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ManageWP vs InfiniteWP: remote WordPress site management

Some great new tools out there to monitor and update a number of WordPress sites from one central place. Here’s some notes I’ve gathered – please share your experiences in  the comments.

As part of my services as a web developer and WordPress expert, I have to manage many websites for my clients — it’s a tedious chore to track the latest  plugin updates, and  WordPress versions. Most updates go smoothly but on occasion plugins conflict and updates can even make your whole website become unavailable.

When people sign up for my WordPress small business web hosting service they get to avoid all these headaches and let me manage their WordPress updates. I include at least an hour per year for the updates and that’s plenty for most small businesses.

But that leaves me with a growing number of WordPress sites to manage. So to the rescue come a new generation of tools to


I’ve been hearing about them for a while and have been enjoying the free trial service. They are the best and most comprehensive service and offer a free trial. But they are not cheap. I had a problem adding a site and their support was very responsive – that’s a great sign.

main features:

  • bulk install, update and management of plugins and themes and WP
  • backups to FTP, DropBox or S3
  • email notification: for updates and other stats
  • clone or migrate a WP install from one site to another,
  • SEO tracking tools (for highest tier price)
  • Native iOS app

more features:

  • One-click automatic login to any website
  • Bulk Add Posts/Pages and  Links
  • Simple cleaning of spam comments, removing post revisions or optimizing database
  • Built-in pageview statistics
  • Restrict login to your ManageWP account by IP address(es)
  • Two-factor login authentication (email code)
  • Backups for your websites (to your server, Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP or an email address)
  • Schedule daily, weekly or monthly automatic backups
  • Easily Clone or Migrate website from one domain/hosting server to another
  • Bulk User Management (change your admin password on all sites with ease, add/remove users, change roles…)
  • Add and manage Sub-users in your account
  • Run code tool
  • Google Analytics dashboard widget
  • Traffic alerts (receive an email if your daily website traffic changes by set amount)
  • Website Uptime Monitoring
  • Remote Maintenance mode
  • View PHP error logs

Here’s my wishlist of features:

  1. Incremental backups: this make all the difference in  the world when it comes to making a backup of a big site and committing to the computing resources to make it happen often.
  2. Backup options:  stored at managewp.com . I wonder if they could team up with VaultPress to offer that service within their service perhaps? Ideally I would like a less expensive option since I’m already paying for a server-level (domain-level) backup.
  3. Multiple service levels/flexible billing:  I have lots of WP sites but not all of them need the higher  level of service so I’d like to adjust the service level for each site (eg: not all sites are concerned about SEO).  I’d like to have a per-site billing system so I don’t have to think about the big price leap from 50 sites to 51 sites. I add my WordPress sites one at a time (as I build them for my small business clients) so i’d like to be billed one at a time. This would also make ManageWP more competitive with the free offerings out there (see below)
  4. Automatic backups – I am dreaming of an email telling me that my site was updated with screenshots before and after the update! Or maybe not an email but adding before and after screenshots or a few key pages would save alot of work in assuring the completeness of a backup


This is a brilliant idea – all the management features but you host it yourself so there are no ongoing fees. Best of all – the basic software is FREE and addons are available for extra features like backup. I have been using this for years and so far it’s working well. Sometimes it feels slow, sometimes it fails to connect to some of my sites so it’s not perfect but overall it’s a time saver and a great centralized place to manage my sites. Native iOS app in the works.

Base app is free:

  • One Master Login
  • One Click Updates
  • Plugins & Themes management
  • Backup & Restore

20 Add-ons for $399 ($199/yr) (Or buy just the features you need)

  • Schedule Backups – I send Database backups to S3
  • Cloud Backup
  • Install/Clone WordPress
  • Code Snippets
  • Manage Users
  • Client Plugin Branding
  • Google Analytics
  • Manage Comments
  • Publish posts, pages & links
  • Client Reporting
  • Sucuri Malware Scanner
  • Uptime Monitor
  • WP Maintenance
  • Google Webmaster
  • Google Page Speed
  • File Uploader
  • Broken Link Checker
  • Wordfence Security
  • iThemes Security
  • Duo Security: 2 factor authentication for your admin panel


Other competition:

WP Remote
WP Remote  handles updates to installed plugins and themes remotely via the WP Remote website and provides quick access to core updates. It can also create full off-site backups. Seems to be free but hard to tell from their site.

Only $67 per year, this offers a php script that lives on your cpanel-based server. Offers uploading and updating of themes and plugins, backup, RSS autopost and quick WP installs based on profiles you configure.

Yet another new offering – still in beta but coming soon… Offers 3 features: 1) Remote WordPress Updates 2) Manual Backups 3) Scheduled Backups

portal.wpengine.com DISCONTINUED
They are still coming up with a name for their service – it’s very new. Minimal functionality but it’s free and they promise not to start charging – which makes me wonder if it’ll really get continual development. Log into any site from  the central control panel, view WP version, some troubleshooting links. Update 10/2012: there has not been any progress on this product in a while.



UPDATED: 10/2015

Posted in WordPress | 5 Responses

The Great Wall & Felishino in NYTimes

The 2nd time in 4 weeks that a client of mine was featured in  the NYTimes…. congrats to the Great Wall…


On the first Friday night of each month, a large wall of an Oakland office complex morphs into an outdoor theater. A projector on a nearby rooftop shows videos a hundred feet tall on the exterior of a building at the corner of West Grand and Valley Street. The spectators — most of whom also attend the monthly event called Art Murmur in nearby galleries — stand or perch on the curb to watch the show.

via The Great Wall – NYTimes.com


and recently another client was featured:

The classic Japanese children’s song “Tako no uta” (or “Song of Kites”) is a cheerful ode to flying. It is also one of many Japanese cultural references embedded in “Sora and the Cloud,” Felicia Hoshino’s rich, clever and appealing book. Offering both English and Japanese text, it is itself a lovely tribute to the joys of soaring high.

Oh, that reminds me of a 3rd client who was mentioned in the NYTimes just last October – the Tenderloin Economic Development Project was featured in an article about the ongoing transformation of the tenderlion area of San Francisco.
Posted in Web Design | Leave a comment

Compleat: paper cup with integrated lid

Paper or plastic? When it came to cups the answer was always “both” since you didn’t have a choice.

Now we do.

So the main goal here is to make plastic, carry-out lids obsolete.The design has flaps similar to takeout cartons that fold over to seal in cold or hot beverages, while creating a sipping spout. See their site for a quick animation.

This is the kind of brilliant rethinking of everyday objects that makes me think we might evolve out of this chemical swamp we call home.

via: The Compleat Cup | One Piece Paper Cup.

Posted in Inventions | Leave a comment

Switch from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com for SEO

Happy New Year everyone. Some more notes about SEO and WordPress and various hosting options…

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.24.11

An interesting account of one person’s experience with Godaddy and WordPress Hosting.

Continual frustrations, annoyances and poor value for my money

I switched from my old hosting provider (Godaddy), to WordPress.com because Godaddy was giving me issues every other week, or had caching issues, and did not support gzip (fully) etc. Plus the $5/month I was paying was not worth it.

via Why I switched from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com « one cool site.


Also: a related discussion about SEO and WordPress.com. Interesting opinions on pros and cons of keeping a simple site at wordpress.com in order to improve SEO. Topics include:

  • Is Domain Mapping better for SEO?
  • Whatever.wordpress.com may outrank Whatever.com

> Read my other Godaddy related posts
> Read about myWordPress Hosting service

Posted in WordPress | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Panoramic Video: Kogeto vs GoPano

Neat stuff – 3 options for little gadgets that attach to your iPhone and allow you to shoot 360 degree videos.


I see complains about fuzzy videos and an explanation that teaches alot about how it works.

But my main issue with this is that it wont shoot stills – that might be more fun for me to play with actually. I think it’s got a wider angle of view than the Kogeto. It’s also slightly bulky – at least compared with the competition…



I  was at first surprised to find a competitor. Very similar but physically smaller and i think that’s a big plus.

  • their kickstarter comments
  • they say “The 4s is going to vastly improve the quality of Dot videos due to the 1080p resolution so we’re really excited”
  • The Dot let’s you view the full 360 in their player – i like that better than dragging around a video to see the whole thing. But you can’t see the screen while sooting and you can’t see as much vertically (gopano sees 90 degrees)

other comparisons:


wait, there is a 3rd option: BubbleScope
360x120degrees in a package that looks smaller than goPano. Update: on sale now for iPhone and some Android phones. Nice videos on their site give a full demo of the software.

Posted in Inventions, Product Reviews | 1 Response

WordPress SEO Research Tools

In this article I will review some web-based tools and some WordPress plugins that can help your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process on your website.

Web-based tools

Google AdWords Keyword Tool
This tool helps you evaluate the usefulness of keywords and helps you find related terms for your WordPress based site.  Just input a series of search terms and the Keyword tool tells you how many people searched for those terms, and  related terms, (globally and locally).  Sort by keyword, number of searches or competition. searches measures Competition measures how many people are actively marketing on that term through Google Adwords. It gives you an idea of how difficult it might be to rank for that particular term. Try out the  exact match and phrase match features also, as it can increase / decrease the search volume dramatically.

Google Insights for Search
Rank keywords against one another and lets you see their performance over time: Some search terms are more useful to your business than others, and search term values can change over time.  In terms of SEO marketing,  it can be a great strategy to rank for a keyword which is starting a meteoric rise – but only if it’s relevant to your content of course.

For example, if you are the only cell phone accessory store with content about the iPhone the week the iPhone is announced, and your site is equipped to close sales, you’ll likely draw a lot of traffic and sell a lot of product.

read about more Tools To Improve Your Online Marketing Campaign by Yoast

WordPress SEO Plugins

  • WordPress SEO Plugin: this revolutionary plugin has a variety of tools to help you analyse your pages and posts as you build them. The powerful SEO tools are right there in the editor and they include many educational tips as well.
  • Redirection: This one lets you add redirections manually – from an old url to a new one. Avoiding broken links and properly setting up 301 redirects is important to keeping your SEO rank when changing your site’s link structure.
  • Permalink Finder: This clever plugin automatically redirects your old urls to your new ones based on keywords in the url. For the right situations this could save you many hours of rebuilding links manually.
Posted in Web Design, WordPress | Tagged | 2 Responses

Holiday Print sale

Holiday Print sale, starting November 29, 2011 through January 27, 2012.
I’ll have my pens and some unframed prints in this great new gallery in downtown Oakland.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Collaborate Studio & Art Gallery
431 13th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Located in City Center Oakland, at 13th and Broadway, steps from the 12th Street BART Station.
Posted in Web Design | Leave a comment

Lytro camera: one more thing…

Lytro lets you take pictures like never before. Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space.

This comment on their blog gave some idea of how this technology can really be different.

I see potential for this technology in the detection of wavefront aberrations of the cornea. Currently, Fourier based wavefront algorithms are used for wavefront guided ablation of the cornea for LASIK. This technology has potential to give us new insights into corneal aberrations as well as intraocular lens technology.


The images on their site could be done with a wide depth of field and then selective blurring. So in that sense it’s not so impressive and kinda just a little flash-viewer gimmick. But there is something new here and even if this camera doesn’t bring out its full potential I am very curious about it’s eventual uses.

via Lytro.


UPDATE: new pro version of this camera: the Illum

Posted in Fine Art Photography | Leave a comment

The Design Process – diagrammed



A great representation of the design process.

It is called the “Squiggle” — created by Damien Newman from Central Office of Design. (released under a Creative Commons License.)


Posted in Design | 1 Response

WordPress e-commerce plugins

I’ve been researching a number of new plugins that extend the functionality of the WordPress E-Commerce plugin. Why reinvent a dead horse?

Free for 15 days. Then starts at $99 +$20/mo

Summary: QuickBooks integration application designed to deliver a comprehensive eCommerce management solution:

  • Keep your QuickBooks current and accurate
  • Streamline order fulfillment
  • Manage product catalog, inventory & pricing
  • Securely maintain your data

Ari coments: looks powerful. This tool works with 13 different ecommerce systems – WPEC is just one. So that’s a sign they are serious developers. Might solve complex inventory issues but I’m not sure how helpful it is if you don’t use quickbooks? Does lots of other stuff including integrating with a iPhone app.

See also this video that is WordPress-specific:

StoreApps – “smart manager
Free “lite” version or $100 “pro” version

Summary: “will boost your productivity 10x in managing products, customers and orders.”

You can browse, search, add, update and delete multiple products, customers or orders using a familiar, single page, spreadsheet-like interface.

Their site has videos and more… View screenshots of new version.

They also have a new “smart reporting” tool… But little info is available online yet. Looks like their website is out of date.

Manual Ordering
au$65 (@us$63)
This solution allows store owners to process sales immediately where a customer prefers to call in/mail order and gets around the inconvenience of creating a new customer order through the Checkout page.

Ari coments: this might be an interesting solution for a POS (point of sale ecommerce) system in a physical store. Check out the screenshots:
Note that this guy (visser) makes lots of WPEC plugins so I trust him that he knows what he’s doing – he’s an expert at WordPress e-commerce.

NoStock: A stock notifier
Free – but may not work with wpec 3.8
When a product is out of stock, customer will see a button to request notification. Plugin will record email address in a list and when the quantity is updated (the product is back in stock), anybody that requested notification will get sent an email.

WPEC Bulk Tools
Free – but does not work with wpec 3.8
WPEC Bulk Tools provides bulk management tools for the WP e-Commerce plugin. actually 3.8 has this kind of bulk import “You can import your products from a comma delimited text file”

UPDATE: some of these services also work with WooCommerce

Posted in WordPress, WordPress WooCommerce | Leave a comment
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