Like a lot of people before I commit to services or monthly fees I take a long hard look at the offering to make sure that it going to be a worthy investment. So in today’s post I thought I give you an honest, down to earth review of ManageWP.com. If you’re considering it read on!
What It Is
ManageWP.com is a service to bring together the maintenance of multiple WordPress site into one neat tool box. Once you are setup with an account you add your sites (more on this below) then in one interface you see updates that are available, manage backups and get direct access to the WordPress dashboard.
Who Is It For?
Well you could argue anyone with more than a couple of WordPress sites would benefit from ManageWP, but let you tell you about my situation and perhaps you’ll empathize. As well as building WordPress sites for clients we also look after the hosting and the ongoing maintenance of the WordPress setup. When it was a dozen sites, no problem, twenty or so – well okay… upon arriving at around 40 sites I needed to find another solution.
Reflecting on this, I think I waited way too long to do something. Logging into that many sites and upgrading a plethora of plugins every month, checking backups, maintaining the database etc.. I don’t know how I did it for so long! But this is where ManageWP comes in.
Get Your Sites Imported
After you’re up and running with your account you have to add your sites to ManageWP.com, this involves two things:
- Entering the details into the ManageWP tool
- Installing the “worker plugin” into each of the sites
There is a CSV import option to list all of the sites into the system, I actually chose to do them one at a time. I was a bit new to it but also I wanted to take the time to categorise the sites into groups. For example all site built on Genesis in one group, all those who use Thesis in another and all the random ones, well a group for those as well.
The one at a time interface is pictured below.
Right, so this is the cool bit. Once you’ve done all the hard work of setting up your sites there is a reward. Return to the main dashboard and your presented with a number of tools. The one I use the most is pictured below.
Now you could just go wild and click Everything in the various sections and I’m sure it would all work. I tend to be a bit more choosy more so because I want to know which plugin is being updated, what is new in it and most importantly – is it going to cause a problem for site XYZ.
So you can open up these options and see more details on exactly which plugins have updates.
This way you can read the changelog (click the version number to see it), then when you’re happy that you know what is going on, click update all next to a specific plugin and this will roll out the plugin to all of the sites that have it.
The first time you do that brings true satisfaction!
Direct Access To The WordPress Dashboard
This is definitely feature number 2 that I love.
From the sidebar menu you have the option to “Open Admin Here”, it does exactly that.
Inside the ManageWP dashboard you’re presented with the WordPress dashboard of the particular site, check a setting, edit a post anything that you need to.
Certainly beats manually logging into each individual site.
The team and I love this when doing client support, read a ticket jump directly to the dashboard of the site in questions, solve problem.
You Want More Right?
Well there is a lot more, let me give you a whirlwind tour of other features I use regularly.
User management is great. You’ve got a new team member and you would like to create them an account on _these_ 11 sites or all the sites in _that_ group, no problem. Same goes when said team member leaves, revoke access or alter role (eg from editor to subscriber) across a number of sites in one go.
Comments is also something I fix regularly, all in one go. Instead of logging into each site to spam or approve comments, you can see them all inside ManageWP and action them as you see fit.
There is the option to create post and pages directly from the dashboard, if you are running a group of your own sites I could see that this would be a nice feature, allowing you to create content across your network of sites from one place. Most of the sites I manage below to clients, so something I use often.
Backups are certainly a key feature of ManageWP but I’ll be honest and say I’ve not gone there yet. Currently using a mixture of BackupBuddy and Vaultpress, moving the backups to ManageWP has been placed in my ‘when I get some spare time’ basket. I will get there as I’m keen to see how it performs.
For each site, the interface also gives you quick links to a bunch of services that you’ll recognize. Sure you can get these bookmarked but it does make things quicker being able to just jump right to the service, with the domain name already defined.
Try It Out With The Free Trial
As always it’s good to be able to get a free trial to play with a tool like this yourself. ManageWP.com offers a 14 day free trial, from memory you can only load up to 5 sites during the trial but that’s plenty to play with while you’re testing things.
Best of luck managing your WordPress sites! And feel free post a comment here if you have a specific question about my experience with the service or if you want to add some thoughts of your own.