include, as well as the compression level of your file.

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Next you can select a destination for your backup. I chose to keep a copy of my backup on the server and to export a copy to my Google Drive account. However there are other options such as:

  • Amazon S3
  • Dropbox
  • FTP
  • SFTP
  • Email

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Once you’ve set your options, click the “Create Backup” button. ManageWP will then get to work backing up your website. When finished your latest backup will be easily accessible from your dashboard.

Monitor Security, Performance And Update Plugins

The security and performance of your website is just as important as creating regular backups. So many websites fall foul of hackers due to poor security and out of date Themes and Plugins, that it’s vital your website is constantly at the peak of performance.

ManageWP enables you to do this in a simple and timely manner by allowing you set automatic updates for multiple plugins all in one go.

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Navigate to “Manage” at the top of your dashboard, then “Plugins & Themes” to view the settings for this section. You’ll be met with three tabs, “Install”, “Auto Updates” and “Manage”, which will enable you to take control over how Plugins and Themes will behave on your websites.

The “Install” tab lets you upload and install plugins and themes, direct to your WordPress websites via:

  • Your Favourites
  • Dropbox
  • WordPress Repository
  • Your Computer
  • The Internet

Auto Updates is pretty self-explanatory but nonetheless a powerful way to stay updated. By checking the box next to each website, selecting either Themes or Plugins and hitting “Go”, you can bring up a list of all of the plugins that are currently installed on your websites.

Furthermore you can individually select automatic updating for each plugin, or bulk select them to update automatically, all in one go. Similarly the “Manage” tab lets you activate, install, deactivate and uninstall plugins.

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The Performance Test included within ManageWP is a great tool for giving you an overview of how your websites are performing in terms of speed and other factors. Selecting it from the left hand sidebar, will instantly begin a performance test. You’ll then be graded depending on how well or how poorly your site fairs, along with suggestions for how you can go about improving your grade. As you can see, I need to work on optimizing my images if I want to improve my page load times.

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If you do end up on the receiving end of malicious attacks, the Security Check feature within your dashboard, is a useful way to identify what might be going on. Clicking this option will run a check on your chosen website, revealing its status and flagging up anything suspicious.

Easily Clone Your Websites

Probably my favourite feature from ManageWP is the ability to clone websites and export them to new ones. If you create websites for a living or use the same setup for the basis of multiple projects, this feature will make getting up and running so much faster.

I used this to copy the setup of one website to a test site, so that I could play about with the look of a certain theme, without mucking up my original installation. The uses for it however can go way beyond this.

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Cloning is a simple task with multiple benefits. To create your first cloned site, click “Clone” from the left navigation to reveal the image above. From here you can choose which website to clone, or you can select an existing backup or a clean WordPress installation. For this review I’m going to clone one of my existing websites.

Once you’ve selected the source of your clone, ManageWP will create a snapshot of your website. This can take a few minutes before moving on to the next section. Here you’ll be able to select where your cloned site will go and finally get down to the business of creating the clone.

Track Statistics, Rankings And Optimize SEO

It’s easy to think I’ve covered everything that ManageWP has to offer website owners, but really I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of what you can do.

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For instance the “Tools” navigation link expands to reveal a number of third party resources to further improve the functionality and optimization of a site. These include:

  • Easily put your site into Maintenance Mode
  • Checking your site for malware
  • Reviewing your page loading time with Pingdom
  • Checking for broken links
  • Analyzing your backlinks

Moving along the top menu, there’s a section for monitoring your web analytics, traffic alerts, uptime and history. While the Optimize section allows for SEO and Keyword monitoring.

Support And Pricing

Support for using ManageWP appears to be pretty extensive. First the user guide is a wealth information with detailed overviews and step-by-step guides for doing just about anything. This would be the best place to look when troubleshooting any problems, as many common issues will be covered here.

If you’re more of a visual learner, ManageWP also has a number of video tutorials to back up their written guides. The videos are no longer than 4 minutes long, providing a quick way to get to grips with anything you’re struggling with.

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If you’re still looking for help, it’s probably time to contact the support team. To submit a support ticket, select “Help” from the top-right of your dashboard and click “Contact Support”. This will open up a window like the one above, where you can provide details of your issues.

Lastly there’s ManageWP.org, a vast WordPress news community, where members share news and articles related to all things WordPress. While this isn’t a support community per se, there’s a wealth of tips, ideas and inspiration that any WordPress user will find helpful.

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In terms of pricing, there are three main Tiers for people to choose from. These are Standard, Professional and Business.

The standard plan is tailored towards individual bloggers with a small number of websites. Using this plan you’ll receive all of the standard features, such as one click updates, everything all in one dashboard, plugin and theme management and updates, as well as bulk publishing, mass spam and revision removal, pageview statistics and performance scans.

You’ll also receive:

  • Email notifications for updates
  • Action history
  • IP address login restriction
  • Two-factor login authentication via email
  • Open-SSL encryption
  • Security scans
  • Backups
  • Restorations
  • Mobile applications

Price: $0.83 website/month

The professional plan directed towards small businesses, marketers and web developers. You’ll receive all of the benefits I listed above and will have further access to:

  • Manage users
  • Sub-user support
  • Remote maintenance
  • Google analytics widget
  • Traffic change alerts
  • Schedule backups
  • Clone or migrate website wizard
  • Code snippets
  • Client support

Price: $2.50 website/month

Finally the business plan is a comprehensive solution that includes all of the features ManageWP has to offer. As well as everything included in the previous two packages, Business Plan users will gain from:

  • Comprehensive SEO analysis
  • Search engine ranking tracker
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Two-factor login authentication via SMS
  • Insights into server PHP error logs
  • Whitelabeling

Price: $5 website/month

Final Thoughts

Given the scope of maintaining and managing multiple websites, going into this I wasn’t convinced that ManageWP would be a viable solution for me. I was skeptical that it wouldn't be able to handle the many requirements bloggers and businesses need to keep multiple websites up and running, however I was pleasantly surprised.

Far from being the complicated maze of jargon I secretly expected, ManageWP couldn’t be further from that. It’s a clean, comprehensive solution that’s easy to navigate, simple to get to grips with and ideal for improving the efficiency of your WordPress maintenance.

What would once take me several hours to complete, has been consolidated into a matter of minutes and this goes beyond the average clearout of junk.

With the prices at a reasonable range and the functionality far exceeding my expectations, ManageWP is a solution that every WordPress user with multiple sites should at the very least try to see if it improves their experience too.

Pros

– Easily manage multiple websites
– Perform updates and clear unnecessary files all in one place
– Clean user interface
– Simple to learn how to use

Cons

– More advanced features will require some learning for novices

ManageWP

Summary: ManageWP has been around for quite some time. It was designed by WordPress users, for WordPress users, allowing you to have complete control over the management of as many WordPress sites as you can count.

$0.80/month to $5/month
Rating
Rated 4.5 stars

Stacey Corrin

Stacey's a Designer and Writer specialising in WordPress Blog Design. She's an introvert and a dreamer. An advocate of Mindfulness and Minimalism and hates wearing socks.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission. All opinions however are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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