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How to Manage Multiple WordPress sites with MainWP

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How to Manage Multiple WordPress sites with MainWP

The most challenging part about running multiple WordPress sites is updating themes, plugins, and making backups of all your WordPress sites. We are often asked by our users for the best way to manage multiple WordPress sites from a single location. Previously we showed you how to manage multiple sites using ManageWP and InfiniteWP. In this article, we will show you how to manage multiple WordPress sites with MainWP.

What is MainWP

MainWP is a self-hosted WordPress maintenance suite. It contains tools and plugins that allow you to effectively and efficiently manage multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard.

You can update themes and plugins on all your sites, update WordPress core, write posts on any of your sites from one single dashboard. It also allows you to switch between sites with just a single click and perform any administrative tasks without logging into multiple sites.

How to Install MainWP

To install MainWP, you will need two plugins. First plugin will be installed on your main website which will be used as your central dashboard. Then you will need to install child plugin on all sites that you want to add to your MainWP dashboard.

First thing you need to do is download and install MainWP dashboard plugin on the site you want to use as your central dashboard.

After that you need to install and activate MainWP Child plugin on all your child sites that you want to add to your network.

Next, you need to come back to your main site’s admin area and click on MainWP menu. This will take you to MainWP dashboard where you need to click on the Add New Site button.

Adding sites in MainWP Dashboard

The Add Site screen is where you need to enter your child site’s name, url, and admin username. After that click on the add site button at the bottom of the screen. Repeat the process for all your child sites.

That’s all you need to do. Now all your WordPress sites are connected to MainWP.

Managing Multiple Sites with MainWP

Now that you have added your child sites to the MainWP’s dashboard, let’s take a look at the features of MainWP. As we mentioned earlier, MainWP allows you to perform all tasks on any sites you have added from one single dashboard. We will walk you through some common management tasks.

1. Managing Backups for Multiple WordPress sites with MainWP

MainWP allows you to easily backup any of your sites from one location. You can automate this process by creating a backup task schedule. Go to MainWP » Backups and then click on the Add New tab.

Adding scheduled backup tasks in MainWP

First you need to select sites you want to run this task on from the right sidebar. Next enter the task name, and select a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. You also need to provide a structure for the backup file names. We recommend using %url%-%date%-%time%-%type% structure. This will allow you to easily identify backup files.

Click on the Add New Task button at the bottom to save this task. You will now be redirected to the manage tab under Backups where you will be able to see the task you just created. You can click on the Run Now link next to your task to run this task immediately.

Managing your backup tasks

While backups can be easily setup in MainWP, they can not be uploaded to the cloud service of your choice. Instead they are stored in the uploads directory of your main site. We strongly recommend against keeping your backups there. You should download and save them to a cloud storage or an external backup disk.

Alternatively, you can install BackupBuddy or BackWPup on all your sites.

2. Managing Updates for Multiple WordPress Sites in MainWP

Clicking on MainWP takes you to your MainWP Dashboard. This is where you get to see the current system status of your sites under the Right Now widget. MainWP will show you all the updates available for themes, plugins, and WordPress core on all your sites.

Update all your sites from a single dashboard

You can click on the Upgrade button next to an item, or click on the Show link to see more details about that particular update. You also a get a chance to ignore updates for a particular plugin or theme. Ultimately, you can just click the Upgrade All button to update everything on all your sites.

3. Managing Themes and Plugins with MainWP

Using MainWP, you can manage theme and plugins on all your WordPress sites from a single dashbaord. You can not only update them, but you can also activate, deactvate and even install new themes and plugins. To manage plugins simply go to MainWP » Plugins.

Managing Plugins on Multiple WordPress sites with MainWP

On the plugin screen, you can see a list of plugins from all your sites. You can click on the Install tab to add a new plugin on any of your sites. You can set auto update for plugins, and even ignore updates for certain plugins by adding them into ignored updates list.

You will find the similar interface for themes under MainWP » Themes. You will be able to see themes installed on all your sites, install new themes, and even set auto-update for certain themes.

Other MainWP Features

You can control virtually every aspect of all your websites from MainWP Dashboard. Some other features that you would find useful are:

  • Ability to manage posts and pages from MainWP Dashboard.
  • Site uptime monitoring, to configure this feature go to MainWP » Offline Checks.
  • Managing Users from one site. This feature is particularly useful if one or more sites on your network are open to user registration.
  • MainWP Extensions

    Functionality in MainWP can be extended by installing extensions. There are some good free and paid extensions available for you to download.

    One particular extension that you would definitely need is the MainWP Comments extension. The default plugin does not allow you to manage comments on your child sites. MainWP also does not support custom post types yet, so we are hoping there will be a new extension for CPTs as well.


    MainWP is a nice arrival in the WordPress maintenance tools. It is cost effective and works nicely by handling backups and upgrades from a single dashboard. We hope the number of extensions will increase in the future. We would also like to see better handling of custom post types and the ability to store backups on dropbox and other cloud storage services.

    We hope this article helped you learn how to manage multiple WordPress sites with MainWP.

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    Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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