12 + 23 + 6 + 9 + 16. That is a total of 66. Addition done in my head, without a crutch called a calculator.
Easy ? Yes, that’s right, I didn’t include divisions or fractions to make life hard for me.
More complicated now. Imagine that this number 66 represents the total of updates to be made on several sites that you manage.
Each time, you will have to connect to each site, then perform the updates manually.
Unless ? Unless you use a guardian angel. A tool called ManageWP, designed to perform all your updates from a single dashboard.
And again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. ManageWP allows you to automate many other tasks (eg backup), to make your daily life as a webmaster more peaceful.
You don’t know the beast yet? At the end of this tutorial, you will know everything about how it works and finally say stop to the chore of time-consuming updates.
What is ManageWP?
ManageWP is a freemium tool that lets you control and manage all your WordPress sites from a single dashboard. With one click, you can perform bulk updates (plugins, themes, translations & WordPress Core), backups cloudsor clean spam and validate your comments.
Premium add-ons allow you to go further by offering you more advanced features in terms of SEO, security, performance, backup, monitoring, etc.
Created by Serbian developer Vladimir Prelovac in 2010, ManageWP was officially launched in the market in January 2012. It is a solid tool, which “works well with all major hosts, and with 99% of smaller hosts”indicates the team in charge of its development.
Very well established in the WordPress ecosystem, ManageWP is maintained by a team of nearly 50 people based in Belgrade (Serbia).
After the launch of its new version called “Orion” in September 2016, which notably offered a redesigned dashboard, ManageWP was subsequently acquired by the American hosting giant GoDaddyin September of the same year.
However, the tool continues to “operate indefinitely as an independent service”indicates the service’s About page.
In terms of figures, ManageWP advances the following data:
- his tool manages 1 million 100,000 sites across the planet;
- 60,000 customers would trust him at the time of writing these lines;
- ManageWP would earn 128,000 working hours to all its customers, by automating the maintenance tasks of their WordPress sites.
Saving time to focus on higher value-added tasks in your business, I bet that interests you at least a little, right? To take advantage of it, see how to start taking advantage of this service just below.
As you will see throughout these lines, ManageWP is a very easy to use service. It starts as soon as it gets started.
To activate it, simply enter your e-mail address and a verification code on the home page of the site dedicated to it:
Next, a setup wizard will ask you to add your first and last name and then log in to your site.
You can do it now, or do it right after from your dashboard, by clicking on the link “Skip to dashboard” (Go to Dashboard):
It is this option that I will use for this test, so that you have an overall view of the interface. Afterwards, it’s up to you how you want to proceed. ManageWP then redirects you to its interface:
Step 1: Activate the ManageWP Worker plugin on your WordPress site
In order to link your WordPress site to ManageWP, enable ManageWP Worker plugin on your WordPress dashboard (menu Extensions > Add). FYI, this plugin serves as a gateway between the two services (ManageWP & WordPress).
Step 2: Add your WordPress credentials to the ManageWP dashboard
Once done, return to your ManageWP dashboard. You have two options to start adding your site:
- Click on the green button “Add website” located in the center of the screen.
- Go through the “+” button located at the top left of your dashboard.
Click for example on “Add website”then enter the URL of your homepage, as well as your WordPress credentials (username + password):
Note that you can also enter a connection key, instead of your WP credentials, by clicking on “Use connection key instead”.
You will find this key by clicking on the “Connection management” link in the description of ManageWP Worker, in the “Extensions” menu of WordPress.
The window highlighted below will open when clicked:
Finish by clicking the green button “Add website”. It only remains for me to congratulate you! Your site is added to your dashboard, which you will now discover in detail.
The ManageWP dashboard is divided into 3 parts that we will dissect.
The navigation bar at the top of the page
To start, you access several options in a navigation bar with a black background, located at the top of the page.
From left to right, you can:
- add a website (“+” button);
- access direct links to the site(s) already added by clicking on “Find a website” (find a website);
- get advice on the maintenance of your sites by clicking on “Latest News” (Latest News), which links to the ManageWP blog;
- manually synchronize your sites to have an up-to-date overview of the latest updates to be made (this is done automatically as soon as you connect to the tool);
- access billing and support settings in particular, by clicking on the drop-down icon next to your e-mail address;
- check the latest update information performed by clicking on the icon represented by a bell.
The central part of the ManageWP dashboard
Below this navigation bar at the top of your page, you view the central part of the ManageWP dashboard.
The display will be different depending on the menu you are in. For example, as you can see in the screenshot above, I have access to the following things:
- updates to be done on my site (Updates), at the level of plugins, themes and the core of WordPress. You see that there are 29 updates to be made in total, for all my active sites on ManageWP. Note that ManageWP also works on a multisite network;
- the services offered by ManageWP : Backups, Security, Performance, etc. I will come back to this in detail later;
- an insert on possible optimizations to be carried out. For example, you can delete spam comments if there are any;
- comments to approve on all of your sites.
Most of your maintenance actions will go through the sidebar located on the left of your dashboard. It is divided into four menus.
The overview (Overview) displays in particular all updates currently available for all your sites. This is what I explained to you just above.
In use, what is interesting are the filters offered. You can modify the display of the updates to be performed according to several criteria:
- activation of a premium add-on;
- the presence of an SSL certificate on your sites;
- the language, version of WordPress or PHP used;
- the stickers (tags). This is a very practical option allowing you to assign categories to your sites to better recognize them, using color labels.
By default, ManageWP offers “Development”, “Online”, and “Personal” labels, but you can design your own by clicking the small wrench;
- customers, a filter that allows you to group sites by customers. Useful if you manage the maintenance of several sites of the same client.
The menu “Website” (website) poster all the sites you add to your ManageWP space.
For each site, you can perform 4 major actions, accessible by hovering over the image that represents them:
- open the dashboard dedicated to this site (“Open Website Dashboard”), which summarizes the updates available and to be performed;
- access your WordPress dashboard (“Open WP Dashboard”). ManageWP will automatically log you into your back-office since it already has your identifiers entered when adding a site;
- view the last backups made (“View backups”);
- access site options (“Site options”). For example, you can reconnect/remove the site from the ManageWP dashboard, or add labels or a client, among others.
At the top of the page, 7 tabs also allow you to make the following settings:
- activate a customer report for the site(s) of your choice;
- manage plugins and themes directly on the ManageWP interface. You can activate, deactivate or delete them without going to your WordPress dashboard;
- add/edit user with the role of your choice (administrator, editor, author, contributor and subscriber);
- add the code snippets of your choice (code snippets);
- assign tags or customer card.
Note that you can also change the display of your sites on the dashboard (List or Thumbnail):
Finally, know that ManageWP uses a color code to inform you about the status of a site:
- green : no update is to be performed;
- orange : updates are available;
- red : the site has been disconnected from the ManageWP service;
- Grey : the site is paused or not synchronized.
Clients and Add-ons
The 3rd and 4th menus respectively allow you to add customer files for each site (as we have seen) and to activate paid add-ons on the site(s) of your choice.
You now know how to find your way around and navigate the ManageWP dashboard. Let’s get down to business: making updates to your sites.
You have two options for this.
Option 1: Go through ManageWP’s Overview menu
The “Overview” menu (“Overview”) shows updates available on ALL your sites at once.
For example, I can see that:
- the Beaver Builder plugin has an update available on a site. If I click on the name of the plugin, ManageWP shows me the name of the site concerned. The tool also tells me the version of the plugin used, and the version obtained after the update (ex: 126.96.36.199 > 188.8.131.52);
- Really Simple SSL extension has updates available on 3 sites in total.
To proceed with an update, I just have to check the box corresponding to the extension that I want to update, then click on the blue button “Update” (Update).
ManageWP also offers to perform what it calls secure updates (green button “Safe Update”). The principle ? The tool first creates an automatic backup before each update. Then, “after the update, the system checks the website and automatically rolls back if something is wrong,” explains ManageWP.
You kind of provide yourself with coverage in case of a bug. However, this option is only available with the premium add-on dedicated to ManageWP backup.
I’ve talked about extensions so far, but the way it works is the same for themes, translations and the Core of WordPress.
You can access the updates concerning them by clicking on their dedicated tab:
And, of course, like any good self-respecting maintenance tool, you can perform all your updates in bulk (at the same time). To do this, click on “Select all” (Select All), then press “Update” :
Option 2: Proceed on a case-by-case basis via the Websites menu
The “Overview” menu offers the quickest access to updates. It works fine, but personally I prefer to update on a site-by-site basis.
For it, I go to the menu “Website”then I click on “Open Website Dashboard”.
I find exactly the same menu as in the “Overview”, and I just have to make my updates when I want. You already know how it works, so we’re good at that. 😉
You can also update your plugins and themes automatically by going to the “Scheduling” tab in the “Plugins” menu of each site. It is possible to choose in particular the date and time of the update, as well as the extensions and themes concerned.
Personally, this isn’t an option I use as I prefer to keep control of my updates rolling out, but it’s good to know it’s there.
Let’s continue with an essential option, from the free version of ManageWP: the backup of your sites.
If ManageWP allows you to manage all the updates of your sites, it is not limited to that, far from it.
It allows you to go much further in their maintenance by also allowing you to save them (among others). This is very important to strengthen the security of your site, so do not deprive yourself of it!
To take advantage of ManageWP’s backup feature, go to the menu “Website” and select View Backups on the site of your choice.
A button will allow you to activate it, at the top right of your window. This option is not available on the screenshot below, simply because the option is already active on my site. Instead, ManageWP offers me to deactivate it.
With the free version of ManageWP, you can only back up your site once a month.
If your site content is updated frequently, that won’t be enough unless you sign up for ManageWP’s paid backup add-on, which starts from $2/month (€1.80) for a daily backup.
It allows you to back up your site automatically (going up to every hour if you wish), to select the files/folders to exclude from the backup, and gives access to a tool to clone and migrate your sites.
If you don’t want to pay to make your backups, don’t skip these operations. Use a free extension dedicated to this, like those presented to you in this article.
For your backup operations, ManageWP uses the principle of incremental backup. This means that the tool will only back up files that have changed since the last backup, in order to “consume” as little server resources as possible.
In addition, all backups are sent to a secure cloud space using Amazon S3 technology.
Have you enabled the backup option? Sit comfortably, pour yourself a drink and stay hydrated.
ManageWP will take care of everything for you. If you wish, you can plan certain settings in the tab “Settings” :
- the time at which the backup will be triggered;
- the ability to exclude certain files and tables from your database from backup;
- the storage region of your backups: this is the location of the server clouds ;
- receive an email notification if the backup fails.
Making a backup is fine and recommended. But you may need to go further one day or another.
How to restore a site from a backup?
In the event of a bug during an update, your site may become inaccessible. To get it back on its feet very quickly, and find the cause of the problem quietly, you can restore its earlier version with just a few clicks.
To do this, select the date of the last backup on the proposed calendar, then click on “Restore backup”.
Your site will return to its previous working state, before the bug. You can also restore it from a zip file, using the tab “Restore from zip”.
How do I download a backup?
For some reason X or Y, you may need to download a backup. For example, to store it on your computer.
To do this, simply click on “Download backup” (Download a backup). This option is not available with the free version of ManageWP, however.
How to clone and migrate a site?
Finally, the daily life of a webmaster is also marked, sometimes, by migration and cloning operations.
For example, you can use it when transferring your site to a new host, or to send it from a pre-production server to an online server.
ManageWP has an option to do this for you (premium only). This is called “Clone Website” and 3 operating modes are proposed:
- Migrate a site already present on your ManageWP interface. This is the fastest method: you just have to enter the URL of the destination site.
- Migrate your site to a new server. However, this option only works if you keep the same domain name.
- Clone your site to a new URL. You will need to enter at least your FTP credentials and those of your database.
Find our detailed test of the best migration plugins on the blog.
Other free options
While one-click updates and backup remain the two standout features of the free version of ManageWP, you can also:
activate a maintenance page (Maintenance Fashion). The option is accessible in the menu “More tools” of the site concerned. Two templates are available, but the customization of the text only involves the HTML code.
For more options, look for a dedicated extension like one featured in this resource;
- create a customer report in the menu “Customer Report” ;
- perform a performance test to get an idea of the loading speed of your pages, and access recommendations to improve it;
- check for vulnerabilities thanks to the menu “Security”in order to know the presence of possible malware and other blockages;
- provide access to maintenance operations allowed by ManageWP with the tool “Collaborate”, accessible via the menu containing your photo and your e-mail address, at the top right of the screen. Members of your team and your clients can then take advantage of the services of ManageWP, if you wish. Just enter their email address.
What are the premium features of ManageWP?
The free version of ManageWP is well done to get started. Do you want to go further with additional options? You will have to go through one or more of the 7 premium add-ons presented below.
They are all accessible via the sidebar proposed for each site:
Now, time for introductions.
Chase broken links with Link Monitor
Link Monitor ($1/month, or around €0.90) is a tool that scans the posts and pages on your site looking for broken links causing 404 errorsbad for natural referencing (SEO).
The tool runs daily and is limited to 10,000 links per site. It works on the same principle as the extension Broken Link Checkerfor example.
Monitor malware with Security Check
If there is a problem, you are then notified by email or Slack. A complete security plugin like iThemes Security is also able to scan your site, while protecting you against different types of attacks (ex: by brute force), which ManageWP does not offer (at the same time, it cannot do everything).
Compared to the free version of ManageWP, the premium option of Security Check ($1/month or €0.90) allows you to carry out security checks automatically, at the time of your choice.
Check your site’s loading speed with Performance Check
Same remark for the Performance Check option as for the Security Check option: the premium add-on ($1/month, i.e. €0.90) automates the process, compared to the free version, and notifies you by email -mail or Slack in case of concern.
Check the availability of your sites with Uptime Monitor
Uptime Monitor ($1/month or €0.90) is a very valuable add-on that monitors the availability of your sites every 60 secondsand notifies you (SMS, e-mail or Slack) as soon as one of them no longer works.
In the event of a problem, you can therefore react very quickly to solve it. It’s just essential if you have very high traffic and/or sell products online.
There are a lot of tools on the market that allow you to do this. Some even offer free versions, like the excellent UptimeRobotbut this service is more limited (50 checks every 5 minutes with the free offer).
Track your keywords with SEO Ranking
The SEO Ranking add-on ($1/month, or about €0.90) recaps the evolution of the positioning of your keywords (and those of your competitors).
Summarize your maintenance operations with Client Report
Client Report, you already know: it exists with the free offer of ManageWP. With the premium add-on ($1/month, or €0.90), you can also delete mentions of ManageWP in the document you are going to generate, which is impossible in the free version.
You can also, in particular, send this report to your client from the e-mail address of your choice and automate the creation of your reports.
Work white label with White Label
White Label ($1/month, or €0.60) allows you to hide or rename the tools offered by ManageWP, and in particular their ManageWP Worker extension, which you activate on each of your sites.
This can be very useful if you install it on your clients’ sites, in order to work in white label, without reference to a third-party tool such as ManageWP.
And that’s it for this overview of the free and paid features of ManageWP. After all that, you are now able to use it as a chef.
As a supplement, I recommend this video by Alex, which introduces you to the ManageWP dashboard. Some menus have changed a bit since the video was uploaded, but the overall operation remains the same:
If the handling of ManageWP is simple and its different menus understandable, you may encounter certain blockages during your use.
Can you count on the assistance of ManageWP, in this case? Answer in the next part.
Support and assistance
It’s rare enough to be stressed : ManageWP offers 24/7 support (assistance) whether you are a free or premium user.
In its Frequently Asked Questions from its description on the official directory, ManageWP even advances “an average response time of one hour and a 65% first response rate”.
Having requested it several times, I can confirm that the assistance is very responsive. However, she does not always respond on time. 😉 Sometimes the volume of requests received and the schedule for sending your message does not allow them to respond to you in 60 minutes.
You can contact the support team directly from your dashboard, by choosing “Contact Support” from the drop-down menu at the top of the dashboard, by clicking on your email address.
Otherwise, practical and well-illustrated documentation (captures, videos) is also offered to users. However, it is only available in English.
How much does ManageWP cost?
ManageWP works on a freemium model, as you know. You can use it for free, on an unlimited number of sites, in particular to update and back up your sites..
On the other hand, remember that for the backup feature in particular, the free version limits you to one automatic backup per month.
To have more settings and options, you can activate one or more of the 7 premium add-ons, on a case-by-case basis.
Depending on the add-on chosen, prices start from $1/month (€0.90) per site. Which means that if you want to activate the SEO Ranking add-on on 5 sites, for example, it will cost you $5/month (€4.50).
Basically, you only pay for the add-ons you want to use, with no commitment period: each add-on can be deactivated at any time.
Note that if you manage from 25 sites to 100 sites, ManageWP offers a fixed price for each add-on (from $25/month to $75/month, or from €23 to €68), as well as a global pack containing all add-ons for $150/month (i.e. €135):
Who are ManageWP’s competitors?
ManageWP is one of the leading tools for maintaining and updating your sites… but it is not alone in the market.
Several of them come to walk on its flowerbeds, like:
- MainWP, of which you can find our test here. Like ManageWP, MainWP has adopted the freemium model. On the other hand, I find that its handling and its use is more needy than with ManageWP;
- InfiniteWP, the service Alex used before switching to ManageWP. A service he didn’t like too much, because some updates didn’t work. That said, InfiniteWP has had to evolve since and remains a strong contender;
- CMS Order ;
- iThemes Sync.
Our final opinion on ManageWP
ManageWP is an excellent extension to update your site for free and automatically.
Throughout these lines, you have notably discovered:
- the tool interface, with a detailed presentation of its different menus;
- how to activate a site on the ManageWP dashboard;
- how to back up and migrate a site;
- the premium features of ManageWP;
- the price of the tool and the competition.
Personally, I have been using ManageWP for several years and I am very satisfied with it. This is also the case for Alex, who uses it on a dozen sites, including WPMarmite.
Very reliable, ManageWP is also easy to learn. It is intended for all types of audience, from beginners to experienced users.. Do you want to save time in carrying out time-consuming maintenance tasks? Adopt it, you will tell me about it.
But maybe you already use this service. If yes, what do you think? Give me your opinion by leaving a comment.