Once you have a few sites going with WordPress, one of the things that can get out of hand time-wise, is making sure that all your sites are kept up to date. I’m talking about your WordPress version, your plugins and your themes. Add in some sites for your clients and you can easily spend a whole day login into each site seperately, update everything and move to the next one. Luckily there are ways for you to make this task a lot easier. My favorite is iThemes Sync.
What is iThemes Sync?
iThemes Sync is a WordPress maintenance plugin from the people behind the iThemes security plugin and Backupbuddy. Sync allows you to easily manage and update all your sites from one place: the iThemes website (since it’s a hosted service).
Setting Up iThemes Sync
To get started you only need two things: First you need the iThemes Sync plugin, which you can download here and second, you need an account with iThemes Synch, which you can get at the same place. With a basic account, you can link 10 websites to your account for free. If you need more, there are multiple packages available: 25 sites for $50/year, 50 sites for $90/year and 100 sites for $170/year. When you’re just starting out, a free account should be more than enough. And once you see the value and start adding more sites, you can always upgrade your account.
Once you have the plugin and you’ve uploaded it to all the sites you want to add to your account, make sure it’s activated and enable the iThemes licensing. Simply go to Settings >> iThemes Licensing and provide your username and password for iThemes. Now you can be sure that the iThemes sync plugin will receive updates when available.
Next step is to link your WordPress site to iThemes sync. You do this by going to Settings >> iThemes Sync and provide your username and password again. That’s all you need to do, to link your site to your iThemes account. You’ll now see a green button on your screen that says “Go Manage Your Synced Sites“. Clicking that will bring you to your iThemes Sync account, and you will see the site that you just added in there.
How To Manage Your Sites
When you are logged in your iThemes Sync account, and look at the list with your websites, you’ll notice that they will have a colored tag in front of them. When they are green, your site is completely up to date and you don’t need to do anything. When the tag is a yellow/orange color, it means that there are updates available. When you see that, you just click on the little arrow behind your website, and you’ll find all the updates that are available for that site.
The only thing left for you to do is click the black button behind each plugin or theme that is mentioned and the rest will happen automatically. You can only do one update per site, but you can easily do multiple updates for different sites simultaneously, and still save more time than you would have by going to each site and updating them from your wp-admin.
The feature I love is the mail I get when updates are available. I don’t even have to check every day, but when a site (or multiple sites) have something you need to update, you will receive an email and you can go to your iThemes sync account, get it done and you don’t have to worry about anything.
Even with a lot of things going on, you never have to worry about forgetting one of your sites and leaving them vulnerable with outdated plugins.