Update multiple WordPress sites at once

If, like me, you have a large number of WordPress sites, and maybe even a large collection of WordPress development projects running on a local web server, you will appreciate… More »

If, like me, you have a large number of WordPress sites, and maybe even a large collection of WordPress development projects running on a local web server, you will appreciate how painful a WordPress core update can be.

Sure, WordPress now has Multisite capabilities, but if your sites are spread across a number of hosting servers, you can’t use a single Multisite installation, so you’re still stuck with performing the core update time after time, once for each site. And don’t even get me started on plugin updates…

The Options

I had heard that there was an online service or piece of software that could automate this process (i.e. update multiple WordPress installations and plugins with a single click), so I sat down in front of Google and fairly quickly found the three current options:

All are online web applications; however, ManageWP and WP Remote Manager are hosted applications, whereas InfiniteWP is self-hosted (you download it, then install it on a spare domain or folder of a website).

Getting Started

Being the tightwad that I am, I decided to try out InfiniteWP. On their front page there is a short video giving a fairly useful overview:

This definitely whetted my appetite, and I download the installer and then settled down to watch another of their videos – the “how to install it” one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF6FTJVZ9tg

After that, installing and configuring the application was quick and trouble-free.

Adding Websites

The process to add a website is very easy; you install and activate the “IWP Client” plugin on the website you’re adding, then you add the site to InfiniteWP by clicking a button and pasting in a code given to you by the IPW Client plugin. That’s basically it, however there is one “gotcha” which is worth mentioning here:

If your WordPress site asks you for FTP details whenever you update WordPress or a plugin, you will also need to give InfiniteWP those details. You do this just once for each site by adding a tiny code block to the wp-config file and then forgetting about it. Details about this are given in the InfiniteWP knowledge base here.

Updating Websites

Obviously this is the core feature of InfiniteWP. You can update 1 or multiple websites, you can update 1 or multiple plugins across certain websites, you can exclude certain plugins from the automatic processes, etc etc – there are enough options to keep even a detail freak like me happy.

And processes are asynchronous, so you can select more activities while a process is under way.

In Summary

This web application, within 24 hours of installing it, has revolutionised the way I maintain my WordPress sites. Doing a core and plugin update across all my sites now takes approximately 2 minutes instead of 4 hours. And time is money, folks.

I also like the authors’ business model. The core InfiniteWP web application is free, and they aim to make money by selling add-ons that provide optional features. And because they’ve instantly built up a huge reservoir of goodwill by giving me the core software free, it’s quite likely that I’ll pay for an add-on or two in the future. Updates are also frequent and you can suggest new features via a Google moderation page.

Please note that I have no connection whatsoever with this software or its authors; I’m just really impressed with it and would recommend it to all WordPress developers.

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Posted by wiredgorilla