Plugins for managing multiple WordPress sites
As Forrest Gump’s momma always told him, WordPress sites are like a bowl of potato chips: you can never have just one. (That’s right, isn’t it?) Sometimes you end up with a manageable two or three. Other times it’s a real handful — 10, 20, 30, or even more.
Managing so many sites can be a time-consuming task — switching back and forth, keeping tabs on each, manually updating themes, plugins and content. Thankfully, there’s a better way.
Today we’re featuring five great plugins that make managing multiple WordPress sites a lot more, well, manageable. Of all the similar plugins and tools that have cropped up in recent years, these ones will help you manage multiple sites easily from a single centralized dashboard.
(One quick clarification before we jump in: the plugins in this post are aimed at managing multiple WordPress installations, not multiple sites that share a single WordPress installation. For the latter, check out WordPress Multisite, another great feature we’ll cover in a future post.)
Once a premium (paid) service, WPRemote now lets you monitor an unlimited number of sites for free. It doesn’t have the most features, but it has all the most important ones, and it does a bang-up job to boot. Its users can track and update the WordPress versions each of their sites are running, generate site backups, automatically update plugins and themes, search and add notes to sites. WPRemote also boasts one of the slickest interfaces out there, making it a dream to work with.
Infinite WP’s defining feature is its self-hosted system, meaning the databases for multiple sites exist on a single home server. This involves a bit more work on the front end than some of the other available solutions (the control panel for each site must be downloaded and installed on your server). However, once it’s up and running, the interface is pretty easy to use, and for the price — the basic version is free — you can’t beat the value.
CMS Commander is a powerhouse of a management plugin, offering loads of unique features not found elsewhere. These include: bulk editing, backlink monitoring, customized maintenance modes, and “automated content” from a number of different providers. CMS Commander also has the distinction of being the most multilingual service — in addition to English, it’s also available in German, Spanish and Russian!
Using their in-house WorpDrive software, the developers of iControlWP have created a solid multi-site back-up and management tool. Its features include comment moderation, bulk actions and controls, built-in support, and some truly great security options. Their pricing structure is also enticing — at just $0.95 per site per month, you get one of the most feature-rich programs at one of the most attractive price points.
Now nearly five years old, the oldest and most established plugin of the bunch is still the best. With a highly intuitive interface that makes quick work of site-spanning updates, revisions and comments, Manage WP comes packed with all the standard features and more. The latest version features enhancements to day-to-day management, plus a new pricing structure that will make the basic plugin free for an unlimited number of WordPress sites — good news for those of us who just can’t help ourselves to just one.