If you’re like me you may have so many WordPress sites that updating WordPress itself as well as it’s plugins, and themes becomes a huge chore.
Back before blogs were used as websites, and even before blogs came along – if you had to update something on your website or a customer’s or a friends; you did it manually for the most part. Even forums and webboards and CMS’ were a tedious process of going through and updating everything that needed updating.
So WordPress can be the same, unless you use one of the many excellent WordPress control plugins or programs to help you mass-update all of your WordPress installations all at once.
You’ll find standalone PHP programs, WordPress Plugins, and IOS and Android apps for updating and controlling your WordPress installations.
I’m going to quickly go through InfiniteWP in this blog entry, as it’s the one I have settled on using after evaluating a number of others, though I do additionally use the WordPress IOS App and Android App – which are excellent for your mobile devices.
The free version just might do pretty much everything you need including letting you know which of your WordPress sites needs updates, whether it is WordPress itself, a theme, or a plugin, and allowing you do update them all at once. You can also make and restore backups and if you need a heavier-duty version that’s available too with pay addons.
It’s secure, easy to use, and saves you a heck of a lot of time. InfiniteWP is a PHP program that you set up separately from your WordPress installation. In other words – it’s not a plugin; but it does require you to add a plugin to each of your WordPress installations so that InfiniteWP can connect securely and safely to each one.
If you’re looking for other choices you can find a short list of some of them at the end of this blog entry.
You can find some really excellent instructions on the InfiniteWP website here.
But I’ll briefly go over the process here.
First thing you need to do is go to the InfiniteWP website and enter your e-mail and click the “Send my download link – Free”. In a short while you will get an e-mail with a link that you can click to download the zipped files. If you don’t make sure you check your spam folder.
Once you have it downloaded you must unzip it somewhere, upload the whole directory containing all of the files to your server and then access the folder on your server via your browser, to start the process of installation. Go through the installation process, which is fairly easy and even checks to see that your server has the proper requirements.
At this point you will have to set up a MYSQL database on your server as well as a CRON job. Neither is very hard but if you’re unfamiliar with the process than you might want to get someone to help, try a different program, or consider having the InfiniteWP company do it for you.
Basically you are setting up a database on your server and filling in the information in the InfiniteWP setup that you used to create the database, and then it’s up to you to decide how often the CRON job is going to poll the InfiniteWP software.
Once that’s all done and working you’re ready to go by accessing the directory that you put InfiniteWP in, again. Quite easy, especially if you remember the days of setting up PERL programs!
Perhaps the first thing you want to do once it is set up is to check the App Settings and Account Settings and make sure they are correct and possibly customize them to your own preferences, if needed. Though I think you’ll find that for the most part everything is fine the way it already is.
On this page you can do things like limit the IP’s that can access the InfiniteWP panel, adjust bandwidth, etc.
On the Account Settings you can change your e-mail, password, and adjust notifications for your WordPress updates and change the CRON job command line if needed.
The first thing you probably want to do once you have the settings tweaked to your specs is to add a WordPress site. Click the “Add Website” button in the lower-left hand corner of the InfiniteWP panel.
On the pop-up you just add the admin URL for your blog (probably your WordPress URL with “/wp-admin” after it), an Admin username (I believe that this can be ANY admin on the blog you are adding), and then the Activation Key.
To get the Activation Key open a new browser tab, go to your WordPress admin panel and find the WordPress menu item to add a new plugin, search for “iwp client” and install the proper one (make sure it is from InfiniteWP).
Once the plugin is installed you’ll see the Activation Key at the top of your WordPress screen, at which point you can copy it out and paste it into the InfiniteWP tab (along with the Activation Key the plugin will also show you your admin URL and Admin Username).
Still in the InfiniteWP screen click the green Add Site button (unless you want to explore the advanced options) and in a short time you will see your WordPress installation show up over in the left pane, and any updates will soon show up under the various sections in the large right/middle admin panel pane.
In the screenshot below you can see there is one plugin update on one WordPress site I have. On this screen it will show any WordPress installations that need updating, plugins that need updating, and themes that need updating. To see each individual category you would just press the tab for the corresponding category.
By clicking the left arrow beside each WordPress site you can update individual WordPress sites or hide an update. Say a particular plugin update.
Or you can just update everything!
You’ll see a process queue and progress in the bottom right.
In the left pane are the WordPress sites that have been added.
To organize your sites you can create categories for them.
There’s also a backup section, both for creating and restoring backups, as well as the ability to see an activity log of all of the updates and things that you have done with InfiniteWP. And installing new plugins and themes to single, select, or all of your WordPress sites is easy to do, either from the WordPress repository, your own computer, an URL, or your favorites. You can also deactivate/activate existing plugins and themes.
Holding your mouse over each of the WordPress sites that you have added to InfiniteWP gives you a menu for opening the admin panel, making backups, viewing previous backups, removing a site, and even editing site details, viewing a site, or creating a new post.
Heck, you almost don’t even need to visit your WordPress sites ‘in person’ anymore 😉 Just kidding.
Everything works slickly, at least from using it on my servers, and all aspects and usage seems to be straight-forward and easy to figure out. In case you do have any questions the InfiniteWP’s help is excellent, with good screenshots. On a few occasions I had to reload the page but this took care of any problems and likely was a server problem.
So in conclusion, I think that you’ll find that the free version of InfiniteWP will do most anything you need on the basic level. So if you need more features they’re just a click away in the form of paid plugins for the software. Like the ability to have scheduled backups, install a new or clone an existing WordPress installation, manage users, etc.
You really can’t go wrong with this program if you have a lot of WordPresses to take care of, though you can find some other’s that are similar.
This is by far not a complete list.
- InfiniteWP (free and pay versions)
- ManageWP (5 websites free, for more; pay)
- WPRemote – (free)
- CMS Commander (pay)
- Worpit (pay)
- IOS WordPress App for iPad, iPhone, iPod (free)
- Android WordPress App (free)
Also see my newer blog posting – InfiniteWP Addons; Wordfence, Broken Link Checker, Google PageSpeed, Google Webmasters, File Uploader