ManageWP vs Jetpack Manage vs InfiniteWP vs MainWP vs iThemes Sync – WordPress Management Tools Compared

Running a single WordPress website is complicated enough, never mind running two, five, or even a dozen. However, while it requires expert discipline on your part, it’s not impossible – especially with the help of some WordPress management tools.

WordPress management tools enable you to keep an eye on all of your sites from a single interface. Imagine having one dashboard from which you could manage every site at once, similar to WordPress Multisite, but with better tools at your disposal and a cleaner interface.

If you’re juggling multiple WordPress websites at once, let us help you lighten the load! We’ll go over the five best WordPress management tools for our Content Management System (CMS) of choice – including ease of use, update management, and a myriad of other aspects.

Let’s get started!

WordPress management tools: ManageWP vs Jetpack Manage vs InfiniteWP vs MainWP vs iThemes Sync

The best WordPress management tools compared (in a nutshell)

If you’re in a hurry, you can check out the summary of our findings in the table below:

ManageWP vs Jetpack Manage vs InfiniteWP vs MainWP vs iThemes Sync
ManageWPJetpack ManageInfiniteWPMainWPiThemes Sync
* On the free tier.** We made an editorial decision to dock iThemes Sync half a point due to limiting the number of sites on its free tier. Otherwise, it would’ve tied with MainWP at 4.5 out or 5.
Price modelFreemiumFreeFreemiumFreemiumFree + paid
# of supported sites *UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited10
Reliability42343
Ease of use55245
Plugin management55555
Update management52555
OVERALL4.753.53.754.54 **

We scored each of these WordPress management tools from one to five according to reliability, ease of use, plugin management, and update management – these scores were then averaged to produce an overall result.

For the reliability sections, we’ll discuss in general terms whether each platform enables you to properly manage your sites by including key criteria such as backups, security, performance, and collaboration. Plugin and update management will be discussed separately.

The best WordPress management tools compared (in full)

Let’s now take a look at the five WordPress management tools – by the end, you’ll know exactly which one is the right option for you.


ManageWP (Freemium)

WordPress management tools: ManageWP
Overview
ManageWP was founded in 2010 – at a time when there were very few WordPress management tools on the market – to give users a simple solution that could help them manage multiple sites efficiently. They attracted over 100,000 websites during their first month of business – we would call that a resounding success, but let’s see how it holds up under scrutiny.
Reliability
Simply put, ManageWP is one of the most reliable WordPress management tools available. Its free tier performs one monthly backup for each of your sites, and enables you to activate or deactivate the option individually as needed – although we can’t image why you’d want to!

Your main ManageWP dashboard also includes information that can be used for potential optimizations, including the number of spam comments on your pages, the overall number of revisions on each of your sites – which can bloat your database – and the overall size of your database. All of these can be fixed at the press of a button:

managewp optimization

ManageWP also enables you to keep track of your analytics from its dashboard. By default, the tool uses its own method to count your page views, but it can also connect with your Google Analytics account to present you with more detailed information.

Finally, you can run both performance and security checks from your dashboard by selecting a property, and navigating to those respective tabs:

managewp performance check

Editor’s note. As great as it is, ManageWP does have its hiccups once in a while. For instance, some time ago, they broke our theme demo sites over at ThemeIsle, which did cause “a bit of inconvenience.”

Ease of use
ManageWP is remarkably simple to use. The platform is a breeze to navigate, and includes handy tooltips throughout to help explain how every section works.

There’s also comprehensive documentation available if you need additional guidance for any step. Overall, we’re confident in saying that a regular WordPress user could learn the ins and outs of ManageWP in a short amount of time.

Plugin management
Any plugins that need updating will appear on your main ManageWP dashboard, and they can micromanaged by heading into the settings for each of your sites. Here you can activate, deactivate, and delete any plugin you want, and add new ones through a menu that includes the WordPress.org repository, cloud storage, and plain old URLs or ZIP files.

The only thing you can’t do from ManageWP is change the unique settings for each plugin – for that you’ll still have to go to your regular WordPress dashboard.

Update management
WordPress core update notifications will appear on your main ManageWP dashboard as soon as you log in, and you can monitor whether your sites are running different versions by checking your Overview bar on the left side of the screen.

managewp updates

Conclusion
Despite being a freemium tool, ManageWP includes a remarkable amount of features on its free tier. What’s more, it’s perfectly usable for an unlimited number of WordPress sites, aside from a few unique features that require premium add-ons – but most users could do without them entirely.

Aside from that, ManageWP’s ease of use remains its main selling point. When it comes to WordPress management tools, we would recommend this one for users who want a well-rounded experience without a steep learning curve.


Jetpack Manage (Free)

Jetpack Manage
Overview
Jetpack Manage can lay claim to an impressive pedigree, given that it’s developed by Automattic. However, this tool takes a somewhat different approach than the other inclusions in our list – monitoring your sites is handled from your WordPress.com dashboard, rather than self-hosted WordPress.
Reliability
As expected, Jetpack Manage performs decently when it comes to reliability. Although it can’t lay claim to including the same level of functionality as ManageWP, it still performs well.

To gain access to its core features, you’ll need to install the Jetpack plugin on your self-hosted WordPress site, activate it, then link it to your WordPress.com account from the admin panel. Once complete, the site will appear on your list of properties upon browsing the My Sites tab on WordPress.com. Here, clicking on your site will open up a new dashboard with detailed analytics:

jetpack manage stats

Jetpack Manage also enables you to modify your standard WordPress settings from its dashboard, as well as create new blog posts or pages – albeit without any of the advanced functions enabled on your self-hosted installation, such as visual builders.

Ease of use
If you’ve dabbled with WordPress.com before making the jump to self-hosted WordPress, using Jetpack Manage will be a walk in the park. All of its options are easy to understand, and you can quickly switch between sites by accessing it from the My Sites tab.
Plugin management
Despite working entirely on the WordPress.com backend, Jetpack Manage enables you to handle the plugins of your self-hosted installations surprisingly well. Its Plugins tab includes a list of all those you’ve installed, and includes options to update them individually, all at once, or even enable auto updates in addition to some general settings:

jetpack manage plugins

While the urge to set all of your plugins to auto update may be strong, we recommend exercising caution with this setting – you run the risk of causing compatibility errors down the line if one of your plugins doesn’t play nicely with the rest after an update.

Update management
Despite its excellent showing when it comes to plugin management, Jetpack Manage does not support core updates at this point (although they are apparently working on it for a future update). It means you’ll need to go to each site and manually update them when each new release rolls around – unless you’ve enabled automatic updates on your site’s back end, that is.
Conclusion
Jetpack Manage is very simple to pick up if you’re already familiar with WordPress.com, and it handles plugin management remarkably well. Despite these upsides, we’re not quite comfortable recommending it fully due to its lack of advanced features such as managing core updates, and its leanings towards WordPress.com – plenty of users have graduated from WordPress.com a long time ago and are reluctant to deal with it again. That being said, Jetpack also offers quite a few interesting add-on features, like daily backups and improved security against spam.

InfiniteWP (Freemium)

InfiniteWP
Overview
InfiniteWP was launched two years after ManageWP kicked off the WordPress management tools gold rush. Within three months, InfiniteWP accrued a respectable 10,000 sites on the platform, a number that’s risen to over 500,000 in 2016.
Reliability
InfiniteWP enables you to handle an unlimited number of WordPress sites, create backups for all of them from a single screen, and place sites into maintenance mode.

While its feature set is decent, there’s some functionality not included on InfiniteWP’s free tier that’s included in other solutions – analytics information, speed checks, comment management, uptime monitoring, and scheduled backups. The lack of some of these options is understandable, considering we’re talking about a free service, but analytics information and comment management are pretty big deals for all WordPress management tools.

That being said, InfiniteWP shines when it comes to security monitoring for your dashboard. It can limit access to specific IPs only, force HTTPS, employ two-factor authentication, and send you notifications via email either daily or weekly, or turn them off altogether for any outstanding updates available:

infinitewp security

However, while these security features are fantastic if you need to grant access to multiple collaborators, it’s worth noting that they’re only as strong as the security practices you enforce on each individual WordPress site.

Ease of use
To be blunt, InfiniteWP is not easy to install, and has a high leaving curve. There are three install methods available, one of which involves sharing your cPanel credentials. There’s also a manual setup, and a option requiring you to install a plugin on your WordPress site – we chose that method for our test, and we then had to install a second plugin.

infinitewp create login

While the installer plugin does hold your hand through the entire process, none of these options are very friendly to users with little experience – which for our money are the most important users.

Moving on, the InfiniteWP admin panel is not difficult to navigate (although its layout could use some improvement) – however, it doesn’t include any links to its documentation for new users. To access them, you’ll need to return to InfiniteWP’s main page, and navigate all the way to its footer.

Plugin management
On a more positive note, InfiniteWP performs well when it comes to plugin management. You can easily manage both plugins and themes for all your properties from a single tab, enabling you to activate, deactivate, or delete any plugins you want – as well as handle updates.
Update management
Once you’ve logged into your InfiniteWP admin panel, the first thing you’ll see is an Updates section offering an overview of all the sites with actions needing to be taken:

infinitewp updates

This means it’s impossible to miss when any sites need to be updated, unless you make a deliberate effort to ignore this section. Furthermore, you can also configure email reminders for any available updates to core installations, plugins, and themes.

Conclusion
InfiniteWP offers a few notable security features – which come in handy for multiple collaborators – as well as strong update management for plugins, themes, and core files. However, inexperienced users may have a hard time installing this tool in the first place, or finding the necessary documentation to figure out how to use it.

In addition, a few features that should be available by default – such as analytics – are sold on top of the free tier as add-ons. If none of this scares you, and all you need is a management tool that can handle backups and updates, InfiniteWP could be for you.


MainWP (Freemium)

MainWP
Overview
MainWP is one of those WordPress management tools that’s completely open-source and prides itself on protecting its user’s privacy. It’s a self-hosted solution running entirely on WordPress, and relies on a system of plugins to connect between each of your sites – one site acts as your MainWP hub, with the others becoming part of the network using a separate plugin that enables interaction.
Reliability
This tool offers an outstanding set of features – including one-click access to all your sites and a backup system that works with three different plugins – and supports scheduling, content, and user management.

mainwp schedule

Considering this is a self-hosted option, it’s only as reliable as your hosting provider. If the server on which your MainWP dashboard is located suffers any downtimes, you won’t be able to access it until the issue is resolved – this could also affect your scheduled backups, although the chances of that occurring are slim.

One of our favorite MainWP features is the inclusion of Recent posts and Recent pages sections, which enables you to keep track of the latest developments on your WordPress sites without having to navigate to the individual sections of each one.

Ease of use
Since MainWP runs entirely on WordPress, new users shouldn’t have any issues with learning the ropes. After installing the MainWP plugin on your primary server, a corresponding tab will appear on your dashboard that hosts all of its options. There’s even a tab that leads you towards MainWP’s documentation center thrown in for good measure:

mainwp documentation

Plugin management
All of the WordPress management tools covered so far handles plugin management with aplomb, and MainWP is no exception. The Plugins tab on your dashboard enables you to update plugins on a per site or global basis – although you could also update them individually if you wish.

There’s even a setting that enables you to ignore update notifications for a set period, which could potentially be useful if you’re holding off on a major update until you’re sure that all compatibility bugs have been squashed.

What’s more, MainWP even notifies you when themes or plugins have been potentially abandoned by checking when their last update came out. If no new updates have been made for an entire year, MainWP assumes that they might have become obsolete and shows you a warning.

Update management
The options for general WordPress updates with MainWP are minimal. The tool includes an Updates tab to keep you notified of any major releases, and prompts you to update your sites when necessary. It’s simple, and it works!
Conclusion
MainWP is a great tool for users that like to shy away from Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. It offers plenty of features, several extensions if you need any advanced functionality, and it works on top of regular WordPress – it means you don’t need to learn how to use an entirely new platform to use the solution. Once you’re used to the plugin’s interface, you’re ready to go!

iThemes Sync (Free with premium plans available)

iThemes Sync
Overview
Sync is another product in iThemes’ lineup of renowned WordPress tools, which includes BackupBuddy (we tested it here, against other popular backup solutions), Security Pro, Exchange, and also several themes of their own.
Reliability
iThemes Sync is a solid product that can handle your updates, backups, security, content, users, and comments from a single dashboard.

Backups and security require that you set up iTheme’s BackupBuddy and Security Pro plugins – and while both of them do a pretty decent job, this added hassle could be a turnoff for some users. Without this functionality, iThemes Sync essentially only enables you to handle centralized updates.

Ease of use
Aside from having to set up additional plugins in some cases, iThemes Sync is remarkably simple to use. It features a modern interface that displays all of the information you need without having to dig for it.

ithemes sync main

Every option is clearly identified, and there aren’t many advanced features available. It means you’re unlikely to run into something you won’t know how to use.

Plugin management
Plugin management on iThemes Sync is very straightforward. You can handle updates for your entire network from the main Updates tab located on your dashboard…

ithemes sync updates

…or go through them individually by checking each site, and going into their Plugins tab. It includes all of the options your regular WordPress dashboard does, and it’s much the same for themes too.

Update management
The main screen of your iThemes Sync dashboard includes a notification when core updates are available. If there are, you’ll be able to apply them from the Updates tab, alongside any theme and plugin updates that may be available.

iThemes Sync also includes simple logs for all your updates, which keeps track of dates, and version numbers.

Conclusion
The last entry in our list of WordPress management tools offers decent functionality and a modern, usable interface – it’s only hindered by the need to install additional plugins to handle backups and security. If you don’t mind jumping through these – admittedly simple – extra hoops, you’ll be pleased with the results.

In summary

Juggling multiple WordPress sites simultaneously is not a simple task. You need to keep track of updates and review all of their content, along with a myriad other responsibilities. The WordPress management tools we’ve featured in this piece enable you to tackle all of these duties efficiently.

Let’s go through a brief recap of each tool’s strengths:

ManageWP: Our recommended tool that’s excellent and remarkably simple to use.
iThemes Sync: A modern tool that works in conjunction with other iThemes plugins to offer a good all-around experience.
InfiniteWP: Somewhat complicated, but offers high security and update features, as well as decent backups.
MainWP: An open-source, WordPress-based solution with a full set of features.
Jetpack Manage: Perfect for fans of WordPress.com who want to handle plugin management and new posts from a single interface. Also, if you choose to opt for one of Jetpack’s paid plans, you get daily backups and spam protection, which means a lot for a site’s ongoing security.
 
If you’d rather get a numerical assessment of these WordPress management tools, we’ve scored each solution for you. Once again, here’s the summary table with our findings:
 
WordPress management tools compared
ManageWPJetpack ManageInfiniteWPMainWPiThemes Sync
* On the free tier.** We made an editorial decision to dock iThemes Sync half a point due to limiting the number of sites on its free tier. Otherwise, it would’ve tied with MainWP at 4.5 out or 5.
Price modelFreemiumFreeFreemiumFreemiumFree + paid
# of supported sites *UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited10
Reliability42343
Ease of use55245
Plugin management55555
Update management52555
OVERALL4.753.53.754.54 **
 
Which of these WordPress management tools is your favorite? Share your picks with us in the comments section below!

Layout and presentation by Karol K.

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a small fee. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no cost on your part.

 

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is a freelance blogger, longtime WordPress enthusiast and the founder of WordCandy. Find him at http://wordcandy.co
  • Darren Lock

    I wouldnt use anything else but manage wp orion, along with it being simple to use, their support is fantastic when you do need it

    • Nemanja Aleksic

      Thanks, Darren!

      We pride ourselves in providing excellent tech support for both free and premium users. No person left behind 🙂

  • storehelp

    I was bummed to see ManageWP got bought by GoDaddy so I have been hemming and hawing over MainWP. I think its time to give it a try.

    • It’s free, so all it takes is an uninstall if you’re not gelling with it.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  • RG

    Thanks for the article. In my opinion you should expand on the low 2 for Jetpack reliability, you only mention functionality but then say it is decent.

  • Steven

    For us at WP Shrug we find it useful to have a list of websites within a management tool as it gives us an overview of where our sites are in terms of updates and it also allows us to fire off reports when needed. However the majority of these tools fail to allow any serious company or developer/sites manager to test locally before putting changes through version control. And for that reason we use infiniteWP as it allows you to install locally and monitor your locally installed sites. We can then deploy changes to staging to test in the same environment as live before deploying to production which ensures compatibility testing along the way and by versioning our code we can keep track of changes and rollback where needed amongst our team.

    • Good insight into your workflow, Steven. I’m sure other readers will find it valuable. 🙂

  • I have used ManageWP (incl Orion), InfiniteWP and MainWP. Until a few weeks ago I had a number of sites with Orion and the rest with MainWP.
    Since the news broke that ManageWP has been bought by Godaddy I have moved all my sites away from Orion and now exclusively use MainWP.

    • We’re glad you’ve found a suitable solution, Piet!

  • Adam

    I’ve been using InfiniteWP for the last 4 years. It’s really easy to use, and saves me a bunch of time managing all my sites: WP updates, plugins, and themes. There are even a bunch of addons, like the backup addon.

  • billracine

    I’ve used iThemes Sync and it worked, but I was not overly impressed with the UI. But it did what it promised. I’ve also been using ManageWP back before Orion was released and worked with the Beta. Overall ManageWP continues to improve and be the one thing I could not see doing my job without. All of my sites are viewable at once, I can update them, replicate them, manage them all from one location.

    I think the goDaddy purchase is only going to make this a stronger product. goDaddy seems to have gotten their head screwed back on straight and I think we’ll see some amazing things come out of this merger.

    I would like the ability to have my development (aka local) sites connected to ManageWP so that I could migrate them to their live site. That would be huge, but for everything else, its the cats meow.

    • Nemanja Aleksic

      You can connect the localhost website already with a bit of port forwarding. Just google “managewp localhost” and check out the top result (I tried posting the article URL but it got deleted by the mods).

      Ideally I’d like to see a more straightforward way to do this in 2017, but the roadmap has not yet been set.

  • wizdude

    it would be very useful to indicate which products are SaaS/Cloud/Hosted and which ones are Self Hosted, or indicate if both apply. I prefer to use Self Hosted products as it gives me more control and security over my site. If you were able to update the comparison table that would be awesome. Keep up the great work. Cheers 🙂

  • realbasics

    The incremental per-site costs of many of the SaaS sites gets prohibitive once you get past a certain number (for me it was 25.) And the amortized cost of setting up and administering a self-hosted solution and with purchased add-ons gets lower and lower.

    I wouldn’t wish infiniteWP on anyone who wants to manage a handful of sites for different clients. If nothing else the cost of the add-on packages would be prohibitive. Plus there’s the hassle and expense of actual hosting. But now that I’m managing 50+ sites I really appreciate its power and versatility. If I manage to make it to 100 or 500 sites under management I’m not sure there’d be another affordable choice.

    Again, it probably wouldn’t make sense for you to add enterprise-level suitability in a review of freemium-level tools, but since changing from one solution to another isn’t fun, it’s something to think about if you’re projecting a lot of growth.

  • Tomáš Poner

    Great article. Is somewhere possible to change 1 plugin option (checkbox for example) across all sites in mulstisite – at once?
    Now I need to go through all sites in musltisite to switch on 1 stupid checkbox ;-/
    Thank you for help

  • Stephen Norman

    I’ve been using ManageWP to manage multiple websites for a couple of years now and am impressed with it, especially the new Orion release and the progress that has been made in automating a number of tasks such as performance scans and client reports.

    I have a slight concern with it being purchased by GoDaddy and their ‘history’… and the potential for them to ruin a great product though.

  • Every time you try to look for a solution online…you are always overwhelmed with the bunch of options & information available!

    Finally, have decide to go with MainWP but, wondering if they have:

    1) White Label Option?
    2) Can we set it up on WAMP Server than relying on any Web Host?
    3) Incremental Backups?
    4) Scan/Clean Security Functions?

    I’d appreciate if one of you share some insights & personal experience with such Tool(s).

  • Great article. Currently debating between the four. Now narrowed it down to ManageWP and MainWP – judging by some of the comments here may go for Main. I like the sound of the recent posts/pages feature.