Any webdesigner or agency that tries to create several WordPress sites without a central administration tool will sooner or later reach their limits. If you want to increase the number of your projects, efficiency in developing and managing your sites is essential. Today I'll show you how the ManageWP management tool and RAIDBOXES Dashboard can help you manage your WP projects better.
Even a single WordPress site is quite time-consuming to manage. After all, you don't just have to maintain the content and design of yourssite . Also the WordPress version, this theme and that plugins require regular updates. In addition, backups have to be managed, security checks have to be carried out and the performance of the site constantly monitored.
With each new site the time required increases
Although these are apparently small tasks, they cost an enormous amount of time. If you as a web designer or WordPress agency have to look sites after several, there is a lot of potential for savings.
From a certain number of websites on you will not get around a central administration tool, if you want to manage the WP projects of your customers professionally and as efficiently as possible.
That's why today I'm going to show you
- the most important application areas of a central management solution
- the free and paid features of ManageWP
- how to manage RAIDBOXES your projects more effectively
For which tasks is a central administration tool particularly useful?
First, you should think about which administrative tasks are the most time-consuming for you and how a central tool can speed up the management of your WordPress sites can speed up.
Well-known management tools such as ManageWP, InfiniteWP and WP Remote seem very similar at first glance. However, the differences lie in the details.
The following areas are covered by most providers as standard:
- Login: Administration of WP logins or WP Single Sign-On
- Update Management: Central WP version updating, Plugins and Themes
- Plugin- and Theme-management: Install, (de)activate and remove WP extensions
- User administration: Assignment of various access and user rights
Most tools offer a free management dashboard that can be customized with various paid add-ons. So before you choose a provider, you should consider which features you need and how much time and nerves individual functions really save you.
WordPress -Page management with ManageWP
ManageWP is probably the most popular management tool for WordPress sites , especially after the Serbian company's late 2016 was purchased by GoDaddy by GoDaddy. Despite the acquisition, you can still use ManageWP along with any other host .
For the most important management tasks such as WordPress , Plugin- and Theme-updates, the free version of ManageWP offers all necessary basic functions. In addition, there is a Google Analytics integration and a simple performance check (PageSpeed and YSlow-Grade).
A practical additional feature of ManageWP are the client reports. These are also integrated in a slimmed-down version in the free offer. With this function you can send your customers a report about updates, backups and page views with a few clicks and even integrate your own logo.
However, you can only get a detailed customer report and complete white-labelling with the corresponding add-ons.
Even in the free version of ManageWP you have the option to automate your backups. However, you can only select monthly backups, which according to ManageWP is only suitable for "small websites that don't generate any revenue".
For weekly or daily backups (which are of course highly recommended for regular changes to site !) you have to pay extra every month. If you are an agency or web designer and look after several sites , your expenses will quickly add up here.
The paid add-on features also include Staging, cloning, uptime monitor, backup download and SEO tools. Each add-on is always billed per site .
ManageWP offers monthly bundle rates for add-ons. However, you should be careful whether this is really worth it for you. The backup bundle (26-100 sites ), for example, costs $75 and is thus only cheaper than booking the add-on per site from 38 sites .
In general, ManageWP is certainly one of the more expensive management tools. For the all-in-one complete package you pay $150 per month and between $6 to $1.50 per site . This then depends on whether you manage 25 or 100 sites in this bundle.
You can find an overview of the different features and price models in our administration tool comparison.
Our interim conclusion on ManageWP
All in all, ManageWP saves you a lot of time when managing multiple sites even with the free features. Through the selection of additional features you can customize the dashboard to your needs and offer your customers an all-round carefree package. However, you should carefully calculate which offer is really worthwhile for you.
In addition, you will be constantly reminded in the ManageWP dashboard which additional features you cannot use in the freeware. The prominent placement of these upselling offers can become quite annoying in the long run.
Page management with the RAIDBOXES dashboard
RAIDBOXES offers Managed WordPress Hosting and is therefore not a classic management solution like ManageWP and Co. Nevertheless, the RAIDBOXES dashboard provides many similar features that save you as a web designer a lot of time and nerves in the development and management of your sites .
If you have several WordPress sites there are RAIDBOXES basically two ways of use: free development or reselling.
The web designer version
As a web designer you usually do not develop four projects at the same time per month and therefore generate a lower total volume at sites . In addition, the projects are often smaller and an additional monthly service from 30 euros and upwards is harder to sell to the customer.
Therefore you develop as a webdesigner with the RAIDBOXES FREE-DEV program your WordPress -projects for free. After completion you hand over the project including the hosting contract to your customer and receive an attractive commission. Via the administration dashboard, you can continue to manage all your projects that you have already handed over to your customers as an admin.
The agency variant
As an agency, dozens of projects quickly come together that have to be managed for the clients. In addition, the projects are usually larger and the customers have a higher willingness to pay for additional service. Here it is advisable to offer hosting in a Reseller-plan to then resell it with a corresponding management service, which is ideally automated as much as possible.
Many features are already integrated
Many standard functions such as WP Single Sign-on, update management and plugin and themea dministration are already integrated in the RAIDBOXES dashboard. These features are only available as add-ons with costs for most administration tools.
Automatic backups and restore points
The automated backup system ensures that you always have a current version of your websites ready to fall back on in case of an emergency. Of course, you can also save manual backups of your projects.
Automated Plugin- and Theme-Updates
With the Fully Managed option your Plugins- and Themes are automatically updated after the nightly backups and the site is then checked for availability. If necessary, you can exclude Plugins from the update and also configure the notification of completed updates accordingly.
Staging and templates
With the Staging function you test small and big changes on a copy of your site in the background, without your live website suffering in case of unexpected problems. When you are satisfied with the results in the Staging environment, you can make the changes live with just one click.
If you regularly develop new WordPress sites on a regular basis, the Template function saves you a lot of time during setup. With this feature you can download a backup - detached from the original site - as a template. From your saved templates, you can then clone as many other sites as you like in a flash - and with all your settings preconfigured.
For example, you can create your own WP templates for different industries and themes. This saves you valuable time already at the start of new projects, which you can usually also charge the customer as setup costs.
DEV functionalities for further automation
If the built-in dashboard functionality doesn't go far enough for you or your developers, you can also manage your sites via our SSH environment, including WP-CLI and Git.
Advantages and disadvantages of a separate management tool
More functionalities: Especially if your customers should be offered even more information such as SEO rankings, pagespeed or uptime monitoring, the use of ManageWP makes sense. For this functionality, the individual add-ons can also be booked for only one customer. However, you can assume that RAIDBOXES will gradually expand its range of functions over time.
Cross-site management: It is not always possible to accommodate all customers at one host . ManageWP offers the advantage that you can manage your sites across host . However, this leads directly to an important disadvantage:
Always an additional Plugin necessary: To manage sites across the board, you need the ManageWP-Plugin, which contains a variety of functionalities. This can sometimes lead to the Plugin eating up the performance of your sites and therefore becoming a management problem itself.
No automated performance optimisation: Specialised WordPress web host optimise all components that can be optimised to optimise the performance and loading time of a site . Depending on host , this starts with the hardware with special high-performance processors and ends with the compression algorithms. With a specialised host , which optimises for performance, you no longer have to worry about whether your sites loads fast enough.
No integrated security optimization: ManageWP is primarily limited to evaluating and displaying the security of a site . Updating Plugins and the WordPress core is certainly one of the best security measures. However, protecting the login area or shielding it with firewalls is still something you have to worry about yourself. With specialized hosting, the provider takes care of closing such security gaps.
No completely automated management: Even with ManageWP you are forced to log in every now and then and check the status of your sites . Some web designers check here daily, for example, to see if there are any Plugin updates. As shown above, RAIDBOXES gives you the option to configure your updates so that the system runs automatically and you yourself are only notified in case of problems.
Conclusion: Extended service vs. more time savings
The main advantage of ManageWP is its advanced functionality, which is especially useful for customer reporting. If you prefer an integrated tool that also takes care of performance and security optimization as well as server management, RAIDBOXES is the better choice. Both offers can be tested for free.
What is your experience with managing multiple WordPress sites ? Do you use a tool like ManageWP or the features of your hoster? We are looking forward to your suggestions and feedback.